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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2003 -- 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, February 4, 2003.

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

Don Saven, Building Department
Sarah Marchioni, Building Department
Thomas Schultz, City Attorney

Cheryl L. James, Certified Shorthand Reporter

MR. CHAIRMAN: We will call this

meeting to order. Sarah, you want to call the roll?

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. We've got a

quorum. Ladies and gentlemen, the agenda has some

rules of conduct that I would hope that you take a

moment to take a look at and review and adhere to


The Zoning Board of Appeals is a

hearing board empowered by the Novi City Charter to

hear appeals seeking variances from the application

of the Novi zoning ordinance.

It takes a vote of at least four.

members to approve a variance and a vote of the

majority of the members present to deny. We have

five members, and it will take at least four of the

five members tonight to grant a variance.

If this troubles you with the numbers

and you would care to wait until we have a fuller

board, you may do so now; otherwise, we'll continue


Any hands?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Agenda. Any

issues on the agenda; any changes, modifications?


MR. CHAIRMAN: We have the minutes from

January 7th. Any changes or modifications? Move for



MR. CHAIRMAN: All those in favor, say


(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: So the January 7th

meeting minutes are approved.

Public remarks. We open the meeting at

this point to anyone who wishes to approach the board

on any issue that is not on our docket tonight.

Anyone wish to talk to us about something else that's

not on here?

(No response)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, all right. We

will move on.


MR. CHAIRMAN: We're going to call our

first case, which is 02-065. This is filed by Mick

Bodrie, 305 Duana.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, ma'am.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I was recused from

this case before when this member -- or when this

resident came up, and I will do so after swearing him

in, if that's okay.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Actually, this is-

MR. SAVEN: (Interposing)

Mr. Chairman, I point out that we only have four

members of the board, means that this gentleman would

need all four.

MR. BODRIE: Well, it happened the last

time, too. I just-

MR. SAVEN: (Interposing) I just want

to point that out.

MR. BODRIE: I guess the question is,

when do you ever get a full group?

MR. CHAIRMAN: You'll have to talk to

the city council about that. They're the ones that

appoint people to the board, and we're lacking one,

and we're also lacking our alternate, so -- I hate to

put you in that position, but I mean you're -- it's

your call. MR. BODRIE: I'll try it

again I guess.

MR. CHAIRMAN: At this point, this is a

continuation of a case from September, so you're

already sworn, so why don't you tell us what you want

to do now.

MR. BODRIE: Okay. After we met in

September, I had proposed an attached garage, which

my neighbor that was right adjacent to that attached

garage objected to.

Per your request, I met with him, came

up with a solution. Even though it doesn't fit

within the variance, the zoning, it seems to work

within us, and so we wanted -- I wanted to propose



MR. BODRIE: Am I correct? I just

wanted to make sure that -- when we talked about it,

I just wanted to make sure that we're all square on


What I -- the existing property has a

garage on it at this point. It's -- it's pretty

small, pretty yucky. It sits directly on the

property line. What I'm proposing to do is locate it

basically in the same space as far as setback from my

home but to put two feet off the property line

instead of the required six feet. The reason to hold

it within two feet of the property line is just the

pure narrowness of the lot.

I also cut back on the size of it. I

would really have liked to have gone at least a 20 by

24, but by doing that I would use so much

of my backyard it would basically render it useless

for any practical purposes.

So I've basically tried to come up with

a plan that would satisfy some basic need for me for

a garage and shelter and satisfy the neighbors and

hopefully satisfy you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Well, thank you.

When we have cases before us that involve neighbors,

we hope that ultimately we come to some degree of

mutual satisfaction.

Sir, if I'm not mistaken, you were the

gentleman that was-

UNIDENTIFIED: (Interposing) Yes.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We'll hold just for a

second. There were 30 new notices sent; no

approvals, no objections.

So let's have the building department

comment here.

MR. SAVEN: Basically, this gentleman

had tried to reduce a number of variances from the

last time he was before us. As you can recall, the

building was attached at that particular time, and

it -- with that being such that there were several

variances that were required at that particular time,

he is planning on taking down the existing garage, so

that's something that's a positive feature here.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Good. All right. We're

open for discussion. Any members have questions?

MEMBER REINKE: Anybody in the audience

that wanted to-

MR. CHAIRMAN: I'm sorry. Anybody in

the audience wish to say their piece?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: You're happy?


MR. CHAIRMAN: That's all we needed to


Members of the board?

