View Agenda for this meeting
View Action Summary for this meeting 




TUESDAY, JUNE 10, 2008


Proceedings had and testimony taken in

the matters of the ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS,

at City of Novi, 45175 West Ten Mile Road,

Novi, Michigan, Tuesday, June 10, 2008.



Justin Fischer, Chairperson

Gerald Bauer

David Ghannam

Rickie Ibe

Linda Krieger

Timothy Shroyer



Elizabeth Kudla, City Attorney

Alan Amolsch, Ordinance Enforcement

Charles Boulard, Building Official

Robin Working, ZBA Recording Secretary



Mona L. Talton, Certified Shorthand Reporter.

1 Novi, Michigan

2 Tuesday, June 10, 2008

3 7:00 p.m.

4 - - - - - -

5 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I would like to

6 go ahead and call to order the Tuesday, June

7 10th, 2008, City of Novi Zoning Board of

8 Appeals meeting.

9 Ms. Working, will you please call the

10 roll.

11 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?

12 MEMBER IBE: Present.

13 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?


15 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?

16 MEMBER BAUER: Present.

17 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?


19 MS. WORKING: Member Fischer?


21 MS. WORKING: Member Ghannam?


23 MS. WORKING: Member Sanghvi? Member

24 Wrobel?



1 Mr. Chair, you have two absences this

2 evening.


4 quorum present so the meeting is now in

5 session and I will ask Member Bauer to lead

6 us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

7 BOARD MEMBER: I pledge allegiance to

8 the flag of the United States of America and

9 to the Republic for which it stands, one

10 nation under God indivisible with liberty

11 and justice for all.

12 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Let me note that

13 in the back near the agenda you can find the

14 full set of rules and procedure and rules of

15 conduct for tonight's meeting. I would like

16 to let everyone know, remind you to please

17 turn off all cell phones and pagers. And

18 also that coming before the Board the

19 individuals will have five minutes to

20 address the Board and groups speaking,

21 someone speaking on behalf of a group will

22 have ten minutes.

23 We do have an agenda on our hands

24 here. Are there any changes that anyone



1 would like to propose?

2 MS. WORKING: Mr. Chair, I would like

3 to bring your attention to a letter in your

4 hearing file submitted by the Applicant for

5 the Petitioner in case number: 08-026,

6 number five on your agenda. He is unable to

7 make it or find someone to stand in his

8 place this evening. He would like to be

9 postponed to the July 8th agenda.

10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I don't have any

11 issues with that change. Anyone else? Then

12 I'll entertain a motion.

13 MEMBER BAUER: So moved.

14 MEMBER IBE: Second.

15 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All in favor say

16 aye?



19 agenda.

20 In our packets we did receive the May

21 13th, 2008 Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes.

22 Are there any changes or a motion to approve

23 as submitted?

24 Member Shroyer?



1 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

2 I have a couple of changes. The first one

3 is on page 9, line one, I am not the

4 chairperson. I do not want to be the

5 chairperson.


7 much better.

8 MEMBER SHROYER: Please correct the

9 minutes to reflect that properly. And the

10 second one is on page 69, line 6. Where it

11 says Hertsfield Royal (ph), it's supposed to

12 be Birchler Arroyo. That's all the changes

13 that I have.


15 other changes or a motion to approve as

16 amended?

17 MS. WORKING: Mr. Chair, what was the

18 line on that page 69?

19 MEMBER SHROYER: I'm not the Chair.


21 refer you to line six.

22 MS. WORKING: I've got it. Thank you.

23 MEMBER SHROYER: I'll move to approve

24 the minutes as amended.





3 made a Motion, and Member Bauer seconded the

4 Motion. All in favor say aye?



7 The minutes have been approved.

8 The Zoning Board of Appeals is a

9 Hearing Board empowered by the Novi City

10 Charter to hear appeals seeking variances

11 from the applications of the Novi Zoning

12 Ordinance. It does take a vote of at least

13 four members to approve a variance request

14 and a vote of the majority present to deny a

15 variance.

16 We do have six Board Members -- six

17 members present when we normally have seven,

18 so a full Board is not present tonight.

19 Since four votes are normally required, I'll

20 open it up to any Petitioners who wish to

21 table their request until the next meeting

22 or when a full Board is present.

23 So, once again, we only have six,

24 normally we have seven, so there is one less



1 chance to get that additional vote that you

2 may need. So, I want to open it up in case

3 anyone would like to have their case tabled.

4 Any decisions made tonight will be final,

5 though.

6 Seeing none, I will close that

7 opportunity and move to the public remarks

8 section of the meeting and ask anyone to

9 come forward who wishes to address the Board

10 on any manner or case that is not on the

11 agenda tonight. Is there anyone in the

12 audience that wishes to do that? Seeing

13 none, we will close the public remarks and

14 move along to our first case.


16 Case number: 07-094 filed by

17 Jeffrey Wainwright of Paradise Park located

18 at 45799 Grand River Avenue. Board Members,

19 you will remember that this was postponed

20 from the January 2008 meeting.

21 Petitioner is requesting one sign

22 variation to allow the display of multiple

23 event notices at a rate of three seconds per

24 notice for the existing illuminated ground



1 sign located at said address. The property

2 is zoned I-1 and is located south of Grand

3 River, west of Taft Road.

4 If you would like to come forward.

5 Thank you. You were sworn in last time and

6 that still stands, so I wouldn't expect

7 anything but the truth, so if you want to

8 proceed with your case.

9 MR. WAINWRIGHT: Thank you very much.

10 I appreciate the chance to come back before

11 you and answer any additional questions that

12 might come forward today.

13 The electronic system is not working

14 so I won't put you through a presentation.

15 Although, I had a brief one ready that we

16 could, just as a reminder of what the key

17 issues are. But I think in general, the

18 sign that we are referring to at Paradise

19 Park is relatively small in structure

20 compared to other digital signs in the area.

21 Especially the changing copy part of the

22 sign is quite small. The primary motivation

23 for needing to have the sign updated more

24 quickly is that Paradise Park is a



1 multi-function, multi-activity event

2 facility.

3 It's very common that we would have

4 anywhere from three to 15 events going on

5 simultaneously within Paradise Park. The

6 sign helps facilitate the awareness of

7 those, the announcement of what is going on

8 in the park. We don't use the sign for

9 extemporary type advertising. We just

10 simply indicate if we are open, closed, what

11 features we're operating and what activities

12 are going on in the park at that time.

13 As an example, it's very common that

14 we would have -- I gave you an example of a

15 weekend where we had a lot of interesting

16 activities going on that kind of help build

17 the image of Novi. Last year on one day we

18 had the diabetes, the Juvenile Diabetes

19 Foundation was having their fundraiser for

20 the year at Paradise Park. That was a very

21 moving event. And at the same time the

22 Easter Seals Foundation was having an event

23 there too. And at the same time that that

24 was going on we probably had seven or eight



1 birthday parties going on. It's very common

2 at Paradise Park to have multi-function,

3 multi-venue activities going on

4 simultaneously. That is the primary driver

5 that facilitates why we need to have the

6 sign updated a little more quickly than what

7 is currently allowed.

8 We had presented a presentation when

9 we last met demonstrating what a sign look

10 like with a one second per copy change

11 update rate, and that's what's being used on

12 the other two signs that are in similar

13 businesses. One at the high school. They

14 are obviously a multi-function facility.

15 The other one being at Rock Financial

16 Showplace. Their signs are huge and they

17 update at a rapid rate of one second per

18 message, and we are not requesting that.

19 We had requested three seconds and

20 that was based on some studies that were

21 done by the California Transportation Board,

22 also the Federal Transportation Authority

23 has also done some studies on it. Their

24 indication was that three seconds or slower



1 does not create a traffic impediment. Does

2 not create a distraction. So, we did some

3 studies. We did some testing and we found

4 three seconds seem to be a reasonable

5 number. But I think that if you look at the

6 dialogue that took place at that meeting,

7 there was a lot of discussion, well, does it

8 need to be three seconds? Could it be 15

9 seconds or could it be something other than

10 that? And I think the answer wasn't certain

11 at that time because we didn't know. And we

12 did go back and we did evaluate that and we

13 ran some tests on it. And, no, three

14 seconds is not a magical number. We don't

15 specifically need three seconds, but we do

16 need to update it at slightly faster than

17 what is currently allowed which is one

18 update per minute if I am correct. And that

19 is a new Ordinance that was passed by City

20 Council in May.

21 So, we would entertain any suggestions

22 or recommendations that would come from the

23 Zoning Board. We are certainly not experts

24 in the sign business, but we want the sign



1 to work for us and to help facilitate our

2 business so that we can be the best we can

3 be for the community.


5 much for your comments.

6 Is there anyone in the audience that

7 wishes to make a comment on this case?

8 Seeing none, we will close the public

9 remarks section in this case and ask if

10 there is correspondence from our Secretary.

11 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number:

12 07-094, 38 notices were mailed and there

13 were zero approvals and one objection.


15 that was the one that was read into the

16 record in the January meeting, so I don't

17 know if it's necessary to read it again.

18 But thank you for the update.

19 Does the Building Department wish to

20 make any comments?

21 MR. BOULARD: No comments beyond the

22 staff report.


24 MS. KUDLA: Just, again, to reiterate



1 what the Applicant indicated, which is that

2 the Ordinance was amended on May 12th, 2008,

3 effective May 27th, to permit changeable

4 signs to change once per minute. It was a

5 policy that was extensively discussed by

6 City Council and the Ordinance Review

7 Committee. I did bring the portion of the

8 agenda packet that had these discussions in

9 them if anyone was interested in reading

10 them into the record or having more

11 information in that regard. It was recently

12 passed, and issues such as traffic safety

13 were considered at great length by both City

14 Council and the Committee.


16 letting us know that those are available to

17 us and if any questions arise we will

18 definitely ask you for that.

19 At this time I will turn it over for

20 the Board to make comments and a Motion if

21 appropriate.

22 MEMBER GHANNAM: I have some questions

23 if you don't mind.




1 MEMBER GHANNAM: Sir, my name is David

2 Ghannam. I wasn't here in January when you

3 made your original proposal so I have got

4 some questions. The current sign that you

5 have does it have a scrolling type

6 advertisement?

7 MR. WAINWRIGHT: No, it does not have

8 a scrolling advertisement. It's a fixed

9 message sign that can be updated at one time

10 with the entire message changing

11 simultaneously.

12 MEMBER GHANNAM: The one per minute?

13 MR. WAINWRIGHT: Once per minute.

14 MEMBER GHANNAM: And that's what it

15 does right now?

16 MR. WAINWRIGHT: That's what it does

17 right now.

18 MEMBER GHANNAM: I see that's part of

19 the picture, so I just wanted to make sure.

20 I guess the question becomes from my

21 perspective, what is the practical

22 difficulty that your business can justify

23 that we accept you from the Ordinance that

24 the City Council has passed?



1 MR. WAINWRIGHT: I think for us the

2 driving issue is, I think the same as anyone

3 else that's in a multi-function, multi-venue

4 facility that's open for public business

5 that it's important that people understand

6 that there are multiple things going on in

7 the park. Not just the people who are using

8 the facility at that particular time or

9 renting the facility for that purpose, but

10 for others to recognize, oh, geez, Paradise

11 Park is doing Juvenile Diabetes Foundation,

12 the Novi Track Team is there. Orchard Lake

13 Church is there. They can see those

14 activities and it creates an image that puts

15 us in a good favorable marketing position.

16 That people create an awareness that, wow,

17 they are doing that.

18 At the rates that we are talking about

19 updating the sign in a traditional drive by,

20 if you were driving by the park you might

21 capture two messages, probably not even two,

22 you might get one. We are looking at a

23 populus issue of the total number of people

24 driving by and the appropriate amount of



1 information that we can safely, effectively

2 and tastefully impart that lets people know

3 what's going on in the park.

4 MEMBER GHANNAM: When the business

5 advertise its events don't they advertise

6 we're having this event, birthday party,

7 whatever at Paradise Park? They don't

8 expect the patrons to see it on the sign and

9 know to be directed there, I guess.

10 MR. WAINWRIGHT: Well, yes, that is

11 correct. Certainly for a small event like a

12 birthday party, you know, for Tim's birthday

13 party for ten people we don't put that on

14 the sign. But for larger events which happen

15 daily, usually at common times, it is

16 important that we do that and we do do that.

17 We do, yes, we currently do that.

18 MEMBER GHANNAM: Thank you. I don't

19 have any other questions.


21 Member Ghannam. Any other Board Members?

22 Member Ibe?

23 MEMBER IBE: Thank you. Sir, I know

24 the last time you were here we had quite an



1 interesting conversation regarding the

2 economic impact that this has had on your

3 business. However, in light of the

4 amendment to the Ordinance, is there any way

5 that you can conform to the Ordinance and

6 still accomplish what you are trying to do

7 with your business?

8 MR. WAINWRIGHT: I think that's an

9 important question because obviously we had

10 to carefully consider that. We had dialogue

11 with the people that were doing the study

12 for the City on the change to the Ordinance.

13 We supported the general Ordinance at one

14 copy change per minute. Most businesses

15 that have a changeable copy sign are not

16 multi-function, multi-venue businesses.

17 They are single purpose businesses. I think

18 the ones that do have that, the economic

19 need is reasonable, it's realistic. Would

20 it take you out of business? No. Would it

21 give you a competitive position that's

22 strong? Yes. And that's important.

23 So, we had to very carefully evaluate

24 was it reasonable to come back and say, gee,



1 we still want to do this. It's really

2 important that we are at three seconds. I

3 think that's why at the front end I was

4 trying to mitigate the position that three

5 seconds isn't so important, but to be able

6 to impart the information still tastefully

7 but in an appropriately quick rate that is

8 somewhat faster than once per minute does

9 have economic value to us. There is no

10 question.

11 MEMBER IBE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.


13 Member Ibe.

14 Member Shroyer?

15 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

16 A couple of questions to the City, if I may.

17 First of all, the high school is not under

18 our purview, we have no say whatsoever in

19 what's done on any school property.

20 MS. KUDLA: That's correct.

21 MEMBER SHROYER: This state is unique

22 in that, by the way.

23 Under Rock Financial, now that the

24 Ordinance has changed, they are permitted to



1 operate under the guideline that they have

2 been operating on forever unless the

3 business changes; is that correct? Or

4 unless they change their sign? Or do they

5 need to fall under the current ordinance

6 now?

7 MS. KUDLA: I don't know which

8 district Rock Financial is in. I don't have

9 any information.

10 MR. AMOLSCH: The uses of the

11 entertainment center.

12 MS. KUDLA: I would have to look into

13 it what the specific Zoning Ordinance

14 provisions are for the Expo Center.

15 MEMBER SHROYER: We don't know whether

16 they received the variance initially?

17 MR. AMOLSCH: Yes, they did.

18 MEMBER SHROYER: They did receive a

19 variance initially?

20 MR. AMOLSCH: Yes.


22 clarification. I know they received a size

23 variance, but I don't remember approving

24 anything having to do with the copy.



1 MR. AMOLSCH: It wasn't discussed at

2 the meeting.

3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: So, we approved

4 them to a certain number of seconds?

5 MR. AMOLSCH: No, it was not

6 discussed.

7 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Just the size of

8 the sign?

9 MR. AMOLSCH: Just the size.

10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: We didn't have

11 to do it then, that's fine. I just wanted

12 you to be clear on that.

13 MEMBER SHROYER: That's very

14 interesting. It sounds like they may have

15 to fall under the current Ordinance. But we

16 don't know that for sure this evening.

17 I have additional questions, but I

18 believe Mr. Bauer has a statement, so I will

19 yield the floor to Mr. Bauer.

20 MEMBER BAUER: Isn't the big sign for

21 the Expo a different classification as far

22 as zoning is concerned?

23 MR. AMOLSCH: No, it's zoned Expo.

24 MEMBER BAUER: Pardon?



1 MR. AMOLSCH: I believe it's zoned

2 Expo, but the sign was approved by the Board

3 as it was. It was indicated it was going to

4 be a digital display at the time it went to

5 the Board, but that was part of their plan

6 as it was presented to the Board.

7 MEMBER BAUER: Thank you.

8 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: More questions,

9 Member Shroyer?

10 MEMBER SHROYER: Yes, sir. Thank you.

11 When we first met or I shouldn't say when we

12 first met, we have known each other for a

13 while, but the property we were looking at

14 one change every 15 minutes, correct?

15 MR. WAINWRIGHT: That's correct.

16 MEMBER SHROYER: At that time I stated

17 that I thought that was way out of line. I

18 still think that's way out of line

19 obviously, and I am really glad to see that

20 the City took an in depth look at it. I'm

21 not sure what the proper time is. As you

22 know we all looked for expert advice and

23 what a standard of operation is, et cetera,

24 and nothing came forward in our packets or



1 in the information being provided.

2 At this time it's my opinion that

3 since the City put a lot of time in

4 developing and revising this Ordinance, that

5 we owe it time to see how well the one

6 minute time frame works. They may come back

7 eventually and change it, they may not.

8 Your business may come back in the future

9 and say, you know, we tried the one minute

10 and it just doesn't fly, please give us

11 another consideration. Or it may be

12 approved this evening. I don't know where

13 that's going to stand, but my thoughts right

14 now are I would sure like to see us try the

15 one minute time frame and see if it does

16 make a difference, and at least give it an

17 opportunity to see if the changes in the

18 sign Ordinance works. That's my only

19 comment.


21 Member Shroyer.

22 MS. KUDLA: Member Shroyer, through

23 the Chair, it doesn't appear that the Expo

24 Center has any different requirement for



1 changeable signs.

