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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, January 13, 2009.

Mav Sanghvi, Chairperson
Gerald Bauer
David Ghannam
Rickie Ibe
Linda Krieger
Donna Skelcy
Wayne Wrobel

Elizabeth Kudla, City Attorney
Alan Amolsch, Ordinance Enforcement
Charles Boulard, Building Official

Mona L. Talton, Certified Shorthand Reporter.

1 Novi, Michigan

2 Tuesday, January 13, 2009

3 7:00 p.m.

4 - - - - - -


6 It is 7:01 and it's time to call the Zoning

7 Board of Appeals meeting for the City of

8 Novi for January, 2009 to order.

9 May you please call the roll.

10 MR. BOULARD: Yes. Member Bauer?

11 MEMBER BAUER: Present.

12 MR. BOULARD: Member Sanghvi?


14 MR. BOULARD: Member Wrobel?

15 MEMBER WROBEL: Present.

16 MR. BOULARD: Member Skelcy?

17 MEMBER SKELCY: Present.

18 MR. BOULARD: Member Ghannam?


20 MR. BOULARD: Member Krieger?


22 MR. BOULARD: Member Ibe?

23 MEMBER IBE: Present.

24 MR. BOULARD: We have a quorum.




2 will you lead us in the Pledge of

3 Allegiance.

4 BOARD MEMBERS: I pledge allegiance to

5 the flag of the United States of America and

6 to the Republic for which it stands, one

7 nation under God indivisible with liberty

8 and justice for all.


10 do have a quorum and the meeting is now in

11 session and I would like to go over the

12 rules of conduct. You can find them on your

13 agenda.

14 Just a friendly reminder, please turn

15 off your pagers and cell phones. Individual

16 applicants may take five minutes and groups

17 may take up to 10 minutes to address the

18 Board. The Zoning Board of Appeals is a

19 Hearing Board empowered by the Novi City

20 Charter to hear appeals seeking variances

21 from the application of Novi Zoning

22 Ordinance. It takes a vote of at least four

23 members to approve a variance request and a

24 vote of majority of the members present to



1 deny a variance. Tonight we have a full

2 Board so all decisions made will be final.

3 Let's look at the agenda. Are there

4 any changes on the agenda or anything, Mr.

5 Boulard?

6 MEMBER WROBEL: Motion to approve the

7 agenda.


9 MR. BOULARD: If I may, just for the

10 point of record, the revised agenda

11 indicating the election of officers is

12 postponed until the February meeting as in

13 your packet.


15 So, the agenda has been proposed and

16 seconded. All those in favor of accepting

17 the agenda please signify by saying aye.


19 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: All right, so we

20 have an agenda.

21 Next is the approval of the minutes

22 for November 12th, and December 9, 2008

23 meetings.

24 Are there any additions, deletions on



1 the minutes? I think we have received a

2 written communication from outgoing Member

3 Shroyer about some changes in the minutes

4 which I would like to be typed into the

5 minutes so that that correction has been

6 taken care of.

7 If anybody has anything else to add to

8 the correction of the minutes? No? I have

9 one correction and that is on November

10 meeting on page 142, line 20. It should

11 read the lunar year, L-U-N-A-R, instead of a

12 linear which is a typo.

13 Anything else? Anybody else would

14 like to add any additions, deletions to the

15 minutes? If not, I would entertain a motion

16 to accept the minutes?

17 MEMBER BAUER: So moved.


19 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: The motion has

20 made and seconded. All those in favor of

21 accepting the amended minutes please signify

22 by saying aye.





1 opposed same sign? Thank you. So, now the

2 minutes have been adopted.

3 Next is the Public Remarks Section.

4 If anybody wants to address the Board

5 regarding any issue other than the items on

6 the agenda tonight please come forward and

7 do so now.

8 Seeing none, I think we can close the

9 Public Remarks Section.


11 Moving along we go on to case number

12 one on the agenda. Case number: 08-063

13 filed by Patty Loose of Sign Fabricators for

14 Rojo Mexican Bistro located at 44375 Twelve

15 Mile Road. Is the Applicant here?

16 MR. BROOK: Yes.


18 Sign Fabricators is requesting a variance to

19 allow one additional 64 square foot wall

20 sign for the Rojo Mexican Bistro suite

21 within Twelve Mile Crossing. The business

22 has a permitted wall sign and the property

23 is zoned RC and located west of Novi Road

24 and south of Twelve Mile Road. Are you an



1 attorney, sir?

2 MR. BROOK: No.

3 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Please identify

4 yourself and be sworn in.

5 MR. BROOK: Robert Brook with Sign

6 Fabricators out of Clinton Township.

7 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you swear or

8 affirm to tell the truth in this case?

9 MR. BROOK: Yes, I do.

10 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.

11 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Please go ahead

12 and make your presentation.

13 MR. BROOK: From what I understand on

14 this second sign they're requesting due to

15 the conformity of that mall over there, you

16 get a view of the front entrance from the

17 parking lot, but over towards the northeast

18 entrance there is no way of the

19 restaurant and they would like some signage

20 there for anybody coming in that way or that

21 are in the mall area looping around and

22 looking for it, they will be able to I.D.

23 the restaurant that way. That's basically

24 what they are looking for. That's it.




2 you would like to add?

3 MR. BROOK: Not at this time.


5 there anybody in the audience who would like

6 to address this case and make any comments?

7 Seeing none, I will move on to the Building

8 Department.

9 MR. BOULARD: I would like to just

10 remind the Board this is the second sign

11 that's proposed for this business. There is

12 one legal wall sign which has been permitted

13 and is installed on the structure. I would

14 like to defer to Mr. Amolsch regarding the

15 allowable sizes of the sign. But this is

16 for an additional wall sign beyond what's

17 already been permitted and installed.

18 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Before we go any

19 further. Is there any correspondence

20 regarding this case?

21 MEMBER KRIEGER: I am used to Justin

22 handing it to me or throwing it at me.

23 In Case number: 08-63, 687 notices

24 were mailed. Two responses. And they are,



1 the first one is from Imagine Novi by Paul

2 Glance, ITS manager. "We strongly endorse

3 the proposed variance request. Thank you

4 for your consideration."

5 And the second one is from Chris

6 Brandt of VP of operations, Imagine

7 Entertainment. "We have no objections and

8 support their request." That's it.


10 Okay, Mr. Amolsch, do you have anything to

11 add?

12 MR. AMOLSCH: No. Just for the

13 Board's information, the total maximum size

14 for a sign at that location is 65 square

15 feet but only one sign is permitted.


17 open it up to the Board for discussion. Go

18 ahead, Ms. Krieger.

19 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you have any

20 information or people that came in and said

21 we couldn't find your business with the sign

22 that's already there?

23 MR. BROOK: They have gotten some of

24 that feedback at the restaurant itself.



1 Again, they are just trying to I.D. the

2 people coming in from that north route, the

3 way that loops through that mall that's

4 basically what we're looking for. They have

5 gotten feedback at the restaurant itself.

6 That's why they are looking for a way to

7 identify the building from that direction.

8 MEMBER KRIEGER: So, if I understand

9 right, the northeast corner, that there is

10 the, there is the Rojo sign and then to the

11 side there was the mockup display?

12 MR. BROOK: Um-hum.

13 MEMBER KRIEGER: So, in that same

14 area?

15 MR. BROOK: Right.

16 MEMBER KRIEGER: Because I had a

17 difficult time understanding with the one

18 sign how somebody driving by, because when I

19 drove by I knew immediately that's where I

20 wanted to be.

21 MR. BROOK: Right. Out from the lot

22 area you can see that it's visible. It's

23 the traffic coming in from the north is what

24 I think they want to cover and the other



1 entrance.

2 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you have a picture

3 you could put up on the display for the

4 people at home?

5 MR. BROOK: I have got one drawing

6 here. It's about as good as you are going

7 to get.

8 MEMBER KRIEGER: Were you interested

9 in getting attention from the expressway or

10 just the parking lot?

11 MR. BROOK: Driving through that

12 complex.

13 MEMBER KRIEGER: That's all I have for

14 now. Thank you.


16 Krieger. Yes, Mr. Wrobel?

17 MEMBER WROBEL: Thank you. There is a

18 property, I forget the name of the

19 restaurant on the opposite side of the

20 street where this is located. Do they have

21 dual signs?

22 MR. AMOLSCH: Which business are you

23 referring to?

24 MEMBER WROBEL: The one that would be



1 on the east side of the street.

2 MR. AMOLSCH: If you had the name of

3 the business I could find that for you.

4 MEMBER WROBEL: No, I can't remember

5 the name. I can't remember, I apologize.

6 I am kind of torn on this one. To me

7 I think most people in there know where it

8 is. I don't really see a substantial

9 hardship. I do see the opportunity for the

10 restaurant to just get additional signage,

11 making it almost visible from the

12 expressway. I will listen to the rest of my

13 colleagues, but I am inclined at this time

14 not to approve it. Thank you.


16 Member Bauer?

17 MEMBER BAUER: Yes. This is a

18 destination place. I cannot see this to go

19 no. People know that it's there, so I could

20 not vote yes on it.


22 Ghannam?

23 MEMBER GHANNAM: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

24 I just had a couple of questions. You



1 understand we have standards that you have

2 to meet in order to get these approved?

3 MR. BROOK: Right.

4 MEMBER GHANNAM: How do you explain

5 that these are exceptional features or how

6 your property unique compared to other

7 properties in the area?

8 MR. BROOK: It's just the

9 configuration of the mall itself the way

10 that's setup. If you are coming in there,

11 one entrance is readily visible, I mean, you

12 can see it from the lot and you're parking.

13 If you are coming in through the mall or any

14 other which way, that other entrance is kind

15 of vague. That's basically what we're

16 trying to cover.

17 MEMBER GHANNAM: Are there any other

18 -- Member Wrobel was referring to another

19 restaurant or business opposite you. Are

20 you familiar with that? Are there any other

21 businesses in the area that have dual signs?

22 MR. BROOK: Not offhand that I know

23 of. I surveyed this location months ago,

24 and I believe there is a Buffalo Wild Wings



1 or something like that in the area. I don't

2 know if they have dual signage.

3 MEMBER GHANNAM: Do you have any

4 opinions or comments on how this might

5 unreasonably prevent you or your business

6 from using this particular property for its

7 intended purpose?

8 MR. BROOK: No, not offhand, no.

9 MEMBER GHANNAM: I don't have any

10 other questions. Thank you, sir.


12 Well, would anybody like to make a motion?

13 While you think about it I will add my

14 penny's worth of comments.

15 I believe there is a nice big sign

16 already present there and it's very easily

17 visible and recognizable and it's not a hard

18 place to find really where you are located,

19 so I don't know how the second wall sign is

20 likely to add anything to it.

21 All right, Ms. Krieger, go ahead.

22 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number:

23 08-063 filed by Patty Loose of Sign

24 Fabricators for Rojo Mexican Bistro located



1 at 44375 Twelve Mile Road, I motion to

2 decline the request of the Applicant due to

3 the not enough sufficient evidence for

4 practical difficulty. That it is the area,

5 the area is a destination. That the request

6 is based upon circumstances and features

7 that are exceptional and unique. The

8 failure to grant relief won't prevent them

9 from using their property. And a grant of

10 the relief will not result in use of

11 structure that is incompatible with or

12 unreasonably interferes with adjacent or

13 surrounding properties.

14 MEMBER BAUER: Second.


16 motion has been made and seconded. Any

17 further discussion? Seeing none, will you

18 please call the roll, Mr. Boulard.

19 MR. BOULARD: Member Bauer?


21 MR. BOULARD: Member Wrobel?


23 MR. BOULARD: Member Ghannam?




1 MR. BOULARD: Member Ibe?


3 MR. BOULARD: Member Krieger?


5 MR. BOULARD: Chairman Sanghvi?


7 MR. BOULARD: Motion passes 6-0.


9 Your request has been denied. Thank you

10 very much for coming.

11 MR. BROOK: Thank you.


13 second case on the agenda is case number:

14 08-064 for 41650 Gardenbrook Road.

15 MEMBER WROBEL: Just a question.

16 Since we are down a member without Member

17 Burke here, shouldn't the alternate be

18 voting on this?


20 we --

21 MEMBER WROBEL: I don't think we did.

22 Did we?

23 MS. KUDLA: If there is a quorum she

24 doesn't have to, but she may vote.




2 quorum.

3 MEMBER WROBEL: All right. I just

4 want to make sure we're clear.


6 on. Let's go. Will you please identify

7 yourself, sir, and your name and address and

8 if you are not an attorney be sworn in by

9 our Secretary.

10 MR. COSICK (ph): My name is Tom

11 Cosick. My home address is 22855 Nottingham

12 Drive, Beverly Hills, Michigan. I am a

13 lawyer.


15 some reason the lawyers are exempt from

16 being sworn in. Please go ahead and make

17 your presentation.

18 MR. COSICK: I am one of the

19 principals of JKF Investment Company which

20 owns the building located at 41650

21 Gardenbook which is where Ralph Nichols

22 Group would like to put the wall sign on the

23 building facing I-96 Freeway. If you are

24 not familiar with the location of the



1 building, it's located just west of the

2 Walsh College. It abuts I-96 Freeway. It's

3 located on kind of a cul-de-sac on the end

4 of Gardenbrook Road which is basically kind

5 of a long driveway off of the west side of

6 Meadowbrook Road, just south of the freeway.

7 The building is somewhat unique in

8 that the base of the building is located a

9 little bit lower than the grade of the

10 highway. Ralph Nichols Group is a

11 franchisee for Dale Carnegie Training. I

12 understand they have been doing it for

13 approximately 40 years. They have an

14 excellent reputation in the business

15 community and they would be an excellent

16 addition to the City of Novi's business

17 community.

18 They are going to be

19 the largest tenant in the building. They

20 will be conducting classes and training

21 sessions in the building and so signage is

22 very important to them as signage facing the

23 freeway will give them exposure to potential

24 students and clients. But most importantly



1 it helps their students identify the

2 building and locate the building. The

3 building is not the easiest to find. There

4 is no exit off of I-96 onto Meadowbrook

5 Road. So, you have to go to the M-5

6 connector or find some other way to get to

7 the building. The signage will help people

8 identify the building, help them find their

9 classes.

10 As I said, this is a very important

11 issue to Dale Carnegie and it was brought up

12 early to me in our negotiations. Dale

13 Carnegie currently is actually a tenant in

14 one of our other buildings located currently

15 in Livonia and I have been fortunate enough

16 to convince them to move to one of our other

17 buildings in Novi.

18 But one of the primary reasons for making

19 the move to this particular building was the

20 opportunity to have signage facing the

21 freeway for the reasons that were just

22 stated. I was asked early on whether or not

23 the sign code would allow them to put a sign

24 on the building. I didn't know. I read the



1 sign code and given that the building is

2 zoned I-1, abuts the freeway, a single story

3 multi tenant building, I came to the

4 conclusion that the building is entitled to

5 two wall signs and was surprised when their

6 permit was denied.

7 I spoke with Mr. Amolsch to find out

8 why the permit was denied and I learned that

9 it was denied because this business did not

10 have any a first floor pedestrian entrance.

