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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 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, December 3, 2002.

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

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

Cheryl L. James, Certified Shorthand Reporter


MR. CHAIRMAN: Ladies and gentlemen,

we'll call this meeting to order.

Madam Secretary, will you call the


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: Good. We do have a

full board, meeting is now in session.

Ladies and gentlemen, we do have some

rules of conduct with respect to participating with

the ZBA that's listed at the top of this agenda, if

you will take note of it. Thank you.

The Zoning Board of Appeals is a

hearing board empowered by the Novi City Charter to


hear appeals seeking variances from the application

of the Novi zoning ordinance.

It takes a vote of at least four

members to approve a variance and a vote of the

majority of members to deny a variance. We have a

full board tonight and the decisions will be


Any changes to the agenda?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Move for approval.

All those in favor, say aye.

(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Minutes. We have

minutes of October 1st and November-4th. Any

changes to those minutes?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Move to approve as

submitted. All those in favor, say aye.

(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. This is

the part of the meeting in which the public is

invited to come to the podium to discuss any issue

unrelated to a case that's on our docket tonight,

so if there's anybody in the audience who wants to


talk to us about something other than what's on our

docket, now is the time to put it on camera.

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: We'll close that



MR. CHAIRMAN: We'll call the first

case, 02-076 filed by Don Henry of

Tomco Fabricating.

This is a continuation of the case,

so, sir, you are still under oath.

I guess, in summary, what we have

here is you're operating a business that has got

some outdoor storage which isn't allowed in this

particular district as zoned today, and we were

hoping that we could get some screening, or at

least address how we could obscure this outdoor

storage, so go ahead.

MR. HENRY: I believe I've submitted

the plans to Sarah, and she should have those.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Wish to tell us

anything more, or we'll just let the board members

-- okay.


There were -- I don't see -- Sarah,

was this renoted?

Did it have to be?

MS. MARCHIONI: No, there's no


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Anyone in the

audience wish to address the board on this case --

on this particular case?

Give us your name and address.

MR. EGAN: My name is Bradford Egan,

27087 Gratiot Avenue in Roseville. I'm the land

development manager for Ferlito Construction and

Novi Development, LLC. We are the developer of the

parcel that basically surrounds the Tomco site.

We are investing, when complete,

probably around $30 million into this project. To

date we've invested about $10 million.

We've got two existing buildings with

quality tenants in them that are light industrial


And I have some letters that date

back to -- the first one of June 29th, 2001, to

Mayor Clark asking for help on how to alleviate the

eyesore of Tomco Manufacturing with the outdoor


storage, the overgrown weeds, the vacant buses,

boats, everything under the sun, and did not get

any response.

I spoke with Cindy Uglo a number of

times. I've worked very closely with Clay Pearson

on this.

I know there was a follow-up letter

issued to Tomco Manufacturing around June 1st of

this year, and there wasn't any response.

They were on a previous agenda that

they couldn't make. I was at that agenda meeting.

And there was also a complaint by our

tenant from Costell (ph) of America to Mr. Pearson

expressing their displeasure with the outdoor


With the investment that we're making

into this park, and we've got two quality tenants,

we strongly recommend the board not allow for

outdoor storage or screening of any kind.

I was told initially by Cindy Uglo

after she had sent the letter to Tomco that they

were going to have 30 days, or-45 days, whatever it

was, to rectify the situation and if not they were

going to take a sheriff over there and, you know,


make something happen. None of that's happened,

and now it's a year-and-a-half later since my first

initial letter to the mayor, which, to his credit,

he gave me a call personally about a week after I

sent the letter, but that still doesn't alleviate

the problem.

So that's the extent of it. We hope

that our investment is enough to justify not

allowing for a variance in this case.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, thank you very

much. Anybody else in the audience?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building department?

MR. SAVEN: Once again, recapping,

there was an issue regarding the temporary use of

this outdoor storage. Is this your -- is this what

you're still looking at, a temporary use?

MR. HENRY: Yes, sir.

MR. SAVEN: And would you explain to

the board how long this temporary use is going to

be for, please.

MR. HENRY: It's basically until the

property is sold.

The only thing I can say at this


point is he's had a lot of activity looking at the

land, my father who owns the land. As soon as it's

sold I'll be out of there.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Anything else, Don?

MR. SAVEN: No, I'm all set.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members?

MEMBER BAUER: Question. If the

property is going to be sold, then you're going to

move out, wouldn't it behoove you to start moving


MR. HENRY: Who knows when the

property's going to be sold.

MEMBER BAUER: That's my question.

MR. HENRY: Yeah. I can't do that.



MEMBER GRAY: I've got some

additional questions and -- I guess hearing the

speaker, the neighbor, from Ferlito -- I'm sorry, I

didn't catch your name -- if this has been going on

for over a year-and-a-half and we're just hearing

about it now -- he's referring to busses and boats

and such like that, I guess my question is, it was

my understanding that all of these items were in


storage for a fee, and I guess my point at this

time is, if there's anything there that's not in

storage for a fee I would certainly think that they

should be moved as soon as possible.

Another thing that came up is the

cost of doing the temporary screening, and I guess

I don't want to seem insensitive, but it's not, I

don't think up to me, to say that your cost to do

the screening to try to make this legal really

should have any bearing on this. I mean, I realize

it's going to be expensive, and I'm -- and I am

sensitive to the economy, to your -- but the point

is, if I -- when I asked you at -- the very first

time you were here was there any representation to

you when you bought the property that the outdoor

storage -- and it was illegal then, you know, it

should have been addressed at that time. And you

said you didn't recall that there was any

representation that there had been, the storage

issue was legal.

I guess my problem at this time is,

what are we going to do in the meantime, because

this property could not sell for years and years



In the meantime, there's neighbors

and they're tired of looking at this and it's still

illegal, and, you know -- I just -- I guess I'm

kind of frustrated that we don't have a resolution

to this before now.

Thank you.

MR. HENRY: Well, I didn't know this

had been going on for a year-and-a-half. And when

we did buy the property that property was zoned

outside storage, and that's the way we've used it

since, virtually, the day we've bought it, almost

25 years ago.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building department?

MEMBER GRAY: Don's at the back right


MR. CHAIRMAN: I'd like to address

that history.

MEMBER SANGHVI: Papers and a copy of

a letter right there.

MEMBER GRAY: I-2 district permitted

outdoor storage related to the business use only

and required and eight foot high obscuring wall

around the property. So it was not deemed to be

incidental to the business if it was a construction


company storing their vehicles and cranes for

example. This is storing other people's property

for pay and for profit, and I fail to see the


MR. SCHULTZ: Mr. Chair?


MR. SCHULTZ: By way of

clarification, just to remind you that what's

before you is a use variance, not the lesser less

stringent area variance. This is a use variance.

There never was a legal established I-2 outdoor

storage because there never was the appropriate

screening, and it wouldn't be permitted now, so

regardless of the history, in some sense you have

to realize that what's before you is a use

variance. And there's no grandfathering, there's

no nonconformity here, so we need to review this

essentially as it exists today and determine

whether or not he's -- the applicant's met the

criteria for a use variance here.

And with regard to the enforcement

issues, I think the City has, after having

identified the issue, you know, attempted, as the

City always would, to try and meet with the


property owner and work out a solution, and having

failed that, cited him for a violation which leads

him here.

This has obviously been a long

process here, several meetings, but it's a

cumbersome process, but you're near the end of it.



have some concerns on -- confusions, and so I'm

going to address this to everyone, and if anyone

wants to pipe in to offer me some guidance.

I'm confused because if this is

outdoor storage, why is it in such poor shape? I

mean, even if you've been taking money and storing

items, why are there old, unused buses and old

items that are not being used? I have a confusion

for that.

In the first meeting that you were

here, you told us that you have this outdoor

storage and that you're getting money for this and

you needed this as a second income. Income, as a

board member, for me, is not a hardship. The loss

of that income is not a justified hardship for me.



But I -- now, hearing the neighbor's

complaint that this is not in a good setting in

terms of weeds and deteriorating values, what is

the story about this?

What's with the old buses and old --

who's paying you to keep those there?

MR. HENRY: Just residents pretty



pretty poor shape outside?

MR. HENRY: Yes, it is. You know,

once again, it's really been like that for 25



irrelevant. I'm talking about today.

MR. HENRY: Nobody's ever noticed --

well, nothing's been cleaned up. Nobody's ever

noticed until the development came in with the

Regency Park.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Okay. Well, what

was is irrelevant to me tonight. I want to make

that very clear.

I'm not -- Mr. Chairman, I don't know

that I can support this with that reason,


especially now that the neighbor is evident. He

was here at a meeting when the petitioner was not,

so we didn't hear his concerns before, but I'm

rather concerned by the length of time that this

has taken, by the delay when the petitioner didn't

show up before, then we postponed it last month,

and now this. We're just going around in circles,

and I don't -- this is not a permitted use and this

board member can't support it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody else?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: I think it's very

significant the additional evidence we heard

tonight from the adjoining land owner, the fact

that it's an unknown when this property could sell,

and it's very unclear to me -- I don't believe that

an eight-foot fence is going to secure this site

anyways, and I have no support for the petitioner's


MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Chair, I think the

question needs to be asked of the petitioner, the

variances being requested, you want to maintain the

outdoor storage on this property and the only way

you're going to be able to do that is if you fence


it to screen it.

Are you prepared to put up the fence

within 30 days to screen the property?

MR. HENRY: I had originally -- I had

thought the board wanted me to lay out a time line.

I thought I put down 90 days, but if it need be 30-

MEMBER GRAY: (Interposing) Well,

we're going back several months now, and I guess my

point at this time is, I know you've obtained

estimates to do the fencing, you've obtained an

estimate to demolish the old building-

MR. HENRY: (Interposing) Yes.

MEMBER GRAY: -you know, we've been

playing with this for several months now, and I

think it's time to fish or cut bait.

MR. HENRY: In answer to your

question, yes, I can have that barrier up in 30


MEMBER GRAY: You can have the

property surrounded and screened, which would bring

it -- Mr. Schultz, would that bring it into

compliance for the short-term until it's sold?

MR. SCHULTZ: If that's the motion of

the board, it would be a variance given that


relief. It only comes into compliance if you grant

that variance.

MEMBER GRAY: That's what I wanted to


MR. SAVEN: For a period of time

though. We're going to be looking at a period of

time; is that correct?

MEMBER SANGHVI: That would be the

next issue.

MEMBER GRAY: Well, the period of

time -- I mean, I'm just trying to -- I'm trying to

find out exactly what our options are here.

MR. SCHULTZ: I understood the

question to be would putting the fence in bring it

into compliance.

MEMBER GRAY: That's the question.

That answer is no, correct?

MR. SCHULTZ: The answer would be

that would be the -- if that were your motion, that

would be the variance relief, and he would have to

been permitted to continue the use with the

screening. And if you want to add a time element

to that, then that would be further discussion.

MEMBER GRAY: Well -- and, of course,


it would be only for this petitioner and it would

be until the property is sold. We understand that

he's been actively seeking buyers for quite some

time now.

I just wanted to know what our

options are at this point. Thank you.


would like to make a motion that in Case Number

02-076 the applicant's request be denied for use

variance for lack of convincing hardship.


MR. CHAIRMAN: We have a motion and a

second. Any discussion on the motion?


MR. SCHULTZ: Just the usual. There

have been a number of reasons.

MEMBER SANGHVI: We already discussed

all the different reasons on the record.

MR. SCHULTZ: I think the maker of

the motion, or someone else, could offer just a

short list of the reasons that we've already heard

some members give to attach to the motion and make

it clearer for anyone who's reviewing the motion

why there's no finding of hardship.


MEMBER SANGHVI: We are talking about

variance here, and the variance of the use and not

of anything else, and it's not permitted and there

is no hardship because he has not adequately shown

us why this variance be granted because of the

reasons already discussed and -- which are on the

record from the previous meetings.

MR. CHAIRMAN: In addition to which

the zoning clearly says that this is outdoor

storage that's only permitted to that that's

relating to his businesses.

MR. REINKE: The other thing, if I

might insert, is that he's really looking at a

temporary basis right now because he has no plans

on staying there.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Satisfy your request?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other discussion?

(No further discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: 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: I'm sorry, Mr. Henry,

but your request for this use variance has been


MR. HENRY: I didn't think you could

take something away after I've been legally --

after I've been doing it for 25 years, legally or


Even Tom, the city attorney, had

mentioned if there was a fence up there all these

years ago that nothing could be done about this.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, I'm -- as I

said -- I mean, we've voted on this already, but I

just will say that I think it's significant the

other evidence that was brought forth tonight.

That was very, very compelling.

MR. HENRY: So what you're saying is


the only thing that I can store outside is what

relates to my business?

MR. CHAIRMAN: That's correct.

MR. HENRY: Okay. Because-

MR. SAVEN: (Interposing) Time out.

We're getting -- there is no outdoor storage

issue. If it was nonconforming -- a legal

nonconforming issue, it would have been an issue

where it would have been screened to begin with and

the outdoor storage would have been incidental to

your business.

MR. HENRY: But I do have a fair

amount of outside storage there that is incidental

to my business.

MR. SAVEN: What I'm saying, at that

time, if it was fenced in, but it was not fenced

in; and, therefore, it was not legal.

MR. HENRY: So you mean I have to

clean up everything that's even related to my


MR. SCHULTZ: Mr. Chair, just


MR. HENRY: (Interposing) I'm out of

business if you do that.


MR. SCHULTZ: -the application that

was before the board tonight was for general

outdoor storage with an acknowledgment on the

record from the petitioner that it's not related --

not all related to his use.

