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, March 8, 2011.
1 Novi, Michigan
2 Tuesday, March 8, 2011.
3 - - -
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I'd like
5 to call the March 8, 2011, Zoning Board
6 of Appeals to order.
7 If we could start with the
8 Pledge of Allegiance. And,
9 Member Sanghvi, welcome back. Will you
10 please lead us.
11 MEMBER SANGHVI: Thank you.
12 I would be delighted.
13 (The Pledge of Allegiance was
15 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Thank you.
16 Ms. Martin, if you would please call
17 the roll.
18 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
19 MEMBER IBE: Present.
20 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
21 MEMBER KRIEGER: Present.
22 MS. MARTIN: Member Sanghvi?
23 MEMBER SANGHVI: Here.
24 MS. MARTIN: Member Skelcy?
1 MEMBER SKELCY: Here.
2 MS. MARTIN: Chairman
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Here.
5 MS. MARTIN: Member Gedeon?
6 MEMBER GEDEON: Here.
7 MS. MARTIN: Member Cassis
8 will be absent tonight.
9 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
10 Thank you. I will go over briefly a
11 few of the format and rules that we
12 have, and all the rules should be
13 toward the entrance.
14 Make sure all pagers and cell
15 phones are off during this meeting.
16 When applicants are called, they will
17 be asked to come forth, state their
18 name and be sworn in by our secretary,
19 if they are not attorneys.
20 The applicants or their
21 representative will have five minutes
22 to address to the board. Extensions
23 may be granted at the discretion of the
1 Members of the public will be
2 asked if they have any particular
3 comments on any case being called at
4 that time, and they will be recognized
5 and limited to three minutes.
6 The first item on the list of
7 the agenda is the approval of the
8 agenda, and this would be for the
9 current agenda. Are there any
10 modifications or corrections to the
11 current agenda?
12 MS. MARTIN: Yes. The first
13 case, 10-061, 41107 Jo Drive, has
14 requested in writing to be tabled to
15 the April 12, 2011, ZBA meeting.
16 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Do we need
17 a formal motion on that to adjourn
19 MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.
20 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Can I hear
21 a motion to adjourn that? What was the
22 date of the next meeting?
23 MS. MARTIN: April 12th.
24 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: April
1 12th. Can I hear a motion to adjourn
2 the Jo Drive item to May -- I'm sorry,
3 April 12th?
4 MEMBER SANGHVI: So move.
5 MEMBER KRIEGER: Second.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
7 further discussion? If not,
8 Ms. Martin, can you please call the
10 MS. MARTIN: Member Sanghvi?
11 MEMBER SANGHVI: Yes.
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 Skelcy?
20 MEMBER SKELCY: Yes.
21 MS. MARTIN: Member Gedeon?
22 MEMBER GEDEON: Yes.
23 MS. MARTIN: Motion passes,
24 five to zero.
1 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
2 MS. MARTIN: Six to zero,
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any other
5 corrections or modifications to the
7 MS. MARTIN: No.
8 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: And I will
9 hear -- then can I hear a motion to
10 approve the agenda as modified?
11 MEMBER SANGHVI: So move.
12 MEMBER KRIEGER: Second.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All in
14 favor, say aye.
15 THE BOARD: Aye.
16 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
17 opposed? Seeing none, we have an
18 agenda for tonight.
19 Next is the approval of the
20 minutes for February 8, 2011. Are
21 there any corrections or modifications
22 to that? Mr. Boulard.
23 MR. BOULARD: On page 15,
24 line 20, the last words should be,
1 "They were not interested." That's it.
2 Thank you.
3 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
4 Anything else? Seeing none, anybody
5 want to make a motion to approve the
6 February 8, 2011, minutes of the
7 meeting as amended?
8 MEMBER SANGHVI: So move.
9 MEMBER KRIEGER: Second.
10 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All in
11 favor, say aye.
12 THE BOARD: Aye.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
14 opposed? Seeing none, the February 8,
15 2011, minutes are approved.
16 Next would be the public
17 remarks section. Is there anybody here
18 who would like to make a public remark
19 on items not currently before the
20 zoning board tonight? Seeing none, I
21 will close the public remarks section
22 and move to item number two, since
23 number one has been adjourned.
24 That is Case No. 10-062,
1 Weiss. The petitioner is requesting
2 variances to allow the land uses
3 allowed currently under Section 1401 of
4 the City of Novi zoning ordinance for
5 the B-2 zoning, for portions of
6 existing parcels 22-26-101-019 and
7 22-26-101-021 zoned I-1 and OS-1
9 Could you please state your
10 name, please.
11 MR. QUINN: Yes. Good
12 evening, ladies and gentlemen. I'm
13 Matthew Quinn. I'm an attorney. I'm
14 appearing on behalf of Novi Ten
15 Associates. With me is Carmine
16 Avantini, a professional planner, and
17 he's ready to be sworn.
18 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Could you
19 please raise your hand, sir. State
20 your address and be sworn.
21 MEMBER IBE: Sir, in Case
22 10-062, Weiss project, do you swear or
23 affirm to tell the truth?
24 MR. AVANTINI: I do.
1 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Would you
2 state your name and address, please.
3 MR. AVANTINI: Carmine
4 Avantini, 306 South Washington Avenue,
5 Royal Oak, Michigan.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
7 Whoever wishes to proceed, go ahead.
8 MR. QUINN: Yes. Good
9 evening, ladies and gentlemen. I was
10 here two months ago in front of you
11 when this matter was first scheduled,
12 and at that time you had a short panel,
13 and we agreed that the matter would be
14 adjourned to this evening. And also at
15 that time you asked that your city
16 attorney to provide you some written
17 information concerning this appeal.
18 And I would assume that you received
19 that information by this point in time.
20 This is a little unusual
21 matter that is in front of you this
22 evening, because this is a request for
23 a use variance. And perhaps you don't
24 see requests for use variances that
1 often. Typically, what you see here,
2 are dimensional variances for side yard
3 setbacks, sizes of buildings and things
4 like that. So, it's going take a
5 little bit of time to go through this.
6 Now, I realize that my client
7 signed and had notarized the
8 application that is in front of you
9 this evening, with a lot of material
10 there. And I would note that Mr. Weiss
11 did put that in an affidavit form as
12 far as the truthfulness of all the
13 contents of that application.
14 Now, we are here tonight, as
15 I said, for a use variance. What we
16 are asking for is the zoning of a piece
17 of property to become B-2. You are not
18 really changing the zoning, just the
19 use. The property is zoned, as you
20 will see in a moment, I-1 and OS-1. We
21 have been through the process, the
22 process for a PRO with the B-2 uses on
23 this process, and we were denied at the
24 city council. And that brings us to an
1 appeal to you as the quasi-judicial
2 body of the city.
3 Now, the property that we are
4 looking at is owned by Novi Associates.
5 And I think we can make this out here.
6 This is Ten Mile Road across the front.
7 This is Novi Road going this way. The
8 railroad tracks that we all have to
9 cross are on the east side of the
10 property. Behind us here is the sports
11 club. And this is Arena Drive coming
12 in from Novi Road.
13 Now, my client happens to own
14 all this property, but all of this is
15 not subject to tonight's application.
16 The property was zoned I-1 on the east
17 side and OS-1 on the west side.
18 Now, the area that we are
19 dealing with today - I guess we should
20 go this way - is the part one, which is
21 the industrial area, and part two,
22 which is the OS-1 area. We are only
23 asking for the B-2 uses on this area as
24 described in our application. Roughly,
1 it's 23 acres altogether.
2 And what we are asking for is
3 to use this property for the
4 construction of a grocery store. Right
5 now we have Krogers lined up for
6 allowing us to have a 40,000 square
7 foot neighborhood center here. This
8 Kroger store is approximately 63,
9 64,000 square feet. And then B-2 uses
10 on these five out-lots through here.
11 All the B-2 uses that would be allowed
12 by the ordinance.
13 Now, I do want to have a
14 caveat to that. We are not asking for
15 any automobile-related uses that are
16 referenced in the B-2 ordinance, only
17 the general retail items is what really
18 we are asking for to be used here.
19 Now, the question becomes,
20 you know, what right do we have to come
21 to you to ask that this be used for
22 B-2? Well, in your -- in the city
23 ordinance and under your own policy,
24 you have the criteria for a use
1 variance request. And that use
2 variance request states that a
3 petitioner like us can seek permission
4 to use land for a purpose not otherwise
5 permitted within the underlying zoning
7 As set forth in the zoning
8 ordinance, petitioner is expected to
9 demonstrate unnecessary hardship.
10 That's the key, unnecessary hardship,
11 which will include some or all of the
12 following. Not all, but some.
13 First, the building structure
14 or land - and, of course, here we are
15 talking about land - cannot be
16 reasonably used for any of the uses
17 permitted by right. So that would be
18 the industrial uses, which we have
19 listed in one of the exhibits, or the
20 medical office type uses listed in the
21 OS district.
22 Secondly, that the need for
23 the requested variance is due to unique
24 circumstances of the property involved,
1 such as narrowness, shallowness, shape,
2 water, topography or similar physical
3 conditions, and is not due to the
4 applicant's personal or economic
6 Three, that the proposed use
7 will not alter the essential character
8 of the neighborhood.
9 And, four, that the need for
10 the requested variance is not the
11 result of actions of the property owner
12 or previous property owners.
13 Now, unnecessary hardship, as
14 referenced in the application, Black's
15 Law Dictionary says that, "Within a
16 zoning ordinance, so as to authorize
17 granting of a variance of such land or
18 such ground if land cannot
19 reasonably" -- I'm sorry, I was jumping
21 "Within a zoning ordinance,
22 so as to authorize granting of a
23 variance of such ground if land cannot
24 yield a reasonable return if used only
1 for the purposes allowed in the zone.
2 The plight of the owner is due to
3 unique circumstances, not general
4 conditions of the neighborhood, and use
5 to be authorized will not alter the
6 essential character of the locality.
7 The land cannot reasonably be used for
8 any of the uses permitted by right."
9 Then we went ahead and cited
10 some Michigan cases, and I just shortly
11 want to highlight some of the lines
12 from those cases.
13 The Jesus Center Versus
14 Farmington Hills Zoning Board case
15 said, "Because zones established by
16 ordinance will not always reflect the
17 realities of land controlled by the
18 zoning ordinance, the City and Village
19 Zoning Act provides a process by which
20 a property owner may seek a variance
21 from the application of the ordinance."
22 Then from Ratcliff, a
23 textbook on zoning, "Unnecessary
24 hardship must show credible proof that
1 the property will not yield a
2 reasonable return if used only for
3 purpose allowed by the ordinance, or
4 must establish that the zoning gives
5 rise to hardship, amounting to virtual
6 confiscation, or the disadvantage must
7 be so great as to prohibit the owner
8 from all reasonable use of the property
9 allowed by the zoning ordinance."
10 In the Jansen case, again,
11 the zoning board of appeals case in
12 Michigan where the ZBA determined that
13 the landowner made the requisite
14 showing of financial hardship, and that
15 the compatibility of the proposed use
16 was within the character of the
17 surrounding properties, there the ZBA
18 allowed construction of multiple-family
19 dwellings at the request of the
20 property owner.
21 There is other cases. The
22 Puritan Greenfield case says, "That the
23 function of the board of zoning appeals
24 is to protect the community against
1 usable land remaining idle, and that
2 purpose, which gives definition to
3 unnecessary hardship," and continuing,
4 "since the main purpose of allowing
5 variances is to prevent land from being
6 rendered useless. Unnecessary hardship
7 can best be defined as a situation
8 where, in the absence of a variance, no
9 feasible use can be made of the land."
10 Now, where do we go from
11 here? Let's talk about this property.
12 First of all, as we told you, we have
13 Kroger as an entity that is willing to
14 buy acreage from this to build a
15 Kroger. They were going to pay five
16 million dollars for the purchase of
17 their acreage, of seven acres.
18 Also, with the completion of
19 this project, the rate of return on the
20 investment was going to be about 15
21 percent annually of the investment.
22 So, when you look at the property and
23 the financial hardship, the unnecessary
24 hardship, that is something that the
1 case law allows you to take
2 consideration of.
3 So, has Mr. Weiss, Novi Ten
4 Associates, suffered a financial
5 hardship? Well, obviously, they have,
6 because these projects cannot go
7 forward with those monies involved.
8 Now, let's talk about the
9 usefulness of this property. And this
10 is laid out in here, but it's very
11 important to go over. As you know, as
12 explained, Mr. Weiss has owned this
13 property for about 30 years. He
14 actually owned it while the Erwins -
15 everybody remembers the Erwins -
16 while they had their orchards there.
17 They rented from him, all right, over
18 the last -- he actually bought it from
19 them many years ago, so he's had it
20 that long. He's had it ready for
21 development that long.
22 It's been pretty much zoned,
23 been master-planned commercial, as you
24 see in here, through the '99 master
1 plan. Then it became commercial again.
2 And then it became a special project
3 area for the last two times the master
4 plan was looked, at until the very last
5 time that it came up last year. So
6 this property all this time has been
7 zoned industrial.
8 And had there been any
9 offers? No, there has been no offers
10 for developments. Has he been looking
11 for offers? Certainly, he's been
12 looking for offers. Every landowner
13 looks for offers for projects. But
14 there has been nothing there.
15 Now, what does the future say
16 for this property? Well, even in your
17 planning department's own reports that
18 are set forth in the attachment, we
19 came up with certain facts regarding
20 the use of this property, the future
21 use. I want to get to that page,
22 because it happens to be close to the
24 What the planning
1 department's documents show is that in
2 currently built industrial buildings,
3 the vacancy rate is between 16 and 21
4 percent. That's buildings that are
5 constructed. Actually, within a square
6 mile of this site, there is over
7 300,000 square feet of industrial
8 buildings that are empty. In fact,
9 adjacent to the east is a 110,000
10 square foot industrial building that's
11 been vacant for about five years.
12 Down on Nine Mile, just about
13 a mile away, there is additional
14 buildings. I know of two right offhand
15 that are, again, 100,000 square feet
16 plus, that have been empty for at least
17 two years.
