View Agenda for this meeting 
View Action Summary for this meeting

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

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


Ricky Ibe, Chairman
Brent Ferrell
David Ghannam
Donna Skelcy
Linda Krieger, Secretary
James Gerblick


Charles Boulard, Building Official
Beth Saarela, City Attorney
Angela Pawlowski, Coordinator/Recording Secretary


Sherri L. Ruff, CSR-3568
Certified Shorthand Reporter


1 Novi, Michigan

2 Tuesday, December 11, 2012

3 7:00 p.m.

4 - - -

5 CHAIRMAN IBE: Good evening, and welcome to the

6 December 11, 2012, Zoning Board of Appeals meeting for the

7 City of Novi.

8 Can we please all rise for the Pledge of

9 Allegiance. And, Member Skelcy, would you lead us.

10 (Pledge of Allegiance recited)

11 CHAIRMAN IBE: Ms. Pawlowski, can you please

12 call the roll.

13 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Gedeon? Absent.

14 Member Gerblick?


16 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Ghannam?


18 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Chairman Ibe?

19 CHAIRMAN IBE: Present.

20 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Krieger?


22 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Sanghvi? Absent.

23 Member Skelcy?


25 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Ferrell?

(313) 962-1176



2 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you very much.

3 For those of you who wish to follow the

4 proceedings, copies of today's agenda can be found in the

5 back of the room, and you may get a copy if you so wish to

6 follow the proceedings closely.

7 And anybody who has a case before the board, when

8 you are called, please come to the podium and state your

9 full name, and spell your last name for the record. And if

10 your first name is difficult, please also spell the first

11 name.

12 You will be allowed five minutes to make your

13 presentation, and you may be allowed additional time at the

14 discretion of the chair.

15 Do we have any modifications to today's agenda?

16 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Yes. Case Number 3, PZ12-0053,

17 at 40623 Nine Mile Road, has asked to be tabled to the

18 January 8th meeting.

19 CHAIRMAN IBE: Very well. Do we just call the

20 roll to table, or how should we handle that?

21 MS. SAARELA: It doesn't have to be a roll call

22 vote; somebody can just move and second.

23 CHAIRMAN IBE: Very well. Can someone please

24 move to table Case Number 3 for today?


(313) 962-1176



2 CHAIRMAN IBE: All those in favor, say aye.


4 CHAIRMAN IBE: All those against?

5 (No audible response.)

6 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing none, Case Number 3 is

7 hereby tabled.

8 Are there any modifications to the minutes from

9 the November 20 meeting.

10 Yes, Mr. Boulard.

11 MR. BOULARD: I have four corrections.

12 On the title -- on the title page, there is a

13 typo in the month.

14 On page 42, line 7, it should read, "They would

15 not need a variance and could go ahead."

16 Same page, 42, line 20, should read, "is

17 certainly enforced."

18 And then on the next page, number 43, line number

19 5, should read, "There was two issues."

20 Thank you.

21 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you, Mr. Boulard.

22 Are there any additional modifications or

23 corrections?

24 (No audible response.)

25 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing none, can I get a motion to

(313) 962-1176


1 adopt the minutes?

2 MEMBER GHANNAM: I will move to approve the

3 November 20, 2012, minutes as amended.


5 CHAIRMAN IBE: All those in favor, say aye.


7 CHAIRMAN IBE: All those opposed?

8 (No audible response.)

9 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing none, the minutes is hereby

10 approved and adopted.

11 Is there anyone in the audience who would like

12 to make public remark at this time? And public remark is

13 limited to just any public remark, but not to a specific

14 case before this board.

15 (No audible response.)

16 CHAIRMAN IBE: Well, seeing none, that will take

17 us to our first case for today. That will be Case Number

18 P, as in perfect, Z12-0047, 1201 South Lake Drive.

19 Is the applicant here? Please come to the

20 podium. State your full and correct name, for the record,

21 and spell your last name. If you are not an attorney,

22 raise your right hand and be sworn.

23 MR. KENNEUI: Mark Kenneui. Last name is

24 K-E-N-N-E-U-I.

25 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you swear or affirm to tell

(313) 962-1176


1 the truth in this case?


3 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.

4 MR. KENNEUI: All right. I will just proceed.

5 I'm requesting two variances, one for a deck off

6 the front of my house, and one for an exterior shed

7 building on my lot. I guess you guys have all the

8 documents to review it, so I really don't have much of a

9 presentation, rather just a Q and A, I guess.

10 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you, sir.

11 MR. KENNEUI: That was short.

12 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you. I would like to turn

13 to the city. Do you have any comments?

14 MS. SAARELA: I don't.

15 MR. BOULARD: Nothing to add. I will stand by

16 for questions.

17 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you, sir.

18 I will now turn to members of the audience. Does

19 anyone have any comments regarding this particular case?

20 (No audible response.)

21 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing none, I will now defer to

22 the board for discussion on this matter.

23 Before that, Madam Secretary, do we have

24 correspondence?

25 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number PZ12-0047,

(313) 962-1176


1 28 notices mailed, zero returned, two approvals, zero

2 objections.

3 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you. Now I will open it up

4 to the board for discussion.

5 Yes, Member Skelcy.

6 MEMBER SKELCY: Did you just buy this house

7 within the last year?

8 MR. KENNEUI: Yeah.

9 MEMBER SKELCY: And it looks like you made a lot

10 of improvements to the exterior. It was kind of like that

11 old white dirty aluminum.

12 MR. KENNEUI: Yeah. We are trying our best to

13 make it more appropriate for the neighborhood, yeah.

14 MEMBER SKELCY: Now, with regard to the deck, it

15 appears that you started to build it, and then you

16 received a citation; is that accurate?

17 MR. KENNEUI: That was the shed across the

18 street.