If there were some other application

that the proponent came to you with down the road,

even if it was less than what he was here with

tonight, that would be a different issue that you

would have to consider at that time.

MEMBER GRAY: And noticed legally.

MR. SCHULTZ: This was -- that is not

the case that was before you tonight.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I'd say if you have

other issues -- we're going to call the next case,

but if you have other discussion, you can talk to

Tom or Don Saven.

MR. HENRY: Call them tomorrow?



MR. CHAIRMAN: Case 02-083 is filed

by John Carroll representing Novi Party Store.

This is also a continuation of a case. Anybody


that wasn't here last month?

MR. BAIN: Same three gentlemen.


MR. BAIN: Good evening,

Mr. Chairman. My name is Dan Bain. I'm an

attorney representing Novi Party Store. My address

is 27780 Novi Road, suite 200 here in Novi.

And as the board is aware, we had

originally requested a sign variance for a

sixty-foot sign.

We came to the first -- I was not

present at that first meeting. They came to the

first meeting. The board suggested that the

sixty-foot sign would not be conforming and would

not be allowed, cut it down to two, twenty-five

foot signs -- two thirty-foot signs, I apologize,

which is where we were last time. There was

suggestion made that we should maybe cut in down

again. We have placed another proposal for two,

twenty-four square foot signs, so we reduced it by

more than fifty -- by approximately seventy percent

at this point.

And I do believe that the

documentation was submitted -- the proposal was


submitted to the board by November 15th when they

requested that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. If we have

questions, I'm sure we'll get to them.

This was renoted. We had one

objection that was filed by Cooper, Shifman, Gabe,

Quinn and Seymour representing the adjoining party

store next door, continuing their objection.

Anybody in the audience wish to give


MR. GILLAM: Good evening,

Mr. Chairman and members of the Zoning Board.

David Gillam. I'm an attorney with Cooper,

Shifman, Gabe, Quinn and Seymour, 26200 Town Center

Drive here in Novi.

And I believe the Zoning Board has a

copy of a letter that I submitted by fax to

Miss Marchioni today. I appreciate her

distributing it to the board tonight.

Really, nothing new in the letter

that I've submitted. It has been and continues to

be our position that the variances that are

requested in this particular matter are not

justified because there are no practical


difficulties with the use of the site. If, in

fact, there are any practical difficulties, those

difficulties are associated with the way this

building is oriented and it was the applicant's

choice to orient that building in the fashion that

they did.

We would ask that the variances be

denied. If, in fact, you are inclined to grant a

request, that is, if you feel that signage along

the east elevation of the building is appropriate,

then it would be appropriate for the existing

ground sign to be removed.

And our position has been and is --

one way or the other, that there is no need to have

both signage on the east side of the building and

also in front of the building as well.

Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Anybody

else in the audience?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building department?

MR. SAVEN: No comment, sir.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members. Let me

throw a bomb at you. We've got an existing sign


that was put up a year or so ago. You know you

never got a permit for that sign?

MR. CARROLL: Yes, we did, sir.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Last month, and the

month previous, it was my position that that large

sign out front represented sufficient

identification. Now, you added a little twist when

you redid your building and got all the

entranceways on the east side. That's, again, my

impression, it was your option.

I'm compelled to agree with the

gentleman that was just up, that if you want two

signs on the front of the property, or the east

side of the building that represent the two

potential businesses, the party store and whatever

you lease out, that the ground sign comes down.

I'm even more compelled to support that position

knowing that you haven't paid for the first one you

put up.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Chairman, may I

approach with a copy of the permit?

MR. CHAIRMAN: You have an

application for a permit. You have an application

for a permit. You never got a permit.


Now, if I'm wrong on that --

MR. BAIN: I apologize. I was not

involved a year ago, so I have no knowledge, so-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Those

are just my feelings.

MR. BAIN: Right.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There's other board

members here that, as you already have summarized,

gave you some direction as to how to proceed.

Board members?

MR. CARROLL: That's a bomb all



MEMBER GRAY: Well, Mr. Chair, this

is another one that we've been going back and forth

with for quite a while, and I want to get it

resolved tonight.

The more I drive around the area and

the more I look at the signs, the more I am

convinced that the hardship is self-imposed by the

way the building was built; however, that was their


It was my impression last month that

we were supposed to be told at that point which


sign or signs they wanted to keep, the one out

front or the one on the east, and we weren't told

that, so I guess, you know, since they're not

willing to make a decision on either/or, I think

we're going to be in that position tonight.

And I'm interested in hearing what

the other board members have to say.

MR. CARROLL: If I may, we were asked

to come back and resubmit something smaller size on

the first meeting, and that's what we did, and

that's what -- we thought we were following your

guidelines on what you wanted.

MEMBER GRAY: It was my understanding

that you were asked to make a choice, and from

looking at the minutes, they were in October or


MR. BAIN: (Interposing) I believe

there was a suggestion to maybe altering the ground

sign or maybe putting forth a proposal for that

also, but I do not believe that was the only thing

that was submitted.

And I would just submit, in all due

respect for the board member driving around, we

don't have to drive too very far to see where


variances were granted to other surrounding

businesses. In fact, Audio Visual Signals or

Services, which is directly east of our building,

has both the ground sign, larger than ours, as well

as a wall sign on the side of their building, and

that variance was, in fact, granted.

We don't have to drive too much

further than the Red Lobster -- and I do have all

these addresses for the board.

MEMBER GRAY: And I will remind you

that we are specific -- speaking again here as a

specific case.

MR. BAIN: I understand. I'm just

addressing Miss Gray's proposal that she drove

around and looked around the community to see where

these various signs existed or did not exist, and I

just think we should point out to the board, given

the fact that everything in these hearings is based

on the record of the various businesses in this

area that do, in fact, have this dual signage.

And I could go on with a long list of

addresses and we can all drive around and see, as

you did this evening, the various businesses that

do have this and for which variances have been



I understand last time the legal

proposition was put forth different strokes for

different folks, but I don't know on what basis

these other places have been granted this


Our variance is -- we do have a

unique situation. We had the place going that way

due to the size restriction -- due to the size of

the building.

Originally we were going to make it a

one-tenant building, we were going to occupy the

whole thing ourselves. Since then, unfortunately

due to finances, our plans changed. We did not

have to have the building be as big for the party

store. We submitted it, we made it a multi-tenant

building, or a two-tenant building, ourselves and

one space to rent out.

Now we have a unique situation where,

obviously, our tenant is going to need some

signage. We do not have that tenant yet, I'm

sorry, wish we did, but they are going to want some

recognition on the side of that building, and it

does create a unique situation.


My client spent a significant amount

of money, tore down a rotten old store, put up a

very nice new store, improved this community

significantly, and they're asking for a very small

variance on a sign that creates -- the sign itself

is creating no road hazard or anything of that

nature. It's not blocking a driveway, it's not

doing anything except giving recognition and

splitting our building up so that some way we can

delineate ourselves and, more importantly, our


MR. REINKE: Mr. Chairman, we're

going to have to deal with a second sign here at

some time -- point in time.

From what they originally proposed, I

think was totally overkill. What's down there size

wise now is not going to be of value for

Grand River and it's going to identify basically

from the drive-in area, and it's down to a point of

something that, although I don't totally agree

with, I can live with.

MR. BAIN: You know, again, I just

note for the record, looking at a copy of the

application for the original sign, the ground sign,


it does indicate approved on here. I do not have

the permit, and I apologize. I do not know the

City's procedure for granting it. I do note that

it says status approved on this permit application,

if I can approach with that, if the board would

like to see it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let's discuss your

case before us.

I was given some different

information, and maybe we'll have to deal with that

after the fact as well, if there's some outstanding

legal work to be done on that ground sign.

Other board members, please.


MEMBER SANGHVI: Sir, the way I feel,

yes, you need an identification sign for the second

tenant. That's okay. And I also feel that the

illegal sign should be removed so that your two

signs for your own party store and your tenant, and

the sign put up there without any permit or

anything should be removed.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let's not complicate

things now. Let's not mix it all up here. Let's

take the ground sign's legality out of the



MEMBER SANGHVI: Then there's a third

sign there.


MEMBER SANGHVI: The ground sign and

the other two signs becomes three signs for the

same property.

MEMBER GRAY: Which is what we've

been dealing with for the last three or four


MEMBER SANGHVI: And I think the time

has come to just make a decision and get on with

it, and I'm going to make a motion that-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Hold

on, Mav. Let's -- Cindy had something she wanted

to take up


clarification, thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Last month I thought that we agreed,

and I just reviewed the minutes again, that

Mr. Reinke was -- the purpose of having these two

signs was for identification of the business.

We're all in agreement of that, that's necessary.

Mr. Reinke also asked you about


decreasing the size of the signs for both

businesses. You were in agreement with that.

And at one point he says, "And you

are in agreement of removing the ground sign," and

it says right here that you were in agreement to


So I don't have a problem with the

size of these signs. I think that you made an

effort to doing it. You did exactly what we asked

for based on last month's discussion at this

table. But I am still not sure that there is a

need for that ground sign, and so that's what I'm

having a problem with.

MEMBER SANGHVI: That's what I'm


MEMBER GRONACHAN: I don't have a

problem with the size of your signs. I am in

agreement of that, but I need help with this ground

sign. I don't understand.

MR. BAIN: If I may address that, the

ground sign, if we just have the signs on the east

side of the building, okay, we have no way for a

customer to see us if they're traveling eastbound

on Grand River because the signs are on the east


side of the building, unless they're going to be

looking out their rearview mirror trying to find

our store, which obviously is going to create a

traffic hazard. So they will have to drive right

by our store, I suppose will pull a U-turn or

something like that if they want to try to come

back because we will have no signage out front

where they can see our sign due to the way it faces

Grand River.

The signs are not on the front of the

building, they are on the side of the building.

They face east. If you're traveling east and

you're looking for the Novi Party Store, you can't

find us.

Now, I would hate to see what would

happen if somebody's turning their head, and I know

this is far-fetched, but these things do happen,

trying to find the Novi Party Store because there's

no sign out front and broadside somebody turning

into the Local Colors or something there, and then

we have a death over a sign.

I think we have to have some

forethought into the future on things of that

nature. Things do happen, and hopefully that never


does, but that is a possibility.



MR. BAIN: That is why it is

necessary for us to have the two signs, both the

ground sign and the signs on the other side of the


MR. CHAIRMAN: Couldn't the ground

sign be modified?

MR. BAIN: I suppose, sir, we could

raise it or make it bigger, but I don't-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) I'm

suggesting splitting it in half for identification

of both the businesses that would be visible from

the east or the west.

MR. BAIN: The problem is that, due

to the size restrictions, sir, we will not really

be able to give our tenant very much signage, nor

ourselves very much signage on that ground sign, if

we are restricted to the size of the sign, you

know, obviously by the City. So what is -- usually

would be for a single tenant, which is what we've

really done with the ground sign at this point, we

had to save a small space for the tenant, but with


designs as a single-use building, and a single

tenant sign would have to be split into two, and

that's going to cause hardship on our business.

And, again, just given the

surrounding area, as Miss Gray brought up, and

various other variances that have been granted to

other businesses in the area, very similar in

nature, directly next door, Audio Visual Systems

has the exact same sign variance.

MEMBER BAUER: Each one has to stand

on its own. We do not set precedent on one for


MR. BAIN: I understand that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You keep saying you

understand but you keep bringing it up.

MR. BAIN: Well, I think it's

important. We have on the record that we drove

around and looked at other businesses, and I'm just

basing it on the record, sir, placing it on the


MR. CHAIRMAN: I think the ground


MR. BAIN: (Interposing) Other

businesses have been granted that variance.


MR. CHAIRMAN: I think that ground

sign does a very good job being roughly 20 feet off

of the edge of Grand River. You've got very clear

visibility, and I sure would like to see another

way of doing it, although I am compelled to ask

Laverne, given the petitioner is back this month

with revised wall signage based on your

recommendation, maybe you ought to see where the

board sits with that.

MEMBER REINKE: I can work with


I just have one question I would like

to address to Mr. Saven first.

MR. SAVEN: I knew he was going to do


MEMBER REINKE: The standard business

identification is what, 24 square feet?

MR. SAVEN: I believe it's 30.

MR. REINKE: Due to the fact that it

is smaller basically than the standard business

identification, we're going to have to -- there is

going to be some kind of identification required to

the second business in this center, I move that the

variance request for the twenty-four square foot --


two twenty-four square foot business identification

signs on the east side of the building be granted

for business identification.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Any discussion on the


(No discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: See where the board

sits, Sarah.

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: All right. We're back

to square one. Looks like we're going to have to

deal with that ground sign, at least if we're going


to come up with any resolution. We're going to

have to deal with that ground sign, and it's -- if

we're going to deal with it tonight, it's going to

be either modified or moved. It certainly isn't

going to be enlarged because that's not what was


MR. BAIN: We're in agreement at this

point we have a permit for the ground sign?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Does it look like we

do now?

MR. SAVEN: Looks like we have a


MR. BAIN: All right. So we're good

on that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I -- and I'll

apologize for the record on that. I was given

different direction.

MR. SAVEN: I have the permit number

and I have the date of that permit and I will

investigate it, but the way that it looks it has

been signed for, so apparently they did pick it up.

MR. BAIN: Doesn't that mean you got

to take a bomb back and have it explode on you?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I already apologized


on the record.

MR. BAIN: We'll take the apology.

I'm just kidding.

MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman, if I may, I

really want to bring home a point here. All

businesses are allowed one sign, one sign only.

Whether they choose a ground sign or a wall sign,

it's up to them. The only way that things change

is when we have a business which has a ground sign

which has a business center identification and we

have four or more businesses, then each one of

those businesses are allowed a wall sign.