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, I think

that the gentleman has went back and reworked this to

what we were looking for and worked with his

neighbors to come up with a solution. It's like, in

most cases, we don't get exactly a hundred percent of

what we'd like to have, but it still suffices for

what our needs and so forth are. And this

gentleman's done a good job on it, and I can support

the petitioner's request.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody else?

MEMBER GRAY: I'm glad you

reconsidered. I'm still not thrilled with the two

feet off the property line because I really don't

feel that that gives you enough room to get in and

maintain as I think you should, but if your neighbors

are in approval with this -- and they're the ones who

have to live next door to it -- then I would support

the position of the rest of the board.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Jerry, you all set?

MEMBER BAUER: I have no problem.

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

you do decide to vote positive on this, I'd ask that,

because of the type of construction, it's located as

close to the property it is, watch the fire

protection and also the drainage from the roof

runoff, make sure you put a gutter on that and divert

the drainage back onto the property.

MR. BODRIE: That's no problem.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Is that all part of the

building permit process?

MR. SAVEN: It could be, but I just

wnat to make sure that he-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) It's on

the record now.

MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Chair, I'll make a

motion in Case 02-065 that we approve Mr. Bodrie's

variance request subject to the conditions Mr. Saven

just brought up, that he watch the runoff and the

construction and observe all fire code due to the

smallness, the layout of the property, and the lot



MR. CHAIRMAN: We have a motion and

support. Any further discussion?

MEMBER BAUER: Should they also enter

that the old garage be taken down?

MEMBER GRAY: I think they have to to

build the new one.

MR. BODRIE: It sits right on the same



MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Sarah.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Sir, you've got your

variances, and soon you will have your garage, and

soon you'll be writing a check to the building

department, so see them next.

MR. BODRIE: All right. Thanks.

MR. SAVEN: Check to the building

department first.


MR. CHAIRMAN: How about the

Guidobonos, come on down. This is the request for a

larger-than-allowed garage in the subdivision on

Beck. Help me here.

MR. GUIDOBONO: Bellagio.

MR cHAIRMAN: Yes, Bellagio. Sir,

would you give us your name and if you're not an

attorney raise your hand and be sworn.

MR. GUIDOBONO: Mark Guidobono of Cambridge

Homes, and I'm not an attorney.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Would you 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: I should interject here

that this is Case Number 03-001.


MR. GUIDOBONO: Here representing the

Petrillos. They're the homeowners for lot 17,

Bellagio. Mr. Petrillo is out of town, Mrs. Petrillo

is with me today. We're -- we are the developers of

this subdivision, and the builder.

And what we have is a garage that is

over 1,000 square feet, and according to city

ordinance, requires a maximum allowable of a thousand

and we're at 1,340, I believe somewhere in that area,

which we feel is, for a home this size, necessary.

We've designed the home and split the

garage into two, actually to try to make the garage

have less -- or more of an appealing appearance on

the site.

If you have the blueprints in front of

you -- I do have a set here. If you'd like, I can

pull it out -- but looking -- if you look at the

floor plan, you could see how we've split the garages

into two separate two-car garages, very similar to

our model, if you've been in our model in Bellagio.

So it's a very similar situation to that.

We find that more attractive when you

get into a four-car garage; although, I will admit

there's a lot of four-car garages that we have not

split in Bellagio, they're together in most cases.

But when you can split them like this, it is more

architecturally pleasing.

So that, and the fact that for the size

of this house, it's over 7,000 square feet, we feel

these garages are reasonable and fit this house.

We kind of believe that the ordinance

really was -- maybe when it was adopted it was really

trying to take into account more of an R-2, R-3 or

R-4 zoning. We are currently in the RA zoning

district. We do have the lot size reduced though to

nine-tenths of an acre because we use the

preservation option. We were here before on that


But the lot is 39 -- over 39,000 square

feet, so it's over nine-tenths of an acre. It's a

large lot, and we feel this is normal.

So we feel it just unreasonably

prevents the owner from using the property for their

permitted use.

They have some cars, and most of these

people have -- require a four-car garage. And this

gentleman has motorcycles and things like that that

he likes to store in his garage, plus bikes and

things of that nature.

I'd be happy to answer any questions

that the board has.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We'll throw a few your

way, I'm sure. We had twelve notices, and two

approvals which are residents that are nearby, if not

next door.

Anybody in the audience care to comment

on this case?

(No response)

MR. CHAIRMAN: If not, we'll move to

the building department.

MR. SAVEN: As Mr. Guidobono had

indicated, that this is an RA zoning district. This

lot is nine-tenths of an acre. If this lot was one

acre, technically he would have been allowed to have

up to twenty-five hundred square foot based on the RA

zoning. The fact is that he's under an acre, which

is triggering this particular variance.

