REGULAR MEETING - ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
Proceedings had and Testimony taken in the matters of the ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS, at City of Novi, 45175 West Ten Mile Road, Novi, Michigan, on Tuesday, February 8, 2011.
1 Novi, Michigan
2 Tuesday, February 8, 2011
3 7:00 p.m.
4 - - -
5 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Good
6 evening, everybody. I want to call to
7 order the February 8, 2011, Zoning Board
8 of Appeals Meeting. We can all start by
9 saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
10 (The Pledge of Allegiance was
12 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Thank you.
13 Just as a reminder to our audience
14 here, please turn off all pagers and
15 cell phones during our meeting.
16 When your case is called,
17 applicants or their representatives
18 will be asked to come forth, state
19 their names and addresses, and be sworn
20 by our secretary. They will be allowed
21 five minutes to address the board, and
22 extensions may be granted.
23 Audience -- members of the
24 audience will be given an opportunity
1 to raise their hands and be recognized
2 to make comments on the cases.
3 This evening we have four
4 board members here out of seven. Any
5 applicants who wish to have their cases
6 heard tonight must have four out of
7 four votes to have their requests
8 granted by the board.
9 And before we call roll, I
10 will give -- well, let me have the roll
11 called first, and then I will give the
12 opportunity for anybody who wants their
13 case adjourned to come and be heard.
14 So, if you could call the
15 roll, please.
16 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
17 MEMBER IBE: Present.
18 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
19 MEMBER KRIEGER: Present.
20 MS. MARTIN: Chairman
22 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Here.
23 MS. MARTIN: Member Gedeon?
24 MEMBER GEDEON: Here.
1 MS. MARTIN: Member Cassis
2 will be absent and Member Sanghvi and
3 Member Skelcy.
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: As I was
5 indicating earlier, for those
6 applicants who are going to be heard
7 tonight, there are four members here.
8 You need all four out of four votes to
9 get an approval of your request. If
10 there is anybody here at the moment who
11 wishes the board to adjourn or delay
12 their hearing, you can step forward
14 Seeing none, let's go over
15 the approval of the agenda.
16 Ms. Martin, are there any changes to
17 the agenda tonight?
18 MS. MARTIN: Yes. The first
19 case for 41107 Jo Drive has asked to be
20 tabled to the March 8, 2011 Zoning
21 Board meeting. And the case on number
22 five, for 42355 Grand River and 42235
23 Grand River, the Kia Dealership, they
24 asked to be tabled to the March 8th
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: And those
3 requests were in writing, correct?
4 MS. MARTIN: Yes.
5 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. And
6 number two has been withdrawn?
7 MS. MARTIN: Yes.
8 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: So we are
9 dealing tonight with cases number three
10 and four, correct?
11 MS. MARTIN: Yes.
12 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any other
13 issues regarding the agenda? If not, I
14 will entertain a motion to approve the
15 agenda, as amended.
16 MEMBER KRIEGER: So move.
17 MEMBER IBE: Second.
18 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any other
19 discussion? All in favor, say aye.
20 THE BOARD: Aye.
21 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All
22 opposed? Seeing none, we have an
24 Next is the approval of the
1 minutes. Are any other -- are there
2 any issues or corrections or
3 modifications to the minutes for
4 January 11, 2011? Anything? Seeing
5 none, I will entertain a motion to
6 approve the January 11, 2011 minutes.
7 MEMBER KRIEGER: So move.
8 MEMBER IBE: Second.
9 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
10 discussion? Seeing none, all in favor
11 say aye.
12 THE BOARD: Aye.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All
14 opposed? Seeing none, the January 11,
15 2011 minutes are approved.
16 At this time, it's the public
17 remarks section of this evening. If
18 anybody wants to make a remark about a
19 case not on the agenda, please step
20 forward at this time. Seeing nobody in
21 the audience at this time, I will close
22 that public remarks section.
23 The first case that we have
24 here tonight is item number three, Case
1 No. 10-069, for 27754 Novi Road,
2 Suithouse. Is the petitioner here? Do
3 you see a petitioner?
4 MS. MARTIN: No, not that I
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
7 We'll pass this for the moment, since
8 the petitioner apparently is not
10 Going to the next case, item
11 number four, Case No. 10-070, for 27475
12 Huron Circle, Waltonwoods.
13 Is the petitioner here?
14 MR. RANKIN: Yes.
15 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Could you
16 please step forward, sir. State your
17 name and your address. And if you are
18 not an attorney, be sworn by our
20 MR. RANKIN: My name is Todd
21 Rankin; I'm with Singh Development
22 Company, 7125 Orchard Lake,
23 West Bloomfield.
24 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: You are
1 not an attorney?
2 MR. RANKIN: I am not.
3 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. Can
4 you swear the witness, please.