18 So, here you have a need
19 of -- at least the city perceives a
20 need to have industrially-zoned
21 property when you already have 16 to 21
22 percent of the existing industrial
23 buildings vacant. But yet the city
24 still says, "We need more industrial
2 Well, how about vacant
3 industrial property? The planning
4 department's own reports stated that
5 it's expected there will be no use for
6 additional industrial land for between
7 19 and 48 years in the future. This is
8 a piece of vacant land. So, not only
9 do you have 16 to 21 percent of
10 existing buildings vacant, industrial,
11 but, the city's own reports say for at
12 least another 19, minimum of 19 years,
13 you won't need any more industrial
14 land, all the way up to possibly 48.
15 So, is this property useless
16 to be used as industrial land today?
17 We say certainly it is, because the
18 city's own records and documents show
19 that it can't possibly be used for
20 another 19 years. I would hope, and I
21 really haven't looked, that the value
22 of this property on the city's
23 assessment roll is almost zero.
24 Because if it can't be used today, it
1 hasn't been used for 30 years in the
2 past and it can't be used for at least
3 19 years in the future as industrial
4 property; it has no value. And that's
5 why there is a hardship applicable to
6 this property based upon the city's own
8 Now, why do we need something
9 there like B-2 uses? Well, within the
10 documentation there is a market study
11 done by the Chesapeake Group.
12 Coincidentally, the Chesapeake Group a
13 few years before they did this study
14 did the city's own study on what the
15 city needed for businesses in the
16 community. The same Chesapeake Group
17 did the report for Mr. Weiss and showed
18 that, yes, in fact, there is a need for
19 a grocery store and other commercial
20 uses at this site in the city.
21 Then, based upon that market
22 study report, he went and had another
23 report done by the Strategic Edge
24 Group. This Strategic Edge Group went
1 out and talked to 300 different people
2 in the city, randomly 300 people, and
3 asked them about a grocery store and
4 other commercial in this particular
5 area. What they said was in the
6 consumer survey is that 78 percent of
7 the responses, 78 percent said that
8 they were very likely or somewhat
9 likely to shop at a grocery store
10 companion commercial at this location.
11 And why is this location so
12 important? Well, think about it.
13 Think about grocery stores in Novi.
14 How many do we have? Well, you would
15 be surprised. In Novi, we really only
16 have the Kroger store up on Grand River
17 and Beck, and that was built about ten
18 years ago. Then we have a Busch's
19 store that took over the old Farmer
20 Jack at Ten Mile and Meadowbrook.
21 And that's only about a half a store
22 because of its size; it can't expand in
23 where it is. And then you have Better
24 Foods, and that's really about it.
1 You have grocery stores
2 outside of Novi. You got Meijer's on
3 the south side; you got Meijer's on the
4 other side. You've got Costco to go
5 to. But as far as a pure grocery store
6 is concerned - I'm not talking about
7 your convenient store or your 7-Elevens
8 or gas stations, but a true grocery
9 store - Novi is served by roughly
10 one-and-a-half stores, and that's for
11 55,000 people. That's why the market
12 study was so adamant in its conclusion
13 that, yes, Novi needs additional
14 grocery stores.
15 And when they looked at this
16 location and the surrounding
17 residential area, that is why 78
18 percent of the respondents said, "Yes,
19 this is the place where we will go."
20 So, now, what have we
21 established so far? We have
22 established that we have a use for the
23 property that's documented by market
24 studies and by consumer research. And
1 then we showed you that the existing
2 use of this land as industrial just
3 isn't viable; it isn't viable at all.
4 So, the -- where we are then
5 is really establishing your four
6 criteria through what we have already.
7 As far as the land cannot be reasonably
8 used for the uses permitted, we have
9 established that through the city's own
10 records. It's vacant; it's not going
11 to be even ready for development for 19
13 Number two, that the need for
14 the requested variance is due to unique
15 circumstances of the property. The
16 property has been like this for 30
17 years, and it's going to be the same.
18 My client has not changed anything in
19 his ownership of this other than for
20 the last ten years he's been working on
21 this. He's been working on putting the
22 Kroger deal together. He finally got
23 that done, and here we go again.
24 One of the reasons why it
1 didn't go through earlier is in 2004 we
2 brought this project forward, and we
3 did the PRO similar, only the project
4 was much larger; it's since been
5 shrunk. We came to the planning
6 commission in December of 2004, and the
7 planning commission and the city
8 basically said, "Listen, we are waiting
9 for the improvements to be done at Ten
10 Mile and Novi Road." Remember, that
11 was just a very small intersection.
12 Now, of course, it's five lanes pretty
13 much in all directions. The city said,
14 "Wait. Put your project on hold and
15 come back when that intersection is
17 So, Mr. Weiss did. We came
18 back two years ago, started the project
19 again. And after he waited all that
20 time, after he was willing to pay the
21 city 400,000 for road improvements,
22 park improvements and other
23 improvements as part of the PRO, he was
24 turned down.
1 The third item, that the
2 proposed use will not alter the
3 essential character of the
4 neighborhood. Well, you know that
5 neighborhood, what's around there.
6 Carmine's going to tell you a little
7 bit more from a planning perspective
8 what that means. But, you know to the
9 north on Ten Mile Road you have
10 industrial buildings. To the east you
11 have industrial buildings. To the
12 south, he owns all of that, remember.
13 He owns everything to the south. It's
14 vacant until you get to the sports club
15 and across the street where you got
16 Walgreen's on the corner. And then
17 across the street you have offices. So
18 the character of the neighborhood is
19 not going change at all by having a
20 grocery store and ancillary commercial
21 items there.
22 The fourth thing, that the
23 need for the requested variance is not
24 the result of actions of the property
1 owner. Well, he's not done anything
2 but own the property. The city keeps
3 bouncing back and forth on the uses of
4 this property in its master plan
5 throughout all of these years.
6 So, we satisfied all those
7 four criteria. And before I wind up,
8 I'm going to have Carmine Avantini come
9 up and just verify -- did you get his
10 letter, by the way, as part of your
11 packet yesterday? It would have come
12 in yesterday from LSL Planning.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Yes.
14 MR. QUINN: Okay. Carmine,
15 why don't you come up and verify the
17 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: If you can
18 be brief, sir. Mr. Quinn did a nice
19 job. You are limited to five minutes.
20 He's been about 17 to 18.
21 MR. AVANTINI: I understand.
22 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I
23 understand this is more complex.
24 MR. AVANTINI: And we
1 appreciate your indulgence.
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: No
4 MR. AVANTINI: Just a couple
5 of key points that I included in here
6 is that this particular site, when you
7 look at all the other industrial and
8 office sites within the community, is
9 really at a competitive disadvantage,
10 in addition to the vacancy rate that
11 Mr. Quinn had just indicated. When you
12 look at other industrial sites, in
13 particular, there are, including in
14 your community and surrounding
15 communities, if you are an industrial
16 user looking for space, this is not one
17 of the first places you would go to.
18 Another thing I want to point
19 out, too, is the fact that currently
20 within this area and within the
21 community, you do have to travel a
22 great distance if you want to go to --
23 other than Busch's, if you want to go
24 to grocery stores, you have to travel
1 miles to get there. That further
2 impacts the traffic throughout the
3 community, creates additional
4 congestion, uses additional fuel, air
5 emissions and so forth. So, if we are
6 really looking for a sustainable
7 community, it makes sense to have
8 convenience commercially located near
9 the residential areas, which this
10 particular site meets that condition.
11 I know -- just one last
12 thing. One of the other items that
13 came up during the re-zoning, was the
14 fact that you do have Busch's in a
15 shopping center nearby, and this could
16 potentially create competition for that
17 center. Having lived across the street
18 from that center for six years, not all
19 that long ago, it hasn't changed much
20 in that frame of time. And, you know,
21 it's been 100 percent full for many
22 years. There is not a lot of
23 investment that's gone on in that
24 particular center. A little
1 competition nearby may help bring some
2 improvements to that particular site.
3 MR. QUINN: Just in
4 conclusion -- thank you, Carmine. We
5 would like you to grant as a use for
6 this property, as requested, the B-2
7 uses under the ordinance, with the
8 exception of any automobile-related
9 uses, which can be excluded.
10 What's good about that, by
11 granting the B-2 uses, you control --
12 you, as the ZBA, control the
13 development of the B-2 uses.
14 Now, the diagram here on the
15 panel of the overhead is what we
16 propose to the city during our site
17 plan, PRO. We would abide by that, but
18 you have control over what the B-2 will
19 look like.
20 So, we appreciate a positive
21 vote. We are here to answer any
22 questions you might have. And thank
23 you very much for your attention.
24 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Thank you,
1 Mr. Quinn.
2 Is there anyone in the
3 audience who would like to make a
4 comment on this specific case, please
5 raise your hand and be recognized.
6 Seeing none, the public remarks section
7 will be closed.
8 Next, I will ask the
9 secretary to read any correspondence we
11 MEMBER IBE: Mr. Chair, there
12 were 44 notices mailed, zero responses,
13 and two mail returned.
14 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
15 Next, any comments from the city, other
16 than what was already provided?
17 Mr. Schultz.
18 MR. SCHULTZ: Mr. Chair,
19 thank you. Just a couple. I guess the
20 first couple are clarifications.
21 I think counsel said that
22 what you are here doing today is
23 sitting as a quasi-judicial body
24 hearing an appeal. I think those were
1 the words. It's really not I think
2 what you are doing today.
3 The city council acted on it
4 with the Planned Rezoning Overlay,
5 didn't approve it, made its motion.
6 That's not being appealed to you. You
7 don't have the authority to do it.
8 You are being asked a
9 separate question. Should you grant a
10 use variance? And Mr. Quinn did go
11 through the four standards for that.
12 And I guess I just want to clarify
13 that, too.
14 I understand that he cited
15 the rules of procedure when he talks
16 about meeting some of these or all of
17 these. But the ordinance and the case
18 law is pretty clear. You go through
19 all four, and they need to meet all
20 four parts of the test. And I guess --
21 so those are the two clarifications.
22 So, the other is just a
23 general comment. I don't know, maybe
24 Mr. Quinn can address. A number of
1 these points that were made by Mr.
2 Quinn have been sort of directly
3 addressed and sort of factually
4 disputed by the materials that were
5 submitted by your planning consultant
6 and your planning staff.
7 Our office didn't actually
8 provide anything specifically to the
9 ZBA, but Ron Arroyo's office did do a
10 report, and the planning staff did an
11 extensive report going through a number
12 of the items Mr. Quinn talked about at
13 length. I guess I don't know whether
14 or not he picked up that packet or had
15 a chance to review it. That may be
16 relevant to what he asks you to do
18 But, you have in your hands
19 and in the packet, sort of an extensive
20 review of the same items Mr. Quinn just
21 went through. And, obviously,
22 Mr. Boulard and planning staff are here
23 to supplement those and answer any
24 questions you might have.
1 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. I
2 will open now for the board for
3 questions of the applicant or the city.
4 MEMBER SANGHVI: Question for
5 Mr. Schultz. Will you kindly explain
6 to me and the people in the audience
7 and people that come, what is a PRO?
8 MR. SCHULTZ: Okay. The PRO
9 is a sort of shorthand reference to the
10 planned rezoning overlay. So, the
11 zoning on this property is OS-1 and
12 I-1. And Mr. Weiss came in, the
13 applicant came in and said, "I don't
14 want to use the property for either of
15 those district uses. I want to put a
16 specific development on here or a
17 specific conceptual plan for
18 development that's really retail and
19 other uses."
20 The city has a provision in
21 its ordinance as part of an amendment
22 to the zoning map where you can lay
23 over that existing I-1 and OS-1, a
24 rezoning, called a planned rezoning,
1 that has specific uses that are called
2 out and a specific concept plan that's
3 shown for what would be put on it.
4 So, Weiss came forward, the
5 applicant came forward, and proposed on
6 part of it sort of down Ten Mile
7 Road -- yeah, Ten Mile Road frontage, a
8 Kroger store and then sort of a related
9 retail development. And then on some
10 of the other areas they proposed sort
11 of this open use that, you know, showed
12 plans, conceptual plans, but said,
13 "We'll deal with what actually might go
14 in there later as another PRO
15 improvement." And so the city -- so
16 that's a request to essentially rezone
17 it for a particular concept plan.
18 That went to the planning
19 commission, which made its
20 recommendation of approval. But it
21 went to the city council, which is the
22 approving authority, and they looked at
23 it and said, "We don't think you have
24 met the standards for a planned
1 rezoning overlay," and they denied the
2 motion. And I think a copy of that is
3 in your packet of materials.
4 So, that is done. The
5 request for the PRO is completed, and
6 review's been completed, and the city
7 council did not approve.
8 The appeal from that, or the
9 remedy for the applicant for that
10 denial from city council is to go to
11 the Oakland County Circuit Court and
12 say, "They should have approved it."
13 The reason they are here tonight is
14 before they can do that, they have to
15 come to the ZBA and ask for a use
16 variance - which is what they have done
17 here tonight - so that when they get to
18 the circuit court, the city doesn't
19 say, or the court doesn't say, "I'm not
20 ready to review your circuit court suit
21 on the PRO. You didn't ask the ZBA for
22 a different kind of relief for the same
23 basic result."
24 So, this is them asking, not
1 exactly the same, for kind of what they
2 were asking the city council for, but
3 in concept of a use variance. And
4 their problem, and I think maybe
5 "problem" is not the right word. Their
6 task, as Mr. Quinn noted, is a little
7 different than usual, and a pretty
8 serious standard. Essentially, they
9 have to show they don't have any use of
10 that property without you telling them
11 that they can use it for their proposed
13 The city staff went through
14 those four standards, and essentially
15 came to the conclusion they haven't
16 actually proved that basic concept.
17 They really focused more on why they
18 want the Kroger use there or retail
19 uses there as opposed to why they can't
20 use it for the office or industrial
22 They submitted their
23 materials, and city staff responded to
24 those. You have all those in front of
1 you. You are going through tonight
2 those four steps to see whether or not
3 they have met their burden of proof on
4 the use variance.
5 MEMBER SANGHVI: Thank you.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any other
7 questions of the applicant?
8 MEMBER SANGHVI: Not at this
9 point; maybe later on.
