WORK STUDY SESSION OF THE COUNCIL FOR THE CITY OF NOVI

SATURDAY, MARCH 1, 1997 - 8:00 A.M.

ACTIVITIES ROOM - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD

 

Mayor McLallen called the meeting to order at 8:05 A.M.

 

 

ROLL CALL: Mayor McLallen, Mayor Pro Tem Crawford (absent/excused) , Council Members Clark, Kramer, Mitzel (arrived 8:11 a.m.), Mutch, Schmid

 

 

ALSO PRESENT: Director of Planning & Community Development Jim Wahl, Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson, Planning Consultant Brandon Rogers

 

Mayor McLallen noted there is correspondence included in the packet from Jonathan Brateman regarding the NCC zoning and another from Attorney, Harold Larson who represents a large land owner on the west side. Mr. Larson is interested in a more flexible ordinance.

 

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Terry Jolly - 39555 Orchard Hill Place, stated his letter is self-explanatory and that he is before Council representing his client Keford Collision. Mr. Jolly advised that his client is currently on a month to month lease with the new owner of their property. Mr. Jolly explained they have reason to believe their lease will not be renewed once the Mercedes dealership is completed because the dealer will open their own collision shop. Mr. Jolly explained he would like to see the I-2 zoning reviewed because there is currently no I-2 available for the Keford shop to relocate to once their lease expires. He further advised that 60% of Kefordís business is from drive by business and consequently, location is important to them. Mr. Jolly asked Council to either change I-1 to I-2, or amend the definition in I-1 to include collision shops along the Grand River corridor.

 

 

Chuck Young - 50910 W. Nine Mile Road, commented on the communication problems that exist between the City and the community. Mr. Young believes public relations should be important to City Council.

 

 

Tom Herrington - 2499 Bay Vista - Highland, MI, stated he is a part owner of Keford Collision and that they have been in Novi for seventeen years. Mr. Herrington added they have been very involved in many City activities. Mr. Herrington explained they have looked at different sites throughout the City to relocate and they are doing everything within their power to stay. However, the recent change in their landlord has put them in a precarious position.

 

 

Lynn Kocan - stated one thing not on tonightís agenda is the second reading for Mondayís agenda. Ms. Kocan reported there was discussion at the February 24 meeting about publicly owned and operated parks, parkways and recreational facilities being included in Section 1901 of the ordinance. Ms. Kocan stated that it was previously a 1902 use and was not a principal use within a light industrial district. Ms. Kocan reported they bumped it up to 1901 and put at the same level as offices. Ms. Kocan does not have as much a problem with publicly owned and operated parks and parkways. However, there are no parameters for recreational facilities. She also believes manufacturing uses in Section 1902 may arise at todayís meeting. Ms. Kocan said Council should ask if they want to put recreation uses in an I-1 district abutting residential area. Three years ago the citizens asked Council to direct the Planning Commission to remove manufacturing from Section 1902 because of the impact of manufacturing next to recreational facilities.

 

Councilman Kramer advised that Council has discussed public versus private and they will continue that discussion today.

 

The Mayor explained todayís meeting is a work study session and is not a first reading. She further explained that Council is preparing for the decision making process in terms of their review of the zoning ordinance.

 

Brandon Rogers gave a brief history of the ordinance. He reported that the process began during the 1994-95 Work Program for the Planning Commission and continued through the 1995-96 fiscal year. Since the process began, Mr. Rogers advised there have been several study sessions, reviews by the Cityís consultants and critiques made by various Council Members. Mr. Rogers said the last zoning ordinance update was in 1984 and implemented the 1980 Master Plan. Mr. Rogers explained it is a normal process for zoning to implement land use planning objectives as may be adopted by the Planning Commission and recorded with the County Register of Deeds. Mr. Rogers stated the Planning Commission is charged with preparing the Master Plan and hopefully, they run their ideas before Council, get professional opinion and refer issues to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. Mr. Rogers added that the plan is a twenty-year guide. Mr. Rogers also stated that the zoning ordinance and zoning map implements the Master Plan for Land Use Plan. Since 1984, Mr. Rogers reported they have updated the plan in 1987 and again in 1993 and it is now currently in the process of being updated again. Mr. Rogers explained a five-year review period is common in a fast growing community and Novi is one of the two to three fastest growing communities in the Detroit metro area. Further, home construction in Novi has dominated for the last two or three years, but the commercial and industrial base has been slow. In the annual report against assessed valuation, Mr. Rogers believes single family home new growths were at least 95% of the new valuation added in 1996 to the City. Mr. Rogers explained because the balance between the residential tax base and the industrial tax base is more residential than nonresidential, the zoning ordinance has to address how to implement the plan. In addition, Mr. Rogers reported the zoning ordinance also has to guide and regulate single family and industrial development, and be reappraised in terms of new technology. Mr. Rogers added zoning ordinance revisions are guided by economic development, the Master Plan for Land Use, trying to make it user friendly but still maintain its legal document integrity and provide updated diagrams to support its text.