So if that was the question -- this

is less than that. Now, to qualify that, you have

to have separate entrances for those businesses, so

those were the conditions, and that's why these

gentlemen, based upon him separating his business,

he's running into a problem in this area.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You want the ground

sign that's already there that provides clear

identification from east to west, correct?

MR. BAIN: That's Correct.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Obviously you're only

going to have one sign on the wall, for your


tenant. Let's look at something in between. If

the ground sign provides clear identification for

the party store and you get a sign on the wall for

your tenant, I can live with that.

MR. BAIN: Excuse me for one moment.


MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman, if I may,

I've just been advised the fact that there may be

another concern regarding how many signs this

business is allowed. It's only allowed one sign,

one sign only, whether it's a wall sign or a ground

sign, one sign.

MR. CHAIRMAN: That's where I'm


MR. CARROLL: So we're saying the

ground sign is for the party store?

MR. CHAIRMAN: That's something that

I've just thrown out. That does give you east/west

identification. It's already there.

MR. CARROLL: No. What I'm getting

at is his point. You're saying that even though it

identifies the party store, can the tenant still

have a sign?

MR. BAIN: I appreciate what you're


trying to do.

MR. SAVEN: We're trying to get it on

the one sign, that's correct.

MR. CHAIRMAN: It's clear tonight

that you're not going to get what you want, all

right. That's -- we've voted no on that already.

I'm looking for some common ground.

MR. BAIN: No. And, sir, I

understand. I certainly appreciate that. The

problem we're experiencing tonight is that,

unfortunately, the principal member of the store,

who would be able to really make that decision, is

not here, and that's the problem we're running into

as I discussed with his colleague.

MR. CHAIRMAN: So you would prefer

not to even hear a motion along those lines?

MR. BAIN: I appreciate what you're

trying to do. What I prefer to do, I guess, it

keep that in consideration and see you next month

with the gentleman that's able to make that

decision. And, again, I appreciate what you're

trying to do.

MR. CHAIRMAN: If that's what you

prefer to do. I'd prefer to at least come to a


resolve, if we have to wait another month.

UNIDENTIFIED: Can you give me a

couple minutes? I can make a call again.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yeah. You know what,

we're going to go to the next case, all right.

MR. BAIN: That would be fine, sir.

MR. CHAIRMAN: When you guys get

ahold of him, wave at me in the back and we'll

bring you right back up.

MR. BAIN: Thank you very much.


MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Let's call

the next case, Celeste Hamilton, 209 Charlotte,

Case Number 02-098.

Celeste, you want to raise your hand

and be sworn by the secretary?

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Do you swear or

affirm that the information that you're about to

give in the matter before you is the truth?



MR. CHAIRMAN: Celeste, tell us what

you want to do.


MS. HAMILTON: Okay. I live at

209 Charlotte Drive, and we want to construct a

storage shed out in our yard. We don't have a

backyard, so we're requesting a variance that we

could construct our shed in the front yard.

So I submitted the plots, and I think

everybody can kind of see how our house lays on the

property, and yet we don't have a backyard, or even

side yards per se, and -- so the place that we

chose was furthest from the house, it's secluded

from sight pretty much all the way round.

I submitted some pictures, too.

There's trees all around it.

So it's far from the neighbors. And

our neighbors' backyards are right in line with

where the shed would be, so it wouldn't look out of


I mean, we kind of consider this area

of our yard our backyard, so -- because we don't

have a backyard, that we're requesting a variance

that we could build the shed there.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. You did a

nice job.

There were thirty-four notices sent;


there were ten approvals, no objections.

Anybody in the audience want to speak

on this matter?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building department?

MR. SAVEN: It's very obvious just by

the plot plan of, you know, the property she has to

place the shed, and I have no problems whatsoever.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I'll also add, just

for the audience's sake, I wouldn't call this a

shed. This is pretty nice.

Board members?



MEMBER GRAY: Celeste, when was your

house built?

MS. HAMILTON: About 40 years ago.

MEMBER GRAY: About 40 years ago?

And when did you purchase it?

MS. HAMILTON: About three years ago.

MEMBER GRAY: About three years ago.

I know the area, and Mr. Reinke, I know you do,


This -- where Mrs. Hamilton is


proposing to site her shed is just very, very

shortly off a road that dead-ends into a lake, so

it is not traveled. I don't see that it supports

-- that it presents a problem, especially the way

she's proposing to screen it.

A lot of people think when you have a

house facing the street that that's your front

yard, but those of us who live in the lake area

consider that our front yard is what's on the

water, so this is a very awkward situation where

she has basically an older house that she has,

thankfully, taken from a legally converted multiple

back to single-family, and I don't think the shed's

going to be a problem to anybody.

We, last summer, approved siting the

shed in the front yard for one of her neighbors.

I'm not offering that as support by any stretch of

the imagination, but these are older houses that

are being rehabed, and I think we need to work with

the residents to do what we can to accommodate

their needs.

MR. REINKE: Mr. Chairman, as you --

agreeing with what she said, it's really kind of a

unique looking shed. It looks almost like a atrium


more than anything else.

And as Miss Gray said, the lot --

where the lot is located, there's no through

traffic, there's probably nobody going down that

section except yourself.

I have no problem with the

petitioner's request in supporting that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let's get Celeste home

before 9:00.

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, in

Case 02-098, I move that petitioner's variance be

granted -- request be granted due to lot size,

shape and configuration.



MR. CHAIRMAN: I guess there's no

discussion on this motion. Sarah, you want to call

the roll?

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 have your

variance. See the building department for your


MS. HAMILTON: Okay. Can I also

request a waiver on that five day?

MR. SAVEN: Three months for the

permit, but five days okay.

MR. CHAIRMAN: So granted.

MS. HAMILTON: Thank you.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Next case we'll call,

02-099. This is Ray and Amy Elmblad. Raise your

hand and be sworn.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Do you swear or

affirm that the information that you're about to

give in the matter before you is the truth?

MR. ELMBLAD: Yes, I do.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Go ahead.

MR. ELMBLAD: Do you have copies of


MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes. We have a whole


MR. ELMBLAD: Okay. This is a hand

drawing that I did, and it involves a family room,

a mud room and a garage addition.

And this has been submitted to the

architectural control committee for our

subdivision, which has already been approved. I've

also spoke with several of our neighbors, asking

them what their opinions were. I did not receive

any negative opinions about this addition, and I

actually asked them to sign an affidavit that I

believe the board has.

Basically, we just need more space

with our house. There's a -- we have a growing

family. There's a few flaws in our floor plan, and

I won't go through all the flaws, but the added

living space, mud room and garage addition, will

address all those needs that we have.

We have considered going out of the

front of the house; however, the board of -- I'm


sorry, architectural control has basically nixed

that idea. They don't want any change with the

front of the house.

We considered going out the back of

the house behind the living room; however, there's

two setbacks, a side setback and a rear setback,

and -- that we would be violating. And there's

also electrical service boxes, so we didn't go in

that direction.

Because of the angles of our property

-- we have a small lot. The angles of our

property, we felt our only option was to work

behind our garage where we have a little more


Other hardships that I'm --

basically, it's the small lot. We live on a

cul-de-sac, and so our lot is rectangular, but it's

askew, and so -- and because of the setbacks, our

house is built on a certain angle, and no matter

what direction we went with our addition plans,

there wasn't really too much that we could do

without violating a setback.

We have a beautiful backyard,

beautifully landscaped backyard. We have great


views of some wetlands and some woodlands, and

during the summer months we really do like to enjoy

the backyard; however, when the sun goes down and

the temperature goes down the mosquitoes come out

and basically chase us into the house.

And so the family room will be

designed with some windows so we can continue to

enjoy our backyard.

Lastly, we had a few contractors look

over our plans. They say they make sense. They

say it won't change the grade of our property.

Because our houses on our cul-de-sac are sort of

around a circle cul-de-sac, our addition won't be

blocking anyone's view.

After the addition is completed, we

plan to have the addition professionally landscaped

so that it will look as if it's a part of the

house. Professional -- or the walkway that we had

planned will match the front stairs and steps and

walkway on the patio in the back.

And we don't want to move. We like

where we live. We're committed to our street and

our neighbors and we like our house.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. There were


thirty-two notices; and there were eight approvals

by adjoining neighbors, and there is a letter from

Mr. (inaudible) the architectural control committee

approving the plans as submitted.

Anybody in the audience wish to make

a comment?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: No, okay. Building


MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman, as you are

well aware, this property received a ZBA approval

sometime ago during the development of the Vistas

area where several variances were granted.

(inaudible) underlying zoning district.

Everything was in line with the R-4 zoning

district, which means that the rear yard has to

still maintain 35 foot.

The underlying zoning district at the

time was an R-8 district, which, if you can

remember this gentleman really was in at that

particular time, but because of the variance he was

down to the R-4 zoning district.

And as far -- the gentleman also

presented his case very well due to the


configuration of the property, the angulation of

the building. Those are all the concerns that he

had for the addition.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members?

MR. REINKE: I think the petitioner

has covered -- a very good job in his presentation.

He really answered most questions the board members

could have, and I could support the petitioner's



MR. CHAIRMAN: Lots of nods.


Mr. Chairman, I'm going to make a motion that

Case Number 02-099, applicants' request be granted

because of the peculiar configuration of the lot.


MR. CHAIRMAN: 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: We got you out fast.

You have a variance. See the building department

for a permit.

MR. ELMBLAD: All right. Thank you.



MR. CHAIRMAN: We'll continue on.

02-100, representing Pinnacle Office Centre. Is

this Paul Choukourian?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Paul, are you an



MR. CHAIRMAN: Raise your right hand

and we'll swear you in.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Do you swear or


affirm that the information that you're about to

give in the matter before you is the truth?



MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Go ahead

and present your case.


Paul Choukourian. I'm with Minasian Development.

We are the developer and I am the leasing agent for

the Pinnacle Office Centre.

The sign was erected approximately a

year ago for the Pinnacle Office Centre North,

which is our new building. It's under

construction, and it's still under construction.

We anticipate having it completed around February.

And as of now we have no leases in

that building. We hope to keep the sign for

approximately another year just to help bolster

advertising. We do generate a fair amount of calls

from that development sign.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. There were ten

notices sent. An immediate parcel owner sent in an

approval. No objections.

Anybody in the audience?


(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building department?

MR. SAVEN: No comment, sir.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members?


MR. CHAIRMAN: I think this one is

pretty straightforward. There is nothing leased,

and I think another year is reasonable.

I'll make a motion along those lines.

ZBA Case 02-100, I would move for the petitioner's

approval of a variance for purpose of leasing out

the property for one year.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Motion and

support. Discussion?

(No discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?



MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Got your


MR. CHOUKOURIAN: Thank you very


MR. CHAIRMAN: All right.

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, due to

a potential conflict, I want to remove myself from

the next case.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Thank you.


MR. CHAIRMAN: The next case is

02-101 filed by Glenn Schoening of Pleasant Cove.

I don't want you scare you off, but I

want you to be aware that you need five yes votes.



MR. CHAIRMAN: And with Laverne gone,

there's only five voting. But if you came next


month he'd be removing himself as well, so -- we

just don't have an alternate tonight.

Want to give us your name and be

sworn by the secretary?

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Do you swear or

affirm that the information that you're about to

give in the matter before you is the truth?

MR. SCHOENING: Yes. My name is

Glenn Schoening. I'm at 150 Pleasant Cove. I'm

here seeking a variance of ten feet in the front

yard and eight feet in the rear. We're trying to

put addition on. We live in the old neighborhood

near the lakes area, and the roads are really close

to the houses when they were developed.

About three years ago, the next-door

neighbor, she passed away, and her son came to us

and said do you want to buy a portion of the lot

next door, and I said sure, I'd love to because --

if you take a look at our -- side of our house, you

go straight forward when we bought the house, that

wasn't even our property. It was right on the


So I said sure. So we purchased the

land and we were thinking about adding on once we


get the money. So we have the money now and we'd

like to put in a garage with a family room and a

bathroom and mud room.

And due to the size of the lot, and

plus all the angles -- like, if you look at the

existing structure right now, it's not even

parallel with the road. It's sort of like at an

angle. So if I take the house line and go straight

forward with twenty-four feet, which is

considerably the norm for a two-and-a-half car

garage, it still is less than thirty feet away from

the road. And plus the back lot, the angle is

really severe, and that's why we need a variance.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There were twenty-nine

notices sent; five approvals, and probably more

than that, looking at the list here. No


Anybody in the audience wish to


(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building department?

MR. SAVEN: Just, once again,

emphasize the unusual shape of the property and the

configuration of the front yard as it's laid out to


the existing parcel of land.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members?

MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Chair, I'm familiar

also with this part of the area, too, and

interestingly enough, that road was supposed to be

sixty feet. There was supposed to be thirty feet

across to the south which never got put in, but be

that as it may, I think the petitioner has done a

good job in presenting his case. I don't think

that it's going to be grossly dissimilar from any

of the neighbors, and I think that a ten foot

setback in the front variance is not totally out of

line with what's in the neighborhood, or in the

general area, and we do have to make a motion the

same, that's the -- if the rest of the board is so


MEMBER BAUER: Make a motion.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Go ahead.

MEMBER GRAY: Go ahead and make a



want to make sure we got the right measurements

here. On the map it says twenty-eight feet for the

rear yard setback, so he would only need seven feet


and he's asking for eight.

