Proceedings had and Testimony taken  in the matter of the ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS, at City of Novi, 45175 West Ten Mile Road, Novi, Michigan, on Tuesday, April 13, 2010.

Wayne Wrobel, Chairperson
Linda Krieger
Rickie Ibe
David Ghannam
Donna Skelcy
Jeffrey Gedeon

Shannon Ozga, City Attorney
Charles Boulard, Community Development Director
Malinda Martin, Senior Customer Service Representative

Mona Storm, Certified Shorthand Reporter

1 Novi, Michigan

2 Tuesday, April 13, 2010

3 7:00 p.m.

4 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. It's 7:00 p.m.

5 I'd like to call to order the April 13th regular

6 meeting of the City of Novi Zoning Board of Appeals.

7 Would everybody rise for the pledge of

8 allegiance. Member, Skelcy, please lead us.

9 BOARD MEMBERS: I pledge allegiance to the

10 flag of the United States of America, and to the

11 republic for which it stands, one nation, under God,

12 indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

13 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. Ms. Martin, would

14 you please call the roll.

15 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger.


17 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe.

18 MEMBER IBE: Present.

19 MS. MARTIN: Chairman Wrobel.


21 MS. MARTIN: Member Ghannam.


23 MS. MARTIN: Member Skelcy.




1 MS. MARTIN: Member Gedeon.


3 MS. MARTIN: Members Sanghvi and Member

4 Cassis will be absent tonight.

5 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. We do have a

6 quorum but we are one member short for the meeting this

7 morning. Therefore, I believe the City Attorney agrees

8 that if the applicant wishes to have the -- his case

9 heard by the entire Board, it can be postponed to a

10 regular -- to another meeting. If not, any decision

11 that we render this evening would be final.

12 As a reminder, please make sure all cell

13 phones and pager ringers are turned off at this time.

14 I would like to go over some of the meeting rules. A

15 copy of the entire public meeting rules of conduct is

16 available next to the chamber entrance door.

17 The Zoning Board of Appeals is a hearing

18 board empowered by the City of Novi to hear appeals

19 seeking variances from the existing City of Novi

20 ordinances.

21 It takes a vote of at least four members to

22 approve variance requests, and a majority of the

23 members present to deny a variance.

24 Individual applicants may take up to five



1 minutes and groups may take up to ten minutes to

2 address the Board.

3 The next item on the agenda is the approval

4 of the agenda. Any additions, changes, deletions?

5 MS. MARTIN: No, there is not.

6 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. Seeing none, I'll

7 entertain a motion.

8 Member Krieger?

9 MEMBER KRIEGER: For other matters, can I add

10 Fountain Walk?

11 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. We will add

12 Fountain Walk.

13 All right. I'll entertain a motion to

14 approve the amended agenda.

15 All in favor, say aye. All opposed, no. All

16 in favor, aye?



19 We have an approved agenda.

20 Next is approval of the meeting minutes from

21 the March 16th, 2010 meeting. Are there any changes to

22 the minutes, Mr. Boulard?

23 MR. BOULARD: If I may, on Page 14, line 16,

24 "So the existing exterior walls and so on were there"



1 as opposed to "high existing". Line 22, instead of

2 "unintelligible", "variance conditions". And beginning

3 on Page 38, there's -- Line 12, Mr. Whitkins is

4 Wickens, W-I-C-K-E-N-S. He was the petitioner for

5 that.


7 MR. IBE: Mr. Chair, I think just Page 1,

8 unfortunately, my name is missing there. I was here

9 but he doesn't list me as a member, apparently.


11 MR. IBE: So it should read, where it says

12 board members, also Rickie Ibe.

13 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. Any others?

14 Okay. At this time, I'll entertain a motion to approve

15 the amended minutes.

16 MR. IBE: So amended. I second.

17 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: We have a motion on the

18 second. All in favor, please respond by saying aye.



