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View Action Summary for this meeting

TUESDAY, MARCH 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, March 4, 2003.

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

Terry Morrone, Building Department
Sarah Marchioni, Building Department
Thomas Schultz, City Attorney
Timothy Schmitt, Planning Department

Cheryl L. James, Certified Shorthand Reporter

MR. CHAIRMAN: We'll take a gamble and

start a few seconds early. We'll call this meeting

to order.

Sarah, can you 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 do have a

quorum present, the meeting is now in session.

On the front page of the agenda there's

rules of conduct. If you'd please take a moment and

read those over, we'd like you adhere by those.

The Zoning Board of Appeals is a

hearing board empowered by the Novi City Charter to

hear appeals seeking variances from application of

the Novi zoning ordinance. It takes a vote of four

members to approve a variance. It takes a four



members to approve a variance and a vote of the

majority to deny.

We have five members tonight, so we

have a full board. Keep in mind you need four yeses.

Any changes to the agenda?

MS. MARCHIONI: Yes. Please remove the


MR. CHAIRMAN: We do not have minutes.

Public remarks.

MEMBER GRAY: Move to approve the

agenda as amended?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I'm Sorry. So moved.

All those in favor, say aye.

(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Sarah.

Public remarks. At this point we'll ask anybody who

wishes to address the board on any case that's not on

our agenda to raise their hand and come on down and

talk to us.

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Prior to

calling the first case, I'd like to recognize some

appointments to the board, to fill out our board, and

we're very thankful to the city council for



accomplishing that.

Bob Gatt is appointed as a board

member. And, Bob, we're thrilled to have you here.

Not wanting to miss an opportunity to say hello.

MR. GATT: Thank you, Mr. Brennan. No,

I don't want to miss the opportunity. Thank you for

having me, and I look forward to working with you,

and I'm excited about it.

Unfortunately, I'm not prepared

tonight. The appointment was just made last night,


MEMBER BAUER: (Interposing) Just a

minute, Bob. You got to be sworn in first.

MR. GATT: That's correct.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We think you'll be a

real positive addition.

MR. GATT: Well, thank you. I hope so.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Personally, I'm very

satisfied with the appointment.

MR. GATT: Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Is Mr. Reed here, Chris

Reed? Chris Reed was also appointed. He's going to

be on the board as an alternate, which is as

important as a position because we do have people who



go on vacation and people who get sick.

So with Mr. Reed's appointment, we

have, first time in about a year-and-a-half, a full


All right. With that said, let's call

the first case.


MR. CHAIRMAN: We will call

David Cook. Come back down. This is Case 03-002.

David wants to build a new house on a relatively

small lot.

This is a continuation from last month,

so you're still under sworn testimony. And if you

will, tell us what's different and what's changed.

MR. COOK: All right. Well, good

evening. You should have a little package that I

gave. There's a picture of the old proposal, there

should be a picture of the new proposal, and I

included a few pictures of a house I'm modeling --

this is where I don't the idea to build the house


And recently I've dropped off two more

photos of houses that are in the neighborhood.



And I understand there are three

arguments against what I'm doing from some of the

people that are against it. One is that the lot's

too small. The second argument was it would be

unattractive to have the house sideways. And someone

brought up an issue about vacation, which I had

mentioned last time but isn't part of this request

for a variance. It's not necessary.

MR. CHAIRMAN: With respect to the


MR. COOK: Hmm?

MR. CHAIRMAN: With respect to the


MR. COOK: Yeah, with Owenton Road.

It's not required for me to do the house as planned.

As far as the house being unattractive,

I took some photographs of the similar house off of,

I believe it's

Pleasant Cove. They're the two side views. It's the

dark brown house, looks like here. It's actually two

different houses.

But that's pretty much what the house

I'd build would look like from the side. The windows

will look different. There'd be a deck, there'd be a




But that's just an example of a house

that's put on the lot sideways, about the same size

of the house I'm doing.

And as far as the lot being too small,

I also dropped off three of these, which are

pictures, overhead views, provided by the City, of

the area. And I counted all the houses built on

40-foot wide lots, and there's 11 out of 18 in that,

what I'd call, one neighborhood. It's comprising of

Owenton, Bernstadt and

South Lake in between. And I believe two of them

were on 40-foot lots but they've been expanded

because they bought the lots next to them.

So I'm kind of proposing that building

on a 40-foot lot is not that unusual, although it

hasn't been done recently. The newer lots are


And that's pretty much all the new

information I have.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. I'm sure

we'll have some questions for you.

This was renoticed with your revised

plan. Thirty-five notices; three approvals, three




Objections -- I don't know if you

talked to these people, but there was the Links,

Michael and Leanne; it was the -- Martini,

Corey Martini; and James Benedict.

As I read through some of these, the

general statements were you should build according to

code, and that's just not doable here unless you

build ten by ten, so that's why you're before us


All right. Anybody in the audience

care to comment on this? Come on down, sir.

MR. WOZNIAK: Well, I was just -- my

name is Stefan Wozniak. I live on Owenton. I'm the

only resident on Owenton. I didn't get a chance to

write the letter. I work for a company that sends me

on the road quite a bit, so I just wanted to find out

exactly what was going on, you know, about this.

What I'd like to know is what is this

going to do for the access for Owenton. If he

actually -- he wants to build the house on 21 feet

onto the Owenton access, is that my assumption?

I just found this out a couple days ago

when I got the letter, so I just drove up to find out



exactly what was going -- I should be briefed on what

-- exactly what we're up against.

MR. CHAIRMAN: David, maybe take a

couple seconds and show him your plot plan and have

that discussion with him.

MR. WOZNIAK: Mr. Benedict was the one

that was -- was one of the -- I've been trying

to find Mr. Benedict for quite a while.

MR. CHAIRMAN: He lives in

Allen Park, so looks like he's-

MR. WOZNIAK: (Interposing) The City,

evidently, has his property up for taxes?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I don't know, sir.

MR. WOZNIAK: I've been trying to find

that, too.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I have an objection to

his plan.

(A discussion was held between

Mr. Cook and Mr. Woznkiak off

the record.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Does that clear up

things for you?

MR. WOZNIAK: Well, like I said, I've

had -- Sarah knows. I've had a lot of problem with



discussion of Owenton so, like I said. When it came

up I wanted to make sure -- I'm not happy about that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The whole road issue is

not before us.

MR. WOZNIAK: Well, I understand that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: What's before us-

MR. WOZNIAK: (Interposing) But

they're building on a road.

MR. CHAIRMAN: -is he's got a piece of

property and he's trying to put a house on it.


MR. CHAIRMAN: They're trying to

minimize the variances. He was here last month with

a list this long and he's here this month with a list

this long.

MR. WOZNIAK: Okay. Now, can I write-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) I'll

leave it open for you to ask other questions later if

you'd like.

MR. WOZNIAK: Please.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We'll give you that

benefit, so maybe with some of our discussion it will

lead -- if you have other questions, raise your hand

and I'll bring it back to you.



Anybody else in the audience?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Building


MR. MORRONE: I have no comment.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes. Why don't you --

yeah. You're going to have to -- if you're going to

talk you're going to have to go back a little bit.

MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Chair, might I

suggest that maybe we postpone this case and hear the

next one and maybe they can go out in the atrium and

talk about it and come back in?

MR. CHAIRMAN: That's not a bad idea.

MEMBER GRAY: So that Mr. Wozniak has

an adequate -- would that be okay with both of you


MR. CHAIRMAN: That's probably a very

good idea. We'll call the next case. When you're

back, come on in, right down in the front, and when

we're finished with the case that we're into we'll

bring you right back in.

MR. COOK: Sure.

MEMBER GRAY: Maybe you can explain to

Mr. Wozniak exactly what you're proposing and what



you did last month, and that will be better for both

of you.


MR. CHAIRMAN: We're going to call

03-004. This is Rob Perrin representing

Modern Skate & Surf. This is a continuation of

another sign for Modern Skate & Surf at

Fountain Walk.

Continuation -- you're still under --

it's a new guy.

MR. PERRIN: I'm a new guy, sorry.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Raise your hand and be


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?


MEMBER GRONACHAN: Would you state your

name, please.

MR. PERRIN: My name is Rob Perrin. My

address is 12265 East S. Avenue. That's in Scotts,

Michigan 49034.




MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Rob, last

month the other party that was here was either not

aware or had not made any provisions to put a mockup

up, which is part of our sign variance. And I'm

assuming that you put the mockup up?

MR. PERRIN: I did not. I know that it

has been put up. I explained to him it was important

to this group that the mockup was to be installed.

Because of the inclement weather, he to

unable to get that in at the time it was necessary

for you all to look at it.

I believe now it's been up 30 days, is

what's explained to me.

In his letter he says it's slightly --

off-kilter were his words. The other one was going

to be, I believe, a couple foot off-kilter. The

landlord was, I guess, concerned. They didn't want

to put additional holes in the wall.

I don't know if you had an opportunity

to go out there and look at that. I don't know if

that makes a difference.

I mean, I don't want to mislead you,

you know, by two foot one way or the other.



MR. CHAIRMAN: So its positioning isn't

exactly where it's-

MR. PERRIN: (Interposing) Right. I

believe positioning is off a couple feet, is the way

I understand it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We're more concerned

about the size.

MR. PERRIN: I -- that's what I kind of

figured, but I just want to be straight with you,

because you were meticulous that you wanted to see

something on the wall there.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Well, let's see

what the -- we didn't have any renoticing, Sarah?

MS. MARCHIONI: No. Nothing changed.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody in the audience

care to comment on this case?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building department?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members?

MEMBER BAUER: It's too big.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I had -- obviously

they're the same -- first impression. The other

thing though that struck me is that we've got two



businesses that are very similar in what they're

offering in terms of services. They're both on the

same wall of this -- I would like to see this sign be

in align with that sign.

And with that said, I did ask Sarah to

give me the dimensions of the sign that was approved

at Van's, and -- not so much in terms of square

footage but the size of the letters is what I wanted

to see. I thought it made sense to have it. And I

don't see that.

Do you know offhand -- you probably

have to pull it.

I wish I had that exactly with me.

You know what I'm getting at? Have you

visited the site?

MR. PERRIN: No, I'm sorry, I have not.

I expected George to be here this evening, and I

guess he was unable to make it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There's a similar

business right next door, and they had a sign that

was approved six, eight months ago.

MR. PERRIN: Through a variance, as I


MR. CHAIRMAN: Through a variance. And



what I -- it's my impression -- we'll get other board

members to talk, but it's my thought that this sign

on your building should be similar, if not identical,

with respect to size, the letters.

MEMBER BAUER: All it's for -- I mean,

there's a parking lot and one street going down, and

there's -- I mean, it's too big for the distance of

the road. It's going to be able to be seen.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Laverne?

MR. PERRIN: May I address that?

MEMBER BAUER: Ask the chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yeah, go ahead.

MR. PERRIN: You were saying that

the -- that that sign is advertising for the parking

lot and then advertising for the road; is that


We're trying -- the way I understand

it, Modern Skate wants to pull people off of the

road, right?

MEMBER BAUER: Yeah. But it's just not

that far off the road.

MR. PERRIN: I understand. I'm just

trying to pull something here.

Because of me and my trade, I'm privy



to know how large something can be read from a

distance, and that's why we come up with this

specific size here. We didn't just -- arbitrarily

just grab a number. He wanted-

MEMBER BAUER: (Interposing) I realize


MR. CHAIRMAN: You haven't seen the

mockup of the -- I mean, that's why we ask for a

mockup. When you drive out there, that thing is

hideous. It's huge.

MR. PERRIN: He -- yes, sir. He was

trying to get -- he asked me what people could see

from that road.

You know, I respect that, you know. We

know there's probably going to be some compromise

here and George isn't going to get everything that he

wants. With -- that's the reason we come up with

that size.

He said well, you know, how large would

the letter have to be for someone to see driving down

that road at 45 miles an hour.

MEMBER BAUER: Can't go down 45.

MR. PERRIN: Well, that's -- you know,

I'm only doing what I'm told to do. He asked me if



someone's going 45 miles an hour and they're looking

across, how large would that letter have to be from

that distance. That's why we come up with that


I was just trying to, you know, let you

know where we're going with it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: If I'm not mistaken,

there is two lines of script. It says Modern Skate &

Surf, and it said something-


Modern was on top and then Skate & Surf.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Skate & Surf down there.

MR. PERRIN: May I approach with this?

MR. CHAIRMAN: What -- hold on a

second. What we have approved for Van's, right next

door, was the top script, this case would be Modern,

of two foot three inch tall letters, and the bottom

line, which in this case would be Skate & Surf, one

foot. And that's --

MEMBER GRAY: What's the width of it?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The overall width was --

it's punched out here. Twenty-five feet looks like.

