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MEETING - ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
Proceedings had and testimony taken in the matters of the ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS, at City of Novi, 45175 West Ten Mile Road, Novi, Michigan, Tuesday, October 13, 2009.
1 Novi, Michigan
2 Tuesday, October 13, 2009
3 7:00 p.m.
4 - - - - - -
5 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Good evening. I
6 would like to call to order the October 13,
7 2009 meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals
8 for City of Novi.
9 Mr. Wrobel, would you kindly lead us
10 in the pledge of allegiance.
11 BOARD MEMBERS: I pledge allegiance to
12 the flag of the United States of America and
13 to the republic for which it stands, one
14 nation under God indivisible with liberty
15 and justice for all.
16 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you. Ms.
17 Martin, will you please call the roll.
18 MS. MARTIN: Member Bauer?
19 MEMBER BAUER: Present.
20 MS. MARTIN: Chairman Sanghvi?
21 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Here.
22 MS. MARTIN: Member Wrobel?
23 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Here.
24 MS. MARTIN: Member Ghannam?
1 MEMBER GHANNAM: Here.
2 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
3 MEMBER KRIEGER: Here.
4 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
5 MEMBER IBE: Present.
6 MS. MARTIN: Member Cassis?
7 MEMBER CASSIS: Here.
8 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: That's you.
9 MEMBER CASSIS: I said here.
10 MS. MARTIN: Oh, okay, I'm sorry. I
11 didn't hear you.
12 And Member Skelcy will be absent
14 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you, Ms.
15 Martin. We do have a quorum and the meeting
16 is now in session.
17 I would like to go over the rules of
18 conduct. Just a friendly reminder to please
19 turn off all your cell phones and pagers.
20 Individual applicants may take up to five
21 minutes and groups may take up to ten
22 minutes to address the Board.
23 Zoning Board of Appeals is a hearing
24 board empowered by the Novi City Charter to
1 hear appeals seeking variances from the
2 application of the Novi Zoning Ordinances.
3 It takes a vote of at least four members to
4 approve a variance, and a vote of the
5 majority of the members present to deny a
6 variance. Tonight we have a full Board so
7 all decisions made will be final.
8 Let's look at agenda. Are there any
9 changes to the agenda?
10 MS. MARTIN: No, there is not.
11 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: May I have a
12 motion to accept the agenda as presented?
13 MEMBER BAUER: So moved.
14 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Second.
15 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you. All
16 those in favor of accepting the agenda
17 please signify by saying aye?
18 BOARD MEMBERS: Aye.
19 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: All opposed same
20 sign. Very good. Now we have an agenda.
21 We do have minutes also. Are there
22 any changes, additions, deletions, omissions
23 to the minutes? Seeing none, I would
24 entertain a motion to approve the minutes.
1 MEMBER BAUER: Move to approve the
2 minutes of September.
3 MEMBER IBE: Second.
4 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: All those in
5 favor please say aye?
6 BOARD MEMBERS: Aye.
7 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: All those
8 opposed same sign.
9 Thank you. At this point the meeting
10 is open for public remark section. Anybody
11 in the audience may address the Board
12 regarding any subject other than the items
13 on the agenda.
14 (No response.)
15 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Seeing none,
16 we'll close the public remarks section, and
17 move on to our first case on the agenda.
18 Is the Applicant here? Will you
19 please come forward, identify yourself.
20 Give your name and address, and if you are
21 not an attorney please be sworn in by our
23 MR. MITSEFF: I am not an attorney.
24 MEMBER BAUER: Would you raise your
1 right hand. Do you swear or affirm to tell
2 the truth regarding case: 09-038?
3 MR. MITSEFF: Yes.
4 MEMBER BAUER: Thank you.
5 MR. MITSEFF (ph): My name is Joseph
6 Mitseff. My address is 2541 Commerce in
7 Commerce Township, and I am here on behalf
8 of Singh Management for the item. Mike Kahn
9 is the one who sent in this request for the
10 two-year extension of the real estate sign
11 for Main Street Phase II. He could not be
12 here today so I was asked to come forward.
13 The request for the real estate sign
14 which is in the packet is basically -- is a
15 need base request. The property, Phase II,
16 has not surpassed 80% occupancy this entire
17 year. It's been at -- obviously you all
18 know as Mike says in his letter, it's very
19 tough, a very tough market. We continue to
20 have a slow down in international traffic
21 which has been one of the lifelines for Main
22 Street Village in the past. There is common
23 misconception for many of Singh properties,
24 especially Main Street Village that it is a
1 condominium community. And to have some
2 sort of sign present on the property that
3 identifies it has apartments or townhomes is
4 very helpful.
5 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: That's it?
6 MR. MITSEFF: That's all I have.
7 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Just to remind
8 the people at home, we are talking about
9 case number: 09-038 at 25300 Constitution in
10 Main Street Village. The Petitioner is
11 requesting an extension to the variance of
12 ZBA08-034 to allow the continued placement
13 of the existing real estate sign located
14 south of Potomac Drive in Main Street
16 Is there anybody in the audience who
17 would like to address the Board regarding
18 this case?