21 The amended minutes have been approved.

22 Next is the public remark section of the

23 meeting. If there's anyone in the audience who wishes

24 to make comments not pertaining to any matter on the



1 agenda this evening, please come forward.

2 Seeing none, the public remark section of the

3 meeting is closed.

4 And this brings us to the only case on the

5 agenda this evening, Case Number ZBA 10-007, for

6 43525 West Oaks for Best Buy Geek Squad. The

7 petitioner is requesting a variance to allow

8 installation of one additional 18 square foot wall sign

9 on the south elevation of the building located at

10 43525 West Oak Drive, Best Buy. The property is zoned

11 RC and is located west of Novi Road and north of I-96.

12 Is the petitioner here?


14 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Please state your name

15 and address for the record. And if you are not an

16 attorney, please raise your hand and be sworn in by our

17 secretary.


19 Patrick Stieber, 33650 Giftos Drive, Clinton Township,

20 Michigan.

21 MR. IBE: So, in Case Number 10-007, 434 --

22 I'm sorry -- 43525 West Oaks Drive, Best Buy, do you

23 swear or affirm to tell the truth in this case?





2 MR. IBE: Thank you.

3 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. You may proceed

4 with the presentation.

5 PETITIONER STIEBER: Okay. As stated, we're

6 here tonight asking for an additional wall sign for the

7 rear elevation or south elevation of the new Best Buy

8 that's going in off of Novi Road there. What we're

9 looking for here is an additional sign to identify to

10 the customers the location of where they take their

11 vehicles to have work done, services done for the

12 mobile electronics portion of the Best Buy business.

13 We almost look at this as sort of like a

14 directory sign to get the traffic to that area so that

15 they know where to go on the rear of the building to

16 take their vehicle to.

17 We feel that there is a lack of

18 identification for this service. The Geek Squad, so to

19 speak, is a separate entity within Best Buy that needs

20 that identification shown for these services. We feel

21 that there, you know, definitely is a lack of

22 identification from the business itself and the

23 services and also for direction to get the customers to

24 that area.



1 If you look at the drawings and the

2 elevations shown, the sign is not excessive in size, it

3 is only three foot tall by six foot wide. It's not

4 illuminated. It's not there to direct attention at

5 night or anything. It's just more merely there to get

6 the customers to where they need to go and identify

7 what it is they're going -- where they're going.

8 You know, as I said, if you look at how

9 that's on that wall, you know, it's -- it really fits

10 in -- into the wall area. It's not excessive in size

11 at all. Yet the copy is large enough to be legible.

12 So we feel that that sized sign is needed.

13 As I said, it's not an illuminated sign.

14 It's just a plastic pan-form type sign. If you have

15 any other questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

16 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. Thank you. Is

17 there anyone in the audience who wishes to address the

18 Board regarding this case?

19 Seeing none, the secretary, please read any

20 correspondence regarding this case into the record.

21 MR. IBE: Thank you, Mr. Chair. One

22 objection. The objection is that -- March 30, 2010 and

23 it reads.

24 "Board Members,



1 We are in receipt of the above request and

2 strongly object to the appeal. Best Buy is taking the

3 former Circuit City location in West Oaks. They will

4 have the most visible and accessible retail spot in all

5 of West Oaks and West Oaks II.

6 ABC Warehouse stayed in the ordinance limits

7 and feel Best Buy should do the same. They will have

8 plenty of signage and do not need one on the back of

9 the building that isn't seen from any West Oaks

10 customers.

11 We are a Michigan-based company, and would

12 appreciate the Board's support of a Michigan company.

13 Best Buy already has a store in Novi and this will be a

14 second one. They don't need extra retailing help.

15 I thank you for your consideration on ABC's

16 behalf.

17 Sincerely", signed, "Gordon Hartunian,

18 Chairman" for ABC Warehouse.

19 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. And that's it.

20 Does the Building Department or City Attorney wish to

21 make any comments at this time?