10 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
11 Member Skelcy.
12 MEMBER SKELCY: Thank you,
13 Mr. Chairman.
14 Mr. Quinn.
15 MR. QUINN: Yes.
16 MEMBER SKELCY: Would you
17 agree that the property could be used
18 for a medical building?
19 MR. QUINN: The OS-1 part?
20 MEMBER SKELCY: Yes.
21 MR. QUINN: Perhaps, yes.
22 MEMBER SKELCY: Do you also
23 agree that the light industrial portion
24 of the land could also -- could be used
1 for light industrial-type activity?
2 MR. QUINN: I think there the
3 proof is in the pudding. There is
4 absolutely no demand for any industrial
5 use at that property.
6 MEMBER SKELCY: But the
7 question is it could be used for that,
8 could it not?
9 MR. QUINN: It could, at some
10 point in the future.
11 MEMBER SKELCY: Okay. Now,
12 what attempts did Mr. Weiss make, if
13 any, to use it for something such as
14 industrial or medical?
15 MR. QUINN: Well, until he
16 got Kroger in line, this property has
17 been available for industrial use for
18 the first 20 some years.
19 MEMBER SKELCY: What efforts
20 did he make to attempt to develop it
21 for either medical or light industrial?
22 MR. QUINN: It was -- as I
23 recall, it was listed with a realtor
24 for that use for quite a number of
1 years. I don't know exactly how many
3 MEMBER SKELCY: And what else
4 did he do besides list it? Anything
6 MR. QUINN: Well, what else
7 he did is in the rear portion, he
8 donated all the land for the city -- to
9 the city for the ice arena, which was
10 part of his property. And in an effort
11 to have that Arena Drive built so that
12 industrial uses would come off of it.
13 That was all part of the plan.
14 So he gave about three
15 million dollars' worth of property to
16 the city. The city built the road,
17 then the one arena was built, the
18 sports arena. And the rest of it
19 attached to that road has always been
20 marketed for industrial, and never
21 happened. And then the frontage on Ten
22 Mile Road never happened for
23 industrial, also.
24 MEMBER SKELCY: All right.
1 But, basically, all he did was listed
2 it? Doesn't sound like with regard to
3 the remaining portion he did anything
4 to actively try to develop it except
5 list it. He didn't go out and solicit?
6 MR. QUINN: You have to
7 remember, it's hard to do when you have
8 so much industrial vacancy in the city.
9 Not many people want to build on vacant
10 land when they can move into an
11 existing building and they don't have
12 to spend the construction dollars
14 MEMBER SKELCY: But he didn't
15 go out and try to solicit a buyer or a
16 development like he did with Kroger?
17 MR. QUINN: No, actually,
18 because Kroger kind of came to him.
19 MEMBER SKELCY: Okay. How
20 did Kroger come to him?
21 MR. QUINN: Kroger --
22 Mr. Rick Ragsdale, which is the
23 regional director for Kroger, lives in
24 Novi. He is the one that brought the
1 Kroger Regional Headquarters to Grand
2 River in Novi. They have been looking
3 in Novi to have a second store ever
4 since they built the first store, which
5 is about ten years ago. So they have
6 been looking diligently in Novi. And
7 this was the prime site based on the
8 market surveys and all the consumer
9 information they have obtained.
10 MEMBER SKELCY: Now, during
11 your presentation, you didn't talk
12 about the topography or anything
13 related to that in terms of building
14 for industrial or medical. It doesn't
15 seem that there is any problems along
16 Ten Mile at all.
17 MR. QUINN: Not the frontage.
18 The property slopes off quite a bit, as
19 you see. And then back about 300
20 feet, there is the huge Chapman Creek
21 goes through there, and there is a
22 depression of about 30 feet that goes
23 through the entire thing. That's
24 where - I put that up again - that's
1 where the commercial projects stopped
2 right there.
3 MEMBER SKELCY: I guess if
4 you could build a Kroger there, and if
5 you could build anything else along
6 those two pieces of property, you could
7 certainly build a light industrial
8 building, could you not?
9 MR. QUINN: Yes. As part of
10 a PRO, we have to submit a conceptual
11 plan of what could be built there. And
12 I think it was another 100,000 square
13 foot industrial building, just like --
14 that's next door that's vacant. That's
15 shown on our concept plan.
16 MEMBER SKELCY: In other
17 words, there is nothing wrong with the
18 topography of the land that prevents
19 you from using it for a medical
21 MR. QUINN: Correct.
22 MEMBER SKELCY: Or for light
24 MR. QUINN: That's correct.
1 MEMBER SKELCY: Those are all
2 the questions I have. Thank you.
3 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Member
5 MEMBER GEDEON: Yeah, I would
6 like to start off with a comment
7 regarding your presentation about the
8 number of grocery stores in Novi. And
9 I don't find that argument very
10 persuasive, given that the Meijer
11 grocery store, super center, is right
12 around the immediate surroundings of
13 Novi. To some residences, a Meijer
14 directly across the border might be
15 closer to the grocery store than within
16 the city limits. I'm not sure why you
17 focused exclusively on the grocery
18 stores within the city limits.
19 Also, you failed to mention
20 the Walmart grocery store, which will
21 be built just a couple miles north of
22 there on the Grand River Town Center
24 MR. QUINN: Yeah, the reason
1 for that is there is a difference
2 between what we will call a regional
3 store like a Meijer's or a Walmart, or
4 a -- what's the other -- Costco,
5 something like that, and a grocery
6 store. A grocery store, you go in, you
7 buy groceries, and that's it. You
8 don't have to worry about people that
9 are there buying nuts and screws and
10 plywood and sports equipment and
11 everything else. That's why there is a
12 differentiation in the market study
13 from a grocery store to what we will
14 call a regional store like a Meijer's.
15 That's what I was pertaining to.
16 MEMBER GEDEON: Okay. I
17 understand that, but in the survey that
18 you presented to us, didn't it state
19 that most of the people surveyed prefer
20 the Meijer's?
21 MR. QUINN: I don't recall it
22 being stated that way.
23 MEMBER GEDEON: Or that was
24 their most frequent grocery store that
1 they went to.
2 MR. QUINN: Yes, it is. The
3 point of that is because they don't
4 have an alternative.
5 MEMBER GEDEON: Well, that's
6 one interpretation. It could be a
8 MR. QUINN: Again, it's their
9 preference because they don't have a
10 typical grocery store to go to.
11 MEMBER GEDEON: Okay. Well,
12 anyway, I just wanted to get that out.
13 Second point, you said that
14 the current owner has owned the
15 property for 30 some years.
16 MR. QUINN: Right.
17 MEMBER GEDEON: Do you feel
18 that -- do you know if the property has
19 appreciated in those 30 years?
20 Presumably, 30 years is a pretty long
21 time span. Property values have gone
22 up quite a bit in Novi. You know, the
23 last few years notwithstanding.
24 MR. QUINN: Yeah, I was just
1 thinking about my house value I just
2 got; I think they have gone down about
3 30 years' worth. No, I really don't.
4 I don't have those numbers.
5 MEMBER GEDEON: Okay. So you
6 are not willing to speculate if the
7 property value has increased over
8 30 years?
9 MR. QUINN: You would assume
10 that it's gone up at least a dollar, so
11 it has gone up, sure.
12 MEMBER GEDEON: And noting
13 the possible uses for property, do you
14 recognize use as -- an investment as a
15 possible use of the property?
16 MR. QUINN: No, not given the
17 19-year vacancy of industrial --
18 19-year future use where this property
19 is not going to be used. That's an
20 investment -- by paying taxes for 30
21 years and another 19 years, that's a
22 losing investment.
23 MEMBER GEDEON: Okay. But, I
24 mean, if it was shown that property
1 taxes -- even after property taxes,
2 that the value has increased, couldn't
3 holding it for investment purposes and
4 selling it as property values increase
5 sometime in the future be considered an
6 acceptable use of the property?
7 MR. QUINN: In this
8 circumstance, I don't think so.
9 MEMBER GEDEON: Okay. Thank
11 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any other
12 questions or concerns of the board?
13 Member Krieger.
14 MEMBER KRIEGER: I'm not too
15 sure where to direct this, to the city
16 or Mr. Quinn.
17 For the master plan, since
18 it's come under review, and I looked in
19 the internet under minutes, there is
20 not as much detail as I had hoped for.
21 I do want to recognize and
22 thank Mr. Weiss for his donation to the
23 city of the sports club property and
24 the ice rink. The intent -- I was
1 always wondering where that road was
2 going to go besides turning right.
3 But for the master plan, if
4 the petitioner, Mr. Weiss, I didn't see
5 that in the minutes that he had come to
6 the city during public input and said,
7 "Look, I'm having this difficulty with
8 industrial use for the master plan, I'd
9 like to look at some other alternative.
10 This was something that -- this is
11 another opportunity that I might be
12 able to use this property so the
13 hardship could be met."
14 MR. QUINN: Yes, I can tell
15 you, Ms. Krieger, that we were part of
16 the master plan review of this from day
17 one. I can't tell you how many
18 meetings we attended with them. And,
19 in fact, from my standpoint, the sad
20 part of it is, because of the lack of
21 finalization with the Kroger contract,
22 we couldn't get in front of the
23 planning commission before the master
24 plan was approved. We were there the
1 same night. They were case number one;
2 they approved the master plan. We were
3 case number two, and then they said,
4 "Sorry, we have to use the fact that
5 case number one adopted the master
6 plan, and now you don't fit with the
7 master plan anymore." So, that's how
8 it all worked out at the last meeting.
9 The same meeting, they were one, we
10 were two. Could we have been one on
11 that agenda? Certainly. The city
12 chose to put us after the master plan
14 MEMBER KRIEGER: Wasn't there
15 audience participation?
16 MR. QUINN: Oh, yeah. We
17 participated, yes.
18 MEMBER KRIEGER: And also
19 made a decision you were number two? I
20 didn't understand.
21 MR. QUINN: Yeah, I
22 participated in the audience
24 MEMBER KRIEGER: That was my
1 first question for now.
2 MR. SCHULTZ: I guess I kind
3 of need to respond.
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Go ahead,
5 Mr. Schultz.
6 MR. SCHULTZ: To the sort of
7 tone of Mr. Quinn's comments. The
8 master plan went on for a long time. I
9 think that PRO could have gone on a
10 different kind of track if anybody
11 wanted it to, including the applicant.
12 The planning commission actually was --
13 I believe it was the planning
14 commission that acted the night that
15 Mr. Quinn is talking about.
16 MR. QUINN: That's correct.
17 MR. SCHULTZ: Planning
18 commission recommends and planning
19 commission adopts the master plan. The
20 city council decision, which came a
21 month later, obviously took into
22 account the master plan, but that's
23 because the master plan amendment had
24 been cooking for the last couple years,
1 and it was in place.
2 The planning commission -
3 actually, the minutes will reflect -
4 asked the question, you know, "Even
5 with the master plan, if we think this
6 is appropriate use of the property,
7 what should we do?" So, it was not as
8 open and shut, frankly, as counsel
9 says, "It's already up; we can't
10 consider it anymore." It was a full
11 and serious consideration of the PRO
12 request in the normal course.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any other
14 questions or comments by the board?
15 MEMBER SANGHVI: I just had
16 one comment and question for the --
17 primarily for the city and Mr. Schultz.
18 Mr. Quinn has made some
19 interesting points, and I would like
20 some kind of response from the city,
21 planning department and Mr. Schultz,
22 point by point about some of the issues
23 he has raised. And maybe we can come
24 back and get some more information on
1 this area before we finally vote on it.
2 Thank you.
3 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Did you
4 want to say anything?
5 MR. SCHULTZ: I guess it
6 would not befall to me to do any
7 point-by-point response. The planning
8 department and Mr. Arroyo essentially
9 put together a point-by-point response,
10 which they could go through tonight.
11 You know, I think the board maybe might
12 ask Mr. Quinn if he wants an
13 opportunity to take a look at that if,
14 for some reason, he hasn't gotten it
15 before tonight. I will just put that
16 out there as an opportunity for
17 Ms. McBeth or Ms. Kapelanski could do
18 point by point tonight.
19 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. I
20 just have a couple comments myself.
21 I've seen the response information
22 submitted by the city. I view this
23 entire project, the 27 plus acres, to
24 me it seems more of a zoning issue as
1 opposed to a variance. I understand
2 you have to exhaust remedies and so
3 forth. And this is a large parcel of
4 land, clearly can be used for the
5 purposes its zoned for. I understand
6 you may have issues with the zoning.
7 To me, the zoning rules are
8 more, you know, future looking and more
9 permanent in nature. When the city
10 comes up - and they are the
11 legislators, not us - so to come up
12 with an idea that this is going to be
13 residential and this is light
14 industrial or office service, that's
15 not meant to take into consideration
16 necessarily a dip in the economy. And
17 maybe you can't build in industrial, or
18 maybe office is not necessarily
19 required at this. It's like a
20 petitioner coming up and having some
21 type of residential zoning saying,
22 "Residential is not selling. Let me
23 put up a liquor store there or a bar or
24 a gas station," or something to that
1 effect. They could make those type of
2 arguments, too. And those are really
3 zoning issues to me as opposed to use
5 Personally, when I looked
6 item by item at the requirements that
7 you are responsible to illustrate to
8 us, it does not appear to me that you
9 meet all of the requirements necessary
10 for a use variance. And, at this
11 point, I would not be in support.
12 Anybody else who would like
13 to make a comment or question of the
14 petitioner? Member Ibe.
15 MEMBER IBE: Mr. Quinn.
16 MR. QUINN: Yes, sir.
17 MEMBER IBE: I'm just going
18 to focus on what the guidelines are
19 here for us to arrive at some kind of
20 conclusion in the case. And I was
21 looking at the first one, which is what
22 other property cannot be reasonably
23 used for any of the uses permitted? I
24 think we already addressed that issue,
1 so I'm going to move to the second one,
2 which I find a little bit more
4 Other than the Kroger, that
5 is, which is due to the unique
6 circumstances, would that be correct?
7 MR. QUINN: Yes.
8 MEMBER IBE: For grocery
10 MR. QUINN: One of them,
12 MEMBER IBE: What other
13 unique circumstances do you -- maybe I
14 didn't get it in your first
15 presentation. Other than the need for
16 that, what other unique circumstances
17 do we have?