MR. SAVEN: I understand that, but

there was a couple of issues that came about, and I

think it had to deal with one of the other

submittals or -- in the application -- hang on one

second. I need 27 foot as far as the setback goes,

he had indicated on the application, but he showed

28 foot-



MR. SAVEN: -rear yard, so to be

sure, fair, making sure he'll never come back again



MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Chairman, in the

mater of Case Number 02-101, move to approve the

two requested variances for which the petitioner

has applied due to the size of the lot and

configuration of the property lines, the -- that's




MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. We've got

a motion and a second. Any discussion?


(No discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Sarah?

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Sir, you got your


MR. SCHOENING: Okay, thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: See the building


CASE NUMBER O2-083 (continued)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Your timing is

impeccable. Come on down.

Well, what have we decided?

MR. BAIN: We've decided -- there's

not -- they appreciate your proposal but we're not


going to accept that, and I guess we'll have to

live with the board's decision on the other issue.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, let's have some

discussion on that. We had -- just to recap now,

we've had a no vote on the two wall signs, and it's

your desire at this point not to pursue other

discussion, just live with the ground sign.

MR. BAIN: Correct.

MR. CHAIRMAN: At some point in the

future we'll probably see you back for a wall sign

for this third party.

MR. BAIN: That's -- I've talked to

the powers that be, and my clients, and that may

very well be the case.

MR. CHAIRMAN: That's your pleasure.

MR. SCHULTZ: Mr. Chair?

MR. CHAIRMAN: How we handle this


MR. SCHULTZ: I think there -- there

was a motion to grant the proposed relief that

failed two to four. I think there should be a

motion in the other direction, if someone is so

inclined, so that we have a motion -- a positive

motion in other words, even if it's for or not.


MR. CHAIRMAN: We have one of the

non-supporting members make that motion?

MEMBER BAUER: Make a motion in Case

02-083 that the requested variance be approved as


MR. CHAIRMAN: No. Denied.

MR. SCHULTZ: Motion to approve has

already failed once.



MR. CHAIRMAN: Motion to deny.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Motion to deny.

MEMBER BAUER: Motion to deny.

MR. CHAIRMAN: So the motion is

amended to say denied.


MR. CHAIRMAN: I support. Any

discussion on the motion?

MR. SCHULTZ: Should be reasons

attached consistent with the discussion that was

held, the existing ground sign, the other items

that board members raised.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Hardship being

self-imposed by virtue of the design of the


building, sufficient building identification with

the current ground sign.


MR. SCHULTZ: If the maker will

accept that, that's fine.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

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: We have denial on your


MR. BAIN: Thanks. Have a good




MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Mamola,

Case 02-102. Mr. Mamola is representing

Clayton Group, which is looking to put up a ground

sign. This is for a parcel that's going to be

Johnson Printing building on Grand River.

Lee, you want to raise your hand and

be sworn?

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Do you swear or

affirm that the information that you're about to

give in the matter before you is the truth?

MR. MAMOLA: Yes, I do. Lee Mamola

from Mamola Associate Architects.

As the chairman said, we're

representing Clayton Group for their appeal on the

sign. We were also the architects for the building

and for the project site design.

I believe you should have my letter

of November 8th which outlines some of the facts of

why we feel there's a need for a variance in this


The property is located southwest

corner of Grand River and Taft and abuts a

residentially zoned property to the south. There's


a combination of being a corner lot and a

residentially zoned property which really presents

the extenuating circumstances leading to our

request for appeal tonight.

The building is essentially an office

building with some high bay activity, assembly of

that sort, generally in the middle.

The roadway, Grand River and Taft, in

a sense cannot be developed for parking. They have

to be left as greenbelt areas per other

requirements of the ordinance. This mandates that

the parking go to either the side yard or to the

rear yard. And the rear yard also must be -- rear

yard parking must be set a distance away from the

residentially zoned property.

Another requirement is that the

loading zone area for this building can only be

located on the west edge of the building, and

you'll see in our diagram we have a little indent


What this means is that for tenants

in this building, they either face Grand River or

they have to face the south or the residentially

zoned property.


We have two tenants. We have the

owner-occupied tenant, Johnson Printing, who has an

existing sign up near Grand River, and we are

asking the second sign be -- it would be erected

along Taft Road. This sign would be, I believe,

about half the size of what would be otherwise

permitted if it were the only sign on the site, and

it does not impinge upon the front yard setbacks.

We're proposing to set it back in a legal matter.

It is lower in height than would otherwise be

allowed. It is not to be a lit sign. Clayton does

not require the need for an internally lit or

ground lit sign so, we think we've gone very far in

mitigating the other requirement for a sign if it

were the only sign on the site.

Clayton does need this sign. As

traffic would approach the site, they only see the

Johnson sign at this point; and, of course, it says

Johnson's business, doesn't say the name of


Clayton is behind the building, in

essence, in the darker area on my diagram. If they

did not get this appeal -- this request for appeal,

their sign would be located in the middle of the


building, roughly where the door is, and really

pretty much hidden from all public view, unless you

were, of course, already on the property, and that

would serve little functional purpose.

The sign is there to help direct

visitors to identify those coming to Clayton as

this is their location.

So that's the essence of our appeal.

One last point, I'm sorry, that they state in a

letter it cannot be seen, either sign can be seen

from the other sign. It's only from -- if you're

sitting in your car at Grand River going westbound

and generally looking in the southwest direction

will you see both signs simultaneously. You almost

have to be looking to try to see if you can see

both signs simultaneously.

So we really do believe we meet much

of the spirit of the intent of the ordinance and

that there are some conditions here that warrant a


MR. CHAIRMAN: There were sixteen

notices sent; there were no approvals, no


Anybody in the audience?


(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building department?

MR. SAVEN: Only that you have two

frontages for this site, which -- for the business

being at the rear it seems like it wouldn't be that

much of a problem.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, given that Lee

knows what makes the board happy, and the fact that

you minimized the sign, I appreciate that. It

takes a lot of the belaboring out of these cases.

I think that-

UNIDENTIFIED: (Interposing)




MR. CHAIRMAN: Zero/zero.

MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Brennan?


MEMBER GRAY: I guess one of the

questions I had on this, and I've watched this site

for quite a few years, I have to kind of question

why there's not an additional address shown on that

building perhaps facing eastbound.

MR. MAMOLA: Additional-


MEMBER GRAY: (Interposing) An

additional address. Because the only way you can

see the address is as you're driving -- well,

driving westbound or northwestbound on Grand River

is, you know, when you're right there because of

the location on the northwest corner of the


MR. MAMOLA: The address is on the

northern facade of the building, that's correct.


MR. MAMOLA: Maybe Mr. Saven can

explain this better than I can. There are rules

about having -- addressing sites, and because of

the way this building is designed there are, you

know -- how those rules can become addressed.

It was a concern, frankly, of the

Clayton people, and I understand that they have a

suite number -- that same street address but suite

200, whatever the number is.

MEMBER GRAY: I just -- you know, I

can appreciate the need for the second sign, but I

thought having the street address, I mean, facing

eastbound would also be part of a remedy, too.

Thank you.


MR. SAVEN: I think one of the issues

-- I'm the guy who's been delegated to address

everything in this city.

The issue is that we deal with

emergency vehicles to get them to a space real

quick. Rather than having a multi-tenant building

with various addresses, to be able to identify that

number for a quicker response, to get to that

building, to identify. From that point on it would

be from a suite or room or whatever basis that

would be.

MEMBER GRAY: I was just talking

about the site, the topography of the whole general

area heading up as you're driving northwest on

Grand River. It just seemed to me that part of the

solution might be to put the same address on that


MR. SAVEN: (Interposing) It might

be confusing for emergency vehicles.


MR. SAVEN: Because you'd have the

4000s running east and west and you got the 2000s

running north and south. Taft would be 2000 but

you have a 4000 number on 2000.


MEMBER GRAY: Oh. It just seemed

like there can be an easier way to deal with it,

so -- I appreciate your comments.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other board member


I think it's a reasonable request for

the identification purposes of the business.

MEMBER SANGHVI: May I make a motion

in Case Number 02-102, the applicant's request be

granted for a second sign for identification



MR. CHAIRMAN: Support, okay. Any

discussion on the motion?

(No discussion.)


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. Mamola, you have

your variance. See the building department.

MR. MAMOLA: Thank you.


We're going to call another case

before taking a nine o'clock break, and it's the

next one on our agenda, Kelly Riddle and

Robert Rutherford. This is Case 02-103, with

respect to property at 125 Austin, looking for a

single variance on a setback.

Want to give us your names and raise

your hand and be sworn?

MR. RUTHERFORD: Robert Rutherford,

125 Austin.

MS. RIDDLE: Kelly Riddle,

125 Austin.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Raise your right

hand, please. Do you swear or affirm that the

information that you're about to give in the matter


before you is the truth?



MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Tell us what

you want to do.

MR. RUTHERFORD: Put an addition on

the front of our house.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Seriously, it can be

as simple as that. We all have the packet. We've

seen what you want to do. You've got a nice

rendering there. We have some questions, we'll ask


Twenty-six notices sent, and you have

an overwhelming eleven approvals, no objections

from any of your neighbors.

Anybody in the audience wish to

comment on this particular case?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: No. Building


MR. SAVEN: I did receive a call from

a resident in the area who was questioning whether

or not the addition could be placed between the

garage and the house. Was there any reason why


this couldn't have been done?

MR. RUTHERFORD: The addition between

the garage and the house?

MR. SAVEN: Right.

MR. RUTHERFORD: Well, we wanted the

garage detached.

MR. SAVEN: Pardon?

MR. RUTHERFORD: We wanted the garage


MR. SAVEN: Okay.

MS. RIDDLE: Part of the big reason

of wanting to go out the front is to change it from

the looks of just like a trailer, to make it look

more like a house.

MR. SAVEN: That's right. You did

say that. I am sorry.

MS. RIDDLE: That's the main thing of

it, is to make it-

MR. RUTHERFORD: (Interposing)

Change the whole appearance of the house, to bring

it up more to what's going in our area right now.

MR. SAVEN: Because one of the

reasons why I want to point this is, for the

garage, the detached garage, there's certain


restrictions for construction-

MS. RIDDLE: (Interposing) Right.

MR. SAVEN: -that you don't have to

comply with as stringent as it would be for a

house. The minute you attach it, then you have

other implications here, and I don't want you

getting down the road that you want to try to do

something with the garage later on.

MR. RUTHERFORD: No. Our full

intention is to have a detached garage.

MS. RIDDLE: It has been approved

that it will be considered attached because we have

to have the roof line attaching.

MR. RUTHERFORD: To put a roof-

MS. RIDDLE: (Interposing) In order


MR. RUTHERFORD: -between the house

and the garage-

MS. RIDDLE: (Interposing) Right.

MR. RUTHERFORD: -because there's no

accessory structures beside the house.

MR. SAVEN: Are you going to attach

this garage?

MR. RUTHERFORD: It has to be


attached with the roof from the garage to the


MS. RIDDLE: Like a breezeway.

MR. RUTHERFORD: A breezeway or some

type of roof. This is what the attorney's,

whenever I went to the building department, told me

I had to do to be able to build the garage beside

my house, because I don't have room in my backyard.

MR. SAVEN: I got you. I got you. I

understand what you're trying to do now.

Just be sure when you come in for

that garage, that that garage setback has to be

met, okay.

MR. RUTHERFORD: I have the permits

for the garage.

MR. SAVEN: Okay.

MS. RIDDLE: The foundation's in and


MEMBER SANGHVI: They already have a

foundation poured.

MR. SAVEN: Okay. So you're just

going -- you're just going with a breezeway and a

roof going all the way across?



MR. SAVEN: Okay. Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, what's before us

tonight is a setback variance, and if there is some


MR. RUTHERFORD: (Interposing) For

the addition.

MR. CHAIRMAN: If there is some other

issue with the building department, take it up with


Board members?

MR. REINKE: Mr. Chairman, I've got,

I guess, a problem here. Usually in granting a

variance request, and I understand what petitioner

is wanting to do, changing the style of the home

and everything, but when there is the size lot that

they have, I have a problem with granting the front

yard variance.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Would you put that

rendering back up again?

MS. RIDDLE: Oh, sure.

MR. RUTHERFORD: To put the addition

in the back of the house, it's 35 foot, and the

canal is right behind us. And at one -- at some

point in time we'd like to have some kind of deck


or something in the backyard.

And as far as all my mechanicals, and

to do what we want to do as far as the bathroom and

the heating and everything like that, going out the

front is the best way to do it. And it's going to

be on a crawl space so I can run my mechanicals out

the front.

And like I say, the biggest reason

why we want to do it, other than we need the space,

is to make it not look so much like a little box

sitting there, make it look more like a house.

MR. REINKE: Okay. This addition is

going to be a two-story?


MEMBER REINKE: All right. So really

it's going to change the configuration of the

house, whether it projects out in the front yard or

starts from the front edge of the existing house

and goes up and goes back.

MS. RIDDLE: Okay. But we're trying

to bring it out -- because with the way the living

room and the kitchen and stuff is set up-

MR. RUTHERFORD: (Interposing) The

way the house is laid out, on the inside-


MS. RIDDLE: (Interposing) There is

no room in our living room. And we have a

granddaughter, and everybody knows how much stuff

goes with a new one, for a child wise, and you

can't walk through the living room if you've got

her sitting in the walker. The space in our living

room is not large enough.

MR. RUTHERFORD: Will this show up on


Basically, this is the way the house

is right now, with the kitchen and the dining room,

and it's very small, and the stairs are in between

the dining room and kitchen and the living room,

and the living room is very small.

MEMBER GRAY: Where is the road?


MEMBER GRAY: Show me where the road

is on there.