22 MS. OZGA: I have nothing.

23 MR. BOULARD: I don't have a lot to add. I

24 do want to point out that this is on the back of the



1 store, which would be the south side, so it's a little

2 unique in that when you drive back there, it's kind of

3 hard to tell where the doors on the back of the

4 building align with the very suites in the front. So

5 as -- as mentioned, it is the previous Circuit City

6 suite that Best Buy is taking over and I'll be happy to

7 answer any questions.

8 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Thank you. Okay. At

9 this time, I'll refer this matter to the Board for

10 discussion. Who wants to begin?

11 MEMBER GEDEON: I'll go ahead and start. I

12 have a couple questions, one for someone who's more

13 familiar with driving behind the building. I have not

14 driven behind it. Are there any other roads that the

15 sign would be viewable from or is it simply the

16 alleyway behind the building?

17 PETITIONER STIEBER: Just the alleyway behind

18 the building. And the sign's not large enough to be

19 read from any further than, you know, right in that

20 area.

21 MEMBER GEDEON: Do any of the other

22 businesses in the shopping center have garages in the

23 back?

24 PETITIONER STIEBER: Not that I'm aware of,



1 no, not where customers would actually be coming to to

2 try to get to for services.

3 MEMBER GEDEON: I know I've been familiar

4 with the Best Buy parking lots and there's frequently,

5 you know, one or two Geek Squad cars in the parking

6 lot. Are any Geek Squad cars parked in the back area

7 by this garage?

8 PETITIONER STIEBER: You know, I don't know

9 the answer to that question. Typically, those cars are

10 out doing mobile services at homes. So I wouldn't

11 think they'd be there all day long.

12 MEMBER GEDEON: And one more question. Do

13 any customers go directly to the garage area without

14 first going into the store?

15 PETITIONER STIEBER: Yes, that can happen,

16 yes. If they're just taking the vehicle there for a

17 specific service, yep.

18 MEMBER GEDEON: Okay. Thank you.

19 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. Thank you.

20 Member Ghannam?

21 MEMBER GHANNAM: Thank you. Just a couple

22 questions. This particular business that you're saying

23 the mobile electronic business sign is requested, is

24 that where vehicles pull in these garages and are



1 serviced by your company?

2 PETITIONER STIEBER: Yes, absolutely.

3 MEMBER GHANNAM: For what, like stereos and

4 things like that?


6 MEMBER GHANNAM: I got you. This is not the

7 one on the inside where if my computer crashes, they

8 fix the computer; is that right?

9 PETITIONER STIEBER: It's the same. It's the

10 same company but, obviously, they have to have an area

11 where they can pull cars in to do the work.

12 MEMBER GHANNAM: Okay. I got you. Yeah, in

13 general, I understand the need for a signage for the

14 business within a business. I didn't realize,

15 technically, Best Buy is separate from the Geek Squad.

16 But you're saying that's accurate, right?


18 MEMBER GHANNAM: And if you have a

19 garage-type situation where vehicles are pulling in and

20 out and trying to direct traffic there, I understand

21 that. I mean, to me, that makes sense so I would have

22 no problem supporting it. Thank you.

23 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Thank you, Member

24 Ghannam.



1 And Member Krieger?

2 MEMBER KRIEGER: Question for the City. The

3 signs that we approved previously is for Best Buy to

4 have two signs?

5 MR. BOULARD: My understanding of the

6 previous variance, which was actually from Number 846,

7 which is a very old, it's before we even started the

8 year as part of the number, my understanding is that

9 the store would have been allowed a sign by right.

10 Because it's kind of on the corner of the

11 suite, a second sign was granted for the east or north

12 side of the building, basically, the parking lot side

13 of the building or that corner in that -- in that

14 variance from some time ago.

15 And so it's basically -- those were basically

16 the area. So Best Buy is working within the areas of

17 those two allowed signs with their Best Buy signs on

18 the store.