11 First floor pedestrian entrance is not a

12 defined term in the sign code and if you

13 take the plain meaning of those words and

14 apply it to that situation you have got a

15 one story building it's a first floor

16 entrance. You walk into the suite

17 entrances. You don't drive, so it's a

18 pedestrian entrance, so as far as I am

19 concerned they meet the definition of a

20 first floor pedestrian entrance. But it was

21 explained to me that the City interprets

22 that phrase as businesses that have

23 entrances on the outside of the building,

24 external entrances. Not buildings, like in



1 this case where there is a common corridor

2 with entrances to the suites off the common

3 corridor. Which I really think is kind of an

4 unfair interpretation of the code.

5 There are other provisions in the code

6 where it specifically says external first

7 floor pedestrian entrances. To insert the

8 word external in this situation where it

9 doesn't exist in the code isn't right. From

10 an aesthetic point of view, I think if have

11 you two buildings, one with suite entrances

12 off a common corridor, one with exterior

13 entrances and you put wall signs on them and

14 if the buildings are otherwise similar, I

15 don't think aesthetically speaking there is

16 much difference between the two buildings.

17 And it's also an unfair interpretation

18 to me as a landlord in these tough economic

19 times, you need all the arrows in your

20 quiver you can have to attract tenants

21 including signage to their buildings, so it

22 puts me at an unfair disadvantage when I am

23 competing with other building with so-called

24 first floor pedestrian entrances.



1 But most importantly it creates a

2 hardship for this tenant. As I mentioned

3 they are going to be having classes almost

4 on a daily basis. It's important for their

5 students to be able to find the building.

6 And I understand that we could be entitled

7 to a ground sign. Given the way the

8 building lies below the grade of the

9 freeway, a ground sign just doesn't have

10 enough visibility to allow students or

11 potential customers to find the building.

12 And my final point is, if you do grant

13 the variance, it's not uncharacteristic for

14 that corridor. There is numerous businesses

15 up and down the I-96 corridor that have wall

16 signs that face the freeway. In fact, the

17 neighbor Walsh College have a very prominent

18 sign facing the freeway. And I'm sure if

19 you ask them, they have it for the very same

20 reason that Ralph Nichols would like to have

21 the sign, it gives them great visibility to

22 potential students and clients who are on

23 the freeway. But most importantly it helps

24 people identify the building and locate the



1 building for their classes. So, I

2 respectfully ask that the variance be

3 granted and that Ralph Nichols be able to

4 put their sign on the building. Thank you.


6 there anybody in the audience who would like

7 to address the Board regarding this case?

8 Seeing none, Ms. Krieger, do you have any

9 correspondence?

10 MEMBER KRIEGER: In this case, 08-064,

11 twelve notices were mailed. Zero responses.


13 Building Department?

14 MR. BOULARD: I would like to point

15 out as the petitioner mentioned, this is a

16 multi-tenant building with a common public

17 entryway and would be by Ordinance allowed a

18 ground sign only. Based on the estimated

19 setback from the freeway, on the roadway

20 from the freeway side, the approximate size

21 of that ground sign would be about 50 square

22 feet. I spoke with Petitioner and reviewed

23 their drawings before the meeting, and it

24 appears that the wall sign would be about 45



1 square feet in area. So, I thought that was

2 important for the Board to know.

3 I did have one question for the

4 Petitioner, if I may. You mentioned this is

5 a multi-tenant building and they are not

6 taking the entire building?

7 MR. COSICK: That's correct.

8 MR. BOULARD: Would you be then

9 expecting to come back for a variance for a

10 second sign for another tenant or?

11 MR. COSICK: Well, it's always been my

12 position that the plain language of the sign

13 code entitles that building to two wall

14 signs and a ground sign.

15 MR. BOULARD: Thank you.


17 Would you like to put that sign on the

18 overhead there so the people at home can see

19 it also while we are talking about it?

20 Thank you. Now, I open the discussion to

21 the Board.

22 MR. COSICK: Where does it go? Right

23 here?




1 MR. COSICK: Is that good?


3 Mr. Wrobel?

4 MEMBER WROBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

5 I understand the need for this sign. We

6 have granted variances for other signs in a

7 similar situation. But my concern is, to

8 me -- are they the signature tenant of this

9 building?

10 MR. COSICK: They are the largest

11 tenant in the building.

12 MEMBER WROBEL: So they are the

13 signature tenant so-to-speak?

14 MR. COSICK: Yes.

15 MEMBER WROBEL: I would be in favor of

16 allowing only one sign on the building. We

17 don't want to get in a situation where we

18 are having two or three signs on the

19 building. You might have another client

20 saying, well, you've allowed Dale Carnegie

21 to have a sign. We want a sign. We don't

22 want to get in that situation. I have no

23 problem with just one sign in there,

24 providing that they don't come and ask us



1 for other signs. I know they can, but I

2 would not be very in favor of approving

3 further signs on this building. In this

4 case I could go along with it.

5 MR. COSICK: Well, if that would have

6 to be a condition to the variance being

7 granted, I would go along with it.

8 MEMBER WROBEL: This is something you

9 might have to discuss with future tenants or

10 additional tenants or something. But as far

11 as this I have no problem with it. There is

12 a need for it because of the expressway. We

13 have granted this for other buildings. And

14 I see granting this because a hardship does

15 exist. Thank you.


17 Mr. Bauer?

18 MEMBER BAUER: Yes, I go along with

19 Mr. Wrobel exactly word for word. But not

20 to have two signs up there at any time.

21 This one, yes, sir.

22 MR. COSICK: I indicated I agreed to

23 that. Thank you.




1 Ghannam?

2 MEMBER GHANNAM: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

3 Sir, I do agree with you also. I think the

4 presentation you made does qualify under our

5 standards. I don't think we have to get

6 into an interpretation of are you entitled

7 to multiple signs given your interpretation

8 of our Ordinances, but I think you meet the

9 practical difficulty standard given the

10 situation of where the building is located

11 in reference to the freeway. Say, it's a

12 little bit low, a ground sign may not work.

13 I do understand that. I think you do comply

14 with our Ordinance so I would be in favor of

15 it also.


17 everybody is in agreement. Would anybody

18 like to make a motion?



21 Ghannam?

22 MEMBER GHANNAM: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

23 In case number: 08-064 regarding 41650

24 Gardenbook Road. I would move to approve



1 the petition as stated and as designed and

2 showed to the Board. I think the standards

3 for granting the sign variance have been met

4 in terms of the practical difficulty

5 standard. I think the request is based on

6 circumstances or features that are

7 exceptional and unique to the property and

8 do not result from conditions that exist

9 generally in the City or that are self

10 created.

11 A failure to grant relief will

12 unreasonably prevent or limit the use of the

13 property and will result in substantially

14 more than a mere inconvenience or an

15 inability to obtain a higher economic

16 financial return and I think grant of the

17 relief will not result in a use of structure

18 that is incompatible with or unreasonably

19 interferes with adjacent or surrounding

20 properties and will result in substantial

21 injustice being done to the Applicant.

22 MEMBER IBE: Second.

23 MS. KUDLA: Mr. Chair?




1 MS. KUDLA: Did you want to add a

2 condition to that about no additional signs?

3 MEMBER WROBEL: Can we do that? I

4 thought we couldn't. That each case has to

5 be judged on its own merit. That's from

6 past time.

7 MS. KUDLA: It's a one tenant

8 building, correct, it wouldn't be another?

9 Or is it for two separate tenants?


11 more than one tenant there.

12 MEMBER WROBEL: Multi tenant.

13 MS. KUDLA: Okay, never mind.

14 MEMBER IBE: I did.


16 you did. Okay, very good. The motion has

17 been made and seconded. Anything

18 additional? Seeing none, Mr. Boulard will

19 you call the roll, please.

20 MR. BOULARD: Yes. Member Bauer?


22 MR. BOULARD: Member Wrobel?


24 MR. BOULARD: Member Ghannam?




2 MR. BOULARD: Member Ibe?


4 MR. BOULARD: Member Krieger?


6 MR. BOULARD: Member Skelcy?


8 MR. BOULARD: Motion is approved 7-0.

9 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: You're variance

10 has been granted. Congratulations.

11 MR. SOSICK: Thank you very much.

12 Appreciate it.


14 along to the next case. The next case is

15 case number: 08-065 filed by Harry Kubbe

16 for 1300 East Lake Road. Harry Kubbe is

17 requesting four variances for the

18 construction of a proposed addition to an

19 existing home and the construction of

20 proposed addition to the detached garage

21 located at 1300 East Lake Road. Are you Mr.

22 Kubbe?

23 MR. KUBBE: Yes, I am Harry Kubbe.

24 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Will you kindly



1 identify your name and give your address and

2 be sworn in by our Secretary if you are not

3 an attorney.

4 MR. KUBBE: I'm not an attorney.

5 Harry Kubbe, 1616 Shankton (phonetic) Drive,

6 Walled Lake, Michigan.

7 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you swear or

8 affirm in case number: 08-065 to tell the

9 truth in this case?

10 MR. KUBBE: Yes.

11 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.

12 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Please go ahead

13 and make your presentation.

14 MR. KUBBE: My name is Harry Kubbe and

15 the potential buyer of 1300 East Lake Drive.

16 As a potential -- and I am representing the

17 current owner, Vincent Diaza (phonetic). As

18 a potential purchaser of this property, the

19 existing home was built in the 1940s. The

20 footprint and the layout would be

21 insufficient to meet my families'

22 need in the future. The current square

23 footage of the existing home's footprint is

24 approximately 916 square feet. We are just



1 looking to expand that footprint to around

2 1,288 square feet. And also the detached

3 garage is currently around 400 square feet

4 and we are looking to double the size of the

5 garage to around 800 square feet of a

6 footprint. Both of the buildings would be a

7 major remodel.

8 I have met with my

9 neighbor to the north and they did not

10 express any issue with the plan just as long

11 as it didn't impair any of their view to

12 Walled Lake. This property is directly on

13 the lakeside of East Lake Drive and the

14 front part of the building which is closest

15 to the neighbor on the north is only going

16 out four feet, so it would not impair his

17 view at all. I have attempted to meet the

18 neighbor to the south side. I have driven

19 by his home many times and have been unable

20 to contact him. So I am not sure if he is

21 in Florida or what.

22 But, again, the proposed expansion of

23 the footprint would not impair his view of

24 the lake in any way. Based on the layout



1 and remodel plan, there is no change to the

2 lake view from across the road on the east

3 side of East Lake Drive. So, I don't believe

4 any other neighbors are directly affected by

5 this request. I am also working with

6 builder Tom Van Owen who has done remodels

7 or rebuilds on Walled Lake on this size lot

8 of approximately seven or eight homes. So

9 his experience with this type of building

10 project will be very helpful in the final

11 construction.

12 My last comment is, my wife and I plan

13 to remodel this home into a very nice high

14 quality lake home approximately 2,000 to

15 2,400 square feet depending on the final

16 design whether it has cathedral ceiling or

17 not. So, this will not be a huge

18 overbearing structure and it would also not

19 be a unique structure and it would fit in

20 with the neighborhood and enhance the

21 neighborhood along that side of the lake

22 there. There is quite a few remodeled

23 homes. This structure would be very similar

24 in size or smaller in size actually than



1 quite a few of them that are there on the

2 lake side of East Lake Drive. Do you have

3 any questions for Tom or myself?


5 there anybody in the audience who would like

6 to address the Board regarding this case?

7 Seeing none, Madam Secretary, is there any

8 correspondence regarding this case?

9 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number:

10 08-065, 42 notices were mailed. One

11 objection. It's from David and Susan

12 Kobelarik (phonetic) on 1270 East Lake

13 Drive. "My wife and I were before the ZBA

14 several years ago when we were planing

15 construction of our house at 1270 East Lake.

16 We were held to a standard of not less than

17 five feet for side yard setbacks. Part of

18 the logic for this was to allow room to get

19 fire equipment return between houses. We do

20 not agree with the requested setbacks and

21 ask that they be limited to a minimum of

22 five foot the same as what we were allowed.

23 Allowing these excessive setbacks would also

24 be detrimental to the homeowners on either



1 side if they want to reconstruct or sell

2 their property at a later date." That's

3 all.


5 Building Department?

6 MR. BOULARD: Thank you. The

7 situation with this lot is not unique among

8 older lots along lakes or in older

9 subdivisions. It's a small lot. The

10 existing garage and house were built very

11 close to the property line. And there is a

12 limit to how much can change about that. I

13 did have one question for the Petitioner or

14 actually two questions. First on the plan,

15 the larger plans that you showed there is

16 apparently a deck between the garage and the

17 house. I wanted to confirm for the record

18 that that's open, there is no roof over

19 that? That's just an open deck?

20 MR. VAN OWEN: There may or may not be

21 at that particular time. That particular

22 roof has -- can we put it up on the screen

23 here? We have a smaller version of it.

24 MR. BOULARD: Sure.



1 MR. VAN OWEN: A smaller version of

2 what you have. I don't know if you can see

3 that or not.

4 MR. KUBBE: Is that the one with the

5 deck? Are you talking about where it

6 appears to the steps?

7 MR. BOULARD: On the large plan that

8 was provided in the packets.

9 MR. VAN OWEN: Okay, we are coming

10 down on this. This right here.

11 MR. BOULARD: Between the proposed

12 garage and the house there is this area here

13 with the diagonal lines. I just wanted to

14 confirm that is a deck, not a roof over

15 there, correct?

16 MR. KUBBE: Oh, that was a very early

17 conceptual view and we have eliminated that

18 roof between the garage and the house. That

19 will be open, yes.

20 MR. BOULARD: And the second question

21 was, if you could talk briefly, I know that

22 the existing garage is fairly close to the

23 property line. The addition to the garage,

24 however, is behind the garage and



1 technically could be shifted to be six feet

2 from the property line. Could you explain

3 or talk briefly about the practical

4 implications of that of shifting the garage

5 addition away from the property line so that

6 that part could meet the Ordinance?

7 MR. KUBBE: It would be just an

8 architectural thing to keep it consistent

9 parallel addition to the existing garage.

10 If we shifted it in you would end up with

11 two squares off centered.

12 MR. VAN OWEN: Well, actually if you

13 shift it over even four or five feet, number

14 one, that's an idea of course, but what we

15 are trying to do is really we're trying to

16 look at the house and see a grand entrance

17 to the right hand side. So, you see the

18 garage door is on one side, but yet you will

19 see a grand entrance that you walk up to and

20 go to the main entrance of the house. We

21 are trying not to disturb that main grand

22 entrance.

23 MR. BOULARD: Thank you.




1 Boulard. Okay, I'll open the discussion.

2 Yes, Mr. Bauer?

3 MEMBER BAUER: So, you are going to

4 have a 40 foot garage? I mean 40 feet for

5 four cars?

6 MR. VAN OWEN: And a workshop up

7 above.

8 MR. KUBBE: Correct.

9 MEMBER BAUER: Thank you.

10 MR. KUBBE: Actually you need quite a

11 bit of space in a lake house, in a lake

12 front property to keep toys.

13 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: We will come to

14 you again now. You have done your

15 presentation. We will talk to you in a

16 minute.