18 MR. QUINN: The unique
19 circumstances is the fact that this
20 property has been not able to be used
21 for the zoning purpose for 30 years in
22 the past. And for the next 19 to the
23 next 48 years, it is not scheduled to
24 be used for light industrial purposes,
1 according to the city's own studies.
2 That is unique unto this property.
3 MEMBER IBE: And what about
4 in terms of the narrowness or
5 shallowness or shape of the property?
6 Does that really come into play as to
7 why you wish to not propose a different
8 use of the property?
9 MR. QUINN: No, no, as far as
10 that for the use, no, those types of
11 things really don't apply to this
13 MEMBER IBE: Very well. I
14 think one of the -- I think one of my
15 colleagues asked you a question, and
16 I'm going to go back again on your last
17 comment. The uniqueness you talk
18 about, the need for grocery, you base
19 it on this survey that says people have
20 grocery shopping in the cities.
21 MR. QUINN: Market study,
23 MEMBER IBE: And you don't
24 consider the Meijers that are located I
1 think west and south of our borders,
2 you don't consider that to be part
3 of -- accessible to Novi residents?
4 MR. QUINN: No, that's,
5 again, a different type of grocery
6 store. That's a super store, a super
7 center, with things that are sold other
8 than groceries. The market study was
9 specific to grocery stores itself and
10 grocery uses.
11 When people, in my opinion,
12 want to go grocery shopping, they want
13 to go to a grocery store, buy their
14 meat, buy their fruit, buy their
15 vegetables, and leave as quickly as
16 they can. They don't want to be in the
17 same checkout lines as people buying
18 clothes, people buying sports
19 equipment, people buying cameras and
20 video things. That's the difference
21 between a super store like that and a
22 true grocery store.
23 MEMBER IBE: Obviously, that
24 is not based on any kind of scientific
1 study. Is that your personal opinion,
2 or how do you come to that conclusion?
3 MR. QUINN: I watch my wife
4 shop. I think that's a scientific
6 MEMBER IBE: Would you also
7 agree, sir, that the last maybe 20
8 years, the demographics has really
9 changed, and the way people shop has
10 really changed? That's obviously at
11 least (inaudible) Walmart, and places
12 where they don't have Walmart and
13 places they don't have Meijers.
14 Because people want to have one place
15 where they can shop for so many things.
16 So, the uniqueness of having a grocery
17 store where you can buy meat and
18 potatoes is not as unique anymore. And
19 the concept, obviously, was good when,
20 you know, when we had it maybe 25 years
21 ago. But as people are more mobile,
22 they want to go to a place and be able
23 to -- especially with the price of gas
24 right now, who wants to drive around to
1 two, three different stores?
2 MR. QUINN: Good question.
3 MEMBER IBE: Wouldn't you
4 prefer to go to Meijer's and buy your
5 clothes and also buy your meat and
7 MR. QUINN: No, I guess I
8 would rather go to some other clothing
10 MEMBER IBE: Absolutely.
11 Thank you, Mr. Quinn. I appreciate
12 your time.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM:
14 Mr. Boulard.
15 MR. BOULARD: If I might, I
16 might ask Ms. McBeth to address the
17 reference to the 18 to 48 years and so
18 on, please.
19 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Please.
20 MR. BOULARD: How that's
21 manifested in the zoning ordinance.
22 MS. MCBETH: Thank you. Good
23 evening, I'm Barbara McBeth from the
24 planning department.
1 We did provide some
2 information in the report that included
3 the master plan study and which
4 included a market analysis, and that
5 was in the 2007 report. And the city
6 did work with our consultant, Ron
7 Arroyo, and his sub-consultant, the
8 Chesapeake Group. They prepared a
9 study that looked at a variety of
10 aspects of supply and demand for
11 various land uses throughout the
12 community. And they identified that
13 with the growing residential
14 population, there would be growing
15 demand for various other land uses.
16 That was in 2007/2008.
17 In 2010, the staff undertook
18 another update to the master plan for
19 land use, really looking at the city as
20 a whole again, overall, and noting that
21 the residential component had slowed
22 down in that time frame, wasn't growing
23 as quickly as we originally
1 The study was adjusted, and a
2 number of the assumptions were modified
3 in a downward fashion. And that study
4 was again used as part of their 2010
5 master plan for land use.
6 Now, we think that the
7 applicant may be misunderstanding what
8 the statements were regarding the
9 supply of office space. There was a
10 number of comments about the current
11 mix of land uses, and the demand for
12 office and industrial space was
13 plentiful for a certain time frame.
14 But what they are not picking up from
15 the comments and from the details of
16 the study, we believe, is that nothing
17 is saying which piece of land is going
18 to be developed first for office and
19 industrial. Some of the properties
20 would obviously be more suited to
21 office and industrial land uses and
22 would probably be absorbed into the
23 market more quickly.
24 So, we are not saying this
1 piece, included as part of that
2 available land, we are not saying this
3 would have to be the last one in line
4 to be picked up and used for office and
5 industrial space; it could be one of
6 the first ones.
7 Another item that we had
8 brought to the attention in this report
9 and previously was the fact that there
10 certainly could be a big user that
11 could come in, a medical office user,
12 industrial user, could come in and
13 deplete the supply or very much greatly
14 reduce the supply of available office
15 and industrial space.
16 I think I covered what you
17 were concerned about there.
18 MR. BOULARD: Yes, thank you.
19 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
20 questions? Member Skelcy.
21 MEMBER SKELCY: I have a
22 question. I have a question.
23 MS. MCBETH: Yes.
24 MEMBER SKELCY: The majority
1 of the other properties in that area
2 are zoned industrial, office and
3 residential. So, if we were to change
4 this use variance, it would change I
5 think the character of the area based
6 on what's currently there.
7 MS. MCBETH: That is
8 certainly staff's opinion. This would
9 be another 450 feet or so of commercial
10 development along one of the more
11 prominent roads. We think that would
12 change the character of the land in
13 that way.
14 MEMBER SKELCY: All right.
15 Thank you.
16 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Thank you,
17 ma'am. Any other -- I'm sorry,
18 Mr. Boulard.
19 MR. BOULARD: I just have one
20 other question for Mr. Quinn. In view
21 of the -- in view that this originally
22 came before the board and the board had
23 requested additional information and so
24 on, I just wanted to make sure,
1 Mr. Quinn, you know, find out if he
2 will prefer to have this tabled so he
3 could look at additional information
4 and respond, or if he would rather have
5 it going forward tonight.
6 MR. QUINN: Well, it is true,
7 I didn't have a chance to look at the
8 city's reports because it wasn't
9 published as things normally are
10 online, so I wasn't aware that it had
11 been done.
12 MEMBER SANGHVI: It's your
13 call now.
14 MR. SCHULTZ: Mr. Chair, just
15 to respond to that comment. The city
16 treated it in the way it normally
17 treats all the other applications that
18 are before you tonight. I think
19 Mr. Quinn could have come in and picked
20 up the packet. I believe it was
21 available a week or so ago.
22 That question is still fair
23 to Mr. Quinn, what do you want to do?
24 MR. QUINN: That's my fault.
1 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: If you
2 want, you could certainly ask the board
3 to move this to another day; it's up to
4 you. I don't know that it will
5 necessarily be moved or not, but if you
6 want time to look at that.
7 MR. QUINN: I know I'm going
8 to be here next month anyway on another
9 matter. But, no, I don't think that
10 any response that I'm going to have
11 to -- is going to change anything, to
12 be honest with you.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
14 Fair enough. Any other questions or
15 comments of the board? If not, I will
16 look for a motion. Member Skelcy.
17 MEMBER SKELCY: In the matter
18 of ZBA Case No. 10-062, relating to a
19 use variance to allow land uses
20 currently provided for in Section 1401
21 in the City of Novi zoning ordinance,
22 for the B-2 zoning district on the
23 portions of parcels 22-26-101-019 and
24 22-26-101-021, zoned I-1 and OS-1
1 respectively, I move that the request
2 be denied for the following reasons:
3 Number one, with regards to
4 Section 3104.1, the ZBA has authority
5 to authorize the use in a zoning
6 district in which it is not otherwise
7 permitted, only if it is clearly shown
8 that the land cannot be used for a
9 zoned use. The applicant has failed to
10 demonstrate that the land at issue
11 cannot be used for any of the variety
12 of uses allowed in the office and/or
13 light industrial districts. The
14 applicant, instead, has focused the
15 application on the alleged desirability
16 of a Kroger store and related uses on
17 one discreet portion of the property.
18 Number two, with regard to
19 section 3104.1, the ZBA finds that the
20 spirit of the zoning ordinance would
21 not be observed or substantial justice
22 done by a change in the uses allowed to
23 retail commercial. The recent 2010
24 master plan amendments and the existing
1 ordinance reflects the intended and
2 desired use of the area. The applicant
3 made no specific reference to any
4 particular term or requirement of the
5 zoning ordinance in support of the
6 change to retail commercial uses, and
7 did not establish or even attempt to
8 establish efforts to use, market or
9 develop the property as zoned in plan.
10 In addition, the applicant
11 almost exclusively focuses on the
12 proposed Kroger store and related strip
13 mall development. The applicant does
14 not identify the uses or any specific
15 development proposals for the remaining
16 areas along Ten Mile Road and along
17 Novi Road. In other words, the
18 applicant has not indicated how those
19 areas demand specific approval of
20 retail or commercial uses now as
21 opposed to office or industrial uses.
22 In the absence of proposed uses and
23 users, the board cannot find that all
24 the B-2 uses are appropriate for the
1 entire property, or, that other uses
2 allowed in the OS-1 or I-1 districts
3 are not available.
4 Three, with regard to section
5 3104.1, the applicant has not
6 established the requirements set forth
7 for the use variances as follows: The
8 property cannot reasonably be used for
9 any of the uses permitted by right or
10 any special land use permit in the
11 zoning district in which it is located.
12 The board finds that the applicant
13 misstates the findings of the staff's
14 update to the 2007 report by the
15 Chesapeake Group. This study does not
16 support the applicant's conclusion that
17 the property will remain vacant for
18 another 18 to 48 years.
19 As indicated in the planning
20 review, prepared by the city's planning
21 review center, dated February 28 of
22 2011, and in the memorandum of Birchler
23 Arroyo Associates, also dated February
24 28, 2011, the projections in the
1 original Chesapeake Group study nor
2 staff's update do not predict which
3 land or buildings will or should be
4 utilized or when such land or buildings
5 will be utilized.
6 While there is other land and
7 there are other buildings currently
8 authorized for office and/or light
9 industrial uses, the property at issue
10 is of sufficient size and configuration
11 to allow development similar to
12 developments within such districts that
13 have recently occurred in the city.
14 One of the purposes of the
15 master plan is to make sure that there
16 is sufficient area planned for
17 particular kinds of development and
18 uses in the future. The vacancy study
19 cited does not establish that the
20 master plan and zoning for this
21 property is unsupported. The applicant
22 did not provide any information to the
23 board with regard to any efforts to
24 use, market or develop the property, as
1 permitted by the zoning ordinance. In
2 fact, the applicant expressly stated in
3 the application that it was always
4 intended to become a retail
6 Further, today there was no
7 indication from counsel indicating that
8 there had been efforts made to actively
9 market it for medical or light
11 That the need for the
12 requested variance is due to unique
13 circumstances or physical conditions of
14 the property involved, such as
15 narrowness, shallowness, shape, water,
16 topography or other similar physical
17 conditions, and is not due to the
18 applicant's personal or economic
19 hardship. The applicant did not
20 establish any unique circumstances or
21 physical conditions causing a hardship
22 for development of the property. The
23 property has roughly a third of a mile
24 frontage along Ten Mile Road and
1 approximately 450 feet of frontage
2 along Novi Road. While there are
3 environmental features on the property,
4 there is significant buildable space
5 near both the Ten Mile frontage and the
6 Novi Road frontage, where the
7 topography is reasonably flat and
8 public utilities are available.
9 In addition, today counsel
10 admitted that the property could be
11 used for both medical and industrial
12 use based on the topography of the
14 That the proposed use will
15 not alter the essential character of
16 the neighborhood. As indicated in the
17 planning review center report and the
18 Birchler Arroyo report, the master plan
19 for this property has been primarily
20 office and/or industrial since 1993,
21 with only a brief exception between
22 1999 and 2001. It has not been master
23 planned for commercial use since 1993,
24 as asserted by the applicant.
1 The majority of other
2 properties in the surrounding area are
3 zoned and master planned for
4 industrial, office and residential
5 uses. Allowing commercial or retail
6 uses on the nearly one-third-mile long
7 stretch of Ten Mile from Novi Road to
8 the railroad tracks would substantially
9 change the character of the area from a
10 residential and industrial office
11 corridor with limited commercial uses,
12 to a residential and commercial
14 The applicant really only
15 addresses the effect of the proposed
16 Kroger store and related strip mall.
17 The applicant does not discuss the
18 specific proposed uses for the
19 remaining Ten Mile frontage or the
20 remaining Novi Road frontage. Those
21 uses and potential uses cannot be
22 evaluated by this board under those
24 The October 2008 Chesapeake
1 Group study, which the applicant shows
2 market support for a grocery store and
3 related retail center is out-dated.
4 The letter from Chesapeake Group dated
5 February 28, 2011, supersedes any
6 previous findings by Chesapeake Group
7 in that regard.
8 The need for the requested
9 variance is not the result of actions
10 of the property owner and previous
11 owners. For example, it's not
13 While the applicant indicates
14 the property was always intended to be
15 used for commercial or retail purposes,
16 a substantial amount of growth and
17 development in the City of Novi over
18 the past 30 years has involved office
19 and industrial development. The
20 applicant has not addressed any efforts
21 made to use, market or develop the
22 property for the permitted purposes
23 within that time.
24 MEMBER IBE: I will second
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
3 further discussion by the board?
4 Ms. Martin, can you please call the
6 MS. MARTIN: Member Sanghvi?
7 MEMBER SANGHVI: Yes.
8 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
9 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
10 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
11 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
12 MS. MARTIN: Chairman
14 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Yes.