19 (No response.)
20 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Seeing none,
21 we'll close the public remark section. And
22 Mr. Boulard?
23 MR. BOULARD: I have nothing to add
24 beyond the comments in your packet, with the
1 exception of noting that the entrance to the
2 development is quite a ways off of Grand
3 River and off of Novi Road.
4 And then lastly, one question. I
5 understand this is a leasing community and,
6 so, there is always going to be vacancies,
7 and I guess my concern is there is repeated
8 extensions and variances and so on. Is
9 there an end date in sight?
10 MR. MITSEFF: Typically if we can get
11 to a sustained occupancy of 90% and try to
12 maintain that occupancy, I would say there
13 would no longer be a need. We have not
14 achieved that type of occupancy at that
16 MR. BOULARD: Nothing else.
17 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you. Mr.
18 Secretary, do we have any correspondence
19 regarding this?
20 MEMBER BAUER: No, we don't. We have
21 22 mailed notices. Three returns and no
23 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Very good. Then
24 I will open this up to the Board for
2 You know, the sign has been around for
3 quite a few years and have had a few
4 previous extensions. And sometimes I wonder
5 whether it is effective to have your other
6 sign at all. Does it do anything for you,
7 the one sign on Main?
8 MR. MITSEFF: Sure it does. Like I
9 said, people who do visit the downtown area,
10 the Post Bar, they do see that sign. And
11 also like I said, when people drive into the
12 community, and it is seen once you drive
13 into the community rather than being outside
14 of the community, you are immediately hit
15 with it that they are apartments or they are
16 townhomes. They are not condominiums.
17 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you. Yes,
18 Mr. Cassis?
19 MEMBER CASSIS: Thank you, Mr.
20 Chairman. You know, in the letter that the
21 Petitioner has sent us, he concludes that,
22 "Unfortunately now that the auto industry is
23 downsizing, a significant amount of the
24 transferee market has dried up further
1 aggravating the leasing and marketing
2 efforts. The occupancy rates have fallen
3 over the past year."
4 Needless to say, this has been going
5 on for quite a while and it's all over.
6 It's taking place all over our town, all
7 over the state. But if we do not allow this
8 Petitioner to put that sign in the area,
9 what's the alternative? The alternative is
10 that he cannot lease the spaces and,
11 therefore, we have a worse situation in our
12 city. Now, I know our -- Mr. Boulard there
13 says, you know, you keep having extensions.
14 Well, economic conditions in this state and
15 in this city have been having extensions,
16 extensions. So, Mr. Chairman, due to that
17 really chronic situation that we are
18 experiencing in this state and in our
19 community, I would be voting for this.
20 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
21 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you. Yes,
22 Mr. Bauer?
23 MEMBER BAUER: What's your percentage
24 now of occupancy?
1 MR. MITSEFF: Phase II is about 78%.
2 Phase I is slightly above that, 81%.
3 MEMBER BAUER: Thank you.
4 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes, Mr. Wrobel?
5 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Thank you,
6 Mr. Chair. This is very similar to the
7 request that Mr. Kahn came before us for the
8 senior housing at the Twelve Oaks Mall.
9 Multiple times with extensions because the
10 occupancy rate is not at the desired level.
11 I understand the market and I know you need
12 to get it out there. But at that time we
13 gave him a suggestion in that case, and I
14 will give you the same suggestion this time.
15 Why don't you try to incorporate this
16 information for leasing on your monument
17 sign out front. That would eliminate the
18 need for this sign in the future. I would
19 seriously like you to consider that. I
20 could go along with an extension this time,
21 but next time this -- you know, we have four
22 already, this would be the fifth extension.
23 And as was mentioned, when does extension
24 become a permanent sign basis?
1 MR. MITSEFF: Certainly. And I
2 understand that and I was here last time
3 when Mr. Kahn was talking about Walden at
4 Twelve Oaks. And I do remember those
5 remarks, and they didn't fall on death ears.
6 We are talking about -- obviously there is a
7 cost that goes into that kind of thing, but
8 we are trying to come up with ways to better
9 identify our communities as rental
10 communities within our monument sign.
11 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay.
12 That's all, Mr. Chair.
13 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you.
14 Yes, Mr. Ghannam?
15 MEMBER GHANNAM: I also have an issue
16 with the timing and the multiple requests.
17 However, I would be willing to grant an
18 extension, but you mentioned two years in
19 your presentation. I personally would not
20 go along with that. I would consider a
21 one-year extension just like you received in
22 the past.
23 MR. MITSEFF: Okay.
24 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Very good. Do I
1 entertain a motion from somebody? Go ahead.
