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REGULAR MEETING -
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
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, September 9, 2008.
1 Novi, Michigan
2 Tuesday, September 9, 2008
3 7:00 p.m.
4 - - - - - -
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All right, it's
7 7:01. I'd like to call to order the
8 September 9th, 2009, Zoning Board of Appeals
10 Ms. Working, would you please call the
11 roll for us.
12 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?
13 MR. BAUER: Present.
14 MS. WORKING: New Member Burke?
15 MEMBER BURKE: Here.
16 MS. WORKING: Nice to see you.
17 MEMBER BURKE: Nice to be seen.
18 MS. WORKING: Member Sanghvi?
19 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes.
20 MS. WORKING: Welcome back, sir.
21 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you
22 so much.
23 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?
24 MEMBER SHROYER: Present.
1 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?
2 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Present.
3 MS. WORKING: Member Ghannam?
4 MEMBER GHANNAM: Present.
5 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?
6 MEMBER KRIEGER: Present.
7 MS. WORKING: Welcome back.
8 Member Ibe?
9 MEMBER IBE: Present.
10 MS. WORKING: All present, Mr. Chair.
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Excellent.
12 That's a good thing for a change.
13 Member Krieger, welcome back from your
15 Member Sanghvi, welcome back from your
17 And, Mr. Burke, as our newest member,
18 why don't you go ahead and lead us in the
19 Pledge of Allegiance.
20 BOARD MEMBERS: I pledge allegiance to
21 the flag of the United States of America and
22 to the Republic for which it stands, one
23 nation under God indivisible with liberty
24 and justice for all.
1 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: So, I would like
2 to mention that the rules of conduct and
3 procedure are in the back of the room for
4 anyone who would be interested. They can
5 also be found on the City of Novi's website.
6 A couple of things I would like to
7 point out. If everybody could please turn
8 off all cell phones and pagers. And we
9 usually restrict people to having
10 individuals speak for five minutes when they
11 are addressing the Board and those
12 representing a group will have 10 minutes to
13 address the Board.
14 The Zoning Board of Appeals is a
15 Hearing Board empowered by the City of Novi
16 Charter to hear appeals seeking variance
17 from the application of the Novi Zoning
19 It takes a vote of at least four
20 members to approve a variance request and a
21 vote of the majority present to deny a
22 request. Tonight we do have a full Board,
23 so any decisions made will be final.
24 And we have an agenda before us. Are
1 there any changes by City Staff or the
3 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer, I
4 would like to bring to your attention in
5 your hearing file that case number three
6 under unfinished business, 08-045, has
7 submitted written request to be postponed
8 until the October agenda. They had mock
9 sign problems.
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Case number
11 08-045 will be tabled. Did you want to add
12 the dates under number three for other
13 matters for 2009? Or is that something we
14 will discuss at a later date?
15 MS. WORKING: Yes, please. We can add
16 under other matters, the discussion of the
17 2009 ZBA calendar hearing dates.
18 One more change for your agenda, sir.
19 Case number two under new business, 08-049.
20 The property is zoned R-A and is located
21 east of Beck Road and south of Eleven Mile
22 at 25300 Beck Road.
23 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Does that
24 present any noticing issues for us?
1 MS. WORKING: That's not a problem,
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All right. And,
4 lastly, I would like to actually go ahead
5 and strike the approval of minutes from the
6 Agenda given that we were given August in
7 our packets tonight at the meeting, so we
8 will go ahead and look those over and we
9 will put August approval on the October
11 So, we have an agenda before us. I
12 will entertain a motion to approve as
14 MEMBER BAUER: So moved.
15 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Second.
16 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: There is a
17 motion by Member Bauer and a second by
18 Member Sanghvi. All in favor say aye?
19 BOARD MEMBERS: Aye.
20 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Any opposed?
21 Seeing none, we will go with the agenda.
22 Given that, we will move to the public
23 remarks section of our agenda tonight. I
24 will ask for anyone to come forward if they
1 have any comments to make. All comments
2 related to a case on the agenda should be
3 held until that case is heard. However, if
4 anyone wishes to address the Board on a
5 matter or a case not on the agenda tonight,
6 please feel free to come forward at this
8 Seeing none, we will close the public
9 remarks section of the meeting and move to
10 our first case under unfinished business.
11 Case number: 08-029, filed by
12 Amarjit Chawney of Villagewood Place
13 Condominiums located at Haggerty Road and
14 Kartar Lane. As the Board may remember, the
15 Board was asked to reconsider this at their
16 last meeting. Is the Petitioner here
17 tonight? If you will come forward.
18 The Petitioner is requesting one sign
19 variance for the continued placement of a
20 15-square feet real estate marketing sign
21 measuring 6 feet in height for Villagewood
22 Place. The property is zoned RM-1 and
23 located on Kartar Lane west of Haggerty
24 between Nine and Ten Mile Roads.
1 This sign was originally approved in
2 ZBA 04-092 for a year and then extended
3 until here we are today. So, if you want to
4 raise your hand and be sworn in by our Board
6 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you swear or
7 affirm in case number: 08-029 to tell the
8 truth in this case?
9 MR. CHAWNEY: I do.
10 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: If you will say
12 your name and address and then go ahead and
13 proceed with your case.
14 MR. CHAWNEY: Thank you. My name is
15 Amarjit Chawney. My address is 23965 Novi
16 Road, Suite 120, Novi, 48375.
17 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Go ahead.
18 MR. CHAWNEY: This is a development
19 that we have owned for over 20 something
20 years. We converted it into for sale
21 condominiums from rental about four years
22 ago. And obviously as you are much aware of
23 that the sales market is very, very
24 depressed and we have not been able to sell
1 many units except we sold like one-third of
2 the total and we need the sign to continue
3 with marketing efforts. Hopefully we will
4 be able to sell some more and get on with
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Any further
8 THE WITNESS: No, sir, I don't have
9 any further comments.
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Okay. I will
11 ask the Secretary to read any correspondence
12 for us.
13 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number
14 08-029, 860 notices were mailed. Zero
15 approvals. Three objections.
16 First one is, "I request that the
17 Zoning Board of Appeals deny the Applicant's
18 petition for a continued sign variance. The
19 Applicant needs to comply with the City of
20 Novi Code of Ordinances Section 28-63 the
21 temporary signs. It seems that requesting a
22 4th year for the sign is beyond any
23 definition of temporary.
24 Additionally, the sign is out of
1 compliance in that it is larger than
2 permitted. The Zoning Board has been more
3 than generous in granting the previous
4 variance petitions. It is time to comply.
5 Nancy Strakey (ph) on Rockledge.
6 The next one is, "I do not feel a
7 bigger sign will help his problem of selling
8 those condos. He has two things going
9 against him. One, the economy. Two, those
10 aren't nice places. Our entryway into
11 Lakewood is kept up and the sign cheapens
12 the area at the size it is already. We
13 don't want a 15-foot sign ruining the
14 landscape. No sign will help those places.
15 I have seen in them. They have a horrible
16 floor plan." Julie Huntley on Woolsey.
17 The last one is, "The Villagewood
18 Place Condominium sign variance request be
19 denial for the following reasons: This sign
20 was to be only a temporary sign. How long
21 is a temporary sign for? This sign has been
22 a temporary sign for about four years. The
23 sign is too big and stands out. Therefore,
24 it is a distraction for traffic on Haggerty
1 Road and it is a safety hazard.
2 Also, the sign should be removed
3 because the economic downturn of the state
4 rental or lease. The Petitioner was not
5 present at the June and July meeting and a
6 request for the sign was denied at the July
7 meeting." From Judy Yormin (ph) and on
9 That's it.
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you, Madam
12 Is there anyone in the audience who
13 wishes to make a comment on this case?
14 Seeing none, we will close the public
15 comments and ask the Building Department if
16 they have any comments?
17 MR. FOX: Mr. Chair, for clarification
18 purposes, the original sign was approved in
19 2004 for this project. It's since then
20 received three variances for extensions in
21 time. One in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
22 Also, of note, the sign that was
23 approved in 2007, had a small attachment on
24 the side that was not part of the approval.
1 The sign has since changed to a different
2 sign. It's the same size sign, but it's a
3 different look than it was before, also with
4 a slightly larger attachment across the
5 center of it. That's all.
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you, Mr.
8 I will go ahead and open it up for any
9 Board Member discussion or comments or
11 Member Bauer?
12 MEMBER BAUER: I would like to ask the
13 Applicant. Are you still renting out the
14 places that aren't sold?
15 MR. CHAWNEY: No, sir, I'm not.
16 MEMBER BAUER: How many do you have
18 MR. CHAWNEY: We have eight sold out
19 of 24.
20 MEMBER BAUER: You had six last year,
21 I believe?
22 MR. CHAWNEY: Yes, we sold two more
23 last year. We sold two more last year.
24 MEMBER BAUER: Thank you, sir.
1 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Member Shroyer?
2 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
3 Mr. Chawney, how else are you advertising?
4 MR. CHAWNEY: We listed the units with
5 one of the local realtors, Roger Murray
6 (ph), a very nice young man. And he has put
7 on the MLS. He advertises regularly because
8 -- and then I personally sit in the model
9 during the weekends and I have a sign on the
10 entrance to the model saying for appointment
11 during the week call me. I have gone there
12 promptly. Because my office is right here
13 at 10 Mile and Novi Road anyway.
14 MEMBER SHROYER: Of the eight units
15 that have sold, do you have any idea as to
16 how many were brought in with the sign or
17 how many were brought in through the MLS?
18 MR. CHAWNEY: Most I would say 60 to
19 65 percent of the people walk in to see the
20 sign and come in, 60 to 65 percent. And we
21 had it on the internet also for about
22 three years on the website and we got couple
23 of people through there.
24 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you. Mr.
1 Chair, and the Board, this has gone on a
2 long time, but we all know the economy is
3 extremely poor and everybody is having
4 difficulty. I don't have a problem with the
5 continuation of another year for the
6 signage, but I would like to see it brought
7 into compliance with the correct size that
8 we permit everywhere else in the City.
9 That's my current feeling. Thank you, Mr.
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you,
12 Member Shroyer. Member Bauer?
13 MEMBER BAUER: I also will follow the
14 last remarks that were made. Giving one
15 more year for the sign and have them bring
16 it up to the original where it should have
17 been without the, "Buy Now Prices Slashed."
18 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you,
19 Member Bauer.
20 I would echo those sentiments as well.
21 I look at this sign and it's very large and
22 I look at a lot of verbiage that can be
23 taken off of the sign. The "Why rent when
24 you can have it all for less?" The "Prices
2 Alan, what's the size that they would
3 be allowed?
4 MR. AMOLSCH: Without a variance they
5 are allowed six square feet in area and five
6 feet in height.
7 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Six square feet
8 in area and five in height. I would echo
9 those sentiments and approve something of
10 that magnitude.
11 Other Board Members?
12 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes, I have
13 no problem. One thing is we need to find
14 out what kind of verbiage will go on that
15 sign. And you can't change the verbiage
16 willy-nilly as you please. What is approved
17 only can be put on that sign. It has to be
18 clarified very loud and clear to everybody.
19 Thank you.
20 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Any comments,
21 Alan or Beth or Robin?
22 MS. WORKING: No.
23 MEMBER BAUER: Can we ask him what
24 size sign he wants to put up? Can you put
1 up a sign that will conform?
2 MR. CHAWNEY: Sir, what I am willing
3 and I will be happy to do is remove that
4 attachment that we put on. And if the sign
5 could stay the same size, I will be very
6 thankful the way it is. Because the sign is
7 I think four feet by six feet right now and
8 I have gotten a variance on that one last
9 time when I was here. But I will remove
10 that extra attachment that I put up. That I
11 will remove.
12 MEMBER BAUER: Alan, what's the size
13 of the sign now?
14 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I believe he
15 said it was 4 by 6, which would mean 24
16 square feet. Does that sound right, Alan?
17 MS. WORKING: Through the Chair,
18 Members of the Board, in case number:
19 04-092, the Petitioner was requesting a 15
20 square feet and 6 feet in height be
21 approved. And that was the motion in that
22 case, approval of that size sign. The
23 motion sheet is in your packet information.
24 MEMBER BAUER: It's not that big a
1 sign, so.
2 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Member Shroyer?
3 MEMBER SHROYER: I can make a motion,
4 but I would need assistance with the
5 verbiage if Member Sanghvi would care to
6 help with that perhaps. But my motion is
7 not for the continuation of the sign with
8 just the removal of the banner, it would be
9 for a sign that would bring it back into
11 Does the Chair want me to go forward
12 with that?
13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I don't see an
14 issue with that. I would support something
15 of that dimension. I am not one to often
16 dictate what verbiage we use.
17 MEMBER BAUER: We can't use it. We
18 can't do it.
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I would prefer
20 to leave it open for their interpretation.
21 MS. KUDLA: To the Chair, can I point
22 out something?
23 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: You may.
24 MS. KUDLA: The request here is, the
1 variance specifically is for a size
2 increase. That was the original variance
3 granted. So, if you are seeking to not
4 grant a size increase, this would
5 technically be a denial. You would be
6 submitting a new sign application.
7 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Are we not
8 looking at the time frame?
9 MS. KUDLA: We're looking at the size.
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: So, the time
11 frame is not an issue?
12 MS. KUDLA: The time frame is not the
13 requested variance.
14 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: So, it's not out
15 of conformance?