Scale wise I think it would be --

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, I think



that as Mr. Bauer and you have indicated, it really

should fall in line with the sign that's there for

Van's, because it's too large for that situation,

that location.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I agree.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Mr. Chair, I really

had a problem with the word Modern. I mean, it

really did jump out at you, and it wasn't

necessary -- it really isn't necessary, coming from

that side street, to see anything because there's --

I mean, there's only, basically, one entrance into

that part of the building, and it overshadows the

building next to it, Van's Skating.

And it's just the -- the actual

wording -- how big are the letters for Modern?

MR. PERRIN: May I approach with this?



MR. PERRIN: Okay. Then the letters-

MEMBER GRONACHAN: (Interposing) So

they're 48 inches?

MR. PERRIN: No, they're 28 inches,

where it says Modern.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Mine says 48 inches.



MR. PERRIN: I'm sorry, 48. I'm sorry.

I read that wrong. I'm sorry. And then Skate & Surf

is 28 inches. I apologize.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Just as a

recommendation, Cindy's got some thoughts here.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Based on the figures

that we -- and and we don't normally do this, and I

want to state this, because a lot of people come up

and say according to. But keep in mind we're looking

at the same face of the building, and that's why

we're looking at the other size in the sign to

compare the two so you're in conjunction with each

other for appearances. Do you understand what I'm

trying to say?

MR. PERRIN: Yes, ma'am.


suggestion would be to go with 27 feet on the word

Modern and 12 feet on the word -- on the words Skate

& Surf. I think that the length is okay, if the

other board members agree with that. If they have

any suggestions -- any other suggestions. But I

think that it's actually almost in half of what --

what's up there, because it's just way too big.

MR. PERRIN: So you want to --



MEMBER GRONACHAN: Twenty-seven inches.

I'm sorry, twenty-seven inches, I'm sorry.

MEMBER REINKE: You scared me there.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I'm looking at feet

and saying -- okay. It's 27. So I'll -- just to

clarify the record, it's 27 inches for the word


MR. CHAIRMAN: The letters?

MEMBER GRONACHAN: The letters, for the

word Modern, and 12 inches for the letters in the

words Skate & Surf. And your length would stand as

22.5 feet.

MR. PERRIN: May I address that?


MR. PERRIN: In going with what you

said, then what we'll do is be -- actually we'll be

-- we were going to elongate then that font so then

it won't -- the artwork then would be different than

what you all see there. We're actually going to

squish the letter down so it will appear to be

elongated. So then we won't be using the same fonts

anymore? You just can't let the letters be shorter

and still have -- run out the linear length the same.

It doesn't work like that.



MR. CHAIRMAN: Whatever that length

works out to be is what it works out to be. I don't

know that we have that math in front of us.

MR. PERRIN: As long as -- right. I

didn't mean to be aloof. I just -- she had

mentioned -- you had mentioned that we could still

have that linear length still being the same, and

then George is going to ask me-

MEMBER GRONACHAN: (Interposing) It's

going to change, obviously, with the change of the

letters, but at least that length.


MEMBER GRONACHAN: And I correct that,

I'm sorry.

MR. PERRIN: I wasn't trying to pin

you. I just want to make sure I understood it, and I


MEMBER GRONACHAN: That's all right.

MR. CHAIRMAN: What Cindy's

recommendation would do would make it smaller,

certainly not anywhere near what is zoned -- not

zoned, what is required -- but make it a little bit

more in line with what the sign is on the adjoining

building, if you're comfortable with that.



MR. PERRIN: Sure. We don't know what

the square footage of the sign is?

MR. CHAIRMAN: You're the sign guy.

Can you figure that out?

To cut this down to 27 inches and 12

inches, do you know what that is?

MR. PERRIN: Oh, I could figure it out,

you know, if that's what you want to give us a

variance for, then we'll resubmit it back as far as

what you all had just-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Board

members, are we comfortable with just identifying the

size of the letters?

Do we need a square footage?

MEMBER REINKE: I'd like to see a

square footage there. I'm -- you say letters.

Somebody else comes there and he says, you know, I've

used 36 letters in the alphabet and they're all going

to be 27 inches.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Can you work that out

quickly of what this would represent?

MR. PERRIN: I can -- I mean, give me

an adjournment like you did our first group here and

I can try to call the office and have them work it up



for me.


MR. PERRIN: I mean, I'm not trying to

elongate this.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I think everyone feels

like we need to have a -- tie it down to square


Yes, Tom.

MR. SCHULTZ: I guess the concept that

it's the minimum length that fits with the size of

the letter that the board is willing to allow can

leave that to, perhaps, Allen or Don.

Administratively you give them

direction, but you're mostly worried about the height

of the letter, which then really kind of governs the-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) That's

the building department. If they come back to you

with a variance that this limits the size of the

letters, can we, as part of our motion, say that


MEMBER REINKE: (Interposing) Well,

couldn't we say that part of our -- we're specifying

these height of the letters and that the applicant is

to supply the square footage to the building



department as part of the condition of the variance


MR. SCHULTZ: The idea being that it be

the minimum length-

MEMBER REINKE: (Interposing) Right.

MR. SCHULTZ: -in square footage that's

still appropriate?

MEMBER REINKE: But he will supply that

information to the building department that will be

added to the variance as part of a condition of the



MR. CHAIRMAN: I'm comfortable with


MEMBER GRONACHAN: Is that a motion?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Are you comfortable with


Have -- you've heard what we have-

MR. PERRIN: (Interposing) You're

working with us.


MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, in Case

03-004, I move that the petitioner's request be

granted for a size of sign to be, for the word



Modern, 27 inches in height, and proportional width;

the Skate and Surf would be 12 inches high and

proportional width; and that the applicant would

supply the square footage of that sign to the

building department as a final part of the variance



MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. We have a motion

and a second. Any other discussion?

(No further discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, Sarah.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. You've got a

variance to a slight variance.

MR. PERRIN: Thank you.



MR. CHAIRMAN: 02-111, Waltonwood --

I'm sorry. Come on up.

CASE 03-002

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, did you get things

worked out?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay is good.

MR. COOK: Well, I think his main

concern was the vacation that I brought up that I

shouldn't have brought up because it brought more

discussion, so that's not a part of this at all.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let's go back to board

member discussion. Sir, you can have a seat.

MR. WOZNIAK: I'm all set?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yeah, you're all set.

Members? Maybe I'll just make a quick

comment. We asked last month for our city attorney

to tell us whether this is a buildable lot, and I

believe that we have a letter that says, in essence,

this is a buildable lot. So this gentleman does have

the right to approach this board for variances to

build a house.



That's the first thing that should be

on the record, so -- I only say that because some of

the letters we have in here suggest that you can't

build a house on this lot. We've got legal opinion

that says otherwise.

So let's discuss the gentleman's plans.

I assume everyone's had a chance to look at his

revised --

MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Cook, have you

considered any other type of structure on this

property other than a premanufactured or a

manufactured home?


MEMBER GRAY: Have you considered

building stick built?


MEMBER GRAY: One of the issues raised

last month by Miss Martini's parents, or her mother,

was the proximity of your structure and the affect on

her well, which is in her backyard.

Now, I realize we have no jurisdiction

over that, that is a County dictated proximity.

MR. COOK: Yes.

MEMBER GRAY: Have you checked into




MR. COOK: (Interposing) Yes, I did.

MEMBER GRAY: -to find out what that-

MR. COOK: (Interposing) The only rule

on this is they have to be at least 50 feet away from

a main sewer line, and that would be the sewer line

in the street. House sewer lines are not affected.


MR. COOK: That's the only rule they

could tell me. They said other than that there's no

other guidelines, so that's Oakland County.

MEMBER GRAY: There's no guideline

about you putting a well within ten feet of her well?

MR. COOK: No. Her well is eight feet

off the property line, approximate. I measured with

a tape measure through the fence.

MEMBER GRAY: Yes. And that house has

been there for quite a few years, too. That's why

I'm bringing this issue up.

Is where you're going to put your well

50 feet off the sewer line that runs down Bernstadt?

MR. COOK: Oh, yeah. I plan on putting

it in the back corner, up over here.

MEMBER GRAY: So that's going to be




MR. COOK: (Interposing) Fifteen,

twenty feet --

MEMBER GRAY: -twenty feet of her well?

MR. COOK: -- of her well.

MEMBER GRAY: Okay. Are you aware of

anything, Mr. Morrone, that dictates closeness or

proximity of wells one to another?

MR. MORRONE: No, I'm not.

MR. COOK: I mean, that could be

changed. I mean, I put that in the corner of the

yard because that could be out of the way where-

MEMBER GRAY: (Interposing) Well, at

some point water's going to be brought down that


MR. COOK: (Interposing) Right.

MEMBER GRAY: -but it's not there now.

Are you aware if there's a sewer line

that runs through Owenton?

MR. COOK: I think there's -- I did

look into hooking up the sewer to -- I'll have to

hook up off Bernstadt.

MEMBER GRAY: Okay. So you're not-

MR. COOK: (Interposing) I don't



believe there's -- I don't believe there's one

running down Owenton. I would be hooking up off of a

manhole cover on Bernstadt. In fact, there's one in

front of the property.

MEMBER GRAY: You may want to

double-check to see if there is a sewer line that

runs through Owenton.

MEMBER COOK: Oh, actually, as a matter

of fact, now that we're discussing it, I've forgot

the gentleman's name, the other gentleman that's

here, his sewer lines runs up off of South Lake Drive

going down Owenton. There is no line going down


MEMBER GRAY: It doesn't extend-

MR. WOZNIAK: (Interposing) That is

correct. He's correct.

MR. COOK: Yes. His comes off of South

Lake Drive.

MEMBER GRAY: Well, so does

Bernstadt's, but I just wondered if-

MR. COOK: (Interposing) Right. It

doesn't run-

MR. WOZNIAK: (Interposing) The sewer

line stops right in front of my house.



MR. CHAIRMAN: I wanted to get that out

of the way.

Let's get into what you're asking for.

When you were before us last month you asked for five

variances. You're still asking for five variances,

to a lesser degree.

MR. COOK: Yes.

MEMBER GRAY: I think this is a better

plan, but I'm not happy with five variances,

especially with new construction.

The bulk of the lots in the area are 30

to 40 feet wide around the lake, the entire lake --

it's the old cottage area -- so the only reason

people would have more area is if they had purchased

more than one lot, but the bulk of the houses were

built in the teens, '20s, '30s, '40s and so on. It's

all pre-existing construction to the City

incorporating in 1969. So what you're left with is

you're left with these little spots every now and

then around where they are because they can be built

as originally deeded and platted, as our attorney has

informed us this is, that might be the best you can.

And that's why I asked if you

considered anything other than a manufactured home to



bring in and put on that site.

MR. COOK: Well, the floor plan for the

house is 900 square feet, which is, by today's

standards, really small. And then there's a two-car

garage attached to it. I could detach the garage but

that wouldn't save me any -- my footprint is about as

small as reason -- I'd say reasonable for my uses.

MEMBER GRAY: I understand that. But

then the next question is, if you're proposing a 900

square foot house and our code requires a minimum

1,000 square feet, is that not another variance that

should have been noticed?

MR. COOK: Well, the entire house would

be more than 9 -- a thousand square feet. The

footprint on the ground is 900 square feet, which

most of these hosues in the neighborhood are in

excess of a thousand.

MEMBER GRAY: How does 1,000 square

foot apply here?

MR. MORRONE: On a single-family home

it's regulated by the similar-to-similar ordinance,

and it's governed by the surrounding homes on an

average, and it has to be within 75 percent of the

surrounding homes within 350 feet from that. So with



regard to the 1,000 feet, it's not applicable, that

I'm aware of here. We've not used the 1,000 foot in

determining minimum size for single-family homes.

MEMBER GRAY: Okay. Okay.

MR. COOK: My point was most of the

dwellings on this street, even the ones with small

lots, are in excess of a thousand at one story. Mine

is 900 square feet, first story, and then it's the

Cape Cod as a second story.

MEMBER GRAY: That's what my question

was. Is it a combination of the two stories that

gives you the thousand square feet?


MR. MORRONE: Then it would be both


MEMBER GRAY: Okay. I'm still not

happy with five variances. I'd be interested to hear

what other commissioners have to say.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I have a little bit

different take on this, Sarah. Two of these

variances are relative to a street that's not a

street anymore. Okay. Owenton is not a used street.

It's grass, it's-

MEMBER GRAY: (Interposing) It's used



by a limited number of people, but it is a street.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I mean, people drive up

and down it?

MEMBER GRAY: Um-hmm. The back lot

owners to have access to their backyards.

MR. CHAIRMAN: But with respect to it

being a-

MEMBER GRAY: (Interposing) It's a

public street.