5 MEMBER IBE: Yes, sir. In
6 this particular case, do you swear or
7 affirm to tell the truth?
8 MR. RANKIN: I do.
9 MEMBER IBE: Thank you.
10 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Go ahead,
12 MR. RANKIN: Good evening.
13 I'm here tonight to request an
14 extension for the off-premise
15 directional sign for the Waltonwood
16 project. It is currently located on
17 Twelve Mile Road on property that Singh
18 Development also owns. It's a vacant
19 piece of property.
20 Two years ago, we were in
21 front of the board here and had the
22 off-premise sign approved, and that was
23 approved for a two-year period, which
24 has expired. So we are here tonight to
1 ask for another two-year extension.
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Is there
3 anybody in the public who wishes to
4 make a comment on this particular case
5 at this time? Seeing none, I will
6 close the public remarks section and
7 ask our secretary to read any notices
8 or responses that we've got.
9 MEMBER IBE: Thank you,
10 Mr. Chair. There were 14 notices
11 mailed, zero responses, zero mail
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. Any
14 comments from the city regarding this
15 particular matter?
16 MS. KUDLA: No.
17 MR. BOULARD: Nothing to add.
18 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
19 It's now open for discussion by the
20 board. Anybody like to ask any
21 questions? Ms. Krieger.
22 MEMBER KRIEGER: For this
23 case, the sign has been there previous
24 times, and economical times are not
1 something we can consider. So what
2 practical difficulty would be that --
3 besides that to allow that sign for
4 another two years?
5 MR. RANKIN: Well, the sign
6 is intended to provide some exposure to
7 the Waltonwood project. As you know,
8 it's located off of the ring road on
9 the mall, so it does not have any
10 exposure to Twelve Mile. So this sign
11 is primarily for directional purposes,
12 to direct people coming to the
13 community from Twelve Mile as to go
14 down to that finger road and then,
15 hopefully, they find the building from
16 there. Because there is no -- they
17 would have to make a left-hand turn off
18 that finger road onto the ring road and
19 then see the entrance.
20 MEMBER KRIEGER: What other
21 avenues have been pursued in -- as
22 another option besides this sign?
23 MR. RANKIN: What other
1 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
2 MR. RANKIN: As far as
3 getting people into the community, this
4 has really been the only way that we
5 have been able to direct people from
6 say drive-by traffic or somebody pulls
7 up the address. It's a way to direct
8 them in. Otherwise, they end up
9 finding their way through other
10 sources. And it's just a source of
11 confusion that we would like to try to
13 MEMBER KRIEGER: I'm having
14 difficulty, and then for the two years,
15 as well, I am, so I will listen to my
16 other board members.
17 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Yeah, I
18 just have a couple questions. After
19 two years, what happens then? Won't
20 you always need that directional sign?
21 MR. RANKIN: We would always
22 like a directional sign, but -- and I
23 know that economic times is something
24 you can't consider, but it's something
1 that does affect us tremendously.
2 Things have been relatively slow over
3 the last several years in the
4 community, and having directional
5 signage for passer-bys (sic) and
6 getting people into the site is very
7 important to us.
8 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: That I
9 understand, and you had it for a while
10 and, hopefully, exposed your property
11 to people who were passing by. But I
12 guess the question becomes, when is
14 MR. RANKIN: Well, it's been
15 there for two years, and that was the
16 original agreement. So we are just
17 looking for an extension to that
18 original agreement, hoping to survive
19 the economic downturn. And, hopefully,
20 when things rebound and those things
21 come back, things get better, and we
22 would no longer need the directional
23 signage. But, right now, it's all
24 marketing and exposure to try to keep
1 things stable in the community.
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All right.
3 I don't have any other questions.
4 Anybody else have any questions for the
6 MEMBER GEDEON: I guess,
7 along the same lines, temporary versus
8 permanent. I mean, it seems to be
9 trending towards permanent signs as so
10 many other signs around the community
12 Have you investigated or
13 looked into what options you might have
14 for a permanent sign?
15 MR. RANKIN: Well, being that
16 we do own that property, there has been
17 plans to develop that piece of
18 property. And at that time, we would
19 investigate doing some additional
20 signage out there that would direct
21 people in towards the Waltonwood. But,
22 again, sorry to repeat it, but because
23 of economic times, those plans have
24 been put on hold. So, we think that
1 even for another two years, that this
2 is a short-term solution to something
3 that could become a permanent thing for
4 the future, in another means, not the
5 means that you see today.
6 MEMBER GEDEON: I guess to
7 the other board members, I would -- I
8 would be concerned about being
9 consistent with our decisions from last
10 month, too. You know, I wouldn't want
11 to be seen as going back and forth. I
12 mean, it's not exactly the same
13 identical factual situation, but we
14 should at least have a reason if we
15 decide differently.