20 MR. KENNEUI: We misinterpreted the rules. Lake

21 lots have different rules versus non-lake lots. But the

22 deck was there; it was built before. We didn't need to

23 stop work or anything like that; it was just not approved.

24 MS. SKELCY: So the deck was there when you

25 bought the home?

(313) 962-1176


1 MR. KENNEUI: No, no, it was added on as part of

2 it, but it wasn't interrupted or anything. It was -- we

3 didn't pull permits.

4 MEMBER SKELCY: You didn't pull permits for the

5 deck?

6 MR. KENNEUI: No. That's why it's part of this

7 case, as well.

8 MEMBER SKELCY: And why are you building the

9 shed? What's the purpose of the shed?

10 MR. KENNEUI: Storage. And then just a place

11 to, you know, sit at, I guess. It's like an enclosed

12 covered porch, sort of.

13 MEMBER SKELCY: Okay. And the lot is -- so

14 somewhat of an irregular size, it appears; is that right?

15 MR. KENNEUI: Yeah, yeah. The lake lot juts out

16 pretty far compared to both sides, which is -- which is

17 one of the things -- I'm glad you brought that up. The

18 shed is not -- it doesn't block the view as much as it

19 would for maybe some other people, just because our lot,

20 as you can see on the survey, goes out significantly

21 farther than the neighbors' on both sides. It's actually

22 out past the water on one side. But from the street view,

23 it's actually further out than most people on the

24 street.

25 MEMBER SKELCY: And I believe some of your

(313) 962-1176


1 neighbors signed a petition saying that they

2 wholeheartedly endorse?

3 MR. KENNEUI: Yeah, they are hoping this goes

4 well so we can all use it, I guess.

5 MEMBER SKELCY: Okay. All right. Thank you. I

6 have no other questions.

7 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you, Member Skelcy.

8 Yes.

9 MEMBER GHANNAM: I just have a couple questions.

10 You said the purpose of the shed was for what now?

11 MR. KENNEUI: Mostly for storage, but it's also

12 just a place to get out of the sun, I guess, and enjoy the

13 lake really is what we want to do out there.

14 MEMBER GHANNAM: And why is it that you cannot

15 build a shed within the limits imposed by the ordinance?

16 MR. KENNEUI: We could. It's completely my

17 fault. We interpreted the rules for a shed. The

18 structure size, there is a different rule for a lakefront

19 lot versus just a regular non-lake lot.

20 MEMBER GHANNAM: I understand, but my question

21 is why is it that you can't build a shed within the limits

22 of the ordinance?

23 MR. KENNEUI: No, I could, I totally could.

24 MEMBER GHANNAM: So why do you need a variance?

25 MR. KENNEUI: Because it's already built.

(313) 962-1176


1 MEMBER GHANNAM: When was it completed?

2 MR. KENNEUI: It's not completed. What we did

3 is we started building it thinking that it was in the size

4 limits, but it wasn't, so we got the red do-not-build

5 sticker, and we stopped.

6 MEMBER GHANNAM: Did you have plans drafted for

7 this particular shed, or no?

8 MR. KENNEUI: No, not really, no.

9 MEMBER GHANNAM: And what percentage of the shed

10 do you think is built? Like how far are you through this

11 project?

12 MR. KENNEUI: Seventy, eighty percent.

13 MEMBER GHANNAM: I'm sorry?

14 MR. KENNEUI: Eighty percent, I would say.

15 MEMBER GHANNAM: How much did it cost you to

16 build?

17 MR. KENNEUI: With the -- I don't know, a few

18 thousand dollars probably. I don't know off the top of my

19 head. We did a lot of the work, but the cement and stuff,

20 maybe $3,000, I would say.

21 MEMBER GHANNAM: I mean, I understand bigger is

22 better, obviously, but they have ordinances for a reason,

23 and our job is to see if your case comes within an

24 exception to the ordinance. I mean, had you followed the

25 rules, you could have simply built one that complied and

(313) 962-1176


1 not have a problem. Now that you have built it, your

2 trying to go back and ask for relief is a little

3 concerning to me, because you could have complied with the

4 ordinance, and we wouldn't have to be here.

5 Part of your job, also, by the way, is to

6 minimize your variance, your request, even if you needed

7 one. Here, you could certainly build one within the

8 ordinance. Now it may take some -- if you don't get the

9 ordinance or your relief you are requesting, you may have

10 to destruct and reconstruct.

11 MR. KENNEUI: I understand, yeah.

12 MEMBER GHANNAM: So I am having an issue about

13 that particular one. I understand about the deck. These

14 are lake lots; they are quite unusual. We granted a lot

15 of relief in the past to various lake lots because of the

16 unusual and small nature of the lots. I'm just having an

17 issue with the accessory structure, that's all. Thank

18 you.

19 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you.

20 Yes.

21 MEMBER FERRELL: I have a question, Mr. Chairman.

22 How many sheds do you have on your lot now? You

23 still have the one in your back yard?

24 MR. KENNEUI: Yeah, the one in the back is

25 currently still there.

(313) 962-1176


1 MEMBER FERRELL: I just have a question for the

2 city. How many out buildings are they allowed? Is it

3 typically one?

4 MR. BOULARD: Typically, one. The difference

5 here is this is two separate parcels.

6 MEMBER FERRELL: It is two separate?


8 MEMBER FERRELL: Okay. Is that something you

9 would be willing to do, reduce the size of your shed to

10 comply with the ordinance?

11 MR. KENNEUI: I'm here to request a variance for

12 the increased size.

13 MEMBER FERRELL: But if we weren't, is that

14 something that you would be --

15 MR. KENNEUI: I wouldn't have a choice, would I?

16 MEMBER FERRELL: No, actually, you wouldn't. I

17 guess I'm just curious if that's something you

18 understand --

19 MR. KENNEUI: No, I understand I made a mistake,

20 you know, misinterpreting. I didn't know there was

21 different rules for the lake lot. The City of Novi's

22 Website doesn't say anything about lake frontage. The

23 State of Michigan is the place where I got that from. I

24 didn't know that until we got the stop sticker.