MR. CHAIRMAN: -traveled public street-

MEMBER GRAY: At certain times of the

year it's very much traveled, when they're pulling

boats out and putting boats in; however, it is --

it's still a public street, to a very limited usage,

and I do understand that. I absolutely understand


MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, I guess my only

comment is that we've asked this gentleman to spend

to lot of time to canvas the neighborhood. There's a

couple other letters in here, especially from Martha,

that said that this gentleman has gone through an

awful lot to try to get appeasement from everybody in

the community up there. It's not going to happen.

He's not going to get a hundred percent. I think



he's come back with a minimal requirement on a tough

lot that legally has been defined as buildable.

While it's a small house at 900 square

feet, it's also though 30 percent of lot coverage,

which is five more than is allowed, so it's a big

house on a small lot.

Other board members?

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Mr. Chairman, when I

went -- and I agree. First off, I want you to know

that I read your letter, and I looked at your "Why I

want to be in Novi" letter.

And my concerns -- and these are

concerns, okay. It doesn't mean that I'm -- it's

still new construction, and I know that you have a

difficult lot. You made reference in your letter

that other houses on the lots have been allowe

additions, but those are existing dwellings, and

they're looked at differently. And I want to clarify

that for you. You -- because you made reference to

that in your letter.

When we're dealing with new

construction, we look at it differently. In my book,

less is better, and you certainly tried to do that,

and I appreciate the fact that you took some of the



things that we said to you.

One of my other concerns is that -- but

there's still five variances, so that's a concern.

My other concerns is you make

references to the finances, okay, and finances are

just not a hardship and we can't take that into


But then I can go back and I look at

this lot, and I just -- and I question is there

another way to do this. And from -- and like what

Frank said, you did put an awful lot of work in this.

I just want to make sure in my mind

that there's not another way to do this with less

variances. I'm not saying that I know that there is,

but I just want to make sure that there isn't any

other way to do this.

And that's where I'm at. I'm teetering

at this point.

MR. COOK: As far -- the only -- I

could get rid of two variances. I just want to build

a garage, and at that point it wouldn't be worth it

for me to build a house, but that's just me. Someone

else may come along and be happy to build a house

with no garage. That would eliminate the backgard



variance and that would eliminate the lot coverage.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I think it's realistic

that anyone that's going to be up in that area needs

a garage.

MR. COOK: Especially after this


MR. CHAIRMAN: I prefer to look at it

all now.

MR. COOK: That would be about the only

way to get rid of two variances, would be to decrease

the lot coverage and eliminate the garage. Even if

it's attached it's still a covered area.

MEMBER GRAY: Any way to build a garage

facing the street and build over the garage?

MR. COOK: Actually, in this case, I am

building over the garage. That's one of the way the

house gets bigger on such a small footprint. And I

had the garage facing the street. The board had

mentioned -- yeah. You mentioned you want -- someone

had recommended I turn the garage around, on the

board, and I think that had to do with they didn't

like the idea of the garage -- the butt of the house

facing Berstadt Street, was kind of the impression I

got. And I agree. I kind of feel funny when I drive



down the lake and see nothing but people's garages

behind their houses, but that's how you build off the

lake on a 40-foot lot.

And like I said in the letter, I'm

trying to be reasonable, and if it works it works.

I moved off the property line with Miss

Martini to six feet, which is actually what an

outbuilding would have to be off the lot, so I'm

really not asking for an entire variance. It's kind

of half a variance because you are allowed to build

that far off the lot line, just not the main house.

MEMBER GRAY: I think part of my

problem is the porch that you're proposing to the

south along Owenton, too. And -- and, again, I know

that that is a -- it's a very, very limited usage of

that street, but there are times in the spring and in

the fall when several of the people who need to get

into their backyards for their boats are in and out

of there constantly.

MR. COOK: Right.

MEMBER GRAY: And I would hate to think

that something would happen with you being only

five-and-a-half feet off that property line and

somehow, you know, we would be responsible if



something happened by granting this variance.

And I'm not trying to redesign your

house, please understand that.

MR. COOK: Right.

MEMBER GRAY: I'm just -- maybe the

deck could be on the front.

MR. COOK: Well, there is a deck going

to be on the front. That actually is going to end up

being kind of a side door, but with the cars parked

in the back of the house.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Laverne, you have any


MR. REINKE: I'm just trying to figure

out how to, you know, we could position, move,

change, and the only thing you can do is -- I

remember being down in New Orleans -- is build a

shotgun house on that lot, and that's the only way

you could really decrease the magnification or the

multitude of the variances and the size of the

variances, because it has to be long and narrow.

It's the only way it will work.

The only thing -- the only other thing

I have a problem with is to trying to work with a

modular spec, and that's really not going to work on



that lot. I think it's going to have to be a stick

built home.

MR. COOK: Well, even at a stick built

home, it depends on whether someone thinks a 20 foot

wide or 18 foot wide, or however wide you -- this is

the narrowest house that -- I didn't go and measure

people's houses down the road, but usually they end

up with a two-foot drive on one side and a couple

feet off the other side. I imagine there houses are

all 24 feet wide, a typical house.

MR. REINKE: It's not a typical lot.

That's the problem.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I think that given this

lot -- and lot configuration is one of our basis for

a variance. I think we need to consider this

petitioner, to design a house that has less variances

strictly for that purpose of getting less variances

when -- I'll go back to my other comment. A couple

of these variances are relative to a street that's

not a street and at some point may be vacated, which

isn't part of our consideration tonight, but it's

been brought up so it is.

I don't think that it's reasonable to

direct this petitioner to build a house that probably



in engineering and design and construction would be

two three, times the cost of what he can put on this


I think what he has submitted tonight

is -- and I'll tell you what, just to get a measure

of the board's position, I'm going to make a motion

to get this moving along, that with respect to

this -- Case Number 03-002, that the petitioner's

request be approved as submitted for the purpose --

sole purpose of lot configuration, lot size.


MR. CHAIRMAN: I have a motion and a

second. Any discussion?

MEMBER REINKE: I can't support the

motion because there's other avenues that haven't

been approached and looked at in the development of a

house on this lot.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Any other



want to follow up with Member Reinke's comment. It

goes back to if I accept this -- and, again, I

understand the idea that -- what the petitioner is

trying to do, but then it goes back to the hardship



is finances, and I can't -- I can't go with that.

MR. COOK: The hardship's not really

finances. It's more of a personal thing. I wouldn't

want to -- I don't want to build a big house. I

don't want to spend a lot of money on it. I don't

want it to have a high tax value. I'm trying to be

reasonable and economical, and that's -- I'm buying a

small lot, I'm putting a really small house on it.

I'm not -- the bottom line is not saving money. I

can go buy another lot somewhere else, I'd put a

modular on that one, too. I just like the concept of

the modular house is affordible, it's shaped right,

it's reasonably small. It may not be small enough,

but that's my approach.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I don't -- but I

don't think that it's so much -- and this is going to

sound weird here, but I don't think it's the size so

much as the shape and the creativity of the houses up

in that end of that area.

And I know you've done a lot of work

and you've looked at, you know -- but when

you're with a modular -- when you have a modular home

you're limited, and we have -- certainly have seen a

number of cases where people have come pretty



creative -- have become pretty creative on these

small lots, so I know that there's other avenues that

you can take.

If this is the lot -- if this is your

dream lot, I just feel that there's other ways of

doing it, and that's why I'm struggling with allowing

this with four variances or five variances when I

think in the back of my mind that there's something

else that can be done.

MR. COOK: But it does come down-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) I need to

interrupt here. We have a motion on the table.

We're discussing the motion. We're not debating


There's a motion on the table, there's

a second. Is there any discussion on the motion,


MR. SCHULTZ: Just to follow up on

Member Gronachan's comments, I think in this

situation, because we do have what is pretty clearly

an existing lot at the time the 40-foot, or the

60-foot, or 80-foot requirement came into being. It

is going to take more than just saying I think there

might be something else out there. If there is



a concern that the petitioner hasn't met what the

board would like to see, I think the board is going

to have an obligation to tell him tonight as part of

this discussion what it is he didn't provide and what

it is that the board would find acceptable, because

this is one of those things that would otherwise

become -- he keeps coming back, or somebody else

keeps coming back with another proposal. It's not

enough to simply say there might be something else.

I think -- and I'm not suggesting what

your decision or motion ought to be. I'm just saying

that there needs -- that's only half of the way

there, and you nee to get to the other end of it if

you're going to make a motion one way or the other

today -- tonight.

MR. CHAIRMAN: And that's fine, but

it's not relative to my motion because my motion is

for approval.

All right. Any other discussion? If

not, call the roll.

Oh, Terry.

MR. MORRONE: Mr. Chairman, one more

thing, and excuse me for bringing this up at this

time, but in -- and I'm not sure if I have all the



paperwork, but I'm wondering which way the car enters

the garage. Is it from Owenton, or is it all the way

around the back?

MR. COOK: From Owenton.

MR. MORRONE: From Owenton. And I was

just wondering if the board considered the fact that

a parking space of a car is about 19 to 20 feet, and

if that's the case, then a car sitting in front of

the garage would be into the right-of-way.

Now, the fact that it's an unimproved

road is -- and with little traffic probably won't

cause a problem, but in the event, for some reason or

another, it does get improved, then you have a car

that, if it sits in front of the drive -- sits in

front of the overhead door, by then it's going to be

in the right-of-way, at least in part, so -- just so

long as that's considered.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other discussion?

(No further discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: You're going to see real

quick where I'm going with this.

Please call the roll.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?




MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. As I pointed out

at the very beginning of the meeting, this is a short

board. You need four yeses, and you don't have four

yeses on an approval.

At this point in time we can continue

this debate, and probably get nowhere-

MR. COOK: (Interposing) Right.

MR. CHAIRMAN: -or we can get to a

denial, or you can take a recommendation that you go

back to the drafting board, knowing that next month

there will be two other board members. We will have

a full board next month. There's five here tonight.

Next month we will have seven.

MEMBER BAUER: Six count.

MEMBER CHAIRMAN: Six count, but we'll

have input from seven.



So -- I hate to put you off again, but-

MR. COOK: (Interposing) Actually, I

appreciate it. I think I just prefer to take the

denial. That way -- right now I'm stuck waiting for

a variance on my deposited property.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You're not going to get

a denial -- oh, no, you will because it's the

majority. Okay.

If you would prefer to cut and run, we

can do that-

MR. COOK: (Interposing) Get two


MR. CHAIRMAN: -we'll listen to another


MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Chair, in the matter

of Case 03-002, I would move that the petitioner's

request for the five variances be denied.


MEMBER GRAY: Based on the fact that it

has not been demonstrated, to my mind anyhow, that he

cannot build with less variances.


MR. CHAIRMAN. Discussion. Tom?

MR. SCHULTZ: With all due respect, I



think you're going to need a little more finding to

go along with that conclusion.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Meaning you just can't

say no, you have-

MR. SCHULTZ: (Interposing) In terms

of the facts that lead the member to -- the motion

maker to that conclusion.

MEMBER GRAY: One of the -- okay. One

of the reasons for the denial would be that if a

variance is -- how am I going to word this?

MEMBER REINKE: The lot's grossly

overbuilt to the City's variances.

MEMBER BAUER: Lot size and


MEMBER GRONACHAN: Lot size compared to

the house.

MEMBER GRAY: Yep, okay.

MR. SCHULTZ: A smaller home would

accomplish the requirements for a reasonably sized

liveable home?

MEMBER GRAY: Yes, and would also

provide the requried off-street parking in all cases,

with new construction, and may -- I'm just going to

leave it at that.



MR. COOK: What would this house look


MR. SCHULTZ: I don't know if you want

to debate this.

MR. CHAIRMAN: No. At this point I

can't even -- all I can suggest is coming in and

talking to the building department. I mean, we're

not architects. You've heard some board members feel

that the house as submitted tonight is too much of a

house for this lot.

We do have a motion, we have a second.

Any other discussion?

(No further discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?




MR. CHAIRMAN: I'm sorry, David, but

your package -- your application has been denied


MR. COOK: All right, thanks.


MR. CHAIRMAN: MR. Khanh, you want to

come down. Case Number 02-111.

Khanh, you want to raise your hand and

give us your name and be sworn by the --

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. PHAM: I do.


MR. PHAM: Khanh Pham, K-h-a-n-h, last

name is P-h-a-m, with Singh Development; address,

7125 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield, 48322.

Tonight I'm before you asking for two

variances, and you probably read your minutes, that

we've been through planning commission and the city


Because you have a long agenda, I guess

I would ask, at your pleasure, whether you want me to



go through the reason for our request or just field

questions, if there are any, so I'll leave that up to

the board.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Why don't we try the


MR. PHAM: Okay.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. There were

11 notices sent. We have no approvals, no


Anyone in the audience want to give

comment with respect to this case?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building and planning

department, you got something to say?