MR. CHAIRMAN: And if I recall, in

looking at the minutes from the meeting that we had,

it was this board's preference for the layout of that

development that saved a lot of woodlands.

MR. GUIDOBONO: That's correct.

MR. CHAIRMAN: And made it the

attractive site that it is.

MR. GUIDOBONO: That's correct.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members,


MEMBER REINKE: Well, I think that --

Mr. Chairman, with just the only variance request is

size-wise, 343 square feet, and with the garage being

split, and the visual appearance, it doesn't even

show up at all. And for the size of the house, the

size of the lot, I think it's a minimal intrusion

into the request for the size building that they


MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody else?

(No response)

MEMBER BAUER: I don't really think


MEMBER GRAY: Well, I think that -- I

like what's being proposed. I guess part of my

quandary I have is, you know, this lot, if it was a

little bit bigger we wouldn't even be having the

discussion, and based on the lot configuration, it's

on a cul-de-sac that's a wedge shape -- I mean, I'm

not -- I'm not thrilled with giving out variances to

support people's hobbies in collecting cars or

anything else; however, I do like the look of this.

I think it's architecturally pleasing, and I would

have no trouble supporting it based on that because

of the lot configuration.

I do have trouble with an RA zoning and

not being able to give the larger accessory structure

because of that, so I can support this.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I concur a hundred

percent, especially since the lot size. It's the

biggest -- that's our biggest drawback. And as

repeated -- and I stress very importantly, that if

this was one acre you wouldn't be here, and it fits

right into the building, hobby or not, and so I would

be in support of this as well. Thank you.

I can make the motion.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You sure can.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I'll make the motion

in Case 03-001 for Cambridge Homes, I move that we

support the variance of 343 square feet based on lot

size and configuration.


MR. CHAIRMAN: We have a motion and

support. Any discussion on that motion?

(No discussion)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Seeing no hands flying,

we'll call the vote.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. GUIDOBONO: Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: See the building

department. Congratulations.



MR. CHAIRMAN: Case Number 03-002 filed

by David Cook. This is with respect to a prospective

acquisition of a parcel in the Idlemere subdivision,

and I guess before you buy this piece of property

you're interested in hearing whether we might be

interested in granting a number of variances.

MR. COOK: Exactly.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. You want to raise

your right 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. COOK: I do.


MR. CHAIRMAN: You got it.

MR. COOK: Well, there's not a whole

lot to say. I mentioned it all. I'm interested in

building a house down south of the lake by the park.

I noticed this parcel was for sale and I'm inquiring

into building a house on it.

I haven't done this before, so when I

first did my variance I went and talked to the

building department. They had me talk to the

neighbors. I talked -- the ones I talked to didn't

seem to have any issues, but I understand there have

been a few comments on it.

When I first did my first layout, I was

under the impression that when we have the meeting we

could kind of adjust it if it wasn't satisfactory.

Now that I know a little bit more, I realize that if

I have to move the house back I have to get another

variance, which doesn't seem to be a big deal, I can

be back here next month, because that seems to be the

biggest complaint against it, is my front setback off

of Bernstadt.

MR. CHAIRMAN: It may be your first

time here, but we'll help you through the process,

believe me.

MR. COOK: I think you guys have -- I

should have given them copies of -- like an aerial

photograph that I kind of-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) That was

in our packet. Thank you. Hope you didn't have to

rent the helicopter.

MR. COOK: No. I got this from the

City. I was actually pretty impressed that the

assessing department could pull that up for me and

send me a photograph.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There were thirty-five

notices; there was one approval and seven objections,

and we'll probably give you some guidance along those


Anybody in the audience care to -- come

on down, please. If there's anyone else, just line

up behind.

Give us your name and address if you


MS. MARTINI: Sure. Okay. And

basically I'm -- I'd like to pass this around.

I'm here as the spokesperson for the

resident of 114 Bernstadt. Her name is

Corey Elizabeth Martini. I'm her mother,

Eileen Martini. She is out of town on business, and

she knew that there was no way she was going to be

able to delay the business trip, so she asked me to

speak her concerns on her behalf, of which I'm very

happy to do. And I'm sending around the letter that

gives me authorization to be her spokesperson.

And basically Corey has three concerns

about the prospective plot plan.

On the plot plan, the neighbor's garage

and the neighbor's house is 114 Bernstadt, so I'm

speaking for the owner.