17 MR. KUBBE: All right. Thank you.

18 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay, anything

19 else? While they are all looking at the --

20 I have come over and looked at your property

21 and that part of the city always have had

22 very small what I call postage stamp sized

23 lots and it's very hard to do anything very

24 much without variance, so I understand your



1 problem in what you want to do with it. And

2 to a certain degree I have some sympathy

3 with you. My only question is your side

4 yard setback so you leaving so little room

5 that whether there is enough room for a

6 stretcher to go through in case somebody has

7 to run back in the back to pick up somebody

8 who has suddenly taken ill or something like

9 that. These are the safety issues related

10 to this kind of setbacks.

11 And I don't know whether anybody in

12 your department would like to address the

13 safety issue for a fire truck or an

14 ambulance or the side yard setback.

15 MR. BOULARD: In this particular

16 case, the existing house is not going to be

17 coming close to the property line. There is

18 going to be some space on the south side

19 between the property line and the existing

20 house with the addition on it. In that sense

21 we're not making anything worse. Certainly

22 not the ideal situation, but I am not sure

23 how we solve it without moving the house.




1 there are no safety issues. Yes, Mr. Bauer?

2 MEMBER BAUER: To the Chair, what

3 about the square footage as far as

4 percentage?

5 MR. BOULARD: One of the variances,

6 the last variance is for a total lot

7 coverage. The maximum total lot coverage

8 allowed by the Ordinance is 25 percent. The

9 proposed lot coverage would be 32 percent

10 and so the final variance request is for

11 seven percent addition.


13 Krieger?

14 MEMBER KRIEGER: A question for the

15 City. For this house I drove by as well.

16 The neighbors' homes don't align directly as

17 in other houses, so each one has a unique

18 need. And, however, in the future, if the

19 neighbors wanted to build a house, how can

20 we do it that there is enough room for a

21 safety issue to be taken care of from front

22 to back if something is going on in the

23 water that a firefighter need to get to?

24 MR. BOULARD: I'm not sure I can



1 include everything, but there will be, short

2 of moving this house and these buildings

3 away from the property line, it's going to

4 be difficult -- well, it's going to be

5 impossible to gain a 12 foot wide, a minimum

6 12 foot wide aisle with six feet on each

7 side of the property line. Certainly if

8 there is an adjacent property which is

9 vacant on which a house is to be built or

10 proposed that we would need to, that would

11 need to take into account the required

12 setbacks. It's likely because the lot is so

13 narrow and the setback, the necessary

14 aggregated setback is 25 feet. Leaving only

15 15 feet for your house that builder or

16 developer would need to come before the

17 Board and would be requesting your

18 permission to limit the setbacks. In this

19 particular case I don't think the Board can

20 restrict someone else's property in terms of

21 future buildings.

22 MEMBER KRIEGER: Okay, thank you.


24 Mr. Wrobel?



1 MEMBER WROBEL: As far as the maximum

2 total lot coverage, seven percent is not a

3 great number when you look at it. But I

4 have some issues with the setback for the

5 garage. To me, I understand architecturally

6 it looks better the way you have it, but to

7 me that's not a hardship. That's

8 architecture, I would have a hard time

9 supporting that. And I'm trying to figure

10 out between the lot here on the drawing,

11 1296 West Lake Drive, their deck line to the

12 property line, can someone tell me how far

13 that is?

14 MR. VAN OWEN: The deck is to the

15 property line. The house which is 1300

16 which is the house we're discussing right

17 now, the house right next door is actually

18 sitting behind it. It's not really

19 sitting -- if you want to take a look at

20 this real quick you might be able to see the

21 actual house which is now -- granted we are

22 very, very close to the lot line, but if you

23 look to the right, you can see that house is

24 actually sitting behind the first part of



1 the house, you know. And, yes, he took that

2 deck and it's about 12 feet it looks like.

3 And that deck runs from his doorstep right

4 up to the lot line. I think that's what I

5 saw over there.

6 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Excuse me, sir,

7 will you please identify yourself.

8 MR. VAN OWEN: My name is Tom Van

9 Owen. I am president of Curb Appeal Homes.

10 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: And you are not

11 an attorney?

12 MR. VAN OWEN: I am not a what?


14 lawyer?

15 MR. VAN OWEN: No, I'm not a lawyer.

16 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay, then maybe

17 we better swear you in before you continue

18 any further.

19 MEMBER KRIEGER: So, for case number:

20 08-065, 1300 East Lake Drive, the

21 information that you have given so far and

22 will continue to give is the truth?

23 MR. VAN OWEN: The truth and nothing

24 but the truth.




2 Carry on.

3 MEMBER WROBEL: That's all, Mr. Chair.


5 MEMBER IBE: Mr. Chair?


7 MEMBER IBE: Will the City be able to

8 address the issue that was read in by Madam

9 Secretary about the objection that we got in

10 this case? Is that really true that someone

11 was denied simply because a rule was said to

12 have a setback, is it five feet?

13 MEMBER KRIEGER: Five feet.

14 MEMBER IBE: That was the objection I

15 heard; is that correct?

16 MEMBER KRIEGER: That was written,

17 correct.

18 MEMBER IBE: Does anyone from the

19 Building Department want to address that

20 issue just to clarify and make sure -- and

21 how long ago was this if that's true?

22 MS. KUDLA: I don't know that anyone

23 is specifically familiar with that case. We

24 might need to table it. If you really want



1 that information they would have to research

2 the matter.

3 MEMBER IBE: It appears to me that I

4 am always interested in making sure that we

5 treat people fairly in the -- if someone had

6 requested similar (unintelligible) before

7 this Board and let's assume were unfairly

8 denied, I would like to ensure that it

9 doesn't look like we prefer some people over

10 all the others. So, it's my contention, and

11 nothing against you, Petitioner, that I

12 would not be in favor for you today unless I

13 know exactly the outcome of what happened

14 with that particular case. So, I am

15 interested in knowing what happened with

16 that before I can cast my vote. It's

17 nothing about your case, I mean no offense

18 at all. It's just that whenever I see an

19 objection, it's only fair that I look at

20 things from an objective point of view in

21 seeing how we have treated parties who have

22 sought the same kind of variance that you

23 are seeking before this Board to see whether

24 or not we are consistent with the decision



1 we make or if we are simply inventing new

2 rules as we go along. So I would like to

3 know what happened in that particular case.

4 MR. VAN OWEN: May I speak?

5 MEMBER IBE: Yes, you may, sir.

6 MR. VAN OWEN: Thank you. In the first

7 place I believe it was some time ago. But I

8 do have pictures of up and down the street

9 approximately 12 houses and within those

10 houses there is nobody that's five feet.

11 Now, would you like to see a couple of them?

12 MEMBER IBE: Do you know the party who

13 made that objection?

14 MR. VAN OWEN: I have no idea. But I

15 would imagine it was some time ago because

16 the new houses here are four feet at best.

17 MEMBER IBE: Do you know if the home

18 of the party who made the objection is one

19 of those that you are willing to show me

20 right now?

21 MR. VAN OWEN: What was the address?


23 MR. VAN OWEN: No, I do not know it.

24 I only know 1290 through 1321.



1 MEMBER IBE: Thank you very much. But

2 I don't think your pictures will answer my

3 question. I do need the specific property

4 itself to know how long it was. Thank you,

5 but I do appreciate your time. Thank you,

6 Mr. Chair.


8 MS. KUDLA: Through the Chair, in

9 addition to that, I think even if the matter

10 is tabled to look into the matter, the Board

11 should take into consideration that every

12 case should be considered on its own merits.

13 MEMBER IBE: Absolutely.


15 Anybody else?



18 MEMBER GHANNAM: Sir, I have a couple

19 of questions, especially to the builder.

20 You have done work on this lake?

21 MR. VAN OWEN: Yes, I have.

22 MEMBER GHANNAM: Are there number of

23 four car garages on this lake?

24 MR. VAN OWEN: A number of four car



1 garages?


3 MR. VAN OWEN: No, there are not. The

4 ones that I have done is usually two and

5 three cars. Four cars, no, that would be,

6 that would be a first time for me.

7 MEMBER GHANNAM: I am seeing the home

8 next door is two and a half and I know there

9 are other two car garages and so forth.

10 Four seems to be large.

11 MR. VAN OWEN: It's deep. Is that

12 what you mean it's the depth?

13 MEMBER GHANNAM: It's not only that.

14 If you were to reduce it maybe two and a

15 half, three cars, something like that. One

16 of your jobs is to reduce the number of

17 variances you ask for when you come to the

18 Board and here you are asking for four. The

19 question is have you done everything you

20 could to try to get what you want but yet

21 reduce the number of variances you want?

22 And one of the variances is the lot coverage

23 requirement. You had asked for seven percent

24 variance. So, I am trying to figure out --



1 and another one of the standards is that you

2 want to be consistent with the neighborhood.

3 Instead of building when everybody has a two

4 car garage you have a four, I mean, that may

5 be unusual for the neighborhood. So, that's

6 what I am trying to find out.

7 MR. VAN OWEN: Well, again, that's why

8 I took pictures. I took pictures because we

9 want to blend in as we do with everything

10 else. If you have driven by this house you

11 will notice that this garage sits about nine

12 feet off to the street. It's very, very

13 close to it, but it's not unusual for that

14 part of the neighborhood to have houses and

15 garages like that to the nine foot mark.

16 Again, I don't recall how deep any of the

17 other garages are. We haven't entertained

18 the notion about having a three car garage

19 with the second floor up on top of it and

20 the house in back of it which would take

21 another approximately, approximately 10

22 feet. So, there would be a three car

23 garage. We haven't really discussed that.

24 MEMBER GHANNAM: I am certainly in



1 support of garages in Michigan, especially

2 on the lake. I know we have approved the

3 building of them before. In general this is

4 a somewhat questionable case because you

5 have a little bit harder burden in this case

6 showing a necessary a hardship. I

7 understand the house for some people may be

8 small, you are not even asking for that much

9 of an addition, so I don't have a problem

10 with that as long as no neighbors have

11 issues with you and so forth.

12 The garage is a little bit more

13 questionable. But I wouldn't have a problem

14 supporting it, but it would have to be

15 contingent upon you closing on the property,

16 obviously we wouldn't want to grant these

17 variances and you not close. We can have

18 conditions can't we?

19 MS. KUDLA: We can, but I just want to

20 point out it is practical difficulty. These

21 are non-use variances.

22 MEMBER GHANNAM: I'm sorry, I

23 misstated, it is practical difficulty. But

24 it would have to be conditioned on you



1 closing on the property. But I would be in

2 support of it.


4 MEMBER BAUER: Is this going to be

5 owner occupied?

6 MR. KUBBE: Yes.

7 MEMBER BAUER: Thank you.


9 Krieger?

10 MEMBER KRIEGER: Question. For the

11 second paper, for the four cars, the

12 driveway is going to go from the street to

13 the house so that you can drive all four

14 cars into the driveway from the side?

15 MR. KUBBE: No, it's not a side

16 entrance. The current garage is a front

17 entrance from the street and it would just

18 continue into back farther to have, you

19 know, in fact a four car space. But, again,

20 we're not really looking to store four cars.

21 We just need space for jet skis, kayaks,

22 that type of stuff, so that's what we're

23 looking for.

24 MEMBER KRIEGER: Question to the City.



1 The nine feet of the building to the street

2 in other homes in that area, is that about

3 similar? What's the shortest driveway we

4 have out there?

5 MR. BOULARD: I can't tell you what

6 the shortage driveway we have out there is.

7 There are several houses. In fact, it's

8 fairly typical in that area to have garages

9 in the front setback and fairly close to the

10 road. But I can't provide distances for

11 them.

12 MEMBER KRIEGER: That's all for now.


14 Anybody else? Seeing none, may I hear a

15 motion from anybody? Go ahead, Member

16 Ghannam.

17 MEMBER GHANNAM: If there is no other

18 discussion I will make a motion. In case

19 number: 08-065 filed by Harry Kubbe for

20 1300 East Lake Road on behalf of its current

21 owner, I will go ahead and move that we

22 approve the petition as filed and as

23 designed as its been presented us here today

24 for all four variances. It does appear



1 based on the condition of the property that

2 if we do not grant the relief as requested,

3 it would unreasonably prevent the use of the

4 property for its permitted purpose. It is

5 an unusual site. All these lake front

6 properties are unusual, they are narrow,

7 they are long and so forth. Since the

8 existing garage is the closest structure to

9 the street, it does not appear that the

10 addition of the garage nor the addition to

11 the home would affect surrounding properties

12 or owners in the district. There are unique

13 circumstances to the property. It's not

14 certainly self created. There would be no

15 issues with light or air to adjacent

16 properties. We haven't heard any evidence

17 that there would be any fire, danger or

18 public safety issues that didn't already

19 exist. Certainly property values would not

20 be diminished in the surrounding area, I

21 think they would be improved. And it appears

22 that the Zoning Ordinances would be

23 observed. And this would be conditioned

24 upon the closing, the successful closing of



1 the Petitioner's purchase of the property

2 from its existing owner.


4 motion has been made. We are looking for a

5 second? All right, I don't see anybody else

6 volunteering, I will enter myself so we can

7 move on, I will second the motion.

8 Any further discussion? Seeing none,

9 Mr. Boulard, will you kindly.

10 MR. BOULARD: I will. Member Bauer?


12 MR. BOULARD: Member Wrobel?


14 MR. BOULARD: Member Ghannam?


16 MR. BOULARD: Member Ibe?


18 MR. BOULARD: Member Krieger?


20 MR. BOULARD: Member Sanghvi?


22 MR. BOULARD: Member Skelcy?


24 MR. BOULARD: Motion is approved 5-2.




2 request has been granted. Congratulations

3 and thank you.

4 Moving along to case, the next case,

5 Case number: 08-066 MacKenzie South

6 Technology Centre. West of Haggerty Road

7 and north of Thirteen Mile Road.

8 Would you please identify yourself,

9 name and address and if you are not an

10 attorney please be sworn in by our

11 Secretary. Thank you.

12 MR. HUGHES: Good evening. Brian

13 Hughes, 328 (unintelligible) Franklin,

14 Michigan and I am not an attorney.

15 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you swear or

16 affirm in case number: 08-066 to tell the

17 truth in this case?

18 MR. HUGHES: Yes. I am here this

19 evening asking for your consideration for

20 two sign variances for the property that we

21 are developing north of 13 Mile and west of

22 Haggerty Road. There might be a little

23 confusion with the way that I read the

24 agenda item. It's actually two different



1 signs because there is two different

2 properties and ultimately two different

3 buildings.

4 The reason why we built the signs the

5 way they are at 32 square feet was this is a

6 pictorial sign and a design that we have

7 been using in our park for quite a few

8 years. Unfortunately we did not realize

9 that the variance had changed which was

10 brought to my attention after the fact by

11 Mr. Amolsch that it's now 16 feet per sign.

12 So, I went out there to look at the signs

13 and our position is that the reality is that

14 the sign at 16 square feet would actually

15 pose a bit of a safety hazard because

16 sitting back as they are off the

17 right-of-way and at the location they are at

18 MacKenzie which bisects into Haggerty Road

19 if you are coming either northbound or

20 southbound, there is quite a bit of incline

21 there. And my concern is that this would

22 pose a safety hazard for people trying to

23 read the sign as they are driving by the

24 park. That is going to be one of the



1 secondary entrances to our second phase to

2 the Haggerty Road or corporate park and both

3 of those building will be on either side of

4 Mackenzie Drive.

5 I actually put in your packet some

6 pictures with some measurements. If you are

7 going northbound, there is a sign at 145

8 feet a picture and there is another one at

9 92. So, not so easy to read at 145 and it

10 is easier at 92. And the same then when you

11 are coming southbound at 102, it's not very

12 visible. At 74 it's more visible. But our

13 concern is if it's only 16 square feet, you

14 would be hard pressed at either of those

15 site lines to actually be able to read the

16 sign. So, I appreciate your consideration

17 and I'm available for any questions you

18 might have.