25 MEMBER FERRELL: Okay. That's all.

(313) 962-1176


1 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you very much. Do we have

2 any additional questions or comments?

3 (No audible response.)

4 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing none, I will entertain a

5 motion.

6 MEMBER KRIEGER: My comment would be that since

7 the -- because I drove by. There was the petition that

8 was signed, I guess the neighbors don't have an issue with

9 the limited view or that they perceive that there is a

10 limited view to the lake, and so that they would approve

11 it. So I would be not too opposed to them continuing with

12 the building that they have. That's it.

13 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you.

14 Do we have any additional questions?

15 (No audible response.)

16 CHAIRMAN IBE: Do we have to take this up

17 separate, or we can do one motion for both?

18 MS. SAARELA: It depends if, I guess, where you

19 are going. If you are going to move to approve one and

20 deny one, I would prefer two separate. If you are going

21 to move to approve both or deny both, I think you can do

22 it in one motion.

23 CHAIRMAN IBE: Can I get a motion for --

24 MEMBER GHANNAM: Personally, in terms of

25 motions, I wouldn't move myself to approve both. I have

(313) 962-1176


1 no problem with the deck. I do have a problem with the

2 accessory structure, because it exceeds the height and

3 dimensions that he's allowed. And I don't think under the

4 rules really he's presented a case to necessitate that.

5 Certainly, it is self-created, and that's what he has to

6 establish that it is not.

7 If anybody moves to approve both, I would not

8 support it. If you would move to approve one, I would

9 support that.

10 CHAIRMAN IBE: Very well. Thank you very much

11 for the comment.

12 Yes.

13 MEMBER KRIEGER: I will move to approve for the

14 deck then to start.

15 CHAIRMAN IBE: Very well.

16 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number PZ12-0047, for

17 1201 South Lake Drive, I move that the variance be

18 granted, that the -- there are unique circumstances and

19 physical conditions of the property, being between the

20 road there is two separate properties, and this one the --

21 such as narrowness, shallowness, shape, the water,

22 topography, similar physical conditions. And the need for

23 variance is not due to the applicant's personal or

24 economic difficulty.

25 The need for the deck is not self-created. The

(313) 962-1176


1 strict compliance with regulations governing area, setback,

2 frontage, height, bulk, density, or other dimensional

3 requirements will unreasonably prevent the property owner

4 from using the property for a permitted purpose, or will

5 render the conformity with those regulations unnecessarily

6 burdensome.

7 The requested variance is the minimum variance

8 necessary to do substantial justice to the applicant as

9 well as to other property owners in the district; that

10 there is a petition that they are acceptable to the deck;

11 and that this will also enhance the property value.

12 The requested variance will not cause or

13 adversely impact surrounding properties and property values

14 or in the use or enjoyment of the property in the

15 neighborhood or zoning district.


17 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing that a motion has been

18 made and seconded, do we have any need for discussion

19 regarding that motion?

20 (No audible response.)

21 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing none, Ms. Pawlowski, please

22 call the roll.

23 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Gerblick?


25 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Ghannam?

(313) 962-1176



2 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Chairman Ibe?


4 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Krieger?


6 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Sanghvi? I'm Sorry.

7 Member Skelcy?


9 MS. PAWLOWSKI: And Member Ferrell?


11 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Motion passes.

12 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you. That will bring us to

13 the second portion of the applicant's request. Do we have

14 a motion, or where are we in terms of the members, your

15 feelings about the second part?

16 Yes, Member Gerblick.

17 MEMBER GERBLICK: I will just echo Member

18 Ghannam's comments that one of the strict guidelines that

19 we have to follow in order to grant a variance is that the

20 need is not self-created. I don't think you put forth

21 enough evidence. I think you have been pretty honest with

22 us, which I give you credit for, but, unfortunately, I

23 don't support the variance for that reason.

24 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you. Do we have any

25 additional comments in that particular portion of this

(313) 962-1176


1 request?

2 (No audible response.)

3 CHAIRMAN IBE: Well, seeing none, I will

4 entertain a motion.

5 Yes, please.

6 MEMBER GERBLICK: Case Number PZ12-0047, 1201

7 South Like Drive, I move that we deny the second requested

8 variance for the structure on the lakefront parcel.

9 Although there are unique circumstances to the property

10 such as the shape, and it does not limit the view of other

11 members, the need is explicitly self-created by the

12 applicant by not checking the standards.

13 Do I need to add anything else if they don't meet

14 criteria?



17 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing that a motion has been

18 made and seconded, do we have any modifications or

19 corrections to that motion?

20 (No audible response.)

21 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing none, Ms. Pawlowski, please

22 call the roll.

23 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Gerblick?


25 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Ghannam?

(313) 962-1176



2 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Chairman Ibe?


4 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Krieger?


6 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Skelcy?


8 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Ferrell?


10 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Motion passes, six to zero.

11 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you.

12 We now call Case Number PZ12-0050, 1316 East Lake

13 Drive. Will the applicant please come to the podium.

14 Please state your full and correct name, and spell your

15 last name for the record. And if you are not an attorney,

16 please raise your right hand and be sworn in. Thank you.

17 MR. HARTMAN: George Hartman, Hartman

18 Architects, representing the property owner, Mark

19 Rubenstein. Hartman, H-A-R-T-M-A-N.

20 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you swear or affirm in this

21 case to tell the truth?

22 MR. HARTMAN: I do.

23 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.