16 MS. WORKING: The variance requested
17 is to extend or continue the existing sign
18 that was approved in 04-092 which was an
19 increase request. And then it was approved
20 again in '07.
21 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Agreed.
22 MS. WORKING: And it's before you
23 again today. So, he is asking you to
24 approve what is existing which is a
1 15-square foot 6-foot high sign. The
2 Ordinance allows for a 6-square foot sign
3 for a temporary sign of this nature to
4 advertise this type of property.
5 MS. KUDLA: So currently he is
6 permitted to have the sign, he just needs a
7 variance to keep the size that he has
9 MS. WORKING: And extend it for
10 another year.
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: So, why can't we
12 agree to the year with a smaller size like
13 we often do?
14 MS. KUDLA: Well, the smaller size, if
15 you are going back to what's required by
16 Ordinance since the original request is for
17 a size increase, that would basically be a
18 denial of what was requested.
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Member Burke?
20 MEMBER BURKE: Question for staff,
21 this sign was approved in '06, '07. When he
22 added this banner, when was that?
23 Or perhaps the Applicant can tell me.
24 When did you add the banner?
1 MR. CHAWNEY: Oh, the banner on it?
2 MEMBER BURKE: Right.
3 MR. CHAWNEY: We added that I believe
4 earlier this year. And the reason that was
5 done was that our bank, our lender had
6 insisted that we put some more information,
7 like reduce the prices, and that was the
8 reason that was done. But as I said, I will
9 be happy to remove that. I have no problem.
10 MEMBER BURKE: Right. Because
11 technically then that sign became
12 non-compliant because he increased by some
13 small margin the square footage of the sign,
15 MS. KUDLA: Technically you could
16 approve the request to keep the variance,
17 but just removing the banner.
18 MEMBER BURKE: Right. Which goes back
19 to the original size of the sign that was
20 granted an extension in '07.
21 MS. KUDLA: Right.
22 MEMBER BURKE: That I would support.
23 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Is there a
24 motion on the table then?
1 MEMBER BURKE: Let me just ask. If I
2 were you I would rework that sign somehow
3 because it's just -- if you are trying to
4 get some fresh new approach out there, I
5 think you got to change up the sign. A
6 little less language. You just can't fit
7 all that stuff on 15-square feet and expect
8 somebody driving by at 50 miles an hour to
9 read it.
10 MR. CHAWNEY: You are absolutely
11 correct, number one. Number two, sometimes
12 we get driven by slogans and this and that.
13 I understand that too. The problem is, the
14 biggest thing that I put on my signs is the
15 telephone number more than anything else.
16 That's the biggest statement on the whole
17 thing. Nobody reads the sign anyway, but
18 they get attracted and they see the number.
19 Now, these signs are not cheap. They
20 cost quite a bit of money. The economy is
21 very rough and I am not doing anything else,
22 but I'm just putting the reality on the
23 surface here. Now, I have no control over
24 the economy, neither do you. It's what you
1 call a total thing that has happened to our
2 country. But I am trying to sell and this
3 sign has helped me a little bit. And even in
4 the paperwork we give out, we give them a
5 comparison of renting against buying. And
6 that was the reason we put the words "why
7 rent," on it. But I will remove that "prices
8 slashed" thing from it.
9 MEMBER BURKE: That's all. Thank you,
10 Mr. Chair.
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you, Mr.
13 So, where are we at?
14 MEMBER SHROYER: Well, that wipes out
15 my motion.
16 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: That's true. I
17 still would have a very tough time
18 supporting a sign of this magnitude. We
19 have given this size for over four years and
20 that has led to about two sales per year. I
21 don't think that the size is obviously
22 helping. And I think that the important
23 information that would allow the Petitioner
24 to market this property can be done within
1 conformance of the size that's permitted by
2 Ordinance. So, that is my main concern with
3 approving this for another year. That would
4 be five years of this sign being out there.
5 That is a very long time to try to sell
6 24 units.
7 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: I have a
8 question for our attorney. Can we do this
9 in this two parts. In the first part we can
10 deny the current request? And in the second
11 part we approve the Ordinance sign with this
12 discussion and the discussion by the staff?
13 MS. KUDLA: Well, I think if you deny
14 the variance as requested, what you are
15 getting back to then is that he would be
16 having to submit a new application for a
17 sign that's meeting Ordinance standards at
18 that point. So, once you deny it --
19 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: The rest is
20 a moot point.
21 MS. KUDLA: Yeah.
22 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: So, we can
23 modify the size according to --
24 MS. KUDLA: Because he is asking for a
1 size increase, that's the main variance is
2 the size increase. It would be a denial.
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Because we were
4 looking to go into conformity. But if we
5 were going to go by 3 by 7 feet --
6 MS. KUDLA: Something bigger than
8 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Bigger than
9 conformance, but less than this --
10 MS. KUDLA: Right --
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Then we would
12 still have the jurisdiction to do that?
13 MS. KUDLA: You could do that.
14 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Okay. But what
15 size would be appropriate?
16 MEMBER BAUER: To who?
17 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Is there a
18 smaller size that you can live with, sir?
19 As you can see, the Board is having some
20 difficulty approving something of this
22 MR. CHAWNEY: Let me be very, very
23 frank. This is a project that I have had
24 since 1984, and I have been paying an
1 average of about $20,000 a year in real
2 estate taxes to the City of Novi. I have
3 been a good member. I have been a good
4 citizen. I have paid my taxes, and I am
5 simply trying to conduct a business. Now,
6 if the sign helps or not help, I do not
7 know. My feeling would be, yes, it helps
8 me. And in return every time I sell a unit,
9 it produces close to about $3,200 in taxes
10 for the City of Novi. It's business, it's
11 nothing else. If you deny me this thing I
12 will just remove the sign and not do
13 anything about it and just leave it alone.
14 It's a very difficult situation.
15 Economically it's a -- I am speaking
16 frankly. I ask for your forgiveness for
17 that. But please believe me, if I have to
18 go spend another thousand dollars on a sign
19 so that it can be a little bit smaller, I am
20 not going to put up any sign there. I will
21 be put into a very difficult situation for
22 my marketing of my units.
23 At this time, money is of very
24 importance for everybody. We are all
1 looking to see how we can best survive in
2 this thing and that's all I'm trying to do.
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Understood. I
4 think we can all empathize with that at this
5 time, but we do have Ordinances for a reason
6 and I think we got our answer regarding
7 lowering the size of the sign.
8 Any other Board Member comments or
9 direction? All or nothing.
10 MEMBER BAUER: Well, that puts us on
11 the spot then. I'll make a motion.
12 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Let me just ask
13 Member Ibe. He looked like he was
14 contemplating something. I want to make
15 sure if he wants comments on the record that
16 he has an opportunity.
17 MEMBER IBE: Perhaps to the Applicant.
18 Is that okay?
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Absolutely.
20 MEMBER IBE: Thank you. Mr. Chawney,
21 I empathize with you, seriously.
22 Undoubtedly you have made your case about
23 the economy. I am sure everyone can feel
24 that we are not in great financial good
1 times right now. Things are tough. Times
2 are hard. However, you got to understand
3 that the Board is trying to accommodate you
4 in the best way it possibly can. As you can
5 see we do have three people who oppose what
6 you are trying to do. The letters that were
7 sent in.
8 The Board is willing to even
9 accommodate you for one extra year, which,
10 of course, is unheard of. I mean, we don't
11 want to appear as if we just rubber stamp
12 things around here and have people extend
13 things willy-nilly any time they want it.
14 But you are not making it easy. Is there
15 any way at all perhaps, considering your
16 circumstances, the financial situations that
17 you have described to us, that you can be
18 amenable to the size just to at least
19 accomplish what you are trying to do and at
20 the same time, give this Board the latitude
21 to be able to give you something back?
22 And, sir, before you make up your
23 mind, I know how you feel about it. You are
24 very passionate about what you do. I
1 completely understand that. But you
2 remember, sir, that the economic times will
3 even dictate that we also do things a bit
5 Now, you may not agree with me, but I
6 think that a reasonable mind will probably
7 differ with you. Perhaps it might be a good
8 idea that you redo that size and see how it
9 plays out for one more year, which, of
10 course, remember now, no one wants to
11 approve it for one more year, but we are
12 willing to give you that if you can see
13 things our way.
14 Do you think, sir, you will find it in
15 your heart to perhaps be flexible on this
17 MR. CHAWNEY: Well, let me make couple
18 of comments. Over the past -- I have been
19 coming to City of Novi since 1974. And I
20 have been as an architect, practiced here,
21 helped other projects being designed and I
22 have personally invested close to $10
23 million -- about $9 million in developments
24 in this town. This is the first time I am
1 facing a situation about a sign. I have
2 always found, especially Mr. Amolsch, he has
3 been so kind and nice to me. He knows me
4 for a long, long time. I have never done
5 anything without informing him ahead of
7 Now, whether the sign is there or not,
8 it may change my sales, it may not change my
9 sales. The thing that I have to review at
10 this time, what's in it for me for the
11 future. If it means that I have to go spend
12 $1,000, $1,200 on a sign just to put it up,
13 I am not going to do it. I will not do it.
14 If you want me to remove the
15 sign, I will remove the sign. But then the
16 project will sit there and take longer to
17 sale. It's only a sign. I have had it for
18 four years -- since 2007. So, that would be
19 this is -- last time I approve was in 2007.
20 Initially I came here in 2005, I believe, if
21 I am not mistaken. So, three and a half
22 years. I never thought it would be this big
23 of a deal. If it is a big deal, I will do
24 what I have to do. I am sorry, I am a
1 little bit open and free verbal speech and I
2 hope you will forgive, and the
3 consideration, give me consideration as a
5 This is money that I will not recover.
6 And, again, I am trying to sell units that
7 are in the long run are part of City of
8 Novi. Produces tax base for City of Novi.
9 It's for everybody's good wishes and
10 wellbeing. I would love to keep the sign as
11 is. I will remove the banner from it, I
12 agree. And I think that's a very attractive
14 MEMBER IBE: Thank you very much.
15 MR. CHAWNEY: Thank you for your
17 MEMBER IBE: You are welcomed, sir.
18 Thank you, Mr. Chair. No further comments.
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you,
20 Member Ibe.
21 Member Shroyer?
22 MEMBER SHROYER: Well, sir, something
23 else I would consider trying to look at the
24 monies -- where did he go?
1 MR. CHAWNEY: Sorry.
2 MEMBER SHROYER: I'm sorry too. I
3 didn't notice you sat down.
4 THE WITNESS: I apologize.
5 MEMBER SHROYER: No problem. In
6 looking at the money situation because I
7 understand it is very expensive. And it
8 would cost money to remove the sign as well.
9 So, the money that it would take to remove
10 the sign, would you be open to the
11 possibility of just cutting it off right
12 above the "buy now" and eliminate the part
13 that says, "Why rent when you can have it
14 all for less?" That would reduce the size
15 of the sign by about a third.
16 MR. CHAWNEY: Let me tell you --
17 may I comment now?
18 MEMBER SHROYER: Sure.
19 MR. CHAWNEY: Believe me. I am an
20 architect and a builder. If it has to be
21 changed it has to be taken out. By the time
22 you call somebody to cut it, do this, do
23 that, no, it will not work.
24 MEMBER SHROYER: Okay, thank you. Mr.
1 Chair, in that case I would be in favor of a
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Do we have a
5 MEMBER SHROYER: I don't have one
7 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Go ahead.
8 MEMBER SHROYER: Oh, you want me to go
9 ahead. In case number: 08-029 filed by
10 Amarjit Chawney of Villagewood Park
11 Condominiums, LLC, located on Haggerty Road
12 and Kartar Lane, move to deny the request
13 for a continuation of a 15-square foot real
14 estate marketing sign measuring 6 foot in
15 height. The reasons are that the Applicant
16 has not provided substantial proof that the
17 features are exceptional and unique to the
18 property and that relief will not
19 unreasonably prevent or limit the use of the
20 property. Let's see if there is something
21 else I need to add here. And leaving the
22 sign there may result in substantial
23 injustice being done to both the Applicant,
24 adjacent and surrounding properties and it
1 is not consistent with the spirit of the
3 MEMBER IBE: I will second that.
4 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: If I may suggest
5 a friendly amendment that the standard that
6 the Board used is practical difficulty, just
7 to make sure that's part of the motion.
8 That the Petitioner did not establish that
9 conformance with the size permitted by
10 Ordinance. It is not reasonable to maintain
11 -- well, it's just not reasonable. And that
12 also the size of the sign being larger in
13 height than the existing Lakewood Park Home
14 sign is unfair to the surrounding properties
15 and unreasonably interferes with the
16 adjacent properties and does not do
17 substantial justice to those property
19 And the Seconder?
20 MEMBER IBE: Yes, I will agree with
22 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: We have a motion
23 and a second by Member Ibe.
24 Ms. Working, if you will please call
1 the roll.
2 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?
3 MEMBER SHROYER: Yes.
4 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?
5 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
6 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger? Motion
7 to deny.
8 MEMBER KRIEGER: No.
9 MS. WORKING: Member Sanghvi?
10 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: No.
11 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?
12 MEMBER BAUER: No.
13 MS. WORKING: Member Burke?
14 MEMBER BURKE: No.
15 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?
16 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Aye.
17 MS. WORKING: We have three in favor
18 to deny and four in favor of not denying.