Basically her three concerns are: The

first concern is that, placed as the house is,

most -- well, almost all of my daughter's driveway

would be obstructed. As my daughter would back up

from her garage and she was going down to the street,

the house would actually almost entirely block her

view of

Bernstadt Street. And there are a large number of

children on that street that are playing. It's a

very young neighborhood with a lot of young families

and young children that are out there on their

scooters and bikes and everything, so she was

concerned as to the -- of the fact that as she's

backing out it would be very difficult for her to be

able to look down the street and notice if there was

anybody coming as she was backing out.

Basically, her second concern was also

with the house being as close to her garage and her

house as it would be, in case of a fire it would

be -- the fire would spread very quickly from the

house to the garage to her house at

114 Bernstadt because they are in quite close


Basically, her third concern was also

kind of a question, too. Her well is right directly

behind her garage, and she was not sure with his

house being so close to her garage, she wasn't sure

if there was any code as far as to how far a well

would have to be from the next -- house next door, so

I guess that was another one of her concerns, is she

just didn't know how close his house was going to be

to her well. So those are

basically her three concerns about it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Anybody else in

the audience?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Let's move

to the building department.

MR. SAVEN: Okay. There was one

concern I wanted to bring up to everyone. One of the

reasons why these variances are so great is there is

a street called Owenton there. Owenton has not been

vacated; so, therefore, you're dealing with an issue

regarding a corner lot. The wiggle room that this

gentleman would have and try to maneuver this house

back and to the side, there may be a potential to do

this, but I'm just cautioning everyone here that

Owenton has not been vacated. If it was vacated, the

gentleman would have more opportunity to move that

house over a little bit -- hopefully, if the property

was shared between neighbors, that he would have a

little more property to deal with as far as locating

the house.

I know of no plans to vacate Owenton at

this time.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Is it functionally a


MR. SAVEN: It is not functionally a

road. It is noted as a road.

MR. COOK: It's a grass field with

three pylons blocking traffic from driving through

it. You can't see them in the picture. They're

about a hundred feet further in.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members,

questions, comments, debate?


MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Sure.

MEMBER GRAY: -share some information

since I also live in the same sub but not on the


One of the reasons Owenton has not been

vacated is because the young lady who bought 114 is

one of three properties that has back lot entrance

off Owenton. There are three more to the west;

Mrs. Lucas, Mr. and Mrs. Henley, and then Caswells

who also own on South Lake at Owenton. They

regularly use this street to get into their backyards

for storage of their boats and other large items.

The reason the City put grass on there

was to try to help keep some of the less desireable

looking-for-dark-street traffic off, and putting the

barricade in farther to the west has helped a lot.

There's also a landlocked piece of

property -- not quite landlocked -- to the south

behind the two houses shown south of here. There is

a building site in here. Whether it will ever be

built or not is quite arbitrary, but they have to be

able to get in somehow.

It's not platted, it's not part of the

subdivision, but there is a lot back there, so -- or

there's a parcel of land back there.

So much for that history. If you look

at a plat of the subdivision, these three pieces of

property are the south half of each of three lots

that used to run north to south.

Mr. Schultz, if these three pieces of

property represent the south half of three lots --

MR. SCHULTZ: I'm sorry, just so I'm

looking at the right map --

MEMBER GRAY: Turn it so north is up.

See where the diagram of the house is supposed to be?

MR. SCHULTZ: Right, okay.

MEMBER GRAY: Okay. These three lots

used to run north to south, so this is the south half

of the south half of the south half. If they are the

south half of the lot and the north half is now where

114 has their garage and part of their house, does

this mean that these three pieces make it originally

deeded and platted?

MR. SCHULTZ: It doesn't sound -- I

guess I'd have to research the question. It doesn't

sound like it would be part of the original plat. On

the other hand-

MEMBER GRAY: (Interposing) Well, they

were platted but they were platted north and south.

MR. SCHULTZ: Right. But I guess the

question would be whether this is still a lot of

record and, therefore, a buildable parcel.


MR. SCHULTZ: I assume that's where

you're going with it.

MEMBER GRAY: That's where I'm going,

because some of the neighbors have called me and

asked me specifically about that.

MR. SCHULTZ: I guess I can't answer

that question tonight without a little bit more

history. Certainly that would be something we could

research through the assessor's department.

It is a lot in existence, and

presumably of record, and that's what I would expect

to find, but I can't answer that question tonight.

MEMBER GRAY: But the fact that it's

the south half of three different lots --

MR. SCHULTZ: I don't think that that

necessarily precludes it from being a lot of record.

MEMBER GRAY: That's the question I

have at this point.