MR. SCHMITT: Thank you, Mr. Chair. My

name is Tim Schmitt. I'm actually with the planning

department here at the City of Novi.

I would just have one brief comment to

add. We have been reviewing this plan since

approximately October of last year. The applicant

has previously eliminated two other variances that

were required with the initial site plan.

I would also add that for the side yard

setback variance, the applicant has indicated, as



part of the planning commission approval, they will

provide additional setback on the property to the

north as part of the deed restriction on that

property; thereby, still providing the hundred and

fifty feet between buildings, which would be required

for the 75 foot setback on each of the properties.

That is something that you,

Mr. Pham, seems ameanable to at the planning

commission, and planning commission felt that was an

appropriate condition should the ZBA GATT this

variance this evening.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Not withstanding the

appeal for the setback, is it within the planning

department's opinion that this waiver of the noise

analysis is probably -- unless you have a bunch of


MR. SCHMITT: Given the intents of the

use it's surrounding, and the fact that phase one is

alreay in plance and we have not heard any complaints

concerning noise from phase one. In fact, this is an

assisted living facility. We don't expect much noise

to come out of this project.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Board

members. We're dealing with two variances. One is a



rear yard setback of 14 feet, and the other is the

noise analysis.

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, I think

for the scope of this project it's really a minimal

request, and the -- as far as sound, noise analysis,

with -- being in existence and not having any

problems there, I don't see any real reason for


MR. CHAIRMAN: I agree. We have a lot

of nods -- or heads nodding. Let's get a-


just have a question.

MR. CHAIRMAN: -get a motion.



MR. CHAIRMAN: So close.


packet, what can I say.

The plan review center report dated

January 8th, 2003, there is, on page two -- three --

four, says setback requirements. I agree with the

previous speaker's comment, until I saw this, and it

says setback requirements met, required, no. Then it

says a ZBA variance would be required for the rear --



sorry, setback. Alternatively, the plans could be

modified to eliminate the need for the variance.

MR. PHAM: If I may?


MR. PHAM: We're talking about the rear

yard setback, correct?


MR. PHAM: Okay. There we go. If --

it's kind of faint, so -- over here is phase one.

That's already constructed. As you can see, it's a

kind of care facility for independent living.

The way it's constructed -- and the

reason why I'm going through this is it helps explain

why it's designed the way it is.

It's designed in a figure eight so that

you're allowed for residents to have quick access to

the main service hub, which is right here, which is

your kitchen, dining room and all the amenities, like

stores and everything else.

When we redesigned this project, we had

to take the -- which is right here, the existing

drawing. This is what was approved and was more of a

donut, and the drop-off area was right here. We had

to take that driveway away from the circulation



drive, and also avoid having any confusion with

having two entrances on the same side for safety


So when we redesigned it, we had to

create a figure eight, and then the constraint --

because this existing building is there, hold to the

circulation of an existing building with an existing

service hub.

So there is another redesign, but it

wouldn't -- it would create a longer building, or

would have to go down to the south, and then affect a

building that's already approved.

So rather than do that, we have the

building right here, working with the planning

department and the planning commission, since we own

the property to the north, to put a deed restriction

that we would meet the intent of the ordinance and

keep a hundred and fifty feet away so that there

would not be an adverse affect on this building.

MEMBER GRAY: Khanh, when you measure

your setback from the rear, can you show me where

your rear line is and where that setback falls?

MR. PHAM: Sure.

MEMBER GRAY: Just by showing us up on




MR. PHAM: Actually, I have a diagram

that was submitted in your packet, right here.

The slope of the -- not slope but the

property line is not like a straight line. It curves

down because there is a marginal access road that

circulates around the building for safety purposes.

Because of it being a irregular property line area,

that's the only area, approximately, that has the 14

feet deficiency.

So from that point on, to the corner of

the building, is where, instead of having 75 feet you

only have 61 feet; and, therefore, having 14 feet

setback problem.

MEMBER GRAY: What if you took that jog

out of the building right there?

MR. PHAM: You would severely affect

and diminish the building.

When we rotated the building, we had a

hundred and two units. I knew that if I came back

here seeking variances and still had the same number

of units, you're saying why don't you reduce your

units. We have reduced our units to, now, 80 units

so that we could keep within the confine of this




MEMBER GRAY: But if you take that one

jog out of that corner and then it looks more like

the corner facing the south, then you're eliminating

the need for a variance, are you not?

MR. SCHMITT: If I could interject

here. Actually, the entire northwest corner of the

building essentially, because it keeps jogging back

and forth, that whole area is actually within the

setback. It's not that one singular point.

Actually, all three points, I believe, require -- are

varying within the amount there in setback. The

maximum is 14 feet, but that entire area is

technically within the setback.

And from a design standpoint, looking

at alternatives, that's sort of standard language

that we put forward.

And one of the other variances was

eliminated by a design alternative. And that's sort

of where that language comes, is to try looking at

other things.

MEMBER GRAY: Well, I -- I'm trying to

look at the spirit of it, too, and 14 feet on this

side of a structure is really, with all due respect,



nothing, so -- and in the size of the project.

I have absolutely no problem with the

request for the waiver of the noise analysis due to

the location of what's surrounding this. If there's

absolutely no other proposal requiring a lesser

variance, then I guess then that's what we're faced

with. And our decision is supposed to be based on

has a lesser proposal been, you know -- have we been

presented with a lesser proposal or -- to require no

variance, so -- thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, it's been how many

months going through the planning process and you've

gotten this far. And for a building, a project of

this size, you'd really be looking at one variance

that has any significance, and it's 14 foot on acres

and acres of a operation.

MEMBER GRAY: I understand.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody else?

(No response)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Perhaps let's move

forward and hear a motion.

MR. REINKE: Mr. Chairman, in Case

02-111, I move that the variance request for the rear

yard setback of 14 feet and the -- waive the



requirement of the noise analysis be approved because

of building shape and configuration; and for the

noise, that existing buildings have not deemed to

really warrant this analysis.


MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Motion and a

second. Any discussion?

MR. SCHULTZ: Just a comment.


MR. SCHULTZ: The -- probably be best

for this board, if you're interested, you have the

clearest authority to require that deed restriction

that Mr. Schmitt commented on, so if it plays at all

into your decision-making process, it should be part

of the condition of the variance.


MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Any other


MEMBER GRAY: I just want to point out,

I'm going to support this -- this var -- both

variances. I just wish it were not required.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Sarah?

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?




MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. You have

your variance. See the building department for your

building permits.

MR. PHAM: Thank you. Good night.


MR. CHAIRMAN: 03-005 is filed by Harry

Chawney, and Harry wants to buy a lot but he wants to

build a huge house on it.

Want to give us your name and raise

your right hand and be sworn?

MR. CHAWNEY: My name is Harry Chawney.

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. CHAWNEY: I would like to

(inaudible) for hearing my appeal first of all.

I live on 39526 Kartar Lane over on

Novi off of Haggerty.

The lot I want to buy is zoned R-3, and

the house -- can everyone see that? It's basically

in the packet I dropped off earlier with the City.

The house is located in a flood plane,

and through the design process I had to come up with

a way to balance a minimal impact onto the flood

plane, deal with the headlights from cars turning

onto Nine Mile Road.

MEMBER GRAY: Could you put it on the

overhead so some of the other people could see,


MR. CHAWNEY: Sure, no problem.

MEMBER GRAY: Thank you.

MR. CHAWNEY: To continue, I -- the

flood plane is located from this point here in the

darker line on the site to this point over here where

there's a flood plane to lie in between those two




One factor in the house is the finished

floor must be one foot above the flood plane, which

is 847, and the main level of the house is actually

eight feet above the flood plane.

Technically, the house is a three-story

house because the main level underneath -- the area

under the main level is a parking level, which is

allowed under the building code, and you would go

upstairs to the main level of the house. And what

I'm asking for is a variance for the added area for

storage, because you can't store anything in this

flood plane.

My added area is about 27 percent of

the coverage of the main level of the house. And the

house itself is 30 feet in the air. R-3 zoning

allows 35 feet, so I'm five feet under the maximum

height, and R-3 zoning does allow two-and-a-half

stories. And, technically, my house is three

stories, so I'm asking for a variance for a


And that's basically what I wanted to


MR. CHAIRMAN: If we have any questions

we'll get to them.




MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Anybody in

the audience care to make comment? Yes, ma'am, come

on down.

MS. MAHLMEISTER: Mr. Chairman, good

evening. Board members, good evening.

My name is Tina Mahlmeister,

M-a-h-l-m-e-i-s-t-e-r. My husband, Dan, and I own

the property directly to the north of that, which is

43421 Cottisford Road, which has a mailbox of

Northville, Michigan 48167.

The only thing that separates his

property and ours is what's called Thornton Creek,

which is a waterway, which has water.

We are currently owners. We've been

there it will be six years this October, and we have

a major flooding problem every spring in that area.

I know it shows this lovely little

flood plane that's here and here; however, there is

flooding that goes both in my backyard all the way up

to 15 feet from my deck.

My concern is changing the lay of the

land with building, and the removal of trees is also

going to change the ground saturation where now I'm



going to have to address possible flooding in my

basement. I currently don't have that problem

because the people who built the house before us does

have -- did build it with a -- they did address the

drainage issue that is currently around the property.

Second, esthetics. I kind of

questioned from the standpoint of having it elevated

so high, not only from my standpoint of looking -- is

there a questionable esthetics, but also from the

neighbor that is directly to the east of that, which

is a ranch home, and there's such a great variance of

difference there in height. And you can't tell me

that that's going to improve the cost of their home.

There's a home on Center Street, which is 975, which

is a huge home, and next to that is a ranch, which is

985 Center Street, and that has not increased their

value of their home. And I questioned their value of

their home, and I also question the value of our home

going down to the fact that, number one, with that

road expansion of Nine Mile and Novi Road, that

intersection, we also now have an increase of noise.

And to address that even more, with the

building of this home, taking those trees down it's

going to increase more noise to our house. And from



a resalable point, I question that.

Another issue that I have is from a

safety standpoint. There is pedestrian walk --

pedestrian lights on each of the intersections on

north, south, east, west of Nine Mile and Novi Road.

We currently, on the west side of Novi Road, do not

have a pedestrian walkway, but people do use it and

ride their bikes.

My question -- the point that I want to

bring up is from esthetics standpoint of something

that's towering this far high, and that

intersection's so highly traversed, that it's going

to cause some -- and it's not even straight on the

lot. The house is angled. It's going to cause a

visual concern.

And I question not only the safety of

the children in the area but also the safety of the

traffic in the intersection which, if so needed, I

will definitely get information from the police

department of the increase of accidents since I have

been there, since that intersection has been

expanded, because even though it is 35 miles an hour

on Nine Mile, it is, if I'm not mistaken, 40 or 45

miles an hour on Novi Road, and it does cause a



problem in that intersection.

And I do object to having this happen;

main reason is flooding for my property, and sound.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Somebody else?

Sir, give us your name and address.

MR. SPEIER: My name is Rob Speier. I

live at 43590 Nine Mile, two lots over from the lot

in question.

We had two issues with the property.

At one point in time they proposed changing the

zoning to a day care, and we were not happy about

that. We're not unhappy about the fact that somebody

wants to build a residential dwelling there.

The thing that -- again, the -- what I

want to find out was how significant the backfill on

the property is going to be, because we're in the

same situation with our backyard floods.

June King, the letter you have, her

basement floods every year.

As the years have gone by, it has

gotten worse and worse. That lot holds a lot of


And the only thing I wanted to ask

Harry was how much backfill he's going to actually do



on the property. That's, again, going to raise the

level of the water in our backyard.

So we're not -- we don't have a

significant problem with -- we'd rather see a home

there than some sort of a business or a day care,

that type of thing, so -- we believe that the lot's

going to get developed eventually, and this doesn't

sound like the worst thing that could happen, so --

but we're, again, just concerned with the fill.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody else in the


(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: There were 12 notices.

A letter from Miss King, June King, raised the same

issues about flooding with regard to Thornton Creek.

Building department?

MR. MORRONE: In answer to that letter,

I can't tell you if construction of this home is

going to increase any flooding in that for Mrs. King.

I would think that that will be looked at by

engineering when and if this variance gets passed,

and will certainly not allow any increased flooding

as a result of the construction of this home, so-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Wouldn't



we, as a board though, want to know a little bit more

about that before we even consider a variance?

It's just an open question, yeah.

MEMBER REINKE: I don't think really

the board can make a recommendation, but I think

through engineering they're required to maintain the

water on their lot and not have it being in an

overflow situation to the neighboring residents.

So through City ordinance and City

regulations, this issue would be addressed, to the

best of my knowledge.

MR. MORRONE: But if the natural flow

goes down to the creek-

MEMBER REINKE: (Interposing) Right.