2 MEMBER GHANNAM: I will go ahead and
3 make a motion, Mr. Chair. In case number:
4 09-038 for 25300 Constitution, I would move
5 to approve the sign as requested for a
6 period of one year. Although it wasn't
7 mentioned in the presentation, we did
8 receive information in the packet showing
9 that this is a little bit of unusual
10 circumstances in terms of positioning of the
11 sign as well as the property. So,
12 therefore, it's based on circumstances of
13 features that are exceptional and unique to
14 the property. The failure to grant relief
15 would unreasonably prevent or limit the use
16 of the property, and will result in
17 substantially more than a mere
18 inconvenience. And that the grant of relief
19 will not result in the use of a structure
20 that is incompatible with or unreasonably
21 interferes with adjacent properties.
22 MEMBER BAUER: Second.
23 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: The motion has
24 been made and seconded. Do I see any
1 further discussion? Seeing none, Ms.
2 Martin, will you please call the roll.
3 MS. MARTIN: Member Bauer?
4 MEMBER BAUER: Yes.
5 MS. MARTIN: Member Cassis?
6 MEMBER CASSIS: Yes.
7 MS. MARTIN: Member Ghannam?
8 MEMBER GHANNAM: Yes.
9 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
10 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
11 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
12 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
13 MS. MARTIN: Chairman Sanghvi?
14 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes.
15 MS. MARTIN: Member Wrobel?
16 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Yes.
17 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you.
18 MR. MITSEFF: Thank you.
19 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Very good.
20 Moving on to the next case, case number:
21 09-039, 26050 Novi Road, Novi Town Center.
22 The Petitioner is requesting a variance to
23 allow installation of one additional 58
24 square foot wall sign on the east elevation
1 of the multi tenant building located at
2 26050 Novi Road for AT&T. The property is
3 zoned TC and located north of Grand River
4 and east of Novi Road.
5 Is the petitioner here? Would you
6 please come forward and -- yes, Mr. Wrobel?
7 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Mr. Chair, I
8 will put this out to my fellow Board
9 members. I am an employee of AT&T and if
10 you desire I will recuse myself from this
12 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: As far as I am
13 concerned AT&T has hundreds of employees and
14 I don't think this is going to make any
15 difference in your decision-making process,
16 but I will leave it to the rest of the
18 MS. KUDLA: I would say a motion to
19 recuse is in order.
20 MEMBER BAUER: Yes.
21 MEMBER GHANNAM: I will move to have
22 Member Wrobel recused.
23 MEMBER IBE: I will second.
24 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: All those in
1 favor say aye?
2 BOARD MEMBERS: Aye.
3 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay, we will
4 see you in a few minutes. Thank you.
5 MEMBER BAUER: But don't go home.
6 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Would you please
7 identify yourself, state your name and
8 address, and if you are not an attorney be
9 sworn in by our Secretary, please.
10 MS. DEMLOWE (ph): I am not an
12 MEMBER BAUER: Raise your right hand.
13 Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth
14 regarding case: 09-039?
15 MS. DEMLOWE: I do. My name is Carrie
16 Demlowe. I work for Allied Signs. My
17 address is 33650 Giftos Drive, Clinton
18 Township, Michigan.
19 I am here before you today to request
20 a variance for a second sign at the AT&T
21 store located on Novi Road. We recently
22 installed the letter set that is fronting
23 Novi Road, and the second letter set that we
24 are requesting for is on the east elevation
1 which would have visibility coming, going
2 westbound on Grand River and then within the
3 shopping center. The banner was installed,
4 so I am sure that all of you have already
5 driven by it and got a chance to look at it.
6 The basic hardship would be the lack,
7 the obvious lack of visibility coming off of
8 Grand River going westbound, and then within
9 the shopping center.
10 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: That's it?
11 MS. DEMLOWE: That's it.
12 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you. Is
13 there anybody in the audience who would like
14 to address the Board regarding this case?
15 (No response.)
16 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Seeing none, we
17 will close the public remark section. Mr.
19 MR. BOULARD: Thank you. This is a
20 request similar to the Bagger Dave's request
21 and several others that we have seen
22 previously. These are buildings where the
23 frontage is on Novi Road, or some of the
24 adjacent ones is on Grand River, but the
1 actual entrance is on the other side. So,
2 it's not dissimilar to previous variance
3 requests you have seen.
4 One housekeeping note. The
5 application that you have in your packet
6 does not show the property owner's
7 signature, but I believe the original that's
8 in the Chairman's packet now has that. So,
9 that issue is resolved.
10 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Very good. Thank
11 you. Mr. Secretary, do we have any
13 MEMBER BAUER: Seventy-two notices
14 were mailed. Six returned. One approval.
15 "We have no problem with the
16 additional sign. In today's economic
17 climate businesses need all the help they
18 can get." And that is from Novi Auto Parts.
19 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you.