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All right, I
20 will open it up to those not wishing to deny
21 and ask for your comments or a motion.
22 Member Burke?
23 MEMBER BURKE: In the spirit of
24 working with the Petitioner, I am agreeable
1 to extending the variance if he brings the
2 current sign into compliance with the
3 formerly approved extension. It was my
4 personal recommendation that he might want
5 to clean up the language on the sign. I
6 don't care for the sign itself. But as far
7 as the actual sign itself, the size that the
8 ZBA approved last year, I would continue --
9 I would vote to continue that if the sign
10 were in compliance.
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Member Krieger?
12 MEMBER KRIEGER: He has already stated
13 that he will keep the sign the way it is or
14 remove it, so whether we make that motion or
15 not, he will take it down and that will be
17 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Does someone
18 care to make a motion?
19 MEMBER BURKE: I'll make a motion.
20 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Member Burke?
21 MEMBER BURKE: In case number: 08-029
22 filed by Amarjit Chawney of Villagewood
23 Place Condominiums, LLC for Villagewood
24 Place located at Haggerty Road and Kartar
1 Lane, I vote to approve the variance for the
2 extension, for a one-year extension of the
3 sign that was originally approved in ZBA
4 04-092 for one year and extended in ZBA
5 05-107 and again in ZBA 07-007 which was the
6 most recent extension, for reasons that --
7 for the same reasons that we approved the
8 extension in '07. That without the sign
9 might result in the inability to move the
10 real estate.
11 MEMBER BAUER: Second.
12 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: There is a
13 motion by Member Burke and a second by
14 Member Bauer. Any further discussion?
15 Seeing none, Ms. Working, please call the
17 I'm sorry, I do have a point of
18 discussion. Can you please state a time
19 frame in your motion?
20 MS. WORKING: One year.
21 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Did he say
22 one year?
23 MEMBER BURKE: Yes.
24 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Go ahead.
1 MS. WORKING: Member Burke?
2 MEMBER BURKE: Yes.
3 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?
4 MEMBER BAUER: Yes.
5 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: No.
7 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?
8 MEMBER IBE: Unequivocally no.
9 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?
10 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
11 MS. WORKING: Member Sanghvi?
12 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes.
13 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?
14 MEMBER SHROYER: No.
15 MS. WORKING: Motion to approve passes
17 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: You have been
18 granted for one year. Best of luck moving
19 your units.
20 MR. CHAWNEY: Thank you. And I will
21 remove that banner right away.
22 MEMBER BAUER: Take that banner off.
24 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All right, we'll
1 move along to case number: 08-038 of HINO
2 Trucks. As Board Members may remember, this
3 case was tabled from the August 12th, 2008,
4 meeting. The Petitioner is requesting one
5 75-square foot illuminated wall sign for the
6 north elevation located at 41180 Bridge
7 Street. The property is zoned I1 and
8 located north of Eleven Mile and east of
9 Meawdowbrook Road.
10 I will remind Mr. Lutz that you were
11 sworn in last time and remember that we did
12 receive the information via our packet and
13 if you want to go ahead and clue us in on
14 any new information or any other pertinent
15 information, please go ahead and do so.
16 MR. LUTZ: Well, we do have some new
17 information. Some of which was generated by
18 the Board. You had asked some specific
19 questions about signage on adjacent
20 properties because one of the items that is
21 important to this client is visibility. And
22 this is a very challenging piece of property
23 in terms of visibility.
24 If we can get our first slide up here
1 we will show you that, we hope. This
2 property if you have been by the property is
3 only visible from the ramp on I-96 to 275.
4 That is the only place you can possibly see
5 this sign. In fact, and if we don't get
6 some action here soon I brought a backup
8 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: It's searching
9 for you.
10 MR. LUTZ: That's a good sign. If any
11 of you have seen this property, and in order
12 to see this property you have had to slow
13 down and/or pull over to the side of the
14 road because you only have a few feet of
15 visibility between trees, and then when you
16 pass it, it's a very short period of time.
17 If I can get a diagram we will show that,
18 but in lieu of that, if we could use this
19 overhead projector since I have this
20 information available to me that way, we
21 will do it that way. Robin, does this just
22 automatically switch on if I put something
23 underneath here?
24 MS. WORKING: It will be interesting
1 to see what happens. I am not sure.
2 MR. LUTZ: I understand new equipment
3 is on the way.
4 MS. WORKING: No disrespect.
5 Dave just switched it for you.
6 MR. LUTZ: I talked to him
7 earlier. He said he would. He said new
8 equipment is due in on Thursday, so this is
9 a good thing.
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: You have the
12 MR. LUTZ: We're on the overhead
14 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Yes.
15 MR. LUTZ: Well, this is going to be a
16 challenge. I don't know if we are going to
17 be able to see this. We really got a hot
18 spot here which is obscuring my whole
19 intent. Let's do it this way.
20 MS. WORKING: You can also hand it to
21 Member Ibe and they can send it down the
22 line for a second view after you are
24 MR. LUTZ: Right. And I have that
1 available to me. The property you mentioned
2 is this property right there. You may be
3 able to see this even better than I here on
4 the projector. But you can see this line of
5 trees here, that prevents you from even
6 seeing this building as you are proceeding,
7 which is really southeast on the ramp from
8 96 to 275. Here is 96 up here. 275 is way
9 down over here. So, I have drawn a line
10 which is the closest possible line to that
11 tree right there. Now, remember, these are
12 overhead photos taken in '06, so these trees
13 are even bigger now than they were. So,
14 that's the soonest you can possibly see this
15 sign. Now, the distance here is about
16 230 feet. The last possible place that I
17 think you can see this sign on the
18 expressway if you are a driver is when you
19 are directly adjacent to the building
20 because then you are having to look directly
21 to your side, which you can't do for very
22 darn long on that expressway at 70 miles an
24 So, I would maintain at best you have
1 this area right here to observe that sign
2 because this is not available for it to be
3 seen in any other place. Now, the distance
4 which you may or may not be able to see
5 there is 163 feet. When you can first even
6 see the building where the sign is going to
7 be located and when you can no longer see
8 the sign because you are going to have to be
9 driving. At 163 feet, at 70 miles an hour,
10 an automobile travels at 102 feet per
11 second, that means our viewing, our maximum
12 and optimal site viewing time is
13 1.6 seconds. So, this sign at 75 square
14 feet is maybe visible for 1.6 seconds if you
15 catch it at the very beginning of that 163
16 feet and you look at it to the end. So, I
17 think that's a key piece of information.
18 Now, on the GIS system, this distance,
19 the setback to the center line of the road
20 shows it at about 148 feet. We physically
21 measured this distance. The GIS is off by a
22 couple of feet, it's really 150 feet. But
23 that was done on an early Sunday morning
24 when you didn't have to dodge traffic quite
1 so much as you do on a regular day. So,
2 that's the first thing. The first piece of
4 The second piece of information is the
5 actual, and for the members that may not
6 have been here last meeting and want to see
7 what the proposed sign is going to look
8 like, that's what it would look like if you
9 are off on the side of the road. This
10 actually seems to be a little bit closer
11 because it is. I am not in the highway
12 taking this photograph. I am on the side of
13 the road because this was taken not on a
14 Sunday morning when there wasn't any
16 You can see the trees. The trees I
17 might add are not on private property, they
18 are in the right-of-way. This is
19 particularly different situation. It is a
20 unique piece of property. This property is
21 sandwiched in an area that has no visibility
22 from Bridge Street. The other buildings in
23 front of it between it and Bridge Street
24 completely obscures its visibility from
1 Bridge Street, which is the address. So,
2 you can't put a sign on that side of the
3 building. This is the only possible place
4 to put a sign.
5 In order to make this sign visible
6 given the setbacks, we have to have at least
7 the minimum, 12-high letters. HINO, the
8 message is HINO Trucks. And if you are not
9 familiar with HINO Trucks, they are actually
10 a division of Toyota and they are a
11 commercial truck division that sale mostly
12 to businesses and does parts manufacturing
13 and supply parts for commercial and for
14 consumer grade trucks.
15 The HINO which is kind of
16 the key word here is 12 inches. In order to
17 conform to the ordinance, those letters
18 would have to nine inches. It's just not
19 possible to see a nine inch high letter at
20 150 foot setback that's out of the normal
21 cone of vision. For maximum visibility when
22 we do traffic studies and long range
23 planning, we look at a cone of maximum
24 visibility of 10 percent each side to
1 center, so a whole 20 percent angle. This
2 as you can see from our first shot here is
3 considerably more than a 20 percent angle.
4 So this is really out of our direct line of
5 visibility. So, this is a challenging spot.
6 We approached this job from what's the
7 minimum size we can have in order to make it
8 visible given the circumstances here and we
9 came up with a 12-inch high letter and that
10 drove the sign in size. Now, the way this
11 Ordinance has been interpreted over the
12 years, which I tend to question frankly
13 because I don't think it makes any sense
14 from a logical standpoint, this is not a
15 75-square foot sign in terms of its visual
16 impact. We look at what's the visual impact
17 of the sign. It's irregular. It's a
18 circle. It has a certain visual impact.
19 This sign if we have to measure it by the
20 far outside edge of its front cabinet and
21 extend the uninterrupted lines at the very
22 end, we have a lot of wasted space. That's
23 not the visual impact. The visual impact of
24 this would enclose that first space to the
1 left and enclose the words trucks to the
2 right. That visual impact is 59-square
3 feet. Which means that size what we are
4 asking for is 9 square feet over and above
5 the allowable square footage for this
6 particular location given the setback.
8 I think we have got several things
9 working against us here. I think we do have
10 practical difficulty. This is obviously a
11 building that is tucked into a very
12 difficult place to build right next to the
13 expressway. It has no visibility from
14 Bridge Street, which its address is on. We
15 have got to get people to it. We have got
16 to have some kind of presence here. So, I
17 think we have practical difficulty. I think
18 we certainly have exceptional and unique
20 It's an odd piece of property.
21 It's not a self-created issue. The trees
22 don't exist on private property. We can't
23 cut then down. They are part of the federal
24 right-of-way, perhaps. There is no impact
1 on the surrounding property.
2 And that brings me to the situation
3 that you had asked, I don't know if it was
4 through Mr. Fischer by one of the other
5 Board Members about what is happening on the
6 adjacent properties. Well, we did some
7 photo studies and we did some research with
8 the help of Mr. Amolsch. The adjacent
9 properties to that piece of property and in
10 that complex, if you will, which is a group
11 of three or four buildings are depicted
12 here. The Rathsburg sign which is directly
13 behind this building has 27-inch high
14 letters and is 83-square feet.
15 The sign right down the street from
16 this and is also part of this complex, while
17 it's only 55-square feet, has 48-inch high
18 letters. 48-inch high letters are a lot
19 easier to read from the ramp on I-96. Other
20 signs that border I-96 and ramps on I-96
21 that are very close by, Red Robin restaurant
22 has 36-inch high letters. It is adjacent to
23 the ramp coming off Novi Road. TGI Fridays
24 has 27-inch high letters. Just about
1 anybody that borders that expressway or that
2 thoroughfare has larger letters than 12-inch
3 high. So, I don't think we are asking for
4 anything terribly exceptional here.
5 I think it's well justified. There
6 are exceptional circumstances, practical
7 difficulty and there is no impact on
8 adjacent properties because they have larger
9 height letters than we are asking for.
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you, Mr.
11 Lutz. Any other comments?
12 MR. LUTZ: No.
13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Wait for the
14 Board's questions?
15 MR. LUTZ: Please.
16 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I will ask Madam
17 Secretary to read any correspondence.
18 MEMBER KRIEGER: In ZBA case
19 08-038, 18 notices were mailed. One
20 approval. Zero objections. The approval
21 is, "We are located at 41200 Bridge Street.
22 Our company name is Certified Management
23 Company. We do not see any negative impact
24 from this request. Therefore, we are in
1 favor of Novi granting this variance." This
2 is from Paul Finkell on Bridge Street.
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you, Madam
4 Secretary. Is there anyone in the audience
5 who wishes to make a comment on this case?
6 Seeing none, I will ask the Building
7 Department if they have any comments?
8 MS. WORKING: Through the Chair, I
9 just want to point out in your packet
10 materials the overhead visual that Mr. Lutz
11 provided to you in the first segment of his
12 petition is in your packet, so he doesn't
13 need to pass that on to you.
14 MR. LUTZ: I can certainly pass
15 anything I have here around if you would
17 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: We have several
18 overhead views of the property. So, unless
19 any Board Members object, I will just go
20 ahead and ask the Building Department if
21 they have any other comments?
22 MR. FOX: Just for clarification. The
23 Applicant is asking for a sign that's
24 roughly 28 and a half square feet larger
1 than allowed by the Ordinance. All the
2 signs on the adjacent properties that we
3 have talked about all do meet the Ordinance
4 requirements. It's based on the setback
5 from the road right-of-way, so it's varies
6 depending on whether the building's location
7 is adjacent to the setback or adjacent to
8 the right-of-way of the expressway. Thank
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you, Mr.
11 Fox. And I will open it up for Board
13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Member Sanghvi?
14 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you.
15 As you know I wasn't here last time when you
16 made your presentation. I am still trying
17 to figure out what is the purpose of this
18 sign at that location? This is not for a
19 business identification, is it?