20 there anybody in the audience would like to

21 address the Board regarding this case?

22 Seeing none, we close the public remarks.

23 Madam Secretary, are there any

24 correspondence?



1 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number:

2 08-066 there were 541 notices mailed. Zero

3 responses.


5 Building Department?

6 MR. BOULARD: Thank you. A couple of

7 questions for the Petitioner if I may. The

8 application shows two addresses but a single

9 parcel. And this is a single parcel,

10 correct?

11 MR. HUGHES: Correct.

12 MR. BOULARD: And your one 16 square

13 foot sign would be allowed and you are

14 requesting two 32 foot signs?

15 MR. HUGHES: Actually, Charles, it's

16 going to be two different parcels. Right

17 now the way that's been we don't have the

18 land division for that. It's in the

19 process, so you have basically -- it's two

20 different sites. Two different site plan

21 approvals. They have gone through the

22 Building Department, gone through Planning.

23 We have gotten our site plan approval. So

24 it's actually two completely different



1 sites. It's two different buildings,

2 therefore, two different parcels.

3 MR. BOULARD: But at this point it's a

4 single parcel?

5 MR. HUGHES: Right.

6 MR. BOULARD: In the future it's going

7 to be divided?

8 MR. HUGHES: Correct. That would be a

9 technicality.

10 MR. BOULARD: So, at the point in the

11 future that it becomes divided into two

12 parcels, each parcel would be allowed to

13 have a 16 square foot sign. In this case

14 you are asking for a 32 square foot sign for

15 each future parcel upfront. Would that be

16 correct?

17 MR. HUGHES: Correct.

18 MR. BOULARD: Thank you. Nothing

19 else.

20 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: I will open it

21 to the Board. Would you put your sign up on

22 the overhead, please.

23 MR. HUGHES: It is, actually.




1 MEMBER WROBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

2 It's my understanding looking at the

3 paperwork that you are before us because

4 that you received a violation on existing

5 signs?

6 MR. HUGHES: Correct.

7 MEMBER WROBEL: I understand the need

8 for signs, but I look at this sign here and

9 I am looking, how can I make a sign smaller

10 but yet readable. To me right away looking

11 at other signs, I would take the picture off

12 the sign. You can reduce the size. Reduce

13 the size of your letters -- or increase the

14 size of your letters and maybe get into sign

15 conformity area. To me this is a

16 self-created hardship because of the sign

17 you want to put up there. I think there are

18 other ways around it. I will be more apt to

19 approve a sign larger than the 16 square

20 foot if the picture wasn't there, you moved

21 it around. If the letters weren't big

22 enough to read, then to me would be a

23 hardship. To me based on what I am seeing

24 here, this is self created and I couldn't



1 approve it at this time.

2 MR. HUGHES: With all due respect, the

3 reason we have pictures on the signs is the

4 same reason we build the infrastructure and

5 the roadways we put in the parks, sometimes

6 people have to come out and actually see

7 what it looks like. There are a lot of

8 people that are very challenged by the idea

9 of coming out and just looking at a sign, so

10 for us that's something we've done for years

11 and it's very common place to have pictures

12 of the product because that helps the person

13 buy into the idea of being there. They can

14 envision themselves being there more. The

15 same reason we put the investment in the

16 roadways ahead of time so people can

17 actually drive down the road and get a sense

18 of what it looks like. So, I understand

19 your position, but we do that for that

20 purpose.

21 MEMBER WROBEL: I understand your

22 position and I know you guys know what you

23 are doing in your business and everything,

24 and I don't question that. But, I have seen



1 a lot the other way and it works too, so

2 it's six in one and half dozen in the other

3 to me. If we can avoid giving a variance,

4 I'd prefer to do that, to take that route in

5 this case. I don't really see any really

6 hardship, hardship because other people get

7 by without pictures on it. You see what I'm

8 saying? I'm not sold.

9 MR. HUGHES: I appreciate that. I

10 still as I mentioned earlier, I think there

11 is a safety issue posed by that. Even if

12 you don't have a pictorial on there, then

13 you are even trying harder to read the

14 writing. I think in as much as the point

15 you are making it has to do with the size of

16 the sign itself and how visible it is when

17 you are coming down Haggerty Road.

18 I mean, when you are driving 45

19 miles an hour it's not that easy to see

20 things.

21 MEMBER WROBEL: And as I said I would

22 be more inclined to approve a sign size that

23 is larger than the allowed if it didn't have

24 the picture on it. If it was deemed at that



1 time well the letters are too small that you

2 can't see them that you need it bigger,

3 somewhere between 16 and 32 in there then

4 the size could come up I would approve

5 something like that. Thank you.


7 Bauer?

8 MEMBER BAUER: Al, what is the ground

9 sign square footage, do you have an idea for

10 the park?

11 MR. AMOLSCH: The one that's there?

12 MEMBER BAUER: The ground sign that is

13 in the middle of the road?

14 MR. AMOLSCH: Unless it was just put

15 up recently, you are talking as an entrance

16 sign?

17 MEMBER BAUER: No, just the sign for

18 the name of the park.

19 MR. AMOLSCH: These are real estate

20 signs, not entranceway signs. There is a

21 difference.

22 MEMBER BAUER: I just wanted to know

23 the square footage.

24 MR. AMOLSCH: For an entranceway sign



1 to the development would be allowed 24

2 square feet of sign area.

3 MEMBER BAUER: Okay, thank you.


5 MEMBER GHANNAM: I have a question.


7 Ghannam?

8 MEMBER GHANNAM: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

9 Actually I have got a question for the City.

10 Are they entitled to one sign per address?

11 MR. AMOLSCH: Not address, per parcel.

12 MEMBER GHANNAM: And there is two

13 parcels here?

14 MR. AMOLSCH: Currently it's just one.

15 The signs are on one parcel and it's

16 proposed to be split into two parcels which

17 would allow them to have a sign on the each

18 parcel but limited to 16 square feet.

19 MEMBER GHANNAM: If and when this is a

20 split they would be entitled to one sign per

21 parcel?

22 MR. AMOLSCH: Right.

23 MEMBER GHANNAM: Up to 16 square foot?

24 MR. AMOLSCH: That's correct.



1 MEMBER GHANNAM: You are saying that's

2 going through council right now to get the

3 lot split?

4 MR. HUGHES: Yeah, we'll go through

5 the process. We have the approval to go

6 forward from the buildings.

7 MEMBER GHANNAM: How about the lot

8 split?

9 MR. HUGHES: That's in the process.

10 MEMBER GHANNAM: Do you know when you

11 expect to receive that?

12 MR. HUGHES: No.

13 MEMBER GHANNAM: Do you expect to have

14 any issues with splitting the lots?

15 MR. HUGHES: No. I know we own 200

16 acres still to be developed. That will not

17 be a problem whatsoever.

18 MEMBER GHANNAM: And the lots that

19 these signs you intend to put them on, how

20 large would those lots be?

21 MR. HUGHES: I don't really know how

22 large they are. I am assuming they are

23 probably a four acre sites, but I don't have

24 that information with me.



1 MEMBER GHANNAM: So, each site that

2 you intend to put a 32 square foot sign

3 would be about four acres you would say?

4 MR. HUGHES: Correct. It's whatever

5 the proper density would be to allow. The

6 buildings themselves are 52,000 square foot

7 buildings. So whatever that requires. I

8 think it's about four acres. I don't know,

9 Charles, if you would know, but you have to

10 have the parking. It's parked five per

11 thousand. So my assumption it would be

12 approximately that size.

13 MEMBER GHANNAM: Do you know when you

14 would start to build on this particular

15 parcel?

16 MR. HUGHES: The north building is the

17 one that we plan on building first.

18 Originally we were going to do one on the

19 speculative, but again with the economy, we

20 are not going to be building them until such

21 time that we have a major tenant. They are

22 designed to be multi-tenant buildings.

23 MEMBER GHANNAM: The reason why I ask

24 is because if the Board is inclined to grant



1 any type of variance I would recommend some

2 type of time limitation. I don't want to

3 put some kind of time limitation that would

4 be reasonable. Because if you are not even

5 intending on building right now, you just

6 want to put up signs I would want to know

7 how long you would recommend the Board put

8 some type of limitation.

9 MR. HUGHES: You know, I would ask

10 that it would be a minimum of perhaps a year

11 that I would entertain that and that would

12 be appreciated. I understand before the ZBA

13 you have to prove a hardship, so to sit up

14 here and say because of economic times I'm

15 not inclined to do it, but it's the reality.

16 The times today are different than they were

17 two or three years ago. And again we have

18 always done the size of the building and I

19 understand that ignorance is not the excuse

20 for doing it the size of the sign, but we

21 were rather surprised when we were told that

22 had been changed. Because Northern Equities

23 Group has worked hard with the city itself

24 to change the Ordinances to make them



1 favorable at the same time fair to everyone.

2 And I was very surprised that this

3 particular portion of the sign Ordinance had

4 been changed.

5 MEMBER GHANNAM: Personally I don't

6 have a problem with the proposal as stated,

7 but I would only recommend it would be about

8 a year and only one side per parcel, so I

9 guess you would be entitled to one, but when

10 the other parcel split, one sign for that

11 parcel to comply with City Ordinances. So,

12 I would be in favor of something to that

13 affect. Thank you.

14 MR. HUGHES: Thank you.


16 MEMBER IBE: I just want to reaffirm

17 what the last speaker said. I would be in

18 favor as well so long as it is to one

19 parcel. Since you are in the process of

20 splitting the parcel, I think one for now

21 should suffice and until the time that you

22 split into two of them perhaps you can get

23 your second one. But just a real quick

24 comment that was made by Member Wrobel



1 regarding the picture. I do know that the

2 sign is for marketing purposes, would that

3 be correct, sir?

4 MR. HUGHES: Yes.

5 MEMBER IBE: Do you have a web site

6 for your marketing this building?

7 MR. HUGHES: Well, it's overall web,

8 It's a company web site.

9 MEMBER IBE: I'm surprised, sir, you

10 don't have it on here. Don't you think that

11 would be more appropriate to have, these

12 days people have visual images on computers.

13 I think you even grandpa in Bolivia on the

14 computer these days can get on the internet.

15 They can see your picture of your building.

16 I can't imagine driving down on Haggerty and

17 saying, whoops, let me stop over and watch

18 that picture and that stuff.

19 MR. HUGHES: My understanding is that

20 it is on the web site. Are you saying you

21 went on there and it's not on there?

22 MEMBER IBE: No, no. I am saying with

23 your sign perhaps if you didn't have your

24 picture on this and you had maybe your web



1 site and showing the visuals are on it, I

2 think it would probably be good. People want

3 to see a full number is probably more

4 important.

5 MR. HUGHES: That's why the phone

6 number is as prominent as it is.

7 MEMBER IBE: Yeah, but the picture is

8 I think what Member Wrobel had concerns

9 about and I am thinking, I'm not trying to

10 tell you how to run your business, but I do

11 know with the way the economy is people have

12 to develop better ways to market your

13 product. And it's perhaps something that is

14 missing on your sign. You have a picture

15 that personally I don't think solves any

16 problems. I'm not going to stop and look at

17 the picture, but I would probably look at it

18 on the web site and I would be more curious

19 and find more if I am interested in your

20 development that you have right now. So,

21 perhaps something you might want to

22 consider. But as far as I am concerned now,

23 I will be in favor of one approval for now

24 as well. Thank you.




2 Krieger?

3 MEMBER KRIEGER: For a sign I don't

4 think we can say what can be put on them.

5 But as far as driving by, it's 45 miles an

6 hour on Haggerty and knowing how everybody

7 drives, it's much faster than that. So, to

8 be able to see it, I caught the phone

9 number, but then the rest I don't know how,

10 what you could put on it and what you can't,

11 it would be up to you. So, for size I'm not

12 too sure about what can be done and what's

13 requested. So that's where I'm at. Thank

14 you.

15 MS. KUDLA: Through the Chair, she is

16 correct, we can't really limit what they're

17 putting in their signs.

18 MEMBER IBE: Mr. Chair, real quickly.

19 Just so we have -- perhaps it's a

20 misunderstanding of language or phonetics or

21 grammatics, I don't know. That's not my

22 suggestion one bit at all. It is just a

23 suggestion.

24 MR. HUGHES: No, I appreciate it.



1 MEMBER IBE: Times are hard. We can't

2 do business the same old way. Just because

3 it was done that way 50 years ago doesn't

4 mean it works any more. We have have diverse

5 new ways to market your product. It's a

6 suggestion. People take it or you don't

7 have to take it but it might work for you.

8 MR. HUGHES: I wrote it down. Thank

9 you.


11 recapitulate. Mr. Amolsch, please remind

12 me. They are entitled to one sign per parcel

13 and what is the size of that sign they are?

14 MR. AMOLSCH: Sixteen square feet is

15 allowed and 10 feet in height. What they

16 are asking for was 32 square foot sign.


18 can just put in my penny worth of comments

19 is so long as there is one parcel there is

20 no need to have two signs. It is way back

21 inside, so I don't know how much of the

22 Haggerty traffic is going to slow to see the

23 signs really. How far back are you from

24 Haggerty Road?



1 MR. HUGHES: Eighty feet.


3 whittle it down to one sign. The next

4 question is whether the 32 square feet is

5 reasonable or not. Maybe we can entertain a

6 motion? Yes, Mr. Ibe?

7 MEMBER IBE: Can I make a motion?


9 MEMBER IBE: Very well, sir. In case

10 number 08-066 MacKenzie South Technology

11 Center, I move that we grant the request

12 made by the Petitioner as to one sign since

13 it's one parcel currently and because the

14 request is based on circumstances or

15 features that are exceptional and unique to

16 the property and do not result from

17 conditions that exist generally in the city

18 or that are self created.

19 Secondly, that failure to grant such

20 relief will unreasonably prevent or limit

21 the use of the property and since the party

22 in this case is trying to market the new

23 development, failing to grant would

24 obviously create an inconvenience or



1 inability to obtain the economic or

2 financial return expected by the Petitioner.

3 And also, the grant of relief will not

4 result in the use of the structure that is

5 incompatible with or unreasonably interferes

6 with adjacent or surrounding properties.

7 And, also, I would state that the sign, it's

8 limited to I think one year time period.

9 MEMBER GHANNAM: I'll second that.


11 been made. Yes?

12 MR. BOULARD: I just wanted to clarify

13 if I could. The motion is for one sign of

14 32 square feet?

15 MEMBER IBE: That's correct.

16 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: And it has been

17 seconded by Mr. Ghannam. Any further

18 discussion? Seeing none, will you please

19 call the roll.