 

Mr. Rogers discussed how they should allocate jurisdiction between the Planning Commission and Council in an attempt to reduce City Councilís workload. In conclusion, Mr. Rogers gave a historical recap of major events and standards as outlined in Item 3 of his letter.

 

Dennis Watson reported the purpose of his letter was to communicate those items that they changed from the last draft. It also reflects some additional recommendations made by the Planning Commission as well as adding items requested by Council. Further, Mr. Watson reported the OST zoning adopted in December was also added.

 

Councilman Schmid disagrees with many of the dramatic changes made by Mr. Rogers, the Planning Commission and City staff. Councilman Schmid reported his main concern is about the increase of authority for the Planning Commission. Councilman Schmid believes the Planning Commission should not be the body to set policy. Secondly, he opposes any recommendation to reduce lot sizes. Finally, he opposes the major changes made in the RUD ordinance in terms of the western portion of Novi. Councilman Schmid argues that the changes seem to be an attempt to take away the quality of life in Novi.

 

Councilman Kramer believes Councilman Schmidís comments refer more to the RUD ordinance.

 

Councilman Mitzel added that he does not see any major changes in the actual ordinance.

 

The inference that Novi has a problem developing bothers Councilman Schmid. Councilman Schmid stated Novi is the fastest growing community in the tri-county area and is astounded about the criticism of the ordinances, and the implication that nobody wants to develop in Novi. Councilman Schmid stated the industrial zoning has increased dramatically in the last few years and the new high tech is a plus. Councilman Schmid believes Novi is on the cutting edge of one of the finest communities in the State of Michigan. He reiterated that he has some major concerns with the draft.

 

Councilman Clark agrees with Councilman Schmid and is especially concerned about the proposal to pass more authority to the Planning Commission. Councilman Clark explained City Council is the body that will take the heat in the final analysis because they are the actual decision making body. Councilman Clark is especially uncomfortable about delegating responsibility for the Expo, Conference, OSC and Technical Districts to the Planning Commission. He added that is not to say they are not doing a good job in terms of what they do, but they are a planning body and not a policy or decision making body. Councilman Clark is also concerned about making changes in the residential development in an attempt to fit into a mind set where they feel they have to down size lots because they are saving woodlands and wetlands. Councilman Clark reported there are developments in other parts of the country that embodies the same types of things they are trying to hold the line on. However, developers often come in and say they cannot do it because it is not practical or profitable. Councilman Clark believes if they are doing it in other parts of the country, it can be done in Novi. Although these are Councilman Clarkís major concerns, he is willing to discuss changes with an open mind.

 

Councilman Kramerís concerns in terms of their work session focus on the RUD proposal and jurisdiction. Councilman Kramer suggested that they hold off discussing the RUD proposal and get through the rest of the ordinance first. In addition, he believes they should look closely at where they would like to further empower the Planning Commission.

Councilman Mitzel agrees with Councilman Kramer in terms of the RUD and believes it will bog down their discussion if they address it now. Most of Councilman Mitzelís questions concern the specifics of some of the proposed language. Further, he does not see any changes in the document in terms of lot sizes or formulas, etc.

 

Mr. Rogers stated they have not made changes to the RUD ordinance and asked Council to keep in mind the present RUD option allows a development with single family lots of less than one acre, but they cap it out at density of the underlying zoning.

 

Councilman Mitzelís point is that he did not see that within the existing framework of their residential zoning. He explained it its current draft, there were no changes. However, there was one major change in that density now will exclude wetlands in the density calculation and would ultimately reduce density.

 

Councilman Schmid stated he included the Planning Departmentís Residential & Planning Report in his comments.

 

Councilman Mitzel believes they need to separate that part.

 

Councilwoman Mutch does not recall seeing major rewrites made just to make the document read better and suggested that they address the editorial and technical changes outside the work session. Further, she believes jurisdiction is a policy issue and is uncertain whether they should discuss it now or after they discuss some of the changes. In general, she believes the Planning Commission should make as many planning decisions as possible. However, she also believes when they are addressing things such as the Expo and Conference Districts, Council is the body that is ultimately held accountable.