MR. MORRONE: -that's probably where it

would go anyhow.


MR. MORRONE: To say that the

construction of this home would cause increased

flooding in the surrounding homes, I'm not sure that

the -- that's the case here. It may be other

reasons. That has to be looked at by engineering.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I guess where I was

driving at is that we have residents -- local



residents that have raised this as a significant

issue. I'd like to recommend that that discussion

and that analysis and evaluation be done before we

consider any variance and start talking about home

construction there. I think they've raised

legitimate points.

I'd like to recommend that you get with

the City and come up with a plan on how you're going

to control water on that parcel, and talk to your

neighbors, potential neighbors, so that they're not

all worried and concerned about it.

New construction on new parcels,

especially residential, we always encourage the

applicants to talk to the neighbors, tell them what

you're doing. Obviously they've raised some

legitimate concerns about flooding, and they're

concerned about what you may do might make it worse.

And they're -- that's a reasonable-

MR. CHAWNEY: (Interposing) No, I


Can I state for the record though that

I'm going to put -- bring no fill onto the property

at all. That's why I raised the house eight feet.

The house is within the setback as required by the



City. I'm farther away from Novi Road. I'm on the

setbacks from Nine Mile Road.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There's some question

about pulling trees out and there's not as much

drainage, and I think there's legitimate questions.

I'd like to have something in front of me from the

building department, or from the City, whatever,

engineering, that addresses those issues that were

raised tonight. I think that that's fair.

And in doing so, it sets you back 30


MR. CHAWNEY: No, that's fine. I


MR. CHAIRMAN: Yeah. If you don't have

any problem with that, sir, I -- first of all, you're

going to have neighbors that will welcome you, and I

think that we need to know what -- how that's all

going to be addressed, if you don't have any problem

with that.

MR. CHAWNEY: No, sure, that's fine.

We can table it for a month. That's fine.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Is that the gist of the


MEMBER REINKE: That's fine.



MR. CHAIRMAN: Move to table.


MR. CHAIRMAN: All those in favor, say


(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

MR. CHAWNEY: Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Who would the petitioner

come to see to start things off?

MR. MORRONE: Come to our department.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Call the building

department and they'll give you some direction on-

MR. CHAWNEY: (Interposing) No


MR. CHAIRMAN: Does that take care --

ladies and gentlemen out in the audience here, ma'am?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Are you satisfied with


MS. MAHLMEISTER: I do have one


MR. CHAIRMAN: Can you come down here?

We want to be able to hear you.

MS. MAHLMEISTER: I do have one



question. The company who came out and did the

intersection, which was JCK, they were telling me

that they were going to go all the way in the back

middle part of my backyard and redo this and revamp

it and do all this backfill and change it with

compacted cement things and what have you, and the

DEQ, if I'm not mistaken, the Department of

Environmental Quality, came out and said no, they

can't do it.

When you're asking him to get approval

-- or questionable flooding, does that also include

that that department comes out and checks that out,

they work with the DNA on that -- the DNR, I'm sorry.

I'm in the medical field.

MR. MORRONE: No. We would ask the

petitioner to hire his own engineering firm to do the

own analysis of all the drainage aspects and

potential flooding. We would then have our engineers

review it in compliance with the ordinances.

We would also ask that the State of

Michigan DEQ evaluate the flood plane issues.

MS. MAHLMEISTER: Okay, thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Maybe you'll give

Harry your phone number so he -- you can keep -- all



right. Everyone's happy.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, do we want to take

on Catholic Central or take a five-minute break?

We can sneak another one in here. Case

03-006. This is John Richard Homes in Autumn Park.

This is regarding extension for a construction


Sir, you want to give us your name and

be sworn?

MR. COLLINS: Good evening,

Mr. Chairman, members of the board. My name is Chet

Collins. I represent John Richards Homes at 32600

Telegraph Road, suite 200, Birmingham, Michigan


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. COLLINS: Yes, I do.


MR. COLLINS: Members of the board, we

request a extension on a -- a one-year extension on



the existing permit for a construction trailer.

There's -- currently on lot 127 in the Autumn Park


The reason for our request is that we

are currently building on the site. We still own 21

lots, and we are continuing our completion of the

community and would like to continue our construction

staff's location there as we complete the community.

It's as simple as that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Anybody in

the audience wish to speak to this case?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: There were 21 notices;

an objection from Miss Waldop regarding four years

worth of dumpsters, trailers and portable toilets in

the neighborhood, non-maintenance of the empty lots

they own, loaded with garbage, construction materials

and overgrown weeds.

Building department?

MR. MORRONE: We would have no

objection to extending the time.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members?

MEMBER REINKE: I would like to see a

little policing action there in cleaning up --



MR. COLLINS: We have been working with

the City ordinance officers, and if anyone took a

ride through this site, as of today the site is in

very good shape and none of those issues exist at

this time.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You say there's 21 lots

that are yet to be sold?

MR. COLLINS: That's correct.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Out of how many total?

MR. COLLINS: Out of a hundred and

thirty-seven, sir.

MR. CHAIRMAN: So you've got less than

ten percent of the overall-

MR. COLLINS: (Interposing) Correct.

We're in the final phase.

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, I think

that if this went through the building season, that

there really doesn't need to be a year-extension.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I recall in past cases

that once we hit that 50 percent mark we typically

talk about removing things like this, but I would be

inclined to agree with you, Laverne, that if you took

them through six months and got them through the

summer, that that should be more than sufficient.



Any other discussion?

MEMBER GRAY: I received some phone

calls from some of the neighbors over there who were

not at all pleased that you were storing pickup truck

caps and such up front. Are you-

MR. COLLINS: (Interposing) Pickup

truck that was there was a site truck. It's no

longer on the site.

MEMBER GRAY: Okay. Well, there was

some outdoor storage issues that were brought to my

attention, and I referred them to the proper people

in the City, and I'm sure they've been addressed

because when I was there last week there's just a lot

of pipe and stuff there.

MR. COLLINS: There are a couple

existing columns for a home that's under construction

that -- they're stored, you know, in the trailer

currently. Those will be installed on that home as

soon as the home is bricked. It's just a staging

point through construction.

MEMBER GRAY: I would just encourage

you with that development, you might want to try to

keep it as neat as you can.

MR. COLLINS: We will continue to work



with the City ordinance officers to address all those


MEMBER GRAY: Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You hear us leaning more

towards a six-month extension?

Can you work with that?

MR. COLLINS: Well, I really would like

to see the year based on the current market

conditions and the homes aren't selling as fast as

they have been in prior years. I would appreciate

you consider the year time frame.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Remind you, you need

four votes of five.

MR. COLLINS: I understand.

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, in Case

03-006, I move that the petitioner's request for a

variance for a period of eight months, and that the

trailer is to be removed at the end of that period of

eight months for assisted construction of the balance

of the lots.


MR. CHAIRMAN: That takes it through

what, November?




MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. We got a nod.

Call the vote.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. You've got an

amended variance through the end of November.

MR. COLLINS: Thank you very much. I

appreciate that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. We're going to

just take a real quick five-minute break, if you

don't mind, and we'll be right back and talk about

Catholic Central. Looking forward to that


(A short recess was taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let's call this meeting

back to order.




MR. CHAIRMAN: And we are going to

begin by calling Case 03-007, Catholic Central.

And, sir, are you an attorney?

MR. ARGENTA: No, I'm not.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Then we're going

to ask you to be sworn in. Raise your right hand and

give us your name.

MR. ARGENTA: My name is John Argenta,

CPB Architects, 26600 Telegraph, Southfield.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Raise your right

hand, please. Do you swear or affirm that the

information that you're about to give in the case

before you is the truth?

MR. ARGENTA: Yes, I do.


MR. ARGENA: Good evening. We have

submitted a preliminary site plan and received

preliminary site plan approval for the new Catholic

Central High School from the planning commission, and

it was on the condition that there were five

variances that were required.

Two of the variances have to do with



the lighting of the football field, and three of the

variances are landscape variances, which had been

reviewed by the planning department and the planning


The site that we have is an extremely

difficult site with tremendous amount of wetlands

through the middle and a lot of limitating factors on

the site.

The zoning ordinance basically requests

that the land adjacent to residential, that you have

a maximum 25 foot lighting for general lighting, and

the other lighting that's not adjacent to residential

can be the height of the -- that's the limit on the

site, which is 30 feet on this site.

We have provided photometrics and the

lighting plan to the planners. It's all -- was

acceptable, with the exception of the football field

lighting, which, generally, is not addressed in the

zoning ordinance as special lighting.

The football field was kept to the far

northwest corner of this site back in here. This is

Island Lakes down in this portion of the site to the

south. And the area to the west also is undeveloped

but presently zoned residential, and to the north is



zoned light industrial and a couple other zonings.

The ideal lighting for a football

field, the concept of it is rather different from

general lighting, and it requires an amount of light

to adequately have the event but also to reduce

glare, light glow, and any spill out onto residential


And in this case to provide that, we've

used Musco (ph) Lighting, which is an expert.

They've provided lighting for many, many athletic

fields across the country, and to provide these ideal

lightings and the very sharp cutoff lines, I think

you had in your packet the photometrics that we had

for this.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We've got a pretty

substantial packet here-

MR. ARGENTA: (Interposing) Okay,


MR. CHAIRMAN: -with a lot of

information that addressed each one of these


What I -- and I don't want to cut you

off here, but what we would do here is, once we get

into discussion, we'll take these one at a time.



If there's anything specific that

wasn't in the packet, we've had a couple weeks to

read through this stuff, so we're pretty familiar

with the plan.

But if you want to continue on, go down

and touch on it --

MR. ARGENTA: Good. So what we're

providing is two 80-foot -- or four 80-foot lamp

poles with a 45 degree lighting cutoff. The

ordinance limits it to 80 feet -- or to 25 feet with

a 90 degree cutoff; however, this has been found to

be the very best way to provide lighting for a

football field and to provide the best lighting for

all of the surrounding areas, the minimal spill, very

sharp cutoff, and the least detriment to any of the


We've done this at two or three

football fields in Utica in the past year,

at Lanse Creuse in Mount Clemens, and the neighbors

have been very satisfied with the results.

And I have -- if you have any

questions on this, I have two gentlemen from Musco

Lighting here that can answer any technical question

that you might have.



MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Like I said,

we've had a chance to read through all this. I think

we've all been following this whole development since

day one, so if we have anything specific we'll hit

them up one at a time.

Anyone in the audience care to comment

regarding these variance requests from Catholic

Central? No hands.

We did have 20 notices. Your neighbor

to the north, Cadillac Asphalt, said these are all

minor variances that will have no impact on the


And with that, building department?

MR. MORRONE: I would defer it over to

planning, please.

MR. SCHMITT: Just a couple things that

came out of the planning commission due to this


For comparison's sake, the lights at

Novi High School are 90 feet tall. That was a

request of the planning commission at that meeting.

The cutoff angle is approximately the same.

The applicant is requesting the

variance for the berm along the surrounding



properties; however, as a result of planning

commission, substantial additional landscaping,

plantings and trees where appropriate are being

supplemented in these areas to provide screening due

to the lack of berming if the ZBA so desires to do


Those are the two additional things

that you may or may not have known.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Tell you what. Let's --

If I might suggest, why don't we talk about the first

two variances with respect to lighting.

And we have had some discussion

amongst us all. I researched as well the Novi High

School lighting. It's at 90 degrees. I wasn't sure

on the angle, whether that was similar at Novi High

School as what they're proposing here.

MR. SCHMITT: It's approximately 45

degrees. We couldn't get an exact number, but it's

the standard.

MR. CHAIRMAN: As I understand it, the

whole concept behind this angling is to direct light

down so that it's not going out, so this is all in

line with they're being close to residential




Any discussion or questions of the

applicant on these two issues?

MEMBER BAUER: Yes. Going at the 45

degree instead of the 90, that is not going to bleed

over into residential?

MR. ARGENTA: No. In fact, with the

added height, it gives it a very sharp cutoff. I

think you can see on those photometrics that right at

the edge of the football field. It drops to almost

less than one foot candle.

MEMBER BAUER: Very good.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other question?


just like to clarify, please. I'd just like to

clarify. Now seeing this all put together as opposed

to laying out on my living room floor -- it was a

little hard putting it together -- I want to verify

that -- how far is the football field from the

nearest residence?

MR. ARGENTA: I think you can probably

see this plan a little bit better. This is Island

Lakes to the south. The distance from here to here

is over 600 feet to the property line, and then

actually within Island Lakes there's a lot more to



the next residence.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Thank you for the


MEMBER GRAY: What about to the west?

MR. ARGENTA: To the west, this is


MEMBER GRAY: What about the mobile

home park?

MR. SARKISSIAN: That -- I'm going to

say that that's probably a quarter of a mile away.