MR. RUTHERFORD: The road is out



MEMBER REINKE: Well, this is why,

like, I think Miss Gray mentioned, somebody had

called the City. To my estimation, it would be


better to go towards the garage than to come out

into the front yard.

MS. RIDDLE: Make the living

room long.

MR. RUTHERFORD: It's not going to-

MS. RIDDLE: (Interposing) It's not

going to make it any wider in that aspect. We can

have a hallway for a living room.

MR. RUTHERFORD: If I may, this is

what we want to do right here, go out the front,

change the stairs. We're going to move the stairs

towards the front of the house, which is going to

make the kitchen and the dining room bigger. And

then as far as the upstairs, it's going to be a


MEMBER REINKE: What's your distance

between the house and your garage?

MR. RUTHERFORD: Twelve feet. This

is just the addition. This is the bedroom, bath

and the closet. It's a balcony. And this is all

open above the living room with cathedral ceilings,

and then we're going to do the whole house and the

garage with log.

Going out the side isn't going to


benefit us the way this is. I mean, we need the

space for a living room so we have some -- I mean,

our furniture is from here to that pillar. That's


MR. CHAIRMAN: Other board members?

Sarah, do you have any input on this?

You're certainly familiar with that part of town.

MEMBER GRAY: As is Mr. Reinke.

This was a manufactured home that was

brought in some ten years ago, ten, twelve maybe.

MR. RUTHERFORD: Yeah. It's a '79.

MEMBER REINKE: About fifteen years


MR. RUTHERFORD: It's a '79. When it

was placed there, I'm not sure.

MEMBER GRAY: And these lots, you

know, we know to have three lots is deceiving

because they're very narrow lots. And the canal --

I mean, they have the wet behind them, so they have

to stay out of that.

I'm not real thrilled with coming

forward to the road, but it's no closer to the road

than some of the neighbors. And, you know, this

may well be the only viable -- if they don't want


to put it between the garage and the house, which I

can see why they don't, or out the back -- well,

out the back you wouldn't have the living room

space. You'd have, you know, from the kitchen.

It's because of the way their house is set up now,

and the floor plan.

And I know there's no homeowner's

association in the area, but they have support of

some of their -- most of their neighbors it


MR. CHAIRMAN: I was just going back

through here, and virtually to a T, every approval

that came back voiced the approval that any

improvement to this home, this property, is

appreciated and supported.

This is a very sensitive part of

town. If there was -- I'm surprised there's not

somebody else that's typically at our meetings not


MEMBER GRAY: But I can tell you he's

in support of it.

MR. RUTHERFORD: When we bought this

property it was a rental property before we bought

it, and it was-


MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) That

was noted in here as well.

MR. RUTHERFORD: It was in pretty bad



MEMBER GRAY: And I know the absent

person to whom you refer is in support of this. I

got a phone call, so --

MEMBER SANGHVI: I think they are

trying to make this look much better than what it

is now.

MEMBER REINKE: I totally agree with

what they're doing.

MEMBER SANGHVI: I think it's going

to add to the neighborhood rather than take

anything away.

MR. REINKE: My only comment is to

try to find a way to utilize -- to give them what

they want without coming out quite as far into the

front yard setback.

MR. RUTHERFORD: We don't want an

attached garage, so going in between the house and

garage, I don't really want to do that. Going out

the back, I'm so close to the canal, that going out


the back is virtually going to put me right next to

the water, and the mosquitoes there will carry you

away as it is.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I'd point out as well,

is that when we were looking at front yard

setbacks, I would certainly keep in mind -- or at

least address the issue, that this isn't a heavily

traveled area any longer.


MR. CHAIRMAN: So I think that that

might play in some of the thinking.


MR. RUTHERFORD: Actually, from the

house, where it sits right now to the edge of the

road, is 46 or-47 feet.

MEMBER GRAY: That's not the property


MR. RUTHERFORD: I know that.

MR. REINKE: I have one question.

I'll compromise with you. Will you quit parking in

front of the house?

MS. RIDDLE: What do you mean, quit

parking in front of the house?



MS. RIDDLE: The driveway was already

moved from what it was.

MR. REINKE: What I'm saying, what it

was in the past. I hope that this will turn into a

front yard.

MS. RIDDLE: From where it is right


MR. RUTHERFORD: From where the

parking is now?

MR. REINKE: No. I'm saying, where

they used to park all the time.

MR. RUTHERFORD: That parking hasn't

been like that since we moved in.

MEMBER REINKE: I understand that.

But I'm just saying, we're hoping you'll keep it

that way.

MS. RIDDLE: Oh, yes. We don't -- I

don't like-

MEMBER REINKE: (Interposing) They

used to park in every direction.

MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman, one of the

issues that comes about as far as setbacks go, is

they're requesting this -- dealing with a setback

where a garage is involved, because you need to get


that car off the drive, and this particular case it

is not a garage, it is an addition to a house.



Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let's hear a motion.

MEMBER SANGHVI: Make a motion to

grant the request of Case Number 02-103, the

petitioners' request be granted due to peculiar

configuration of the lot.



MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. We've got

motion and support. 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: You've got your

variance. See the building department for the

necessary permit.

MR. RUTHERFORD: Thank you very much.

MS. RIDDLE: Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. We will

take a five minute break and finish up a little bit

after 9:00.

(A recess was taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: We will reconvene.


MR. CHAIRMAN: We'll start with one

of my favorite topics, Post Bar, Case 02-104, filed

by Alden Faudie, Jr., of Gillett Associates, Inc.

And this relates to the Post Bar seeking to build

in what was a portion of Vic's Center on

Grand River, and an issue with parking spaces which

you're going to tell us all about.

We have an attorney present I


believe. No?

MR. OEGEMA: That would be me.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Well, the other

two gentlemen will give us their name and be sworn,


MR. FAUDIE: Okay. I'm

Alden Faudie, Jr., from Gillett Associates. We're

not actually representing the Post Bar. We're

actually representing the owners of Vic's Market

building, but it's to get Post Bar into the


This is Jim Oegema who represents the


MR. BRINKMEYER: Dave Brinkmeyer,

Gillett Associates.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Would you raise

your right hands, gentlemen, please.

Do you swear or affirm that the

information that you're about to give in the matter

before you is the truth?



MR. FAUDIE: Brief history of the

building. It was built in 1995, '96, as a single


user specialty market, as most of you know. The

original owner has closed the business and the

building has been empty for over a year.

MR. OEGEMA: Since February.

MR. FAUDIE: Close to a year, except

for Lifestyle Spa, which takes one end of the

building, about 7,000 square feet, and there's some

offices upstairs where Jim's office is.

The variance we're seeking is, the

building owners are proposing to insert Post Bar,

which is about 11,000 square feet, into this space

previously occupied by the flower shop and the

greenhouse at the west end of the building right

along Market Street.

We've met with the planning

department, we've met with the building department,

informally, just to discuss some issues with the


But at the planning department's

advice, we used the original length trip factors

and calculations from the original Jared (ph)

Mills (ph) site plan that was approved back six,

seven years ago, and the Rich Associates parking

study that was done at the same time that the City


used to determine the parking requirements for the


From those -- from that calculation,

we determined that the change in use from a flower

shop and a greenhouse to a restaurant is going to

add a hundred and thirty-six spaces to the

requirement for that building.

The required and approved parking for

the original Vic's building, per that same study,

was a hundred and eighty spaces assigned to Vic's

and that whole building. There are three hundred

and forty-three spaces, however, on the Vic's

property, so there's an excess of a hundred and

sixty-two spaces.

The parking with the Post Bar in

place increased by the hundred and thirty-six

spaces would require three hundred and sixteen

spaces. Again, there's three hundred and

forty-three on that piece of property, so there's

an excess of twenty-seven spaces extra.

We believe there's enough parking on

the actual Vic's parcel for this change; however,

the original site plan was approved as part of the

whole Town Center area, and there's shared parking


agreements with both sides of the street. And the

buildings on the west side of the street,

Mesquite Creek, Mongolian Barbecue, Lazy Lizard,

et cetera, are actually deficient in their

parking. They actually require about six hundred

and twenty-five spaces and they only provide four

hundred and twenty-one. This is all part of the

site plan you guys all have on record.

They have, however, shared parking

agreement with the owners of the Vic's building to

use some of the surplus of theirs. It's not

clearly spelled out how many spaces, but they just

use the parking.

So if you add up all the totals of

all the property altogether, when it's fully built

out all the way from Market Street all the way over

to Novi Road, the numbers that you have in your

paperwork, we end up being, with this change in use

from a flower shop to the Post Bar, we end up short

by forty-five spaces.

We have the space on the Vic's

property, but there's not space for the whole

development when it's built out in the future, if

that ever happens.


The planning department feels though,

since it was part of a single contiguous plan, it

needs to be addressed as a single contiguous plan.

Basically that's it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. There were

twelve notices sent; no approvals, no objections.

Anyone in the audience wish to

comment? Come on down.

MR. HOGAN: I need a microphone

brought up to me.

MR. CHAIRMAN: It's coming. Let's

see if we can pick you up from there.

MR. HOGAN: Usually it reaches up


What I want to talk about is the

extremely deficient entire Market and Main Street


The building is noncompliant in the

first place. It never has been in compliance.

And across the street where they're

deficient, as he said, more than just a little.

It's grossly noncompliant.

There -- only spaces they do allow

for handicap parking over there has a 25 percent


grade, 25 degree grade from the parking spaces down

into a ditch and then back up a hill to get into

the Main Street area on -- the restaurants all

along there, there's not one curb break, there's no

handicap parking.

On the other side where Vic's had a

couple of spaces there, they're not.

The entire area that goes down the

street on the south side of Main Street has no

handicap parking spaces.

And, for instance, last night the

meeting ended so early, I didn't even get a chance

to get in because the front was so caked up with

snow plow, I decided to over there and see because

we're supposed to have some people in wheelchairs

going to the event this week over there, and just

to check, I found all sidewalks completely cleaned,

not a bit of snow on any of them. I found almost

every handicap spot had a snowplow gird in it and

mud and snow, or tracks going back and forth where

the truck rolled over it in order to make -- this

is a continuous issue.

And if the place is built out, it is

a question down a road that we need to plan for



Obviously, the things haven't been

corrected since 1993 when the ADA was put into

affect, and the City codes and State codes in

addition to that.

Their just is no parking over there,

even in the area down by the brewery and those

areas down there. There's parking curbs in the

handicap parking spaces. They're full of snow, the

ramps are closed up. But every one of those

entrances where people have to step off the curb

into the person's business is completely clean.

Those things are -- have to be taken

into consideration. If anything is going to go

down the street south, and I believe the flower

house was south of the main building, there's zip

down there.

So I would like to make sure it's at

least attached to that, be compliant in the whole

area, and especially in Vic's Market, including

bathrooms, because they're not compliant.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Can I get your name,


MR. HOGAN: Wayne Hogan.



MR. HOGAN: Hogan.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. That's noted

for the record, but I'll -- Wayne, for your sake,

as a ZBA we can only deal with a variance that's

before us, and there's going to be some other

discussion that might help you.

I'll ask a question here when we

finish up with the audience participation.

Anybody else have comments with

respect to this case, this variance request?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building department?

MR. SAVEN: I need to get Wayne's

phone number, please. Wayne, can I have your phone


MR. HOGAN: I'd be willing to give it

to you, but not on the air.

MR. SAVEN: Fair enough, very well.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, maybe you can

run up and -- I'd like the building department to

at least begin looking into your concerns. While

we can't deal with them, obviously they are very

important issues and the appropriate parties should


be dealing with that.

With respect to this case though,

building department, any questions, issues?

MR. SAVEN: Well, the issue is that

when the study was done, the study was done for an

entire site and phases that are not even shown as

it exists now, the buildings that are not even

existent as presented before you tonight.

As indicated earlier on, if you were

to take this building separately and by itself, it

would meet the requirements, parking requirements,

but because it was part of a study we have issues

where we're dealing with the uses that are out

there that we don't even know what's going to take

place or whether or not the building is going to be

built. That was taken into account in this study,

and that's where the deficiency is.

It's off on the entire project. It's

not off of any individual building, so that's what

we're dealing with.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let me ask you a

question. As I understood it, because this is not

built out all the way to Novi Road, if there are

changes in the plan as it was calculated two or


three years ago, as this has changed, we're looking

at a reconfiguration again potentially, so this is

going to be a moving target until this thing is


MR. FAUDIE: (Interposing) Up or

down, either way.

MR. SAVEN: I will assure the board

that I had extensive communications with the

planning department regarding this issue in terms

of the intensity of the uses that are -- that's

potential for future development, and just based

upon those concerns at all, they assured us that

they will be watching this very carefully.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members,

discussion, questions?

I'll just make my own comment that

with over 2,000 available parking spots, I don't

think that this site is going to be deficient by 45

as it's calculated perhaps, but in all reality, I

don't think we're dealing with any problem here.

MEMBER SANGHVI: I quite agree with

you, Mr. Chairman. This is a pie in the sky, and I

don't think it has any relevance to the present

situation, and I don't see any problem about


granting this.

MR. REINKE: Even the --

Mr. Chairman, even the impact of the total

aggregate parking spaces, the deficiency of 45

is -- it's minimal.

If -- but, of course, if you have

anything that's going to be of a larger magnitude

generally, as far as parking, it's going to have to

be given extreme consideration and evaluation at

that point in time, but I don't think we're at that

point in time with the requirements that are stated

to be needed for this situation.

MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman, I also

think that the applicant would be willing to take a

look at the location of the front entrance for this

particular building as it would relate to

availability of parking, close proximity parking

for handicap facilities adjacent to that structure,

which would take care of Wayne's concern that he

mentioned earlier on.