If I may continue, I have a problem

with so many variances, and I realize it's a very

difficult lot, and if you take out the factor that

Owenton is a street, although it is with minimal

usage, very minimal usage, it doesn't give you a

whole lot of room.

Have you thought of switching and

putting the garage in the back?

MR. COOK: I have. Actually, I don't

know if I'm allowed to pass around anymore

information, but I have done another plot

plan, keeping in mind some of the comments I've had.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I think what you're

going to find tonight is you're going to get some


MR. COOK: Well, yeah, I'm going to

need a backyard variances, so --

MEMBER GRAY: I have a problem with the

setback request from the front because-

MR. COOK: (Interposing) The 17 feet.


MR. COOK: Yeah. I've made that

twenty-five on my latest one.

MEMBER GRAY: Okay. I'm just looking

at what you've got proposed here.

I do share Corey's concern. Is is



MEMBER GRAY: Ms. Martini's concern

about the proximity to her garage. And we just

granted a variance not too long ago, maybe two years

ago, to put that garage there, maybe three.

There's a legitimate concern about the

well. I don't know when water is being proposed for

that street, you know. That's something you'll have

to work with your neighbors on with a special

assessment district, but at this time, with the well

where it is -- and you'll have to drill a well, so

where are you going to put your well.

And, again, these are just comments

that you're going to want to listen to and take note

of and be prepared to give answers later.

I'm not thrilled with the setback. I

want it pushed back farther. There's very few houses

on that street that are closer than 20, 25 feet set

back. It's an old sub, it's an old neighborhood, but

this would be way too far forward and would put it

totally out of line.

And so with some of that -- I know it's

a difficult site -- and I also want to note people

want lake access, so you'll just have to do the best

you can.

Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody else?

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, I agree with

Miss Gray's comments. There's way too many variance

requests. It's too close to Bernstadt.

The deal with Owenton, I really don't

know how to deal with that because you're brining up

a topic -- it is a street. It's not used as a

functional street, but yet what's to say that it's a

platted street that doesn't turn into being a viable

transportation point down the road and then we have a

house sitting right on top of it.

As presented, I couldn't support. It's

really a problem.

That size lot to deal with is hard

almost no matter which way you look at it.

I don't have an answer. It's going to

take a lot of creativity is all I can say.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody else?

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

something here, based upon all of the concerns that

you've heard tonight, one of the concerns was how

close you were to the neighbor's property line with

your building.

MR. COOK: Right.

MR. SAVEN: I would also caution you

the fact that your front porch is projecting out

towards that -- we'll call it the front yard off of

Owenton to the limitation. I'm talking about to the

limitation. Start to think about moving this over.

You're going to be right there at the property line.

So I would ask that you give this consideration

possibly for the width of your house.

Also, in regards to moving your house,

you're going to do this so that you're not projecting

closer to Owenton. That's going to create a safety

condition for the residents that own.

MR. COOK: All right. Yeah. The

particular house I'm looking at now, I'm trying to

put up a modular home. It's going to be a two-story

cape, and it comes in two sections. Some are

familiar with, some aren't.

Everybody wants you to buy a 28-foot

modular. I just, the other day, found a company that

has a 24-foot one, and I'm just starting to get

prices from them. Basically there's is, like, the

rock bottom price, one which I'm trying to avoid, but

if I add options to it, it will probably be the same

quality of the other ones I wanted to build.

So I'm looking into that right now. I

found a 26-foot house but they want $15,000 more,

which is kind of hard to justify. It comes with

marble window sills and stuff.

So I am looking at that option of

making the house skinnier. I really don't want a big

house. It's just that's what they sell.

MEMBER GRAY: Well, you're going to

have to be very creative building in this area. As

you look around the houses that are already there,

and around the lake, there are some wonderful houses

on very, very skinny lots, and I would certainly urge

you to look outside the envelope and be as creative

as you can, not that I'm trying to spend your money

but, you know, just to try to put something in there.

MR. COOK: Well, I just recently came

across a manufacturer of a 24-foot house I saw. I'm

getting the new floor plan to see if they can make


MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Why don't

we do this. You're here to get a little education on

how this whole process works.

MR. COOK: Right.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Number one, we're always

very sensitive to any construction on the north end

of our lakes; number two, we're always very sensitive

to existing homeowners; and, number three, we're

always incredibly sensitive to new construction when

you have a clean piece of paper.

I would encourage you to come up with

maybe a couple of different concepts, couple

different thoughts, find out who your neighbors are,

in particularly those that voiced some disapproval.