15 MS. MARTIN: Member Skelcy?
16 MEMBER SKELCY: Yes.
17 MS. MARTIN: Member Gedeon?
18 MEMBER GEDEON: Yes.
19 MS. MARTIN: Motion to deny
20 passes, six to zero.
21 MR. QUINN: Thank you very
22 much. Have a good evening.
23 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Next on
24 the agenda is Case No. 10-069, for
1 27754 Novi Road, Suithouse. The
2 petitioner has requested in writing to
3 withdraw this case, is that right?
4 MS. MARTIN: Yes.
5 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: So we
6 don't need a motion to eliminate that
7 from the agenda?
8 MR. SCHULTZ: No.
9 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Next is
10 Case No. 10-071, 42355 and 42235 Grand
11 River, for KIA. The petitioner is
12 requesting variances at 42355 Grand
13 River-KIA, to change out the faces of
14 two ground signs approved under
15 previous variances with specified text,
16 install an oversize wall sign with an
17 area increase over that approved in
18 previous variances, install two
19 additional wall signs, an additional
20 non-allowed ground sign of greater than
21 the allowed area and height, and three
22 oversize directional signs. The
23 property is zoned B-3 and P-1 and is
24 located on the east side of Novi Road
1 and south side of Grand River.
2 Would you please state your
4 MS. HARRELL: Good evening.
5 My name is Michelle Harrell. I'm
6 counsel for the applicant. And with me
7 tonight is Ed Phillips from Phillips
8 Sign and Lighting, who has filed an
9 application for variance on behalf of
10 Feldman Chevrolet-KIA.
11 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Will you
12 be making a presentation, sir?
13 MR. PHILLIPS: As well.
14 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I
15 understand, as well as your counsel.
16 Just raise your right hand and be
18 MEMBER IBE: In Case 10-071,
19 42355 and 42235 Grand River-KIA, do you
20 swear or affirm to tell the truth?
21 MR. PHILLIPS: I do.
22 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Would you
23 state your name and address and please
1 MR. PHILLIPS: My name is Ed
2 Phillips, Phillips Sign and Lighting,
3 40920 Executive Drive, Harrison
4 Township, Michigan.
5 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Please
7 MS. HARRELL: Members of the
8 council and the board, we are here
9 asking for a set of variances for
10 signage that are upon our dealership
11 buildings. In fact, we have in our --
12 in the package that you have are some
13 renderings of those signs. We have
14 actual bigger ones, so you can actually
15 see what they look like, if we could
16 approach and hand them out.
17 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Please.
18 MS. HARRELL: Because they
19 are larger, and you will be able to
20 see. They are also coded so that you
21 can see exactly what kind of variance
22 we are requesting for each type of
24 Overall, there are multiple
1 requests made. Although the requests
2 in total are not very significant,
3 although they are multiple and
4 detailed. Mr. Phillips will go through
5 each one so you can understand. He's
6 put together a very organized
7 presentation of the actual variance
8 request. And after he's done giving
9 you the detail about the requests, I
10 will address the request based upon
12 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
13 MR. PHILLIPS: Our handout is
14 the entire site. Please note items A
15 through L. The very first item,
16 obviously, is A; they are not in order.
17 The order here was per Jeannie Niland's
18 report you have in your package. What
19 we have done is taken and highlighted
20 the items that were approved.
21 And not to be deceiving in
22 any way, items A, D, C, G and B are
23 approved. Items D and C, copied to be
24 reviewed. We have decided to leave C
1 as is with no changes. So the sign
2 that you see C, "Certified used car,"
3 that's the existing sign at the site,
4 will be unchanged. So that is because
5 the structure, if you will note on our
6 little guide here, structure is
7 approved, copy change only, would be
8 the variance. That's per a previous
9 zoning board approval.
10 Sign D is the small -- very
11 small sign you see at the entrance.
12 Again, there is a picture in your
13 package; this is a little quicker to
14 look at. That's a very small sign. I
15 believe it's an 18 square foot sign.
16 The copy on that is yet to be
17 determined. GM has not really designed
18 it or determined what it will say.
19 But, again, that is not an increase,
20 and that was an approved sign just with
21 (inaudible). So, again, structural
22 approved, copy change only.
23 The next items to look at,
24 anything -- anything in yellow has some
1 form of approval. The green items
2 are -- they are directional by nature.
3 The ordinance allows two square feet,
4 as you know. And we do need -- these
5 signs are a little larger. Two square
6 feet is not practical in this. We
7 consider the word "Service" on the KIA
8 building, for example, J, to be very
9 directional by nature. As you can see,
10 at 17 square feet, 17.1, so we do
11 require -- we will need a 15.1 square
12 foot variance.
13 Items L and K, same thing
14 applies, two square feet in both cases,
15 17 square feet needed for "Delivery,"
16 and 15 needed for "Service."
17 Okay. Items E, F, H, and I
18 are ones that we require a variance
19 for. And the reasons are shown or
20 indicated in each instance. They are
21 existing signs with the exception of I.
22 And I is a new sign, and it is the KIA
23 sign. It is the KIA brand sign that
24 they are using. It's the smallest of
1 their monument.
2 In wrapping, my purpose, both
3 brands, GM and KIA, has a design
4 criteria. The design you see before
5 you is in conformance from a corporate
6 perspective, branding an image
7 consistency is a critical concern. So
8 that's -- hopefully, this helps. I can
9 answer any questions.
10 MS. HARRELL: I'd like to
11 talk about the issue of the standard
12 for a variance for a sign, which is
13 certainly hardship. I'd also like to
14 tell the board that Marla and Jay
15 Feldman are both here, as well, in case
16 the board has any questions of them.
17 As for this particular
18 property, there is simply not enough
19 signage available on the buildings in
20 order to provide sufficient notice to
21 passerby as to which dealership is
22 which dealership, and also as far as
23 directional signage.
24 The unique part of this
1 business, being a car dealership, and
2 why they need additional sized signs
3 and different types of signs is that
4 you have customers and people passing
5 by on the roadways that are moving
6 about the property, and about the
7 property inside, in the business itself
8 in vehicles. So, for purposes of
9 customer safety and convenience, we
10 need them to be able to see very
11 readily that they are going towards the
12 service area, or they are heading
13 toward the KIA dealership versus the
14 Chevrolet dealership, so that they are
15 not confused directionally or have
16 other issues while they are driving
17 around in their vehicles. So, car
18 dealerships have a unique issue as far
19 as signage.
20 The type of business also
21 involved here has dealer and
22 manufacturer requirements as to
23 signage. If you look at the pictures,
24 you can tell that there has been a
1 modernization by brands as to what they
2 want the dealership to look like. And
3 the signage corresponds to what the
4 brands have asked be done at the
6 So, for example, the
7 Chevrolet sign is larger and has a lot
8 of the blue coloring to it. The KIA
9 signage, in fact, the KIA monument, is
10 the smallest one that KIA allows. So
11 we have tried to fit as closely as we
12 could within the sign ordinance so we
13 didn't have to ask for much larger
15 And I think that they are
16 very attractive. We don't think that
17 they are going to be very intrusive
18 into the roadway or be distracting. So
19 we have tried to minimize this as much
20 as possible. Certainly, the hardship
21 is that we need to comply with what the
22 brands want. We also need to have
23 signage that promotes safety and public
1 We can answer any questions
2 if the board has any questions of us.
3 MEMBER GHANNAM: Okay. Thank
4 you. At this time, I will open this
5 particular case to any public remarks
6 regarding this case only. Is there
7 anybody in the audience who would like
8 to make a comment? Seeing none, I will
9 close the public remark section, and I
10 will ask our secretary to read any
11 correspondence we have.
12 MEMBER IBE: Mr. Chair, 44
13 notices were mailed, zero responses,
14 four mail returned.
15 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Thank you,
16 Mr. Secretary. Any comments from the
17 city on this matter?
18 MR. BOULARD: No comment.
19 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I will
20 then open it up to the board for
21 discussion. Any questions or comments?
22 Member Skelcy.
23 MEMBER SKELCY: Thank you,
24 Mr. Chair. I wanted to ask about sign
1 B, which is already approved. It looks
2 to me like the KIA is west of the
3 dealership, right? Of the road.
4 MR. BOULARD: It's east.
5 MEMBER SKELCY: It's east of
6 the dealership. So, for B, which is
7 approved, and you want the face sign
8 changed, I guess you want the content
9 changed, is that correct?
10 MR. PHILLIPS: Just the lens
12 MEMBER SKELCY: What's it
13 going to be changed to?
14 MR. PHILLIPS: Chevy Truck.
15 MEMBER SKELCY: B?
16 MR. PHILLIPS: Yes.
17 MEMBER SKELCY: It's right in
18 front of the KIA place?
19 MR. PHILLIPS: It's over in
20 that direction certainly. It is at the
21 west end of the Chevy store. The copy
22 on that will look like the center
24 MEMBER SKELCY: Okay. So, I
1 guess the thing I'm looking at when I
2 look at the KIA dealership, that's kind
3 of what I'm focusing on now. That's
4 why I'm looking at sign B, because it
5 looks like it's right in front of the
6 KIA dealership.
7 Why do you have to have a
8 sign on the building as well as a
9 monument sign? Wouldn't a monument
10 sign be enough?
11 MR. PHILLIPS: I think in
12 some cases it might be. In this
13 particular instance, I probably think
14 not. With the Marty Feldman Chevrolet
15 proximity there, it just needs to be
16 branded KIA. There could be some
17 confusion as to exactly what's going on
18 over here. It would look like Chevy.
19 MEMBER SKELCY: Are two signs
20 for KIA required by the KIA company?
21 MR. PHILLIPS: Very much so.
22 Every KIA dealership you see -- I can't
23 think of an exception offhand.
24 MEMBER SKELCY: They all have
1 one on their building and a monument
2 sign up front?
3 MR. PHILLIPS: And the
4 monument, certainly.
5 MEMBER SKELCY: I don't have
6 any other questions. Thank you.
7 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Member
9 MEMBER GEDEON: A lot of this
10 comes down to the fact that you are
11 going to operate basically two
12 different businesses on one parcel.
13 Can you discuss the pros or cons, or if
14 you had any thoughts about whether or
15 not a parcel split would be appropriate
16 here? Or was that even considered? Or
17 is there a reason why it wasn't
18 considered? Or would that not change
20 MR. PHILLIPS: Parcel split
21 is planned, so it is in there.
22 As far as signage is
23 concerned, we have been very careful to
24 try to design these buildings and brand
1 them with their own brand. So, again,
2 going back to Ms. Skelcy's
3 comment, it's been considered right
4 from the very start.
5 MEMBER GEDEON: And I guess a
6 question for the city and the city
7 attorney. If we grant these variances
8 for the parcel as it is now, how does
9 that work if the split is approved?
10 MR. SCHULTZ: If you grant
11 the variance, and the split is
12 approved, the split won't affect what
13 you do tonight. Charles will be
14 able to answer the question whether, if
15 they do the split first, they might get
16 additional signage.
17 MR. BOULARD: If I may, I
18 believe the split is already done.
19 MR. SCHULTZ: Okay.
20 MR. BOULARD: But, because
21 they are separate businesses, there are
22 signs that are allowed by right. For
23 example, sign G on the KIA dealership
24 is allowed by right because there is
1 another business there. So, there are
2 a certain number of signs. What the
3 request is for is additional signs and
4 refacing of those signs that have
5 been -- additional signs that have been
6 approved previously for the Chevrolet
7 dealership that were specific as to
8 their verbiage that was on them. And
9 also the fact that we got some
10 directional signs, which in the
11 ordinance are allowed to be two square
12 feet. Clearly, we got 17, 19 square
13 feet, those kinds of things
14 MEMBER GEDEON: Thank you.
15 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any other
16 questions or comments by the board?
17 Mr. Sanghvi.
18 MEMBER SANGHVI: Thank you,
19 Mr. Chair. I went and tried to drive
20 around and place all the signs you have
21 today provided. If I had this
22 yesterday, I could have better
23 visualized what you are trying to do.
24 What's the name of the
1 business, just KIA or KIA Feldman?
2 MR. PHILLIPS: Feldman KIA.
3 MS. HARRELL: Feldman KIA.
4 MEMBER SANGVHI: Just like
5 the Chevrolet.
6 MS. HARRELL: Right.
7 MEMBER SANGHVI: You have
8 already approved signs that are already
9 there, so we don't need to talk about
10 them. All we are to talk about are the
11 (inaudible) variance and size of the
12 wall sign? Sign F, it's been there a
13 long time? Sign F?
14 MR. PHILLIPS: Yes, the KIA
15 sign. I'm sorry, the Feldman sign?
16 MEMBER SANGHVI: It's been
18 MR. PHILLIPS: No, that's a
19 new set of letters.
20 MEMBER SANGHVI: Those are
22 MR. PHILLIPS: Yes. All the
23 letters on the new signs, by the way, I
24 don't know if the board cares either
1 way, but all this new stuff is all LED.
2 So it's all very low in power
4 MEMBER SANGHVI: So this
5 variance is for a new sign, not the
6 size of the sign, is that right,
7 Mr. Boulard?
8 MR. BOULARD: I'm sorry,
9 which sign, F?
10 MEMBER SANGHVI: Talking
11 about sign F.
12 MR. BOULARD: Yes, sign F.
13 MEMBER SANGHVI: Variance is
14 for a new sign, not the size of the
16 MR. BOULARD: That's correct.
17 Sign E, there was a previous variance
18 to allow that to go up to 52.4 square
19 feet. And the request is to increase
20 the size of sign E to 103.25 square
21 feet with the logo included.
22 One of the difficulties
23 clearly is that they couldn't do
24 mock-up signs because the new front is
1 not on the Chevrolet dealership and the
2 other building is under construction.
3 MEMBER SANGHVI: I didn't see
4 many mock-ups around there.
5 MR. BOULARD: No.
6 MEMBER SANGHVI: Signs L and
7 K, why do you need such a huge sign?
8 MR. PHILLIPS: They are
9 really not that large. Seventeen
10 square feet is kind of small. Given
11 the size of the building, they are not
12 that large. And two square feet is so
13 small, it's, you know, one by two.
14 MS. HARRELL: Directional
15 signs usually are two feet, because
16 they say "Restroom" and they are the
17 size of the door. But these are bay
18 doors, so they need to be bigger.