20 I will open it up to the Board.
21 Yes, Mr. Ghannam?
22 MEMBER GHANNAM: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
23 Is this a move from the other location on
24 Grand River, the AT&T store?
1 MS. DEMLOWE: You know, I'm not really
2 sure. I heard you guys talking about that
3 before the meeting had started and I'm not a
4 hundred percent sure if they are moving or
5 exactly what their plan was. Or maybe that
6 one is a company owned one and this is a
7 franchise one. I'm not --
8 MEMBER GHANNAM: This is a wireless
10 MS. DEMLOWE: Yes, an AT&T wireless
11 store, yes.
12 MEMBER GHANNAM: Yeah, there is one on
13 the opposite side of Grand River on the
14 southeast corner maybe a block off of Novi
15 Road. Also, the two signs will be identical
16 obviously, correct?
17 MS. DEMLOWE: Yes.
18 MEMBER GHANNAM: Yeah, also as Mr.
19 Boulard mentioned there has been a number of
20 businesses at that corner and it is a very
21 unusual corner and there is very heavy
22 traffic going both ways. So, I don't see
23 any problem with the sign as requested. I
24 think it is within the same type of
1 circumstances of surrounding businesses and
2 that, so I would be willing to support it.
3 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you. All
5 MEMBER CASSIS: Just a clarification.
6 Mr. Boulard, do you know more than this lady
7 knows about whether those people are moving?
8 Or would this be the third sign for AT&T
9 within 50 feet?
10 MR. BOULARD: I don't know what the
11 status is of the store's ownership. I would
12 assume that AT&T would not want their stores
13 within 50 feet of each other. But I can't
14 say for sure.
15 MEMBER CASSIS: Well, she mentioned a
16 very significant fact. I know there was a
17 franchisee in Twelve Oaks Mall and they just
18 shut down. So, this could be a franchisee
19 while across the street is the main AT&T
20 outlet. I have a problem with three signs
21 within 50 feet of each other, I really do.
22 Because how much can you expose AT&T in that
23 corner? I would like more clarification on
1 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you.
2 Anybody else? Yes, Mr. Bauer?
3 MEMBER BAUER: Would you prefer
4 holding off on this until we find out?
5 MEMBER CASSIS: Yes, I mean, that's
6 what I would like to know. I mean, if they
7 are moving, then my deliberation would take
8 a different course. But if it is three
9 signs now for AT&T, not for a franchisee
10 with a different name, but it's the same
11 company. That's what troubles me. And you
12 should have known, I would say, I mean,
13 didn't you put the other sign too? Are you
14 the people that put the other sign?
15 MS. DEMLOWE: We did the one that's
16 existing at this location that we're talking
17 about. As far as knowing what AT&T's plan
18 is with other stores that we have had
19 nothing to do with, I wish I could tell you,
20 but I really have no information. And I am
21 not privy to information like that as far as
22 their moving plans and what they are doing.
23 It is something that, though, that if it's
24 dependent upon the decision we could
1 certainly find that out for you. That's
2 just a matter of asking the end client,
4 And just as a general rule of thumb
5 when they go out and look for sites or scout
6 sites out, I would find it hard to believe
7 that they would not close one if they are,
8 in fact, that close. That just doesn't make
9 good business sense.
10 MEMBER CASSIS: You see, Mr. Chairman,
11 that's the clue for me to indicate that
12 these are two different parties. Because if
13 it was the same AT&T, they would have
14 indicated some way to Mr. Boulard or to the
15 City that this is what's happened. That we
16 are moving or we have a second store. But
17 when we have a franchisee and AT&T and now
18 we have three signs for the same company,
19 I -- thank you, Mr. Chair.
20 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: You are
22 MEMBER CASSIS: My colleagues might
23 have different opinions.
24 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay. I have a
1 question for you. Is there any way for us
2 to find this out?
3 MS. KUDLA: Well, unfortunately it's
4 not something that I can check property
5 records for because it's a lease and leases
6 generally are not recorded, so it's not by
7 any standard means could we find out. It
8 would require some just calling and
9 voluntary information giving on the part of
11 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay. So, there
12 you are. You have a choice to make now.
13 Either we table this and find out about it,
14 or deny it at this meeting. Because I have
15 a feeling that the group is not going to
16 have three signs just so close to each other
17 for the same particular establishment. So,
18 which way would you like us to go? I am
19 just giving you an option.
20 MS. DEMLOWE: I guess we'll have to
21 table it because if I go back to them and
22 say they denied it, and that is, in fact,
23 the case, then I'm going to find myself in a
24 world of hurt.
1 But, just to the same point. I
2 completely understand where you are coming
3 from, but like I said before, it's just not
4 something that they would naturally just
5 say, hey, this is what our plans are as far
6 as their general operations. We get the
7 location, the information, this is what we
8 want you to do, and that's what we run with.
9 And that's the information that you have
10 before you.
11 MEMBER CASSIS: Mr. Chairman, if I may
13 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Go ahead.