20 MR. BOULARD: Member Bauer?


22 MR. BOULARD: Member Wrobel?


24 MR. BOULARD: Member Ghannam?




2 MR. BOULARD: Member Ibe?


4 MR. BOULARD: Member Krieger?


6 MR. BOULARD: Chairman Sanghvi?


8 MR. BOULARD: Member Skelcy?


10 MR. BOULARD: Motion is approved 5-2.


12 All right, moving along to the

13 next case. Case number: 08-068 filed by Ed

14 Bezilla of Visual Entities, Incorporated for

15 26750 Providence Parkway, Novi Orthopaedic

16 Center. The Applicant is requesting a

17 variance to install a 9 foot high monument

18 sign for the Novi Orthopaedic Center. The

19 property is zoned OSC and is located west of

20 Beck Road and south of Grand River Avenue.

21 Will you please identify yourself and if --

22 MEMBER KRIEGER: Mr. Chair, I would

23 like to recuse myself because I am an

24 employee of Providence Hospital.



1 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay, thank you.

2 MEMBER BAUER: It has to be voted on.


4 don't know whether having a sign like this

5 would make any difference whether you worked

6 for Providence Hospital or not. This is not

7 part to do with Providence Hospital. This

8 is the Orthopedic Center. As far as I am

9 concerned I don't see any problem by you

10 being here. What is the general feeling of

11 the Board?

12 MS. KUDLA: I believe it's a lessee of

13 Providence Hospital. It's not directly

14 Providence Hospital.

15 MEMBER IBE: So, she can stay.

16 MS. KUDLA: I don't think there's a

17 conflict.

18 MEMBER IBE: No, it's not.

19 MEMBER KRIEGER: I wanted to disclose

20 it.


22 so glad you brought it up and that is the

23 right thing to do and I commend you for

24 doing what you did, but I don't think you



1 need to be excused.

2 All right, sir, will you please

3 identify yourself and if you are not an

4 attorney, please be sworn in by our

5 Secretary.

6 MR. BEZILLA: I will be happy to

7 introduce myself. My name is Ed Bezilla. I

8 am with Visual Entities, I am not an

9 attorney, and I am ready to be sworn in.

10 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number:

11 08-068 filed by Ed Bezilla of Visual

12 Entities, do you swear or affirm to tell the

13 truth in this case?

14 MR. BEZILLA: I do.

15 MEMBER KRIEGER: Okay, thank you.


17 make your presentation.

18 MR. BEZILLA: Yes, sir. We are

19 petitioning to have a variance to allow us

20 to increase the size of the sign to nine

21 feet high compared to the six feet high

22 that's currently allowed. We believe that

23 some of the conditions that exist at that

24 property are creating practical difficulties



1 for us. I refer to what I have been told by

2 our client to be conditions such as

3 landscaping and berming that has been

4 required by the City for this particular

5 property. Also the configuration of the

6 road with it being a broad circular kind of

7 serpentine configuration masks the entrance

8 to the property as well as the identity of

9 the sign by drivers on that road.

10 From as little as only 135 feet from

11 the sign location which is actually the

12 entrance location to the building site, that

13 sign is not visible and that's, I don't

14 believe what is intended for the use of that

15 sign in that particular instance by the

16 City. I also mention that because at that

17 distance, 135 feet, while there is no posted

18 speed limit there, there may very well be,

19 it would seem that a 25 mile an hour speed

20 limit might be appropriate and might be

21 agreed upon. At that particular speed

22 limit, the driver only has about three to

23 three and a half seconds to respond to

24 seeing the sign and then making a decision



1 to turn into the property. I think given

2 that circumstance, cars entering and exiting

3 that creates a significant hazard on that

4 particular road to the drivers.

5 I think that a failure

6 to grant the variance continues to make for

7 a traffic hazard at that location and I also

8 think that it limits the practical use of

9 that sign as it was intended to by the City

10 by a substantial margin. I don't think that

11 granting the variance would create an

12 economic benefit for the property owner. It

13 would just simply allow their sign to be

14 seen as allowed to by the code and by the

15 City for that particular property. Others

16 do not have those sorts of obstacles in that

17 particular compound, the Providence

18 compound.

19 And I don't think that granting that

20 would make the Novi Orthopedic sign

21 incompatible with the signs that are already

22 on that compound and in that area. There are

23 examples of signs at least that high for

24 identifying and directing people in that



1 area. That concludes my presentation.


3 there anybody in the audience who would like

4 to speak regarding this case? Seeing none,

5 we will close the Public Remark Section. To

6 our Secretary, do we have any correspondence

7 regarding this case?

8 MEMBER KRIEGER: In case number:

9 08-068, 105 notices were mailed. One

10 approval, one objection. First one is from

11 Joann Ward on Eleven Mile. "As I previously

12 responded to sign variances, I oppose as the

13 code is clearly written and six feet is high

14 enough. Providence Hospital's property

15 backs up to my backyard and of all the

16 notices I receive for their variances, the

17 only one I oppose to are the sign

18 variances."

19 The second one is from Richard Hurbell

20 on Konisberg (phonetic). "I have no

21 objection to the installation of a nine foot

22 Orthopedic Center sign. There are so many

23 buildings along Grand River it is hard to

24 locate a business location when driving."




2 Building Department?

3 MR. BOULARD: If I may, a point of

4 clarification and two questions. You have a

5 drawing that shows the area around the

6 Orthopedic building and then a description

7 of the signs for reference. The Petitioner

8 included a key map of the site and a hatched

9 area is actually the around around the

10 orthopedic building. In terms of questions,

11 if I may, are any of the signs that are

12 proposed intended to replace existing signs?

13 MR. BEZILLA: Yes. If you grant this

14 petition, it would replace the existing six

15 foot high sign that's in that current

16 location.

17 MR. BOULARD: Which location is that?

18 MR. BEZILLA: If I may, I will use the

19 scanner here. If you can see that image,

20 you will notice that that is the existing

21 sign that's at that property. That sign can

22 be seen because it's about a hundred feet

23 from the entrance. I can show you some

24 other pictures from slightly greater



1 distances. A 135 for example where the sign

2 is there now is not able to be seen. This

3 is the sign at nine feet from the exact

4 location. What you're going to see in

5 comparison between what's there now and what

6 would be proposed is the impact of the

7 berming as well as the foliage that's the

8 landscape plantings which play a significant

9 role in blocking the signs between April,

10 May and October.

11 This next comparison photo is -- oh,

12 that's a big difference. This is from 198

13 feet. You can not see the sign. It's just

14 on the right-hand side of the picture there.

15 This is current conditions and I believe if

16 any of you have driven the site, you have

17 noticed that we added to that existing sign

18 just to show you at nine feet the impact

19 that an additional three feet would have.

20 This shows that the sign would be able to be

21 viewed from that same distance.

22 And then my last comparison is from

23 135 feet. This is what you see, as I say,

24 between April, May and October. You barely



1 make out the top part of the sign. And then

2 this is what we would have if we have

3 another three feet. So, there is, obviously

4 the sign could be seen better at three feet.

5 Their name, traffic can react to the message

6 quicker and get in and out of the property

7 safer.


9 you. Thank you, Mr. Boulard. Yes, Mr.

10 Bauer?

11 MEMBER BAUER: Those bushes are going

12 to grow and you are going to come back and

13 ask for three more feet. It will happen.

14 MR. BEZILLA: It will happen.

15 Landscaping is a dynamic as we all know and

16 it will be the property owner's

17 responsibility to keep them trimmed.

18 MEMBER BAUER: That's something else.

19 MR. BEZILLA: Yes, sir.

20 MEMBER BAUER: Thank you.


22 MEMBER SKELCY: Can you guarantee that

23 if you were given a nine foot sign that they

24 would still be able to see it in the summer?



1 Because it looked to me from the

2 photographs, the foliage from the trees that

3 you don't really trim would even cover a

4 nine foot sign. Can you guarantee that that

5 would still be seen with all that foliage

6 from the trees in the summer?

7 MR. BEZILLA: I think that the client

8 would be satisfied with that. In all

9 signage there is opportunities to view in

10 between obstacles and that's one of those

11 instances where the angle of visibility is

12 better at nine feet than it is at six feet.

13 So, it's definitely an enhancement to the

14 readability of that sign.

15 Again, as I mentioned to Mr. Bauer,

16 it's going to be their responsibility to

17 keep things trimmed. I don't know what kind

18 of trees those are. I don't know tall they

19 are going to grow. What their canopy is

20 going to be. What the lowest point is going

21 to be. Perhaps they can trim that up a

22 little bit and still keep the beauty of the

23 tree and create a nice window of opportunity

24 for people to view the sign from. In fact,



1 maybe in years to come it might even be

2 better viewed because of that. I don't

3 know.


5 MEMBER WROBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

6 Has any thought been given to moving the

7 existing sign you want a variance on to

8 another location on the site that you might

9 be able to keep at the same size and not

10 have the landscaping problems?

11 MR. BEZILLA: Well, all I can tell you

12 about that is that we found when we

13 installed the existing sign we followed the

14 architect's plan and that was submitted to

15 Planning as the master plan site. It is a

16 cross-section easement, I have no idea what

17 that means. But that is where the sign is

18 placed. In my involvement with the property

19 I understand that there may have been some

20 utility lines running in that area which

21 doesn't allow for a lot of range of movement

22 for that sign.

23 MEMBER WROBEL: As you know we have

24 had a lot of requests for variances on this



1 whole property. Quite a few. I am looking

2 at here, I am seeing all the directional

3 signs. If this was the only sign that was

4 out there then I would say, well, yeah,

5 maybe you got a problem, but I see one, two,

6 three, four other signs. I mean if you pass

7 it you are going to catch the next sign.

8 So, to me that's not that big of a deal.

9 This certainly effects some of the traffic

10 it appears coming off of the Grand River

11 entrance because people coming the other way

12 are going to see one, two, three signs

13 before they are even coming from Grand River

14 there is a sign up way up to the north

15 there. It's not like we're going into the

16 industrial park either there. We are looking

17 at very few buildings and most people going

18 to the Orthopedic Center I would say would

19 probably be somewhat familiar when they make

20 their appointment or whatever they know

21 where it is. It obviously is not the

22 hospital, not the big medical building or

23 the hotel. So, by process of elimination,

24 gee, this is the building. I am having an



1 issue with that. There are all the other

2 signs that they could use.

3 MR. BEZILLA: Maybe my answer to that

4 would be that if you are referring to the

5 signs that are within the footprint of Novi

6 Ortho, all of those signs are shielded from

7 visibility from the ring road, from

8 perimeter road that the main I.D. sign is

9 viewed from. Those are all behind the berm

10 and can't be seen. Secondly, what I could

11 say about signage is what I know from 35

12 years experience. You put signs up for

13 immediate identification, recognition of a

14 business. But you put it up to that first

15 time user. The second time user if they are

16 tuned in are going to remember that location

17 if they have to go back there again.

18 MEMBER WROBEL: Does the building

19 itself have a sign on it?

20 MR. BEZILLA: They have address

21 numbers, that's it. Yes.

22 MEMBER WROBEL: Because to me it would

23 almost be better to have a sign on the

24 building. You are not going to get the



1 visibility. You are not going to deal with

2 the growth of the landscaping and hopefully

3 it will be seen from much more distance.

4 That's all, Mr. Chair.


6 Anybody else? While you are thinking, I

7 will put in my. I went there and I saw it.

8 You have quite eloquent directional signs.

9 Novi Orthopedic Center is going to be a

10 destination and I don't see any reason why

11 they cannot be found with your sign that is

12 present there right now. So, I don't see

13 any need to grant you any variance in your

14 request at this point in time. That's my

15 opinion.

16 Any other comments? Yes, Ms. Krieger?

17 MEMBER KRIEGER: I find that traffic

18 is faster than you would expect it to be on

19 that parkway and that, yes, when you go

20 around that curve, if you don't know what's

21 there, it clues you into that that is the

22 main parking for Orthopedic and I had not

23 remembered if there had been Orthopedic on

24 the building itself. So I find that it



1 would be useful to clue someone in to, oh,

2 yeah, that's where I'm supposed to go and

3 park. And that's my observations right now.


5 Anyone care to make a motion?

6 MEMBER WROBEL: I guess I'll try.


8 MEMBER WROBEL: In case: 08-068 filed

9 by Ed Bezilla of Visual Entities for 26750

10 Providence Parkway Novi Orthopedic Center to

11 deny their variance to install a nine foot

12 high monument sign for Novi Orthopedic

13 Center since the Petitioner has not

14 presented a hardship and existing signage

15 will be sufficient for the present time.

16 MEMBER IBE: Second the motion.

17 MS. KUDLA: Can I interject, the

18 standard is practical difficulty rather than

19 hardship.


21 words.

22 MEMBER WROBEL: Okay, I'll change the

23 words.




1 comments by anybody? No, seeing none, Mr.

2 Boulard, please call the roll.

3 MR. BOULARD: Member Bauer?


5 MR. BOULARD: Member Wrobel?


7 MR. BOULARD: Member Ghannam?


9 MR. BOULARD: Member Ibe?


11 MR. BOULARD: Chairman Sanghvi?


13 MR. BOULARD: Member Krieger?


15 MR. BOULARD: Member Skelcy?


17 MR. BOULARD: Motion is approved 6-1.

18 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you. Thank

19 you for your appearance. Thank you very

20 much.

21 MR. BEZILLA: I would just like to say

22 not related to this subject. My company had

23 a great experience with the City of Novi

24 with regard to support and getting this



1 petition filed and I just wanted that to be

2 acknowledged.


4 All right, moving on. The next case

5 is case number: 08-069 for 46100 Grand

6 River Avenue filed by Blair Bowman of

7 ServMan, LLC for Rock Financial. Oh, he is

8 here. He is setting up.

9 MR. BOWMAN: I am trying, yeah.


11 for the record please identify yourself and

12 state your address and be sworn in if you

13 are not an attorney.

14 MR. BOWMAN: Well, I'm not a formal

15 attorney. I am educated way back as one,

16 but I am not a practicing one. I don't have

17 a P number. My name is Blair Bowman and

18 tonight I'm representing ServMan, LLC, as

19 well as I'm also the owner and operator of

20 Rock Financial Showplace both of which are

21 located at 46100 Grand River, in Novi,

22 Michigan.

23 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Please swear him

24 in.



1 MEMBER KRIEGER: So, in case number:

2 08-069 filed by yourself for Rock Financial

3 at 46100 Grand River Avenue, do you swear to

4 tell the truth in this case?

5 MR. BOWMAN: I do.

6 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.

7 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Please make your

8 presentation.

9 MR. BOWMAN: Thank you very much.

10 Tonight I am before you with a request

11 that's based upon I guess two basic tenants.

12 One which is a request for help and

13 assistance for which I hope to give you some

14 good reason. And the second being as I

15 understand it this is a regulatory body,

16 requiring information regarding ordinance

17 variances for some hardship and other

18 information as far as uniqueness as to the

19 property, the situation that we're involved

20 with. And it's my intention to hopefully

21 provide you with good information and

22 respectfully request that you honor our

23 proposal.