16 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. Any
17 other comments by the board members?
18 Anybody like to make any type of
20 MEMBER GEDEON: I'm going to
21 go ahead and offer a motion in Case
22 11-070, (sic) 27475 Huron Circle,
23 Waltonwood, that the requested variance
24 be denied because the applicant has not
1 shown any practical difficulty other
2 than economic factors, which are being
3 felt by all members and all property
4 owners in the community.
5 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
7 MEMBER KRIEGER: Second.
8 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
9 further discussion?
10 Okay. Ms. Martin, can you
11 please call the roll?
12 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
13 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
14 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
15 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
16 MS. MARTIN: Chairman
18 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Yes.
19 MS. MARTIN: Member Gedeon?
20 MEMBER GEDEON: Yes.
21 MS. MARTIN: Motion passes,
22 four to zero to be denied.
23 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Your motion
24 has been denied, sir.
1 MR. RANKIN: Thank you.
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Being that
3 that is the only case, the next issue
4 is or next item on the agenda would be
5 other matters. Are there any other
6 matters before we get to election of
7 officers that needs to be brought to
8 the attention of the board?
9 MR. BOULARD: I'm not sure if
10 you want to do a motion to table the
11 other cases, all of them, or how it
12 would be best to handle that.
13 MS. KUDLA: You might want to
14 consider whether you want to table the
15 one that has not appeared yet.
16 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Oh, I see.
17 That's true.
18 MS. KUDLA: You might want to
19 see what you want to do with that one.
20 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Right. At
21 the present time, I will recall
22 Case No. 10- -- not that one. Item
23 number three, Case No. 10-069, 27754
24 Novi Road, Suithouse. Apparently,
1 there is no one in the audience at this
2 time, but, apparently, they have not
3 shown -- you haven't received idea type
4 of reason why they didn't show?
5 MS. MARTIN: No, I have not.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. So,
7 out of courtesy, I don't have a problem
8 that we move or adjourn item number
9 three to the March 8, 2011 Zoning Board
10 of Appeals meeting.
11 MEMBER GEDEON: So move.
12 MEMBER KRIEGER: Second.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
14 further discussion on that? All in
15 favor, say aye.
16 THE BOARD: Aye.
17 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
18 opposed? Seeing none, that has been
19 moved to the March 8th meeting.
20 But the other ones, do we
21 need to make a motion to adjourn them,
23 MS. KUDLA: You might as
1 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
2 Then, next was item number -- actually,
3 items -- we'll do both the other items,
4 one and five?
5 MS. KUDLA: That's fine.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. So,
7 items number one and five, Case No.
8 10-061 and Case No. 10-071, even though
9 they have requested in writing to be
10 adjourned, can I hear a motion to
11 adjourn these two matters to the March
12 8, 2011 meeting?
13 MEMBER IBE: So move.
14 MEMBER KRIEGER: Second.
15 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All in
16 favor, say aye.
17 THE BOARD: Aye.
18 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
19 opposed? Seeing none, they have been
21 And then next would be other
22 matters. Are there any other matters
23 before we get to the elections?
24 MEMBER GEDEON: I have one
1 thought. I was looking at some of the
2 materials from the training session a
3 couple months ago, and the city council
4 provided us with -- council provided us
5 with these proposed motion outlines,
6 kind of fill-in-the-blank motions. And
7 I was wondering what the thought -- if
8 anyone had any thought about whether or
9 not they should be provided to
10 applicants for providing the board for
11 proposed motions, along with their
12 application materials?
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
14 discussion on that?
15 MEMBER KRIEGER: I believe in
16 the past there was a packet. Somebody
17 had -- you mean they have been
18 appointed, or they are just applying?
19 MEMBER GEDEON: No, I'm
20 saying of -- an applicant for a
21 variance, if the city were to provide
22 them with this fill-in-the-blank motion
23 to provide to the board along with
24 their request.
1 Similarly, you know, if you
2 go to court, a judge will often request
3 that the attorney provide a proposed
4 order, which saves the board some time,
5 if it's something that, you know, we
6 would be able to agree on.
7 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Go ahead.
8 MR. BOULARD: In a little
9 different vein, you know, planning
10 commission, there is a motion for -- to
11 approve and deny that's provided in the
12 packet in the past. Even on that
13 suggestion, some of the board members
14 have said that as a quasi-judicial
15 board, they were interested in that,
16 but that would be another opportunity
17 to -- staff could provide that.
18 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I mean,
19 just as a personal opinion, I mean, the
20 applicants need to know the standards
21 they must meet in order for us to grant
22 or really to grant their motions. And
23 I don't have any problem maybe if the
24 city could provide some kind of --
1 really, the standards that we go by
2 to -- when they are making these
3 applications. If they are provided
4 those things, whether we give them full
5 motions, or not, I don't know that
6 that's necessarily a good idea.