14 MEMBER CASSIS: I see your predicament
15 and I am sorry that we have to go through
16 that procedure,
17 at least I do. I don't know about
18 eventuality. But, you see, the
19 proliferation of signs, I mean, we have to
20 somehow just control that situation to a
21 certain degree. And we have been generous.
22 We have been generous with many of the
23 applicants. You saw what we did just a
24 moment ago. And let me repeat for the
1 record because my microphone wasn't on.
2 But, you know, I am sorry that we put
3 you through this, at least I am, but we've
4 got to be a little bit more discriminatory
5 in how many signs we can put out there for
6 the same person. Thank you.
7 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you. Yes,
8 Mr. Bauer?
9 MEMBER BAUER: Can you find out for
11 MS. DEMLOWE: Oh, yeah, that should
12 definitely not be a problem. I mean, the
13 client that we have is the sign
14 manufacturer, but the end client, it should
15 just be a matter of calling them up and
16 talking to them, because even if it was a
17 franchise versus a corporate owned, I
18 wouldn't image that they would just let them
19 get franchised and not know what it is they
20 are doing.
21 MEMBER CASSIS: How can they compete
22 with AT&T across the street?
23 MS. DEMLOWE: Yeah, right --
24 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Unless they are
1 moving to one place and close the other
2 place that we don't know about. So, I think
3 we need to have little more information than
4 what we have. And I would entertain a
5 motion to table this.
6 MEMBER BAUER: Motion to table and
7 have the gal from the sign company find out
8 for us for this next meeting.
9 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay. We will
10 see you again next --
11 MEMBER IBE: Second.
12 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: All those in
13 favor of -- yes, Mr. Boulard?
14 MR. BOULARD: Excuse me. In order to
15 keep from having to re-notice this again if
16 it would be possible to table it to the next
18 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: That's what we
19 are talking about.
20 MR. BOULARD: Do you know the date of
21 that meeting?
22 MS. MARTIN: November? December?
23 MR. BOULARD: November.
24 MS. MARTIN: November 10th.
1 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: So, I will
2 entertain a motion to table this to the next
3 month's meeting.
4 MEMBER BAUER: So moved.
5 MEMBER IBE: Second.
6 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Seconded by Mr.
7 Ibe. I don't believe there will be any
8 further discussion, so will you please call
9 the roll.
10 MS. MARTIN: Member Bauer?
11 MEMBER BAUER: Yes.
12 MS. MARTIN: Member Cassis?
13 MEMBER CASSIS: Yes.
14 MS. MARTIN: Member Ghannam?
15 MEMBER GHANNAM: Yes.
16 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
17 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
18 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
19 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
20 MS. MARTIN: Chairman Sanghvi?
21 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes.
22 Okay, we will see you next month with
23 some more information. Thank you.
24 MS. DEMLOWE: November 10th, right?
1 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes. Thank you.
2 All right. Moving on to the next
3 case. This is case number: 09-041 at 44455
4 Grand River Avenue for Wrenchers. The
5 Petitioner is requesting minimum lot area,
6 front and side yard parking, overhead door
7 facing major road, parking setback and
8 parking space variances to permit an
9 automobile service facility in an existing
10 tenant space in a building located at 44455
11 Grand River Avenue. The property is zoned
12 I-1, light industrial and is located at the
13 southeast corner of Grand River Avenue and
14 Lannys Road. The building is designed to
15 accommodate more than one tenant and is
16 currently partially occupied by Tim's Glass
17 and Marino Cutlery.
18 Is the Applicant here? Would you
19 please come forward and identify yourself,
20 give your name and address. And if you are
21 not an attorney please be sworn in. If you
22 are the only one who is going to be talking,
23 then you should be the only one who would be
24 sworn in. If anybody else is going to be
1 participate they might as well be sworn in
2 right now.
3 MR. HOFFMAN: My name is Stefan
4 Hoffman, I'm the architect, 22339 Roberts
5 Drive, Northville, Michigan.
6 MR. BAKER: My name is Roy Baker I
7 reside at 479 River Ridge in Waterford
8 Township. I am the Applicant.
9 MEMBER BAUER: Raise your right hand.
10 Do swear or affirm to the truth regarding
11 case: 09-041?
12 MR. HOFFMAN: I do first.
13 MR. BAKER: I do.
14 MEMBER BAUER: Thank you.
15 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: All right. Go
16 ahead and make your presentation.
17 MR. HOFFMAN: I am here with owner,
18 Mr. Baker and his three partners and the
19 landlord of the building. And these
20 gentleman as the tenants wanted to open up a
21 very exclusive high end automobile repair
22 business. It doesn't cater to just brakes
23 or mufflers or -- it caters to hundreds of
24 thousand of dollars worth of custom old hot
1 rods. So, in that respect we don't have a
2 lot of traffic. There is only four
3 gentlemen that are working in there, the
4 four partners.