20 MR. LUTZ: This is the headquarters in
21 this region for HINO Trucks. They are
22 trying to establish this name. This is not
23 a well-known name. It's not a consumer name
24 certainly. It's a large commercial truck
1 industry. They would like to establish
2 additional locations. They are looking at
3 other properties. They intent to have a
4 presence here and so it's important to get
5 name recognition. This is the only part of
6 the building that a sign could be seen from
7 any direction. So, they are allowed a sign.
8 They feel it's important to get that name
9 recognition. It's a part of their identity.
10 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: How many
11 people do we expect to see this sign and
12 come looking for their business on Bridge
13 Street from there?
14 MR. LUTZ: You know, Mr. Sanghvi, I
15 don't know the answer to that. But this is
16 a client who is willing to invest in this
17 area and they feel that they need some
18 recognition. From my standpoint, I have a
19 client that wants recognition and he comes
20 to us and says, how do I do that? So, we
21 look at this property and say, well, this is
22 a very difficult property. How do we go
23 about giving you some kind of name
24 recognition? How do we create some kind of
1 presence for you in this community so you
2 can identify with this community because
3 it's on your website. People are probably
4 going to be coming here. This is an R & D
5 facility. There will be engineering people
6 here. There will be traffic here.
7 So, we have to be able to find this
8 building. We need some kind of identifying
9 marks to do that other than a straight
10 address. So, our goal is how do we do this
11 in a logical way? Well, if we are going to
12 put it on that side of the building which is
13 the only side that's visible, we have to
14 make it large enough to be seen given the
15 speed of the traffic, given the setbacks,
16 given the setback and visual acuity that we
17 have from the highway. How do we do this?
18 So, this was a solution that we came up
20 We used the statistics that have been
21 developed by Pennsylvania Transportation
22 Institute through the University of
23 Pennsylvania who have done many, many
24 traffic studies that give us some guidelines
1 in terms of size, what's visible. Contrast
2 colors, what works in terms of type styles,
3 what works in terms of size of copy at given
4 speeds. So, some of the statistics that I
5 have given you this evening are from their
6 work that they have done back in '04.
7 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you.
8 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Other Board
9 Members? Member Ibe?
10 MEMBER IBE: Thank you very much, sir,
11 for the wonderful presentation. I must ad
12 lib real quickly that the Board should be
13 very mindful that the arguments presented by
14 Mr. Bill Lutz is exactly what I was afraid
15 of with the last case that we just heard
16 where we have parties making presentations
17 that impact on the economic investment they
18 have in the city. We are headed toward a
19 slippery slope where we see the Board caving
20 in in haste because parties make arguments
21 regarding how much has been invested and how
22 much the parties want to invest in the city.
23 We welcome the investment in the City of
24 Novi. However, we should be mindful of what
1 the Ordinance is. And the spirit of what
2 the Ordinance is designed for.
3 Now, your argument is no different
4 from the last party who was here. And if we
5 are going to obviously grant the last party
6 who was here, I favor that we grant what you
7 are asking for because I think yours make
8 more sense if you have given us more reasons
9 for me to vote in favor of what you are
10 asking for. You told us about this story
11 from the University of Pennsylvania which
12 tells us that you have done your homework
13 and clearly you are only asking for one
14 sign. And if you are going to get a sign,
15 it better be something that is worthwhile,
16 do it. Absolutely, I have no doubt at all
17 that if we are going to grant the last party
18 who was here based on emotions of investment
19 made in the city, I think that HINO Trucks
20 equally deserves the same kind of treatment.
21 So, I am in favor of what you are asking
22 for, sir. Thank you.
23 MR. LUTZ: Thank you.
24 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Other Board
1 Members? I will go ahead and state my
2 comments first and foremost, that basing
3 anything on emotion from this seat is not
4 the way that I would like to see things done
5 nor do I think they should be done that way.
6 I have the distinct pleasure of going
7 down that --
8 MEMBER BAUER: Bridge Street --
9 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: No, not down
10 Bridge Street. I take that highway to 275
11 from 96 every single day. So, I test it
12 pretty much every day how many seconds I
13 would be able to see that sign and I think
14 between the sign and by the time I would
15 have to get over I would have five seconds.
16 My concern about that is that I don't think
17 that the Ordinance was intended to allow
18 site identification from the highway. We do
19 not want people crossing traffic going
20 70 miles per hour because they see a sign.
21 So, I am not in favor of this.
22 I also look at the rendering, if you
23 can put that back up for me.
24 MR. LUTZ: Which one, Mr. Fischer?
1 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: The rendering of
2 the HINO Truck sign.
3 MR. LUTZ: You mean the specification
4 drawing or the one on the building? This is
5 a close-up of the one on the building.
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: The
7 specifications. I look at some of the other
8 examples that we have similar to INCAT.
9 INCAT is actually systems. They decided to
10 leave the systems part off so they could
11 have large letters of sign. Why can't HINO
12 get rid of the logo and/or get rid of the
13 trucks, and/or get rid of the additional red
14 and black above the HINO and logo part?
15 MR. LUTZ: As a sign consultant it's
16 not our job, nor can we change corporate
17 logos. Now we're talking trademarks and
18 corporate logos and what's allowed and
19 what's allowed by licensing agreements and
20 patents and so forth and so on.
21 It's their decision that if you have
22 HINO you have to have the symbol. You have
23 to have the truck. I can think of numerous
24 examples like that whereas if you do away
1 with one, you have to do away with the
2 other. You can't have anything.
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: So, you are
4 saying it would be legally impossible for
5 you just to have HINO?
6 MR. LUTZ: My understanding is from
7 their marketing --
8 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Do you have
9 confirmation of that or is that just an
11 MR. LUTZ: That's my understanding is
12 that they have to have the word trucks.
13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I have also
14 stated before to the Board, I look at some
15 of these other signs and they are 59 square
16 foot, 62 square foot. I could see to be
17 similar to other businesses in the area to
18 allow a little bit larger, but we have asked
19 once again for some type of negotiation.
20 Some type of compromise. We see a little
21 bit of a practical difficulty, but not one
22 that warrants a sign this big. So, once
23 again, I cannot support this request.
24 And I will open it in turn for other
1 Board Members. Member Shroyer?
2 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
3 I was one of the ones that was maybe more
4 vocal last time and really insisted upon
5 knowing the size of the surrounding signs
6 for properties nearby primarily looking for
7 consistency. What's fair to one is fair to
8 all and not wanting to have an influx of
9 other applicants coming in asking for larger
10 signs after we grant one.
11 The information that came back for
12 INCAT the sign was 3 foot 10 inches by 14
13 feet which is a little less than 56 square
14 feet. Finlay Industries was 3 feet by
15 18 feet for about 54 square feet. And you
16 mentioned a couple of others. You mentioned
17 Rathsburg 83 square feet. I wasn't aware of
18 that and I didn't even know where it was
20 But, initially coming in I was
21 thinking that I would be okay with something
22 up to around 60 square feet.
23 MR. LUTZ: I would maintain that this
24 is a 59 square foot sign in terms of visual
1 impact. The only reason it's 75 is because
2 that's the way it's always been.
3 MEMBER SHROYER: I understand.
4 MR. LUTZ: Not because it's defined
5 very well that way.
6 MEMBER SHROYER: My question, and I
7 know you don't have a calculator with you
8 and things like that, but if we went down to
9 60 square feet, how much would that reduce
10 the size of the HINO letters?
11 MR. LUTZ: Well, if I just used and
12 think of it in terms of percentage basis
13 it's probably going to take those HINO
14 letters down to about 10 inches. The reason
15 we came up with 12 was simply visibility
16 studies said that's what they had to be.
17 MEMBER SHROYER: But obviously the
18 truck is going to be, the visual size is
19 much greater.
20 MR. LUTZ: Absolutely.
21 MEMBER SHROYER: So, if somebody honed
22 in on the trucks, they are probably going to
23 concentrate a little more as to what's
24 beside it.
1 MR. LUTZ: I am not sure. I certainly
2 don't doubt, Mr. Fischer, because I have had
3 contact with him over a number of years and
4 found him to be a very honest young man.
5 However, at 102 feet per second which is 70
6 miles an hour, unless he is going
7 considerably slower than that, the viewing
8 distance here unless he is looking behind
9 him is still 1.6 seconds and that's right
10 off your GIS system.
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: The vibe was to
12 the chance to get off the exit. That was
13 what I was referring to. Just a
14 clarification of that. I don't doubt your
15 1.6 seconds on the site. I was talking
16 about something completely different. So,
17 just a point of information there.
18 MEMBER SHROYER: So, at any right
19 rate, that was initially what I was thinking
20 coming in. Now, hearing your presentation
21 I'm a little more open. I do want to hear
22 what the rest of the Board has to say. But
23 I was initially, like I said, willing to
24 grant a little bit more than the immediate
1 surrounding areas, but not an additional 20
2 square feet above and beyond what the others
3 have. So, we will see what the others have
4 to say.
5 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you, Mr.
8 MEMBER SHROYER: If the other members
9 were going to say anything.
10 MEMBER BURKE: I don't necessarily
11 have a significant position one way or
12 another. I don't know how much more
13 business this is going to bring for HINO. I
14 don't know how many more people are going to
15 notice it. You still have that 1.2 seconds.
16 Whether it's a small sign, you still see it.
17 So, I don't understand the significant
18 impact that HINO is going to get out of
19 having a bigger sign.
20 As it relates to the previous
21 participant or Applicant, I voted for his
22 sign extension. Temporary sign is going to
23 be another year and he brought that back
24 into compliance with what we had, the ZBA
1 had already approved. This is completely
2 different. His economic impact on the City
3 had nothing to do with my position on that
4 previous vote, nor does HINO's. And I
5 appreciate their economic impact on the city
6 and I appreciate the amount of money we get
7 to collect in taxes, et cetera, et cetera.
8 However, the bottom line exist
9 for me that I don't know how much more it's
10 going to do for your business because if the
11 people are looking for HINO Trucks as they
12 are trying to get to it are going to see
13 that square footage as it exists now.
14 That's the way I see it. I will listen to
15 what everybody else has to say.
16 MR. LUTZ: Mr. Chair, may I respond to
18 MEMBER BURKE: As soon as I finish. I
19 just don't see how much more you are going
20 to get out of it. Thank you.
21 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Mr. Burke, it's
22 up to you. If you wish to ask questions or
23 if you want to hear his response to your
1 MEMBER BURKE: You go right ahead. I
2 don't want to get into a debate about it.
3 MR. LUTZ: No, no, no. And I wouldn't
4 want to debate you about it. Frankly, our
5 purpose here is not to show any economic
6 impact. I don't think that's a valid
7 argument frankly. I never thought that was
8 a valid argument for a ZBA hearing.
9 What I do think is a valid argument is
10 where you have got a piece of property here
11 that is difficult to identify no matter who
12 is in it. You can put McDonald's in it and
13 it's difficult property to identify. There
14 is a point at which the copy, the word HINO
15 gets so small that it can't be seen. And
16 then it stops functioning and then it to me
17 becomes sign clutter. It's becomes just
18 busyness that can't be read. It's a blur.
19 I, frankly, have a little bit of
20 problem for that Finlay sign just for that
21 reason, it can't be read. I don't think
22 it's a good use of the available space that
23 was granted to them under a variance or
24 however they got that sign. To me if a sign
1 can't be read it's of no value to a client.
2 It's of no value to anybody.
3 HINO's purpose here is to develop a
4 presence in this marketplace. The only way
5 to develop a presence, especially in the
6 kind of business that they are in is to put
7 some signage out. To have somebody say,
8 gosh, what is that HINO Trucks thing and
9 start a little bit of discussion about it.
10 Maybe look them up on the internet. I don't
11 think that anybody is going to veer off on
12 an exit ramp looking for HINO Trucks. Now,
13 people that have appointments there that are
14 going there may see that and that may help
15 them, but it's not really meant as a way
16 finding tool, even though it could certainly
17 be argued that it is the only identity that
18 would be on that building. It's the only
19 way people would identify.
20 The City of Novi has allowed this
21 property to be built in a very difficult
22 area. I would say it's almost the City of
23 Novi created problem in a sense that they
24 have allowed this property to be put up and
1 not have any visible area to put a sign.
2 You understand where I'm coming from? This
3 is a challenging piece of property to put a
4 sign that's visible to anybody. So, we put
5 it on the only side of the road that it is
6 visible to anybody, even though it's only
7 visible for a second and a half, but it's
8 got to be seen. And if it can't be seen
9 then it's kind of no use. Nine inches which
10 is about where we would have to be in order
11 to comply with the Ordinance in terms of
12 height it's just not going to be visible.
13 It's going to look like a blur. You can see
14 trucks, but not HINO. But that kind of
15 misses the point.
16 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Any other Board
17 Members wishes to make a comment? Member
19 MEMBER KRIEGER: I guess I see it as
20 the intent not as a place to arrive at, but
21 as you are driving by the expressway that
22 you get a name, you are looking at it, it
23 sticks in your head and you keep going and
24 you want to know where it is later or you
1 hear about it later and it defines what it
2 meant. So, as far as size, he has stated
3 for practical difficulty, odd shape of the
4 area and then the trees being out of the --
5 in the right-of-way. So, I'm kind of headed
6 toward supporting what he is asking for
7 right now. Thank you.
8 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you,
9 Member Krieger.
10 MEMBER BAUER: I only got a couple of
11 things to say.
12 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Member Bauer?