MEMBER REINKE: I would assume that

each business is required to have handicap access

and handicap parking-

MEMBER SANGHVI: (Interposing) It's



MEMBER REINKE: -and that they're

going to have to comply with that regulation.

MR. SAVEN: I need clarification

here. ADA and the rules that Wayne's talking about

are explicit in terms of the amount of handicap

parking which is available. Unfortunately, the

issue that Wayne's talking about, in some

instances, is certainly a major maintenance issue;

is that correct, Wayne?

MR. HOGAN: I'm sorry?

MR. SAVEN: It's a major maintenance

issue in regards to the snow -- where the snow is

being placed and accessibility?

MR. HOGAN: During snow time, yeah,

but -- and every other instance, too, not just

during a snowstorm.

MR. SAVEN: Right. But each business

is looked at from a square footage basis and for

compliance to the code.

We have certain requirements for

handicap parking. Those requirements are met,


That accessibility, I can't do this


for each individual business because this is looked

at as an entire package, amount of parking that's

there, and close proximity to the building as we

can get as far as parking is concerned.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Wayne's issues

are going to be addressed-

MR. SAVEN: (Interposing) Right

MR. CHAIRMAN: -by the building

department. Let's take care of case before us,


MR. HOGAN: I'm sorry, sir. That is

a case before you though. You were going to ask me

a question?

MR. CHAIRMAN: No. What's before us

tonight is whether they are deficient by 45 parking

spots under today's calculation. That's what

before us tonight.

MR. HOGAN: Under today's



MR. HOGAN: And the study?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Under today's

calculation, which can change with future additions

to this whole complex as it's built out. That


overall number of parking spaces is going to change

again and again and again. It may go up, it may go

down. Until that whole complex is built out, we

won't know, but what we're dealing with tonight is

based on what's built, what's in business, and that

square footage and that use, does that equate to

enough parking spaces for the new Post Bar. That's

what's before us.

Any further discussion by board


MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Chair, I would like

to make a motion in Case 02-104 that we approve the

variance of 45 parking spaces at this time due to

the changing nature of occupancies and build-out in

the Town Center -- I'm sorry, Main Street area,

understanding that there have been issues brought

before us that will be separately addressed by the

building department.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Motion and a second.

Any discussion?

(No discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: I think that was well

stated, Sarah.


MEMBER GRAY: Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Sarah, please

call the vote.

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: Gentlemen, see the

building department.


MR. CHAIRMAN: The next case is

Brookhaven Subdivision filed by Michael Fellows of

Mozart Homes, LLC. This is Case Number 02-105.

Gentlemen, you want to give us your

names and raise your right hand and be sworn,



MR. SIEBERT: My name is

Cliff Siebert.

MR. FELLOWS: I'm Mike Fellows, sir,

from Mozart Homes.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Gentlemen, do you

swear or affirm that the information that you give

in the matter before you is the truth?



MR. FELLOWS: Good evening,

Mr. Chairman, board members. I appreciate the

chance to be here.

As you know, the proposed sixteen

unit residential development by the name of

Brookhaven, the property is seven acres in size.

It is a piece that's kind of funny shaped in that

there's a five-and-a-half acre main part in it, and

an acre-and-a-half at the northern end of it. It's

that shape, that little skinny acre-and-a-half,

that makes the layout and use of this property a

little bit difficult.

The permitted density -- if I may,

I'd like to give you just a little bit of history


about how we came to be here, very quick.

In R-4 zoning, permitted density is

about 3.3 -- exactly 3.3 units per acre.

Realistically, you can usually get about three

units per acre, which on this site would be

twenty-one lots.

We did -- Cliff's office actually did

several plans in the preliminary planning of this,

and the best we could come with on any plan was

eighteen lots, not needing any variances; however,

that plan was not the most desireable plan we came

up with, so we chose, instead, to present

originally to the planning commission a plan which

had seventeen lots on it, also which did not

require us to come and ask for variances.

At the time we submitted that plan,

we also had some meetings with the neighbors whose

property surround it in the middle of the

subdivision, and quickly learned that they weren't

very happy about that seventeen lot proposal,

primarily because of the proximity of the

cul-de-sac to their rear yards.

So before we even got to present to

the planning commission, we withdraw that plan and


went back again with Cliff and came up with a

sixteen lot plan, which achieved the goal of

pulling the cul-de-sac away from the rear yards of

the neighbors.

However, to do a sixteen lot plan,

kind of paradoxically, now we need a variance --

or, actually, I think there are three variances we


The neighbors were much happier with

that plan, and they came to the planning commission

meeting and pretty much expressed their approval

with that plan over the original seventeen lot


So we're here tonight to ask for a

variance regarding lots eight, nine and ten. No

other lots in the subdivision are we requesting

variances for.

Those three lots will be served by a

shared driveway, which, as you see, sticks out of

the north end of that cul-de-sac.

And because Mr. Siebert is much more

knowledgeable on the details of the variance, I'm

going to let him present that to you.

MR. SIEBERT: Actually, I think there


are only three variances that we need, one for each

of these lots.

At the requested front yard setback,

we more than exceed the eighty foot minimum width

required in the R-4 zoning.

For instance, at the proposed

setback, lot eight will have a width of eighty-five

feet, lot nine will be ninety feet in width, and

lot ten will be 91.18 feet in width. So at this

additional or larger setback, we will meet the

width -- yes, the width requirement for the R-4


And in addition, these three lots do

have frontage on a public road, although it's

fairly small, especially for lots nine and ten. I

think it's around ten feet, but they do all meet

the requirement for frontage on a public road.

So we are asking for the three

variances, one each for lots eight, nine and ten,

in order to increase the front yard setback, in

order to then obtain the minimum width that's

required for that zoning.

This is very similar to the variances

that were granted for Willowbrook Farms. They had


a similar situation where the front setback was

extended, was made larger, in order to meet the

width requirement. And also I think it was

Bradford of Novi also had a similar situation where

they asked for an additional -- or a larger front

yard setback.

So with that, I'd be happy to answer

any questions you may have.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. There were

seventy-one notices sent; there were no approvals,

and you had a pretty strong objection from the

neighbor right behind lot seven -- pardon me, lot

eight. And he's concerned about the variances that

have been proposed. Maybe she's here. If she's

not here, maybe she's watching at home.

Anybody in the audience wish to make

comment on this one?

Want to give us your name and

address, sir?

MR. TOWNSEND: My name is

Irvin Townsend. I live at 24339 Pinecrest Drive.

I've lived there since 1970, one of the first

people to buy in the subdivision.

This, of course, is -- I'm not that


much of a speaker, but it looks like, to me, that

these people have been given lots of latitude with

this property.

When it was first brought out, we was

under the impression there was going to be about

thirty feet of green area behind our houses. Then

it went down to twenty. And I believe now it's

down to ten feet, which is about the width of a


The thing that bothers me is that,

you know, you people have ordinances to stick by,

and you take and add signs, and these people came

in and they weren't happy with the sign so they had

to have a bigger sign. Well, you know, you can't

be giving them everything, and then they're going

to keep on just taking. And we feel that, you

know, this is just not being fair with us.

We've talked to the people. In fact,

I believe number eight is behind my house. I live

in that lot number forty-three, and it looks like

that it's, you know, it's going to be pretty close

in there to us. That lot, that number eight lot,

looks like it's kind of offset there so that it

kicks up in there to -- close into our property.


But I don't really see the lot lines on there.

That's about it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, we'll see if we

can address some of your concerns during


MR. TOWNSEND: Thank you.

MR. MUTCH: Good evening Mr. Chair,

members of the board. Andrew Mutch,

24541 Hampton Court.

First, I want to take issue with the

statement that was made by the developer in terms

of whether the residents surrounding this property

approved in the sense that they gave their consent

to this, and I would say that if given the choice

between two evils and you pick the lesser of two

evils, I don't consider that giving approval to

this plan, and I think that what's taking place

with this development.

The name of this development is

Brookhaven Subdivision, but I think a more

appropriate name would be Shoehorn Acres.

We have a developer who has developed

in Novi, who is trying to force homes into an area

where they clearly don't fit without violating our


zoning ordinances.

This is not a situation where we have

a homeowner on a lakefront property trying to

improve and expand our house and dealing with the

limitations of their property. This is a blank

slate, and the developer has no excuse for not

meeting the standards of our ordinances.

The developer made the argument that

what you're seeing and what you're being asked to

grant variances to is a superior plan than what has

otherwise been presented and what might have been

approved through the planning process, although it

never did go through that process completely.

But the real question is, does this

plan and do these variances that are being

requested further the intent of our zoning

ordinances. And I take the position that they


Clearly, he is going to benefit from

the variances if they're granted. But what do

these variances achieve? If you grant these

variances you don't get a plan that preserves a

greater amount of the regulated woodlands on this

property. In fact, I think in comparing the plans,


we might have actually lost trees and lost green

space with this plan.

And, frankly, this area doesn't need

anymore traffic, and it doesn't need anymore homes,

so there's no benefit being accrued that way.

And I think if you grant the

variances you're going to be sending the wrong

message to the developers. Essentially, it would

be saying if you can't meet our ordinances, don't

worry, come in, get a variance and then you can

have as many lots as you can fit on the property,

and I think that's the wrong message to send.

Clearly, there is no legitimate need

or purpose served by granting these variances.

Not only is the developer unable to

meet the lot width and frontage requirements, he

can't even meet the front yard setback

requirements, and that says to me, in looking at

those plans, that even with this irregular driveway

arrangement, that if you can't even get a front

yard setback in that -- on those lots, that you're

trying to squeeze in lots where they don't fit, and

I think that's clearly what's going on.

And the driveway arrangement itself I


think raises real questions of public safety and

access if there was ever an emergency and it needed

to get a fire vehicle back, or a police vehicle,

back to those lots. That's a real question.

There was a comparison made to a

couple other developments, the Willowbrook

development and the Bradford development. I think

those are materially different from this

development. For those who are familiar with those

lots where the variances were granted, those are

homes imposing on other adjacent property owners.

They were sort of isolated islands where the

variance allowed those little isolated islands to

be developed.

In this case, the developer is going

to benefit at the expense of the surrounding

property owners.

I believe that after you examine

these variances and apply the appropriate

standards, the board will find that these variances

are unnecessary, unwarranted and fail to advance

any legitimate zoning interest.

Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Anybody



(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building department?

MR. SAVEN: Well, as you can see,

this is a very unique case, especially for the

three lots that they're seeking a variance from.

One of the issues you take a look at

in the zoning ordinance which deals with variances

which are before you, is lots fronting on a public

road. This, in turn, has implications in terms of

how much frontage that they do have on a public


And the -- and I believe it was at a

planning commission meeting they had made a

determination that the rear lot line would be that

which would be adjacent on the east -- most

easterly property line, so what is considered a

front lot line would be that which would be

opposite the rear property line. But based upon

the fact that the frontage requirement -- the

frontage on a public road is minimal in nature as

what you can see, a portion of that lot ten and lot

nine's drive, okay, is almost as though it's being

shared and it's fronting on a cul-de-sac. So each


one has a certain amount of frontage.

And as you go through the

calculations for that frontage on the public

street, we're looking at that as being part of the

variance, okay.

The other issue is taking into

account that even though the front property line

off the garages, as it comes in on what may be

considered a front property line, that particular

setback is what was making the determining factor

for the front yard setbacks and the need for those

variances. Even though they sit back far enough

from the road, we have the issue of what was

determined as a front property line.

That's it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Can you go through,

for my sake, the first three variance requests for

eight, nine and ten with respect to required width?

MR. SAVEN: Okay. If you take a look

at your plot plan -- I don't have a laser or

anything. If you take a look at the -- at the end

of the cul-de-sac for the property known as eight,

or lot eight, the frontage requirement for lot

eight would be that portion which is adjacent to


the cul-de-sac in yellow, and that's that distance

that we have for the frontage on a public road


Going down to the drive for lot nine

would be the next portion. You could see how the

driveway is split in that particular area. That

would be the frontage for lot nine.

And ten would be, likewise, that

portion of the property, which is that drive area,

which is looked at for that portion.

So actually the drive, sir -- the

drives for nine and ten serve as your frontage

requirement on the public road?

Are you in agreement or not in


MR. SIEBERT: No, that -- well, we

front on a public road. I mean, each one of the

lots do provide frontage on a public road. There's

-- the ordinance doesn't require a minimum frontage

on a public road. It requires a minimum, the width

at the front yard setback. So as to the frontage

on a public road, we believe we meet the ordinance

requirement in that respect.

We do meet the width requirement at


the front yard setback that we're asking for

because we exceed the eighty feet of width at the

proposed front yard setback, so we don't believe we

need a variance for a width -- lot width in this

case because where the houses -- homes are to be

located, we meet that width for that zoning


So what we believe we need at this

point is a variance for an increase of the front

yard setback for each of the three lots.

I believe what the planning

commission found was that -- this was the original

plan that was submitted to the planning commission,

and as you can see the cul-de-sac was longer and it

ended at this point. It met all the city

requirements as the cul-de-sac length. It required

no variances.

And, in fact, we had one additional

lot with this layout. But after meeting with

neighborhood residents, it was determined that they

preferred a design where this was pulled back,

where they didn't have the cul-de-sac located

immediately behind their homes. And even though we

lost one more lot by pulling it back here, we


believe it was a better design. So even though we

lost the additional lot, we thought it was a better

design and better met with what most of the

neighbors were looking for.

And at the planning commission,

several of those neighbors did show up at the

meeting in support of what we were doing with this

alternate design.