5 The landlord also is a tenant of the
6 building, he owns Tim Glass who he also has
7 very little employees on site. And then
8 there is a kitchen equipment supply company
9 that basically has one employee. So
10 altogether the building is very lightly
12 Currently it has all the overhead
13 doors facing the road as it was designed
14 back 35 some odd years ago. All the parking
15 is used in the front. The back is gravel
16 and not used but for deliveries and general
17 trailer use for the vehicles. We are
18 proposing to try to use the building with
19 the overhead doors as an integral part of
20 the business. We can't really change
21 architecturally or the site plan being that
22 it's shy of the required two acres, but we
23 are proposing to enhance the area, provide a
24 wonderful landscape and parking plan for the
1 front of the building. And when the use
2 arises for paving and using the back as
3 parking, we are proposing to do that at a
4 later date when we have the need for it.
5 Like I said, there is no public or
6 commercial mercantile people coming and
8 Usually the tenants park and either go
9 off site with a van or otherwise. The
10 building is not really occupied by a lot of
11 tenants so we don't need a lot of parking.
12 Furthermore, you know, economic times don't
13 really allow the landlord to, you know, do a
14 lot for as come basis. We like to use it
15 as, and renovate the back as needed. So,
16 with that said, they have a great business.
17 They have a great plan. The tenant and
18 landlord have been there for many years and
19 we would like to improve the corridor with
20 the enhancement with a nice landscaping and
21 parking and maintain the use of the building
22 as it was designed.
23 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Very good.
24 Anything else? Is there anybody in the
1 audience who would like to address the Board
2 regarding this case?
3 (No response.)
4 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Seeing none, we
5 will close the public remark section. And,
6 Mr. Boulard?
7 MR. BOULARD: Thank you. This is a
8 somewhat unique situation. You have got an
9 existing building with parking in the,
10 parking in the front adjacent to the
11 roadway. And, in fact, the roadway has, I'm
12 sure, become more widely used and heavy
13 traffic since the building was built. So,
14 you have got a business that wants to move
15 into this location. It requires a special
16 use and some other, some other requirements
17 be met, and it's difficult to do. So, in
18 your packet is a number of pages of review.
19 This project has been reviewed by the
20 Planning Staff. It has been to the
21 Commission for preliminary approval. And
22 Mr. Spencer is here if you have got any
23 questions regarding the interplay of the
24 variance request and the site plan approval,
1 or any other questions that would be
2 pertinent too. So, thank you.
3 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you.
4 Mr. Secretary, do we have any
6 MEMBER BAUER: There were 27 notices
7 sent. One return. No responses.
8 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you.
9 Before I open it up to the Board, I had a
10 question. What exactly is the nature of
11 your business there?
12 MR. BAKER: The nature of our
13 business, sir, is the repair and restoration
14 of classic automobiles and muscle cars.
15 Vehicles belonging to collectors.
16 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay. So, this
17 is not a bump shop for regular accidents and
18 all that kind of stuff?
19 MR. BAKER: No, sir.
20 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you.
21 Okay, all right. I will open it up to the
22 Board. Yes, Mr. Bauer?
23 MEMBER BAUER: Is there present
24 parking in the front?
1 MR. BAKER: Yes.
2 MR. BOULARD: Yes.
3 MEMBER BAUER: That's all I have.
4 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes, Mr. Wrobel?
5 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Mr. Spencer,
6 since you cared to join us this evening I
7 wouldn't want you to miss your opportunity
8 to give us your perspective.
9 MR. SPENCER: Good evening. Well, in
10 our respect, this is an existing
11 nonconforming site. There are several of
12 them along Grand River as you are well
13 aware. The Applicant has proposed to
14 improve the site considerably in the front
15 and the side. We commend the Applicant for
16 doing that. And you saw in the packet
17 material that staff supported variances for
18 the use and the parking in the front setback
19 and parking on the side of the building.
20 The parking that's there in front of
21 the building now is not even the layout that
22 was presented on the site plan, it's
23 actually closer to Grand River Avenue. They
24 would be removing some of the green space in
1 front of the building and pushing the
2 parking a little bit closer to the building.
3 Therefore, they would have room to put a
4 landscape island in between the parking and
5 the street. So, those portions of the
6 variance as we mentioned in our staff review
7 we support it.
8 The parking space variance we did not
9 present an opinion on that, but I would say
10 a couple things on that at this time. The
11 rear area from our observations appears to
12 be used on a sporadic or a low use amount
13 for trailer or equipment storage, and
14 occasional vehicle passes. So, we don't see
15 a lot of use to that with the two current
16 businesses that are located there. The
17 Applicant is proposing some landscaping
18 screening from that rear yard which we also
19 think will be beneficial to the
21 My only concern would be on granting
22 variances that if this is an automobile
23 repair place and some other automobile
24 repair place supersedes this business, that
1 you may have parking issues. It is
2 considerably, the amount of variance that
3 they are requesting is considerable, but
4 that's based on a typical automobile repair
5 place which as you know, usually when you
6 take your car into somebody to repair it
7 they say, well, I can get to it in a week.