It's a very considerable open field there.

MEMBER GRAY: Well, I'm not that

familiar with Novi High School because I live at end

of the city where it's Walled Lake School District

Consolidated, and I know from my house just off South

Lake I can see the lights up on Beck Road north of

Pontiac Trail, and that's probably two-and-a-half

miles, as the crow flys, to see those lights.

Now, I'm not sure of the height of

those poles, and I'm not sure of the kind of lighting

that they have because that school is 35 years old,

but if I can see those lights, and if I can also hear

their band on Friday nights at football games, you

know, then there's going to be a concern with the



residents surrounding you that I'm going to be

concerned with, but I'm going to have to trust you on

the numbers and hope for the best, because if there's

going to be a problem, you're certainly going to hear

about it.

MR. SARKISSIAN: Absolutely.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Twenty notices were

sent; there were no objections; however, there's

nobody even living on Island Lake and on Sutton Park,

is there?

MR. ARGENTA: Under this area, I'm not

sure exactly. I know more of them down this way.

MR. SCHMITT: There's a condominium

development further to the southwest. It's

approximately -- it's 400 feet from the baseball

diamond to the first condominium, so extrapolating

that out-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) I guess

my point that I was going to get to is that anybody

that's going to buy a house in that neighborhood is

going to know there's a football field there. In due

dilligence, in buying a million dollar home, you

better do your homework.

Any further discussion on the lighting




(No further discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Let's see if

we can put that part to bed.

MEMBER GRAY: In the matter of Case

03-007 as it respects the two variances requested for

the lighting, I move that we approve the request for

the 55-foot variance for the four poles -- do you

want this one at a time or together -- and that we

approve the variance for the angle from 90 degrees to

45 degrees.



MEMBER GRAY: Because this is a special

land use and this application was not anticipated

when the ordinance was written.

Good enough?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Actually, I think there

was something in the minutes that said that the

ordinance regarding lighting didn't take into affect

football fields.


MR. SCHMITT: Yes. There's nothing in

the current ordinance that has a football field in




Actually, you may be seeing down the

road a request from the City itself for a variance

for this requirement.

MEMBER GRAY: So with that in mind,

should we then, at this point, also refer this matter

to ordinance review?

MR. SCHULTZ: Sure. That wouldn't


MEMBER BAUER: When we get into


MEMBER GRAY: (Interposing) I

understand schools, but there also may be other

parochial schools coming in that may want something,

or other applications, other than schools. I

understand that.

MEMBER REINKE: Well, if I may suggest

that it just be reviewed to -- or deferred to

ordinance review for consideration.



MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. There's a





MR. CHAIRMAN: We do have a second.

Any other discussion?

(No further discussion.)


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Let's move on to

the berming. I see I've wrote a note here as I was

reviewing the file that -- what the applicant has

proposed to do. I mean, he's not just asking for a

variance on berming but he has an alternative -- he

has other plans. Correct, is that the proper-

MR. SCHMITT: (Interposing) Yes.

There are additional plans that are being provided.

MR. CHAIRMAN: And the bottom line,

that their recommendation to this board was to move



for an approval, and I'll -- I would support that.

MEMBER BAUER: Question. Will this

landscape be as thorough as a buffer?

MR. SCHMITT: I'm sure the applicant's

landscape architect can discuss the thoroughness of


MR. ARGENTA: (Interposing) This is

Ken Wykel (ph), the landscape architect for the

project. He can answer your questions.

MR. WYKEL: Briefly, with the site's

natural features and edges and wetlands and stands of

trees, in the areas along the edges the berms are

asked to be deleted because of the natural trees that

we're keeping in general.

If you want me to specifically talk

about each one, I could, but that was -- it's --

basically what we're asking for is not having to put

the berms in, or screen walls, and that's to keeping

the hedge rows and trees and wetlands.

MEMBER BAUER: My question again is,

are those going to be as dense as a berm would be?

MR. WYKEL: I would say no because a

berm is solid and planting -- the existing plantings

are not. But if we do berm we would kill the



existing plantings.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I would imagine -- back

to planning -- that this particular discussion has

had months of back and forth to get to where we're at


MR. SCHMITT: And certainly at the

planning commission level they discuss it further.

In some of the areas, the natural

features that are currently on the site, especially

in the southern property line, and the fact that

Island Lake already has a berm in place, the

additional plantings that are going to be put in

there will be -- provide a higher opacity than any

amount of plantings you can get on the actual berm,

and along Wixom, the right-of-way berm along Wixom

Road, the amount of wetlands in there really -- it

doesn't make sense, from our perspective, to fill

wetlands to put in a berm.

MR. CHAIRMAN: That's the next variance

discussion. Anybody else?

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Mr. Chairman, I can

support this request for variance after reviewing

this, especially taking into consideration what our

plan review center requested. And I refer to the



letter back on February 6th. It's pretty clear that

there's a lot of dense wetlands, woodlands, trees

that they seem to think they are going to buffer a

lot of the residential sections.

Granted, I understand that a berm is

not the exact same thing, but I think that this

wetlands and this woodlands that are existing

actually uphold the spirit and the intent of the

ordinance, and that is to buffer those and protect

those outlying areas, especially to the west and to

the south is what I was concerned at, and reviewing

this pretty extensively I can really support this


MR. CHAIRMAN: Variance?

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Variance, sorry.

MEMBER GRAY: Is that a motion?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Item three.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: All right. Well, in

Case Number 03-007, item number three, I move that we

support the variance request for the -- to eliminate

the berms in the effect that the property is --

offers its own natural buffers with the adequate

wetlands, vegitation, trees and uplands; and,



therefore, so meets the spirit and the intent of the



MR. CHAIRMAN: We do have a second.


MR. SCHULTZ: Just a clarification the

board may want to add, that in the event, in the

future -- I guess I'm kind of thinking of the -- our

own (inaudible) in the event that natural screening

that's there now, for some reason doesn't

substantially remain, I presume that the board would

want to revisit this or condition the variance upon

that being a permanent screen, and if it doesn't stay

there then that might be another issue-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Certainly

meaning the trees aren't there any longer.

MR. SCHULTZ: Trees die.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Major drought.

MR. SCHULTZ: I think it's implied in

the spirit of the motion the reason they're asking

for the variance, but just a clarification on the

intent of the board.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I don't have any

problem with that.




MEMBER GRONACHAN: And also that in

the future, the event that all of the natural

wetlands, woodlands and trees die out, that -- then

this project would -- this petitioner would come back

in front of the board for further review.



MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other discussion?

(No further discussion.)


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. The Wixom

Road right-of-way. This, again, is a buffer, berm,

landscape berm, and the petitioner is requesting a



waiver of this along Wixom Road. Is that right?

MR. RYKEL: Due to the wetlands

adjacent to the right-of-way.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Discussion here?

MEMBER GRAY: I think we can duplicate

the previous motion and conditions.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I feel the same way,

and we'll call the vote on that one.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I'll consider that a

motion and a second and discussion and we'll call the

vote on that one. Go ahead, Sarah.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. The last item is

parking area landscaping, required parking lot

interior landscaping. By ordinance, 14,000 square



feet, and what's proposed is almost 13.

Planning, you want to give us a little

background here?

MR. SCHMITT: Thank you, Mr. Chair. If

I could get the overhead briefly. I'll go ahead and

zoom in on this area. It's the easiest way to

describe it.

As you can see on your site plans,

throughout the site there are landscaped islands in

this area. There's a certain amount of landscaping

that's provided, that is required to be provided in

the interior of a parking/maneuvering automobile

area. And as you can see, they are providing in this

area, and they are providing it in this lot as well.

It was the determination of the City's

landscape consultant and the planning department that

these buffer-type areas should also be included into

its calculation.

Given the fact that they are separating

two vehicular use areas, the applicant is providing

them of their own volition. They could simply put

the curb in and have the boulevard and the parking

lot adjacent to each other without necessarily

providing that landscaped area.



If these were counted into the

calculations, they would be substantially over these

parking lot landscape requirements by

approximately -- and I don't have the exact numbers,

I apologize, but If I remember correctly, it's over

20,000 square feet of substantial amount, because

there is landscaping along the entire boulevard that

planning commission determined should not be

calculated -- should not be part of this calculation.

And that is the history of the request

before you tonight.

MR. CHAIRMAN: So it's actually there

but it's not included in the numbers?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Makes that one a little

easier. Any discussion, board members?

It sounds like that -- in fact, that

it's there, but due to the way you calculate it, it's

not included or not counted.

I would move that on item number five,

that the petitioner has presented a case that he

meets the intent of the ordinance, that he probably

and excessively calculated a different way.




MR. CHAIRMAN: Motion and a second.


(No discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?

MR. HOGAN: Don't we get public

comments here.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, we kind of had

that already.

MR. HOGAN: This is a separate item.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Go ahead. We need to

get a mic up to you though.

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, can you

have him state his name for the record, please.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Name for the record,


MR. HOGAN: Ray Hogan, H-o-g-a-n. As

you can see there, that's the lot that's going to be

at the stadium, and there's six, I believe, parking

spaces for the handicapped in that section.

And for the games and activities that

will be (inaudible), will be adding cars in all of

those fields in the back and the side of the road,

and the whole bit out in that area.



And I'd like to make sure that for the

games and the large numbers of people that will come

to activities there, other than the football games

specifically, have the proper amount of parking

spaces for the entire area so that we can have people

that are seniors and persons with mobility issues to

be able to get in from the closest point to the door,

which they are allowed to do.

And I have a solution for it, simply

rolling out additional signs for the specific --

customizing or -- just for that issue. We do it at

hotels all the time for conferences. You simply roll

out single poles with weights on them, and you have a

blue sign that says handicapped parking. You can

take them back down after the game and have all the

non-handicap you want.

But you only have 13 on the entire

site, and the only other one there is the student

parking area down the road.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Planning, does this site

plan meet the handicap ordinance?

MR. SCHMITT: In terms of the number of

parking spaces required, it does meet the ordinance.

We have heard this concern before, and I think the



portable signs, if Catholic Central, down the road,

finds a need for this, would be an appropriate

solution; however, at this time we don't think it's

something that necessarily should be required of

them. They are providing the -- they are actually

splitting their handicap parking between the building

and the football field, which actually they're not

required to do specifically.

MR. HOGAN: It would be nice if they

have it all at the football field. They only have

six for the entire 3,000 seats that are going to be

at that stadium.

MR. SCHMITT: Certainly I think that

they're going to -- they may see down the road that

they do need to provide some additional handicap

parking. I believe they have approximately 30

handicap-accessible seats, at least on the home side

of the stadium. I can't remember exactly the

visitor's side, so -- there may be an imbalance there

that they need to work out down the road, but in

terms of meeting the ordinance, they do meet the

ordinance requirement.

MR. CHAIRMAN: What's before us, and

what has been -- what has been -- the motion that's



on the table is regarding the interior landscaping.

MR. HOGAN: Actually, the landscaping

is also an issue, because when you started taking on

square footage away from the parking lot and making

variances, you're also reducing the amount of

handicap parking spaces for that area, so at the very

least the entire amount that's required by the zoning

ordinance should be accounted for and then take off

whatever landscaping they're going to do -- or

whatever variance they're going to have.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sir, I'm not going to

debate this with you.

MR. HOGAN: I'm making a statement.

I'm addressing the landscaping issue. I'm making a

statement. I'm addressing exactly what you're


MR. CHAIRMAN: Your concerns should be

in front of planning and planning commission. We've

got five variance requests in front of us. Nothing

had been brought in front of us that this plan is out

of whack with respect to handicap spaces.

MR. MORRONE: Mr. Chairman?


MR. MORRONE: As a function of the



building department, we do review the entire site and

the building for compliance to the State construction

code, which includes barrier-free design and

accessibility issues, so all of this will be

evaluated, and if there is -- if there are parking

spaces required in this area, they will be there, and

if the petitioner chooses not to, then he has to

appeal that to the State of Michigan.

So we will, again, go through this

process, in addition to the ordinance, to make sure

that all accessible parking is provided, wherever the

State law required it to be.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Any discussion on the


MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Chair, I would just

like to point out that by virtue of the fact that we

are considering granting this variance, it -- this

is going to require Catholic Central not do as much

as they would be required to in the interior

landscaping by counting these other areas where they

are going to be, so this should actually enhance the

availability of parking for everyone.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other discussion on

the motion?



(No further discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Mr. Brennan had said


Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Gentlemen, you have your

variances. See the building department.

MR. ARGENTA: Thank you very much.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We look forward to

seeing Catholic Central in Novi.


MR. CHAIRMAN: The next case is 03-008

filed by John Richards Homes, Autumn Park. They're

looking for a rear yard setback for new construction.

MR. COLLINS: Good evening again, Mr.