24 I don't need I think to stand before



1 you tonight and talk about the challenging

2 economic times. I think that's kind of a

3 given these days. It's very, very difficult.

4 As was mentioned earlier you need to find

5 new ways to reach out and conduct business.

6 What my sincere goal in the first basic

7 tenant is again to request some assistance

8 from the City of Novi. Being a privately

9 funded but yet a major public facility

10 within your borders, there is a limitation,

11 a pretty severe limitation on what can be

12 provided by the community to assist in what

13 yet is still a very major economic generator

14 in the community. In the packet we provided

15 you with a study that was done both

16 initially for the construction of the new

17 facility which showed that in our first year

18 of operation we are expecting to have about

19 a quarter of a billion dollars worth of

20 direct economic impact into the community.

21 We recently did have that updated and

22 reviewed by a CPA firm and they projected

23 that in the 2008 season alone we had over

24 600 million dollars worth of direct economic



1 impact in the Novi and surrounding area

2 permeating out of the southeastern, Michigan

3 in general. Typically these types of

4 facilities are fully publically subsidized

5 and operated at a loss and those types of

6 things. We again are a privately operated

7 facility.

8 What we are looking for is a way, kind

9 of the law of unintended consequences when

10 trying to do something good. We originally

11 had granted a conservation easement on the

12 old I-96 rest area which after developing

13 the site in the site plan, came to find out

14 when we went to place our marquis sign that

15 it blocked almost every direction, the

16 opportunity for placement of our marquis.

17 What we have experienced is and you will see

18 in the packet we provided you, testimonials

19 and letters from our major, some of our

20 major shows is that even our old, you know,

21 stick up letter sign at the old facility

22 actually did a better job of delivering

23 information about what was going on at the

24 building than our current marquis does. So,



1 what we're asking for tonight is to improve

2 on some existing signage that is there from

3 an expressway billboard signage group.

4 There is two located on our site and

5 actually install one state of the art single

6 mono-pole sign with a double face, one of

7 which would be an electronic LED style sign.

8 We have negotiated arrangements if

9 we're successful where we would be able to

10 utilize 25 percent of that sign for

11 delivering message about what's going on at

12 the facility. I think that going on to what

13 would be then the more technical

14 requirements, the variance base requirements

15 is that this is a unique situation in that

16 our property currently has two signs already

17 on it. We would be looking to eliminate the

18 two signs and put up one sign. So, a two

19 for one exchange.

20 Our property is also 55 acres in size

21 with over a half mile of frontage along 96.

22 I don't think, again, you would find that

23 you would have any other requests that would

24 be able to meet this very unique situation,



1 frankly where you have both existing signs

2 that would be eliminated in response for

3 one. Where you have such a sizable parcel

4 with this amount of frontage and then also

5 having a major private center but yet a

6 public draw such as we are.

7 I think that if you

8 look in the package, also I apologize, when

9 we delivered our original package to you,

10 for some reason the photographs did not come

11 through very well, they were kind of dark in

12 nature. So, I did include two additional

13 new photographs. One showing the almost

14 exactly similar sign that is located at I-96

15 and Beck Road that has the LED board on it.

16 And then the other photograph has the

17 existing lower scape signs on them.

18 One of the basic hardships, if you

19 would, that I think that you will see is

20 that with the lower scape signs, we

21 currently on a regular basis have to make

22 application to and by right the state grants

23 the ability to clear cut, remove trees and

24 clear a visual path for view-ability of



1 those two existing lower scape signs. With

2 the installation of a new and sensitively

3 placed mono-pole sign we would work with

4 both the state and the city to locate that.

5 Given the topography again with the intent

6 being to deliver an adequate message safely

7 and effectively basically to industry

8 standards as to these types of signs, but it

9 would virtually eliminate the need to

10 continue to cut existing vegetation if

11 placed at the proper height.

12 In addition to the unique nature to,

13 again, the two for one, the major public

14 facility, the size of the parcel and the

15 extensive amount of frontage, what I have

16 placed on the easel here, also that's a

17 large version of what we have kind of cut in

18 half and provided in your package as far as

19 what I just handed you is an aerial

20 photograph which shows that our site is kind

21 of positioned in and amongst many other

22 properties that are similarly situated that

23 have extremely similar if not identical type

24 of signage in and along the I-96 corridor.



1 So, we are simply asking that we would

2 receive reasonably similar treatment to

3 other properties that are similarly

4 situated. This property was, in fact, at

5 one point in time zoned for heavy industrial

6 which I understand is a requirement under

7 the Ordinance. I am not sure as to what the

8 reference is in the response letter that we

9 received that it is in too close a proximity

10 to another off premises advertising sign.

11 I'm not aware of any other off premises sign

12 with the exception of the fact that they may

13 be referring to the two existing smaller

14 lower scape signs that we are proposing to

15 eliminate. Beyond that, it meets all

16 proximity requirements of the state. We

17 would simply be looking to install it in,

18 again, a fashion and size to safely and

19 effectively deliver messages as,

20 particularly in our case looking at this,

21 having 25 percent of this message rotation

22 would be critical to allow us to almost

23 instantaneously virtually provide

24 information on current events and coming



1 events and in the event that new information

2 was received about an existing event, we

3 could put that in with new a key stroke with

4 new technology versus having the old

5 antiquated style signs.

6 So, in summary, again, asking for some

7 help, hopefully for a reasonable and good

8 basis, also looking at it truly that this is

9 a unique situation where we would be

10 offering the exchange of taking down two

11 existing signs, in that stretch of highway,

12 literally it would be less sign poles and

13 structures than prior to our request and it

14 would give us an opportunity to provide our

15 shows with the ability to expand on and

16 maintain the major economic impact that we

17 have.

18 And our study, I think, is

19 conservatively based and the other piece of

20 information I provided you tonight was a

21 Detroit newspaper article that is referring

22 to a center that's being proposed in Macomb

23 Township. They are going out there. They

24 are going for the same type of business that



1 we are currently providing for. Their

2 center is going to be half the size. They

3 have already installed infrastructure for it

4 and are heavily supporting it and are

5 seeking an abatement at the state level for

6 it and, in fact, the governor just needs to

7 sign it and it is law.

8 But they reduced the size that was

9 required for the investment from our quarter

10 of a million square feet, we actually have

11 320,000 square feet to where they are

12 allowing anything over 100,000 square to

13 apply for this abatement. They have

14 suggested in their infrastructure or their

15 investment of 150,000 square feet, less than

16 half of our size that they would create over

17 1,700 jobs and have literally millions of

18 dollars worth of tax revenues. We are

19 already doing that. We are here and we

20 really could use this adequate signage and I

21 believe also have some good basis for your

22 regulatory aspects to decide upon.

23 So, just with that I would

24 respectfully request that you approve our



1 signage proposal and would be able to answer

2 any questions.


4 may request you, would you be kind enough to

5 show some of your photographs on the

6 overhead so the people at home can visualize

7 what we have been talking about?

8 MR. BOWMAN: Sure.


10 didn't want to interrupt your train of

11 thought.

12 MR. BOWMAN: No problem. This is the

13 existing sign which is at I-96, the

14 eastbound ramp to I-96 off of Beck Road. It

15 is the exact size, I believe if not the

16 exact height, very close and, again, it's a

17 center amount mono-pole structure. We

18 actually submitted plans to the department

19 that has a side shifted pole and also a

20 center mount pole. We are certainly

21 comfortable in installing whatever is best

22 and most sensitive to the environmental

23 features of the property. This is

24 indicative of the type and quality and the



1 state of the art nature of the new digital

2 LED boards. Much more visually attractive

3 than what we have currently.

4 This is one of the two existing

5 expressway billboard signs. And you can see

6 again that this is the corridor of trees and

7 vegetation that has been removed in order to

8 maintain that view-ability path. I think I

9 got one more. It's kind of hard to fit all

10 that in. This is the other sign that is

11 furthest to the west. Again, both of those

12 are located in the corresponding red dots on

13 the overall aerial on the easel on kind of

14 the eastern boundary line along the I-96

15 frontage of the show place parcel.


17 MR. BOWMAN: Yes. I will be pleased to

18 answer any questions.


20 there anybody in the audience that would

21 like to address this case? Any comments? I

22 don't see anybody. Thank you.

23 Madam Secretary, you got some

24 correspondence?



1 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yep. In case number:

2 08-069, 52 notices were mailed. One

3 response. This is from Jim Franken -- I

4 apologize I can't read it. But he's on

5 Foster Tractor, Grand River. "I am in favor

6 of additional signage to help direct and

7 identify the Expo Center. My driveway has

8 become a turnaround for westbound traffic."

9 That's it.


11 Building Department?

12 MR. BOULARD: Thank you. A couple of

13 housekeeping comments and then some

14 concerns. In the package that was left at

15 your desk there are some pictures that the

16 Petitioner has provided. In our

17 conversations a full scale mockup sign was

18 deemed to be beyond reasonable expectation.

19 So, I would ask the Petitioner to present

20 some photographs of similar signs in terms

21 of size and height. So, you have those in

22 your packet.

23 In this particular

24 case, the allowable off premises advertising



1 sign would be 300 square feet. In this case

2 the proposed sign 14 by 48 is 672 square

3 feet on each of two faces. The Ordinance

4 will allow a maximum of 15 feet of height.

5 The request is 50 feet, three and a half

6 times that. A point of clarification if I

7 may?

8 MR. BOWMAN: Sure.

9 MR. BOULARD: On the application at

10 one point there is, it talks about a static

11 face on the west side and the electronic LED

12 face on the east side or the east face of

13 the sign. Is the LED face, would that also

14 be static and bright or would that change

15 and I guess how often would that change?

16 MR. BOWMAN: The sign would be

17 proposed to be within the state and industry

18 standards. And I believe that there is a

19 rotation of six or seven seconds for the

20 messaging which has been deemed with the,

21 you know, with the expressway model in mind

22 where the traveling traffic is moving at 65,

23 70 miles an hour for the effective delivery

24 and safe delivery of a message. So, it



1 would not be static for any particularly

2 lengthy period of time. The only exception

3 to that that I would say would be the

4 inventory that we would receive and the

5 rotation, it may very well be that we would

6 choose to leave up, an example would be

7 like, for example, now showing outdoor-rama,

8 might be up there for two or three of those

9 rotations and stay more static than the

10 balance of the messaging. It would be a

11 static face on one side and then an LED on

12 the other.

13 MR. BOULARD: The current City

14 Ordinance allows a sign to change once a

15 minute. If it was more often than that, an

16 additional variance would be required and

17 that's the section that was advertised and

18 is listed as 28-15.

19 MR. BOWMAN: If I may too on that.

20 When we received the letter there was I

21 think reference to three Ordinance sections.

22 And then when we received the notification

23 there was an additional two references and

24 then possibly the need for more variances.



1 Again, kind of here on a bit of a hat in

2 hand, I'm just saying we respect that fully

3 the city process, whatever variances would

4 be needed for this type of graphic and

5 digital sign is what we would be requesting.

6 MR. BOULARD: In all honesty the

7 reasons we include that in the advertisement

8 was to keep you from having to come back

9 again unnecessarily.

10 MR. BOWMAN: Sure.

11 MR. BOULARD: My understanding is that

12 the State has a moratorium on new billboards

13 at this point?

14 MR. BOWMAN: That, again, is what

15 makes this a unique request. We have the

16 two permits that we can retire in this

17 instance and, frankly, along with many other

18 factors of the uniqueness in the site and

19 the ability and the availability of the

20 permits that we have for exchanging the two

21 for the one structure, again, this isn't

22 something that I think would be

23 proliferation of or additional concern for

24 other requests. And the State does mandate



1 proximity requirements as well the number of

2 these are restricted heavily.

3 MR. BOULARD: So, for a point of

4 clarification then, the removal of the two

5 other billboards which are smaller than each

6 side of this billboard, correct?

7 MR. BOWMAN: Yeah, I think they are

8 about 65 percent of an individual face,

9 something of that nature.

10 MR. BOULARD: So, the removal of those

11 two would be required for the State to

12 approve as a condition of the State

13 approving the two double faced --

14 MR. BOWMAN: Right, we have had

15 discussions with them. We meet all the

16 requirements and, in fact, depending on the

17 approval process here they would work with

18 us from the standpoint of allowing us to

19 construct the structure and then remove the

20 two signs.

21 MR. BOULARD: You mention that there

22 is 25 percent of the signage would be

23 dedicated towards the Expo Center?

24 MR. BOWMAN: Right. See, again,



1 currently 100 percent of these existing

2 signs are used for typical expressway

3 billboard advertising. In order to I guess

4 incentivize or put the outdoor advertising

5 company into a position of making the

6 investment and they are significant to put

7 in the state of the art technology. They

8 would continue to do 75 percent of that.

9 And I will be -- they have heavily been

10 dealing with our shows as well. It is not

11 only our hope, but I will tell you that it

12 is our intent to see that in addition to our

13 25 percent stock that many of our shows

14 would also be acquiring additional

15 traditional advertising spots on the

16 billboard as well. We would be obtaining as

17 negotiated what our rights would be, would

18 be 25 percent exclusive to the Showplace for

19 the facility.

20 MR. BOULARD: And that would be for

21 the east side, the LED side?

22 MR. BOWMAN: Correct. And let me just

23 say again, that is coming from frankly CBS,

24 that is what they are suggesting. I would



1 be willing to, again, work with the City,

2 and certainly, again, the State as to what

3 is the most appropriate side for it. My

4 concern is, again, right now we're being

5 told, and the other point is that on the

6 correspondence and maybe I didn't do it

7 properly, but we had at least four or five

8 of our show producers correspond and we

9 provided those last week, I believe,

10 respectfully requesting that the Board

11 approve our request as well. And they have

12 been consistently for the last two years

13 been telling us about the affect or the lack

14 of appropriate signage. We have this brand

15 new wonderful building but very ineffective

16 ability to tell people what's going on. And

17 it was certainly a nuisance, it was a

18 difficulty before, but now it's the

19 proverbial fight for our life. We are

20 anxious to be able to make the additional

21 investment in this community that we are

22 planing for and currently are looking to

23 frankly sustain our attendance and hopefully

24 improve that in what are very challenging



1 times.

2 MR. BOULARD: I think that wraps up my

3 questions. I am concerned needless to say

4 about the size and the proximity to the

5 other signs, although those two are coming

6 down I understand.

7 MR. BOWMAN: That is correct.

8 MR. BOULARD: Is there a sign on the

9 other side of the freeway that's also in the

10 1,200 feet?

11 MR. AMOLSCH: Yes.

12 MR. BOWMAN: That's what we were

13 referring to in the letter. It's across the

14 freeway just west of Taft Road, so it's

15 within 1,200 feet as verified by TIF.

16 MR. BOULARD: So, even if the two

17 signs on site come down the variance would

18 still be required for the other sign within

19 1,200 feet.

20 MR. BOWMAN: Well, and in that regard

21 and I thought that a freeway might otherwise

22 be a separation at that distance

23 requirement. At least under State standards

24 they don't consider those for proximity. I



1 didn't know that the City did. But if they

2 do, we have a half mile of frontage and

3 there is literally a mile and a third there

4 with no other signs.

5 And with all due respect as far as the

6 size is concerned, we are asking for what is

7 a typical and standard time proven size to

8 deliver safely and effectively a message.