8 It's hard to get it repaired that same day,
9 so there's typically vehicles stacked up in
10 the parking lot area for repair. And there
11 is also cars waiting to be picked up because
12 people may not have the money to pick it up
13 today. They got to wait until tomorrow if
14 they find out how much the bill is, et
15 cetera, et cetera.
16 We think that this particular business
17 could work very well on this site given the
18 low volume that we anticipate with this
19 site. Like I said, my only caution would be
20 some future repair shop in this location.
21 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Thank you.
22 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you.
23 MEMBER GHANNAM: May I ask him some
24 questions, Mr. Chair?
1 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Go ahead.
2 MEMBER GHANNAM: Just a couple of
3 questions. Are there any issues from the
4 City's perspective regarding fire or safety
6 MR. SPENCER: Well, the fire and
7 safety issues would be taken care of through
8 the building permit process. They will
9 finalize building permits. The fire marshal
10 requires flammable liquids to be stored
11 safely. The volume of flammable liquids
12 that they propose to store there is very
13 minor compared to some garages, so we don't
14 anticipate any real problems. The fire
15 marshal has reviewed the plan. Before plans
16 are approved by the Planning Commission, the
17 fire marshal is one of the reviewers of our
18 site plan.
19 MEMBER GHANNAM: The second question
20 would be, if you're concerned about a
21 potential future business at this spot,
22 would you suggest that we, if we are going
23 to grant these variances, limit it to this
24 particular tenant for the duration of their
2 MR. SPENCER: I would say if our
3 attorney concurs that that's what you might
4 want to do with this particular business.
5 MS. KUDLA: That could be possible if
6 you wanted to do that.
7 MEMBER GHANNAM: I don't have any
8 other questions for you, sir. Thank you.
9 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Go ahead.
10 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: If anyone
11 has any other questions?
12 MEMBER CASSIS: Yes. Can I?
13 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Go ahead.
14 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes, go ahead.
15 MEMBER CASSIS: Mr. Spencer, are you
16 privy as to whether there will be painting
17 of vehicles? And how, if such, how would
18 they handle the fumes and the noise from any
20 MR. SPENCER: That's a very good
21 question. And we asked those questions to
22 the Applicant because the Zoning Ordinance
23 puts body shops in a different category.
24 This is not a body shop, a body shop where
1 they have to have extensive equipment,
2 ventilation systems. And typically we like
3 to see them located in our I-2 district.
4 MEMBER CASSIS: So, this is strictly
5 mechanical repair?
6 MR. SPENCER: Strictly mechanical
7 repair. I can't -- you know, I mean, maybe
8 if there is a scrape you get the spray paint
9 out or something, but that's not what we
10 call a body shop.
11 MEMBER CASSIS: Okay.
12 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you, Mr.
14 MEMBER CASSIS: Thank you Mr. Chair.
15 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes, Mr. Wrobel?
16 Go ahead.
17 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Thank you.
18 To the Applicant. How many vehicles can you
19 fit inside the body shop at one time?
20 MR. BAKER: Our business model
21 provides for four stalls, work stations if
22 you will.
23 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: The cars,
24 the incoming cars, outgoing cars, that was
1 mentioned that people may have to pick up or
2 waiting to be worked on, would those be
3 stored inside or outside? And if stored
4 outside, how many do you anticipate at one
5 time being outside?
6 MR. BAKER: The type of vehicles that
7 we're dealing with, I'm quite certain that
8 our clients would be very displeased with us
9 if we theft these vehicles outside. So, the
10 answer is, no, they are going to be inside
11 the building.
12 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: So, there
13 wouldn't be any additional parking required
14 for that?
15 MR. BAKER: No.
16 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Thank you.
17 That's all, Mr. Chair.
18 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Anybody else?
19 Yes, Ms. Krieger?
20 MEMBER KRIEGER: I wanted to confirm
21 the screening in the rear from Grand River,
22 that you intended as well to put screening
23 around the back area since further down the
24 street there is more residential homes
2 MR. HOFFMAN: We have arborvitaes
3 columnar along the whole side on Lannys
4 Drive. Not so much on Grand River.
5 MEMBER KRIEGER: Okay, thank you.
6 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay, very good.
7 Anybody else? My question was what was the
8 exact nature of the work they will be doing,
9 and I think that has been adequately
10 answered by our questions. And I personally
11 don't see any problem with inviting a
12 business like that on Grand River myself.
13 But I would entertain a motion regarding
14 this case any time anybody is ready. Yes,
15 Mr. Ghannam?
16 MEMBER GHANNAM: I will go ahead and
17 make a motion, Mr. Chair. I will go ahead
18 and move in case number: 09-041 for 44455
19 Grand River Avenue for Wrenchers, that we
20 approve the six variances that were
21 requested, and I won't list each and every
22 one of them, but I would do that for a
23 number of different reasons. Number one, I
24 think all the issues regarding setback and
1 frontage and so forth, density requirements
2 unreasonably prevent the use of the property
3 for the permitted purpose. The variance
4 will provide substantial justice to
5 petitioner and surrounding property owners
6 in the zoning district. This property is
7 unique in terms of the way it's situated.