Chairman, members of the board. I'm



Chet Collins, John Richards Homes.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You're already sworn.

MR. COLLINS: Okay. I have a brief

explanation of our requests, if that-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Yep.

MR. COLLINS: -is okay.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You've got the floor.

MR. COLLINS: Okay. We are

requesting -- you know, faced with the challenges of

selling homes over the past year in an unstable

market. We have a buyer with a signed -- we have a

buyer now with a signed purchase agreement contingent

on approval of the variance shown on the plot plan

before you for lot number 120, Autumn Park.

This buyer has selected one of our

standard house plans on a specific site because of

its location and views of the community.

Because of the irregular shape of this

lot, the rear of the house encroaches the setback

less than ten feet on the right side and less than

two feet on the left side, as you all know the plan.

As you can see, we are not trying to

put a huge house on a small lot. We are just trying

to put one of our standard homes on this lot, which



would fit on 99 percent of the other lots in this

community for this specific buyer with your approval.

Furthermore, also because of the

irregular shape of this lot, we are -- we

significantly exceed the minimum required combined

side yard setbacks by approximately 28 feet. Only

because of the cul-de-sac location and the irregular

size of the house, the house is just virtually pushed

slightly further to the rear.

Finally, because of this -- that this

site backs up to Argyle Park North, there really is

virtually no impact on the existing homeowners in the


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Anybody in the

audience care to make a comment in this case? Come

on down. Give us your name and address.

MR. PRATT: Good evening. My name is

Charlie Pratt. My wife, Lydia, and myself live at

23051 Argyle Court. That is lot 119. That is the

lot immediately west to the subject lot. And we are

strongly opposed to granting this variance for three

key reasons.

Number one, violating this rear yard

setback severely impacts our view and enjoyment of



the adjacent woodlands, trees and pond.

When we bought our house and our lot

about two-and-a-half years ago, we took a great deal

of consideration to place our house on that lot to

maximize our view and enjoyment of those those

woodlands, and we did it in consideration for what

the buildable lot was -- or the buildable space went

in the lot next to us. And by exceeding the rear

yard setback, that will considerably obstruct our

view of Argyle Park and the pond to the south and to

the east.

Secondly, violating this rear yard

setback will destroy a large stand of mature trees

that's located on the southwest corner of the lot.

And if I can show you an overhead of those trees,

this is -- that is the grove of trees. And the rear

corner -- the southwest rear corner of the house, as

it is laid out, would sit virtually at the edge of

those trees.

And if I can show you one more picture

to display that approximately where I am standing in

that picture is where we have marked off the corner

of that lot to be. It is in the -- very close to the

buffer of the wetlands right there.



So our view is that exceeding this

setback will severely damage those trees, which is an

integral part of the woodlands and the wetlands of

that area.

Thirdly, John Richards is attempting to

build the largest house, a Georgian Three model, that

they have in this neighborhood. They knew that when

they laid out this neighborhood, when they entered

the neighborhood, that this was an odd size lot and

that they would need to put a smaller house or modify

an existing plan.

That is not what they've attempted to

do. They've attempted to place their largest home on

this lot.

So for those three reasons, impacting

our view and enjoyment of the wetlands, destroying

the stand of trees, and the fact that they are

overbuilding on this lot we oppose the request.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody else? Come on

down, give us your name and address.

MR. ALDRICH: Good evening. My name is

Ken Aldrich. I live at 23011 Argyle, Novi, Michigan


My house is just on the side of this



lot in question, lot number 121, and this is where my

house is.

We also oppose the approval of this

variance for three reasons.

Number one, as Charlie Pratt had

pointed out already, there is, behind this lot, some

very mature trees and some very nice wetlands and

natural area within the subdivision. We put our

house where we did for that very reason, because the

area around there is very much an open wetlands

meadow kind of area with these trees right there, and

it's very much in the interest of all the homeowners

that we preserve as much of that growth as we

possibly can.

By putting this house on there,

as Charlie showed you, that would really impact and

require the removal of a very significant grove of

mature trees on that side of the cul-de-sac.

Secondly, the cul-de-sac itself has

this one lot between Pratt's house and my house, and

then there's another lot on the other side of that.

Both of these lots are very irregular shaped, rather

small, and I think it would be difficult to put a

very large house on either one of those lots, which



John Richards knew when they did lay out the floor --

the site plans in there.

So what we're now doing is putting the

largest house, among several house and floor plans

that are available, on this lot. There are certainly

other -- I would imagine other house plans that would

fit in this lot that John Richards would be able to

accommodate, and I think, as you heard the gentleman

from John Richards say in the other case, I think

there's 21 lots still available.

If the, you know, proposed homeowners

wanted this floor plan, this house, I'm sure they

could find some other spots in the subdivision where

they could put this house; otherwise, I think it

would be in the best interest to put a house that's

within the requirements on this lot.

The third reason is, again, just the

overall esthetics of the cul-de-sac. This is a very

large house, not only going back, but also the

breadth of the house. It's a pie-shaped lot on a

cul-de-sac, and you could imagine, even though the

setback's in the back, as pointed out, I guess are

within the requirements, it's difficult for me to see

how a house of this size would actually look and, you



know, fit within this size lot.

Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Anybody

else? No.

There were 21 notices sent; no

approvals, five objections. The objections all were

based on the same theme; the house is too big, the

lot's overbuilt, and they don't want to lose the

trees that are a natural esthetic to the


Building department?

MR. MORRONE: I have no comment.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Board



question. I would -- is this request for this

variance in the wetland buffer?

MR. COLLINS: No, ma'am, it is not.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Okay. How far from

the wetland buffer is it?

MR. COLLINS: I'm not exactly sure of

the footage. Looking at the plan, I would say it's

probably eight, ten feet. At the worst point, yes.




MR. CHAIRMAN: My first observation

was -- I'm surprised Laverne didn't jump on this

right away. What happens two years from now when the

homeowner wants to come in and put a gazebo on the

back because the mosquitoes are killing us, and we're

looking at another variance right out of the pipe.

This is new construction. I don't see

any reason why you can't put something else in there.

MEMBER REINKE: What's the square

footage on this home?

MR. CHAIRMAN: 3,697.

MEMBER REINKE: Lot's overbuilt.

MEMBER GRAY: The standard that's

applicable is, has the applicant demonstrated that

they cannot build with less of a variance, and I

don't think you've met that.

When I look at your previous request --

and I know all the vacant lots that are still in

there from driving around in there -- and they're all

very lovely homes. If this is the home that they

want to build, perhaps they should look at a

different lot. And if they want that lot with that

view -- because it's a very nice view -- then they

need to consider a smaller home, because exactly the



same thing I thought of was well, they're going to

build the house and next year they're going to come

back and they're going to want a variance for the

deck and then after that they're going to want to

close it in and then, and then, and it's got to stop


MR. COLLINS: I understand your


MEMBER GRAY: I know you're

representing the potential purchasers, but I can't

see it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody else?

(No response.)

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Did you

want to say something, Tom?

MR. SCHULTZ: That sounded like good

finding of fact for a motion, if

Member Gray was going to be the motion maker.

MEMBER GRAY: Laverne started talking.

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, in Case

03-008, I move that the petitioner's request be

denied due to the fact it has not been demonstrated

that a home could be built on the site without a





MR. CHAIRMAN: Discussion?

(No further discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Sorry, sir. Your

application has been denied.

MR. COLLINS: I understand. I just

wanted to thank the board for your time.


MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Let's get

Novi Town Center and Planet Neon down here. Case

Number 03-009.



MR. QUINN: Good evening,

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen. I'm

Matt Quinn appearing on behalf of the Linder (ph)

company, the managers of Novi Town Center. And also

with me is Jim Clear from Linder Company is here.

Also, Kevin Blake from Planet Neon. Kevin's here for

the sympathy vote tonight because of his injury, so

we hope you would note that.

Also, Kevin has provided a letter of

support just now from Mrs. Tuck, the owner of the

Novi Auto Parts across Grand River from the entrance.

I think her letter is interesting in that it says

that Novi businesses need the support of the City

administration as far as increase of signage is

concerned because all businesses need help right now.

Currently at the Novi Town Center we

have two brick walls that act as a sign and state the

name of the center, Novi Town Center, at each

entrance, the Novi Road entrance and also at the

Grand River entrance.

And I'm putting on the overhead a copy

of the mockup that you saw at the

Grand River entrance, as soon as that pops on.

Now, the request is to add the names of



the eight anchor stores at the mall. Currently there

are 41 stores at Novi Town Center, and these eight

are identified as major tenants as a result of the

leases that they have, the square footage that they

have, and the business that they draw.

You know, when Novi started and our

sign ordinance was developed for malls like this, we

all knew locally where everything was. But, of

course, as we all know, now that Novi, from a

shopping perspective, has become more and more of a

regional area, we have more strangers coming to town,

more people that do not know where these businesses

are located.

And as we have, for example, on Novi

Road -- Mr. Clear just gave me today a traffic count

for '97 in front of the mall, and it showed about

47,000 cars. We are now five, six years more than

that, so we know that there are more cars going

through that area per day now. A lot of these cars

are visitors to town. When they come and they're

looking for Mervyn's, that is something you cannot

see from Novi Road.

People do not identify, quote unquote,

Novi Town Center at that location. You have too many



Novi malls in a particular area for people to

understand where certain stores are. You've got Novi

Town Center, you have Novi Prominade. You have -- I

forget the one on -- south of Grand River. It's Novi

something Center. You've got then on the other side

the malls that exist to the north.

Purely for a, really, a traffic safety

reason, it becomes necessary to place the names of

the main tenants on the entrances to these signs --

to the malls so that as you have the people going

down Novi Road, both directions, and the people going

on Grand River, both directions, they will be able to

visibly see where Mervyn's is, where Linens N' Things

is, as compared to trying to find the name of a mall

that they are not familiar with.

Mr. Clear can testify to you the real

problems and calls that the merchants get, even --

not only the main anchor tenants but also the smaller

tenants. When they're told that well, we're right

next to TJ Maxx, they need to know where TJ Maxx is.

And, again, the only reason they'd be

calling and making the inquiry is because they are

not what I will call a Novi resident or a Novi




With the increase in traffic that we

are seeing on Novi Road, and once and for all on

Grand River once the bridge is done, and traffic will

even be more than it was prior to, and with the

movement of the Expo Center from its current location

around the corner, again you're going to have more

and more people looking for the restaurants, looking

for Brady's, for example, which is hidden in the

back. It's very easy for Brady's to tell somebody

we're right next to Novi Town Center 8, the movie

theatre, when they call.

So all in all, this is a necessary sign

at all the entrances, and I think you will agree that

this is not a sign that jumps out. It's not neon.

It's a white lettering, so it's not obtrusive. It's

something that's tastefully done.

And Kevin will tell you a little bit

more about the sign, the size of the letters.

Kevin? You'll have to swear him in.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Could 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. BLAKE: I do.



MEMBER GRONACHAN: Please state your

name for the record.

MR. BLAKE: Kevin Blake with Planet

Neon Sign Company in Novi, Michigan.


MR. BLAKE: What we're doing is

proposing six-inch channel letters -- well, I'm

sorry, six-inch non-illuminated letters for all the

anchor stores. And the Novi Town Center, the tallest

upper scale letter will be eight inches. They're all

fabricated out of aluminum and primed and painted and

mounted directly to the existing structure.

And then they'll be intern --externally

illuminated with the lights that they have for


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Anybody in the

audience care to speak on this case?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building department?

MR. MORRONE: I have no comment.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members? Oh, I'm

sorry. Forty-seven notices, the one approval that

Mr. Quinn alluded to.

I'll give you my gut feel right off the



bat. I don't like this at all. The four entrance

signs are already there because of a variance

request. This complex, this shopping center, has

more sign variances than any other shopping center in

the city. Granted, it's laid out a little strange

and there's access from two sides, and we've been

very supportive of signage, and I just don't like the

idea of putting all this additional signage on these

main entrances. Personal opinion.

Other board members?

MEMBER BAUER: I think when this first

came up -- and it was Trammel Crow that wanted just

the signs as they are. I think if all of the

proceedings of this case were brought out, I think

that's what it would show. They did not want any

other names on it.

I know times are tough, but I'm still

not for it, the change.

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, I think

the one objection or the one reason I have for

problems with it, I think it's adding a lot of

clutter and it's causing a -- an indecision point of

trying to address all the information that's on




MR. QUINN: If I could inquire, the

request is for all of these signs -- or the

additional eight tenants to be on both signs at both

entrances. Is there a possibility that the board

would consider the names on one of the brick walls at

each entrance?


actually, when I first looked at this -- and I was

out there on Saturday and saw the mockup -- my first

opinion on this was that at high rate of speed that

you're going you don't see it anyway. You certainly

don't see all the store names.