9 And that for us is critical and will be of

10 unbelievable value for assisting in the

11 delivery of message to the general public

12 and providing people the information with

13 what's going on at the facility.

14 MR. BOULARD: Thank you.


16 MS. KUDLA: Mr. Chair, I have a couple

17 of additional clarifications and comments.

18 You indicated that the giving up of the two

19 signs would be your factor of where, you are

20 pointing out that it's your uniqueness

21 factor. Would it be considered unique in

22 that the State would be requiring you to

23 give up those two signs in order to get

24 this? I mean, it's not something that is



1 voluntarily, it's something that you would

2 have to do?

3 MR. BOWMAN: No, first of all that's

4 not true. I could with the amount of

5 frontage that we have and permit

6 transferring capabilities and things like

7 that, certainly make application at the

8 state and gain their permission to put up

9 probably three or four signs. But in this

10 instance, and I guess my point was, is that

11 within the borders of this community, I

12 don't believe you will find a formally zoned

13 heavy industrial property of a major public

14 facility that is privately owned with a half

15 mile of frontage on the expressway with two

16 exiting billboards that we're willing to

17 and, of course, currently don't have to do

18 anything in particular, but would be willing

19 then to commit to making those, the removal

20 of those a condition of the approval of

21 this.

22 I am not aware of anything else. I

23 have been up and down this pretty

24 thoroughly. I have identified the white



1 dots are basically other expressway

2 billboard signs within this community on

3 very similarly situated properties. And

4 there is only one site amongst all of those

5 that is zoned currently heavy industrial.

6 So, again, very similar situated properties

7 and I think it is unique that we have the

8 two that we would be willing to dispose of.

9 MS. KUDLA: So, it's your assertion

10 that in order to get a double sided sign

11 that the State would allow you to keep those

12 signs there?

13 MR. BOWMAN: If I were to locate, for

14 example, on the far westerly side of my

15 property, a permit request to the State and

16 if were to submit that and if I were to

17 transfer permits from some other location,

18 acquire them from some other signs, up north

19 or along any other thoroughfare that we met

20 their requirements, I could certainly make

21 that application. It would meet their

22 requirements.

23 MS. KUDLA: It would be something they

24 would have to review as a separate request.



1 It wouldn't be something that you were

2 automatically entitled to, correct?

3 MR. BOWMAN: As long as I had the

4 permits and met the proximity requirements,

5 I don't think that there would be something

6 that would allow them to deny that.

7 MS. KUDLA: Do you have the permits?

8 MR. BOWMAN: I hold the permits for

9 the two existing signs.

10 MS. KUDLA: Right. I mean as far as is

11 it your intention to seek additional --

12 MR. BOWMAN: No, my intention is

13 exactly what I have outlined here. It is to

14 retire the two existing permits and signs

15 and erect a single mono-pole sign.

16 MS. KUDLA: I guess the other, the

17 point of clarification that the City would

18 need to make about some of these other signs

19 that you are pointing out as existing signs,

20 some of those signs are currently under

21 review to have a determination right now of

22 whether or not they are in compliance with

23 the Ordinance. So, as far as any

24 precedential value to other signs of that



1 nature, especially the changeable copy

2 issue, that that issue is currently under

3 review.

4 Additionally, the specific issue of a

5 changeable copy signs on billboards is

6 within the City's Ordinance Review Committee

7 currently and is something that is coming up

8 very soon to City Council for discussion.

9 At this point it's something that City

10 Council is not in favor of from the

11 Ordinance Review Committee position at this

12 point as far as having a changeable copy

13 sign as a billboard.

14 The State Statute does allow the City

15 to have more restrictive Ordinance

16 requirements than the State requirements for

17 billboards. So, these are just points that

18 we needed to make for all the members

19 consideration today.

20 As far as the issue of the additional

21 permits. It was our understanding from our

22 review of the that Statute that you would

23 have to give up those two signs in order to

24 get a double face sign to put there. So, it



1 may require additional investigation in

2 order to confirm. You may need to provide

3 additional information in that regard

4 because it's our reading of the Statute that

5 it would be a requirement to give up two

6 one-sided billboard signs to get a double

7 faced billboard.

8 MR. BOWMAN: That is what I am

9 proposing to both the State and the City.

10 That's exactly what I am proposing.

11 MS. KUDLA: But as far as a

12 uniqueness, for a uniqueness standard under

13 the Ordinance, it would be a requirement of

14 the State and not something that is giving

15 something up per se.

16 MR. BOWMAN: I am just saying that

17 there are existing, two existing billboards

18 that will be eliminated. Forget about

19 what's required at the State or not required

20 at the State. Those will be terminated and

21 eliminated and in favor of and in

22 replacement of a single sign. So, when this

23 process if we're successful will be

24 concluded, the result would be one sign



1 versus two. That's my entire point on that.

2 And I don't see any other location within

3 the community that has those same factors,

4 so that I would think would be unique.

5 MS. KUDLA: As far as an additional

6 point, the concurrent billboards, those are

7 currently non-conforming because now I-2 is

8 the only location that you could have

9 billboards. So, at some point those would

10 be, you can't expand a non-confirming use.

11 So, at some point you are looking to expand

12 a non-confirming use which is also not

13 permitted by Ordinance.

14 MR. BOWMAN: What I am looking to do,

15 again, to boil it down to the basic two

16 things that I opened up with is one, seek

17 some assistance from the community in a very

18 limited modest fashion. To install a

19 billboard along an expressway, which is

20 consistent with what's going on outside of

21 the community and is frankly, and I am not

22 sure exactly what you are talking about

23 reviewing as far as conformity or not, but

24 all of those white dots within the community



1 and some that are slightly outside of the

2 community are billboards of the same size or

3 larger and we are just looking to do

4 something that is consistent, proven

5 industry standard that no one I think would

6 argue with as far as the placement of it,

7 the location of it.

8 And in addition to that we are

9 going to be eliminating two, as you just

10 pointed out, older non-conforming signs that

11 will remain there for as long as they will

12 and my guess is it's going to be a

13 considerable period of time functioning as

14 they are in favor of a modern messaging

15 board that will allow us to access some

16 extremely important messaging capability to

17 shore up some dwindling attendance at a very

18 difficult time in order to try to maintain

19 the economic impact, the very positive

20 economic impact that this facility has.

21 So, I understand what you are saying,

22 but I also think that there is a little bit

23 of a more basic aspect of this request as

24 well as, I am hopeful showing some of the



1 more regularity hardship and uniqueness

2 aspect as well.

3 MS. KUDLA: As for a point of

4 clarification. What I mean by about review

5 is that the City has become aware of some of

6 these other signs and is reviewing right now

7 whether they are in conflict with the

8 Ordinance, and whether enforcement action

9 needs to be taken, so it may be determined

10 that these are not signs that are going to

11 be permitted in the long run.

12 MR. BOWMAN: And I don't know how to

13 respond to that nor do I know how to respond

14 to the Counsel's is reviewing things --

15 MS. KUDLA: I guess I'm not asking you

16 for a response --

17 MR. BOWMAN: I don't know if they are

18 in favor or not in favor. I am in a

19 position where, again, I think that what I

20 am looking to do is improve the signage that

21 is there considerably. Be more sensitive to

22 the environmental features. Be able to

23 hopefully deliver a more appropriate message

24 for the attending public and the general



1 public which are key and important to us

2 continuing to be successful in this

3 community. That's what I am looking to do.


5 Mr. Wrobel?

6 MEMBER WROBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

7 First off, I really like the facility there

8 and with the hotel going on I think you are

9 going to do well. It's a real jewel for the

10 City of Novi and we want to do what we can

11 do to keep you prosperous, because it keeps

12 us prosperous. Though I'm curious, the new

13 sign is going to be 25 percent for your

14 events?

15 MR. BOWMAN: Correct.

16 MEMBER WROBEL: You already have a

17 sign on the expressway?

18 MR. BOWMAN: Correct.

19 MEMBER WROBEL: So, to me that's two

20 signs on the expressway for the same

21 location. I have kind of a queasy feeling

22 about that.

23 MR. BOWMAN: Well, and that's why again

24 we're not looking to take the hundred



1 percent. We are talking about the

2 improvement to the expressway signage aspect

3 of it versus what's there. And, frankly, if

4 you travel and in the location here there is

5 a conservation easement that we granted to

6 the State. And our existing marquis sign

7 with a much smaller reader board than

8 frankly we wanted to have approved to begin

9 with. Is not in any way, shape or form

10 effectively delivering a message for

11 eastbound traffic at all. Eastbound traffic

12 because of the topography and the distances

13 from the expressway has a view of the sign

14 for a long time, but it's not legible, it's

15 not readable. It does an effective job

16 frankly from the standpoint of letting

17 people know it's the Rock Financial

18 Showplace. It does distinctly do that.

19 But as far as delivering information.

20 And, again, I would urge you to read letters

21 and testimony and requests from the show

22 producers, our old changeable copies

23 (unintelligible) sign did a much better job.

24 Again, we're not here asking for something



1 gross as far as having that on constantly

2 for our usage, but I do believe it will be a

3 major improvement to the signage and it will

4 give us access to consistent rotation to let

5 people know what's going on. And we're

6 seeing a deterioration in attendance. And

7 with these economic times and we look

8 forward to making the investment that you

9 reference too. But it's all part of the

10 package and, again, there are very few

11 things that the community can do and I would

12 suggest that this one being in and amongst a

13 series of already existing signs up and down

14 that corridor it is not going to be

15 inconsistent in any way, similarly treated.

16 I think that we would just ask that we have

17 the opportunity to use that messaging.

18 MEMBER WROBEL: As I said earlier I

19 want to see your business do well there

20 because it's good for the City, but also we

21 want to do what's right for the City. And

22 now with the Ordinance Review Committee

23 talking about the changeable signs, do we

24 have any kind of a time period that we know



1 that something is going to be coming on

2 that?

3 MS. KUDLA: I believe it is the next

4 agenda that the issue is going to be

5 discussed at the next meeting.

6 MEMBER WROBEL: I personally would feel

7 a lot better if we would hold off on this

8 until we get the direction of what comes

9 from the City. That way we know what we're

10 dealing with. We might need variances or

11 request to do it, or we might not. I don't

12 know what they're coming out with.

13 Personally I would think it would wise on

14 both parties to wait on something like this

15 until we know what's coming from them. What

16 is your thought on that? Is that something

17 you would be willing to do?

18 MR. BOWMAN: I certainly would be at

19 this stage because I can see your point. I

20 guess it depends on how everybody is going

21 to vote. And I'm almost not tongue and

22 cheek about that because I went through a

23 process here where I have waited for a

24 considerable period of time. Since you can



1 even see in the June, July time frame is

2 when we first started receiving the very

3 stern written comments from our folks. And,

4 again, we're in a position that, again,

5 we're fighting for our market share. Others

6 are coming. Kalamazoo is looking to bond

7 publically a facility. Cobo is expanding.

8 Chesterfield Township is on the move and all

9 it needs is the Governor's signature.

10 So, we are looking to do whatever

11 we can to just stabilize and sustain what

12 hopes to be a positive impact, so any delay

13 in that is of concern to me. And, again, I

14 don't know what the process might hold then.

15 I know what the delays have done in the past

16 and it's something I rather not, but if

17 that's the wish of the Board, then certainly

18 I will respect that.

19 MS. KUDLA: Through the Chair, a point

20 of clarification on the timing. It might be

21 the next Ordinance Review Committee which

22 occurs in January and then the following

23 City Council meeting which occurs in

24 February.



1 MEMBER WROBEL: But it's right around

2 the corner basically we're looking at.

3 MS. KUDLA: It's an upcoming topic.

4 MR. BOWMAN: That would be my only

5 question. Again, knowing Ordinances at

6 least enough to be dangerous, are you saying

7 that they would actually enact some type of

8 Ordinance change by February or March or

9 something? I think there would probably

10 have to be --

11 MS. KUDLA: I don't think there is a

12 specific time frame for an enactment, but

13 it's for the discussion is what's pending on

14 the policy.

15 MR. BOWMAN: Let me just maybe react

16 in this way. Maybe could I ask respectfully

17 that there be a vote? And regardless of

18 what the outcome of that vote, particularly

19 if it would be in a negative to me, then

20 maybe what comes from this committee could

21 yield some other clarification. But if on

22 the alternative the Board would consider

23 what I have laid out as an important enough

24 request that they would see clear to pass it



1 currently and now, that would obviously,

2 again, be my desire.

3 MEMBER WROBEL: Another issue I have

4 for the City and I may be a layman and not

5 know everything. So, we are talking about

6 State requirements plus the City

7 requirements. I would just like to know who

8 supercedes who? How are they intertwined?

9 What do we end up following? And I just

10 don't have that kind of information here

11 from what I could tell and I don't want to

12 make a wrong decision. I would like to know

13 exactly what the facts are before I make a

14 decision. Or is it something that I

15 shouldn't be concerned with?

16 MS. KUDLA: It's something that we

17 could put together a legal opinion as far as

18 what the State requirements are currently

19 under Statute versus what the current City

20 requirements are.

21 MEMBER WROBEL: That might be

22 something I would be interested in seeing.

23 If my feet were held to the fire today I

24 would probably vote against it from the



1 perspective I would want to see what's

2 coming out from the Ordinance Review

3 Committee. I don't want to jump ahead. And

4 hopefully the discussion will be in a short

5 time period. I just don't want to make the

6 leap right now. I would like to see what

7 they come up with first. Thank you, Mr.

8 Chair.


10 Wrobel. Yes, Mr. Ghannam?

11 MEMBER GHANNAM: Thank you, Mr. Chair,

12 I do have some similar concerns as Mr.

13 Wrobel regarding some of those issues and

14 the timing of it. You understand we don't

15 write the Ordinances?

16 MR. BOWMAN: I understand.

17 MEMBER GHANNAM: We are just here

18 granting variances if applicable. Because

19 there are, I'm sure cities and states

20 understand there are exceptions to the rule,

21 and that's what we give, exceptions to the

22 rule. We need to know what the rule is,

23 though, if it's upcoming.

24 I have actually got a couple of



1 questions beyond that. First, in terms of

2 where these existing signs are and where the

3 new proposed sign will be, who owns that

4 property? Is it your company that owns that

5 owns that property?

6 MR. BOWMAN: Yes, yes.

7 MEMBER GHANNAM: Would the sign also

8 be owned by your company?

9 MR. BOWMAN: Yes, ServMan has been

10 established as an LLC, a separate and

11 independent LLC from the main ownership of

12 the Rock Financial Showplace which is TBON,

13 T-B-O-N, The Best of Novi, LLC.

14 MEMBER GHANNAM: You mentioned CBS.

15 What relationship --

16 MR. BOWMAN: They are the outdoor

17 advertising company along with like Adams

18 and others that do the construction,

19 erection and advertising on a regular basis

20 of these types of signs and structures

21 around the country.

22 MEMBER GHANNAM: Is this sign a source

23 of revenue for your company or CBS or a

24 combination?



1 MR. BOWMAN: Well, predominantly for

2 CBS. There is a modest amount of base

3 rental type of a deal. We have negotiated

4 in this new arrangement, again, it's a

5 sizable investment that they would be making

6 in this. And what we are getting

7 predominantly out of that is nothing

8 significantly more than the base for the two

9 smaller signs and what we're looking for is

10 this ability to access the messaging.