19 MEMBER SANGHVI: Most of the
20 bays are -- I don't see many bays in
21 dealership with small doors.
22 MS. HARRELL: No, no, you are
24 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Anything
2 MEMBER SANGHVI: That's it.
3 Thank you.
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I'm sorry,
5 Member Skelcy.
6 MEMBER SKELCY: Thank you,
7 Chairman. I had a question about E. I
8 have a little bit of an issue with E.
9 Because 52 feet is allowed, and you
10 want 103, that's like twice the size.
11 Now, the size of the letters is not
12 dictated by Chevrolet, is it?
13 MR. PHILLIPS: No, they have
14 letter sets, and this particular
15 letter set -- actually, sorry, let me
16 correct that. Given this entrance
17 element, that's always to scale. If
18 you look at any Chevrolet dealership,
19 it will look similar to this. So,
20 given the certain width, that's the
21 sign that's usually suggested of that
22 marquis or that fascia, if you will.
23 MEMBER SKELCY: All right.
24 Thank you.
1 MR. PHILLIPS: Can I go back
2 to this?
3 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Sure.
4 MR. PHILLIPS: This 52 square
5 feet is based on the linear footage of
6 our building. If you take into account
7 this whole building, all we do is just
8 this front portion up here. If you
9 take this whole building, including the
10 part that's set back, we would probably
11 exceed the 103.
12 MEMBER SKELCY: Yeah, does
13 the ordinance permit which part of the
14 building we are to take into account?
15 I mean, does it have to be just the
16 front fascia portion, or does it
17 include the entire length of the
19 MR. BOULARD: I can check on
20 that. I believe it's the portion of
21 building that the sign is mounted on.
22 I will be happy to look into that.
23 MS. SKELCY: Thank you.
24 MR. PHILLIPS: That is what we
1 view. I think it's a fair argument, not
2 argument, suggestion, to consider the
3 whole building. This is in scale with
4 what your own ordinances are.
5 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Anyone
7 MEMBER SKELCY: I'm sorry,
8 no. Sorry.
9 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I just
10 have a few comments myself. I agree,
11 this was very, very helpful today, as
12 it was presented and outlined exactly
13 what you have and what you need.
14 Couple things. Number one, I
15 do understand the uniqueness of the
16 entire property and the fact you have a
17 new brand coming, KIA Motors, and the
18 need for signage. I understand that.
19 You have to understand what we do. The
20 majority of our cases are all signs,
21 "We need more signs," so does everybody
22 else. But, you know, we take this as a
23 case-by-case basis.
24 The board can grant or deny
1 sign by sign, or we can do it as a
2 whole. But, in general, given the
3 uniqueness of your scenario, the
4 location on Grand River, it's typically
5 a faster miles-per-hour roadway, and
6 the need for somewhat larger signs,
7 even though these are, as Member
8 Skelcy pointed out, very large signs.
9 I think under the circumstances I would
10 be in favor of it. I think you
11 established what you need for these
12 types of variances. Clearly, a two
13 square foot sign for service or
14 delivery is very small. We have a
15 number of, you know, car dealerships in
16 Novi. They should be properly
17 identified for the proper flow of
18 traffic and so forth. In any event, I
19 would be in favor of those as
21 Anybody else have questions
22 or comments? Member Krieger.
23 MEMBER KRIEGER: Out of
24 curiosity, on the east side of
1 Haggerty, the Feldman KIA, is that the
2 same family? MR. FELDMAN:
3 That's a temporary location until the
4 new building is done in Novi.
5 MEMBER KRIEGER: Okay. And
6 then Marty Feldman is on the pylon
7 sign, so you would also like it on the
9 MR. PHILLIPS: No. We will
10 leave the word "Feldman," only goes on
11 the building, and "Marty Feldman" will
12 remain on the ground signs.
13 MEMBER SANGHVI: Just a
14 question. Do we need to know what kind
15 of verbiage is going to go on this face
17 MR. SCHULTZ: I think if you
18 approve the size of the sign, the
19 verbiage is probably going to be as
20 shown, but they would have the ability
21 to change that unless you
22 specifically --
23 MEMBER SANGHVI: Usually
24 we used to ask what they are going to
2 MR. SCHULTZ: Unless you
3 specifically condition that, with their
5 MEMBER SANGVHI: Okay.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Member
8 MEMBER SKELCY: I kind of
9 agree that we should include the
10 language, because I remember another
11 case we had where we approved the sign
12 with one language, and then they
13 changed it to something else.
14 MR. SCHULTZ: I'd like to get
15 the assent on record, just so we are
16 clear, if that's the motion, that they
17 agree to that.
18 MEMBER SKELCY: Would you be
19 willing to agree to that limitation?
20 MR. PHILLIPS: Yes.
21 MS. HARRELL: Yes.
22 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Which sign
23 were you referring to?
24 MEMBER SKELCY: The ones
1 where they want copy change.
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: That would
3 be D and C, I believe. Are those the
4 only two that are copy changes?
5 MEMBER SKELCY: I think C is
7 MR. PHILLIPS: It would be B
8 as well.
9 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: B and C.
10 Is that right, B, C and D, am I
12 MR. PHILLIPS: B, C, D and A.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. I'm
14 sorry, Mr. Boulard.
15 MR. BOULARD: If I may, do
16 you know what the copy is going to be
17 for sign D yet?
18 MR. PHILLIPS: Sign D, no, we
19 do not. General Motors, they are going
20 to drop the Goodrich thing. They are
21 doing something, we are not sure, they
22 are not sure.
23 MR. BOULARD: So that would
24 be -- that would be difficult to
1 specify which language is there.
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM:
3 Personally, I mean, with this type of
4 operation, I know there is not going to
5 be obscene language on there. I know
6 it's going to be all, you know,
7 business related and trademark and so
8 forth. So I personally don't want to
9 get involved in even micromanaging the
10 actual language. I'm sure it will be
11 appropriate. As long as the sizes are
12 appropriate to the board.
13 MEMBER SANGHVI: My question
14 is not micromanage, whether it is
15 required by the ordinance or not.
16 MR. SCHULTZ: It's not
17 required. And when you are adamant
18 enough that you want to make it part of
19 the motion, we just usually ask the
20 petitioner to say that's okay with
21 them, but it is up to the board.
22 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any other
23 questions or comments or discussion by
24 the board? I will look for a motion.
1 Member Skelcy.
2 MEMBER SKELCY: In the case
3 of 10-071, location 42355 Grand River
4 Avenue, the KIA as well as the Feldman
5 Chevrolet business, I move that we
6 grant the requested variances for the
7 signs at Marty Feldman, including with
8 reference to sign C in the proposal
9 presented to the board that's already
10 been approved. And you are not going
11 change the copy on C, are you?
12 MR. PHILLIPS: That will
13 remain as is.
14 MEMBER SKELCY: So, strike
15 that with regard to sign C. Sign D,
16 that is also copy change, which we are
17 not going to have anything to do with,
18 so we will not include that in the
20 Sign E, that the original
21 variance for this oversize wall sign is
22 52.2 square feet, and move that we
23 grant the request to install an
24 enlarged sign of 103.25 square feet.
1 That we grant the request for a
2 variance for a second wall sign of
3 23.16 square feet, and the additional
4 name "Feldman" on the wall sign.
5 With regard to Feldman KIA,
6 sign H, that we permit the additional
7 Feldman wall sign of 18.75 square feet
8 on the new KIA dealership.
9 With regard to sign I, that a
10 44 square foot, 20 foot high ground
11 sign for KIA be approved, as well as
12 the -- be approved. And for signs J, K
13 and L, that the directional signs for
14 service and delivery be granted at 17
15 square foot each.
16 Because the circumstances and
17 features of this particular area are
18 exceptional and unique to the property,
19 such as the fact that the traffic on
20 Grand River drives by the facility very
21 quickly. And also the fact that we
22 want people to be able to pull into the
23 land facility without stopping on Grand
24 River to look for the delivery area or
1 the service area.
2 The failure to grant relief
3 will unreasonably prevent or limit the
4 use of the property and will result in
5 substantially more than mere
6 inconvenience or inability to attain a
7 higher economic or financial return.
8 And the grant of relief will not result
9 in the use of a structure that is
10 incompatible with adjacent or
11 surrounding properties, and will also
12 result in substantial justice being
13 done to both the applicant and adjacent
14 or surrounding properties, and is not
15 inconsistent with the spirit of the
17 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
18 second? I'm sorry, Mr. Boulard.
19 MR. BOULARD: Might I ask if
20 you would like to include sign D, in
21 the previous variance was specific as
22 to the copy. So while the size --
23 there is not a variance required for
24 the size, the variance would be
1 required to make that available for any
2 copy in the future, which was a
4 Also, sign L, I believe, is
5 19 square feet as opposed to the 17
6 square feet.
7 MEMBER SKELCY: The sheet
8 shows L at 17 square feet, not 19.
9 MR. BOULARD: I believe that
10 that's the amount the variance
11 required, is that correct?
12 MS. HARRELL: Yes.
13 MR. PHILLIPS: Actually, one
14 is 17 and one is 15.
15 MEMBER SKELCY: So the
16 variance is for 17 square feet; it will
17 be a total of 19 for sign L?
18 MR. PHILLIPS: Sign L
19 requires 17. Sign K requires 15.
20 MEMBER SKELCY: Variance?
21 MR. PHILLIPS: Yes, variance.
22 MEMBER SKELCY: I would like
23 to amend my motion based on what
24 Mr. Boulard said.
1 MEMBER IBE: I will second
2 the motion.
3 MR. BOULARD: I'm sorry, just
4 to confirm, sign C, you do not -- you
5 are not going to change the face of
7 MR. PHILLIPS: We are not.
8 MR. BOULARD: That will stay
9 exactly as it is?
10 MR. PHILLIPS: Yes.
11 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: We have a
12 second to the motion. Any further
13 discussion by the board? Seeing none,
14 Ms. Martin, can you please call the
16 MS. MARTIN: Member Sanghvi?
17 MEMBER SANGHVI: Yes.
18 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
19 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
20 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
21 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
22 MS. MARTIN: Chairman
24 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Yes.
1 MS. MARTIN: Member Skelcy?
2 MEMBER SKELCY: Yes.
3 MS. MARTIN: Member Gedeon?
4 MEMBER GEDEON: Yes.
5 MS. MARTIN: Motion passes,
6 six to zero.
7 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM:
9 MR. PHILLIPS: Thank you very
11 MEMBER SKELCY: Thanks for
12 the great sign; it was very helpful.
13 MR. PHILLIPS: Thank you very
15 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Next on
16 the agenda is Case number five,
17 Case No. 11-001, 41460 Grand River
18 Avenue, Suites F and G. The petitioner
19 is requesting a variance to install an
20 additional 18 square foot wall sign on
21 Suites F and G of Gateway Village
22 Retail, located at 41460 Grand River
23 Avenue. The property is zoned NCC and
24 is located north of Grand River on the
1 west side.
2 Can you please state your
3 name and address for the record, sir.
4 MR. WARD: Yes, Patrick Ward,
5 41460 Grand River Avenue.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: You are
7 not an attorney?
8 MR. WARD: No.
9 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Just raise
10 your right hand and be sworn by our
11 secretary, sir.
12 MEMBER IBE: Sir, in Case No.
13 11-001, 41460 Grand River Avenue, do you
14 swear or affirm to tell the truth?
15 MR. WARD: Yes, I do.
16 MEMBER IBE: Thank you.
17 MR. WARD: First of all, I
18 would like to thank the board for the
19 opportunity this evening. As everybody
20 should have in the packet, we are
21 requesting a sign variance for a
22 business that was opened in June of
23 2010, C & L Ward.
24 Back in 2010, we entered into
1 a lease agreement at the Shops of GV,
2 which is located on the corner of Grand
3 River and Meadowbrook. At that point,
4 we chose the Shops at GV primarily
5 because of the two retail entrances in
6 the facility as well as two areas for
7 signage. Under our retail agreement
8 with Anderson Windows, the design and
9 construction of the showroom was going
10 to be subsidized by them. So, in doing
11 so, they requested that they get
12 exterior building signage as well. And
13 that's part of, I guess, the point for
14 the additional variance.
15 Under the retail agreement,
16 we cannot have our own stand-alone logo
17 and signage -- actually, we have to
18 have a stand-alone logo and signage.
19 In addition, they have to be
20 represented as well. We can't combine
21 the logos nor can they be touching in
22 any manner.
23 At this point, we have
24 invested $125,000 into the showroom, of
1 which, $55,000 of it was subsidized by
2 Anderson, with the agreement they have
3 the exterior signage on the building.
4 At this point, similar to
5 Feldman, I guess we are citing the
6 traffic. We are on Grand River, as
7 well, so traffic does move quickly.
8 Also, since this is being leased for
9 the purpose of the window and door
10 showroom, if you look at the proper
11 signage above with the entrances, since
12 there is two, if you can look at
13 picture -- actually, this is the
14 building here, the brick building. You
15 will notice it had the C & L Ward logo,
16 and then we also have the Anderson
17 signage that has been installed.
18 That being said, there is two
19 retail entrances, and it will eliminate
20 the confusion amongst the center to
21 have signage above each doorway going
22 into the building.
23 It also appears that the
24 building isn't fully occupied. When we
1 signed our lease agreement with the
2 Shops at GV, they have 12 units, of
3 which at that point four of them were
4 unoccupied, making the facility look
5 kind of desolate, to say the least.
6 So, we feel it looks better in the
7 community to have full occupancy in any
8 type of building.
9 As I said, the showroom is
10 financially subsidized by Anderson.
11 And, again, I, at this point, feel it
12 is consistent with the spirit of the
13 ordinance that has been established by
14 the City of Novi.
15 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Thank you,
16 sir. I will ask at this time if there
17 is any input from the audience, if
18 anybody would like to make a comment on
19 this specific case? Seeing none, I
20 will close the public remark section
21 and ask the secretary to read any
23 MEMBER IBE: Mr. Chair, 26
24 notices were mailed, zero responses,
1 four mail returned.
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Thank you.