MR. COOK: I've talked to Corey, so --

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. And rather than

us voting to deny or anything, why don't we save you

some money and we'll just put this off until you're

ready to come back.

MR. COOK: All right. I was expecting


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Does that sound

like a plan?

MR. COOK: All right. Just out of

conversation, does a 24-foot house sound reasonable?

That's about as skinny as I can go until I start

building a custom home, which almost puts the project

out of my-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Sir, I'll

guarantee you that we have unique homes around that

lake based upon the property in itself. To ask this

board whether or not 24-foot -- we're asking for

something that's agreeable, and as it exists right

now, I can't answer, none -- neither can any of the

board members here.

I'd ask that you try to work the

situation out as much as possible with your

neighbors. That's what they're indicating right now.

MR. COOK: All right.

MR. SAVEN: And based upon the

information that's here -- 24-foot, even though that

sounds great, it might not be conducive to this lot

and to the members of this board.

MR. COOK: That's what I'm asking. Is

that -- that's pretty much my next step, is to step


MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) You got

to shrink it down.

MR. COOK: Yeah.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I think looking at the

letters that we have from the neighbors, they feel

that what you've proposed is overbuilt than obviously

what's permitted, and what you're proposed is

substantially different.

What's allowed is 25 percent lot

coverage, and you've proposed 33, so right out of the

gate we've got a problem with the size of the house.

MEMBER GRAY: I also have a major

concern -- I'm sorry to interrupt -- with only a

four-foot setback from the north.

MR. COOK: All right.

MEMBER GRAY: The ordinance, of course,

requires a combination of twenty-five feet. You may

not be able to get ten on one side and twenty -- and

fifteen on the other, but do the best you can to stay

away from Miss Martini's property line, for the

obvious reasons.

MR. COOK: All right. Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Think you got enough to

get some new concepts?

MR. COOK: Oh, yeah. I'll move around.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

MR. SAVEN: Board going to vote to


MR. CHAIRMAN: I was just going to do


MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Schultz wants to make

a comment.

MR. SCHULTZ: One issue, and it's

really just a question. Does the board need anything

for the next meeting on whether it's a lot of record,

or are we past that issue?


MR. SCHULTZ: Whether it's a lot of --

does the board need any information from the

assessor's office on the lot of record issue?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I didn't know that that

was even before us.

MEMBER GRAY: That's the issue I


MR. SCHULTZ: Raised by Member Gray.

Or are you past that. I just want to know whether I

need to do anything for the next meeting on that.

MEMBER REINKE: Well, the only question

I have, brought up by Miss Gray, is I'd like to

verify it's a lot of record. That's all.

MR. SCHULTZ: We will.


MEMBER GRAY: Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Follow that?

MEMBER GRAY: You let the petitioner

know whether it is or not so he doesn't spin his



MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. I will move

that this case be tabled until the petitioner is

ready to come back and show us something new.


MR. CHAIRMAN: All those in favor, say


(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: If you need some help,

call Don.

MR. SAVEN: That's why I love you guys

so much.


MR. CHAIRMAN: We're going to call the

next one, 03-003, filed by Lawrence Kelly

representing Meadowbrook Corp. They're requesting a

one-year extension for the construction

identification sign on

Meadowbrook Road in Meadowbrook Corporate Park.

And, sir, when you're ready, give us

your name and raise your right hand and be sworn.

MR. KELLY: Larry Kelly of Colliers

International, Telegraph Road.

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. KELLY: Yes, I do.


MR. KELLY: I don't know if you all can

see this. Is this clear enough for you?

This is a five, six building development of high

tech property on

Meadowbrook Road south of Twelve Mile. And what we

have -- what we've applied to extend for is this sign

right here. This is the sign that sits right out on

Meadowbrook Road in this location right here.

What we have -- we have contracted with

Burton Cassman Company, which are the developers for

this project. We're the real estate company. And

what Burton Cassman has completed so far is these two

front buildings, which are a flex-base multi-tenant

buildings, 55,000-square feet each. Both of these

buildings are up and there's no other buildings that

are up at this time.

This is depicting what is available in

the front two buildings. You can see that the front

sections -- or the sections on

Meadowbrook Road have been taken up. This is this

building right here, and that is

Trinity Health, which came out of the Arborium (ph),

which was tenants of Burton Cassman Company and they

were able to get them over into this building due to

their relationship. And this is IKON, which was in

Novi originally, and they stayed in Novi and moved

into -- so what we have is approximately fifty

percent of the first two buildings leased, and I'm

here to beg to keep my sign up front, which is

critical to our marketing, to compete with the other

high-tech properties in the neighborhood so that we

can fill the back up.