24 MR. HARTMAN: We are here tonight requesting

25 three variances for the subject property. We are

(313) 962-1176


1 requesting a side yard setback variance. We are also

2 asking for a front yard setback variance, as well as lot

3 coverage variance.

4 This property is 40 feet wide. The variances are

5 required to be able to construct a reasonably sized home on

6 the property. Trying to meet the total setback

7 requirements of 10 and 25 feet would allow us only 15 feet

8 of home width on this site.

9 The front yard variance is requested because of

10 the depth of the property. When the property owner

11 purchased the property, his mortgage survey led him to

12 believe he was buying a lot of 140 feet of depth. The

13 property is actually less than that in depth. Whether that

14 was taken at some point in time for road right-of-way or

15 some other purpose, we haven't been able to document, but

16 that necessitates the front yard setback variance.

17 This property was platted prior to the property

18 owner buying it. It's not a hardship that was created by

19 himself. Thank you.

20 CHAIRMAN IBE: Well, thank you, sir.

21 Do we have anyone in the public who would like to

22 make a remark regarding this particular case? Yes, please

23 come forward. When you get to the podium, please state

24 your full and correct name, and spell your last name for

25 the record. And if you are not an attorney, please raise

(313) 962-1176


1 your right hand and be sworn in. Thank you.

2 MR. SMITH: My name is Dennis Smith, S-M-I-T-H.

3 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you swear or affirm in this

4 case, PZ12-0050, 1316 East Lake Drive, to tell the truth

5 in this case?

6 MR. SMITH: Yes.

7 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.

8 MR. SMITH: I live at 1320 East Lake Drive. I'm

9 the resident and owner of the house directly to the south.

10 I have seen the plans, went over it with him, and I agree

11 with what they are doing. I feel that it's going to add to

12 the neighborhood. It's very well done, in my opinion.

13 And I'd like to add that they are not doing

14 anything that hasn't been done or granted by your board on

15 previous properties adjacent to it. Like I say, I approve

16 it, and I hope it goes through.

17 CHAIRMAN IBE: Well, thank you, sir.

18 Do we have any additional comments from anyone in

19 the public?

20 (No audible response.)

21 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing none, I would ask the

22 secretary to please read into the record any correspondence

23 received.

24 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number PZ12-0050, 1316

25 East Lake Drive, there were 34 notices mailed, four

(313) 962-1176


1 returned, two approvals, zero objections.

2 Do you want me to read the approvals?

3 CHAIRMAN IBE: Yes, please.

4 MEMBER KRIEGER: "To Angie Pawlowski, to the

5 City of Novi. We are neighbors next door north to this

6 property and have spoken with the homeowner, Mark

7 Rubenstein, regarding this project. He has answered any

8 concerns over the project that we had, including sight

9 line, grade difference between the two homes, and seawall

10 at the lake.

11 "Mark has indicated that the new home on the lake

12 side will be on the same sight line between our home and

13 the one to the south of him. Our home is also graded

14 higher as a retaining wall that he said will be taken care

15 of during the project. The only minor other concern was

16 his seawall that needs to be repaired between our two

17 homes, which he said would be taken care of during the

18 project.

19 "We realize that the Zoning Board may have

20 concerns over setbacks, maximum lot coverage, et cetera,

21 but we, who are most affected, as well as his neighbor to

22 the south, by this project, are in acceptance of his plans

23 and request for variances, since he has agreed to address

24 our minor concerns.

25 "The plans look beautiful, and we are excited to

(313) 962-1176


1 see the finished project and continue to have Mark as a

2 wonderful neighbor. Rick and Patty Nessel."

3 The second one is an approval.

4 "I approve wholeheartedly to any and all

5 variances for this project. This home, which I have lived

6 next door to for 20 plus years, has been an eyesore for so

7 long. Congrats to Mr. Rubenstein for improving his

8 property and propping up my home value."

9 From Kim Smith, I believe. Thank you.

10 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you, Madam Secretary.

11 I will now turn to the city for any comment they

12 may have.

13 Yes, Mr. Boulard.

14 MR. BOULARD: If I might, Mr. Chairman, I have a

15 question.

16 CHAIRMAN IBE: Please.

17 MR. BOULARD: Mr. Hartman, the plan that we show

18 or that was provided to us, the plot plan shows the

19 entrance from the side portion of the house to the north.

20 Is that still the configuration that is intended?

21 MR. HARTMAN: There was a discussion with the

22 neighbor about flipping the home to move the driveway

23 further to the north, and I don't know that we have

24 resolved that.

25 MR. SMITH: Yeah.

(313) 962-1176


1 MR. HARTMAN: We have, so we will be flipping

2 that.

3 MR. BOULARD: Okay.

4 MR. HARTMAN: Thank you.

5 MR. BOULARD: Can you confirm that none of the

6 variances will change?

7 MR. HARTMAN: That is correct. So what we

8 see -- we still need the same variances. We won't require

9 any additional variances.

10 MR. BOULARD: Okay. I just wanted to clarify

11 that. Thank you very much.

12 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you, Mr. Boulard.

13 City attorney, do you have any comments?


15 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you. I will now open it up

16 to the board for discussion.

17 Yes, Member Ghannam.

18 MEMBER GHANNAM: Thank you. Have you worked

19 with the city to reduce or minimize the variances that you

20 requested to them?

21 MR. HARTMAN: As far as working a design through

22 the city?


24 MR. HARTMAN: No. We presented our design

25 concept. We actually -- I spoke with the building

(313) 962-1176


1 department and planning department about side yard

2 setbacks, and was recommended that we stay no closer than

3 six feet, which is what we have asked for here.

4 MEMBER GHANNAM: I mean, some of the issues --

5 by the way, in general, I support your request. I

6 understand these lots and configuration, virtually it's

7 impossible to tear down or even build on an empty lot

8 without violating our ordinances. It's just the way those

9 lots were, so I understand that.