MR. FELLOWS: Mr. Chairman, if I may

also add a little bit. First, regarding

Mr. Townsend's comments, I have not met with you in

person. We did send several letters to the

association offering to meet with anyone at any

time. That's still good. I'm not quite sure -- I

was trying to write down your concern, and if I can

I'd be happy to meet with you and explain or try to

understand your response at any time.

I do take exception to some of

Mr. Mutch's comments, of course.

As Cliff describes, we do have a plan

of seventeen lots which does not need any

variances. It meets all of the City's ordinances;

however, because of concerns of the neighbors, we

are trying to mitigate what they saw as an


unfavorable plan, and so we agreed to drop one

lot. One lot out of seventeen is a great

percentage of the project to lose, frankly.

Regarding his comment about

Shoehorn Acres, I'd like to point out that nine of

these sixteen lots exceed the width requirements,

and every single lot exceeds the area requirements

of R-4 zoning.

I guess that's all. Thanks.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Let's get

some board member input on -- moving forward with


Some of my first comments is, a lot

of what has been raised as objections are issues

that should be raised with the planning commission.

I mean, we've only -- we've got two items in front

of us that are variance requests, and while I might

not like what's laying there, that's not for me to

judge. This is the ZBA. We hear variances, and we

have testimony that there was other designs, we

have testimony that there was interface with

neighbors. There was a number of notices sent.

Board members?

MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Chair, I'll start


it off. I have a problem with this configuration

of a shared driveway for every single reason that I

can think of.

We in the City of Novi don't like

shared driveways. We discourage them whenever

possible. You -- this reeks to me of flag lot,

which we discourage at every chance we get.

Even though they did receive an

approval from the planning commission for this

configuration, it was predicate upon us granting

variances, and I just can't see how I could support

any variances at all for lots eight, nine and ten.

This is new construction. The only

reason for having these three extra lots is to

increase profit, and I don't look at that as a

reason for a hardship. They have demonstrated,

although it's not to, as they claim, the neighbors'

liking, that they can build as zoned and they can

meet the requirements without variances, and so why

this is before us is absolutely beyond me.

And that's all I'm going to say at

this time. Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yeah. Typically,

we've got a developer in here that's trying to get


more than less, and I'm not too thrilled with

what's laying on the table in front of us for

issues not only raised by Sarah but by members of

the audience.

I don't like the idea of that single

street serving three houses. I -- boy. Fire,

police, all of that issue.

I think that there's some legitimate

-- legitimacy to what we read in the minutes

regarding the woodsites on the south end, right,

yep. I've always been in favor of any plan that

saves woodlands.

MR. FELLOWS: If I may-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Let me

ask you a question.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Would it be your

preference to build the design on top?

MR. FELLOWS: We'd make more money

doing that. But, honestly, I can feel for the

neighbors. I mean, having their rear lot line is

obviously much, much closer to a road in that

configuration. I mean, obviously it's not always

about the money. We try to-


MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) It is

closer to the road but it's serving two houses.


MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) You

know what, that's not in front of us tonight. I

think what's in front of us is whether these

variances are within our discretion and if we

believe that there's been enough hardship to-

MR. FELLOWS: (Interposing) That's

one of the comments that I wanted to make, was that

approximately a quarter of the site is very

difficult to use, to lay out, because of the shape

of it, and I see that as a definite hardship.

The configuration of the site, I

didn't create that. The density allowed is over

twenty units per acre. We're proposing sixteen.

Here, I thought, meeting with the

neighbors, with voluntarily withdrawing the

previous plan that, you know -- and losing one lot,

we were attempting to work with them, to

accommodate the concerns of the neighbors.

I do prefer the sixteen lot plan

over the seventeen lot plan, just to answer your

question, but I guess my preference doesn't really



I have a question -- you were asking

something about a wood lot or wood -- I didn't

quite understand what you were referring to.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, I think with the

upper design you maintain more woodlands was my

impression; is that correct?

MR. FELLOWS: Actually, no. That's

not really true. If you were to calculate it out

-- and it's a little misleading looking at these

plans because of the dark green areas being -- as

indicative of what would be preserved.

In reality -- and, unfortunately, I

should apologize for this. Neither one of these

plans exactly shows the area of the preservation of

the woodlands. The bottom plan does show it more

accurately at the north end of the site, but in

some meetings I've had recently with Steve Prince,

we're going to be preserving some more trees along

the eastern boundary and along the southwestern

boundary line than is shown on that plan.

And in the final analysis, actually

there are more trees preserved on the sixteen lot

plan than there would be on the seventeen lot plan.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Let's get some further

board input.

MEMBER SANGHVI: I have a question

for you, sir. Do you have the detailed inset of

last three lots other than in this here?

MR. FELLOWS: Other more detailed

drawing than-

MEMBER SANGHVI: (Interposing) Yes,

than was looked -- because this does not really

give you the real-deal picture of how much space we

are talking about for the shared driveway and how

wide are they and all that.

MR. FELLOWS: Cliff can help me out a

little bit with some numbers probably, but this

plan does show a little bit better, and I can move

it out if you prefer, a little closer.

These heavy black lines are the

actual lot lines. So as you can see, like Cliff

said, technically each lot does front on the public

cul-de-sac, but obviously it's very minimal


And if the -- so lot ten is really

all of that.

Now, in a practical sense, somebody


who moves into lot ten is going to think of this as

this is their front yard and this is their front

yard and here's their street. I mean, nobody's

going to know -- there's not going to be any

physical indication out there of where these

property lines are.

The fire marshal has written a letter

in approval of this driveway.

And, actually, one thing that is also

not depicted on this is that the suggestion came up

to flip lot ten, the house for ten, so the driveway

would actually come out of the southern end of the

house and shorten that shared driveway considerably

with the little stub-type turn around; again, which

the fire marshal had expressed approval of.

I'm not sure I'm answering your

questions about the lots, but like I say, Cliff can

probably tell you in more detail the actual

dimensions of them.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let me throw a thought

out to the other board members. Haven't we always

been of the pursuasion that if a site and a plan

can be generated, developed without any variances,

that we would typically deny the variance request?


It seems like a shut case.


MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Now,

there may be other reasons that planning had in

their vision, but when there's a plan that can be

done without any variances, I can't see why we

would consider these variances especially.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I have a question.

MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let's go back to

building department.

MR. SAVEN: We can go to the members


MR. CHAIRMAN: We'll get everybody.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I go back to my

beginning -- beginner's training. What's the

hardship, and I have a problem seeing what the

hardship is.

I can appreciate the petitioner's

work. I share the previous speaker's, or Sarah's,

Miss Gray's, comments about this was a flag lot,

and I'm not happy with that, but I keep going back

to what's the hardship, and I keep coming back to a



I see Tom maybe has some insight, but

if somebody can steer me down a road of this is new

construction, we have residents that are not happy.

Granted, the petitioner went back and tried to help

the residents with his previous lot, layout, okay,

and I can -- I've taken note of that, but you can't

make all the people happy all of the time, but at

least the attempt was made.

But this is a whole new thing, and

now we've got a resident that's going to live

behind lot eight who has some concerns. But, then

again, on the other hand, where I'm torn is that we

don't have a lot of letters from residents fighting


I'm looking in your direction, and

you're bobbing your head, so I'm looking for your

guidance after Mr. Saven talks.

Thank you.

MR. REINKE: Mr. Chairman, he's got a

configuration up there which he doesn't need a

variance for, but as to what I'm gathering from the

information, that when he met with the homeowners

affected, they didn't want that. They would prefer

to have the other one which requires variances.



MR. REINKE: So I'm torn between --

and I totally agree, that -- the position I take is

-- especially if it's new development, there should

be no variance required.

But now we got a situation here with

okay, we go ahead and we say -- we turn this down,

he goes back and builds the ones -- and all the

neighbors are unhappy because now they got all

these cars turning around and lights shining in

their houses and everything else.

So you're on a pendulum here, and I'm

having a problem in dealing with it. And I guess I

have to stop and think and give some consideration

to the variance requests, deemed on the fact that

it seemed to resolve most issues with the

residents' concern, or we'd have had a lot more

response, in a negative fashion, to what they're


MR. FELLOWS: That's correct.

Mr. Chairman?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Hold on a second. I

want to get Don's-

MR. SAVEN: (Interposing) Yeah. As


indicated, and just following up to what Mr. Reinke

was indicating, if you take a look at that plan,

and it's very important, and I think this is what

the gentleman was talking about, was the fact that

if that plan that was without ordinance violations

was a consideration, the property, or the lot which

is directly adjacent to that subdivision, would

have a side yard instead of a rear yard, and if you

have a side yard you're losing that distance

between the buildings and the property line.

And if you can recall, the planning

commission was explicit that the property for nine,

ten, and those properties which were facing the

easterly property line, or abutting the easterly

property line, was to be considered a rear yard.

So that gives them the thirty-five foot requirement

instead of possibly the ten foot minimum

requirement which was a minimum requirement they

would have to be.

And, certainly, if you take a look at

the cul-de-sac, and if the people were driving

around the cul-de-sac, the lights would be right in

these people's eyes, or in the windows, and that

was -- and I'm sure that was one of the concerns


that the planning commission had when they were

looking at this, and that's how this plan is before

you right now. Maybe that was an alternative to

try to help the residents adjacent.

I'm just throwing that out.


MEMBER GRAY: I can appreciate your

comments. What I'm also having a problem with is,

having lived in a house with a shared driveway,

they're horrible.

Now, you have -- what happens with

lot number ten when nine and eight are having

parties and there's an emergency at ten, and even

though the fire marshal may have given a letter

saying this is okay, do you mean to tell me that

you're going to drive those fire trucks down the

street and then you're going to back them down the

cul-de-sac trying to get out? I mean, this makes

no sense to me at all. It just -- this is not good

planning, and I just -- I can't help but think that

-- the other question is, how are -- since it's a

shared driveway, how are the residents of this

subdivision supposed to get to this park to utilize

it, walk on somebody's driveway or, you know -- and


that may be rhetorical, but that's another thing

that slapped me in the face when I was looking at


What makes sense to me from a

planning standpoint is to eliminate at least two of

these lots, if not three. And we're not here to

discuss that tonight, but I certainly would have

eliminated at least two of these lots and have

eight face exactly on the cul-de-sac, and that

would still possibly give people access to the


But I can't support -- I mean, I

understand that the residents were more in support

of this than another, but as was questioned, I mean

how many options were they given.

And just because a property is zoned

doesn't mean that it has to be built that way. I

mean, it doesn't mean that we have to say you can

have 21 lots in here just because it's -- the

acreage says it. I mean, there are configurations

that just absolutely exclude it, and this, I think,

is one of them.

Thank you.

MR. FELLOWS: Mr. Chairman?



MR. FELLOWS: I'm trying to remember

everyone's comments. Please help me with your last



MR. FELLOWS: Gronachan. You were

asking about the hardship. Actually, the hardship

is the shape of that property, like I mentioned.

It's seven acres, and there's almost a quarter of

it that is very difficult, just by virtue of the

shape that is inherent in the land.

The hardship is that I can't get

anywhere near the allowable density. I do have the

ability to develop the property to the highest use

I can put it to. And if the density is allowing me

close to twenty-two units but I can't even get

really sixteen or seventeen, that does seem to me

to be a hardship.

Cliff's office did probably a dozen

different layouts. We spent six months designing

this site, so I do see a hardship here.

But more importantly, I think, I want

to know, I want to ask, the City has many, many,

many ordinances, and many residents, and are the


ordinances really subordinate to the residents'

concern, or do the residents kind of have to

subordinate their lives to the ordinances?

And here we have a plan that was

probably favored by -- of the people I talked to

and the responses I got, probably a minimum of nine

out of ten people expressed a preference to have

that cul-de-sac not so close to their backyards.

And I do think there's a hardship.

I do think there is something that

can be justified in the granting of this variance,

and in doing so you would be really, in my opinion

-- obviously it's my opinion because it's my plan,

but doing the right thing by a bunch of other

people who aren't me who normally would be opposing

-- and you're right. How many guys do you get come

in and ask for a variance to allow them to build

less than they could.

It is true, I can do a plan that

doesn't require variances, but it's a worse plan.

It's a plan that affects a lot more people more

negatively. It affects me more positively, I can

make more money.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, I'll go back to


what we're obligated to do, and that's consider the

variances in front of us.

There's a lot with this -- the lower

plan that I do not like, and the fact that we've

got a plan that, with new construction, needs no

variances, I will not support the variance requests

as requested.

MR. REINKE: Mr. Chairman?


MEMBER REINKE: In my normal method

of looking at these, I would totally agree with

you, but due to the fact that the top layout has a

very adverse affect on the adjoining neighbors, and

the proposed layout that requires the variances has

the minimum impact on the neighborhood, I can

support petitioner's request for a variance.


MR. SCHULTZ: Just a couple of

questions, and please take what I'm about to say --

I'm not trying to become another member of the ZBA.

I'm not saying anything to advocate one way or the

other in favor of the proponent or against the


I think what you're struggling with


here is that this is a planning question. It's not

really something this board sees on a regular

basis, and I think the planning commission itself,

which makes these kinds of decisions every other

week, struggled with it, too, if you read through

the minutes.

It appears, and it appeared to the

planning commission, I think from the minutes, that

there is a plan that can be developed with

seventeen lots, one extra lot, without variance.

So the question that the planning

commission was faced with is okay, we have a plan

in front of us that could be denied because it

doesn't meet ordinance requirements. So that's our

first option, we can just deny it and tell them to

come back until it meets ordinance requirements.

Or it could make a planning determination and

decide we like the plan if these other ordinance

issues can be addressed.

And that's the motion that was made.

It's not binding on you. It -- it's not -- it

wasn't clearly articulated or directed to you, but

the planning commission determined that this plan

was acceptable to it.