19 MEMBER KRIEGER: And then the petitioner, if

20 you have Geek's sign on the back where the ports are,

21 how is it that somebody driving in the front can know

22 to go there?

23 PETITIONER STIEBER: Well, they're going to

24 go into the Best Buy, if they're -- you know, in



1 Best Buy. This is more to get the vehicles back there.

2 MEMBER KRIEGER: If someone's driving in the

3 back, so they know where to drive through?

4 PETITIONER STIEBER: Yes, exactly. They're

5 not trying to put identification on the front of the

6 building. I mean, they want to keep Best Buy image for

7 exterior signs on the front. Like I said, this is more

8 of a directory-type sign and informational sign that

9 that is Geek Squad that you're going to back there.

10 MEMBER KRIEGER: So it's approval of a third

11 sign but it's not really the same business?

12 MR. BOULARD: My -- excuse me. My

13 understanding is that Geek Squad is -- and I don't know

14 if subsidiary would be a -- would be an appropriate

15 term but it's an entrance of a separate business but

16 within the Best Buy organization. So it's not a

17 separate suite, there's not a wall between them. But

18 it is -- they do share space but it operates as a --

19 somewhat of a separate entity.

20 MEMBER KRIEGER: I honestly, I couldn't find

21 the sign. I was looking for a mock setup. And I know

22 where Circuit City was but they didn't have any

23 "Best Buy coming soon" so I would have driven probably

24 around the back or driven more. But, as I was driving



1 around the West Oaks area, the Value City Furniture on

2 the backside on Donaldson, they have an identification

3 where their other entrance is. I don't know -- it

4 wouldn't be relative, it's a second sign. But because

5 it assists customers in where they would be arriving to

6 in the back of a building, I would be able to support

7 this.

8 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Thank you. Anyone else?

9 Okay. I have a couple questions, then.

10 Number one, several years ago -- and I don't know if

11 you can answer this or not but I'm going to try you

12 anyways. Several years ago on the Planning Commission,

13 Best Buy came before us for approval of a new building

14 to be built across the street, adjacent to the mall.

15 Is this new location going to be a permanent location

16 for them, do you know, or is this a temporary until

17 they decide to build?

18 PETITIONER STIEBER: No, this is permanent.


20 PETITIONER STIEBER: Yep, they decided not to

21 build and to use this space. You know, they actually

22 are putting a lot of money into it, refacing it to make

23 it look or more like the Best Buy building itself, the

24 standard style. So this is not a temporary space.



1 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. All right. On

2 the sign itself, I have no issue with it. I once had

3 to use the service by the previous company there and I

4 had to go around the back and I had a heck of a time

5 trying to find the right door to go to, so I understand

6 why this is needed and I will support it.

7 Seeing that all board members have had the

8 opportunity to speak on the matter, I'll entertain a

9 motion.

10 Member Ghannam?

11 MEMBER GHANNAM: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'll

12 make a motion in Case Number 10-007 for 43525 West Oaks

13 Drive, Best Buy and the Geek Squad in that we approve

14 the variance as requested because the request is based

15 upon circumstances of features that are exceptional and

16 unique to the property and do not result from

17 conditions that generally exist in the City or that are

18 self-created.

19 The failure to grant relief will not

20 unreasonably prevent or limit the use of the property

21 and will result in substantially more than mere

22 inconvenience or inability to attain a higher economic

23 or financial return.

24 And the grant of relief will not result in a



1 use of a structure that is incompatible with or

2 unreasonably interferes with adjacent or surrounding

3 properties and will result in substantial justice being

4 done to both the applicant and adjacent or surrounding

5 properties, and is not inconsistent with the spirit of

6 the ordinance.


8 MR. IBE: Again, with your permission, sir,

9 is it okay if we also state that the signage being

10 requested is in the rear of building and so it's not

11 really at all a sign for the business.