3 Any input or comments from the city?
4 MR. BOULARD: No.
5 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: We will
6 open it up to the board for discussion.
7 And as I do -- Member Sanghvi, you have
8 a comment?
9 MEMBER SANGHVI: I have no
10 problem with their request, and I am in
11 support of it.
12 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I just
13 have a question or comment, sir. I
14 understand you mentioned that you have
15 an arrangement with Anderson, and part
16 of it there was supposed to be outside
17 signage and so forth. And, apparently,
18 you put it up without permission of the
19 city, I presume.
20 MR. WARD: Yes, I did.
21 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: When was
22 that put up?
23 MR. WARD: The sign itself?
24 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Yes.
1 MR. WARD: The original sign
2 for C & L Ward was placed up in August.
3 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: And who
4 put that up?
5 MR. WARD: Mark Zurney from
7 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: And you
8 represent who?
9 MR. WARD: I represent C & L
11 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: That's the
12 tenant of the entire two spaces,
14 MR. WARD: Yes.
15 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: And you
16 got cited, apparently, according to the
17 records, in November of 2010 because no
18 permit was pulled or no approval was
20 MR. WARD: Yes, there was a
21 permit originally pulled. That's where
22 the confusion took place. We were
23 approved by the landlord, because we
24 were occupying two places, to have two
1 different signs. Unfortunately, after
2 the fact, we come to find out that's
3 not indeed the case.
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. I
5 understand. Is it the case where
6 Anderson is occupying the space where
7 the sign will be?
8 MR. WARD: Yes, sir.
9 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: There is a
10 shared arrangement, I presume.
11 MR. WARD: Shared
12 arrangement, which 98 percent of the
13 showroom is Anderson products.
14 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. And
15 a question for the city. The sign
16 that's proposed, if they were allowed a
17 sign, it's within the size limit that
18 is authorized by ordinance?
19 MR. BOULARD: The difficulty
20 is this: Previously there was two --
21 previously there was two separate
22 suites; each had its own sign. It was
23 smaller based on the frontage that was
24 there. When the suites were combined,
1 now you got one entity. The ordinance
2 allows one sign. And the sign that the
3 gentleman put up, C & L Ward sign,
4 originally the permit that he got was
5 for a size of a sign based on the
6 entire frontage.
7 So, I guess, I believe -- I
8 don't know, based on the frontages,
9 which is 50 percent or whatnot, how big
10 the sign -- how big this second sign
11 would be allowed to be if it was a
12 separate suite.
13 MEMBER GHANNAM: But the C &
14 L sign is larger than permitted by
15 city, only because it occupies two
16 suites? If it only occupied one suite,
17 it should have been smaller? Does that
18 make sense?
19 MR. BOULARD: That's correct.
20 The size of the C & L Ward sign was
21 based on the combined frontage.
22 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Thank you.
23 I don't have any other questions.
24 Anybody else? Member Skelcy.
1 MEMBER SKELCY: Thank you,
2 Mr. Chairman. How long has CL Ward
3 been in business here at this building?
4 MR. WARD: Since June of
6 MEMBER SKELCY: The Anderson
7 sign, that went up second?
8 MR. WARD: Yes, it did.
9 MEMBER SKELCY: Okay.
10 MR. WARD: It was a
11 coordinated effort amongst the general
12 contractor and Anderson Windows, and
13 that's where a bit of the confusion
14 took place with the signs and my
15 subsequent conversation with the
16 landlord regarding occupying the two
18 MEMBER SKELCY: When you
19 opened up C & L Ward, did you intend to
20 at that time have an Anderson sign up?
21 MR. WARD: Yes.
22 MEMBER SKELCY: You intended
23 to have two signs all along?
24 MR. WARD: Absolutely.
1 Again, under our agreement with
2 Anderson, in order for them to
3 subsidize the showroom, we had to have
4 additional signage for them to help
5 fund the whole project.
6 MEMBER SKELCY: If you
7 intended to do that from the get-go,
8 how come you didn't include the
9 Anderson language in the C & L sign?
10 MR. WARD: Again, under the
11 retailer's agreement, they have to be
12 completely separate signs. We can't
13 combine or touch them. Unlike maybe
14 the last example, like the Chevrolet
15 dealership where they allow you to do
16 that. We can't co-brand at all.
17 MEMBER SKELCY: Okay. Thank
18 you. Those are all the questions I
20 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Member
22 MEMBER IBE: Sir, you just
23 said that when you -- when you moved in
24 you had Anderson Windows advertised,
2 MR. WARD: We had the C & L
3 Ward sign.
4 MEMBER IBE: The C & L Ward
5 sign. When you signed the contract,
6 was Anderson on board at the time?
7 MR. WARD: Absolutely.
8 MEMBER IBE: When did you
9 request to put up the C & L Ward sign?
10 MR. WARD: That would have
11 been -- it would have been originally
12 in --
13 MEMBER IBE: In June?
14 MR. WARD: I don't believe I
15 have that here. I believe it was
17 MEMBER IBE: So at that time
18 you knew Anderson needed to have a
19 separate sign, is that correct?
20 MR. WARD: Absolutely.
21 MEMBER IBE: Because the sign
22 you got, obviously, this size is based
23 on the fact that you would occupy both
24 suites; were you aware of that?
1 MR. WARD: No, I was not.
2 And, again, this leads to the
3 confusion. And I will own that part of
4 it with myself and the landlord on it
5 occupying two different signage -- two
6 different entrances.
7 MEMBER IBE: I do understand
8 your need for wanting to obviously to
9 separate, but the problem I have is I
10 cannot have a policy that I go by that
11 if parties are aware of something, and
12 obviously aren't presenting the entire
13 truth to the party who makes a
14 decision, then I find it troubling,
15 because, obviously, you knew going in
16 that Anderson had a separate sign. And
17 had you told that to the board or
18 perhaps when this C & L sign was
19 approved, you may not have the same
20 size that you have now. So if I'm
21 going to vote on this at all, I would
22 vote for an amendment as to your sign
23 to conform with what should have been
24 there originally as if you had two
2 MR. WARD: Okay, I
4 MEMBER IBE: That would be
5 my position, because obviously you have
6 to (inaudible), and right now I feel
7 that you knew, but that information was
8 available when the C & L Ward sign was
10 MR. WARD: That we knew we
11 were getting two signs?
12 MEMBER IBE: Absolutely.
13 Because it was part of your contract.
14 MR. WARD: Contract with who?
15 MEMBER IBE: Anderson, right?
16 MR. WARD: Our contract with
17 Anderson is they had to have exterior
19 MEMBER IBE: Right.
20 MR. WARD: Again, the
21 confusion amongst the sizing I was
22 unaware of.
23 MEMBER IBE: My question is,
24 you knew that -- when did you sign the
1 contract with Anderson?
2 MR. WARD: Well before June.
3 MEMBER IBE: So you knew way
4 before you applied for the C & L sign
5 that Anderson needed a separate sign,
6 is that correct?
7 MR. WARD: Correct.
8 MEMBER IBE: I have nothing
9 further, Mr. Chair.
10 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any other
11 comments? Member Gedeon.
12 MEMBER GEDEON: Well, I don't
13 have a problem with this. I think if
14 you look at the facade of the building,
15 it's clearly designed to have a sign
16 over each entrance way. And the
17 particular facade feature of the end
18 unit with the triangle shape there, the
19 C & L Ward sign fits quite nicely
20 within that space. So, the size,
21 notwithstanding, I mean, it looks -- it
22 looks appropriate to me. So, I mean,
23 yes, it seems as though they may have
24 made a mistake in their application
1 process, but, I mean, the mistake seems
2 pretty harmless to me. So, I've got no
3 problem with this.
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. Any
5 other comments? Member Krieger.
6 MEMBER KRIEGER: Is the C & L
7 Ward sign, they have a grant for a
8 larger sign?
9 MR. BOULARD: There was not a
10 variance issued for the C & L Ward
11 sign. The size of the C & L Ward sign
12 is larger than would be for a single
13 suite, because it took into -- the
14 calculation took into account the
15 combined frontage of the two suites.
16 Does that answer the question?
17 MEMBER KRIEGER: Okay. So,
18 now, if they have two signs and we make
19 an amendment, they have to get a new
20 sign and shrink it?
21 MR. BOULARD: The ordinance
22 would allow one sign based on the
23 combined frontage. You know, the
24 choice from there would be up to the
2 MEMBER KRIEGER: Okay, thank
3 you. I understand. Thank you.
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any other
5 questions or comments?
6 MEMBER SKELCY: I have a
7 question. How much did the C & L sign
8 cost you?
9 MR. WARD: I don't have
10 that. I feel unprepared, but I don't
11 have it. It was in the range of
13 MEMBER SKELCY: Thank you.
14 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any other
15 questions or comments? If none, I will
16 entertain a motion. Member Gedeon.
17 MEMBER GEDEON: In Case No.
18 11-001, 41460 Grand River Avenue, Suite
19 F and G, I move to approve the variance
20 as requested for a second sign for a
21 single business operating under two
22 suites, for the reasons that the
23 building is clearly designed to have a
24 sign over each door frame, and is not
1 visually unappealing to have a sign
2 above each door frame. And the
3 mistakes made with the size of the sign
4 were not the fault of the petitioner;
5 it was merely a misunderstanding of
6 what was permitted.
7 In addition, the failure to
8 grant relief will unreasonably prevent
9 or limit the use of the property due to
10 the contractual relationship between
11 Anderson and C & L Ward. And the
12 grant of relief will not result in a
13 use of a structure that's incompatible
14 or unreasonably interfere with adjacent
15 and surrounding properties.
16 MEMBER KRIEGER: Second.
17 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: In terms
18 of further discussion, I have one
19 question for the city. We can limit
20 this to this particular tenant, the C &
21 L Ward tenant?
22 MEMBER SANGHVI: This tenant.
23 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: In other
24 words, if this tenant terminates for
1 any reason, this variance would
2 terminate, I presume.
3 MR. SCHULTZ: Correct, yes.
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I would
5 offer an amendment that this approval
6 would be limited to this particular
8 MEMBER GEDEON: I accept that
10 MEMBER KRIEGER: I second.
11 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: We have an
12 approval and a second. Any further
13 discussion? Seeing none, Ms. Martin,
14 can you please call the roll.
15 MS. MARTIN: Member Sanghvi?
16 MEMBER SANGHVI: Yes.
17 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
18 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
19 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
20 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
21 MS. MARTIN: Chairman
23 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Yes.
24 MS. MARTIN: Member Skelcy?
1 MEMBER SKELCY: Yes.
2 MS. MARTIN: Member Gedeon?
3 MEMBER GEDEON: Yes.
4 MS. MARTIN: Motion passes,
5 six to zero.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM:
8 Next is item number six,
9 which is Case No. 11-002, 41370 Bridge
10 Street. The petitioner is requesting
11 an extension to install a real estate
12 leasing sign of 48 square feet
13 adjacent to I-96. The property is
14 zoned I-1 and is located east of
15 Meadowbrook and south of I-96.
16 Please state your name and
17 address, sir.
18 MR. GILTNER: David Giltner,
19 Signature Associates, One Town Square,
20 Suite 1200, Southfield, Michigan,
22 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Could you
23 please raise your right hand and be
1 MEMBER IBE: Sir, in Case No.
2 11-002, 41370 Bridge Street, do you
3 swear or affirm to tell the truth?
4 MR. GILTNER: I do.
5 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Please go
6 ahead, sir.
7 MR. GILTNER: The current
8 zoning ordinance allows for a 16 square
9 foot sign. The sign that I'm here to
10 request is for a freeway sign.
11 Customarily, freeway signs are 48
12 square feet. I'm requesting a 48
13 square foot freeway sign.
14 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. At
15 this point I will open this matter up
16 to public comment. Is there anybody in
17 the public audience who would like to
18 make a comment on this particular case?
19 Seeing none, I will close the public
20 remark section and ask the secretary to
21 read any correspondence.
22 MEMBER IBE: Mr. Chair, 11
23 notices were mailed, zero responses,
24 zero mail returned.
1 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Thank you.
2 Any comments by the city?
3 MR. BOULARD: No.
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I will
5 open it up to the board for discussion.
6 Member Sanghvi.
7 MEMBER SANGHVI: Mr. Boulard,
8 as I understand, this is a renewal of a
9 current sign, isn't it?
10 MR. BOULARD: Yes. There was
11 a previous variance that was approved
12 for a period of one year, and this is a
13 renewal of that.
14 MR. GILTNER: I'd like to
15 clarify, actually. The variance was
16 granted to a competitor of mine, the
17 predecessor to the marketing of the
18 building, so this is a, you know, this
19 is a new sign. You granted a variance
20 to another real estate company.
21 MR. BOULARD: But it's -- the
22 sign, the previous variance was not
23 specific to the verbiage, so it's a
24 continuation of the sign that was
1 approved under the variance, is that
3 MR. GILTNER: Okay.
4 MR. BOULARD: Same size, you
5 are not going to move it?
6 MR. GILTNER: It's a
7 different sign company that would take
8 the sign out and put another sign in.
9 I didn't request it would be relocated,
10 so I assume it would be in the same
11 place, yeah.
12 MEMBER SANGHVI: This is a
13 new sign?
14 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: It will be
15 a new sign, as he said, but replacing
16 the old sign, is that correct?
17 MR. GILTNER: Correct.
18 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: When did
19 your brokerage company take over this
20 particular listing?
21 MR. GILTNER: January was
22 when we started marketing. It's taken
23 us this far to get in front of you.
24 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: What is
1 your listing period?
2 MR. GILTNER: I think I have
3 a one-year listing.
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
5 Under the circumstances -- this is
6 adjacent to the freeway and really is
7 going to be facing the freeway, is my
9 MR. GILTNER: Correct.
10 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I
11 understand freeway signage is a little
12 unique because of the thousands of cars
13 going by daily as opposed to a street
14 like Meadowbrook or something.
15 MR. GILTNER: Right.
16 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I don't
17 have a problem for a one-year
18 limitation of your sign request.
19 Any other comments by the
21 MEMBER SANGVHI: I agree with
23 MEMBER IBE: I will also
24 support it, Mr. Chair.