And what we have in the back, it's a

little more difficult to fill than it is the front,

but we have units from twenty-five hundred square

feet all the way up to twenty-eight thousand square

feet, if you were to take half of the building.

I have about eight proposals out right

now, and my law of averages so far has been about one

in fifteen are hitting in this economy.

So I just think we'd be devistated

without the sign.

And as soon as these are complete, or

if we have a demand, the sign is stating we were able

to build a 44,000 square foot office building, or

67,000 square foot office building that's market

driven, if we have a demand, we're building it -- or

Burton Cassman is building it.

And often times, as rudimentary as it

seems to just have a real estate sign, we market many

different ways, but it's one of our very, very

important beacons to help us move a project along.

And what I'm requesting is a one-year

extension for the sign that's existing right now and

just to leave it the way it is.

I do have a picture of it, if you'd


MEMBER REINKE: We have one.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sir, you don't have to

beg because we're reasonable people.

MR. KELLY: Okay. I was hoping.

There were eight notices sent; no

approvals, no objections.

Anyone in the audience care to give

us -- building department?

MR. SAVEN: How soon before you start

the other buildings?

MR. KELLY: Well, it's on a

market-driven -- right now we're about fifty percent

leased on these right here, but these are a bit

different types of buildings. These are two-story

office buildings. This is flex-based high tech

buildings. So if we have a two-story office user

that comes along, we're going to go into the ground

as soon as -- it's market driven.

MR. SAVEN: The extension for one year

is all that you're asking for?

MR. KELLY: That's correct. Can't

envision the project going on for several years

though, a project of this magnitude, and right now

we're just hoping for a year.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Based on our history, we

typically zero in on how much is leased and how much

is left, and at 50 percent to lease, I would not

personally have a problem with your request.

MEMBER REINKE: Is that a motion?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I'll make that motion. I

made that motion.

With respect to Case 03-003, I would

move that the petitioenr's request for a one-year

extension be granted for purpose of marketing.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Any discussion?

(No discussion.)


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: I told you we were


MR. KELLY: Very reasonable. Thank



MR. CHAIRMAN: Can we now have

Mr. Perrin. This is Case 03-004, representing Modern

Skate & Surf. This is a new development -- a new

business in Fountain Walk.

Sir, you want to raise your hand and be


MR. LIKEWISE: Actually, I'm

George Likewise. I'm the owner of Modern Skate &

Surf. Rob is the representative for the sign

company, and they're out of Kalamazoo, and they had a

lot more inclement weather than we did down this way

and he couldn't make it out this evening and had

asked me to -- I was going to be here anyhow with

him. He's the sign expert obviously and I'm just the

retailer, but perhaps I'm here for an education


MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, we'd rather talk

to you anyways.

MR. LIKEWISE: I did want to stop down

this evening and mention that, you know, as the

retailer, just to let you know- .

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Let me

cut you off here a second. We need to swear you in.


MEMBER GRONACHAN: Would you 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. LIKEWISE: I do. And I'm, again,

George Likewise, owner of Modern Skate & Surf in

Fountain Walk, site D106.

Unfortunately, when we were building

out the space it took a lot longer than expected to

get there, and we opened after Christmas, so that

wasn't exactly especially the most favorite time to

open a retail store, especially in this economy.

But we've been there for a month

without a sign at this point, and I know our sign

people, being from out of town, were unfamiliar with

certain requirements that you have to evaluate

whether or not we could have it.

And I had personally read the ordinance

and I called him on the phone and said, you know,

there's certain things I think we need to do, you

better double-check with them.

So last Tuesday we were told to put

something up on the wall for you guys to take a look

at. And, unfortunately, the weather hasn't

cooperated. It's been really windy and snowing, and

they were unable to do that. So he asked me tonight,

he says do you think we should just ask them to

postpone it for another month. I said well, that may

be the case but I'd like to at least make a case to

ask, as a retailer without a sign on his building in

February, to have you consider it. But, on the other

hand, if you need to have this thing on the wall to

look at, to table it to next month and we'll put this

thing up here.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We can probably cut to

the chase here. We've got tough, tough signage law

here, or ordinance I should say, here in Novi, and

right or wrong we're -- it's our place to enforce it.

Years ago we got caught on a couple of

cases where there were signs that were proposed

that -- they looked a lot different in reality than

they did on paper, and we altered our sign variance

sequence to include that we wanted to have a mockup,

and whether that's a bedsheet cut to size or whether

it's a two-by-four or plywood cut to size, it doesn't

matter. We wanted to have a visual reflection of

what the actual sign is going to be.