2 MEMBER SHROYER: I didn't believe it

3 did.

4 MS. WORKING: Hopefully, Members of

5 the Board, you brought with you your copy of

6 the sign Ordinance that was recently

7 amended. You will notice on page six it

8 defines Expo, what signs are allowed. One

9 of them being business sign ground sign.

10 Moving forward to page 12 under

11 changeable copy signs at the bottom of the

12 page, a changeable copy sign as defined in

13 this Ordinance are permitted subject to the

14 following limitation, such sign shall be a

15 business ground sign only. Which I believe

16 is what was permitted and granted a variance

17 in area, height and setback regulation for

18 the Rock Financial Center.

19 So, it would appear based on the

20 language the way it's written now and the

21 fact that it is an entertainment venue, that

22 their ground sign is a changeable copy sign

23 as defined by the Ordinance.

24 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Which means they



1 should conform with the one minute that is

2 now passed?

3 MS. KUDLA: Correct.

4 MS. WORKING: That's a legal question.

5 MS. KUDLA: That changeable copy sign

6 is defined in the Ordinance as the

7 following.

8 MEMBER SHROYER: Of course we are not

9 here to decide the fate of Rock Financial,

10 we are here to discuss the Paradise Park.


12 think it plays such an interesting role

13 considering that it's right across from

14 there. We have Miracle Software.

15 Oftentimes we need to be looking at the

16 general condition of the property and where

17 it sits within the City. So, I think it's

18 pertinent to ask these questions.

19 MEMBER SHROYER: It's relevant,

20 absolutely. I just didn't want our audience

21 to feel that now we're trying to make

22 decisions on another case.

23 MS. KUDLA: It's relevant to what's

24 going on in the surrounding area. Section



1 28.1 of the Sign Ordinance defines a

2 changeable copy sign as means of sign design

3 so the copy can be changed either manually

4 or electronically while the surface of the

5 sign remains unchanged. The images and

6 messages displayed electronically on the

7 sign must be static and transitioned for one

8 static display to another and must be

9 instantaneous without any special effects.

10 A sign on which the message changes more

11 than one time per minute for a maximum of 60

12 times per hour shall be considered an

13 animated sign.

14 Time and temperature displays and fuel

15 price displays shall be considered

16 changeable copy signs rather than animated

17 signs regardless of the number of changes to

18 be made.

19 So, it would be permitted as a

20 changeable copy sign at once per minute the

21 same as in this case.


23 questions, Member Shroyer?

24 MEMBER SHROYER: No, sir, that's all I



1 have. Thank you.


3 MEMBER KRIEGER: I would agree that to

4 maintain the safety I would agree with the

5 traffic request one per minute. However, in

6 the future if they came, they would need, if

7 this is not working for them to come back.

8 That it also -- it does as you go by, show

9 that different events are going on which is

10 good. But also the flip side the traffic

11 distraction. That's it.


13 Member Krieger. It looks like we have gone

14 through the Board Members. I will make a

15 couple of comments as well.

16 I think you guys do a great job. I

17 think your business does great things,

18 provides entertainment, clean fun as well as

19 all the wonderful activities that people

20 that you have there, I think it's a great

21 addition to the city. Obviously it's

22 businesses like yours that we want to

23 continue to bring to our city.

24 This is an interesting case for me



1 because it's one where while I can see how

2 you would want this and see how it would be

3 beneficial, I am not sure and I don't

4 believe that you have passed the threshold

5 of a practical difficulty at this time. As

6 has been mentioned, I think trying out the

7 one minute for a while and then if you feel

8 that you do meet the test of a practical

9 difficulty to come back, that might be

10 appropriate. But, unfortunately, I don't

11 think that that threshold has been passed.

12 And this Board while we may see the

13 need or the want of it, we can't be up here

14 changing Ordinance, especially one that was

15 reviewed by City Council and they say this

16 is the way we want things. We don't get to

17 say that. We have to decide on that

18 threshold. And so, unfortunately, I believe

19 that once again, the threshold hasn't been

20 met for a practical difficulty and I would

21 be forced at this time to deny this request.

22 MS. WAINWRIGHT: May I address the

23 Board?




1 like. Were you sworn in in January?



4 like to be sworn in by our Secretary and

5 make a few comments, I will definitely allow

6 that.

7 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number:

8 07-094 that you swear or affirm for the

9 truth in this case?

10 MS. WAINWRIGHT: Yes. I am Teresa

11 Wainwright, Jeffrey's partner. My

12 assessment on this is for traffic safety.

13 We have had issues such as when Easters

14 Seals was there and the Juvenile Diabetes.

15 They come from all around Michigan, all

16 parts of Michigan that aren't familiar with

17 the Novi area. They can't see that their

18 event is actually taking place until they

19 have passed the facility and then we have

20 them going into our neighbors parking lot,

21 cutting over the lawn or doing U-turns and

22 being ticketed in front of the park. So,

23 there are traffic issues that I feel that

24 make it far worse by not having the update.



1 I see it as more of a safety issue when they

2 are coming from these great distances and

3 don't know the area and then end up ticketed

4 in our great city for missing it and seeing

5 it as an after sight in their rearview

6 mirror. That's just my two cents on that

7 issue.


9 that. Obviously traffic consideration is

10 something that I am sure each Board Member

11 has to look into it. Thank you for that.

12 Member Shroyer?

13 MEMBER SHROYER: I have another

14 question for our attorney. If we do decide

15 to go with the current Ordinance

16 requirement, are we looking at approving

17 this with the reduced variance, taking it

18 down to a variance that is already there?

19 Or would it be a denial and then it would

20 just default out and then he would be able

21 to go to the one minute application?

22 MS. KUDLA: That's correct. If he

23 changed it you wouldn't be changing the

24 current Ordinance, it would just be a denial



1 and it would default to the current

2 Ordinance.

3 MEMBER SHROYER: In that case if you

4 would like I can make a Motion.

5 I move that we deny the variance in

6 Case Number: 07-094 sought by Paradise Park

7 because the Petitioner has not established a

8 practical difficulty, the establishment that

9 compliance with the strict letter of

10 restrictions of the Ordinance would

11 unreasonably prevent the use of the property

12 be unnecessarily burdensome because Paradise

13 Park can change messages under the revised

14 Sign Ordinance up to once per minute.

15 The Petitioner has not established that

16 even with a grant of the variance, the

17 spirit of the Ordinance will be observed,

18 public safety secured and substantial

19 justice done because this request is not

20 unique from other area vendors. And even

21 though it was stated, I have to state that

22 the Petitioner has not established -- I am

23 going to say this right -- that the proposed

24 use improvement will not be a detriment to



1 the public safety due to the posted speed

2 limit because drivers traveling at that rate

3 of speed trying to read a changing sign may

4 find it distracting taking their eyes off

5 the road and causing any safety concern.

6 MEMBER BAUER: I'll second that.


8 Motion by Member Shroyer and a second by

9 Member Bauer. Any other comments?

10 Seeing none, Ms. Working, would you

11 please call the vote.

12 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?


14 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?


16 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?


18 MS. WORKING: Member Ghannam?


20 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?


22 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?


24 MS. WORKING: Motion to deny passes



1 6-0.

2 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: At this time the

3 variance has been denied.

4 MR. WAINWRIGHT: Thank you, I

5 understand.


7 much.


9 At this time we will call Case Number:

10 08-019 filed by RMJ Development for 25280

11 Seeley Road. As the Board Members will

12 remember this was tabled from the May 13th,

13 2008 meeting. Donny Coach representing RMJ

14 Development is requesting a variance to

15 continue the non-conforming use for outdoor

16 storage for building materials, contractor's

17 equipment and supplies and to park RMJ

18 Development vehicles on the property at said

19 address. The property is also zoned I-1 and

20 located north of Grand River Avenue and east

21 of Seeley Road.

22 Is the Petitioner here today? RMJ

23 Development? All right. At this time I

24 will go ahead and move that and we will



1 revisit it at the end of the meeting.


3 We'll call Case Number: 08-022

4 filed by Linda Cornillie for 1601 East Lake

5 Road. Petitioner is requesting one four

6 foot side yard setback variance and one five

7 percent rear yard lot coverage variance for

8 the construction of a new 528 square foot

9 detached garage to be located at that said

10 address. The property is zoned R-4 and

11 located north of Thirteen Mile Road and west

12 of Novi Road.

13 Let me just take one minute to let

14 anyone who may be watching on the internet

15 or at home. Unfortunately we are having

16 some technical difficulties so there won't

17 be any overhead. Instead it will just have

18 to be verbalized and we'll proceed with your

19 case at this time.

20 And I will remind you as well that you

21 were sworn in at the last meeting and that

22 still stands.

23 MS. CORNILLIE: So, you would like for

24 me to review what I am asking for right now?




2 like to review, remind us of what's before

3 us and if you would like to add any

4 additions, deletions, et cetera, please

5 refer to that at that time. Remember we did

6 receive the full packet. Most of us were

7 here, I think all of us were here last

8 month. Just a summary of a few things and

9 if you can make sure that you can speak into

10 the microphone as well.

11 MS. CORNILLIE: I have on an hearing

12 aide, so I can't get to close to it because

13 I want to be able to hear you.


15 MS. CORNILLIE: If for some reason I

16 do not hear, you Mark is going to speak up

17 for me to try and help me. Okay?


19 MS. CORNILLIE: Because last time I

20 had difficulty and I don't think I was

21 communicating with you.

22 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: And if we need

23 to speak up lease let me know.

24 MS. CORNILLIE: Okay. Thank you very



1 much. After the last meeting, the very next

2 day I submitted a new request for a 20 by 24

3 garage and it would be four feet off of the

4 neighbor next to me property and a variance

5 of three percent lot coverage. I think

6 that's what everybody received. At this

7 time I would just like to state that I don't

8 feel as though, I looked around quite a bit.

9 I don't feel as though I am asking for

10 anything that other people that I have seen

11 have. And that -- I am going to have to

12 take this out. I'm sorry.


14 problem.

15 MS. CORNILLIE: For me I feel as

16 though it's for safety reasons. I cannot

17 handle the winters. I have a disability

18 with my back. Cleaning off the car and I'm

19 just asking the City to consider the request

20 that I made last time if they would, please.


22 anyone in the audience that wishes to make a

23 comment on this case? Please come forward.

24 And if the other people who want to make



1 comments, please come to this side of the

2 room so we can keep the meeting moving

3 along.

4 If you would raise your hand and each

5 time be sworn in by our Secretary and give

6 your name and address and then proceed with

7 whatever comments.

8 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you swear or

9 affirm in Case Number: 08-022 filed by

10 Linda Cornillie -- did I say that right?

11 For 1601 East Lake Road to tell the truth or

12 affirm in this case?

13 MS. JARVIS: Yes, I do. My name is

14 Bonnie Jarvis and I am at 1611 East Lake

15 Drive. Just on the opposite corner of Linda

16 and I have been in that location for 30

17 years now and there is not a house in that

18 area that hasn't had to have a variance to

19 enhance their property. So, I am just

20 asking if you would reconsider giving her

21 her variance.

22 We had one and every neighbor of ours

23 has had to have one and the neighborhood is

24 much better for it. So, I am just asking



1 for that. Thank you.


3 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you swear or

4 affirm in Case Number: 08-022 filed by

5 Linda Cornillie for 1601 East Lake Road do

6 you swear or affirm in this case to tell the

7 truth?

8 MS. FERMAN (ph): Yes. My name is

9 Barbara Ferman. I live at 101 Lashbrook.

10 I'm on the side street right next to where

11 Ms. Cornillie lives. I am really the

12 neighbor who's going to be most impacted by

13 her garage besides her next door neighbor

14 because it faces my house. I don't have an

15 issue with it. Linda has done nothing but

16 maintained her property. I have lived in my

17 house a little over four years now. Since I

18 have lived there Linda has done nothing more

19 than maintain and even improve her house. I

20 think this would improve our property values

21 for our neighborhood. I don't have an issue

22 with it and I would urge you to allow her

23 variance.

24 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you very



1 much.

2 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number:

3 08-022 filed by Linda Cornillie for 1601

4 East Lake Road do you swear or affirm to

5 tell the truth in this case?

6 MR. DILLON: Yes. I live on 1605 East

7 Lake Drive two houses down from Linda. What

8 I would like to say is just a couple of

9 comments. Thank you for hearing me. First

10 off -- I'm sorry, I lost my track already.


12 MR. DILLON: First off I think the

13 most important thing for the City to know is

14 that generally speaking when a car is put

15 inside a garage it makes the whole

16 neighborhood and the City look nicer. It

17 helps prevent blight, so if you can do that

18 I think that would help.

19 The other thing I wanted to point out

20 is Linda's immediate neighbor to the left of

21 her and Linda's immediate neighbor to the

22 right of her both have what she is asking

23 for which is a two car garage.

24 With that said, I have no issues with



1 it at all. I think it will increase our

2 property values and us being on the lake

3 lots it's impossible to get any building

4 done without getting a setback variance or a

5 lot coverage variance. It just needs to be

6 done. Thank you.


8 much. I'm sorry, sir, can you state your

9 name and address for us.

10 MR. DILLON: Robert Dillon, 1605 East

11 Lake Drive.


13 that. I didn't catch that.

14 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number:

15 08-022 filed by Linda Cornillie for 1601

16 East Lake Road, do you swear or affirm to

17 tell the truth in this case?

18 MR. JARVIS: Yes, I do.

19 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.

20 MR. JARVIS: I'm Mike Jarvis. I live

21 at 1611 East Lake Drive. I have been there

22 30 years and you people granted me a

23 variance 25 or 20 years ago to do the same

24 thing and I have got a bigger variance. I



1 have the size lot as Linda. It's made my

2 life a lot easier having a garage, and Linda

3 being single, she needs a garage. That's

4 all I have to say. And it's very reasonable

5 use of the land too.


7 your comments and coming today.

8 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number:

9 08-022 filed by Linda Cornillie for 1601

10 East Lake Road do you swear or affirm to

11 tell the truth in this case?

12 MR. DENNON (ph): Yes.


14 guy is going to speak we should probably

15 have him sworn in. Just kidding.

16 MR. DENNON: My name is William Dennon

17 and I am at 102 Lashbrook. And actually

18 this little guy was here three years ago for

19 a variance, similar situation. Already

20 mentioned, it's really the norm of what's

21 required in the area. You guys are familiar

22 with the city. I actually did provide

23 written comments for last month.

24 I was a bit bummed to see that it was



1 tabled to this month. I had full hope and

2 expectation for Linda that it was going to

3 be approved, so I guess I found it important

4 enough to stop back and just reconfirm my

5 statement I made last time. I am totally

6 for it. Thank you.


8 much. Anyone else in the audience that

9 wishes to make a comment?

10 Seeing none, we'll close the public

11 comment section and ask the Board Secretary

12 to see if there was any new correspondence.

13 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number:

14 08-022, 64 notices were mailed. Two

15 approvals. Zero objections. No changes.

16 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I will turn it

17 over to the City.

18 MS. KUDLA: We have nothing

19 additional.

20 MR. BOULARD: The concern that remains

21 from the last meeting is that the vehicles

22 backing out of the garage will have a

23 limited amount of space before they are

24 actually out of the right-of-way.




2 over to the Board for discussion. Member

3 Ibe?

4 MEMBER IBE: Thank you, Mr. Chair. My

5 question is for the City actually. I have

6 heard five individuals, I will say probably

7 three individuals, because I believe there

8 are couples among those here, the Jarvis and

9 Dillon. I am sure they are spouse related.

10 Would that be correct?

11 MR. DILLON: No, I'm single.

12 MS. JARVIS: Just one couple.

13 MEMBER IBE: Just one couple, all

14 right. Now, these individuals have come

15 here to tell us that they have had variances

16 granted in light of the City Ordinance. You

17 know, tell me as if I am a six-year-old and

18 I don't understand anything. Is it a

19 practice that we defer or we ignore the

20 Ordinance and grant variances when, in fact,

21 the Ordinance calls for something else?

22 What is the policy of the City in being

23 consistent with enforcing the Ordinance that

24 is enacted when it comes to issues like



1 this?

2 MS. KUDLA: The policy would be for

3 each variance, you look at each case

4 individually and look at the factors in the

5 same case and consider whether a practical

6 difficulty is created because of the

7 dimensional issues with the lot.

8 MEMBER IBE: Second follow-up

9 question. Do you know of any case of a

10 denied variance in the past in this area?

11 MS. KUDLA: I personally don't know of

12 every case that's come through the ZBA, no.

13 MEMBER IBE: Would anyone have that

14 answer?

15 MS. WORKING: In the two years that I

16 have served the Board the only denial that I

17 can think of was not in this area, and it

18 was a setback request as well.

19 MEMBER IBE: Similar to what she is

20 presenting?

21 MS. WORKING: It was for a new build,

22 new construction.

23 MEMBER IBE: For a new construction?

24 MS. WORKING: Correct. A whole home



1 with a garage and it was not in this area of

2 the lake. It was around the lake, but it

3 was not in this area.

4 MEMBER IBE: So, in other words we

5 have a precedent in this issue regarding

6 existing properties being granted variances;

7 is that correct?

8 MS. WORKING: The Board has been

9 generous to review the safety concerns and

10 the option of whether or not there is a way

11 to compromise the variances that would, the

12 depth of the variances. I think Ms.

13 Cornillie came to you last month asking for

14 a four foot variance and now she has now

15 compromised to a two foot variance. That

16 has happened very frequently not only since

17 I have been serving the Board, but for years

18 going back when I do research for you to

19 give it to you. I have seen that quite a

20 bit.