11 MEMBER GHANNAM: And just a couple of

12 questions for the City. We are looking at,

13 the way I read it, five different variances?

14 Is that accurate from the proposal?

15 MS. KUDLA: It appears to be five

16 separate variances. And I believe the last

17 one is dependant on because there wasn't

18 very much information or not enough to know

19 how much the changeable proposal was or what

20 the proposal was.

21 MEMBER GHANNAM: Could we even grant

22 that today or deny that for that matter? Or

23 was that properly advertised?

24 MS. KUDLA: It's properly advertised



1 in that we are advertising more than what

2 they're asking for, so it would have to be

3 limited to something less than that. So, if

4 they're asking for more than what's

5 advertised they would have to be re-noticed

6 and come back.

7 MEMBER GHANNAM: And in terms of the

8 one that pertains to the square footage.

9 For instance, it says there is no more than

10 15 foot in height, and I believe you

11 indicated his is 50 foot, approximately 50

12 foot in height?

13 MR. BOWMAN: Correct.

14 MEMBER GHANNAM: And then the 300

15 square footage in the area. You said one

16 side was going to be 672 and there is going

17 to be two sides. Do we include both sides as

18 part of the variance? Is it 672 times two?

19 MR. AMOLSCH: No, the back to back

20 signs we only take those the one sign, the

21 sign area.

22 MEMBER GHANNAM: So, the variance

23 would be 372 square foot? (Unintelligible).

24 MR. BOULARD: If I can jump in?




2 MR. BOULARD: I believe the wide side

3 of of the V is approximately 30 feet.

4 MR. BOWMAN: Again I think we show two

5 different variations. One which would be a

6 back to back sign on a single mono-pole

7 approach and that's easily constructed if it

8 were to be deemed that it needed to be

9 positioned differently from the standpoint

10 of visibility or site conditions than we

11 could do a side loaded pole. Typically I

12 think those then are constructed in more of

13 a V shape. But we could do either.

14 MR. BOULARD: The reason I mentioned

15 it is because the area of the sign is

16 calculated differently depending on how far

17 the two sides are apart. If the are

18 separated by more than a certain distance.

19 If it's a triangle as opposed to just back

20 to back then at some point, in fact, if they

21 are at no point more than two feet from

22 another, the area sign is taking one face or

23 larger two, the total of the two if it's

24 more than two feet is how I understand it.



1 Is that correct?

2 MR. AMOLSCH: Correct.

3 MR. BOULARD: So, in this case if it

4 was the V shape configuration with 30 feet,

5 obviously that's more than the two feet, so

6 both faces would be included.

7 MEMBER GHANNAM: So as part of this

8 proposal we would take 672 times two and

9 then subtract 300, and that would be the

10 variance? Does that make sense?

11 MR. AMOLSCH: If that's what was

12 proposed, yes.

13 MS. KUDLA: That would be 300 for each

14 side variance?

15 MR. AMOLSCH: Right.

16 MEMBER GHANNAM: Oh, 300 per side?

17 MR. AMOLSCH: Per side on a V side

18 sign.

19 MEMBER GHANNAM: So, we would subtract

20 600 total? If we would take 672 times two

21 minus 600, 300 for each sign? Okay, just so

22 I get an idea.

23 Another mention is made of the 1200

24 foot distance from the other sign across the



1 freeway. Is that a separate variance in

2 addition to the five?

3 MR. AMOLSCH: No, that's included in

4 the --

5 MEMBER GHANNAM: That's one of the

6 five?

7 MR. AMOLSCH: Yes, that's one of the

8 five, yes.

9 MR. BOWMAN: We could easily if that

10 truly is a major concern, we could position

11 the new sign further to the west. And spot

12 it on the west side of the property.

13 MEMBER GHANNAM: Well, I mean, all

14 variances are, of course, our concern. I

15 mean, we have to analyze these things as you

16 bring them forward. In addition to granting

17 five, one of my major concern is the policy

18 that the City might set that may be contrary

19 to what it is now. I am very unclear as to

20 that as well as potential other legal

21 issues. I also heard by the way that there

22 was some kind of moratorium on the signs

23 with the State?

24 MS. KUDLA: The State Statute, you



1 have to turn in your existing sign permits

2 in order to get a permit to put up another

3 billboard sign. So there is a whole section

4 of the Statute regarding what you would have

5 to do to get what permit.

6 MEMBER GHANNAM: So, even if we did

7 approve it at some point it's still subject

8 to State approval?

9 MS. KUDLA: Correct. He would have to

10 get State permits. As far as the issue of

11 the changeable copy sign, right now it is

12 prohibited for this type of sign. It's only

13 permitted on business ground sign. This is

14 not a business ground sign. So, to have a

15 changeable copy sign at this point would be

16 a variance from the current rule. And

17 what's being considered by Ordinance Review

18 Committee is specifically with respect to

19 billboards.

20 MEMBER GHANNAM: Again, I too enjoy

21 your place. And I think it's a gem for the

22 City. But in terms of these multiple issues

23 that we have, I would be in favor of either

24 tabling it until we get guidance from the



1 committees or the council or potentially

2 deciding against it at this point, which I

3 don't want to do without all the

4 information. That would be my comments

5 right now. Thank you.


7 Yes?

8 MEMBER SKELCY: I just have a

9 question. If you were given the variances

10 to have the sign what would you do with that

11 current sign which is unreadable to

12 eastbound 696?

13 MR. BOWMAN: We would leave it in

14 place. It is more, I guess, a monument sign.

15 We would also I think be able to have the

16 flexibility of having the reader board

17 deliver a much more static message and with

18 the inventory of the 25 percent on the new

19 board, it would open up a great deal of

20 flexibility and make it more useable for

21 when it is readable and viewable.

22 MEMBER SKELCY: Thank you.

23 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Mr. Bowman, have

24 you prepared kind of a prototype for this



1 site what you propose to put on it?

2 MR. BOWMAN: As far as like what it

3 looks like?


5 another way. If I understand correctly, one

6 side of your sign is going to be static?

7 MR. BOWMAN: Correct.

8 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: The second sign,

9 25 percent of that area you are going to use

10 as the changeable copy?

11 MR. BOWMAN: No, no. And, again, the

12 prototypical model of it would be similar

13 to, in fact, identical to the Beck Road and

14 96 sign that's there. A full 14 by 48 state

15 of the art LED digital board. We would then

16 get 25 percent of the rotation of the

17 messaging on that. The other side would be

18 a static hard scaped board. And, again,

19 there is another one just to the west of

20 Wixom Road as well. So, if you wanted to

21 see them, and that's when Charles and I

22 spoke about it, he was gracious enough to

23 say that I didn't have to construct a

24 plywood mockup. I would be duct taping a



1 lot of TVs to it to make it a digital board.

2 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: I am just trying

3 to visualize what it might look like. Do you

4 have some artistic impression of anything

5 about what it's going to look like?

6 MR. BOWMAN: Well, it's already up.

7 If you go to Beck Road and 96 on the

8 eastbound ramp to 96 off of Beck Road that

9 is --

10 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: It is the same

11 thing?

12 MR. BOWMAN: It is the exact type of

13 structure that we would be proposing.

14 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: So, it's not any

15 different than what you already got?

16 MR. BOWMAN: No, that's not on our

17 property. It's not on our showplace

18 property.


20 Anybody else? As far as I can see, the

21 issue here is that the current signs are not

22 conforming signs. The new sign would be a

23 larger sign. And do you have a changeable

24 copy part of the Ordinance is being



1 reviewed? Do we have enough information

2 regarding the position of the State versus

3 that of the City? And I like this place too

4 much to outright reject this application.

5 Because the application can be performed. I

6 don't know how all of you feel, but I think

7 we should give it a lot more time and energy

8 and consider it before making a hasty

9 decision. Okay, before making a hasty

10 decision. So, I will be inclined really to

11 table this and let us look at it in little

12 more depth another time around.

13 Yes, Mr. Wrobel?

14 MEMBER WROBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

15 To staff. If we would decide to vote on it

16 and it would be voted down, then he would

17 have to come before us again and start the

18 whole process over again, correct?

19 MS. KUDLA: He would. Do we have a

20 timing requirement in our Ordinance to come

21 back on the same request?


23 MS. KUDLA: He could start right over.

24 MEMBER WROBEL: But it would be to his



1 benefit if we would table it and that way he

2 doesn't have to start it over again. We are

3 just tabling the issue until we get the

4 information we require.

5 MS. KUDLA: So, you're looking for an

6 additional legal opinion on the State versus

7 the City standard?

8 MEMBER WROBEL: If the rest of my

9 commissioners would like to see that, I

10 personally would. I don't know what their

11 feeling is. I think yes we would. I we

12 would also want to await information from

13 the Ordinance Review Committee.


15 I would hate to turn it down. It's too

16 important an issue.

17 MEMBER WROBEL: I want to do what's

18 best for him. I don't want him to go through

19 the process again.

20 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: It is not just

21 Mr. Bowman here, there are a lot of other

22 implications regarding this business and the

23 different aspects of the City. I think we

24 need to be very, very careful before we turn



1 it down . So my feeling is that maybe we

2 should table this. And I don't know whether

3 we should go home and think about it. But

4 to me this would be the best way out at this

5 point time.

6 MR. BOWMAN: If that is certainly the

7 preference of the Board, it sounds like it

8 is, I won't object to that. And would hope

9 to have an opportunity then on a reasonably

10 objective basis to deal with the remainder

11 of the City decision makers on it.


13 care to entertain a motion to that affect?

14 MS. KUDLA: We could make a motion to

15 table it if you are looking to table for a

16 legal opinion. If you are looking to table

17 it for the Ordinance Review Committee, that

18 would have to be a mutual agreement of the

19 property owner.


21 the timetable do we?

22 MS. KUDLA: We don't know the exact

23 time period. My understanding is the

24 Ordinance Review Committee is this month and



1 then it would be discussed by City Council

2 in February.

3 MEMBER WROBEL: If we table it, when

4 do we table it to next meeting waiting a

5 legal opinion? Or do we want to table it to

6 March when we get hopefully the opinion from

7 Council and the Review Committee?

8 MS. KUDLA: Well, we could have the

9 opinion by the next meeting. We can have a

10 legal opinion by the next meeting. So, if

11 you are going to table it any further than

12 that, it would have to be by mutual consent

13 of the parties.

14 MEMBER WROBEL: It seems like there is

15 two parts. We're looking at the legal

16 opinion and then we are waiting to see what

17 the City is going to say. And I don't want

18 to have to make you come --

19 MR. BOWMAN: Could I get clarification

20 of what the legal opinion would be about?

21 What exactly are you looking for a legal

22 opinion on?

23 MEMBER WROBEL: I would just like to

24 compare State requirements versus the City



1 requirements. Who superceded who and

2 everything of that nature.

3 MR. BOWMAN: And again, unfortunately

4 I have learned too much about this stuff

5 lately. I will tell you that I believe it's

6 already been referred to. That the City is

7 able to regulate signage. And I think has

8 the ability to actually be more restrictive

9 than a State requirement. The State

10 requirement is basically, I'm not sure if

11 they refer to it as a moratorium, but I know

12 they are limited as of the date certain

13 allowed in the past, the number of signs

14 that are allowed on the expressway and major

15 thoroughfares as they call it. And that it

16 was frozen. Now those permits can be

17 transferred, moved around, bought, sold, all

18 those types of things. The only requirement

19 really that they have is a proximity

20 requirement of 1000 feet. They do not

21 recognize across the expressway as something

22 that would be conflicting with that. The

23 expressway is a barrier. And so, again, I

24 am not in any way, shape or form here



1 contending that the City doesn't have the

2 right to regulate signs, nor that we don't

3 need variances. I was unclear exactly as to

4 what variances we did need. And all I was

5 saying is whatever we might need to put up

6 this particular type of sign is what we're

7 asking for. And that's probably not real

8 artful or graceful, but that's what we were

9 looking for.

10 If you are looking for a concurrence

11 from me to await some determination from the

12 Ordinance Review Committee and have the

13 opportunity hopefully to actually

14 participate in those discussions and provide

15 input, I would love to have that opportunity

16 and would be willing to wait.

17 MEMBER GHANNAM: Then why don't I make

18 this suggestion. Why don't we table this

19 for two months. Not in February's meeting,

20 but in March's meeting by mutual agreement

21 so we can have what we need from the City

22 and hopefully you will get some input and we

23 can get some input from the City Review and

24 potentially even City Council if that's



1 acceptable to you?

2 MR. BOWMAN: That's fine.

3 MEMBER GHANNAM: I would go ahead to

4 make that motion to adjourn to the March

5 meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals by

6 mutual agreement for the reasons we just

7 stated.

8 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Motion has been

9 made. A second?

10 MEMBER IBE: Second.


12 seconded by Mr. Ibe. Any further

13 discussion? Yes?

14 MR. AMOLSCH: Through the Chair, I

15 would like to settle the issue of exactly

16 what kind of sign you are going to be using

17 whether it's going to be a V

18 sign or single face sign?

19 MR. BOWMAN: My preference would be a

20 double faced mono-pole sign not V.

21 MR. AMOLSCH: Okay, because that's

22 what we originally reviewed because they

23 will make a difference.

24 MR. BOWMAN: The only thing I was



1 saying, Al, that's why I would be pleased to

2 have it subject to site visitations. Even on

3 the height I would be willing to come lower

4 if height was a major concern if we could

5 find and position it on the site. We have

6 got a half a mile of frontage to work with

7 and I'm all about putting it in the best

8 spot. And the State even suggested that

9 they would come out and have their local

10 representative work with us on that as well

11 too.

12 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay. The motion

13 has been made and seconded. And I don't see

14 any further discussion. So, will you please

15 call the roll.

16 MR. BOULARD: Member Bauer?


18 MR. BOULARD: Member Wrobel?


20 MR. BOULARD: Member Ghannam?


22 MR. BOULARD: Member Ibe?


24 MR. BOULARD: Member Krieger?




2 MR. BOULARD: Chairman Sanghvi?


4 MR. BOULARD: Member Skelcy?

5 MS. SKELCY: Yes.

6 MR. BOULARD: Motion to table or

7 adjourn until March is approved 6-1.

8 MR. BOWMAN: I thank you very much. I

9 appreciate your time.


11 completes our agenda and there is no other

12 business --

13 MEMBER WROBEL: Motion to adjourn.

14 MEMBER BAUER: Second.


16 adjourn moved, so moved and is second. All

17 those in favor say aye?



20 adjourned. Thank you.

21 (The meeting was adjourned at

22 9:41 p.m.)





1 C E R T I F I C A T E



4 I, Mona L. Talton, do hereby certify

5 that I have recorded stenographically the

6 proceedings had and testimony taken in the

7 above-entitled matter at the time and place

8 hereinbefore set forth, and I do further

9 certify that the foregoing transcript,

10 consisting of (121) typewritten pages, is a

11 true and correct transcript of my said

12 stenographic notes.






18 _____________________________

19 Mona L. Talton,

20 Certified Shorthand Reporter


22 January 16, 2009