10 We always ask the question whether there will be

11 any issues with the fire department or access to the

12 premises or anything like that. Is there any indication of

13 any problems with that?

14 MR. BOULARD: In this particular case,

15 Mr. Hartman will have to, as he finalizes the design, will

16 need to comply with the requirements for fire resistance

17 ratings and limitations on openings along the side where

18 called for in the building code, so I'm not concerned

19 about that. I think that the building code addresses

20 those sufficiently.


22 MR. HARTMAN: If I may, sir.

23 MEMBER GHANNAM: Go ahead.

24 MR. HARTMAN: That's one of the reasons we want

25 six feet. If we went to five feet, then I would have to

(313) 962-1176


1 have fire rated construction. In discussions with the

2 building department, the six feet was recommended.

3 MEMBER GHANNAM: In general, like I said, I have

4 no problem with the requests. I agree they are all

5 improvements put into the neighborhood, and so forth, and

6 it's all desirable, but, given the nature of the lots and

7 the uniqueness of these when they originally configured and

8 plotted, you've got no choice but to ask for something to

9 build a reasonable home, so I have no problem with your

10 request.

11 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you. Do we have any

12 additional questions or comments?

13 (No audible response.)

14 CHAIRMAN IBE: Just a quick comment. I, too,

15 will be in support of your application. I think that the

16 design looks very pleasant. I think it will improve the

17 neighborhood, surroundings of the neighborhood. And this

18 definitely says, "Welcome to the city."

19 Seeing no further discussion, I will entertain a

20 motion.

21 MEMBER GHANNAM: I will go ahead and make a

22 motion.

23 CHAIRMAN IBE: Did you have a comment?

24 MEMBER FERRELL: No, I was just going to move.


(313) 962-1176


1 MEMBER GHANNAM: I will go ahead and move

2 Item 2, which is Case Number PZ12-0050, for 1316 East Lake

3 Drive, to approve the variances as requested, because there

4 are unique circumstances or physical conditions of the

5 property, and the need for the variances is not due to the

6 applicant's personal or economic difficulty.

7 Number two, the need is not self-created. Strict

8 compliance with the regulations will unreasonably prevent

9 the property owner from using the property for a permitted

10 purpose. The requested variance is the minimum variance

11 necessary to do substantial justice to the applicant, and

12 the variance will not cause an adverse impact on

13 surrounding properties.


15 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing that a motion has been

16 made and seconded, do we have any need for further

17 discussion?

18 (No audible response.)

19 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing none, Ms. Pawlowski, please

20 call the roll.

21 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Gerblick?


23 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Ghannam?


25 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Chairman Ibe?

(313) 962-1176



2 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Krieger?


4 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Skelcy?


6 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Ferrell?


8 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Motion passes, six to zero.

9 CHAIRMAN IBE: Congratulations.

10 MR. HARTMAN: Thank you very much.

11 CHAIRMAN IBE: The final case for today, Case

12 Number PZ12-0049, 40399 Grand River Avenue, Kroger

13 Pavilion.

14 Will the applicant please come to the podium.

15 Please state your full and correct name, and spell your

16 last name for the record. If you are not an attorney,

17 please raise your right hand and be sworn in. Thank you.

18 MR. RICHARDSON: My name is Dana Richardson. I

19 represent Jeffrey A. Scott Architects in Farmington.

20 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you swear or affirm to tell

21 the truth in this case?


23 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.

24 MR. RICHARDSON: I will assume what I see, you

25 folks can see, as well.

(313) 962-1176


1 All right. I am here this evening representing

2 the Kroger Company. Kroger Company is asking to construct

3 a small pavilion, which is a fancy word for an outdoor

4 gazebo, on the south end of the property.

5 The existing structure is 24,000 square feet. It

6 sits on approximately 2.86 acres. It is a single story and

7 22 feet in height. And this building is sitting within an

8 I-1 zone. Accessory structures are not allowed in that

9 zone, to my understanding.

10 Kroger Company has owned the structure and has

11 occupied this building for the last six years. It is their

12 headquarters for all their Michigan operations. And as you

13 will see in this graphic here, we are bordered on the north

14 by Grand River. On the east is another I zone, which is

15 Lacy Tool Company. To the south is residential, R-4. And

16 to the west is an NCC, non-center commercial, zoning.

17 East of the building is parking for approximately

18 85 vehicles, and west of the building is parking for

19 approximately 70 vehicles. So, all concerned, the amount

20 of area that's available for what they would like to do is

21 limited to the back.

22 The south is bordered with a berm, and the berm

23 sits on Kroger's property. It's approximately 30 feet wide

24 by about 200 feet long, and it's roughly about eight feet

25 high. The berm's topography extends roughly from the

(313) 962-1176


1 property line on the south to just south of the parking lot

2 curb as shown in the drawing. So you will see the tree

3 area in the graphic and the berm that's underneath that.

4 Underneath the trees and the access drive that passes

5 between the berm area and where the structure is that we

6 are asking for. The berm is covered with dense evergreen

7 foliage ranging from seven to 24 feet in height.

8 The current setback for I-1 is 40 feet from the

9 front, 20 feet rear, and 20 feet side yards. It's also

10 100 feet if abutting residential in the area. And,

11 coincidentally, the property to the west is the

12 non-centered commercial, is 40 feet in the front; rear yard

13 is 20 feet. And we don't believe there is any additional

14 standard applied for adjacent residential structures if

15 this were NCC.

16 This proposed pavilion is 275 square feet, which

17 is 18 feet 4 inches by 15 feet, and it stands approximately

18 14 feet 3 inches high. It's open on all sides, and it will

19 be shingled with a material to match the existing

20 structure. The roof pitch is 612, and has overhangs of, I

21 believe, 12 inches or more or greater.