21 Those lots are very narrow, very

22 difficult to meet the ordinance as written

23 and were not grandfathered in as such and I

24 think that's why you will see so many of



1 these requests before you. You have seen a

2 boom in building and a lot of cases come to

3 you with similar requests.

4 MEMBER BAUER: Almost every lot is 30

5 feet wide. If you put in a 24 foot garage

6 by the Ordinance you can't do it. So, it

7 goes all the way back to when the plotting

8 of the whole area all around Walled Lake,

9 and people don't have basements. They have

10 a lot of boat things. They have got to have

11 something to put in to cover up and we have

12 been, yes, we have been -- I won't say

13 gracious because that's a word I don't like

14 to use.

15 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: We have done our

16 job.

17 MEMBER BAUER: We have tried to

18 accommodate them.

19 MEMBER IBE: Mr. Chair, if you don't

20 mind, just one more comment real quickly.

21 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Take your time.

22 MEMBER IBE: How long have you lived

23 at this address?

24 MS. CORNILLIE: Twenty-six years.



1 MEMBER IBE: In all those years you

2 never thought about having a garage?

3 MS. CORNILLIE: I am a single woman.

4 My main goal was to pay my home off and then

5 to make it better and I have had to do

6 things in steps as I could afford them. And

7 now I am getting older and I really feel

8 that I need this. I have had four back

9 surgeries. The last one it really was

10 terrible for me and I know that I cannot

11 handle the snow, cleaning the car and this

12 is why I am struggling right now to do this,

13 but this is something that is very necessary

14 for me. I can't move a barbecue grill

15 around. I can't put a lawn mower. I don't

16 have any place to put anything. This is to

17 me very important.

18 MEMBER IBE: Remind me perhaps the

19 last time you were here, did you mention

20 that you have -- the reason that you were

21 trying to position the garage the way you

22 did was because you had to park a boat?

23 MS. CORNILLIE: I could not get a car

24 into it that way because there is a back



1 porch that I have to step off onto. So, to

2 remove that would be -- then I would have no

3 area for a porch area and I would be

4 stepping from my house down.

5 MEMBER IBE: Thank you very much.

6 MS. CORNILLIE: Excuse me. In fact, I

7 just recently put that on to better the

8 home, so it cost me quite a bit to do that.

9 MEMBER IBE: Thank you very much.

10 Thank you, Mr. Chair.


12 will go ahead and put my comments. Just

13 echoing the comments of Member Bauer. These

14 lots have been the most difficult probably

15 for me since I have been on the Board. For

16 a while there maybe because of the economy,

17 maybe two, three, four years ago we got

18 probably two, three of these a week because

19 people were making a lot of additions back

20 then. And I notice some of the comments

21 that were made that, you know, it was kind

22 of saddening to hear that this wasn't

23 approved last time. But I think Ms. Working

24 really commented that the Board really tries



1 hard to make sure that all the neighbors are

2 informed of what is taking place. If they

3 are all on board.

4 For me I always want to make sure that

5 the least amount of variance that is

6 required is actually used. When you are

7 going above and beyond what the Ordinance

8 allows we want to make sure you are going

9 above and beyond by the most minimal amount

10 but still getting what you need. In this

11 case I believe that the Petitioner needs a

12 garage and she needs to be able to build one

13 and the Ordinance would not allow her to do

14 so without a variance. I am in support of

15 the revised variance.

16 As far as public safety, yes, when we

17 were sitting here last month talking about

18 the concern of the limited area between the

19 garage and the road, that does strike a

20 concern, but as far as keeping the

21 neighborhoods nice, I would rather see a

22 boat or a jet ski or a car or whatever it

23 is, barbecue grill inside of a garage.

24 That's what's going bring the values of all



1 the neighboring homes as well as the rest

2 the city up, and that's what we need to be

3 focusing on in my eyes. So, I believe that

4 you have worked hard to make sure that this

5 is the least amount of variance that you can

6 live with, and I think you have done your

7 job in that respect. I think that a

8 practical difficulty does arise from this

9 case and I would be willing to support the

10 Petitioner.

11 So, I hope that clarified it a little

12 more for you, Member Ibe.

13 MEMBER IBE: Thank you.


15 MEMBER KRIEGER: I agree that the

16 Petitioner went back and worked hard to find

17 something that would be agreeable to all and

18 still accomplish what she is looking for.

19 And the minimum requirements, if she had

20 tried to do an addition as Chris Fox said to

21 the house it would be more variances, so

22 this is less variances. So, I would be able

23 to support because she has proved her

24 practical difficulty. Thank you.




2 MEMBER GHANNAM: Ma'am, I don't think

3 there is any question you have met the

4 burden that you need to to build the garage.

5 The only question I have was for the City

6 and that a comment was made about ingress

7 and egress in terms of parking in the

8 garage. What is the status of that? Is

9 there any input from the Fire Department or

10 anything of that nature?

11 MR. BOULARD: The concern is that in

12 backing out of the garage with only 10 feet

13 in change between the front of the garage

14 and the edge of the right-of-way, that

15 someone backing the vehicle actually has to

16 back into the traffic. Or if they pull up

17 and close the garage door or pull the car

18 out to get a mower out or something or back

19 up a jet ski, that the vehicle would be out

20 in the right-of-way. That's a concern. I

21 have not had discussions with the Fire

22 Department regarding this issue.

23 MEMBER GHANNAM: In Michigan you need

24 a garage, it's actually a burden if you



1 don't have one, and given the nature of the

2 size of your lot in that neighborhood.

3 MS. CORNILLIE: Can you just speak up?

4 MEMBER GHANNAM: Yes, I'm sorry. I do

5 believe you do need a garage. I think it's

6 important in Michigan given the weather

7 conditions and especially the size and the

8 nature of your lot in that particular

9 neighborhood. It's important that you have

10 one and I think you did a nice job in

11 revising this and trying to minimize the

12 variances requested.

13 MS. CORNILLIE: Thank you.

14 MEMBER GHANNAM: So, I am in support

15 of it.


17 Member Ghannam.

18 Member Shroyer?

19 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

20 One question, and it goes back to my

21 comments the last time we met about the

22 length of the driveway and not knowing how

23 big a car is. By the way, a full size GM car

24 is 17 feet and three inches.




2 need to be averaged down a bit to make them

3 look smaller, Tim.

4 MEMBER SHROYER: They get better gas.

5 Did you have an intent to have an

6 electric garage door opener?

7 MS. CORNILLIE: Yes, absolutely.

8 MEMBER SHROYER: I think that would

9 ease some of the concern that I would have

10 about the right-of-way and backing out and

11 pulling in because if you had to park in the

12 street or partway in the driveway and part

13 in the street and go and open your garage

14 door, et cetera, it might be difficult, so

15 that eases the main concern I have.

16 Looking at reasons that we can grant a

17 variance, the setback obviously does have an

18 unreasonable prevention in there. I think

19 would provide substantial justice to a

20 Petitioner. There are unique circumstances

21 to the property. The light and air doesn't

22 have any applicability. The property values

23 will not diminish within the surrounding

24 area. It will improve the surrounding area.



1 And I think it really does meet the Zoning

2 Ordinance's spirit because the whole reason

3 the ZBA is here is to look at unique

4 circumstances that don't fall within the

5 exact guidelines of the Ordinances of the

6 City. So, I am in full support of this

7 variance request.



10 pretty set. I think we need to move along

11 with this case.

12 And if there are no other comments,

13 then I will go ahead and make a Motion that

14 in Case Number: 08-022 filed by Linda

15 Cornillie of 1601 East Lake Road that we

16 grant the Petitioner's request as requested

17 on the June 10th, 2008 meeting. And the

18 fact that the Petitioner has established a

19 practical difficulty given that the setback

20 would unreasonably prevent the use of the

21 property given the odd configuration and the

22 small lot sizes. The variance will provide

23 substantial justice to this Petitioner as

24 well as surrounding property owners. And



1 the fact that it will clean up the area

2 insuring that any storage items will be

3 stored inside as opposed to outside. And

4 that as Tim said, the spirit of the Zoning

5 Ordinance will be observed. That's all I am

6 going to go with at this time.



9 Yes?

10 MR. BOULARD: Could I just clarify

11 that your Motion is for the latest revised

12 plan?


14 Petitioner's June 10th, 2008 request.

15 MR. BOULARD: Thank you.



18 Motion by myself and a second by Member

19 Bauer, and will you please -- I'm sorry.

20 Are there any other comments? Seeing none,

21 please call the roll.

22 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?


24 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?




2 MS. WORKING: Member Ghannam?


4 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?


6 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?


8 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?


10 MS. WORKING: Motion to grant variance

11 passes 6-0.

12 MS. CORNILLIE: Thank you very much.


14 granted.

15 MS. CORNILLIE: Thank you.

16 MS. WORKING: Linda, you will have to

17 revise your building permit application that

18 you submitted with us.

19 MS. CORNILLIE: Okay, I will have that

20 tomorrow for you. Thank you very much.

21 MS. WORKING: You will have to wait

22 five days, though, before you can do

23 anything on the property.

24 MS. CORNILLIE: I understand that. I



1 have been already told that. Thank you so

2 much.


4 everybody.


6 Moving right along we'll call

7 Case Number: 08-025 filed by Robert Bednas

8 of Etkin White Novi LLC for Hilton Garden

9 Inn located 27355 Cabaret Drive.

10 Is the Petitioner here? Please come

11 forward.

12 The Petitioner is requesting one 165

13 square foot wall sign variance for the

14 placement of a 230 square foot wall sign for

15 the east elevation of the Hilton Garden Inn.

16 The Applicant is also requesting an

17 additional 230 square foot wall sign

18 variance for the west elevation of the

19 building above and beyond the maximum of two

20 signs allowed by City Ordinance. This

21 business has an approved ground sign on

22 Cabaret Drive. The property is zoned OST

23 and is located north of Fountain Walk Avenue

24 and south of Twelve Mile.



1 If you can please raise your hand and

2 be sworn in.

3 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number:

4 08-025 filed by Robert Bednas of Etkin White

5 Novi LLC for Hilton Garden Inn located at

6 27355 Cabaret Drive, do you swear or affirm

7 to tell the truth in this case?

8 MR. BEDNAS: I do.

9 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.

10 MR. BEDNAS: My name is Robert Bednas.

11 I am with Etkin Equities, 29100 Northwestern

12 Highway in Southfield, the Appellants in

13 this case. First, although, it's not within

14 our domain, or my domain, I would like to

15 apologize for Sunday's weather. We did have

16 mockup banners installed on the property.

17 When we checked yesterday morning, not only

18 were they no longer hanging from the

19 building, but they were nowhere to be found.

20 So, I'm not exactly sure where they are.

21 MEMBER SHROYER: There is one in my

22 backyard.

23 MR. BEDNAS: The only thing I would

24 like to do is maybe just restate what we



1 think are some of the key points in our

2 appeal. The sign that we're asking for at

3 the front of the building which is the east

4 elevation on Cabaret Drive, the sign itself

5 is a required sign by Hilton. The size, of

6 course, is subject to the appeal tonight,

7 but the size that we proposed is a size that

8 is also recommended by Hilton for a four

9 story or five story property.

10 The second sign on the west elevation

11 facing I-96 is also strongly recommended by

12 the brand when there is second roadway --

13 visibility from the second roadway

14 available. That sign of necessity if you

15 find it within your power to grant that

16 variance, almost has to be that size in

17 order to get the visibility that was shown.

18 I think in the photographs that we have

19 submitted or the mockups that we submitted,

20 it's pretty evident that in order to be

21 legible from 96 the sign has to be that 230

22 square foot sign.

23 This second sign is

24 very similar to the one that's on the



1 (unintelligible) building on the site to the

2 west of our property that faces the freeway.

3 The second point is there are a number of

4 other hotels in the city that enjoy the

5 benefit of having two building signs and are

6 a larger size than allowed by Ordinance

7 including our neighbors nearby, the

8 Residence Inn and also the Crowne Plaza.

9 The second building sign we also feel

10 will help assist the traveling public that's

11 coming from the west or the east and

12 somewhat give them some orientation as to

13 where the site is physically located in

14 relation to the interchange at Novi Road and

15 I-96.

16 Then, finally, we don't think these

17 variances will negatively affect any

18 neighbor or detract from the essential

19 character of the neighborhood.

20 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Is there anyone

21 in the audience that wishes to make a

22 comment on this case? Seeing none, I will

23 close the public remarks section and ask the

24 Board Secretary to read any correspondence.



1 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number:

2 08-025, 10 notices were mailed. Zero

3 approvals and zero objections.


5 Thank you. I will ask the City Staff for

6 any comments.

7 MS. WORKING: Mr. Chair, I just wanted

8 to point out to Members of the Board in your

9 case file folder before you this evening,

10 that submitted photographs showing the

11 mockup sign was in place and what the size

12 that the Ordinance requires.



15 MR. BOULARD: I just wanted to clarify

16 that this facility is allowed two signs

17 under the Ordinance. One of those there is

18 an approved permit for a ground sign

19 already, which would be one of those signs.

20 And the wall sign should the Applicant

21 choose to install it would be limited to,

22 would be limited in area to 130 square feet

23 minus the 65 foot variance they are asking

24 for. The variance request is for a larger



1 sign for the one remaining allowed wall

2 sign. In addition, another larger wall sign

3 beyond the two that are beyond these signs

4 they are allowed by the Ordinance. I am not

5 sure if I actually helped or confused it.

6 Reference was made to an adjacent

7 Residence Inn. There is a Residence Inn

8 adjacent nearby the property where a

9 variance was granted for that property in

10 the past should the Board be inclined to

11 consider a variance, that might provide some

12 guidance.


14 clarification. I'm sorry, you did kind of

15 throw me off with that first comment. We

16 are still looking at two signs east and west

17 and they are both 230 square feet which is

18 an addition to the ground signs they already

19 have?

20 MR. BOULARD: You are right, I'm

21 sorry, I did confuse the issue. The

22 Ordinance would allow two signs. There is

23 an approved permit for a ground sign.

24 MR. AMOLSCH: The Ordinance will allow



1 an OST building with single business, multi

2 story, you have a choice of two wall signs

3 or a wall sign and a ground sign. We have

4 approved and permitted has not been an issue

5 for the ground sign if it meets all the

6 Ordinances and they have indicated that's

7 what they are going to put up. So, the issue

8 here is the additional wall sign and the

9 square footage of the east wall sign.

10 MR. BOULARD: I apologize, I misspoke.

11 The one sign -- Alan, can you help? What is

12 the discrepancy on the second sign?

13 MR. AMOLSCH: The second sign is

14 limited to 65 square feet in area if a

15 ground sign is permitted and placed on the

16 parcel. So, they need a square variance for

17 that sign permanent sign and an additional

18 variance for the wall sign on the west

19 elevation.


21 the one sign on -- it's just the size, but

22 the other sign is --

23 MR. AMOLSCH: It's a permitted size,

24 but it needed another sign.




2 sign and the size.

3 MR. AMOLSCH: Additional sign and a

4 square foot in variance.


6 board with that?


8 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: We know what we

9 are chit-chatting about? I will open it up

10 for Board discussion.

11 Member Shroyer?

12 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

13 The one main question I have and it's more

14 of a clarification. The mockup sign that

15 was there when I drove by before Sunday

16 there were two signs. The larger one is the

17 one that you are requesting at 230 square

18 foot?

19 MR. BEDNAS: Correct.

20 MEMBER SHROYER: The smaller one is

21 the size that the City would permit?

22 MR. BEDNAS: That's correct.

23 MEMBER SHROYER: That's way too small.

24 That was a good move on your part to show



1 us.

2 MR. BEDNAS: Well, actually it's in

3 the instruction somewhere. I picked up on

4 it.

5 MS. WORKING: In your file folder this

6 evening when you arrived at the meeting

7 there is a picture of what you saw because

8 Mr. Bednas was concerned that not everyone

9 had a chance to make a site visit before it

10 blew down.

11 MEMBER SHROYER: We don't require them

12 to put up the sign --

13 MS. WORKING: No, we do not. He went

14 above and beyond, that's correct --

15 MEMBER SHROYER: So, that's why I am

16 saying that. A picture is worth a thousand

17 words.

18 MR. BEDNAS: I thought I saw it

19 somewhere that it was required. That's why

20 we did it.

21 MEMBER SHROYER: Now, the question I

22 have, though, Mr. Amolsch, that 65 square

23 feet was the smaller sign?

24 MR. AMOLSCH: Yes.



1 MEMBER SHROYER: So, the Residence Inn

2 has 130 foot, so it's roughly twice the size

3 of that?

4 MR. AMOLSCH: That's correct.

5 MEMBER SHROYER: But substantially

6 smaller than the one that is being

7 requested?


9 MEMBER SHROYER: Now I think I got it

10 all. I am not opposed at all to having the

11 two signs. It doesn't matter to me whether

12 it's a monument sign and a wall sign or two

13 wall signs. I see the difficulty in the

14 eastbound traffic on 696 being able to see

15 anything smaller than the very large sign.

16 So, I guess what I am trying to say here is,

17 I am not going to be in favor of three

18 signs. If you would choose to go with two

19 wall signs, then the discussion is how big

20 are they?

21 MR. BEDNAS: If I can respond to that.

22 I think if we solely had our druthers on

23 this, we would opt for the two building

24 signs. Unfortunately, Hilton has pretty



1 specific standards for the property for the

2 Garden Inn. And one of their requirements

3 is this ground entrance monument sign if you

4 want to call it that.

5 And, so, since we have to concede that

6 one sign, with obviously the second sign

7 that we need to have this one at the front

8 of the building, so the one on the west

9 facing I-96 would be the third sign or third

10 choice.