Novi Town Center is a well-located

area, and it's well-known. Everybody -- you know,

it's the Town Center, the Town Center.

I don't know that naming all those

stores on all of the signs is going to help.

I mean, the economy is part of the problem.

Getting in there and fighting through

the traffic is truly -- and I'm speaking to you as a

board member but also as a consumer, because going

through there and weaving around and trying to find

the stores, it is pretty frustrating.

So I don't know that this is the



answer, if that's what the problem is. If the

problem is to locate the stores more readily, if

that's what the actual problem is, I don't know that

this is the solution.

When I did look at this, that was my

first thought, was that it was only going to be one

sign on each side, but I have -- I tend to agree with

Member Reinke in that there is a lot of clutter on

that sign. That's an awful lot of letters.

So I'm going to look to my other

members for other ideas.

MR. QUINN: All right. Mr. Chairman, I

think then -- given the comments that we've had so

far, and we'll appreciate any other comments, too,

but I think that we would appreciate having a full

board present and ask that the matter be tabled for

next meeting.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You can do that.

MEMBER GRAY: May I ask a question?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Ask questions and I'll

give some direction to -- Sarah.

MEMBER GRAY: Are there directional

signs in there that -- like there are at

Fountain Walk and at Twelve Oaks Mall?



MR. QUINN: Not right now. There's an

application I think for consideration of those

interior signages.

MEMBER GRAY: With what we've been

looking at over the last couple years with

development, not just at the Town Center but Fountain

Walk and Main Street and everything else, my own

personal opinion is that, you know, the directional

signs tend to have more impact.

Most people that I know that would be

coming to the Town Center from outside the area

probably are going to do some kind of a Mapquest

search or a phone call to find out where they really

are, and then once they get into the complex then

look to the directional signs to help direct them

to -- to the site which they are attempting to


So I would suggest that that maybe

want an alternative that you may want to consider.

And we tend to be fairly -- real tough

on signs, but we also seem to think that these

directional signs are a little bit better than the

clutter on a monument sign.

MR. QUINN: Yeah. Not to disagree,



because I agree with what you're saying, but we are

forgetting one whole segment of the consumer, and

those are the people that are in the area not knowing

where anything is, who may stop into a Linens N'

Things if they know that it's in the center. They

will never know as they drive by this shopping mall

that Linens N' Things ever exists because there is no

way to see it from the outside.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Matt, the same could be

said of any store that's in Twelve Oaks.

MEMBER BAUER: That's right.

MR. CHAIRMAN: if Linens N' Things were

in Twelve Oaks, you wouldn't know it driving down

Twelve Mile.

MR. QUINN: Well, we're not quite on

their scale, Twelve Oaks. We're quite smaller than

they are. But I understand what you're saying.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You're more than welcome

to come back before a full board. I'd encourage you

to think about something alternative to this, and

that's the signage inside the parking lots. Look at

Twelve Oaks. For me, I think that worked out quite

well, but that's up to you.

We'll put it on next month's agenda.



We'll put it at item number one. You've been with us

all night tonight, so we'll talk to you guys first.

MR. QUINN: We appreciate everything.

We've watched you tonight. It's a great education.

Thank you.

MEMBER BAUER: We don't charge.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. 03-010, Sign

Fabricators representing Farm Bureau Insurance. This

is a business on Grand River, the West Market, which

is Grand River and Beck, that northwest corner.

Sir, you want to give us your name and

be sworn?

MR. WHITE: Tim White. I live at 37675

Lakeville in Harrison Township.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Would you raise your

right hand, please. Do you swear or affirm that the

information that you're about to give us in the

matter before you is the truth?

MR. WHITE: Yes, ma'am.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. You can --

you've got the floor. We've also read what you want.

MR. WHITE: My customer is just looking



for a slightly larger sign. A few of the signs in

the plaza are slightly larger than what was allowed,

and that's basically it. They're occupying two spots

in that plaza, so we're not looking for, like, twice

the sign amount, just slightly larger so they can be

seen with their logo and their insurance name on


The sign is kind of busy, but that's

how they have us fabricate them.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Anybody in the

audience want to talk about this case?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: There were four notices

sent; no approvals, no objections.

Building department?

MR. MORRONE: No comment.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Board members?

MEMBER GRAY: I'm going to make the

same comment I did about the last one. Going to see

their insurance agents are going to know exactly

where they are or they're going to call first or

they're going to do a Mapquest.

Recognizing that you have two suites, I

suppose that there's something to be said about one



sign as opposed to two, and -- I think the signage

issue goes with occupancy, does it not?


MEMBER GRAY: Does the sign issue go

with the occupancy, so if they occupied three suites

it would still be, potentially, one sign?

MR. CHAIRMAN: What was the board

members' impressions of the mockup?

I have to fess up. I didn't see it.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Can I give you some

other -- can I say a few other things?


MEMBER GRONACHAN: When I first looked

at this -- and I have to fess up that I work in

insurance and I wish sometimes my clients didn't know

where I was, so the fact that, you know -- but this

is a destination location. I mean, this type of

business, okay, so when people call, generally they

do -- and I have to say in my experience of

insurance, although I love people that walk in to

come see me, they already know where I am, okay. And

I am at a location that's a destination location. I

never give my address. I always tell them where I'm

located, you understand what I'm saying?



MR. WHITE: Oh, yeah.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: When people call

it's I'm in such and such plaza.

This location has huge signs out in the

front. We approved, at this board, to locate -- to

help locate that destination, okay. And so I find it

difficult that a larger sign is needed to find that

business, okay. And so that's why I'm having

problems with a larger sign.

I realize that we're looking at 16

feet, but I go back and look and I -- and the fact

that the other businesses have larger signs, I don't

take much weight in that because of the type of

business this is.

There are plenty of signs to locate the

destination at that mall, all right, but I just don't

feel that -- and, again, generally if you're looking

for drive-by traffic, and I don't -- then that's

something -- if that's-

MR. WHITE: (Interposing) No, not

really. I don't think that's what they're looking


MEMBER GRONACHAN: Then I do have a

problem with the size for those reasons.



MR. WHITE: Okay. Is GNC under the

same stipulation, when they're half the size and

larger than 24 square feet? Just curious.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Again, I didn't look

at the other -- they're not a destination -- you

know, they're not a-

MR. WHITE: (Interposing) They might

be able to --

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I'm not going to

debate a different business or another case.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I don't think they were

before us with their sign (inaudible).

MR. WHITE: They are within the


MR. CHAIRMAN: I don't recall them


MR. WHITE: (Interposing) Because

they're over 24 square feet.

MS. MARCHIONI: They've never been


MR. CHAIRMAN: They've never been

before us, so maybe they have a larger storefront. I

don't know.

MR. WHITE: Actually, it's not.



MEMBER GRAY: Well, we'll check into

that, won't we?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I can't imagine Allen

would miss a new sign going up that was twice the

size of what's -- I mean, that's all he does, is

drive around looking at signs.

MEMBER BAUER: Not just that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Among the many other

things that Allen does.

MEMBER GRAY: We'll have him check it


MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, sounds like you

may have to go back to the boss and tell him that

there wasn't a lot of support.

Do you want us to vote on this now, or

would you like to discuss it with him?

MR. WHITE: There is no boss. It's me.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Oh, I'm sorry. I

thought you were the sign manufacturer. I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

MR. WHITE: Not a problem. What did

you think of the mockup though, proportionally

correct on the building? Just curious.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I saw it. I still



don't --

MR. CHAIRMAN: We've had this

discussion in the past with businesses that are

perceived to be destination businesses versus in the

same shopping center.

All right. Any other discussion?

(No further discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Motions?

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Are you waiting for

me, is that it?

Mr. Chairman, I'll make a motion. In

Case Number 03-010, that the motion for the 16-foot

variance for the sign for this business be denied

based on the previous discussion at this table, that

this business is a destination location and that the

actual location is, in fact, properly identified.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Any discussion?

(No further discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?




MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: I'm sorry, sir, but your

request has been denied.

MR. WHITE: All right.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Other matters. This was

my idea. I'd like to suggest discussion of item

number one with the possibility of adding it as the

new number one under rules of conduct. I think-

MEMBER GRAY: (Interposing)


MR. CHAIRMAN: I think it is absolutely

inappropriate for somebody to attend a meeting like

this, have cell phones blasting off, having beepers

blasting off. Quite frankly, even if we didn't have

this in here, I would ask somebody to leave if it

happened. But let's assume that not everyone is

smart and let's consider adding this as the new

number one on our rules of conduct. I don't think

it's unreasonable.




MEMBER BAUER: It's just like a movie.


MEMBER GRONACHAN: That's right. You

can put it on vibrate.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All those in favor, say


(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: All those opposed?

(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. We have a

revision in our rules of conduct. We have a new item

one, the rest all move down.

And I hope that other boards take

this -- assume this as well.

Any other -- sir, do you want to see



MR. PAPP: (Interposing) Do you have

another audience participation?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Come on up.

MR. PAPP: I apologize for my

appearance. Larry Papp, 46000 White Pines Drive. I

can't believe I jumped out of bed to come down to the



zoning board meeting.

The trailer on White Pines Drive which

John Richards -- I understand there was 29 notices

sent out; however, I can see the trailer from my

house, so I don't know what your rules are as far as

sending notices. If you're sending them to 27 vacant

lots that belong to John Richards, then chances are

you're not going to get an objection to this trailer.

I would personally like to see the

trailer gone.

I had John Richards remove cement from

the woodlands that was dumped there by one of the

builders. It was a very large amount of cement, it

was about five feet high, that was put in the


I've also called the City regarding the

weeds that John Richards let's grow. They only cut

it once a year. They don't cut it twice or three

times a year.

So I don't know what the notice policy

is. I would like to know the 29 notices that were

sent out, to who they were.

MS. MARCHIONI: Are you directly behind

the property?



MR. PAPP: I'm sorry?

MS. MARCHIONI: Are you behind it?

MR. PAPP: I'm right across the street

from it just about. I'm in the Arden Glen sub, and I

believe I'm within a thousand feet.

MS. MARCHIONI: Three hundred feet.

MR. PAPP: Then how do you send out 29

-- is there 300 -- is there 21 notices within 300

feet of that trailer?


MR. PAPP: Could you send me a list of

those addresses, because I-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Got them

right here.

MR. PAPP: I'd like to see that list

and see where they're at. Within 300 feet, I don't

think you could have 21 homes within that site of

that trailer because there's a lake nearby.

Just let me take a look at the list and

I'll drive around and see how many are vacant lots.


MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) We have

-- we've got the list here. We'll run you a copy

real quick.



MR. PAPP: Yeah, that would be great.

I mean, if we're sending them to vacant lots, then

we're wasting-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) If you

listened to that discussion on that case, there were

a number of people that brought up the issues of

garbage and everything.

You need to call building department,

ordinance enforcement, and raise holy heck with them.

MR. PAPP: I'm on the planning

commission, so I know the rules.


MR. PAPP: Thank you very much for your


MR. CHAIRMAN: You want to stick

around, maybe Sarah can run that for you.

MR. PAPP: I told her -- I said I want

to transfer from planning to zoning because you guys

get out earlier than we do.

Thank you very much.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other new business?

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, one thing

that would help us a lot, like we put up mock signs

for identification, we get a visual. We have cases



on vacant lots, we have trouble identifying. If the

petitioner could just put a stake up in the ground

with lot number, address, something like that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I couldn't find that

three-story site.

MEMBER REINKE: It would save a lot of

running around.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I could not find that.

MEMBER GRAY: Right at the northwest


MR. CHAIRMAN: I went there Saturday,

and then I went back Sunday looking. I couldn't find

that thing.

MS. MARCHIONI: Stake with a lot


MR. CHAIRMAN: Couldn't find that


MEMBER BAUER: So you can see it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: So I didn't know whether

it was on -- I thought it was that corner lot on Novi


MEMBER REINEK: Or even just put the

case number on it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Somehow identify it,




MEMBER GRONACHAN: ZBA in bright orange

or something, you know, with a stake so we know.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You can't find it if

it's vacant, there's no identification.

MEMBER GRAY: And it is that corner,

that northwest corner of Nine Mile and Novi Road.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, is it the empty

lot going into the subdivision off of Novi Road?

MEMBER GRAY: It's that whole northwest

corner, that whole flood plane.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: That you causing the

traffic jam on Sunday?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I couldn't find that, I

couldn't find the sign.

MEMBER GRAY: It was not a real easy

place to turn around there either.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Point well made.

Anything else?

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Are we all done?

MR. CHAIRMAN: We're all done. Thank


(The meeting was adjourned at

10:01 p.m.)

Date approved:

June 3, 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 one hundred and fifty (150)

typewritten pages, is a true and correct transcript of my

said stenograph notes to the best of my ability.


Cheryl L. James, CSR-5786