8 It's certainly not a self created problem.
9 There is no issues with light or air.
10 Problems to adjacent properties. Fire
11 danger or public safety issues will be
12 resolved through Planning Commission and so
13 forth. And no issues with regard to
14 property values in the area. And I think
15 the Zoning Ordinances would be observed.
16 I would also make it part of my motion
17 that we limit the variance to the duration
18 of this particular tenant and its tenancy.
19 In other words, if this tenant for some
20 reason leaves, the variance would terminate
21 upon the event.
22 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Very good.
23 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Second.
24 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: The motion has
1 been made and seconded. Any further
2 discussion? Yes, Ms. Krieger?
3 MEMBER KRIEGER: Mr. Spencer, did you
4 have something to add?
5 MR. SPENCER: This might be a little
6 unusual for me so speak at this time, but to
7 clarify my remarks, the only part of the
8 variance request that we felt that you may
9 want to condition would be the number of
10 parking spaces. The other variances for the
11 setback for the parking and the location of
12 those things we think that those don't need
13 to be conditioned on that occupant. Because
14 once they are in place underground they are
15 there. They are going to be there. So, you
16 don't want somebody else coming in to occupy
17 the building to be faced with variances that
18 were already created and underground. That
19 would be unnecessary for them to come in.
20 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you. Your
21 point is well taken.
22 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Can I speak?
23 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: I think the time
24 has passed for you to say anything.
1 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Just as the
3 MEMBER GHANNAM: Actually I had a
4 question for him. I wasn't sure what
5 condition you were referring to.
6 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: The parking.
7 MEMBER GHANNAM: Were you referring to
8 the condition for a variance for the parking
9 for this particular tenant?
10 MR. SPENCER: For this particular
11 tenant because my concern was if another
12 automobile repair place went in there that
13 had a greater parking demand, there would be
14 a shortage of parking spaces on this site.
15 MEMBER GHANNAM: I understand.
16 MR. SPENCER: The other variances I
17 think work good with the site.
18 MEMBER GHANNAM: I understand that,
19 and I will go ahead and adopt that and amend
20 my motion to reflect that suggestion.
21 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay, very good.
22 So, the motion has been made and has been
23 seconded. And I don't see any further
24 discussion, so, Ms. Martin, would you please
1 call the roll.
2 MS. MARTIN: Member Bauer?
3 MEMBER BAUER: Yes.
4 MS. MARTIN: Member Cassis?
5 MEMBER CASSIS: Yes.
6 MS. MARTIN: Member Ghannam?
7 MEMBER GHANNAM: Yes.
8 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
9 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
10 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
11 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
12 MS. MARTIN: Chairman Sanghvi?
13 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Yes.
14 MS. MARTIN: Member Wrobel?
15 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Yes.
16 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Thank you. Well,
17 congratulations and best of luck.
18 MR. BAKER: Thank you.
19 MR. HOFFMAN: Thank you.
20 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: That brings us
21 to the other matters.
22 Yes, Mr. Boulard?
23 MR. BOULARD: Real quick. You have
24 got the packet for the AT&T store, if you
1 would like to leave that and save the
3 Also, tomorrow evening at 6:30 is the
4 Master Plan Open House starting in here and
5 out in the atrium, so please let folks know,
6 and you are welcome to come. All the
7 contributions are very valuable.
8 VICE-CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Is it a
9 formal presentation or just a come and see?
10 MR. BOULARD: It's very short, very
11 short discussion.
12 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay. Anything
13 else? Yes, Ms. Krieger?
14 MEMBER KRIEGER: I would like for next
15 month meeting to be excused.
16 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: Okay.
17 MEMBER KRIEGER: I am going south of
18 the equator.
19 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: May I entertain
20 a motion to adjourn.
21 MEMBER BAUER: So moved.
22 MEMBER IBE: Second.
23 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: The motion has
24 been made and seconded. All those in favor
1 of the motion please signify by saying aye?
2 BOARD MEMBERS: Aye.
3 CHAIRPERSON SANGHVI: All those
4 opposed same sign. Thank you. All right,
5 we are done for the evening.
6 (The meeting was adjourned at
7 7:45 p.m.)
1 C E R T I F I C A T E
5 I, Mona L. Talton, do hereby certify
6 that I have recorded stenographically the
7 proceedings had and testimony taken in the
8 above-entitled matter at the time and place
9 hereinbefore set forth, and I do further
10 certify that the foregoing transcript,
11 consisting of (41) typewritten pages, is a
12 true and correct transcript of my said
13 stenographic notes.
20 Mona L. Talton,
21 Certified Shorthand Reporter
24 October 13, 2009