1 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
2 further questions or comments? If not,
3 I will entertain a motion.
4 MEMBER SANGHVI: In Case No.
5 11-002, 41370 Bridge Street, I move
6 that we approve the variance requested
7 by the applicant. Request is based
8 upon circumstances or features that are
9 exceptional and unique to this
10 property, and do not result from
11 conditions that exist generally in the
12 city and they are not self-created.
13 The grant of relief will not result in
14 a use of structure that is incompatible
15 with and unreasonably interferes with
16 adjacent and surrounding properties,
17 and will result in substantial justice
18 being done to both the applicant and
19 adjacent and surrounding properties,
20 and is not inconsistent with the spirit
21 of the ordinance.
22 MEMBER KRIEGER: For one
24 MEMBER SANGHVI: And required
1 for one year.
2 MEMBER IBE: I will second
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
5 further discussion? Seeing none, Ms.
6 Martin, can you please call the roll.
7 MS. MARTIN: Member Sanghvi?
8 MEMBER SANGHVI: Yes.
9 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
10 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
11 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
12 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
13 MS. MARTIN: Chairman
15 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Yes.
16 MS. MARTIN: Member Skelcy?
17 MEMBER SKELCY: Yes.
18 MS. MARTIN: Member Gedeon?
19 MEMBER GEDEON: Yes.
20 MS. MARTIN: Motion passes,
21 six to zero.
22 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Thank you,
24 MR. GILTNER: Thank you.
1 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Next is
2 item seven, Case No. 11-003, 30995
3 Springlake Boulevard, for Springs
4 Apartments, II. The petitioner is
5 requesting a variance from Section
6 2503.2.A to allow accessory structures
7 in the interior side yard with setbacks
8 approximately 18 feet.
9 Can you please state your
10 name and address.
11 MR. DECORN: My name is David
12 Decorn (ph), 30057 Orchard Lake Road,
13 Farmington Hills, Michigan.
14 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Are you an
15 attorney, sir?
16 MR. DECORN: No, I'm not.
17 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Please be
18 sworn by our secretary.
19 MEMBER IBE: Sir, in Case No.
20 11-003, 30995 Springlake Boulevard, do
21 you swear or affirm to tell the truth?
22 MR. DECORN: Yes.
23 MEMBER IBE: Thank you.
24 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Please
2 MR. DECORN: Basically, we
3 are just asking to build some carports
4 in the existing parking lots that are
5 already there, so it kind of determines
6 where we can put them. I mean, there
7 is really not much to it. Like I said,
8 we have to put them in the parking lots
9 that are existing, so -- and we need a
10 variance on the side to put them in
12 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Anything
14 MR. DECORN: No, not really.
15 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I will
16 open this to public remarks. If there
17 is anybody in the audience who would
18 like to make a remark in this
19 particular case, please raise your hand
20 and be recognized. Seeing none, I will
21 close the public remarks section and
22 ask our secretary to read any
24 MEMBER IBE: Thank you,
1 Mr. Chair. Nineteen notices were
2 mailed, zero responses, zero mail
4 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
5 comments by the city?
6 MR. BOULARD: Just a quick
7 question. In the application, the
8 request was for seven car ports of six
9 units apiece and two of four units
11 MR. DECORN: Correct.
12 MR. BOULARD: Is that
14 MR. DECORN: Yes.
15 MR. BOULARD: When I went
16 through the plan, I was having
17 difficulty finding seven of the
18 six-unit ones. Is it possible there is
19 only six? I mentioned it to the
20 planning staff, and they thought there
21 may have been one that was left out
22 because of utility conflicts. I just
23 want to make sure.
24 MR. DECORN: No, there is
1 seven. Do you mind if I come up?
2 MR. BOULARD: We can use the
3 overhead. This one shows up on both
5 MR. DECORN: Yeah, five, six.
6 MR. BOULARD: This one shows
8 MR. DECORN: Correct. I see
9 what you are saying.
10 MR. BOULARD: There is
11 Pontiac Trail here.
12 MR. DECORN: Right here.
13 MR. BOULARD: Okay. So there
14 is seven. Wonderful. I stand
16 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. Any
17 other comments by the city? I will
18 open it up to the board, and as I do, I
19 will make a couple comments.
20 What is the purpose of the
21 carports? Is it requested by the
23 MR. DECORN: Yes, basically
24 to give them the opportunity to get
1 their vehicles out of the weather
2 and --
3 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: If you add
4 the total number of carports you are
5 offering, is it basically one per unit,
6 is that how you are counting?
7 MR. DECORN: No, it's 25
8 percent, between 20 and 25 percent.
9 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: So do
10 tenants pay extra for that?
11 MR. DECORN: Yeah, they would
12 actually lease them, so first come,
13 first serve.
14 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I presume,
15 if I'm not -- I'm not correct, that
16 they would have to submit plans to the
17 city to approve for proper structural
18 and other issues?
19 MR. BOULARD: Yes. They
20 already submitted for the approval of
21 the site plan. A condition of that
22 approval -- because these end up for
23 this complex in the side setback, and I
24 believe the other complex in the side
1 and front setbacks.
2 MR. DECORN: Correct.
3 MR. BOULARD: Is that the
4 approval is conditioned upon the
5 approval of this body.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. Was
7 there any input from the fire marshal
8 as to any egress or ingress issues?
9 MR. BOULARD: The fire
10 marshal had a chance to comment when
11 this went before planning staff, and it
12 was approved.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. I
14 have no problems with your request,
15 sir, as you requested.
16 Any other comments by the
18 MEMBER SANGHVI: No, I agree
19 with you.
20 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I will --
21 if there is no other comments, I will
22 entertain a motion.
23 MEMBER IBE: I will take
1 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Member
3 MEMBER IBE: In Case No.
4 11-003, 30995 Springlake Boulevard, I
5 move that we grant the variance
6 requested by the applicant for the fact
7 that there are unique circumstances of
8 the property makes it such it becomes
9 necessary to have the carports. At
10 least in Michigan, a place where you do
11 have snow. And talking about snow,
12 there may be some snow tomorrow. And,
13 obviously, the residents of this
14 particular place have requested these
15 particular carports, in which the
16 applicants (inaudible). Although not
17 everyone gets the carport, but it does
18 serve the purpose for which it is
19 intended. So that uniqueness I think
20 is sufficient to grant the request.
21 Secondly, the need is not
22 self-created. Obviously, we do
23 understand based on weather conditions
24 that makes it necessary to have a
1 carport living in Michigan.
2 Strict compliance with
3 regulations governing the area,
4 setbacks, frontage, height, bulk,
5 density will render conformity with
6 those regulations unnecessarily
7 burdensome for the applicant. The
8 requested variance is the minimum
9 necessary to do substantial justice to
10 the applicant as well as other property
11 owners in the district. And the
12 requested variance will not cause
13 adverse impact on surrounding property.
14 And this is also consistent with the
15 zoning ordinance.
16 MEMBER KRIEGER: Second.
17 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: It's been
18 moved and seconded. Any further
19 discussion by the board? Seeing none,
20 Ms. Martin, can you please call the
22 MS. MARTIN: Member Sanghvi?
23 MEMBER SANGHVI: Yes.
24 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
1 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
2 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
3 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
4 MS. MARTIN: Chairman
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Yes.
7 MS. MARTIN: Member Skelcy?
8 MEMBER SKELCY: Yes.
9 MS. MARTIN: Member Gedeon?
10 MEMBER GEDEON: Yes.
11 MS. MARTIN: Motion passes,
12 six to zero.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM:
14 Congratulations, sir, on that. You are
15 here on the next item?
16 MR. DECORN: Yes.
17 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Next item
18 is item number eight, Case No. 11-004,
19 31170 Wellington Drive - Portsmouth
20 Apartments. The petitioner is
21 requesting a variance from Section
22 2503.2.A allowing accessory structures
23 in the front and interior side yard.
24 Could you please state your
1 name again for the record.
2 MR. DECORN: David Decorn.
3 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: You have
4 already been sworn, sir, previously, so
5 we won't swear you in again, so please
6 state your case.
7 MR. DECORN: Basically, this
8 is the same situation. We are looking
9 to build some carports, and we need a
10 variance on the front and side
12 This one there is one
13 building that was eliminated, so the
14 application I believe says 19, but I
15 think we made it 18, because there was
16 an easement for a gas line in building
17 six. But other than that, everything
18 is -- we are just eliminating one of
20 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: So your
21 request is for 18 carports, is
22 that it?
23 MR. DECORN: I don't have the
24 application in front of me.
1 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I'm sorry.
2 MR. BOULARD: I believe there
3 is 28.
4 MR. DECORN: I'm sorry, yeah,
5 28. I'm sorry, yeah.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Anything
7 else, sir?
8 MR. DECORN: No.
9 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I will
10 open it up to public remarks. If there
11 is anybody in the audience that would
12 like to make a comment, please raise
13 your hand. Seeing none, I will close
14 the public remark section and ask the
15 secretary to read any correspondence.
16 MEMBER IBE: Mr. Chair, 66
17 notices were mailed, zero responses,
18 zero mail returned.
19 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. Any
20 comments from the city?
21 MR. BOULARD: No.
22 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
23 comments or questions by the board?
24 MEMBER SANGVHI: I think it's
1 a good idea to have carports; I have no
3 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I have no
4 problem with it either, sir, for the
5 previous reasons we stated. Would
6 anybody like to make a motion?
7 MEMBER IBE: I can certainly
8 take it, but just real quick, is it 27
9 or going to be 28?
10 MR. BOULARD: Twenty-eight.
11 MEMBER IBE: Still 28?
12 MR. BOULARD: I found 28.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
14 MEMBER IBE: In Case No.
15 11-004, 31170 Wellington Drive,
16 Portsmouth Apartments, I move that we
17 grant the applicant's request for the
18 variances as requested for 28 unit
19 carports in the existing apartment
20 complex for the following reasons: And
21 the fact that there are unique
22 circumstances or physical conditions of
23 the property which necessitate to have
24 the carport. And just as was
1 previously stated, Michigan is a cold
2 state and we do have snow, and the need
3 for carports is definitely a necessity
4 these days. And since the applicant
5 has elected to put up carports, that by
6 itself is unique.
7 This request or need for
8 carports is not self-created because of
9 the weather conditions in Michigan.
10 And strict compliance of the
11 regulations governing the area,
12 setback, frontage, height or bulk will
13 unreasonably prevent the property owner
14 from using the property for the
15 purposes that is intended. The
16 requested variance is the minimum
17 variance necessary to do substantial
18 justice to the applicant. And the
19 requested variances will not cause any
20 adverse impact on the surrounding
21 property owners, and is consistent with
22 the zoning board.
23 MEMBER KRIEGER: Second.
24 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any
1 further discussion by the board?
2 Seeing none, Ms. Martin, can you call
3 the roll.
4 MS. MARTIN: Member Sanghvi?
5 MEMBER SANGHVI: Yes.
6 MS. MARTIN: Member Krieger?
7 MEMBER KRIEGER: Yes.
8 MS. MARTIN: Member Ibe?
9 MEMBER IBE: Yes.
10 MS. MARTIN: Chairman
12 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Yes.
13 MS. MARTIN: Member Skelcy?
14 MEMBER SKELCY: Yes.
15 MS. MARTIN: Member Gedeon?
16 MEMBER GEDEON: Yes.
17 MS. MARTIN: Motion passes,
18 six to zero.
19 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM:
20 Congratulations, sir.
21 MR. DECORN: Thank you.
22 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Moving on,
23 we have other matters, the election
24 of officers. I know we were supposed
1 to have that last month, and because of
2 absences of members, we adjourned it to
3 this month. How do we do the order?
4 Should it be chairman first?
5 MR. SCHULTZ: Chairman first.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Anybody
7 like to make any nomination for
9 MEMBER SANGHVI: May I
10 propose the name of Mr. Ghannam as
12 MEMBER IBE: I second that.
13 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Thank you,
14 Member Sanghvi and Member Ibe, and I
15 accept the nomination.
16 Any other nominations for
17 Chairman for this coming-up year?
18 MEMBER SANGVHI: I suggest we
19 close the nomination.
20 MEMBER IBE: I second that as
22 MEMBER KRIEGER: I third
24 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: We take a
1 vote on the record, I presume?
2 MR. SCHULTZ: Yes, correct.
3 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay.
4 Ms. Martin, I believe she can call the
6 MR. SCHULTZ: She can do a
7 voice vote.
8 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: A voice
10 MR. SCHULTZ: Yes.
11 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Then all
12 in favor, say aye.
13 THE BOARD: Aye.
14 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All
15 opposed? Seeing none, I have been
16 elected chairman.
17 MEMBER IBE: Congratulations.
18 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Go ahead,
19 Member Sanghvi.
20 MEMBER SANGHVI: May I
21 nominate Mr. Ibe as vice chairperson
22 for the next session.
23 MEMBER SKELCY: Second.
24 MEMBER IBE: Thank you, I
1 will accept.
2 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Any other
3 nominations for vice chair?
4 MEMBER SANGHVI: I suggest we
5 close the nomination, sir.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Seeing
7 none, I will close the nominations for
8 vice chair. So all in favor of Member
9 Ibe being vice chair for this next
10 session, say aye.
11 THE BOARD: Aye.
12 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All
13 opposed? Seeing none, congratulations,
14 Member Ibe, for vice chair. Next?
15 MEMBER SANGHVI: I'd like to
16 nominate Ms. Skelcy as secretary for
17 the coming session.
18 MEMBER IBE: I will second
20 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Okay. Any
21 other nominations for secretary?
22 MEMBER SKELCY: Oh, I will
24 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: I didn't
1 even ask you. Seeing no other
2 nominations for secretary, all in favor
3 of Member Skelcy being secretary, say
5 THE BOARD: Aye.
6 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All
7 opposed? Seeing none, congratulations.
8 We have no others, right?
9 MR. SCHULTZ: No others.
10 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: Those are
11 the three.
12 MEMBER SANGHVI: May I make a
13 motion to adjourn?
14 MEMBER IBE: Second.
15 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All in
16 favor of adjourning at this point, say
18 THE BOARD: Aye.
19 CHAIRMAN GHANNAM: All
20 opposed? Seeing none, we are
22 (The Meeting was adjourned at
23 9:08 p.m.)
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