11 MEMBER SHROYER: And Hilton requires

12 the one on the front side as well as the

13 monument sign?

14 MR. BEDNAS: Correct.

15 MEMBER SHROYER: Well, Novi has some

16 strict requirements too that we need to look

17 at. That's what we are charged with.

18 Now, I think where I am leaning at

19 this point, Mr. Chair, is since they have

20 indicated which signs they prefer and the

21 sequence that they prefer it, the monument

22 sign obviously has already been approved.

23 The frontage sign, I don't think the 65

24 square foot is large enough to give adequate



1 advertisement and location identification

2 for the building. However, I think the

3 requested sign size is too large. I would

4 be in favor of anything up to but not to

5 exceed the 130 square foot size of the

6 adjacent hotel property.

7 That's all I have, Mr. Chair. Thank

8 you.


10 Member Shroyer. I like when we are on

11 board, Member Shroyer.

12 To be quite honest, even if the I-96

13 sign was one of the preferred ones, I don't

14 think I can support that. I don't think

15 that the spirit and the intent of the

16 Ordinance in Novi is to have a building so

17 far from the highway, have a sign on that

18 side, no matter what size it needs to be so

19 that people can see it. It's not a building

20 that has frontage right on I-96. So, you

21 know, my house is two miles away. If I had

22 a large enough sign I could say Justin's

23 house, but unfortunately that's not where I

24 think the intent of the Ordinance is going.



1 Given that the ground sign and the

2 sign in the front on the east elevation are

3 the ones that are preferred, I see the need

4 for two signs. And they are allowed to have

5 two signs, but as you said, the one is too

6 small and I don't think I can support

7 anything over 130 square feet either. So, I

8 see where two of us are at right now.

9 Other Board Members? Member Ghannam?

10 MEMBER GHANNAM: As they are

11 suggesting, is there any difficulty that you

12 think of if your sign is limited to 130

13 square foot?

14 MR. BEDNAS: The only one that I can

15 -- because for a smaller lower height

16 buildings, Hilton does have smaller signs

17 available. And I can see where this is

18 going, but the next size down is, in fact,

19 nominally 130 square feet, but it's 130.13

20 square feet. So, if there is going be a

21 Motion made.

22 MEMBER GHANNAM: Your point is well

23 taken.

24 MR. BEDNAS: That's the only thing we



1 would be asking. We can certainly live with

2 that.

3 MEMBER GHANNAM: What would be your

4 practical difficulty if we were to consider

5 the sign that faces this I-96 because it's

6 so far, why would you think you would meet

7 that practical difficulty standard?

8 MR. BEDNAS: Hilton Garden Inn is one

9 of the immerging brands within the Hilton

10 family. It's a very, very nice product. It

11 has a full service restaurant, three meals a

12 day. And the problem with the Garden Inn is

13 that they take a little longer to stabilize

14 their income as opposed to some of the more

15 common brands like a Hampton or a Court Yard

16 who normally stabilize within three or four

17 months, the Garden Inn takes almost a year.

18 The only hardship would be that there would

19 be less awareness from the traveling public

20 that way.

21 MEMBER GHANNAM: I understand more

22 advertising is better, but given the fact

23 that Novi does limit that by Ordinance, you

24 are suggesting that it's just a matter that



1 you would like to advertise more. I don't

2 have any more questions. Thank you.





7 MEMBER BAUER: I agree with everybody.

8 I think 130.1 whatever, would be sufficient.


10 MEMBER BAUER: On what side, the

11 expressway side?

12 MR. BEDNAS: No, it would be on the

13 Cabaret Drive side.

14 MEMBER SHROYER: East elevation.

15 MEMBER BAUER: East elevation.

16 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: It looks like we

17 kind of have a gathering of where we are

18 going. Does any Board Member care to make a

19 Motion?

20 Okay, I would move that in Case

21 Number: 08-025 filed by Robert Bednas for

22 Hilton Garden Inn that we grant the

23 Petitioner's request for a wall sign on the

24 east elevation not to exceed 130 -- well,



1 131 square feet. Give you a little room

2 there to work with. Given that the

3 Petitioner has established that the setback

4 of the building from the road Cabaret Drive

5 unreasonably prevents the use of the

6 property, would not be able to be seen, as

7 well as the size of the building and the

8 size of the property cites the necessity for

9 a larger sign. Petitioner

10 has also established that no increase of

11 fire danger or public safety, and that the

12 spirit of the Ordinance will be observed and

13 that property values will not diminish

14 within the surrounding area. We will leave

15 it at that and I will open it up for a

16 denial Motion.

17 MEMBER BAUER: Second.

18 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: There a motion

19 by the Chairperson and a second by Member

20 Bauer.

21 Any other comments? Seeing none, Ms.

22 Working, will you please call the roll.

23 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?




1 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?


3 MS. WORKING: Member Ghannam?


5 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?


7 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?


9 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?


11 MS. WORKING: Motion to grant variance

12 for east evaluation wall sign at 131 square

13 feet passes 6-0.


15 else want to make a second Motion? Seeing

16 none, I will move that in Case Number:

17 08-025 filed by Robert Bednas for Hilton

18 Garden Inn, that we deny the Petitioner's

19 request for a sign on the west elevation

20 because practical difficulty was not

21 established given that the variance will --

22 the sign would not be able to be seen most

23 likely from 96 or that it would need to be

24 too big in order to do so. And that denying



1 this variance does not unreasonably prevent

2 the use of the property, especially

3 considering the east elevation was approved

4 by the Board, and that it could have

5 potential property value impacts, and the

6 spirit of the Zoning Ordinance would not be

7 observed by the west elevation sign.

8 MEMBER GHANNAM: I second that.


10 Motion by Member Fischer and a second by

11 Member Ghannam.

12 Member Shroyer, you have a comment?

13 MEMBER SHROYER: Instead of saying too

14 big, would the Chair be open to changing the

15 verbiage to substantially larger than the

16 Ordinance allows?


18 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you.

19 MEMBER GHANNAM: I'll second that.

20 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: The Motioner and

21 Seconder agrees.

22 Any further comments? Seeing none,

23 please call the roll.

24 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?




2 MS. WORKING: Member Ghannam?


4 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?


6 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?


8 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?


10 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?


12 MS. WORKING: Motion to deny second

13 wall sign request on east elevation passes

14 6-0.

15 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I hope that is

16 something you can live with and good luck to

17 you guys.

18 MR. BEDNAS: Yes, it is. Thank you

19 for your consideration.



22 I will go ahead and move along to

23 Case Number: 08-027 filed by Donna Skelcy

24 of 301 Duana. Is the Petitioner here today?



1 MS. SKELCY: Yes.


3 is requesting a variance from the strict

4 requirement of the Zoning Ordinance which

5 prohibits fences on all lots of record in

6 all residential districts from extending

7 into the front yard setback to allow for a

8 14 foot 3 inch long fence in the front yard.

9 Property is zone R-4 and is located south of

10 South Lake Drive and west of Old Novi Road.

11 Can you please raise your hand and be

12 sworn in by our Secretary.

13 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you swear or

14 affirm in Case Number: 08-027 filed by

15 Donna Skelcy for 301 Duana Street do you

16 swear or affirm to tell the truth in this

17 case?

18 MS. SKELCY: I do.

19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: State your name

20 and address and proceed, please.

21 MS. SKELCY: Donna Skelcy. I reside

22 at 301 Duana in Novi.


24 your case.



1 MS. SKELCY: Okay. Thank you. I

2 wanted to give you a brief history. I know

3 that it's contained in the documents, so

4 I'll keep it short. I was looking for a

5 house. I moved here from Chicago in

6 November and was looking for a house and saw

7 this house and took a look at it. At the

8 time I looked at it there was a rusty old RV

9 on the property, and I met with the builder

10 before I did my offer, and we went over the

11 property lines. Because I think you might

12 all be aware that the house is right by

13 Shawood Lake and that public access road.

14 So, I wanted to make sure I understood the

15 boundaries of the property. When we walked

16 it he explained to me that my neighbor was

17 two feet over encroaching on the property

18 with his RV because it was so wide and it

19 was right next to his house.

20 I had a concern about the RV the way

21 it looked in terms of property values to

22 begin with, and I certainly didn't want

23 anyone encroaching on the property because I

24 know that if you do it for so many years



1 then you can create an entitlement to it.

2 As a result, I bargained with the builder to

3 install a fence there to create a boundary

4 line. When he called the City he asked if

5 he needed a permit. He didn't ask the right

6 question and say are there any prohibitions

7 with regard to fencing. He was not aware of

8 the fact that you could not have a fence

9 beyond the front property line.

10 I also had intended as part of the

11 landscaping because when I bought it there

12 was absolutely no landscaping to the left.

13 When we had the nice weather I have been

14 able to get out there and work on it. I had

15 the intention of bringing that fence where

16 it ends currently into the front like a

17 country cottage kind of look. And then

18 after I found out about this violation I

19 said, okay, I guess I won't be doing that.

20 It's not on the proposed landscape design

21 that I provided to you.

22 So, that's why it ends basically where

23 it ends currently. I feel that the fence

24 helps increase the property value. I plan



1 to do landscaping as you can see from my

2 design by the fence. I have started

3 landscaping. I enjoy landscaping as a

4 hobby. I like to do the heavy work myself.

5 In fact, the white fencing, if you see the

6 recent picture, I built that myself in two

7 days all around the porch. So, anyway, I do

8 like to do this myself. I feel that if I

9 take the fence down, the property may be

10 encroached again by the next door neighbor.

11 There is a boat there now. And, you know, I

12 have a fear that if the fence comes down

13 then the boat is going to start to encroach

14 on the property.

15 So, I think it sets a good boundary

16 between the two of us. We're friendly with

17 each other. And I already have snowmobilers

18 coming off Shawood Lake in the winter. I

19 just noticed because I just moved in in

20 November, driving their snowmobiles across

21 my property.

22 I will have to do a little landscaping

23 there. Now, I could give consideration in

24 putting landscaping where the fence is but



1 then I would want to put bushes, because if

2 I perineals those are easy to trample over

3 and I fear like a bush, which I would want

4 in the alternative, I would have to trim

5 that, get on his property to trim it. It

6 may overgrow over onto his property and I

7 certainly don't want to encroach on his

8 property either.

9 So, that's my story about my fence.

10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Is there anyone

11 in the audience that wishes to make a

12 comment on this case? Seeing none, I will

13 ask the Board Secretary to please go ahead

14 and read any correspondence.

15 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number:

16 08-027, 16 notices were mailed. Zero

17 approvals. Two objections.

18 The first one is from Donnell

19 Keranovick (ph), 303 Duana Street June 9.

20 "I agree with the Ordinance with regard to

21 prohibiting fences in the front yard. I do

22 not believe there is a hardship that would

23 warrant the variance. Please uphold the

24 Ordinance as it stands. I am the next door



1 neighbor where we share the property line

2 that the fence in question lies."

3 The second one is Henry Gruzwalski

4 (ph), 311 Madison, Clawson, Michigan, May

5 23, 2008. "The fence was there long before

6 Ms. Donna Skelcy moved in the house. City

7 of Novi Code Section 25151 A reads: Unless

8 an existing house already extends into the

9 minimum front yard, in which case the fence

10 may extend to the front of the house. The

11 fence is even with existing front of the

12 house according to code. Sincerely Mr.

13 Henry Gruzwalski." That's it.


15 that. Any comments from the City?

16 MR. BOULARD: Just one comment. I

17 think that there is for the sake of

18 simplicity there are three options. One

19 would be to approve the variance as

20 requested. Two, would be to deny the

21 variance as requested. There is also in

22 Ordinance Section 2515 Section 1A, Subpart

23 2, there is some language which reads: The

24 requirements of this subpart that does not



1 allow fences or that prohibit fences, the

2 requirement of this subpart shall not apply

3 to decorative fencing. And then the code

4 gives an example, i.e., split rail of no

5 more than 20 feet in length or four feet in

6 height when erected as part of an approved

7 landscaping plan. The Petitioner has

8 provided landscaping plan as you know in the

9 staff report.

10 We did have the City landscape

11 architect look at that. There are no

12 minimum requirements for landscaping, but

13 what the Petitioner has proposed is more

14 than typical. And so, I guess, I just in my

15 mind the options in addition to approval or

16 denial of the variance would be

17 determination that what's proposed meets the

18 exception language in the Ordinance which

19 would then not require a variance

20 necessarily.

21 Would I be correct in stating that?

22 MS. KUDLA: You would be. It would be

23 an interpretation. It would be interpreting

24 it as an exception.




2 interpretation goes, if I can ask the City

3 Attorney, what kind of binding or future

4 effect does that have? Because each case we

5 look at is on its own individual merits,

6 each piece of property, each individual case

7 before us. Now if every single neighbor on

8 the street all of a sudden hears about this

9 interpretation, we have everyone in the

10 whole Walled Lake area with front yard

11 fences, that could be an issue. So, what

12 kind of an effect would our decision with an

13 interpretation have in the future?

14 MS. KUDLA: I think looking at the

15 facts in this case what you would be looking

16 at is whether what would be different is the

17 style of fence and whether you consider it

18 decorative or not. Or whether it's

19 purpose --

20 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: But if we decide

21 that it's decorative --

22 MS. KUDLA: It could.

23 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Will people come

24 back before us or be forced to come back



1 before us and say we have the same exact

2 landscape plan, the same exact fence?

3 MS. KUDLA: Yes, they could.

4 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Would they have

5 to come before us again or could they just

6 go ahead and do it?

7 MS. KUDLA: They would have to come

8 before you.

9 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: It would be hard

10 in my eyes to change that interpretation

11 with each piece of property. So, that

12 scares me. I will just throw that out

13 there, and I will open it up for the Board

14 for discussion.

15 MS. WORKING: You don't think a six

16 foot stockade fence (unintelligible)?


18 MS. WORKING: You don't think the six

19 foot stockade fence --


21 looking at the four foot high.

22 Member Shroyer?

23 MEMBER SHROYER: A couple of

24 questions. When I came out to view the



1 property I was trying to visualize how far

2 in front of the house the fence extends. Do

3 you know the exact footage?

4 MS. SKELCY: I did measure from the

5 front porch, not the stairs.

6 MEMBER SHROYER: From the end of the

7 front porch?

8 MS. SKELCY: From the end of the front

9 porch. I wasn't certain if that encompassed

10 as part of the front of the house. It's 13

11 feet beyond that front porch.

12 MEMBER SHROYER: I wanted to ask the

13 City. Does an attached front porch

14 constitute part of the house? The end of

15 the porch would be the frontage?

16 MS. WORKING: Through the Chair, the

17 determination is from the front footprint of

18 the house which does not include the front

19 porch and --

20 MEMBER SHROYER: Even though the

21 porch --

22 MS. WORKING: Inspector Fox went out

23 to the property and measured 14 feet, three

24 inches.



1 MS. SKELCY: Not 31 inches like the

2 Hilton sign.

3 MEMBER SHROYER: I would have thought

4 that a covered porch with the roof tied into

5 the existing house would have been

6 considered part of the house.

7 The next question would be the

8 neighbor's property, how far beyond the

9 front of his or her house does the fence

10 extend approximately?

11 MS. SKELCY: Do you have the photos?

12 If I could look at the photo. May I

13 approach?

14 MEMBER SHROYER: Sure. When I looked

15 at it it appeared to be maybe only one fence

16 section.

17 MS. SKELCY: I think it might be

18 actually one and a half. I think it might

19 be one and a half.

20 MEMBER SHROYER: The fence sections

21 are eight feet?

22 MS. SKELCY: Yes, and they are only

23 one four foot high which is similar to the

24 decorative fencing exception. They are not



1 higher than that. I kind of also feel that

2 they fit in with that, especially once I do

3 the landscaping. I think that will add to

4 the decorative fencing look. And really I

5 had hoped to do a fence across the front

6 because I think that's really kind of cute,

7 but obviously not now. You know what I

8 mean? This isn't across the front of the

9 house, it's just on the side. I am again

10 trying to improve the property, make it look

11 great. Make the neighborhood look good.

12 If you drove by you probably saw some

13 of the landscaping, and this is going to be

14 an ongoing project as plants go on sale.

15 You know, and I can't buy it all at one time

16 all the plants and flowers and trees and

17 everything I want to do.

18 MEMBER SHROYER: I understand. The

19 concern I have is a little bit about setting

20 precedent-type activities. I do consider if

21 it is, since you have submitted a

22 landscaping plan, that it could be construed

23 as decorative fencing. I am not sure it

24 needs to go out quite that far. Maybe one



1 section could be removed. And then maybe a

2 more emphatic landscaping activity be

3 provided in that section. I know you don't

4 want to trim shrubbery. But there is some

5 shrubs that are slow growing and there are

6 other shrubs that don't need trim actually.

7 Then there is also something like a spruce,

8 a slow growing spruce.

9 MS. SKELCY: I agree with you that

10 that is certainly an option.

11 MEMBER SHROYER: I am trying to think

12 of different ways.

13 MS. SKELCY: Again, my only concern is

14 that width that the trees and plants will

15 get. I just want to make sure that I keep

16 that property line established. Especially

17 since as I pointed out, he was asked to

18 remove it. He removed it. And then he

19 brought it back. To me it's like a respect

20 issue with regard to property line. There

21 seems to be a disrespect, and that's a

22 concern I have.

23 MEMBER SHROYER: We can't get involved

24 with anything involving a dispute between



1 neighbors or anything like that.

2 MS. SKELCY: And I don't want a

3 dispute.

4 MEMBER SHROYER: But we understand

5 your reasoning behind that. So, that's

6 fine.