13 MEMBER BAUER: This is a destination.
14 It's not something that you are looking for.
15 It's strictly an identification for that
16 individual. The truck driver that's looking
17 to drop off things there. He would have
18 instructions on how to get there. I can't
19 see any difficulty in increasing the sign.
20 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Other Board
21 Members? Member Shroyer?
22 MEMBER SHROYER: I have been
23 vacillating back and forth with this
24 obviously for two months now. Mr. Lutz
1 makes a very good point in many instances.
2 One of them being as does Member Bauer about
3 it being a destination. However, if the
4 sign falls within the size sign Ordinance,
5 people may not be able to read it even if
6 they are trying to find it as a destination.
7 So, I am going to go ahead and make a
8 motion. In case number: 08-038 filed by
9 Bill Lutz of Sign Graphix, Incorporated for
10 HINO Trucks located at 41182 [sic] Bridge
11 Street, I move to approve the wall sign as
12 presented whereas the Applicant has
13 successfully communicated the practical
14 difficulty that is present.
15 The failure to grant -- this motion is
16 based on a consistency with surrounding
17 properties, taking into account all the ones
18 that were discussed this evening. The
19 failure to grant relief would unreasonably
20 prevent or limit the use of this property
21 and will result in substantially more than
22 mere inconvenience or inability to obtain a
23 higher economic or financial return. And
24 the request is based upon circumstances
1 being unique to the property and it does not
2 result from conditions that exist generally
3 in the city or that are self-created.
4 MEMBER IBE: I will second the motion.
5 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: There is a
6 motion and a second. Any further comments?
7 The motion by Member Shroyer and the second
8 by Member Ibe.
9 The only last comment that I would
10 want to make is that I, as I sit here and
11 look towards Mr. Lutz I see the City of Novi
12 logo. And I think to myself if they came in
13 and said we need to have City of as part of
14 our logo to be at least one foot, the sign
15 that that would require would be probably
16 much larger than any Ordinance. So, as we
17 allow these logos to distort our Ordinance,
18 I feel like we are headed down a slippery
20 So, any other comments?
21 Ms. Working, please call the roll.
22 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?
23 MEMBER SHROYER: Yes.
24 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?
1 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
2 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?
3 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
4 MS. WORKING: Member Sanghvi?
5 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes.
6 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?
7 MEMBER BAUER: No.
8 MS. WORKING: Member Burke?
9 MEMBER BURKE: Yes.
10 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: No.
12 MS. WORKING: Motion to approve passes
14 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Your variance
15 has been granted. Best of luck to you guys.
16 MR. LUTZ: Thank you very much. We
17 appreciate your time and patience.
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Let's go ahead
20 and move along to our next case. That
21 closes the unfinished business for the
22 Zoning Board given that case number three on
23 the agenda under that was tabled or
1 So, under new business we have
2 case number: 08-048 filed by Victor Muskat
3 of 2215 Old Novi Road.
4 Is the Petitioner here tonight?
5 All right, if you will please go ahead and
6 come forward.
7 The Petitioner is requesting a variance to
8 the required 20-foot front yard parking
9 setback standard for the proposed Abode
10 Salon located at said address. The property
11 is zoned B-3 and is located east of Novi
12 Road and south of Wainwright Street.
13 MR. KAPELCZAK: Good evening, my name
14 is Joe Kapelczak from JCK representing Abode
16 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: One second. If
17 you would be sworn in by our Board
19 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number:
20 08-048 filed by Victor Muskat for 2215 Old
21 Novi Road, do you swear or affirm to tell
22 the truth in this case?
23 MR. KAPELCZAK: I do.
24 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Now you can
1 state your name and address and go ahead and
2 proceed with your case.
3 MR. KAPELCZAK: Joe Kapelczak, JCK &
4 Associates at 8615 Commerce representing Mr.
5 Muskat this evening in this case for the
6 variance of the setbacks for the parking.
7 Last evening the City Council approved
8 all the engineering issues that you see in
9 this plan. This happens to be in a very old
10 neighborhood of Novi. The building is,
11 let's say as old as I am. And I am glad to
12 see it in pretty --
13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Twenty-two years
14 old then or something?
15 MR. KAPELCZAK: More like about 65.
16 And, also this case, in fact, when I
17 represented the City of Novi probably about
18 20 years ago it was in front of a judge in
19 the circuit court and the judge -- as you
20 see these buildings are outside the
21 right-of-way, and the judge granted that
22 portion of the right-of-way to the owners.
23 So, these buildings are basically on their
24 own property even though they are in public
1 right-of-way. And Mr. Muskat now wants to
2 refurbish this building and get this
3 building into a use and get it into
4 compliance inside the building as well as
6 And what happens is --
7 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Sir, if could
8 you speak into the microphone or if you want
9 to use the graphics we can use that
10 microphone too.
11 MR. KAPELCZAK: Sure.
12 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: We just want to
13 make sure we get everything on the record.
14 Go ahead.
15 MR. KAPELCZAK: Anyway, this
16 building he wants to bring everything into
17 compliance to get this building in use. The
18 parking was in adequate, so, basically what
19 we said to the, came to the Building
20 Department and Planning Department and we
21 told them what the use is that we probably
22 will bring into this building And they said,
23 well, we need between six and eight parking,
24 and we ended up, well, we can fit seven in
1 here. What really happens in here, in this
2 case the Ordinance requires that you have a
3 20-foot setback from the right-of-way line.
4 As you can see the line that is drawing in
5 there and where the building is over the
6 right-of-way line.
7 So, what we did with Ben Croy through
8 the Engineering Department, we designed two
9 front parking areas with a walkway that will
10 be built adjoining that building, a concrete
11 walkway for the future possible walkway that
12 the City of Novi may put through this area,
13 although it's doubtful because they put all
14 the walkway on the opposite side of road on
15 the west side of Novi Road several years
16 ago. I think about 10 years ago.
17 So, the last variance that we need is
18 the variance for the 20-foot setback from
19 the right-of-way line for this parking. As
20 you see, there are buildings to the rear of
21 this, and we have to keep fire lanes open.
22 So, this was, between the City Engineering
23 Department and us, some of the best way to
24 put the parking in and this is our last
2 So, if you have any other questions,
3 Mr. Muskat is here, I am here. And we'll
4 answer anything that you have other than we
5 do need the variance to get this building
6 into compliance and get it into use.
7 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Excellent.
8 Thank you very much for that presentation.
9 And I will ask Madam Secretary if you could
10 read any correspondence into the record.
11 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number:
12 08-048, 67 notices were mailed. Two
13 approvals and one objection. The first one
14 is, "The city should not hesitate to grant
15 this variance." Ted March on Clermont.
16 Second one is, "My mother and I have
17 owned the vacant property directly across
18 the street from the Petitioner since 1986.
19 We request that the Zoning Board of Appeals
20 deny their request to allow parking in the
21 required front parking setback. Low end
22 parking in this area is a major safety
23 concern as it has been in front of the party
24 store across the street adjacent to our
1 property. The amount of vehicles that use
2 this road as a cut through to Walled Lake
3 and the number of pedestrians must be a
4 consideration including the potential
5 liability to the City of Novi. Thank you."
6 From Rodger Jacob on Lake Front.
7 Those are the two -- last one is,
8 "2215 was a salon for years. This end of
9 Novi needs more than empty lots and weeds.
10 Let's have a new business." From T. Malicki
11 (ph) on Austin. That's it.
12 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you, Madam
13 Secretary. Is there anyone in the audience
14 that wishes to make a comment on this case?
15 Seeing none, we'll close the opportunity for
16 public comments and open it up to the
17 Building Department for any comments.
18 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer,
19 through the Board, I would like to bring to
20 the Board's attention that you do have a
21 memo in your packet that shows you what the
22 City Council did approve yesterday on the
23 variances requested to the design and
24 construction standards.
1 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you, Ms.
2 Working, as always. You had to get that
3 together today too for us?
4 Any other comments from you guys? Mr.
6 MR. FOX: Just for clarification.
7 Plan Review Center has stated that this
8 property is currently a pre-existing legal
9 nonconforming piece of property. What the
10 proposed tenant is trying to provide is a
11 benefit to their existing property. They
12 are paving an existing unpaved parking lot
13 and providing for barrier free working which
14 doesn't exist currently on the site.
15 Also, they will be directing traffic
16 at a one way pattern through there to try to
17 reduce some of the issues with backing out
18 into traffic in that area. They are not
19 proposing to do any additional parking
20 issues or create any additional parking
21 issues for that site. Thank you.
22 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you, Mr.
23 Fox. Seeing no other comments from you
24 guys, I'll open it up for Board discussion.
1 Just to clarify. This wasn't in front of
2 Planning at all, correct?
3 MS. WORKING: It was reviewed by City
4 Planner --
5 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Because of the
6 new member. I know Mr. Wrobel is well aware.
7 I just want to make sure that Brian was
8 aware of having to recuse himself during
9 cases that he might have already seen, Mr.
11 MS. WORKING: Just City Council.
12 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Okay. Board
13 Members? Mr. Shroyer?
14 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you. To the
15 City. They only need four parking spaces
16 and one handicap? Am I reading the site
17 plan correctly?
18 MR. KAPELCZAK: We have seven, sir.
19 MEMBER SHROYER: Two in front, I
20 assume that was the loading zone. That's
21 parking as well?
22 MR. KAPELCZAK: That's parking. There
23 are two in front and then five on the side.
24 And one handicap barrier free on the side.
1 MEMBER SHROYER: How many employees
2 would be in the building?
3 MR. KAPELCZAK: It can go from two
4 chairs to three chairs if they do put the
5 salon in with a receptionist in that area.
6 And that's why we have the seven.
7 MEMBER SHROYER: Where are the
8 customers going to park?
9 MR. KAPELCZAK: Well, with two chairs,
10 that's all they really need. They would
11 only have maybe three people in there at the
12 most. Two to three people would be at the
13 most. What they are looking at right now is
14 two chairs.
15 MEMBER SHROYER: Okay. That's not in
16 our purview. I know there is no on street
17 parking permitted on Old Novi Road in that
19 MR. KAPELCZAK: That's right.
20 Actually, if you really look at the plan
21 there is a piece of asphalt that is in there
22 right now. There is a tremendous amount of
23 loading and unloading that is right there on
24 that side of the street that very dangerous
1 that will be taken away when this site plan
2 is developed. That is a big problem that is
3 in that area right now.
4 MEMBER SHROYER: So, if you have two
5 chairs, a receptionist, somebody loading,
6 that's four.
7 MR. KAPELCZAK: You have got three
8 people working and then you have got room
9 for four customers.
10 MEMBER SHROYER: But if somebody is
11 unloading --
12 MR. KAPELCZAK: Well, the unloading
13 won't be there. When I said unloading, that
14 unloading took place for the store that was
15 across the street.
16 MEMBER SHROYER: I just thought there
17 would be supplies delivered to this
19 MR. KAPELCZAK: The supplies that
20 would go into a salon are very minimal.
21 MEMBER SHROYER: Like I said, that's
22 not really in our purview I was just kind of
23 -- that's why I was curious, with it not
24 going to the Planning Commission because I
1 am sure they would have been asking about
2 the parking situation.
3 So, I want to go back to the City. Is
4 there anyone with the City that has reviewed
5 this and everything is okay parking wise?
6 MS. WORKING: You have city Planner
7 Karen Reinowski's Plan Review Center report
8 in your hand. The full document is in the
9 file where she categorizes out all the
10 review standards and whether they were met
11 or not. So, Linda Krieger could pull that
12 if you really needed that information.
13 MEMBER SHROYER: It's not necessary.
14 I just didn't want to forward with the
15 program here if we were going to end up
16 having to backtrack.
17 Is there going to be lighting in the
18 parking lot?
19 MR. KAPELCZAK: Yes, there is one
20 light, if I am not mistaken. It's there on
21 that post in the front. Right by the front
23 MEMBER SHROYER: So, actually that
24 would be shielded by the building from the
1 other existing houses in this surrounding
3 MR. KAPELCZAK: That's correct.
4 That's correct, sir.
5 MEMBER SHROYER: If this is not
6 approved, what is your alternate plan?
7 Would you be looking at moving the park to
8 the rear?
9 MR. KAPELCZAK: I would say if it's
10 not approved that building is probably going
11 to be what it is right now. Nothing.
12 MEMBER SHROYER: I believe that's all
13 the questions I have for now. Thank you,
14 Mr. Chair.
15 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you,
16 Member Shroyer.
17 Other Board Members? Mr. Burke?
18 MEMBER BURKE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
19 Looking at Karen Reinowski's planning
20 review listing the three items that were
21 needed for the Planning Department's
22 recommendation. And she also states in here
23 that if any of the three variances are not
24 approved the site would need to be
1 redesigned to meet the standards.
2 And I think last night City Council
3 they approved the design and construction
4 standard variance for the parking in the
5 right-of-way and the lack of sidewalk
6 access. To paraphrase, one of the City
7 Council members, I think it was Kim Capello
8 who said it's making the best out of a bad
9 parcel. The last portion that needs to be
10 taken care of is this zero front yard
11 setback. I believe it goes to Planning
12 Commission tomorrow and they will deal with
13 parking spaces if they see fit. Is that
15 MR. KAPELCZAK: That's correct.
16 MEMBER BURKE: I mean, so, I support
17 this because it makes sense. It's the best
18 thing that you can do with this piece of
19 property. And given that it's legally
20 non-compliant now and we are going to
21 maintain that it's legally non-compliant, I
22 do support this.