7 Really, the motions provide
8 the basis upon which they have to prove
9 to, you know, grant their motions. I
10 don't have a problem, you know, maybe
11 approving something like that in the
12 future to provide to the applicants.
13 MS. MARTIN: Mr. Chair.
14 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Yes.
15 MS. MARTIN: There is the
16 motion guidelines for each type of
17 variance in that ZBA packet.
18 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
19 MS. MARTIN: It's just
20 whether people keep returning and they
21 don't, you know --
22 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Does it
23 give them the standards upon which we
24 look at?
1 MS. MARTIN: Yes, it does.
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. I
3 think that's important.
4 Any other discussions? Any
5 other matters that need to be
6 discussed? Okay, nothing?
7 MEMBER KRIEGER: Nothing.
8 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Next is
9 The election of officers, which is I
10 think by rule is required by February
11 of each year. I know we only have four
12 members tonight.
13 We can do a couple things.
14 Number one, we can elect officers, if
15 you'd like. Or a suggestion would be
16 to elect the same temporary officers
17 that we have for the next meeting until
18 we have hopefully a full board.
20 MS. KUDLA: Either option
21 would work. I just think the
22 consideration was the practical side of
23 it is if you were going to elect or
24 seek to vote for ZBA members that are
1 not here, whether or not they would
2 want to accept those positions. And
3 then what the response would be if they
4 wanted to decline that. So, it might
5 be better to take the avenue of the
6 temporary appointment until you have
7 everyone here to express their desire
8 to be appointed.
9 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: No, and I
10 personally agree. I offered the two
11 options, but I would want someone to
12 accept a nomination if they are
13 interested in serving as an officer.
14 So, any other discussions on
15 election -- we have no problem,
16 obviously, adjourning that particular
17 event that we have to take care of in
18 February, correct?
19 MS. KUDLA: Sure. You can
20 elect -- you can continue -- make a
21 motion to continue the temporary
22 officers and adjourn this matter until
23 the next meeting.
24 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. Any
1 further discussion on that? Can I hear
2 a motion to adjourn then?
3 MEMBER IBE: So move.
4 MEMBER KRIEGER: Second.
5 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
6 further discussion on that? Is that a
7 sufficient motion for you?
8 MS. KUDLA: Sure.
9 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All in
10 favor, say aye.
11 THE BOARD: Aye.
12 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
13 opposed? Seeing none, then we will
14 move the item of election of officers
15 to the March 8, 2011 meeting.
16 Anything else for tonight? I
17 think that would be it.
18 MS. KUDLA: I would just say
19 a motion to extend the election of the
20 temporary officers as previously voted.
21 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Say that
23 MS. KUDLA: To extend the
24 election of the temporary officers, as
1 you previously appointed.
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: You want a
3 motion to that effect?
4 MS. KUDLA: Were they
5 appointed at the last meeting?
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I think it
7 was two meetings ago.
8 MS. MARTIN: Two.
9 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Two
10 meetings ago. I mean, because Member
11 Wrobel, having gone to city council --
12 MS. KUDLA: Right.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: -- I was
14 automatic chair, temporary chair, I
15 should say. And we elected Member Ibe
16 as secretary?
17 MS. MARTIN: No, he was
18 already --
19 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: He was
20 already secretary, I'm sorry.
21 Member Krieger as vice chair.
22 MS. KUDLA: Okay. So is it
23 just Member Krieger? Maybe just extend
24 the temporary appointment through the
1 next meeting.
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Would you
3 need that for myself, also, or I
4 automatically --
5 MR. BOULARD: You would need
6 it for everybody.
7 MS. KUDLA: That's true,
8 because everybody is supposed to be
10 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Plus there
11 is (inaudible) okay.
12 MS. KUDLA: Yeah, so a motion
13 to extend everybody's appointments
14 through the next meeting.
15 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: So can you
16 state that specifically?
17 MEMBER IBE: I move that
18 everyone -- all the officers' positions
19 be extended for -- to the March
21 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: March 8,
23 MEMBER IBE: March 8, 2011
1 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
2 MEMBER GEDEON: Second.
3 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All in
5 THE BOARD: Aye.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
7 opposed? Seeing none, we will have
8 again the officers being elected at the
9 March 8, 2011 meeting.
10 Any other issues for our
11 agenda tonight? If there are none, I
12 will entertain a motion to adjourn.
13 MEMBER IBE: I move that we
14 adjourn this meeting to the March 8,
15 2011 meeting.
16 MEMBER KRIEGER: Second.
17 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All in
18 favor, say aye.
19 THE BOARD: Aye.
20 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
21 opposed? Seeing none, we are
23 (The meeting was
24 adjourned at 7:22 p.m.)