7 MS. SKELCY: Okay.

8 MEMBER SHROYER: I was trying to get a

9 better understanding as to how far 14 feet

10 is substantial. Looking at the landscaping

11 plans they do look nice. Some of the

12 proposed vegetation is good. I don't think

13 that vegetation is going to prevent

14 snowmobilers from coming through.

15 MS. SKELCY: That's on the other side.

16 That's on the south side of the house.

17 MEMBER SHROYER: Those are all the

18 questions I have, Mr. Chair. Thank you.


20 you say the builder installed the fence or

21 did a fence company?

22 MS. SKELCY: I did. Before I closed.

23 It was part of the sales agreement.

24 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: So they put it



1 in, they didn't hire a fence company to do

2 that?

3 MS. SKELCY: He has his own guys I

4 guess that did it.


6 MEMBER IBE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

7 Ma'am, I am sure you can certainly

8 appreciate the comments made by Member

9 Shroyer here regarding the issues concerning

10 what the neighborhood might look like if we

11 open up a floodgate once you put up this

12 decorative fence. I am sure you are trying

13 to improve your property, and I am sure that

14 intent is well taken. However, the spirit

15 and true intent of the Ordinance is to

16 maintain certain decorum for neighborhood so

17 that we don't have individuals with

18 subjective ideas coming up with different

19 fences. I mean, that's part of the fact

20 that, yes, you may have made a strong

21 argument concerning your fence falling under

22 that exception, but it is a subjective what

23 is beautiful, what is considered decorative

24 I think is subjective. What is decorative



1 to you may not be decorative to your

2 neighbor.

3 Is it possible that you can accomplish

4 what you are trying to do by either moving

5 that fence back to what the Ordinance calls

6 and then maybe use, you know, some kind of

7 shrub that will not require a lot of

8 trimming to still accomplish your goal? Is

9 that something that you would be willing to

10 do?

11 MS. SKELCY: I would be willing to

12 take one piece down, but my fear is that he

13 will have enough room once I take it back to

14 the house to fit the mobile RV driving thing

15 back onto the property which is an eye sore

16 and encroaching on my property. So that

17 is -- I would be willing to do one piece as

18 suggested by Mr. Shroyer, but to do more

19 than that I think would be a problem. And

20 if you don't want to say that it falls

21 within the exception, then I guess I would

22 ask for a variance. I mean, it's a nice

23 looking fence. If you look at the quote

24 unquote, decorative fence on his property,



1 it needs to be painted. It looks pretty

2 bad, and this is a very nice vinyl fence.

3 So, aesthetics aside, I think there is a

4 substantial need for me to maintain that

5 based on past history with the encroachment

6 on the property line.

7 MEMBER IBE: I think your statement

8 just made my point in terms of what is

9 decorative to you may not be decorative to

10 your neighbor. I think you pretty much made

11 my case.

12 MS. SKELCY: Well, I don't know why he

13 hasn't had to have a variance for his fence

14 or gotten a violation for that fence on his

15 property.

16 MEMBER IBE: It appears looking at

17 this picture you are going have to take out

18 with count the property line, you are going

19 to have to take down more than one. It

20 seems like you would have to take down maybe

21 three.

22 MS. SKELCY: Which would, as I said I

23 fear if I take down three, he will be able

24 to move that. It's there during the hunting



1 season apparently and that thing will be

2 back and bringing down the property value.

3 It looks awful. I wish I could have a

4 picture of it, but once the fence went up he

5 couldn't fit it in there any longer.

6 MEMBER IBE: I must tell you, ma'am,

7 with the Ordinance, while I empathize with

8 what you are going through, however, the

9 Ordinance as written requires almost a

10 strict interpretation if you were to ask me.

11 If I am asked to cast a vote tonight, it

12 probably wouldn't be what you are looking

13 for because I think the true intent of the

14 Ordinance is what I think needs to be

15 enforced here.

16 Thank you, Mr. Chair.


18 Member Ibe.

19 Member Krieger?

20 MEMBER KRIEGER: If you could restate

21 when the fence went up? When the RV was

22 present, not present and then present again?

23 And then if that fence where it stands on

24 the property line is it towards your



1 property or is it right on the line?

2 MS. SKELCY: Sure. The first question

3 is about the RV. When I looked at the house

4 at the very first the RV was there and I

5 considered not buying it because of the RV.

6 And I met at the house a couple of times. I

7 met with the builder who went over the

8 property line. At that time he indicated

9 that it was two feet onto the property that

10 would eventually become my property because

11 it's so wide. So I thought, well, he is

12 going to have to move it if I buy this

13 house. So, the builder also told me that

14 when he first bought the house to build the

15 house he tore one down and built a brand new

16 one. That it was there and he asked the guy

17 to move it and he moved it. Then he brought

18 it back.

19 At the time I was looking in November

20 is when it was back which is around hunting

21 season. So, the builder had experienced him

22 encroaching on the property two times. And

23 I thought to be a good neighbor, I didn't

24 want to have to constantly confront him,



1 that I would put this fence up and that that

2 would create clear boundary lines. The

3 property fence is on my property. It is not

4 encroaching onto his property whatsoever.

5 In fact, it may be a couple inches over onto

6 my property.

7 MEMBER KRIEGER: So, when you moved in

8 the fence was there?

9 MS. SKELCY: As I negotiated with the

10 builder, I said his RV is on the property.

11 He goes, "Well, I'll go over and tell him he

12 has got to move it." I said thought, oh,

13 great, I am going to create problems with my

14 neighbor before I even step in the front

15 door, which I don't want to do. I want to be

16 a good neighbor. So, I came up with the

17 idea, well, why don't we put a fence there

18 and then he can't stick that thing there.

19 So, I negotiated with him through my realtor

20 to have him install the fence before

21 closing. That was part of the written

22 purchase agreement.

23 MEMBER KRIEGER: So, that fence is

24 cemented in or how is that put into the



1 ground?

2 MS. SKELCY: I don't know. I didn't

3 do it. I wasn't there. I hadn't moved here

4 yet.

5 MEMBER KRIEGER: So, to consider

6 taking out a panel would require evaluating

7 what's underneath?

8 MS. SKELCY: Yeah, and I am not

9 certain.

10 MEMBER KRIEGER: Considering -- I

11 would be persuaded to be consider that as a

12 decorative fence regarding a number of

13 panels and excavating one if necessary as

14 the previous speaker made. I am still

15 thinking about architect. Putting in the

16 landscaping I agree is another option. But

17 that's where I am at right now.


19 Member Krieger.

20 MEMBER GHANNAM: I have got a few

21 questions.


23 MEMBER GHANNAM: Actually I have got a

24 question for our attorney. If we agree this



1 a decorative fence, this fence would be in

2 compliance?

3 MS. KUDLA: Yes, this would be an

4 exception.

5 MEMBER GHANNAM: It could be an

6 exception to the rule?

7 MS. KUDLA: Yes.

8 MEMBER GHANNAM: So, we wouldn't need

9 to grant any type of variance?

10 MS. KUDLA: There wouldn't be a

11 variance.

12 MEMBER GHANNAM: You are saying for

13 future reference if the City denies or takes

14 issue with a fence like this being built on

15 a property that people would have to come in

16 and get a type of ruling?

17 MS. KUDLA: It would have to be each

18 time.

19 MEMBER GHANNAM: They would have to

20 get some type of ruling that it is

21 decorative?

22 MS. KUDLA: Correct.


24 MS. KUDLA: Yes.



1 MEMBER GHANNAM: So, if we agree that

2 it is decorative then we would move to grant

3 a variance and it is in compliance?

4 MS. KUDLA: Correct.

5 MEMBER GHANNAM: Did you understand

6 that, ma'am?

7 MS. SKELCY: I did.

8 MS. WORKING: May I ask a question

9 through the Chair to the City Attorney?


11 Ghannam finish and then if you want to grab

12 my attention.

13 MS. WORKING: Thank you.

14 MEMBER GHANNAM: The white fence is

15 more toward your neighbor's fence, toward

16 the lake part of the property, that's six

17 foot high, correct?

18 MS. SKELCY: Yes, that's the panel

19 fence.

20 MEMBER GHANNAM: That was put in by

21 your builder?

22 MS. SKELCY: Yes. I did the design.

23 I said let's do two of these and then low

24 pick it because that would look cute.



1 MEMBER GHANNAM: I understand that.

2 And what is the -- it's not real clear --

3 well, I take it back, it is from the other

4 photograph. There is separation between

5 each of these particular holes in your

6 fence, is that accurate?

7 MS. SKELCY: May I approach so I could

8 see?

9 MEMBER GHANNAM: Yes. I am looking at

10 this photograph right here.

11 MS. SKELCY: That's a post.

12 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: If you want to

13 take one of them, but we need to have you

14 speaking into the microphone.

15 MS. SKELCY: I'm sorry. That's a

16 post.

17 MEMBER GHANNAM: I understand. I'm

18 talking about between the two major posts

19 there is each a panel or column, whatever

20 you call it.

21 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: It is a picket

22 fence.

23 MS. SKELCY: It's a picket fence.

24 MEMBER GHANNAM: The intent is not



1 necessarily privacy, but some type of

2 barrier?

3 MS. SKELCY: No. Well, it helps to

4 separate the property line as a barrier, I

5 have to say that.

6 MEMBER GHANNAM: Yeah, I understand

7 that. But it's not like a fence where you

8 are putting it in the back of your property

9 to secure a pool so children --

10 MS. SKELCY: No.

11 MEMBER GHANNAM: I understand that

12 now.

13 MS. SKELCY: And I had hoped to come

14 out from that last post across the front and

15 put landscaping in front, but, again, no.

16 MEMBER GHANNAM: If for some reason

17 this Zoning Board disagrees that it is

18 decorative and it does not come within the

19 exception to the rule, your main purpose for

20 having this fence there is for separation

21 of, from preventing your neighbor from

22 putting his boat or RV, whatever on your

23 property?

24 MS. SKELCY: Correct.



1 MEMBER GHANNAM: And actually on the

2 other side, it looks like from the other

3 photograph that you submitted, on the other

4 side of your neighbor's property it's not

5 really a grassed in area, is it?


7 MEMBER GHANNAM: Whereas yours is?

8 MS. SKELCY: Yes.

9 MEMBER GHANNAM: I see. It looks like

10 he even parks his vehicles right in front of

11 his house.

12 MS. SKELCY: He does every single day.

13 And then the boat is between my fence and

14 his house now.

15 MEMBER GHANNAM: And that's not really

16 something that you want to stare at either?

17 MS. SKELCY: Not really.

18 MEMBER GHANNAM: I don't have any

19 other questions. Thank you.


21 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

22 After hearing everyone speak or several

23 people speak, I should say, even though I

24 agree that it is, it can fall within the



1 interpretation of decorative, I am afraid if

2 we go that route, we are going to see the

3 same requests follow all the way down the

4 street and perhaps everywhere else within

5 that whole section. And I do agree with

6 Member Ibe, that if we follow the guidelines

7 that we are supposed to follow that it does

8 not fall within the variance request type

9 activity. What I would recommend and I know

10 we're not, this isn't a Motion, we're not

11 voting on anything right now. What I would

12 recommend is the possibility of having the

13 fence removed because of the violation at

14 this point, but working with the City

15 landscape professionals to see what other

16 options might be available to separate the

17 property that falls within our Ordinances.

18 And the City is very good about assisting

19 residents with helps and concerns because we

20 want to keep everybody happy.

21 And I totally understand your dilemma.

22 And it really is a dilemma which is the

23 probably the best way to phrase it because

24 you are caught in the middle. But if we



1 were to have a vote right now I don't think

2 I could be in favor of granting a variance.

3 I don't really think that I could fully

4 support the interpretation that this would

5 be decorative simply because of all the

6 other potential applications within that

7 area.

8 Thank you, Mr. Chair.


10 Member Shroyer. Ms. Working, I'm sorry I

11 skipped over you.

12 MS. WORKING: That's fine, Mr. Chair.

13 After consulting with the City Attorney, I

14 just would like to point out to the Board

15 that if Members are considering the

16 possibility of an interpretation, that this

17 case was noticed for a variance under a

18 specific section of the Ordinance having to

19 do with fences extending into a front yard,

20 and we would have to re-notice this case as

21 an interpretation made by the Board rather

22 than a variance to the Ordinance.


24 MEMBER GHANNAM: Could this be put on



1 for the next hearing?

2 MS. WORKING: Absolutely.


4 Members?

5 MEMBER IBE: Just a quick comment.


7 MEMBER IBE: Perhaps the City Attorney

8 as well. If this is going to be put back on

9 for the next agenda, is it possible that you

10 can look whether or not we have had any

11 issues dealing with the exception to this

12 rule and see what the City Ordinance, if

13 there is any precedent as to the definition

14 of decorative? I think that's very

15 important.

16 MS. KUDLA: I think that would require

17 searching variance and zoning files. I

18 don't know how to do that. That would be

19 something you would have ask the City for.

20 MS. WORKING: The zoning part what I

21 can do is case separation if the Board has

22 asked for that specific information. I

23 think also what we could do to assist you is

24 consult with David Besky who is our



1 landscape architect what his knowledge is in

2 terms of decorative fencing, possibly what

3 he recommends when he does work with

4 required landscape plan approval. He knows

5 residential areas are not required for any

6 kind of landscape approval. So, I don't

7 know if the definition of decorative would

8 be different or not in that case, but it's

9 certainly something that we could look into.

10 MEMBER IBE: Thank you.

11 MEMBER GHANNAM: Actually I have got a

12 suggestion and I would like to make it into

13 a Motion. Actually I would like to move

14 that we table this particular petition for

15 the following reasons:

16 Number one, I think the way the

17 presentation as well as some of the

18 information submitted by the Applicant does

19 argue that this is a decorative structure

20 and it's not intended to -- it is an

21 exception to the rule, although it may have

22 been characterized as a variance request.

23 So, number one, table it so there can be an

24 interpretation of whether this particular



1 fencing as it is right now is decorative or

2 not. And if in the alternative if it's not

3 decorative and it needs a vote on a

4 variance, then we can do that at that time.

5 In the meantime similar to what he is

6 suggesting, I would like to know, number

7 one, is there any prior history or precedent

8 regarding decorative and does it require any

9 intent? And the reason why is because I am

10 thinking if they have a fence and they are

11 trying to enclose their particular property,

12 the intent is to -- that may be one intent.

13 This may be another type of intent. Is that

14 important to our decision? So, I would like

15 to make a Motion in that regard.


17 Motion stating, and this is something that I

18 was going to suggest if this is where you

19 are going, that the Notice carry, we're

20 going to look at an interpretation and if

21 not an interpretation, then we are going to

22 look at a variance requirement similar to

23 what we did with the Novi Expo Center case?

24 So that we can make sure that we make a



1 decision at the next meeting as opposed to

2 deciding we don't want to do an

3 interpretation and bringing her back again?

4 That's what I would suggest.

5 MEMBER GHANNAM: Yes. That's exactly

6 what I stated. And the reason why is

7 because she does argue and I see in her

8 papers that she is indicating that it is an

9 exception to the rule and is decorative. I

10 think it's a very valid argument. So, I

11 would like to characterize the next meeting,

12 July 8th, right?

13 MS. WORKING: Correct.

14 MEMBER GHANNAM: We make that decision

15 is it decorative? Is it not? And if it is

16 not then we can take a vote on a variance.

17 MS. SKELCY: July 8th, that's the week

18 after the holiday.

19 MS. WORKING: 4th of July, right.

20 MEMBER GHANNAM: The following

21 Tuesday.

22 MS. SKELCY: I am available.


24 part of it.



1 MS. WORKING: I appreciate you

2 pointing that out that you wanted the both

3 of them delineated in the notice. That will

4 make a big difference.

5 MEMBER KRIEGER: I'll second the

6 Motion.


8 Motion by Member Ghannam and a second by

9 Member Krieger.

10 Any other comments regarding the

11 motion? Member Shroyer?

12 MEMBER SHROYER: I will support the

13 Motion, but I also would still encourage the

14 Applicant to talk to the City landscaping

15 experts. The reason for that is because

16 there is some pretty neat things that can be

17 done with landscaping even to the point of

18 landscaping timbers, decorative rock. I

19 don't even know what they are called, but

20 the stones that build up, retaining walls,

21 that could possibly, and I don't know the

22 City Ordinance in that regard, but that

23 could possibly separate that area and maybe

24 even allow you to bring a section of the



1 fence over in front of your house to

2 incorporate as the decorative side that you

3 were referring to. So, somebody at the

4 City, one of the experts, like I said, might

5 be able to make a recommendation that may

6 even be more to your liking than getting a

7 variance request or interpretation for this.

8 MS. SKELCY: I will follow your

9 suggestion before July 8th.

10 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you. That's

11 all I have.


13 comments? Seeing none, Ms. Working, will

14 you please call the roll.

15 MS. WORKING: Absolutely. Member

16 Ghannam?


18 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?


20 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?


22 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?


24 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?




2 MS. WORKING: And Member Ibe?


4 MS. WORKING: Motion to table to

5 re-notice for an interpretation and in

6 addition, a variance request if the

7 interpretation is turned down or --


9 determined to be a decorative fence.

10 MS. WORKING: That's --


12 refer back to the Expo case. I think that's

13 exactly what we are looking for.

14 MS. WORKING: I thank you for that.


16 three different --

17 MS. WORKING: Passes 6-0.

18 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: If that does not

19 turn out to work out, let us know and then

20 we can always look at a different meeting

21 date.

22 MS. SKELCY: Thank you for your time

23 tonight.