12 MEMBER GHANNAM: Here's what I can do.

13 That's a good point. I'll add to the motion or amend

14 the motion to include that the sign has to be obviously

15 in the size as requested but specifically in the place

16 that's requested, also. Because you gave us a

17 rendering and that's my purpose for granting this is

18 it's got to be in the area above those two doors.

19 MR. IBE: Very well. Thank you.

20 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Member Krieger, do you

21 second approve it?


23 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. A motion was made

24 and amended by Member Ghannam, second amended by



1 Krieger.

2 Any other questions or discussion, Board?

3 If not, Ms. Martin, please call the roll.

4 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?


6 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?

7 MR. IBE: Yes.

8 MS. MARTIN: Chairman Wrobel?


10 MS. MARTIN: Member Ghannam?


12 MS. MARTIN: Member Skelcy?


14 MS. MARTIN: Member Gedeon?


16 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. The motion

17 passes. Is that one, two, three, four -- five/one.

18 It's been approved. Thank you.

19 PETITIONER STIEBER: Thank you for your time

20 tonight.

21 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: This brings us to the

22 other matter portion of the agenda.

23 Ms. Krieger, you --

24 MEMBER KRIEGER: I had a question in zoning



1 at Fountain Walk in regards to lighting at night.

2 If -- because of -- for safety, the north building that

3 has Dick's in the front, toward Twelve Mile, behind it

4 where they have their trash bins, that at night it's

5 really dark where The Putting Edge is at. And if kids

6 are going to be, as we are hearing, going out and

7 fighting at night and people are also going to the

8 Magic Theatre, if that area can be lit up, is there a

9 lighting -- a zoning, how an area should be lit?

10 MR. BOULARD: I'll be happy to take a look at

11 it. Is it the area that -- the kind of loading area

12 between --

13 MEMBER KRIEGER: Between Chuck E. Cheese and

14 The Putting Edge, on the south wall.

15 MR. BOULARD: Okay. So in the back?


17 MR. BOULARD: Between the back of

18 Chuck E. Cheese and the back of --

19 MEMBER KRIEGER: There's a fenced-in area

20 where there's nothing.

21 MR. BOULARD: Right.

22 MEMBER KRIEGER: And just north of that.

23 MR. BOULARD: I will -- I'll be happy to take

24 a look and make sure that there's not lights that are



1 missing or there's not enough or that they're not

2 working.


4 MR. BOULARD: So --

5 MEMBER KRIEGER: I've been watching maybe too

6 many CSI movies. My imagination goes off, too.

7 MR. BOULARD: I'll be happy to take a look at

8 that.

9 MEMBER KRIEGER: Okay. Thank you.

10 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Thank you, Member

11 Krieger.

12 Does the City Staff or City Attorney have any

13 other matters they wish to discuss at this time?

14 MR. BOULARD: I have none.

15 MS. OZGA: No.

16 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. Thank you.

17 Do any other Board members have any other

18 matters to discuss?

19 Okay. Seeing none, that concludes our

20 business for this evening and I'll entertain a motion

21 to adjourn.

22 MEMBER SKELCY: Motion to adjourn.


24 CHAIRPERSON WROBEL: Okay. We have a motion.



1 All signify by saying aye.



4 Thank you. The meeting is adjourned at 7:21.

5 * * * *

























) SS



6 I, Mona Storm, a Notary Public in and for the

7 above county and state, do hereby certify that the

8 above hearing was taken before me at the time and place

9 hereinbefore set forth; that the petitioner was first

10 duly sworn to testify to the truth, and nothing but the

11 truth; that the foregoing proceedings and questions

12 asked and answers made by the petitioner were duly

13 recorded by me stenographically and reduced to computer

14 transcription; that this is a true, full and correct

15 transcript of my stenographic notes so taken; and that

16 I am not related to, nor of counsel to either party nor

17 interested in the event of this cause.



Mona Storm

20 CSR-4460, Notary Public

Lapeer County, Michigan


22 My Commission expires: 9-18-13