So that's a consideration for you,

but it's not binding.

When -- I understand completely when

each of you say typically if they can develop a

property without an ordinance why are they before

us. They're before you because they're proposing a

plan that they think, even though it has some

ordinance deficiencies, it's better than one that

wouldn't have deficiencies.

So the question is, can you consider

that when you're going through your variance


The elements of a area variance are

going to be, is there a burden on the property

owner, difficulty. The definition of practical

difficulty is, is there a practical difficulty with

complying with ordinance requirements and that the

property owner is suggesting that odd configuration

at the top of the property, which he didn't create,

causes some difficulty.

It can be dealt with without a

variance. He's shown that. So that's an issue you

need to weigh.

The second element of a practical


difficulty test is, does what's proposed do

substantial justice as presented. The phrase that

the court's use, substantial justice to the

neighboring property owners. That's a legitimate,

important, equally weighed consideration to can it

be built without the variance.

The third consideration is, does it

do substantial justice to the community as a whole.

Is this, what's before you, a better layout from

the community standpoint. Not a technical calculus

standpoint but a community standpoint, is this a

better layout. They've made their arguments, and I

guess you have to weigh those.

The fourth element is, is this a

self-created hardship, and I think what the

proponent is arguing is look, I can get another

unit if I reconfigure this, I'm suggesting

something different because I've spoken with the

planner and neighbors and here's what I propose.

What you need to weigh -- I don't

think you should be saying hey, it can be built

without a variance and, therefore, deny.

These are equal considerations,

what's the layout of the property, is it better for


us as a community to have -- for one less lot with

a different layout, is it better for the neighbors.

You know, you may have people

disagree with your ultimate conclusion on the

decision, but it is your determination.

It's made more difficult by virtue of

the fact that it's really, unfortunately, kind of

something that you don't do every week. But you

have the ability to look beyond the fact that a

plan could be developed without a variance. You

just need to decide whether the plan that's before

you is a better plan and does more justice for the

surrounding property owners than what could be


And I'm not suggesting you go one way

or the other, just suggesting that you can do that.

MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Brennan, in

response to some of Mr. Schultz's comments, I've

looked at this very carefully, I think, and I

absolutely see that they can build without

variance. I can see what they're asking for,

applying standards of practical difficulty and

substantial justice. I personally am not convinced

that they have demonstrated to me that they can't


build out this property with less variance. I

absolutely understand they can build it without.

But it hasn't been demonstrated to me that they

cannot build on this property and put in a

subdivision with less variance. And that is one of

the things that I'm looking at.

Even getting rid of one more lot and

making the park a little bit bigger and doing

something creative with lots eight and nine off the

cul-de-sac, I would be much happier with than what

I'm faced with tonight.

I absolutely, from a standpoint of

looking at this, I can't support what's in front of

us tonight.

And, I mean -- that's all I'm going

to say. Thanks.

MEMBER BAUER: Mr. Chairman, if you

look at the one with seventeen sites, that

cul-de-sac is coming up very close on the property

line on both sides. This is going to affect people

in the subdivisions on either side much, much more

than the present one for the sixteen.

Secondly, all the people down below

the cul-de-sac on the seventeen are going to walk


through these two people's property to get to that

park. On the one with the sixteen, they have a

roadway that they can use. It's less invasive to

these other properties.

MEMBER GRAY: Is that a driveway or

is that road?

Once it crosses that property line is

that driveway or is it road?

MEMBER BAUER: I'm considering for

people to walk down there.

I understand what you're talking

about, but people aren't going to see a line that's

going to go down there, but they're going to walk

across these people's grass.

MEMBER GRAY: Unless there's an

easement, a walk and easement through.

MEMBER BAUER: But it's not set that

way. That's why I prefer the sixteen-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Jerry,

I'm going to suggest that -- I wouldn't suggest

that either of these are good layouts, and that's

why if we vote a denial it sends it back to

planning where it out to be.

MEMBER GRAY: Absolutely.


MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, you --

have the people in the audience seen these

representations? Sitting where they were, I don't

know if they can see what we're talking about.

Are you familiar with both of these?

MR. TOWNSEND: Yes. One thing that

hasn't been discussed is the property is very

uneven. There's going to have to be a lot of

lowering and rising of that property to get those

houses, because that -- going down towards the

creek and the railroad track, so, you know --

there's a major property elevation.

So, you know, if I had my druthers, I

would agree with the lady, Sarah, that, you know,

if those two were eliminated and it was just the

round bend, there would be no problem, but trying

to stick two more houses in back there, I can't

agree with that.


MR. FELLOWS: (Interposing)

Mr. Chair, it's been brought up a couple different

occasions on the access to the area in the back.

And at the planning commission meeting we had

stipulated that -- well, there's two things, first


of all. Access to -- this is one continuous common

area known as Boylap Park. Access to it can be

obtained off the end of the cul-de-sac and walking

in this preserved vegetated strip of ground to get

to the park.

But on top of that, we had mentioned

at the planning commission that we would be willing

to grant an easement down this shared driveway for

anybody in the project to use that.

Cliff pointed out one thing that, in

the seventeen lot plan, there wasn't a park

proposed up here. This was just rear yards for

these lots. Now, the different colors of green

don't -- make that a little more confusing, but

there was no separate park at all on the seventeen

lot plan.

MR. SCHULTZ: I was just going to

point out that I don't -- I wouldn't think you

would have to rely on the developer's offer or

proposal to create an easement. If you were to

accept the proposal, you could impose that

requirement, if it were an issue for you, as part

of the variance.

That's just -- I want to make sure it


wasn't just an offer from the developer.

MEMBER GRAY: I'm still swayed by the

City's history with flag lots and shared driveways

and that we strongly discourage them whenever

possible, and I'm just not happy with this plan.

And I think my own vote is to send it back to

planning, which is where it belongs.

MEMBER REINKE: Well -- Mr. Chairman?


MEMBER REINKE: The thing is, if --

and this is my feeling and opinion -- this gets

turned down tonight, the top plan's going to go.

MEMBER GRAY: Not necessarily.


MEMBER REINKE: They don't have to

have a variance to get that.

MEMBER SANGHVI: They don't have to

ask anybody.

MEMBER GRAY: But that plan wasn't

approved by the planning commission. It has to go

back to planning.


MR. SCHULTZ: Just a little comment

on what happens at the planning commission level.


This is -- and the developer can

correct me if I'm wrong -- not proposed as one of

our optional discretionary kind of developments,

like a cluster or a planned residential or

something like that. This is a straightforward

site condo; is that-

MR. FELLOWS: (Interposing) That's


MR. SCHULTZ: What the planning

commission does is it reviews what gets put before

it for whether it meets ordinance requirements.

If -- and I don't -- sitting here

today I can't tell you that the seventeen lot plan

meets ordinance requirements. If that were true,

however, the planning commission would be looking

for something in the ordinance to deny that plan

and might not be able to find anything. It's not

an exercise of discretion at the planning

commission level, and I know it is for you on every

decision you make, an exercise of discretion. For

the planning commission, not every decision they

make is discretionary. If it meets ordinance

requirements -- I'm not representing that it does.

If it does, there would be difficulty denying a


plan that ordinance requirements, whether it had

fifteen lots or seventeen or whatever.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Mr. Chairman, in

lieu of all of the discussion, Tom's explanation

about the degree of practical difficulty,

Mr. Reinke's views on this whole -- you need to

look at this picture, the entire picture, and I go

back to there are no disapproval letters in that

folder from any resident, and we have one resident

sitting in the audience saying yeah, I can go with

this. I'd rather see it a little different, but I

didn't bring my eraser tonight.

So I'm going back to this, but I have

one other question. And not to make this a

three-hour discussion, but Sarah does bring up a

good question. Is there a less variance that can

be met on this plan?

Is there a lesser variance that can

be met?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Just to -- just for

the record, there was a very adamant objection





MR. CHAIRMAN: -from (inaudible). I

thought I had mentioned that.


sorry. Mr. Chairman-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing)

Seventy-one notices, one objection.


think I'm going to play devil's advocate and make a

motion and see where we all stand.

I would like to make a motion that

the applicant's request for these variances for

these three lots, number eight, nine and ten, be

granted because of the peculiar configuration of

the lots and that kind of (inaudible).

MR. REINKE: Support.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, we have a motion

and support. Any discussion on that motion?


amendment to the motion?

MR. CHAIRMAN: This is discussion.


like to add an amendment, just a clarification,

that if you're going to ask for support on this

motion, that the reason why this motion would be


approved, for the previous discussion, and it does

meet the practical difficulty, that we have looked

at the hardship based on the neighbors in the

neighborhood, the community standpoint that there's

less traffic in this area as well, by looking at

this plan, that there is also -- and that I don't

feel that this was self-created, this is not a

self-created hardship.

Will you accept that?

MEMBER SANGHVI: I accept that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We have an amended

motion and a second. Any other discussion?

(No discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?



MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Your variance requests

have been granted. See the building department for

your permits.

MR. FELLOWS: There's one thing.

It's my understanding that these variances are only

good for a certain period of time before we get a

building permit. Is that right?

MS. MARCHIONI: You have 90 days

after final site plan.

MR. FELLOWS: Thank you.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Wireless, come on

down. Case 02-106 filed by Thomas Price, @

Wireless. This is regarding a store in West Oaks

II, and is requesting a second sign, correct?

MR. PRICE: That is correct.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Do you want to raise

your hand and be sworn?

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Do you swear or

affirm that the information that you are about to

give in the matter before you is the truth?


MR. PRICE: Yes, I do.


MR. PRICE: Thank you for your

patience at this late hour. I think these went

longer than what you expected.



MR. PRICE: My name is Tom Price. I

live at 22537 Porter Street in Novi, and have been

a resident of Novi for eight years now.

My wife, Beverly, and I recently

opened a cellular store selling cellular phones and

accessories. The name of the business is

@ Wireless.

We opened this business two weeks ago

at 27793-C, West Oaks Drive in West Oaks II. It is

in the same building as Jennifer Convertibles,

which is the freestanding building in the midst of

the West Oaks II Shopping Center.

What we are requesting --

respectfully requesting tonight is for a second

sign facing south, which is where our main entrance

to the building is, and which is where most of the

parking -- or primarily where our parking spaces


are, are on the south side.

We do currently have one sign which

faces east towards Novi Road for people that may

see it from that point.

The hardship here is a practical

disadvantage that we have, because so much traffic

goes east and west on West Oaks Drive II, with the

inability being able to see the name of the

business when they are traversing east and west,

such as going from Kohl's, Bed, Bath and Beyond

towards Novi Road. They literally cannot see what

type of business that they have in there going that


As you know, the signs, of course,

respectfully -- correct signs are important to a

business because they alert the prospective

customers of the name of the business, and

certainly do affect the viability of any business.

We're in the same building as

Jennifer Convertibles. Again, it's a four-sided

building. I think what we're asking for here is

nothing different than what other retailers have in

and around the area, such as Jennifer Convertibles,

which I said shares the same building as ourselves,


amongst others.

What we're proposing for is a sign

that would read the same as what we have right now,

and the same size, which has the @ Wireless, which

is @, being the ampersand, and the word Wireless,

which would be 23 inches high by 149 inches long,

which is basically about 23.88 square feet, and

it's -- a reference to that is in your packet,

which I believe you all received, which shows the

layout of the sign.

I just respectfully request your

approval for this variance. I thank you for your


MR. CHAIRMAN: There were twenty-two

notices sent; no approvals, no objections.

Anyone in the audience have a


(No comment.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Seeing none, building


MR. SAVEN: No comment, sir.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members?

MEMBER BAUER: I can't see any

problem on this with some of the other


out-buildings to get them identification. This is

a lot closer to Kohl's.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I was struck that it's

a relatively small sign.

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, it's a

small sign. Where the building is located, in

proximity of moving traffic around there, it would

almost behoove us that they have a second sign to

let people know where they are rather than making

them circle around (inaudible) extra signs, but I

think it's probably warranted in this situation.

MEMBER GRAY: I have no problem with

the second sign, but I question the need for the

same size. I think facing south it might even be a

little smaller, but -- I'm not happy with all the

signs that are on all those buildings either, so --

because his next-door tenant to the west doesn't

have a sign facing the south. It only has one

facing west, but -- could you live with a smaller


MR. PRICE: You know, Miss Gray, I

did talk to our sign people who do manufacture the

signs. They feel by compressing that sign down, it

just really -- I don't know what the word is for


it, but it really creates a very squished or small

sign. Really, that's -- that's their opinion. I

think at 23 inches, which is, you know, about yay

high, like that, it's really not out of place, or

certainly out of character.

I think if you were to look at our

present sign-

MEMBER GRAY: (Interposing) Oh, I

saw them.

MR. PRICE: I don't think that's

really too big or -- certainly too big for the


We do have a building -- unlike the

photograph -- or sketch here, which is a flat roof

building. The building there does have peeks and

gables, so it does present some higher elevation

there than certainly this drawing may illustrate.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let's see where the

board sits.

I'll make a motion with respect to

02-106 that the petitioner's variance request be

granted for purpose of identification, business




MR. CHAIRMAN: We have a motion and

support. Sarah -- any discussion?

(No discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Go ahead.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MR. CHAIRMAN: You've got your second

sign. See the building department for your permit.

MR. PRICE: Thank you, ladies and

gentlemen. I appreciate it. Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other matters for


(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Hearing none, I'll


close this meeting.

(The meeting was adjourned at

10:24 p.m)

- - -

Date approved:

January 7, 2003 __________________________

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 157 typewritten pages, is a

true and correct transcript to the best of my abilities.



Cheryl L. James, CSR-5786