1 Can I also ask the City Attorney

2 just a further explanation if you have any

3 or any precedent that was set in this state

4 regarding interpretations and the procedure

5 that would have to take forth. Once, again,

6 one of my big things is if we make an

7 interpretation that if someone comes back

8 with the same exact fence, same exact

9 landscaping plan, what kind of recourse

10 would this Board have to say no to them at

11 that point? Interpreting difference because

12 one was installed and one wasn't, I have

13 that concern.

14 MS. KUDLA: Okay.

15 MS. WORKING: Might I also point out

16 for the Board that for your homework, if you

17 will, for next time, that under the

18 Ordinance in Section 3104 Jurisdiction.

19 There a section having to do with exceptions

20 and special approvals that may be, obviously

21 we'll get smart for you to provide you with

22 information, but you might want to read

23 ahead and come up with your own, you know,

24 interpretation for lack of a better word, of



1 what that Ordinance is saying. That section

2 of the Ordinance is 3104C.

3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: At this time we

4 have been going for over an hour an a half,

5 I usually would like to try to stop when

6 that happens. We don't have too many more,

7 so let's just take a quick break, five

8 minutes and then we'll be back. Thanks.

9 (A recess was held.)



12 little over five minutes so let's go ahead

13 and get started again and call Case Number:

14 08-028 filed by Dominick Comer of 156

15 Pickford. The Petitioner is requesting a

16 use variance to allow a commercial landscape

17 utility trailer to be parked in his

18 residential interior side yard setback

19 located at 156 Pickford. The property is

20 zoned R-4 and located east of West Park

21 Drive and north of South Lake Court.

22 Would you raise your hand and be sworn

23 in by our Secretary.

24 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number:



1 08-028 filed by Dominick Comer of 156

2 Pickford, do you swear or affirm to tell the

3 truth in this case?

4 MR. COMER: Yes.

5 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: State your name

6 and address and go ahead and proceed with

7 your case.

8 MR. COMER: I'm Dominick Comer, 156

9 Pickford Street.

10 My main concern is I own a small

11 landscape company. I have a big trailer to

12 haul my equipment around in. I have a small

13 lot at my house. At this time I can't

14 afford to have a building to leave my

15 trailer at. It's a growing company. It

16 just started a couple of years ago. And all

17 I'm asking for is -- I got ticketed by the

18 City because it was too close to my house to

19 begin with. But showing you the pictures, I

20 don't really have any other room to put it.

21 It can be set back behind my house, behind

22 the front of my house, but to the side any

23 further it can't go. All I am asking for is

24 to be able to do my business.



1 It doesn't take away from the area

2 that I live. Next door I have a wrecker,

3 which is no problem. It's not a big high

4 class subdivision. It's just a working

5 neighborhood and all I am trying to do is do

6 my work and be able to keep the house here.

7 That's all.

8 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Is there anyone

9 in the audience that wishes to make a

10 comment on this case? Seeing none, I will

11 ask the Board Secretary to go ahead and read

12 any correspondence.

13 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number:

14 08-028, 53 notices were mailed. Three

15 approvals. Zero objections.

16 First one is Keith Robinson on 1980

17 South Lake Court. "My name is Keith

18 Robinson. I live on 1980 South Lake Court.

19 I received this notice on May 22. Having

20 known Dominick Comer for about three years,

21 I have come to appreciate the positive

22 influence he has had on the neighborhood.

23 He has a responsible and successful business

24 and poses no negative influence on the



1 neighborhood. I personally have no problem

2 with this variance."

3 The next one is from Michael and Donna

4 Witherspoon on 143 Penhill. "To whom it may

5 concern. My family has no problem with

6 Dominick parking his trailer in his

7 driveway. He is a very good neighbor and I

8 would hate to see him get a ticket for

9 parking his trailer on his property. Thank

10 you. If you have any questions please call.

11 And then they put their phone number."

12 The next one is James and Nancy

13 Skinner, 144 Pickford Street. "Dominick's

14 landscape trailer does not affect anything

15 in this neighborhood. It does not block our

16 view to traffic and he does not park it

17 anywhere but in his driveway. He should

18 have his variance. Let him make a living

19 without the City's interference." That's

20 it.

21 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you, Madam

22 Secretary.

23 Anyone from the City that would like

24 to comment on the case?



1 MR. AMOLSCH: No comment.

2 MR. BOULARD: Nothing more than the

3 notes that were provided.

4 MS. KUDLA: I have nothing additional.

5 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: You were putting

6 the microphone on.

7 (Interposing)(Unintelligible).

8 CHAIRPERSON: All right, I'll open it

9 up for Board discussion. Member Ghannam?

10 MEMBER GHANNAM: Sir, I understand you

11 are trying to do your business and basically

12 you work out of your house, right?

13 MR. COMER: Yeah, that's pretty much

14 it.

15 MEMBER GHANNAM: I can appreciate

16 that, especially in these times. But the

17 standards of the Zoning Board in this

18 particular case -- this actually would be a

19 use variance; is that correct?

20 MS. KUDLA: Correct.

21 MEMBER GHANNAM: You have to establish

22 unnecessary hardship as defined in our rules

23 and so forth. I guess my question is, other

24 than the fact that you need to conduct



1 business and you don't have anywhere else to

2 park it, what other unnecessary hardship

3 type factors do you want us to consider?

4 MR. COMER: Truthfully, I don't know

5 really much of an answer to that. What I

6 told you is what I know. Hardship wise is

7 if I can't park my trailer there and it

8 comes down to me having to rent a building

9 because this is my work, then my only choice

10 is to rent a building, but the possibility

11 of me being able to rent the building and

12 pay my house payment at the same time is

13 probably not going to work, therefore, my

14 house would go into foreclosure and I would

15 have to move into a smaller apartment or

16 something in order to pay for the building

17 for my business to be able to be ran. So, I

18 can't support my family.

19 MEMBER GHANNAM: Are you the only

20 employee of this business?

21 MR. COMER: No, I have employees.

22 MEMBER GHANNAM: How many?

23 MR. COMER: Two.

24 MEMBER GHANNAM: Are they in and out



1 of your house during the day?

2 MR. COMER: No. I usually pick them

3 up on my way to jobs.

4 MEMBER GHANNAM: So, you attach this

5 trailer to a truck, I presume?

6 MR. COMER: Yes.

7 MEMBER GHANNAM: You haul it around

8 and pick up your employees and do you

9 business?

10 MR. COMER: Yes. People don't park at

11 my house. It's nothing like that. It's

12 more or less, it comes there at night and

13 leaves in the morning. It's there overnight

14 and I just, I use it every day. It's not

15 sitting there. It's not being stored there.

16 MEMBER GHANNAM: On the weekends are

17 you conducting business or is it parked

18 there the entire weekend?

19 MR. COMER: I usually work the

20 weekends too. It's what I have to do. I

21 can't say that there is not a weekend out of

22 the year that it doesn't maybe stay there

23 for the weekend if I don't have enough work

24 or for any reason like that, but.



1 MEMBER GHANNAM: This is the only

2 logical place on your property to park this

3 vehicle?

4 MR. COMER: It's the only possible

5 place for it to be parked.

6 MEMBER GHANNAM: I don't have any

7 other questions.


9 Members? This is similar to one of the first

10 cases we saw today. It's a very touch case

11 for me in the fact that, once again, not

12 being the arm of the city that makes the

13 Ordinance, we basically have to look at each

14 case and the elements of the hardship that

15 Member Ghannam was speaking of, I will

16 actually read them here. The property

17 cannot be reasonably used for the purposes

18 permitted in the Zoning District which is

19 very hard to prove in my eyes. You have

20 your house there in itself. The plight of

21 the property owners due to unique

22 circumstances particular to his or her

23 property and not the general neighborhood

24 conditions. The third condition is that the



1 use variance will not alter the essential

2 character of the area. And D, that the

3 proponent's problem is not self created.

4 I think that you have met certain

5 aspects of this, but unfortunately if I

6 remember correctly, you must meet every

7 element of unnecessary hardship in order for

8 the Zoning Board to approve a case.

9 MS. KUDLA: Not every element.


11 feel like some are met, so we could have

12 that up for debate. But once, again, what a

13 very difficult, one of the more difficult

14 that we have had in recent time. So,

15 basically from my understanding, no

16 commercial vehicle can be parked on a lot in

17 a residential area. Is that my --

18 MS. KUDLA: That's correct.

19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Does anyone from

20 the City or maybe this would be for Cindy

21 Uglow, what do small business owners do in

22 normal other circumstances? Do we have any

23 examples? They don't all rent buildings to

24 place a trailer?



1 MS. KUDLA: I think that most of them

2 don't do their business out of their home.


4 small business owners in Novi.

5 MS. KUDLA: But do they all have

6 equipment?


8 several landscape companies and whatnot.

9 This isn't the only one.

10 MS. KUDLA: Right.


12 any other? Yes or no?

13 MS. KUDLA: Not personally, no.

14 MR. AMOLSCH: Generally lots of times

15 these come in as complaints or sometimes

16 they are patrol items. That's what we do.

17 Utilities trailers are not permitted to be

18 in a residential zoning district. It's

19 supposed to be in commercial.

20 MR. BOULARD: If I may. There is a

21 provision in the Ordinance that does allow a

22 commercial vehicle to be parked in a

23 residentially zoned property or on a

24 residentially zoned property if all the



1 following are met: The vehicle used is the

2 principal means of transport for a resident

3 in the conduct of his employment or

4 profession or is the sole means of motor

5 vehicle transportation.

6 Two, the vehicle is not a dump truck,

7 stake truck, flatbed truck or semi tractor.

8 And, three, the vehicle does not exceed

9 5,000 pounds empty weight as defined by

10 (unintelligible). In this particular case

11 the trailer obviously is not a motor

12 vehicle. There would be questions regarding

13 the truck, but I don't think that's the

14 issue here.

15 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: And what's, if

16 you know offhand, the residential RVs and

17 whatnot, what's the Ordinance on those?

18 MR. AMOLSCH: There is a different

19 standard being held to. Commercial vehicles

20 can be parked anywhere on the property for a

21 72 hour period for loading and unloading.

22 Commercial vehicles exceeding six feet in

23 height have to be stored or parked in the

24 rear yard only. Anything less than six feet



1 in height can be stored in a non-required

2 side yard or in the rear yard.


4 commercial vehicles in areas where they are

5 permitted?

6 MR. AMOLSCH: Recreational. There is

7 a difference between recreational and

8 commercial vehicles.


10 recreational vehicles for personal use on a

11 residential piece of property?

12 MR. AMOLSCH: They would have to be

13 owned by the -- where they are parked has to

14 be, the owner has to be the property owner

15 so we don't have people storing their

16 vehicles on other people's property.

17 MEMBER GHANNAM: This is not even a

18 vehicle, though, as he suggested. It's a

19 trailer.

20 MR. AMOLSCH: Right, it's a trailer.

21 The Chairman asked about recreational

22 vehicles. There is a different standard for

23 that.

24 MS. KUDLA: Through the Chair, if I



1 could just make a --


3 MS. KUDLA: I am looking at the most

4 recent Ordinance amendment that just passed,

5 and the undue hardship standard does say all

6 now. I believe it used to say some not all

7 before.

8 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Is there any way

9 for the Zoning Board to look at a temporary

10 relief? What means of temporary relief

11 would we have?

12 MS. KUDLA: A time limitation on a

13 variance.

14 MEMBER GHANNAM: In order for him to

15 get other appropriate means for him to store

16 the trailer.

17 MS. KUDLA: A condition for timing.


19 still be the use variance but with the time

20 limit?

21 MS. KUDLA: Yes.


23 MEMBER GHANNAM: I'm sorry, I have one

24 more question. If we granted a variance how



1 long would that be good for?

2 MS. KUDLA: If you are going to

3 condition it without putting a condition on

4 it, forever.



7 Members?

8 Member Ibe?

9 MEMBER IBE: Perhaps, if you want to

10 clarify some more information about if we

11 were going to grant the condition. What

12 condition were you going to impose because

13 it might play a role in how I view the case?

14 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: My question was

15 basically, does this Board have any relief

16 to do a temporary permit, a temporary use

17 variance? I guess, whatever you would call

18 it, and say a year or so, and say you have a

19 year to now hopefully build up the business

20 and be able to find somewhere to park it

21 other than this lot.

22 MEMBER IBE: Real quickly. To the

23 City, do we have -- or maybe the attorney as

24 well, do we have any exception that is



1 similar to what has been suggested that we

2 have done in the past for someone in a

3 situation of Mr. Dominick here with

4 financial hardship with a small business,

5 have we had any kind of an exception?

6 MS. KUDLA: Not that I'm aware of.

7 MEMBER IBE: Not that you are aware

8 of. See, one of the things --

9 MS. KUDLA: Actually one of the -- if

10 you are looking at the standards for a use

11 variance. One of the standards is not due

12 to the Applicant's personal or economic

13 hardship.

14 MEMBER IBE: That was going to be my

15 next point. I think we have had cases today

16 that are very consistent with almost what

17 this gentleman has presented, and I think we

18 are treading on a very dangerous slippery

19 slope here when we are moving closer to

20 opening up floodgates, creating exceptions

21 that will become the norm. I can see this

22 happening because you only need, and I'm

23 sure, I feel your pain, sir, and I feel that

24 the economic situation is terrible and if



1 there is a way to create relief, I am sure

2 that everyone would come forward and offer

3 one to you. However, we do have an

4 Ordinance, we do have a rule. If we cannot

5 simply enforce the rule and create little

6 exceptions, I think there are for every Mr.

7 Dominick there is 1001 more out there in the

8 City of Novi that could come forward with an

9 exception that we can also grant.

10 We don't want to go this route of

11 creating exceptions to the rule that all of

12 a sudden become the norm. Unless you can

13 prove to me that there is some kind of

14 precedent, I would not be inclined despite

15 how I feel, the empathy I feel for their

16 Petitioner, to go along with any kind of

17 temporary relief.

18 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

19 MS. KUDLA: There wouldn't be any

20 precedent in favor in this circumstance

21 given that the specific factor to be under

22 the Ordinance is that the need for the

23 requested variance is due to unique

24 circumstances or physical conditions of the



1 property involved such as narrowness,

2 shallowness, shape, water, topography or

3 other similar or physical condition and is

4 not due to the Applicant's personal or

5 economic hardship. That's part of the,

6 specifically part of the standard.

7 MEMBER IBE: Thank you. Thank you,

8 Mr. Chair.


10 I agree and I echo a lot with those

11 comments, but I have to balance that as well

12 with promoting small businesses. In the

13 City of Novi I think these are the kind of

14 people that we do want in our city and

15 anything that we can do to help them out is

16 truly great. But I agree, and that's why I

17 asked the question about meeting all of the

18 requirements, which like I said, I don't

19 believe he has.

20 Member Shroyer?

21 MEMBER SHROYER: Yeah, it is difficult

22 in everything that everybody is saying. I

23 did have a couple of questions. One is, you

24 had indicated something about the



1 possibility of parking in the rear yard.

2 MR. COMER: I didn't say anything

3 about being in the rear yard.

4 MEMBER SHROYER: Or maybe you said you

5 couldn't park in the rear yard.

6 MR. COMER: I can't. My garage is at

7 the end of my driveway.

8 MEMBER SHROYER: I didn't see any way

9 that you could.

10 MR. COMER: It's a 24 foot trailer.

11 MEMBER SHROYER: You said it's a new

12 business. When did you begin?

13 MR. COMER: I started it last spring.

14 MEMBER SHROYER: With it being a

15 landscape business what do you do during the

16 winter months?

17 MR. COMER: I plow snow.

18 MEMBER SHROYER: You do plow snow.

19 So, it is year round?

20 MR. COMER: Yes.

21 MEMBER SHROYER: It's not just

22 landscaping?

23 MR. COMER: No.

24 MEMBER SHROYER: Do you use the



1 trailer for anything when you are plowing

2 snow?

3 MR. COMER: No, sir.

4 MEMBER SHROYER: So, it's sits in the

5 driveway all winter?

6 MR. COMER: It did last year, yes.

7 What my main plan is hopefully by this

8 winter I can afford it. Right now is the

9 beginning of the season. Who is to say what

10 this season is going to do for me. As of

11 right now business is booming. I am working

12 seven days a week. Hopefully, I mean, we're

13 taking on as much work as we can. I am

14 doing everything that I can working day and

15 night to try and make sure.

16 I don't want the trailer in my

17 driveway as much as nobody else does. I

18 don't believe that I had any complaints.

19 But, I mean I would love to be able to have

20 my business grow to where I can have my own

21 shop to work on my stuff so that I could

22 have the room. I just financially and I

23 know that's not even an issue right now,

24 that can't help me out whatsoever. I can't



1 afford it yet. But maybe when the bills do

2 come in and they do start paying me, that's

3 my plan.

4 MEMBER SHROYER: Sure. Our hands are

5 pretty much tied because of the

6 requirements. But I was curious too about

7 the temporary relief to give this gentleman

8 an opportunity to try to get his business

9 going. In today's economic times it's tough

10 on everybody. People are losing jobs right

11 and left.

12 Here we have got a gentleman that is

13 trying to make a go of it, and I think we

14 owe it to him and anybody else that comes in

15 front of us with hard times to leave no

16 stone unturned, to try to figure out any way

17 we can look at something even if it is on a

18 temporary basis.

19 I would not be in favor of granting a

20 variance from here to eternity.

21 MR. COMER: No, absolutely.

22 MEMBER SHROYER: But I would be open

23 to the possibility of giving you a year or

24 even perhaps two to try to get established



1 and move forward with that, but it is

2 difficult. Please understand whatever

3 decision is made this evening, as Member Ibe

4 said, we feel your pain.