23 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you,
24 Member Burke.
1 I would also echo those sentiments.
2 This is just an odd lot configuration and I
3 think doing something with it is better than
4 doing nothing with it. I think you have
5 done the best that you can with what you
6 have in front of you. The City has stated
7 there is no increase in fire or public
8 safety danger. It's a benefit to the
9 surrounding area. So, I would actually be
10 willing to make a motion if there is no
11 other discussion.
12 That in case number: 08-048 filed by
13 Victor Muskat of 2215 Old Novi Road that the
14 Zoning Board grant the Petitioner's request
15 as stated given that they have established
16 the practical difficulty. That the setback
17 and lot configuration unreasonably prevent
18 the use of property for the permitted
19 purpose. The variance will provide
20 substantial injustice to petitioner and the
21 surrounding areas. It will actually be a
22 benefit to the surrounding areas.
23 The City has maintained that there
24 will be no increase in safety concerns to
1 the general public and it is within the
2 spirit of the Zoning Ordinance.
3 MEMBER BURKE: Second.
4 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: There is a
5 motion by Member Fischer and a second by
6 Member Burke.
7 Any other discussion? Seeing none,
8 Ms. Working, will you please call the roll.
9 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Aye.
11 MS. WORKING: Member Burke?
12 MEMBER BURKE: Yes.
13 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe.
14 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
15 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?
16 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
17 MS. WORKING: Member Sanghvi?
18 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI? Yes.
19 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?
20 MEMBER SHROYER: Yes.
21 MS. WORKING: And Member Bauer?
22 MEMBER BAUER: Yes.
23 MS. WORKING: Motion to approve passes
1 MR. KAPELCZAK: Thank you.
2 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Your variance
3 has been granted. Best of luck. I look
4 forward to seeing the things that go in
6 At this time we're about two minutes
7 short, but let's go ahead and take just a
8 five minute break until 8:35 we will
10 (A recess was held.)
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Let's go ahead
12 and move to number two under new business.
13 Case number: 08-049 filed by Chris Hett for
14 25300 Beck Road.
15 Is the Petitioner here?
16 MR. HETT: He is.
17 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All right.
18 Petitioner is requesting one 5.2 foot rear
19 yard setback variance for the construction
20 of a proposed addition to an existing home
21 located at said address. Property is zoned
22 R-A and is located east of Beck, south of
23 Eleven Mile Road. If you can raise your
24 hand and be sworn in by our Board Secretary.
1 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number
2 08-049 filed by Chris Hett for 25300 Beck
3 Road, do you swear or affirm to tell the
4 truth in this case?
5 MR. HETT: I do.
6 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.
7 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: State your name
8 and address and go ahead and proceed with
9 your case.
10 MR. HETT: My name is Christopher T.
11 Hett. I reside at 25300 Beck Road, Novi,
12 Michigan. I am resident here and I am
13 seeking a 5 foot 2 inch setback on the rear
14 of an addition that I am proposing. The
15 reason I need the setback is due to the
16 thinness of the lot. We are tearing off
17 part of the house that can only go so far to
18 the left and the driveway coming to the
19 right and swooping down along that right
20 property line, so that the space, so that
21 the space confers with the driveway. The
22 space is definitely needed to finish the
23 plan inside the house due to the house only
24 being 1,000 square foot at the time. So,
1 that's what I am seeking.
2 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Any other
3 comments? Not at this time?
4 MR. HETT: No.
5 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I will ask the
6 Board Secretary to read any correspondence
7 into the record.
8 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number:
9 08-049, 27 notices were mailed and zero
10 approvals and zero objections.
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Is there anyone
12 in the audience who wishes to make a comment
13 in this case?
14 Seeing none, I will go ahead and turn
15 it over to the Building Department or City
17 MR. FOX: We have looked at this
18 project and our recommendation is that the
19 possibility that some of this space in the
20 garage downstairs could be reduced to
21 minimize the variance. Possibly that the
22 addition may be able to be moved forward a
23 little bit to bring it into full compliance
24 with the Ordinance. Thank you.
1 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I will open it
2 up for Board discussion. Member Sanghvi?
3 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Go evening?
4 MR. HETT: How are you doing?
5 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: How large
6 is your lot?
7 MR. HETT: My lot is I believe about
8 179 by 169 deep, I believe.
9 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: What is
10 going to be the total size of your new
12 MR. HETT: I believe around 2,000
13 square feet.
14 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: All on one
16 MR. HETT: It will be all on one
17 level, yes.
18 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: All you
19 need is 5.2 feet in the rear yard. What's
20 behind you?
21 MR. HETT: Woods area. A neighbor is
22 behind, but it's a thick wooded area along
23 to the right side which is a wetland area to
24 the south.
1 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Do you need
2 to cut any woods there at all to do this?
3 MR. HETT: No, zero.
4 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you.
5 I have no problem with this. Thank you.
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Other Board
7 Members? Member Krieger?
8 MEMBER KRIEGER: I agree.
9 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you,
10 Member Krieger. Short and concise, I like
12 I will ask. The City has discussed
13 being able to either remove some of the
14 space in the rear or move it forward. What
15 do you take on that recommendation? Why
16 might not it be possible?
17 MR. HETT: Well, to bring the house
18 any far forward is differently going to
19 change everything on the front setback, I
20 would imagine. To take it to the rear of
21 the home, the existing home as it sits right
22 now is -- the proposed 5 foot 2 inch
23 addition off the back south side of the
24 house is not going to even encroach on the
1 addition that is already back there. I can
2 put a few pictures up to give you a visual.
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: If you wish. If
4 we can get any of the lights turned.
5 MR. HETT: The house is not flat in
6 the back. It has, in the middle it has what
7 would be considered an addition which is a
8 little sitting room back there and that
9 leads out to the deck that swoops around the
10 whole back of the house. That is the
11 addition right there that goes, that's right
12 is line with my neighbors who kind of
13 encroach 16 feet beyond my addition or
14 beyond what I already have there.
15 Now, my 5 feet won't come out all the
16 way to this addition that's already existing
17 which would put it more in sync more
18 aesthetically and would work out great for
19 me. It works out great for being able to
20 come in the driveway, swoop down and around
21 and have plenty of space in the back as well
22 as where the two and a half car garage would
23 been and then a little swerve possibly to
24 the right which is what would work out being
1 closer to the road. Because we are so close
2 to the road already it just, it puts me
3 back a little ways. It starts everything
4 back a little ways. So, that's why having
5 the 5 foot 2 inches really puts the plan we
6 finally got together into play. If you will
7 accept it.
8 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: It appears that
9 the deck actually goes further.
10 MR. HETT: Oh, yes.
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: As you guys
12 stated moving it forward would aesthetically
13 give it a (unintelligible). I am in support
14 of the variance request.
15 Member Shroyer?
16 MEMBER SHROYER: To the City. Is this
17 already a nonconforming structure with it
18 being only 41 feet and the rear yard not
19 having a 50 foot setback?
20 MR. FOX: Yes, it is. The existing
21 house is already nonconforming.
22 MEMBER SHROYER: Okay, I thought it
23 was. I don't have a problem since the house
24 is already nonconforming. And actually the
1 addition isn't as nonconforming. I know
2 that's not a real word or statement. But
3 less nonconforming than what the house is.
4 I don't have a problem with it either.
5 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: That sounded
7 very good, Member Shroyer. It seems like
8 we're all going in the general direction.
9 Do you care to advance our meeting along?
10 Did you care to make a motion?
11 MEMBER SHROYER: I wasn't prepared for
12 this one. I can. I can try with your help.
13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: We'll be here to
15 MEMBER SHROYER: In case number:
16 08-049 filed by Chris Hett for 25300 Beck
17 Road, move to approve the variance as
19 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Second.
20 MEMBER SHROYER: You want some
22 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: No, it's
24 MEMBER SHROYER: Yes, I thought
1 Robin had said it. This is based on the
2 closeness of the house. The nonconforming
3 existing house to the street, to the
4 existing street. The narrowness of the
5 property. This does provide substantial
6 justice to the Petitioner and surrounding
7 property owners whereas it will increase the
8 property values. The problem is not self
9 created and does not create any fire danger
10 or public safety problems.
11 VICE CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Now can I
12 say second?
13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Do you agree
14 with all the amended changes?
15 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes, thank
16 you. I just wanted to make one comment.
17 And that is, all this is become
18 nonconforming because City changed the code,
19 not because their house was nonconforming.
20 MEMBER SHROYER: Right.
21 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: There is a
22 motion by Member Shroyer and a second by
23 Member Sanghvi. Ms. Working, please call
24 the roll.
1 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?
2 MEMBER SHROYER: Yes.
3 MS. WORKING: Member Sanghvi?
4 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes.
5 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?
6 MEMBER BAUER: Yes.
7 MS. WORKING: Member Burke?
8 MEMBER BURKE: Yes.
9 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Aye.
11 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?
12 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
13 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?
14 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
15 MS. WORKING: Motion to approve passes
17 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Your variance
18 has been granted. Best of luck. It looks
20 MR. HETT: Thank you. Take care,
22 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: That moves
23 us along to case number: 08-050 filed by
24 Angela Arcori of Signature Associates for
1 43223 Twelve Mile Road. The Petitioner is
2 requesting one variance to allow additional
3 16 square foot real estate sign located at
4 along the Twelve Oaks Mall ring road for
5 Hagopian Building located at said address.
6 The Petitioner has an approved real
7 estate leasing sign for this property along
8 Twelve Mile. The property is zoned R-C and
9 located south of Twelve, east of Novi Road.
10 And if you will please raise your hand
11 and be sworn in by our Board Secretary.
12 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number 08-050
13 filed by Angela Arcori of Signature
14 Associates, do you swear or affirm to tell
15 the truth in this case?
16 MS. ARCORI: Yes.
17 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.
18 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: State your name
19 and address and proceed with the case.
20 MS. ARCORI: Sure. Angela Arcori and
21 I am with Signature Associates in One Town
22 Square, Southfield, Michigan representing
23 Edmond Hagopian who owns the property at
24 43223 Twelve Mile Road in your very own
1 Novi, Michigan.
2 I have been marketing this property,
3 there is about 18,000 square feet on the
4 first floor of this building that's
5 available for over six months now. We all
6 know in today's economy to hang a sign and
7 hope to make a deal is like finding a needle
8 in a hay stack. So, we began marketing this
9 property and said we don't need a sign. I
10 will make the appropriate calls both to
11 national and local tenants and see if we can
12 get someone to bite.
13 Well, I have done that and made calls
14 and gone to trade shows and we're at the
15 point now where I have gone to Mr. Hagopian
16 and said, is there any chance we can put
17 signs out? Obviously he did not want the
18 signs to affect his business because he is
19 an occupant on the second level of this
20 building. He said, sure, let's get signs
21 out. Let's do whatever it takes. I got to
22 get someone in here. I love to have two
23 signs, one on ring road that faces Twelve
24 Oaks Mall to capture that audience and
1 another sign on Twelve Mile Road to capture
2 the traffic that travels that way. And that
3 is why I stand before you.
4 We're not picky what's on the signs or
5 really the size. I just want some type of
6 presence to see if we can attract some
7 attention that way.
8 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Madam Secretary,
9 will you please read any correspondence.
10 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number
11 08-050, 14 notices were mailed and zero
12 approvals and zero objections.
13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Is there anyone
14 in the audience that wishes to make a
15 comment on this case? Seeing none, I will
16 turn it over to the Community Development
17 Department or City.
18 MR. FOX: Staff does not typically
19 support a variance request like this for an
20 additional sign, however, the Board is
21 inclined to grant the variance for this one.
22 We would like you to know that they do have
23 an existing approved sign for this property,
24 but due to the lack of the setback -- or due
1 to the setbacks and the great change between
2 one side of the building and the other,
3 there is no real visibility of one sign from
4 both sides of that particular property.
5 Thank you.
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you very
7 much. Board Members? Member Shroyer?
8 MEMBER SHROYER: Some points of
9 clarification here. First of all, in the
10 packet that we received, the very first
11 paragraph it states that they are requesting
12 one 16 square foot wall sign.
13 MS. WORKING: Through the Chair,
14 Members of the Board, that was clarified to
15 you and you were provided a new packet cover
16 sheet in your meeting file for today.
17 MEMBER SHROYER: Okay. I didn't pull
18 that out.
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Point one for
21 MEMBER SHROYER: Was it advertised
23 MS. WORKING: Yes, it was. The agenda
24 is also properly posted on the web with the
1 ground sign.
2 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Did we receive
3 an e-mail about this?
4 MS. WORKING: We did, but I don't
5 believe Mr. Shroyer was participating in
6 e-mails anymore.
7 MEMBER SHROYER: I am not allowed to
8 get e-mails.
9 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I know Mr.
10 Shroyer is having some issues with e-mail.
11 But I wanted a point of clarification.
12 MS. WORKING: Maybe if he has an
13 E-phone we might be able to hook up.
14 MEMBER SHROYER: The main reason was
15 to make sure that it was advertised properly
16 because if it wasn't, obviously we would
17 have an issue.
18 Now, the other clarification that I
19 need from Ms. Arcori. On the drawing that
20 we received, we look at one sign, but down
21 in the lower right hand corner there is a V
22 which appears that you are looking for two
23 signs. So, I need some clarification. Are
24 those two signs?