22 The proposed pavilion is to be used for the

23 enjoyment of Kroger employees during normal business hours,

24 and its primary purpose is for accessing fresh air during

25 the typical lunch hour. It has been designed in keeping

(313) 962-1176


1 with the principal building. And the city has requested

2 that the pavilion be reviewed under its facade ordinance,

3 for which it has been determined the column basis be

4 conformed to match the principal structure. I believe in

5 our drawings we have indicated a cultured stone, and the

6 city asked that we change that to brick material that

7 matches the building; we will fully comply.

8 So what we are indicating here is, in terms of

9 the practical difficulties, that this structure is resting

10 within that setback by approximately 18 feet. So the outer

11 edge of that structure is 82 feet away from the property

12 line.

13 I will show you some more information. This is

14 the photograph looking directly at the back of the existing

15 structure, and the proposed pavilion would be placed

16 between these two trees. The tree furthest west will be

17 relocated, I believe, approximately 15 feet west or so,

18 just to get it out of the way of the structure. We want

19 that tree; we want to keep it, so we will just relocate it.

20 And this is a shot of what it would look like if

21 you were standing in the footprint of the building looking

22 back towards the residential. You can see the trees are

23 quite mature, and the berm is quite high. For the most

24 part, you can't even see the residential.

25 And then this is a photograph standing along the

(313) 962-1176


1 property line looking west. And you can see just the roof

2 tops of the residential to the left, and then, again, the

3 height of the berm and trees.

4 That's it. So, again, the difficulties that we

5 are addressing here is the current use of the property does

6 not rise or does not allow us to -- does not rise to an I-1

7 use or occupancy. It's currently being used more as a

8 commercial establishment. We don't believe that this

9 pavilion would present any danger to its surroundings. We

10 don't believe that it impacts public safety, nor does it

11 diminish or impair property values. And we also believe it

12 matches and reaches the spirit of the ordinance, and the

13 staff has recommended that it be approved.

14 CHAIRMAN IBE: Well, thank you very much, sir.

15 MR. HARTMAN: You're welcome.

16 CHAIRMAN IBE: Do we have anyone in the audience

17 who would like to make a remark regarding this particular

18 case? Yes, sir, please come to the podium. State your

19 full and correct name, and spell your last name for the

20 record. And if you are not an attorney, please raise your

21 right hand and be sworn in.

22 MR. MCCULLAH: My name is Charles McCullah with

23 the Kroger company. I'm the project manager for this

24 project. Last name is M-C-C-U-L-L-A-H.

25 MEMBER KRIEGER: Sir, in Case Number PZ12-0049,

(313) 962-1176


1 40399 Grand River, do you swear to tell the truth in this

2 case?


4 MEMBER KRIEGER: Thank you.

5 MR. MCCULLAH: As a representative for Kroger, I

6 just wanted to relay the comments from our president and

7 executives that we are at the front of requesting this

8 pavilion.

9 Currently, on the west side of the building --

10 yes, the west side of the building, we have a small

11 sidewalk that we currently have one picnic table at that is

12 basically sitting right by our parking lot. And they want

13 to give the employees that work within our entire building

14 a better area where they can go relax, get away for an hour

15 or so during their lunch period to just relax. And they

16 feel that this pavilion will help benefit that and give a

17 greater morale for the employees in general.

18 MEMBER GHANNAM: Actually, I got a question, if

19 you don't mind.

20 CHAIRMAN IBE: Please.

21 MEMBER GHANNAM: Actually, you had just

22 commented, and I kind of assumed that was the reason for

23 it. You just commented on why you need it.

24 Let me ask you, does Kroger own this particular

25 building, or do they lease it out?

(313) 962-1176


1 MR. MCCULLAH: Yes, we do own it.

2 MEMBER GHANNAM: You own it. And I assume you

3 are going to be there for quite a while?


5 MEMBER GHANNAM: I appreciate that. I have no

6 problem. Thank you.

7 MEMBER SKELCY: I have a question.


9 MEMBER SKELCY: Is this going to be like a

10 smoking hut?

11 MR. MCCULLAH: No, most likely not. From my

12 understanding, it's more of an area for lunch. We are

13 going to put two picnic tables under it and have it as a

14 particular lunch area, not as a smoking lounge.

15 MR. HARTMAN: Could I comment on one thing? The

16 way the building is laid out, the primary entrance is the

17 most practical route to that pavilion. The other exits --

18 there are no other exits along the south of the main

19 building. There is an exit I believe on the west side of

20 the structure, but it's there only as an egress from a

21 limited part of the building, so it's not an exit that is

22 served by the general employees of the building. So,

23 considering the pavilion as a smoking destination, it's

24 approximately 380 feet from the front door all the way

25 around the pavilion, and it just doesn't seem to render

(313) 962-1176


1 practicality to consider it as such.

2 MEMBER SKELCY: Okay. Because it seems like

3 this is like a lot of construction for just two picnic

4 tables. I was curious, what is the cost for this?

5 MR. MCCULLAH: It's about $30,000. We have

6 already had it priced out from one of our contractors who

7 recently did interior renovations to the building, as we

8 had a tenant move out, and we expanded our office into

9 that space.

10 MEMBER SKELCY: How many employees are there in

11 the building?

12 MR. MCCULLAH: Roughly, I would say,

13 approximately 100. I could be entirely, what do you call

14 it, unsure what that number is.

15 MEMBER SKELCY: Because I have a concern that

16 it's going to be used as a smoking pavilion, and that the

17 neighbors behind the berm will end up smelling smoke

18 during the days, because smoke does travel, so -- and, in

19 particular, cigarette smoke, which has a nasty, foul

20 smell. So that's the concern that I have.