5 So, that's all I have, Mr. Chair.


7 Member Shroyer.

8 Member Bauer?

9 MEMBER BAUER: Can you park it in a

10 gas station where you get your gas?

11 MR. COMER: I wish.


13 MR. COMER: Can I park it at a gas

14 station?

15 MEMBER BAUER: By a gas station?

16 MR. COMER: No. Not that I know of.

17 I haven't tried it. I never even thought of

18 it. I can't imagine. It's a pretty big

19 trailer. It's hard for me to get into the

20 gas stations with my truck to get gas while

21 I have my trailer attached.

22 MS. KUDLA: This is a question to the

23 Applicant through the question.




1 Mr. Member Bauer?


3 MS. KUDLA: Do you have a garage or

4 could you build a garage there that it would

5 fit in?

6 MR. COMER: Nothing that it could fit

7 in. If I could afford to build a garage in

8 the front of my house all the way to the

9 back of my yard I probably could fit it in

10 there, but it would have to have a 10 foot,

11 maybe a 11 foot door and that would kind of

12 look really funny for the neighborhood.

13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: It looks like he

14 would need a side yard setback too.

15 (Interposing)(Unintelligible).


17 MEMBER KRIEGER: Because of our

18 economic conditions, I also agree that some

19 kind of temporary relief that I would be in

20 favor of, but the only concern would be is

21 if there is any flammable materials in the

22 trailer, that they wouldn't be there because

23 the house is right next door to it. That's

24 it.



1 MR. COMER: Can I add something to

2 that?


4 comments? Go ahead.

5 MR. COMER: If there is any flammable

6 materials like gasoline for the mowers, if

7 it's not in the trailer it would end up in

8 the my garage which is about five feet

9 behind the trailer if it makes any

10 difference.


12 MR. COMER: All right.

13 MEMBER GHANNAM: One suggestion, sir,

14 along the lines of what they are commenting

15 on. If some temporary relief was granted do

16 you think up until wintertime this year

17 would be sufficient for you to find some

18 other location?

19 MR. COMER: That was my plan to begin

20 with hopefully. If not for this winter, I

21 wouldn't store it there, I would come up

22 with whatever I could. I can get an outside

23 storage somewhere for it for the winter. As

24 of this time during this season where I am



1 up in the morning using it every morning and

2 hauling it away and bringing it back every

3 night, a self storage wouldn't really be

4 feasible for me. But in the wintertime if I

5 can't have my own building at that point I

6 do plan on at least renting an outside

7 storage so the trailer can stay there.

8 MEMBER GHANNAM: All I am suggesting

9 is some type of temporary relief in order to

10 get some other means. In other words, if

11 you were given three months, five months,

12 whatever it may be, after that point in time

13 you could no longer park it there whether it

14 be this winter, next summer or anything

15 beyond that. Do you understand that?

16 MR. COMER: Yes.

17 MEMBER GHANNAM: Do you think up until

18 approximate wintertime would be sufficient

19 for you to find some other means to store

20 it?

21 MR. COMER: Yeah, I hope so. I was

22 hoping for maybe like he said, maybe a year

23 just so, just so the business can get going.

24 I can't tell you what this year is going to



1 do. If it comes to this winter and I am in

2 the same situation, I mean, then that's just

3 something that I am going to have to deal

4 with on my own. Right now I'm just asking

5 for a little bit of help if possible.


7 the winter. Like I said, I think we need to

8 do our best to provide great people in the

9 city like this trying to start their

10 business in Novi. Maybe he'll keep the

11 business in the future in Novi once he sees

12 the great working relationship he can have

13 with the city. And, you know, I don't want

14 to see it too long. I am a little hesitant

15 with one year, but I think up until winter I

16 would be in support.

17 MEMBER GHANNAM: How about I do this.

18 Maybe I can make a Motion if it's

19 appropriate at this time.


21 MEMBER GHANNAM: I'll go ahead and

22 move that we grant the variance in Case

23 Number: 08-028 filed by Dominick Comer of

24 156 Pickford for the temporary allowance of



1 the Petitioner to use the property to store

2 the trailer that's identified in the

3 photographs as submitted by the Petitioner

4 because the Petitioner has established

5 unnecessary hardship in that there are

6 unique circumstances of the property that

7 prevents the Petitioner from using it as

8 intended.

9 And because of at least from the

10 Petitioner's testimony, it will not alter

11 the essential care for the area because he

12 has kept it there for some time. But,

13 again, I would limit that and I will put a

14 limitation of December 31st, 2008. And I

15 will limit my comments to that.


17 to insure that it is in the side yard as

18 shown on the picture to make sure that it is

19 does not creep forward into the front yard?

20 MEMBER GHANNAM: I will accept that

21 limitation and, again, with the specific

22 trailer that you are showing us according to

23 these photographs. In other words, if he

24 purchases a new one or exchanges it, it's



1 got to be the specific trailer and as shown

2 in this photograph so it doesn't protrude

3 from the front elevation of the home.


5 Motion on the table, and I will second the

6 Motion. Member Ghannam is the Motion maker.

7 Member Krieger?

8 MEMBER KRIEGER: Can you add a

9 friendly addition with the recommendation of

10 the Building Department or the Fire

11 Department what should be done with the

12 gasoline?


14 comments regarding flammables if it's

15 preferred in the trailer to be taken to the

16 garage each night?

17 MR. BOULARD: There are limitations or

18 exempt amounts of flammable liquids that

19 would be allowed in a residence or trailer

20 to be perfectly honest. It may well be that

21 the more, the greater amount would be

22 allowed in the trailer than the garage. I

23 guess my thought would be perhaps that we

24 defer to the fire marshal and that the



1 Applicant contact the fire marshal for

2 determination as to the best place.

3 MEMBER GHANNAM: I will just state

4 that he has got to comply with current

5 Ordinances and laws whatever they may be.

6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I agree as well.

7 Any other comments?

8 Ms. Working, would you please call the

9 roll.

10 MS. WORKING: Member Ghannam?


12 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?


14 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?


16 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?


18 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?


20 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?


22 MS. WORKING: Motion to grant a

23 temporary variance passes 5-1.

24 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: You have through



1 December 31st. Hopefully things will pick

2 up for you.

3 MR. COMER: Thank you very much.

4 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: You will be able

5 to move it along.


7 That brings us to case number: 08-029

8 filed by Mr. Chawney for Villagewood

9 Condominiums located at Haggerty Road and

10 Katar Lane. The Petitioner doesn't appear

11 to be here today.

12 MS. WORKING: Mr. Chair, may I look at

13 the file. I too noticed that the Petitioner

14 wasn't here. I wanted to double check that

15 the notice to inform him to appear for the

16 meeting didn't get kicked back.

17 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: But either way

18 we'll move it along to case number -- we'll

19 revisit that at the end of the meeting.


21 We will move along to Case

22 Number: 08-031 filed by Mark Johnson of

23 Cornell Sign Company for Allstate

24 Billiards-Patio-Hot Tubs located at 26159



1 Novi Road. Petitioner is requesting three

2 wall sign variances for the said address.

3 Applicant is requesting three

4 illuminated 60 square foot wall signs

5 measuring 10 by 6 to be placed on the north,

6 south and east elevations of the tower of

7 the business property. The property is

8 zoned TC and is located west of Novi Road

9 and north of Grand River Avenue.

10 If you can raise your hand and be

11 sworn in by our Secretary.

12 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number:

13 08-031 filed by Mark Johnson of Cornell Sign

14 Company for Allstate Billiards located at

15 26159 Novi Road, do you swear or affirm to

16 tell the truth in this case?

17 MR. JOHNSON: Yes.

18 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.

19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: State your name

20 and address and proceed with your case.

21 MR. JOHNSON: Mark R. Johnson of

22 Cornell Sign Company, 9641 Northwest Court,

23 Clarkston, Michigan.

24 The Allstate property originally this



1 business was located in Novi Town Center for

2 many years and three years ago relocated

3 across the street (unintelligible).

4 Basically being done because at the time

5 Mervin's was going through their closure and

6 they happened to be in that part of the Town

7 Center, so it was adversely affecting the

8 business.

9 When he originally went into the

10 building, because I have handled this

11 signage for many years, he unfortunately was

12 under the mistaken impression that he would

13 be allowed both a freestanding sign and wall

14 signage because the previous tenant,

15 Wonderland Music had both. In fact, though,

16 Wonderland Music had a wall sign and had

17 talked to the property owner directly to the

18 south into naming a shopping center that has

19 a common easement into the Wonderland Music

20 Plaza. And that's why he ended up with that

21 type of situation. We determined at the

22 time that a wall sign alone, one wall sign

23 facing one direction would not suffice for

24 advertises purposes and exposure, so we had



1 thought that the best way to go would be

2 with a confirming ground sign which was put

3 in in '04, late of '04.

4 That sign is a 4 by 8, 32 square feet

5 and six feet to the top of the sign. The

6 problem has become that when there is any

7 traffic as in that intersection, quite often

8 there is, especially during the holidays,

9 the sign is totally blocked. It is not seen

10 as you head northbound and the photos in the

11 package show that. I tried to take as many

12 photos as I could from actual travel lanes.

13 Actually almost got hit that day. That's

14 why there is a little footnote on one of

15 them, I think that says, for the safety of

16 the photographer, the shots had to be kind

17 of moved over a little bit.

18 But basically what he is trying to get

19 is he is trying to get sufficient exposure

20 because of the fact that while he does have

21 many items that aren't higher end or more

22 expense in major purchase, he is the type of

23 store that is more or less a destination

24 store and in some cases and in other cases



1 is a matter of someone telling someone that

2 they bought their table or they bought their

3 hot tub from this place down in Novi, that

4 sort of thing. He sells out of that store

5 to places in Fenton, Linden, Fowlerville,

6 all over from a very large distance and he

7 has people coming to him that constantly are

8 saying they can't find him.

9 That situation was made a little worse

10 when after he moved out of the Town Center

11 when Mervin's was gone, someone else moved

12 into the Mervin's space which was the In and

13 Out store, thankfully they didn't last long

14 because they actually were competitor of

15 his, so he was losing business that, you

16 know, somebody would come in and actually,

17 whether they have to do something with

18 maintenance or something or re-felting a

19 pool table, and say, yeah, I sent my

20 brother-in-law down here, but he ended up

21 buying next door. You know, that sort of

22 thing.

23 So, we started looking at it and

24 decided that the tower is the natural



1 location for the sign. It has great

2 exposure in all directions. Quite frankly,

3 the signs that we are asking for total are 6

4 by 10, but the building itself because its

5 perpendicular with the road, actually if it

6 were in a multi-tenant building like the

7 center on the other side of the parking lot,

8 it would have easily anywhere from six to

9 eight spaces in it.

10 Also quite frankly in looking at it

11 once we got the banners up and in place and

12 I am glad to say that they stayed because

13 the last time I was before this Board I

14 think my sign over on Beck Road blew away

15 and ended up everywhere.

16 We also determined that quite frankly

17 that the 6 by 10 up there is a little large.

18 We don't need it to be that large. I mean,

19 it's the one benefit of putting a mock-up up

20 there, you realize that, first of all, we

21 need to take it in to 8 feet which would put

22 it between the two window sections because

23 we do not necessarily need that length.

24 So, that's basically what I have to



1 say and I am here to answer any questions

2 that you might have.


4 appear anybody is in the audience to make

5 any comments and I will ask the Board

6 Secretary to read any correspondence.

7 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number:

8 08-031, 43 notices were mailed. Zero

9 approvals. Zero objections.

10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Turn it over to

11 the City to comment?

12 MR. AMOLSCH: No comment.

13 MS. KUDLA: No comment.


15 it up for the Board for discussion.

16 Member Shroyer?

17 MEMBER SHROYER: I suppose I can start

18 again. This was interesting for many

19 reasons. First of all, I need to address

20 some questions in this direction. The tree

21 that's out front that's blocking the view

22 from the south, is that a required landscape

23 item?

24 MR. AMOLSCH: You need to consult with



1 site planning to answer that question.

2 MEMBER SHROYER: Okay, then I

3 apologize for not asking the city to check

4 into something like that.

5 MR. AMOLSCH: Probably if it was there

6 it would be required.

7 MS. WORKING: That would be in the

8 right-of-way, wouldn't it?

9 MR. AMOLSCH: It's not --

10 MEMBER SHROYER: It's a decorative

11 craft or something like that?

12 MS. WORKING: I can check with David

13 Beshey (ph).

14 MEMBER SHROYER: That's just one item

15 that was of concern if it's required, if

16 it's not, then that is one simple possible

17 solution for a possible vision.

18 Secondly, was there any site

19 complaints or variances granted to the

20 previous tenant?

21 MR. AMOLSCH: No, as the Petitioner

22 stated they had just a wall sign which met

23 Ordinance and they utilized the Wonderland

24 Music property and renamed the center.



1 MEMBER SHROYER: And it's still

2 Wonderland?

3 MR. AMOLSCH: Yes, it is.

4 MEMBER SHROYER: Initially without

5 hearing all the other Board comments, my

6 first thought with this is that I don't have

7 a problem at all with replacing the monument

8 sign with a wall sign, I'm not in favor of

9 three wall signs. And I'm not in favor of

10 obviously the 60 square foot, so my initial

11 thought, and it may change as I hear

12 comments from other Board members, but it

13 would be that if a wall sign that met City

14 Ordinances wants to be replacing a monument

15 sign I would be in full support of that.

16 That's all I have, Mr. Chair.


18 Other Board Members? Member Krieger?

19 MEMBER KRIEGER: On just primary as I

20 drove by, I found that the -- if you have

21 one on the south side and one on the north

22 side, that it would be sufficient versus the

23 east side. It kind of takes away from the

24 aesthetics a little bit and probably



1 wouldn't be as necessary. That's my first

2 impression.


4 Member Ghannam?

5 MEMBER GHANNAM: Just for the City.

6 There is one monument sign currently. I

7 guess the question would be, is that all

8 this particular Petitioner is allowed one

9 sign?

10 MR. AMOLSCH: Right, either a wall

11 sign or a ground sign.

12 MEMBER GHANNAM: So, he would need

13 three variances if he wants three signs. A

14 variance for each sign for not only the

15 number of signs, but the size?

16 MR. AMOLSCH: Actually four. I guess,

17 it's three variances.

18 MEMBER GHANNAM: Three variances for

19 the sign and three additional variances for

20 the size of the signs according to his note?

21 MR. AMOLSCH: No, size --

22 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: The size won't

23 matter because of the fact that we are

24 approving the sign as a new additional sign



1 above and beyond to begin with. So there is

2 no real Ordinance that I am aware of that

3 specifies the size.

4 MR. AMOLSCH: Actually there is. I

5 don't know if Mark ever did the computation,

6 but the City Ordinance on a wall sign on a

7 single business on its own parcel of land is

8 allowed one square foot sign for every three

9 feet of setback as measured from centerline

10 in this case Novi Road.

11 Mark, did you ever do that?

12 MR. JOHNSON: No, no, but I know that

13 the building, the monument sign itself is

14 like at 66 feet or almost 70 feet.

15 MR. AMOLSCH: It almost goes pretty

16 close to the road. Did Chris ever do that?

17 MS. WORKING: I was going to say that

18 in your materials that you were given to

19 you, City Staff estimates the allowable

20 square footage may be approximately 29

21 square feet, but that the Petitioner didn't

22 supply the setback information for us to do

23 an accurate calculation on that. As the

24 Petitioner stated, it's kind of dangerous



1 out there to be moving in and out of that

2 area.


4 send Chris.

5 MR. JOHNSON: Can I get his name to

6 contact him?

7 MEMBER GHANNAM: So, the requested

8 variance would be double. He is requesting

9 60 square foot, but he is allowed

10 approximately 29, is that accurate? Does

11 that make sense approximately?

12 MS. WORKING: Twenty-nine square feet

13 approximately.

14 MEMBER GHANNAM: Give or take.

15 MS. WORKING: But the variance before

16 you tonight are just three wall signs

17 variances because they have an approved

18 ground sign on the property, so they would

19 just be additional signs.

20 MEMBER GHANNAM: Right, I understand.

21 So, I guess, with that in mind, sir,

22 what would be your basis for establishing an

23 unnecessary hardship?

24 MR. JOHNSON: Well, basically the fact



1 the way the building lays with the hill to

2 the north on Novi Road and with the traffic

3 pattern --

4 MEMBER GHANNAM: I'm sorry, I

5 misspoke, it's practical difficulty. I knew

6 guys would --

7 MS. WORKING: You heard us.

8 MEMBER GHANNAM: What is your basis

9 for establishing a practical difficulty?

10 MR. JOHNSON: Basically because of the

11 drop in the road, the existing monument sign

12 is in such a position that as you are

13 heading southbound, you only see it when you

14 get right up on top of it. And the same

15 thing as your are heading northbound if

16 there is any amount of traffic whatsoever

17 itself is blocked.

18 The tree, I know and this is

19 secondhand, so I don't know how accurate it

20 is. But the store manager told me that he

21 had talked to somebody at the City and they

22 told him that he couldn't cut down the tree,

23 so I don't know if that was just a standard

24 reaction of you don't want people going



1 around cutting trees. Which very well I

2 could see happening. Realistically why we

3 came in doing for the three signs was under

4 the idea that something would have to give,

5 and what I mean by that is, if in order to

6 get the three signs we needed to remove the

7 monument sign, that's very satisfactory to

8 us. We are just trying to get him exposure

9 from the directions in which you can go

10 there and from the idea that there is

11 somebody that is going there that isn't

12 necessarily just going to the mall, they are

13 looking for him in this very otherwise busy

14 retail area.