1 MS. ARCORI: It's one sign that's in
2 the shape of a V. We have two choices. We
3 can do a flat sign or we can do V signs. V
4 signs are just to -- they're better seen.
5 MEMBER SHROYER: Mr. Amolsch?
6 MR. AMOLSCH: Through the Chair, this
7 has been discussed with the Applicant, and
8 as long as it is not more than two feet
9 apart at the base of the V that's regarded
10 as one sign area. It they spread it out any
11 farther than two feet then it's regarded as
12 a two sign area. And it's a variance in
14 MEMBER SHROYER: Okay, great. I just
15 want to make sure everybody is on the same
16 page with that. Those are the only
17 questions I have. I am not opposed to this
18 primarily for the reason that you can't see
19 the one sign from the other. And there is
20 two definite roads that front this property.
21 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
22 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you. Was
23 it your intent to keep it within the
24 two feet?
1 MS. ARCORI: Absolutely.
2 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I just wanted
3 that clarified. I don't see any other
4 issues either. The elevation provides a
5 unique circumstance with the property. It
6 also faces two thoroughfares.
7 So, if there is no other discussion, I
8 will go ahead and make a motion that in case
9 number: 08-050 filed by Angela Arcori of
10 Signature Associates that we grant the
11 Petitioner's request as stated for the
12 timeframe of -- how long are you looking
14 MS. ARCORI: Hopefully I find a tenant
15 very soon.
16 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All right. How
17 about one year?
18 THE WITNESS: One year sounds good.
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: For the
20 time frame of one year given that Applicant
21 has established practical difficulty in the
22 elevation of the property in question as
23 well as the fact that the property faces two
24 thoroughfares and that the variance request
1 will do substantial justice to this
2 Applicant and to those surrounding
4 MEMBER BAUER: Second.
5 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: There was a
6 motion by Chairman Fischer and a second by
7 Member Bauer.
8 Any further discussion? Member
10 MEMBER SHROYER: I'm sorry. I just
11 want to make one quick comment. Signature
12 Associates has been very consistent in
13 applying for signs that are within the
14 Ordinance size wise and I wanted to make a
15 statement that we appreciate that. It makes
16 our job a lot easier.
17 MS. ARCORI: We all have to work on
18 the same team. Thank you for that. I will
19 pass the message along. Thank you.
20 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Very well
22 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Can I just
23 make a friendly amendment?
24 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Absolutely.
1 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: In the time
2 period or if it is it leased earlier?
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Yes, correct. I
4 would agree with that amendment.
5 MEMBER BAUER: Second.
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Member Bauer, do
7 you agree as well?
8 MEMBER BAUER: Yes.
9 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All right. Any
10 other discussion? Seeing none, Ms. Working,
11 please call the roll.
12 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?
13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Aye.
14 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?
15 MEMBER BAUER: Yes.
16 MS. WORKING: Member Burke?
17 MEMBER BURKE: Yes.
18 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?
19 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
20 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?
21 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
22 MS. WORKING: Member Sanghvi?
23 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes.
24 MS. WORKING: And Member Shroyer?
1 MEMBER SHROYER: Yes.
2 MS. WORKING: Motion to approve passes
4 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: You have been
5 approved for one year or if it leased
6 earlier. Best of luck to you guys.
7 MS. ARCORI: Thank you. Thank you for
8 your time.
9 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you.
10 We will go ahead and call case
11 number: 08-051 filed by Dave Dismondy of
12 1181 West Lake Drive. The Petitioner is
13 requesting five variances for the
14 construction of a proposed addition to an
15 existing home for the construction of a
16 proposed attached garage to be located at
17 said address. Petitioner is requesting one
18 of the variances to allow an accessory
19 structure to be located in the front yard.
20 The property is zoned R-4 located east
21 of West Lake Drive and north of Northhaven
23 So, if you can please be sworn in by
24 our Secretary.
1 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number:
2 08-051 do you swear or affirm to tell the
3 truth in this case?
4 MR. DISMONDY: I do.
5 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: If you will
7 state your name and address and proceed with
8 the case.
9 MR. DISMONDY: Dave Dismondy, 1181
10 West Lake Drive, Novi, Michigan 48377. Just
11 to kind of go along here.
12 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Go ahead and
13 tell us what's going on and tell us any
14 unique circumstances that you want us to
15 take into consideration.
16 MR. DISMONDY: If you could look at
17 the aerial photo. The house is located on a
18 really unique piece of property in Novi.
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Do you have a
21 MR. DISMONDY: I do.
22 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: If you want to
23 put it on the overhead too, that might help
24 us and those at home.
1 MR. DISMONDY: Oh, I'm sorry. I
2 forgot it was on TV.
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I'm sure the
4 ratings aren't very high, so don't get too
5 nervous about that.
6 MR. DISMONDY: I want to zoom in for
7 the cameras here. Is that okay?
8 MEMBER SHROYER: Everybody that's
9 anybody is watching this show.
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I feel like
11 I'm on the beach already.
12 MR. DISMONDY: Yes.
14 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I'm sorry. Go
16 MR. DISMONDY: This house right here
17 is the final home on the peninsula. So, to
18 get to that home you have to drive along
19 this driveway and that's what makes this
20 property really unique, and there is water
21 on both sides. So, what we are requesting
22 to do is take this existing home and not
23 change the footing at all, but just go up
24 another story on it. It's an existing one
1 and a half story, we just want to make it
2 two and a half. And
3 also, since this piece right here, there is
4 no garage for this property currently.
5 Right now when people come over there is
6 enough parking there for about eight cars.
7 We just want to put a two car garage there
8 as well. So, the reason there are so many
9 variances being requested is four of the
10 variances the home is already out of,
11 already out of variance. And then when you
12 put the garage on it that's going to do the
13 total land percentage piece. That is really
14 the only real, I guess --
15 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: New variance?
16 MR. DISMONDY: Yes. Sorry. New
18 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Any other
19 comments you wish to add at this time? Or
20 you can wait for our questions.
21 MR. DISMONDY: I will wait for
22 questions. Thanks.
23 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Madam Secretary,
24 let me give you the file and please read any
1 correspondence into the record.
2 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number
3 08-051, 82 notices were mailed. Zero
4 approvals and zero objections.
5 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Is there anyone
6 in the audience that be wishes to make a
7 comment on this case? Seeing none, I will
8 turn it over to the Community Development
9 Department or City.
10 MR. FOX: The existing property has a
11 pre-existing nonconforming structure on it,
12 the existing house. As the Petitioner has
13 stated, they are intending to not increase
14 any of the setback requirements or the
15 existing setback issues for the existing
16 house. They want to go straight up off of
17 that existing house and not to increase the
18 non-conformity on the property based on
19 that. However, they are asking to put a
20 detached garage on this property which would
21 increase the non-conformity for the fact
22 that it would be in the front yard which is
23 not allowed by Ordinance and also that it
24 takes it over the maximum allowable lot
1 coverage area for the property.
2 It is worth mentioning that because
3 there is an ingress, egress easement running
4 through the middle of the property they
5 cannot construct a garage attached to the
6 existing house. Otherwise it would sit on
7 top of the egress easement and there would
8 be no access to the property at the end of
9 the lot. Thank you.
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you, Mr.
11 Fox, and I will turn it over for Board
13 Member Sanghvi?
14 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you,
15 sir. First, congratulation on trying to do
16 something to that building out there.
17 MR. DISMONDY: Thank you. I
18 appreciate that.
19 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: I have been
20 there. I have seen that and we have seen
21 the whole area change over a period of
22 years. Anything you do to make improvements
23 to that area I think is an asset to that and
24 of the City which has always been a
1 relatively depressed area in the past in the
2 past 25, 30 years I am talking about, before
3 your time. So, I am glad you are doing what
4 you are doing.
5 My only question is, are you going to
6 block anybody's view by going higher up?
7 MR. DISMONDY: No, we're not.
8 Because -- I don't know how to answer that
9 to be honest with you. It's not in anybody's
10 viewpoint I guess. We're not going towards
11 the water more, so it's not going to cut off
12 the view from either neighbor adjacent to
13 us. That's why they are actually really
14 happy that we are doing what we're doing.
15 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: I know, I
16 have seen it and I don't think you are
17 likely to, but I want people watching this
18 to know that you are not going to block
19 anybody's view.
20 MR. DISMONDY: Oh, okay, yeah.
21 Exactly, we are not blocking anyone's view.
22 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Great.
23 Thank you.
24 MR. DISMONDY: Okay, thank you.
1 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you,
2 Mr. Chair.
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Member Burke?
4 Thank you, Mr. Sanghvi.
5 MEMBER BURKE: I have a lot on a lake
6 that's very narrow and it's very difficult
7 to build. It's very difficult to improve.
8 And I always have an argument on which is
9 the front lot. And it's further compounded
10 on this because there is a lake on both
11 sides. I think actually in my case the
12 front lot is actually the road and the lake
13 is the backyard. However, I support this.
14 I mean, there is absolutely -- the variances
15 that we're asking for here, eight feet on a
16 rear yard, one foot on the side yards. We
17 mailed at how many? Eighty-two?
18 MEMBER KRIEGER: Eighty-two.
19 MEMBER BURKE: Eighty-two. And his
20 neighbors on either side got one for sure
21 and they didn't send it back with any
22 complaints nor are they here today as part
23 of the public forum, so I would support that
24 side yard. And then a seven percent
1 increase in the lot just because we're going
2 to -- the biggest footprint on the lot -- I
3 mean, the footprint of the lot is going to
4 increase by seven because we're adding the
5 garage. I support this, I really do. Thank
7 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Thank you,
8 Member Burke. I echo both previous
9 speakers' comments. I think as you stated,
10 most of the variance are actually deceiving.
11 That most of them are already in place to
12 begin with.
13 As Member Sanghvi stated, there are so
14 many changes going on on these north end of
15 the city lots that we need to be amendable
16 and having some storage space for toys and
17 whatnot is more important than not.
18 And also congratulations on your
19 first child as well.
20 MR. DISMONDY: Oh, thanks.
21 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I read that in
22 there somewhere too.
23 I would tend to agree with this
24 variance as well.
1 MEMBER SHROYER: One comment to make
2 sure everybody is in the same page here.
3 The two structures on either side of the
4 proposed garage are garages, correct?
5 MR. DISMONDY: Right, they are. Yes.
6 MEMBER SHROYER: So, we're really not
7 being inconsistent with what's already
8 existing there anyway.
9 MR. DISMONDY: Right.
10 MEMBER SHROYER: So, I support it
11 fully as well.
12 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All right, then,
13 I will go ahead and move that in case number
14 08-051 filed by Dave Dismondy of 1181 West
15 Lake Drive that we grant the Petitioner's
16 request as requested given that the
17 Petitioner has established practical
19 That the setback and the frontage
20 being a lake lot as well as the narrowness
21 of the property unreasonably prevent the use
22 of the property. They also have established
23 that the footprint of the main structure
24 will not be changed. This variance will do
1 substantial justice to this Petitioner as
2 well as surrounding owners as any
3 improvements to that area are welcomed and
4 actually increase property values. There is
5 no increased danger of fire or public
6 safety. And the spirit of the Zoning
7 Ordinance is observed.
8 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Second.
9 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: There is a
10 motion and a second by Member Sanghvi.
11 Any further discussion? Seeing none,
12 Ms. Working, please call the roll.
13 MS. WORKING: Chairman Fischer?
14 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Aye.
15 MS. WORKING: Member Sanghvi?
16 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes.
17 MS. WORKING: Member Shroyer?
18 MEMBER SHROYER: Yes.
19 MS. WORKING: Member Bauer?
20 MEMBER BAUER: Yes.
21 MS. WORKING: Member Burke?
22 MEMBER BURKE: Yes.
23 MS. WORKING: Member Ibe?
24 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
1 MS. WORKING: Member Krieger?
2 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
3 MS. WORKING: Motion to grant the
4 variances passes 7-0.
5 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Your variance
6 has been granted. Best of luck to you guys.
7 MR. DISMONDY: Thank you very much,
8 guys. We appreciate it.
9 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All right.
10 Moving along to other matters. First off we
11 would like to go ahead and welcome our
12 newest member, Member Burke. Wayne Wrobel
13 did an excellent job, but as you may have
14 heard, many of us have stated that a
15 Planning Commission member is an important
16 member to our Board. We like the
17 interaction and that linkage between the two
18 Boards. I think everyone agreed with that
19 at the time I stated that. So, we welcome
20 you and I am sure you will fill his shoes
21 somewhat, so.
22 MEMBER BURKE: I notice here in last
23 month's meeting and I am quoting you, "He
24 has big shoes to fill. I am sure he won't
1 fill them."
2 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I thought I said
3 strike that from the record.
4 MS. WORKING: Well, let's see, what
5 size do you wear, sir?
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Well, we know
7 one of the people that sit at home watching
8 the Zoning Board meetings is Mr. Burke. So,
9 all right. Any way, moving along. Mr.
11 MEMBER BURKE: Can I just mention
12 something about that?
13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Yes, sir.
14 MEMBER BURKE: I often wondered who
15 watches ZBA meetings or Planning Commission
16 meetings or City Council. Obviously more
17 people watch the City Council meetings or
18 Park and Rec, plus the Library Board. Those
19 are the five meetings that are televised.
20 And I had a conversation today with one of
21 our regular customers. And her young
22 95-year-old mother watches every single
23 meeting that's televised on Channel 13, and
24 has told her daughter that she has learned
1 so much about the City and how it works.