Now, you've got a business already

open, right?


MR. CHAIRMAN: If you want to do --

we're going to require that mockup, bottom line. You

got to have a mockup. If you want to put up a quick

and dirty plywood sign that's got your name on it,

that's fine. That will carry you over to the next --

our next meeting. It will give you some identity,

give you some advertising. Make it whatever you

want, but we will require a mockup.

MR. LIKEWISE: On the building?

Because I have one that was a visual digital photo.

MR. CHAIRMAN: That won't work. We got

fried on digital mockup.

MR. LIKEWISE: I promise you I won't.

I understand that. And I know you have your rules,

and that's why I wanted to come down and introduce

myself, also meet you folks and, again, get my

education as to what I need to know.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Stick something up there

cheap and dirty, put your name on it so you can get

some --

MR. LIKEWISE: We have an image to


MR. CHAIRMAN: We want to see the size

and we want to see the location, and if it's a piece

of plywood with your name on it, that will be fine.

MR. LIKEWISE: Okay. And then I take

it the next opportunity is next month then?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I believe so.

MEMBER GRAY: But by putting up the

mockup, you're going to get some identity in the


MR. LIKEWISE: Right, right.

MR. CHAIRMAN: And I'll ask Sarah

that -- because it's my -- always my belief when we

ask people to come back, we put them in the front of

the agenda, so we'll put you up front and get you out

of here early.

MR. LIKEWISE: I appreciate that.

Thank you very much.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I'll make a motion that

we will table this particular case until next month,

which gives the applicant time to put up a mockup.

MEMBER BAUER: Have it up and let him

notify us.

MR. CHAIRMAN: That's a good idea,

because I did go out twice, so maybe when you got it

up let Sarah know and she puts an E-mail out.

MR. LIKEWISE: Okay. Thank you very


MR. CHAIRMAN: I made a motion. All

those in favor say aye.

(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other business?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Seeing none, we'll put

the cops back out on the road to pick up bad guys.

MR. COOK: I have a quick question. On

the subject of vacating Owenton Road, is that

something that the Zoning Board of Appeals-

MR. SAVEN: (Interposing) Absolutely

not. That's done through city council.

MR. COOK: Because that was something

else I was going to bring up.

MR. SAVEN: I would ask, before you

have that consideration, if you talk to somebody in

engineering or DPS regarding what is projected for

Owenton, or is there anything that might require them

to vacate. I'm not sure whether they may want to do

that or not.

MR. COOK: Right. Well, I have talked

to the assessor. I've been around the building

department and talked to a few people, and I'm still

trying to figure, you know -- I've talked to some

neighbors, I've talked to the assessor's office, and

they thought it was a good idea, and I guess they

need to go before city council.

MR. SAVEN: Yes, they would.

MR. COOK: All right.

MR. SAVEN: But for some reason,

because -- I would ask that you talk to the DPS

director -- his name is Mr. McCuster -- or

Bruce Jerome, to find out a little bit more about

what's happening with Owenton or whether or not

there's something there that would prohibit them from

vacating it so that you need to get the straight and

skinny with what's happening.

MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Jerome was very

involved with the work done to put the three pylons


MR. COOK: Right.

MEMBER GRAY: So he'd probably be a

good place to start.

MR. COOK: Because part of my request

to vacate would be that they move those three pylons

to allow those people that you mentioned access

through Owenton from the other direction.

MEMBER GRAY: Which may not sit well.

I don't know about partial vacation of roads, so you


MR. COOK: (Interposing) But I'll talk

to Mrs. Parma, she's across the street from me on the

other -- I've talked to the people who had the road

vacated on the other side. All right. That was

something else -- I was going to do the variance

first so-

MEMBER GRAY: (Interposing) They

vacated on the other side?

MR. COOK: Yeah. Owenton Road went

wall the way across the street and through the park,

and they vacated that part of it.

MEMBER GRAY: And I was instrumental in

getting that vacated because it went nowhere.

MR. COOK: Right. It went nowhere.

MEMBER GRAY: This one does.

MR. COOK: Yeah. So I was going to do

the variance first to make it a buildable lot,

purchase the lot and then tackle the next issue,

which would be trying to vacate the road, which

would -- it's working backwards for me.


MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Any other


(Meeting adjourned at

8:20 p.m.)

Date approved:

April 1, 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 fifty-four (54) typewritten

pages, is a true and correct transcript of my said

stenograph notes to the best of my ability.


Cheryl L. James, CSR-5786