15 MEMBER GHANNAM: It appears from the

16 photographs that you supplied when you are

17 driving which would be south on Novi Road

18 you can see the monument sign. There

19 shouldn't be any obstruction to that, is

20 that accurate? It's just going northbound?

21 MR. JOHNSON: Right. Well, the

22 northbound is blocked. Even the southbound,

23 I would say you would have to be pretty

24 close or up on it and that's why we were



1 looking at the fact that if necessary to do

2 the signs on the tower if we needed to

3 remove the monument sign, that would be very

4 satisfactory to us because we realize that

5 we are trying to do overkill. We are kind

6 of meeting our needs with two different

7 things versus just with one.

8 Or for that matter if it were a

9 matter of approving just two wall signs upon

10 the tower, one to the north and one to the

11 south so that they could be seen from a

12 greater distance so that the business could

13 be located and things, and then leaving the

14 ground sign that would be satisfactory as

15 well. Then, of course, like I stated at the

16 beginning, we realized once we got the

17 banners up there, even the retailer, the

18 business owner who unfortunately because of

19 some personal issues couldn't be here

20 tonight, but even he said, "Well, they kind

21 of look kind of a big, don't they?" I never

22 have a customer say that. They always when

23 they get up there say, it looks so big down

24 here, why is it so small?



1 MEMBER GHANNAM: From my personal

2 perspective I am in favor of granting a

3 variance. I guess the question would be of

4 what size and of what nature. I would be in

5 support of two signs whether it be a

6 monument sign and a wall sign or two wall

7 signs at your discretion. But in terms of

8 the size also, that's important. Because

9 you are entitled to approximately 29 or 30,

10 the range of 60 would be double that. And

11 the question would be, again, what is a

12 practical difficulty? I understand this is a

13 busy area. I understand you don't want

14 traffic issues and so forth, but I think

15 personally probably two signs on the

16 building would probably better suit your

17 needs. But, you know, that's what I am kind

18 of leaning towards at this point.

19 MR. JOHNSON: The formula, Alan, is

20 one for three, is that from the center line?

21 MR. AMOLSCH: Yes, one square foot of

22 sign for every three feet of setback from

23 the center line.

24 MR. JOHNSON: I would think that your



1 29 is a very conservative figure. May I

2 grab a file because I think I have the

3 original file and I know how many feet that

4 is off of for the ground sign. I think you

5 would be actually closer to about 40. I

6 unfortunately don't have a scale, but in

7 looking where the existing ground sign is

8 set back, and then the distance back to the

9 building itself and I believe at one point

10 my designer started doing those

11 calculations, but I understood the way the

12 Ordinance read that we didn't necessarily

13 need to give that because if you approve a

14 wall sign with an existing monument sign,

15 the size is determined by the approval of

16 the wall sign itself, so, he didn't

17 necessarily do all the formulas, but I would

18 have a feeling that you would be much closer

19 to 40 feet.


21 approximately 30 feet give you about 90 foot

22 from the center line?

23 MR. JOHNSON: Um-hum.

24 MEMBER GHANNAM: It would be 120 feet.



1 Do you have any specific calculations where

2 the center line is from your building? Or

3 are you just estimating?

4 MR. JOHNSON: I am just estimating.

5 But I know that our existing sign is set

6 back almost 70 feet and the sign itself is

7 eight feet long. So, we're 80 feet there

8 and I know for a fact I am a good 30 feet in

9 front of that building, 25 or 30 feet in

10 front of that building to the rear edge of

11 my sign.

12 MEMBER GHANNAM: I don't have any

13 other questions. Thank you.

14 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I guess, let me

15 say when I first saw this case I was quite

16 surprised that three signs were being

17 requested and even to bring this in front of

18 us was just very surprising. As stated in

19 one of our records, there is not another

20 place in the City of Novi, especially when

21 only one thoroughfare is being addressed.

22 There is so many signs. To see three I was

23 quite surprised and almost disappointed, to

24 be quite honest.



1 I think that we as a Board have seen

2 several cases tonight and in the past where

3 people say, okay, there is a traffic concern

4 because people might have to turn around.

5 And, yes, in certain situations when you are

6 talking about a Rock Financial Show Place

7 there is going to be tons of people and

8 whatnot, yeah, that might be the case. But

9 the Zoning Board isn't here to make sure

10 that every single person who can't find a

11 business there is a blinking light that

12 says, hey, come here, this is what you're

13 looking for. And to even think about having

14 four signs for this business is very

15 upsetting to me. Very upsetting to me. You

16 know, I see that there is ground sign and I

17 think that addresses the majority of the

18 identity needs in this situation.

19 I think that we don't even know what's

20 going on with this tree, yeah, that blocks a

21 little bit, but I think that the business

22 and some of the customers it's incumbent

23 upon them to find out where the business is

24 before they are going. That would be my



1 personal opinion. I do not see a practical

2 difficulty for the three signs. Certainly

3 for the three signs.

4 I might consider one small sign, but

5 nothing even remotely close to above and

6 beyond that. Like I said, this drawing and

7 what was proposed to us concerns me greatly,

8 to be quite honest. Thank you.

9 Any other Board Members? Member Ibe?

10 MEMBER IBE: I just want to re-echo

11 what Chairman Fischer has said. I think

12 three signs for lack of a better word I

13 think it's outrageous.

14 MR. JOHNSON: Well, keep in mind as

15 stated, we realize that that would be in

16 lieu of the ground sign, and with this

17 situation either we -- I mean, in other

18 words you have to go in asking for the high

19 end realizing that it matters what you are

20 giving up along the way and things of that

21 nature. It certainly wasn't to offend the

22 Board.

23 MEMBER IBE: No, no. It's not that we

24 are taking offense at it. It's just I think



1 you are going too far in terms of the

2 request that has been made and that is being

3 asked of this Board to consider.

4 I am inclined to agree with the City

5 recommendation and that perhaps the sign I

6 think makes more sense if you were to ask me

7 is the one on the east elevation. I know

8 where this business is located and I know

9 exactly that building. I have been there.

10 I have been to that particular store. I

11 didn't need to -- I didn't drive past it. I

12 knew where I was going. Like Chairman

13 Fischer said, you pretty much know where you

14 are going before you leave your house. Most

15 people do, I assume, but there are some that

16 just go driving down the street looking for

17 a business. Well, unfortunately, you are

18 going to miss certain things if you do that.

19 But I think the one facing the east

20 would probably be your best bet because you

21 can see it coming from Grand River going, I

22 believe going --

23 MR. JOHNSON: North.

24 MEMBER IBE: Going north, right. You



1 can see it that way. You can see it from

2 both sides. You can actually see the sign

3 if it's on the east tower. But I will -- if

4 you went with this vote today, you probably

5 will not, speaking for myself, you probably

6 would not get my vote unless you are willing

7 to make the amendments to have something for

8 the east only and remove the present sign

9 that you have right now. Because you are

10 only allowed one sign. You can't have more

11 than one. So, you have got to pick the one

12 that best solves your client's interest.

13 MR. JOHNSON: Right, I understand

14 that. But, sir, if you are saying you are

15 for one side on the east elevation and

16 remove the monument, quite frankly, I don't

17 need a variance for that. Do I, Alan?

18 MR. AMOLSCH: As long as you comply

19 with square footage regulation.

20 MR. JOHNSON: Right.

21 MEMBER IBE: That's correct. So, you

22 have a decision to make. I know it's a

23 difficult one, but if you wish to speak to

24 the owner and let him know exactly how this



1 Board feels about their request, it is

2 something that you can decide.

3 If you were to ask for a vote right

4 now I would not be in favor of anything at

5 all, with all due respect. Thank you, Mr.

6 Chair.


8 biggest issue that I have too is that this

9 should not be about coming in with, you

10 know, the best case scenario and asking for

11 the world and then hoping that it comes down

12 to reality. We expect reality to be brought

13 to us first and then a compromise. I don't

14 think with how many options that has been

15 presented that this Board is even prepared

16 to start doing the normal negotiations back

17 and forth, well, maybe this will look good,

18 maybe this will look good. I am not sure

19 that the sign company and the business did

20 their homework as far as presenting a case

21 to us. So, I would be willing to table this

22 or quite frankly deny it as it was

23 requested.

24 Member Ghannam?



1 MEMBER GHANNAM: Just I guess one last

2 suggestion. Do you have any modifications

3 you want to make to this application at this

4 point? Or would you like a decision? Or

5 would you like it tabled?

6 MR. JOHNSON: A tabling would be fine.

7 As I said, the package that we came in with

8 we honestly felt that since the designs only

9 showed the tower, that the size of the signs

10 would be comparable on the building and in

11 retrospect by looking at the banners we

12 realize that the signs are too large. But

13 at the same time if we were to go to, for

14 instance, to amend it to allow for a wall

15 sign on the north and south elevation of

16 less size and the deletion of the east sign,

17 that would be fine too. I mean, we even

18 looked at taking it down proportionately

19 which would take it down to a 5 by 8 which

20 would be about just under a 5 by 8 which

21 would put it right at about 40 square feet.

22 Even if that meant the removal of the ground

23 sign so that in essence our tower becomes

24 our sign because obviously you are not going



1 to be able to see the north sign and the

2 south sign at the same time.

3 MEMBER GHANNAM: Part of the reason

4 why I asked is because our City has

5 determined that you are entitled to

6 approximately 29 square feet based on the

7 distance of the center line of Novi Road and

8 so forth. You are unsure. You don't have

9 any better estimate than they do. You say,

10 well, it may be 40. We don't know that.

11 Certainly you are entitled to take the

12 ground sign up, put one wall sign that would

13 be in compliance with City Ordinance and you

14 don't need a variance.

15 I guess my question is, would you

16 rather speak it over with who you represent

17 before you make modifications because I will

18 be happy to make a Motion to table this so

19 you can come back with a proposal that is

20 more reasonable. You have heard the

21 comments from all the Members, I would be in

22 favor of having two signs. Again, the

23 question of the size would also be an issue.

24 I need to know from you what your position



1 is, how the big the signs are according to

2 our Ordinances, and if you want a deviation

3 from that. I would need to know all that.

4 If you want that time I would be happy to

5 make a Motion to table this.

6 MR. JOHNSON: That would be great.

7 MEMBER GHANNAM: Well, then,

8 consistent with that I will go ahead and

9 make a Motion at this time to table this

10 matter to make a determination, number one,

11 what size sign you are entitled to. I would

12 request that you come in with your

13 calculations from the center line as

14 required by the Ordinance as to how large of

15 a sign you are entitled, number one.

16 Number two, specify which signs

17 you want and which locations whether it be

18 two wall signs or a monument sign and a wall

19 sign, however combination you want. If you

20 want all four you tell us and we'll make a

21 decision.

22 MEMBER IBE: I'll second that.


24 Motion by Member Ghannam and second by



1 Member Ibe.

2 Can you please call the roll?

3 MEMBER SHROYER: Further discussion.


5 Shroyer?

6 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you. Just to

7 provide additional field back to the

8 Applicant to discuss as I mentioned when I

9 first started, I wanted to hear what

10 everybody else had to say. I am still

11 leaning toward one sign and the primary

12 reason for that is there is no other store

13 in that shopping center that has more than

14 one sign. So, that is one thing to be

15 thinking about and looking at.

16 I am, however, open to the possibility

17 of a larger sign than the one that would be

18 permitted by City Ordinance. I agree that

19 the 10 by 6 is too big, but I may be, in

20 fact, I probably would be more open to

21 something as you even mentioned before, 5 by

22 8 or even 6 by 8 as a sign, but that's where

23 I am coming from and if you have the

24 feedback from everybody here, it would give



1 you a better understanding as what to

2 discuss with your people.

3 Thank you, Mr. Chair.


5 Please call the roll.

6 MS. WORKING: Member Ghannam?


8 MS. WORKING: This is a Motion to

9 table.

10 Member Ibe?


12 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?


14 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?


16 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?


18 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?


20 MS. WORKING: Motion to table passes

21 6-0.

22 MR. BOULARD: If I could make one

23 comment. When you go to do the calculation

24 and measure from the center line, just be



1 aware that the center line of the pavement

2 may not be the center line of the property.

3 MR. JOHNSON: Alan, isn't there also a

4 calculation based on the footage of the

5 building of the space itself or is that --

6 MR. AMOLSCH: Lineal frontage on

7 multi-tenant building. Single business has

8 to be the one and three formula.

9 MR. JOHNSON: Okay. I knew there was

10 something like five and a quarter.

11 MR. AMOLSCH: That's on multi-tenants.

12 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: So, at this time

13 you have been tabled and we look forward to

14 seeing what comes out of the discussion with

15 the Applicant. And just let us know when

16 the next appropriate meeting will be.

17 MR. JOHNSON: August.


19 two cases on the agenda. One for the Seeley

20 Road case and one for Villagewood

21 Condominiums. Is there anything from

22 Villagewood?

23 MS. WORKING: Villagewood, the

24 Building Official and I did a double check



1 of all 84 notices that were returned to the

2 City and not one of them was the proper

3 notice to the Applicant, so I will then

4 assume that the Applicant was properly

5 notified, aware of the hearing and should

6 have appeared.

7 The Seeley Road case, I talked to the

8 Applicant on Friday and we discussed at

9 length the time of the hearing, the date of

10 the hearing and I expected him to be here

11 and it surprised me that he wasn't. He did

12 intimate to me when he called me on Friday

13 that he was still in negotiations with the

14 real estate company to purchase the

15 property. Apparently they were concerned

16 that it was taking so long, so he had to

17 explain to them that the variance wasn't

18 granted the first month and that he was

19 going back before the Board, so I am

20 concerned that he didn't show. I do not

21 know why.

22 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: The Board in its

23 current rules has the ability to deny cases

24 for people who don't show up. It has been a



1 practice going back and forth of tabling and

2 denying and tabling and denying. But what

3 does the Board like to do? Keeping in mind

4 that we have how many cases on the agenda?

5 Five for next month and then we tabled

6 another couple tonight and now we are going

7 to table a couple more. We just went from

8 having a nice five case meeting to probably

9 10, 11 cases.

10 So, I don't take lightly when people

11 don't show up, but obviously emergencies

12 arise as well. So, it's a tough call for

13 me.

14 MS. WORKING: And that I don't know.


16 Members?

17 MEMBER SHROYER: I'm open.

18 MEMBER BAUER: Send him a

19 notification.


21 table it then?

22 MEMBER BAUER: Table the two cases.


24 Motion by Member Bauer to table the two



1 cases that did not come up. Is there a

2 second to his Motion?

3 MEMBER SHROYER: I'll support it.


5 Shroyer.

6 Any other comments or discussion?

7 Please call the roll.

8 MS. WORKING: In ZBA Case: 08-019

9 Motion to table and re-notify the Applicant

10 to appear to the July 8th, hearing.

11 Member Bauer?


13 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?


15 MS. WORKING: Member Ghannam?


17 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?


19 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?


21 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?


23 clarification. You said applicant. Did you

24 mean applicants?



1 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: She is doing one

2 at a time.

3 MS. WORKING: This would be one

4 Applicant from 08-019, that is correct.

5 MEMBER SHROYER: Then I vote yes.

6 MS. WORKING: Motion to table passes

7 6-0. In ZBA Case: 08-029, Motion

8 to table and re-notify the Applicant to

9 appear at the July 8th, Zoning Board of

10 Appeals meeting.

11 Member Bauer?


13 MS. WORKING: Member Fischer?


15 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer, I

16 apologize.

17 Member Ghannam?


19 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?


21 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?


23 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?




1 MS. WORKING: Motion passions 6-0.


3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: We'll move on to

4 Other Matters.

5 MS. KUDLA: Rules of procedure update.

6 I did do an opinion on the authority of the

7 alternate member and what we would recommend

8 that he or she is permitted to do. Tom is

9 reviewing my opinion right now, so I don't

10 have it ready for today. I except that he

11 will have coming to a conclusion on whether

12 or not he agrees with my opinion and I will

13 be able to either revise it and give it to

14 you or give it to you by then.


16 put it up for the past Chair and Vice-Chair

17 to kind of review and look over this

18 process. And given Mav Sanghvi's absence at

19 this point, Tim, if you could go ahead and

20 kind of chair a subcommittee should it be

21 necessary if we maybe want to review those,

22 if you could start thinking about who you

23 might think would be appropriate to be on

24 this as past Chair, I'll put you in command



1 to follow this process through.

2 MEMBER SHROYER: I'll be more than

3 happy to. Do they have to be ZBA members?


5 Novi ZBA Members.

6 (Interposing)(Unintelligible).


8 that. And number two?

9 MS. WORKING: Members of the Board, I

10 wanted to bring to your attention in your

11 packets you received this month the updated

12 and codified Sign Ordinance as well as the

13 Temporary Special Exception and Temporary

14 Special Land Use Ordinance which also

15 includes the ZBA requirements for

16 notification. Those would replace the

17 existing Ordinances that you have had

18 previously been given so when you are

19 considering your cases and packet

20 information please refer to the ones that

21 are dated and signed May 27th, 2008.

22 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Seeing no other

23 business on the agenda, I will wait for a

24 Motion to adjourn.



1 MEMBER BAUER: So moved.


3 Member Bauer. Seconded by Member Ibe.

4 All in favor say aye?



7 adjourned.

8 (The meeting was adjourned at

9 10:02 p.m.)




















I, Mona L. Talton, 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 (145) typewritten pages, is a

true and correct transcript of my said

stenographic notes.






Mona L. Talton,

Certified Shorthand Reporter

June 20, 2008