21 Do you have many smokers that go out there?

22 MR. MCCULLAH: From what I have noticed during

23 the day from being in the office, I have not seen many

24 people that do smoke. For those that I do notice smoking,

25 they typically go out just outside of our garage that we

(313) 962-1176


1 currently have in the building. They go right outside

2 where our transformer hut is. They will spend five or ten

3 minutes smoking and then go back inside, which is actually

4 on the -- I guess it would probably be the middle of the

5 building, if you were to look at the --

6 MEMBER SKELCY: On the west side?

7 MR. MCCULLAH: On the west side, yes.

8 MR. HARTMAN: We have that graphic. You can pull

9 that up.

10 MR. MCCULLAH: You see right where the -- there

11 is -- looks like there is a little island coming out of the

12 parking lot on the west side. That's just about where our

13 garage door entry is, and that's typically where most

14 people spend their time smoking that I have seen. As I

15 mentioned, that's a very limited amount of people.

16 MEMBER SKELCY: Thank you. I have no other

17 questions.

18 CHAIRMAN IBE: All right. Although we have

19 taken stuff in the wrong order, I will now ask Madam

20 Secretary if there is any correspondence received in this

21 particular case.

22 MEMBER KRIEGER: In Case Number PZ12-0049,

23 41 were mailed, three returned, one approval.

24 The approval states: "The plan for the pavilion

25 looks in line to the building and improved the back side

(313) 962-1176


1 with more landscaping." From Mark Less on Willowbrook.

2 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you, Madam Secretary.

3 I will now turn to the city. Do we have any

4 comments or questions?


6 MR. BOULARD: Nothing to add.

7 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you. And now I would now

8 turn back to the members of the board to see if we have

9 any additional questions for the applicants.

10 Yes.

11 MEMBER KRIEGER: Question for the city. Would

12 they need a permit to have an event underneath this

13 pavilion that they are creating?

14 MR. BOULARD: Depending on the size, type of the

15 event, whether there is amplified music, things like that,

16 a permit may be required.

17 MEMBER KRIEGER: Do you anticipate doing

18 anything of that in the future?

19 MR. MCCULLAH: Not that I have seen in the past

20 year and a half I have been with Kroger. Most of the

21 events that we have, we have a large conference room; we

22 typically hold it within there. The ones that we have

23 held outdoors are typically right off of our conference

24 room. We rent out a small tent; that way we can go

25 outside and still enjoy the weather but also be able to be

(313) 962-1176


1 inside, so that our executives, when they do get up to

2 speak, their voice can travel throughout the room rather

3 than throughout the open air outside. We typically do not

4 hold many outdoor events.

5 MEMBER KRIEGER: Okay. And you are going to

6 have two picnic tables and a hundred people. I guess you

7 would have staggered lunches for people then?

8 MR. MCCULLAH: We have a kitchen area that

9 they -- that most people currently use. And within our

10 company, lunch is really on your own time; you can go

11 whenever you please. For most people, it's between 12 and

12 12:30. For myself, it's obviously whenever I have time.

13 But the most people I have ever seen in the kitchen

14 area -- we have three six-foot tables that seat

15 approximately four to six people. The most I have ever

16 seen there is ten people, which would definitely be able

17 to fit onto the two picnic tables we would be providing in

18 the pavilion, as well.

19 MEMBER KRIEGER: And would you consider putting

20 a no smoking sign in the back area?

21 MR. MCCULLAH: Yes, I believe we could

22 accommodate that.

23 MEMBER KRIEGER: That's all for now. Thank you.

24 CHAIRMAN IBE: Well, thank you.

25 Do we have any additional questions or comments?

(313) 962-1176


1 (No audible response.)

2 CHAIRMAN IBE: Well, seeing none, I will

3 entertain a motion, please.


5 CHAIRMAN IBE: Please, go ahead.

6 MEMBER FERRELL: I move to approve the variance

7 for Case Number PZ12-0049 at 40399 Grand River Avenue.

8 And that there is a unique circumstance to the physical

9 condition of the property, such as narrowness,

10 shallowness, shape, water, topography, or similar physical

11 conditions, and the need for the variance is not due to

12 the applicant's personal or economic difficulty.

13 The requested variance is the minimum variance

14 necessary to do substantial justice to the applicant as

15 well as to other property owners in the district. The

16 requested variance will not cause an adverse impact on

17 surrounding property or property values, or the use and

18 enjoyment of the property in the neighborhood or the zoning

19 district.

20 MEMBER GHANNAM: I will second that.

21 CHAIRMAN IBE: I'm sorry, did you have a

22 question or comment?

23 MEMBER KRIEGER: To add to that, for the no

24 smoking sign.

25 MEMBER FERRELL: And add a no smoking sign.

(313) 962-1176


1 MS. SAARELA: Is that due to a concern for the

2 adjacent property?


4 MS. SAARELA: Okay.

5 MEMBER GHANNAM: Personally, I don't see the

6 necessity of that, but I have no problem if the board

7 wants to support that. It's all an open space anyway, so

8 I will go ahead and second that.

9 MEMBER FERRELL: Well, there is laws, too, that

10 you are only allowed to smoke so many feet of a building

11 anyway, so I don't know if that would really comply with

12 this. I don't know what the distance is, but I know that

13 would probably be a little too close to the building,

14 regardless, and it would be violating the state law.

15 MEMBER GHANNAM: That's a good point, because if

16 it is state law, they couldn't smoke there anyway. If

17 it's not, why put the burden and restriction on? I would

18 recommend against that, but if the board supports that,

19 and if you are going to amend your motion, I will go ahead

20 and support it.

21 MEMBER SKELCY: Let me just add that my concern

22 about that is if you are going to be good neighbors, and

23 you get complaints from the neighbors on the street behind

24 you, that you will, I would hope, be a good neighbor and

25 maybe tell the smokers that they can't be there.