2 So, that really kind of took me by surprise.
3 So, for all the Trudy Herodines (ph) that
4 are out there watching television, thank you
5 for taking time out and watching your City
7 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Absolutely. We
8 actually do take it very seriously. Member
9 Shroyer started a tradition of making sure
10 that we take care of the audience at home
11 such as having things put on the projector
12 and everything. So, I have tried to echo
13 those leadership abilities or things that he
14 did and I hope that any future Chair does
16 But, any way, back to the point at
17 hand. Welcome aboard, Mr. Burke.
18 MEMBER BURKE: Thank you.
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Moving to number
20 two. Rules of procedure. I will turn it
21 over to the City.
22 MS. KUDLA: Okay. You have got my
23 analysis in your packet. I am sure you have
24 had an opportunity to read it. You do have
1 a few options. I have named those options.
2 You can continue as we were doing
3 it, having the alternate participate up to
4 the vote. We can continue by not having the
5 alternate participate, but be here present
6 in the event that he is needed to
7 participate at some point during the
8 schedule. Or the other option would be to
9 not have the alternate present at all unless
10 we know for sure that he is going to be
12 I think this Board when we met to
13 discuss the regulations has expressed their
14 interest in having the alternate member have
15 experience for those times when he or she is
16 called on to participate. So, I think that
17 is something that you can take into
18 consideration when looking through the
19 options and making your decision. Some
20 choices are riskier than others, but as I
21 explained in there, there is no binding
22 Michigan law on the issue. So, it won't be
23 an argument to the court either way of
24 whether or not if a Petitioner was
1 objecting, whether or not the alternate
2 member's participation would or would not
3 affect the decision.
4 So, we do have leeway to go one way or
5 the other. I chose the way that I had the
6 most support that I thought argumentatively
7 in case something was challenged which would
8 be having the alternate present to be able
9 to hear everything so that in the event he
10 or she is called on, to have all the
11 necessary information. Again, like I said,
12 there is also the other option of allowing
13 the participation up to the vote. And I
14 don't think that there is support for that
15 as well.
16 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Where does
17 the Board wish to go with this at this time?
18 Member Sanghvi?
19 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you,
20 Mr. Chair. I personally very strongly
21 believe that an alternate should be able to
22 participate. I consider an alternate being
23 a position in training, and if you don't
24 participate and don't get your feet wet you
1 might as well be sitting at home. I would
2 rather they be here participating. And when
3 the time comes then they can vote on it if
4 necessary. So, the whole purpose of the
5 exercise of having them here is to get them
6 through the training and the process and get
7 familiar with how things are done. And for
8 those reasons I would like them to be
9 participating until such time as the vote is
10 taken. Thank you.
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Other Board
13 MEMBER BAUER: I agree with Mr.
15 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Having come up
16 through the ranks of alternate member, I
17 would agree too that I would like to see
18 them participate through the deliberation.
19 My question on the participation until
20 deliberation, that kind of states that they
21 could ask questions during the presentation,
22 but we don't do that as a matter of forum.
23 MS. KUDLA: Right. If we did, then
24 they could. But I am looking at how it
1 works at trial and I know it's not directly
2 comparable --
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Right, right,
4 right. And when you say that it's a risk.
5 Wouldn't most likely it would just be a
6 return to the Zoning Board?
7 MS. KUDLA: It would be. That's the
8 risk. That it would have to be reheard
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: If the facts and
11 the motion support the decision, then it
12 would just come back here. We would knock
13 them out of it and probably make the same
14 findings of fact.
15 MS. KUDLA: Correct.
16 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I just want to
17 establish for myself how big of a risk.
18 That doesn't sound very risky to me.
19 MS. KUDLA: Right, correct.
20 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Any other Board
21 Members? Member Shroyer?
22 MEMBER SHROYER: Thank you. I don't
23 totally agree with that. I think it's great
24 to have the person here as an observer and
1 any time that we have an absence or a
2 recusal during the meeting, that observing
3 alternate will be sitting as a diocesan and
4 participating in the activities. My concern
5 is extending the length of the meetings.
6 And especially if we go to the route of
7 having two alternates. Now, we got two
8 additional people that may be up here
9 speaking and asking questions and
10 contributing. Not saying that that's
11 negative, I am just looking at the
12 possibility of the meetings being extended.
13 So, I am more inclined to believe that
14 it's good to have -- again, if we have two,
15 having two observers here is great. One
16 observer is fine too, but I don't know if we
17 want them all participating and opening
18 up -- and if you have two again, I will
19 bring this up, if we have two people up here
20 and one speaks in favor of and one speaks
21 against, and then, for example, let's say
22 that activity gets tabled, the very next
23 meeting, one of them is sitting in for one
24 of the voting members because of a recusal
1 or a vacation or absence or something, which
2 one do you put in that position? Do you
3 pick the one that was talking in favor of or
4 the one that's talking opposed? And is that
5 going to create legal issues?
6 MEMBER KRIEGER: Seniority.
7 MS. KUDLA: There would be a
9 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Yeah, there
10 would be a procedure. And, honestly, if I
11 might stop right there. Now that we have --
12 I have talked with some people but not all
13 people on the Board, but now that we do have
14 the Planning Commission member and it's
15 actually been brought up by some people at
16 this table, I personally would not support a
17 second alternate at this time. And given
18 that, you know, as long as I am Chair
19 I would not push for it. Now, if the next
20 Chair wants to try to go that route, they
21 may. But that's not something that I would
22 be interested in. I think we have a great
23 dynamic as far as how many Board members we
24 have at this time and I would not want to
1 change that. So, I think any decisions
2 regarding the alternate should regard this
3 current setup.
4 MEMBER SHROYER: Having only one
5 alternate would resolve the majority of the
6 concerns that I have. So, I agree.
7 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Member Krieger?
8 MEMBER KRIEGER: Speaking previously
9 as an alternate I did appreciate being able
10 to sit at the table and participate. That
11 helped me develop more. I am not very much
12 of a chatter box, so I guess for length of
13 meeting, that's something that you don't
14 have to worry about in my intent. I guess
15 in a future alternate I guess it would
16 depend, and then we can always do time
17 limits like they ask for people that speak
18 to the Boards.
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: What if we went
20 the route of having that language put in the
21 rules and we can get that in our packet and
22 then review the entire thing at the next
23 meeting and possibly take a vote. Is the
24 Board in favor of that direction? Everyone
1 would say aye?
2 BOARD MEMBERS: Aye.
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Any opposed?
4 All right. Member Shroyer?
5 MEMBER SHROYER: Before you move on,
6 there is a lot of other areas in here that
7 refer to two alternate members. Do we want
8 that language changed to one?
9 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: As stated, I'm
10 not in favor of the two alternates at this
12 MEMBER SHROYER: Such as Section 2
13 under Membership. We could add the words up
14 to. And we would be covered. And then if
15 we added the letter S behind alternate
16 member in the place that's it's placed in
18 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Beth, what would
19 you suggest at that point?
20 MS. KUDLA: I think if your intention
21 is just to stay with one right now, I will
22 just change it back to one. If at some
23 point in the future that you wanted to add
24 an alternate member we can just amend the
1 rules again.
2 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Like I said, new
3 administration next year could.
4 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: I don't
5 think it is up to the Zoning Board of
6 Appeals to provide how many alternates. It
7 may be their decision --
8 MS. WORKING: It would be the City
9 Council's --
10 MS. KUDLA: It would ultimately --
11 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: We can only
12 make recommendation --
13 MS. WORKING: That's true --
14 MS. KUDLA: Right.
15 MS. WORKING: That's a valid statement
17 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Absolutely.
18 MS. KUDLA: Right.
19 MEMBER KRIEGER: If we're talking
20 about rules and procedure too, on page six I
21 had a question. We had previous discussion,
22 and I don't remember exactly what we came up
23 with, but it said -- the last sentence,
24 vacancy in office. "In the event a vacancy
1 involves an officer of the Board, the Board
2 shall conduct an election at or before the
3 next regular meeting to fill the vacant
4 officer position from any member of the
5 Board other than the alternate." And my
6 question was, any member, would that also be
7 the Planning Commissioner member? And if
8 they did they would have a lot of work.
9 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: That's a
10 question well taken. And I would put the
11 regular member there instead of any member.
12 MEMBER SHROYER: I have an exception
13 for the Planning Commission member as well.
14 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I thought that
15 was covered somewhere else.
16 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: I think it
18 MEMBER BURKE: Thank you.
20 MEMBER SHROYER: Adding the word
21 regular would resolve that anyway.
22 MEMBER KRIEGER: Okay.
23 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: We have been
24 working on this a little bit, Brian, so just
1 bear with us. I am assuming you don't have
2 any comments to add, Mr. Burke?
3 MEMBER BURKE: Negative.
4 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: In essence we
5 don't believe the Planning Commissioner
6 should hold the position of any leadership
8 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: On the
9 Zoning Board.
10 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: On the Zoning
12 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Correct.
13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Do they leave at
14 different times, Mr. Burke? Different
16 MEMBER BURKE: No, no.
17 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: It is
18 nothing personal.
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Actually we are
20 inserting all these rules now because of
22 I had one other comment regarding
23 elections. I would like to see them held
24 annually in December.
1 MS. WORKING: What section is that,
2 Mr. Chair?
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Section 4.0.
4 And then in January the new administration
5 would take over.
6 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: One caveat
7 to that and that is the new appointment may
8 not be made until third week in February by
9 the Council. I think you are requiring the
10 new members to participate in the election
11 process by doing that.
12 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: So, you don't
13 think it should change?
14 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: I don't
15 think so, no. That's one of the reasons
16 why February has been put down there.
17 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All right. I
18 was not aware of that.
19 MS. WORKING: Could you reiterate
20 that, please.
21 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: No changes to
22 Section 4.0.
23 MS. WORKING: Thank you.
24 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Any other
1 comments at this time? We will allot more
2 time for discussion next period. I just
3 wanted to hit some broad basics. So, if we
4 could make sure that is under other matters,
5 Ms. Working.
6 MS. WORKING: Absolutely.
7 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Last item of
8 business before the Zoning Board is the 2009
10 MS. WORKING: Mr. Chair, I would also
11 respectfully request that we do one matter
12 of housekeeping after we attend to the last
13 item under other matters before we adjourn.
14 Before you you have a memo for the
15 proposed 2009 ZBA calendar dates and
16 subsequently the packet distribution dates
17 that coincide with each of those ZBA dates.
18 You will notice that the only month in the
19 year 2009 that we will not be meeting the
20 second Tuesday of the month would be in
21 March, and that's due to the Board of
22 Review. And those dates and times are
23 mandated by State Statute of when those
24 hearings need to be held. And March 17th,
1 was the next possible Tuesday hearing date
2 of which Chairman Fischer has already given
3 me his input regarding a St. Patrick's Day
4 meeting, but I welcome the input from the
5 rest of the Board Members.
6 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I am also
7 inclined to not approve the change due to
8 the Board of Review considering they weren't
9 very helpful to me when I went before them
11 MS. WORKING: I highly advise you to
12 disregard that last statement, Members of
13 the Board.
14 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: I have no issues
16 MS. WORKING: So, we can entertain a
17 motion for approval tonight or we can return
18 to this again.
19 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: It's written on
20 the website that we are the second Tuesday.
21 That's the general day that the Zoning Board
22 is. So, if we hit eleven out of twelve on
23 the second Tuesday, then there really
24 shouldn't be any issues with Board Members
1 or anyone else to be quite honest.
2 MEMBER SHROYER: I will move that we
3 accept the proposed calendar.
4 MEMBER BAUER: Second.
5 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All in favor say
7 BOARD MEMBERS: Aye.
8 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: With
9 one caveat. You are allowed to bring green
10 beer on March 17th.
11 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Dr. Sanghvi will
12 be bringing beer for us.
13 VICE-CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: You are
15 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Last piece of
16 housekeeping, number four.
17 MS. WORKING: I just wanted for the
18 benefit of Member Burke and returning Member
19 Sanghvi, we started a new policy with the
20 files that are before you. For each hearing
21 if you receive any corrected items, any
22 additionally submitted items or request from
23 the Petitioner we are asking you in addition
24 to returning those file folders to our
1 office to return the tabled packet
2 information in that file folder. It will
3 come back to me for me to redistribute to
4 you in the next packet for you to hear the
5 subsequent month.
6 So, those of you that are so fond of
7 the trash cans behind you, think twice
8 before you are dumping those things. That
9 way we can get them back. And we are saving
10 city resources. We are going green and
11 doing that and we are reusing our resources
12 that we have previously used.
13 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: And the Board
14 Members don't have to track for a month
15 which is great for us.
16 MS. WORKING: That's true too and I am
17 happy to do that for you.
18 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Once again, if
19 we table any cases, be sure to return them
20 to Robin via your folder that you get.
21 So, if there is no other business
22 before the Zoning Board, I will entertain a
23 motion to adjourn.
24 MEMBER SANGHVI: So moved.
1 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: Second anyone?
2 MEMBER BAUER: Second.
3 CHAIRPERSON FISCHER: All in favor say
5 BOARD MEMBERS: Aye.
6 (The meeting was adjourned at
7 9:20 p.m.)
C E R T I F I C A T E
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 (112) typewritten pages, is a
true and correct transcript of my said
Mona L. Talton,
Certified Shorthand Reporter
September 25, 2008