(313) 962-1176


1 MR. MCCULLAH: Yes. We have every intention of

2 being good neighbors to the people to our south.


4 MR. MCCULLAH: As I mentioned before, we have

5 done interior renovations over the last three months, and

6 we haven't heard a complaint about noise, and we have been

7 primarily doing a lot of the work at night, at least in

8 the last two months. So we have been watchful of trying

9 to keep from harming any relationship that we may have

10 with our neighbors.

11 MEMBER SKELCY: Okay. That's just my concern,

12 that they be a good neighbor if they get complaints.

13 MR. HARTMAN: I think if this were an industrial

14 application or some other type of use, the conditions might

15 be a little bit different. This is Kroger we are talking

16 about. It has a very strong interest in public opinion in

17 the way they perform and act to the neighbors. So, I mean,

18 either way, I understand the degree to which, if the state

19 has already imposed laws about smoking, Kroger would

20 certainly adhere to that. But we wouldn't have a problem

21 with putting a sign out there. It's not a big deal for us.

22 MS. SAARELA: I guess my thought on this would

23 be, first of all, you need to make sure there is a

24 rational relationship between the variance requested and

25 the condition you are trying to impose. You really need

(313) 962-1176


1 to elaborate on the relationship between the variance

2 request and the condition.

3 And, furthermore, I think what we want to do, if

4 this is really something that you want to propose, is make

5 sure it doesn't conflict with state law. Because we

6 can't -- we would have to make sure we are also not in

7 direct conflict with what the state law says on smoking.

8 MEMBER GHANNAM: Which is why I would recommend

9 against it, but it's up to the motion-maker.

10 CHAIRMAN IBE: If I may add real quickly. I

11 think the city attorney is right on point with issues

12 regarding imposing a condition that there be a no smoking

13 sign. I think it would, in all honesty, actually be in

14 conflict with existing laws we have out there.

15 What they have or what they are proposing is very

16 similar to the office building that I occupy in Farmington

17 where my office is located. And we do have something

18 similar, not quite a gazebo, but a picnic area. And, in

19 fact, smoking is allowed in that because of the distance

20 from that to the door. It depends on the distance. And

21 this building is occupied by mostly attorneys, so,

22 obviously, we do know what the law is. The distance is

23 what dictates whether you can smoke. So I think imposing

24 this, and if we don't have a rational basis to impose it,

25 that to impose a condition, that may not be fair to this

(313) 962-1176


1 applicant. And, of course, we also run afoul of state law.

2 In all honesty, I would probably ask that we

3 withdraw that part, if it's okay with the movant of the

4 motion.

5 MEMBER KRIEGER: So in consideration of our

6 discussion, I withdraw my request.

7 CHAIRMAN IBE: Well appreciated.

8 Movant, is that okay with you?

9 MEMBER FERRELL: Absolutely. I move to request

10 the variance -- to approve the variance as I previously

11 stated, striking the sign for no smoking.

12 MEMBER GHANNAM: And I will second that.

13 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing that a motion has been

14 made and seconded after a very nice deliberation by

15 members of the board, do I see any need for further

16 discussion?

17 (No audible response.)

18 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing none, I will ask

19 Ms. Pawlowski to please call the roll.

20 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Gerblick?


22 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Ghannam?


24 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Chairman Ibe?


(313) 962-1176


1 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Krieger?


3 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Skelcy?


5 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Member Ferrell?


7 MS. PAWLOWSKI: Motion passes, six to zero.

8 MR. HARTMAN: Thank you very much.

9 CHAIRMAN IBE: Congratulations.

10 Well, that concludes all the cases before the

11 board this evening.

12 Now that will bring us to other matters. Do we

13 have other matters that need to be taken up at this time by

14 the board?

15 Yes, Mr. Boulard.

16 MR. BOULARD: Mr. Chairman, if I may, the

17 members of the board received - and I mentioned this to

18 several of you - received an invitation for a survey to

19 provide input for the city council, and so on, for their

20 upcoming budget sessions. If you haven't had the

21 opportunity, certainly, that would be appreciated. Your

22 input is obviously considered very valuable. And if you

23 have any questions about that or need another copy of the

24 address for that, please let me know.

25 Thank you very much, and have a great holiday.

(313) 962-1176


1 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you, Mr. Boulard. Now, do

2 everyone have a copy of this survey that he's talking

3 about? You do, very well. Thank you.

4 Do we have additional other matters we need to

5 take up at this time other than what was previously stated?

6 MEMBER FERRELL: I have a comment.


8 MEMBER FERRELL: If that's okay. I would like

9 to take a minute and say congratulations to Chairman Ibe

10 and Member Skelcy on getting re-appointed to the Zoning

11 Board.

12 MEMBER SKELCY: Thank you.

13 MEMBER FERRELL: And happy holidays to

14 everybody.

15 CHAIRMAN IBE: Well, thank you very much.

16 MEMBER GHANNAM: I will second that.

17 CHAIRMAN IBE: Thank you very much.

18 And in the absence of any additional matters, can

19 we get a motion to adjourn this meeting?



22 CHAIRMAN IBE: All those in favor, say aye.

23 THE BOARD: Aye.

24 CHAIRMAN IBE: All those opposed?

25 (No audible response.)

(313) 962-1176


1 CHAIRMAN IBE: Seeing none, motion carries, and

2 this meeting is hereby adjourned.

3 (The hearing was adjourned at 7:53 p.m.)

4 - - -
























2 )





7 C E R T I F I C A T E


9 I certify that this transcript, consisting

10 of 45 pages, is a complete, true, and correct transcript

11 of the proceedings and testimony taken in the matter of

12 the ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS on December 11, 2012.


____________________ ____________________________
15 Sherri L. Ruff, CSR-3568

16 36th District Court

17 421 Madison Street

18 Detroit, Michigan 48226

19 313-965-6147