 

 

Jim Wahl noted from an administrative standpoint, the Planning Department has not provided any recommendations to the Planning Commission because that is the procedure they operate under at committee and commission levels. He added that although the Cityís consultants initiated all the recommendations, the Department would be prepared to make recommendations at the Council level which is a procedure established by Council. He advised that Council requested in February that they should bring all the work in process before them at this meeting. Mr. Wahl stated Council recognized that there was a need for a special meeting to review it all and further believed it should all be brought before them at this meeting. He clarified that the Residential Planning & Zoning Report was a result of a Council assignment in November and that it was a research document of past ordinances, their effectiveness, work in other communities and work currently underway at the Planning Commission level. Mr. Wahl explained it was only intended to be a resource document for Council to consider a number of options. Further, Mr. Wahl reported their research revealed that when they have put flexible zoning on the books, it has not been used with any frequency or the provisions were rescinded. Mr. Wahl added the Department is prepared to discuss the findings of the report if Council wishes to study the document further and they would also be available to provide their opinion on any other subject.

 

Mayor McLallen admits this is a difficult document to tackle and suggested that they try to first address the technical issues because she is concerned about some of the definitions and density issues.

 

Councilwoman Mutch referred to Page 5 and asked whether "or private easement" was added to the alley definition. Mr. Rogers replied it was.

 

Councilwoman Mutch asked why they deleted the Boarding House use on Page 6. Mr. Rogers replied it was superfluous and is not a term found today. Further, they cover it under multiple dwelling use.

 

Councilwoman Mutch said the only other change on Page 10 was made to Business Motel. Mr. Rogers stated Business Motel was added as a part of the OST ordinance.

 

Mayor McLallen referred to Density on Page 10 and is concerned about the potential impacts the density changes may have in terms of excluding regulated wetlands.

 

Mr. Rogers replied if someone purchases one hundred acres and fifty are regulated wetlands, the density allowed would be based upon the deletion of the regulated wetlands. He added that they disqualify woodlands or wet-woodlands. Consequently, it changes the density computation.

 

 

Mayor McLallen asked how will this change Noviís build out capacity and how might it impact the City in terms of systems, roads, population and master plan issues that she believes are predicated on the gross density of 0.8. She would like to see further definition under this language about what would be the true density.

 

Councilman Clark does not see the change as a "bad" thing. Councilman Clark read from the text, "excluding identified wetlands or watercourses which are regulated, but not excluding quality wetlands less than two acres regulated by such loss." Councilman Clark believes they should tighten up the definition in terms of whom and how they will decide what constitutes a quality wetland.

 

Councilman Mitzel said a definition of a quality wetland exists and they could insert it before the applicable text. Mr. Watson agreed and added it should be inserted for other similar situations. Mr. Rogers added they could iterate them again or cross reference the section.

 

Mayor McLallen stated the density and the optional zoning rigid lot requirements pointed out by Councilman Schmid have implications for the true density calculation. She is concerned that they may run up against this frequently. She stated whether the density calculation is 0.8 or 1.6, the physical factors of the land give another number and they will then get another number if they use rigid lots. The Mayor asked what is the real number that this community wants to use. She further asked whether the community wants a flexible or a condition that the rigid lot size be a preeminent factor to reach the density calculation. The Mayor believes to be certain, they should all agree on this issue.

 

Councilwoman Mutch asked that they not let comments fall through the cracks and asked Mr. Rogers to address Councilman Clarkís comments regarding density. Further, she asked why is it important to know what the density is and if there can be dramatic differences if the density changes.

 

Mr. Rogers replied the Master Plan includes some general densityís in large gross areas of the City and the zoning ordinance has minimum lot sizes in some of those same areas. Mr. Rogers advised that the more stringent policy would apply. Mr. Rogers gave specific examples and explained that the density in the Master Plan is high end. Mr. Rogers reported JCK relied on the Master Plan for Land Use as a maximum cap for the sewer plan. Mr. Rogers added that current building in Novi is not kept to the minimum level.

 

Councilwoman Mutch believes there are issues in the long term plan that rely on the population growth. Further, she believes schools rely on the Master Plan and the zoning ordinance for their growth plans and if they change them, it could dramatically affect these plans. She asked what things based upon density could be dramatically affected by population changes and asked if they would affect road programs, public services or recreational services.

 

Mr. Wahl replied the question is open ended. He explained some density issues they are discussing are not monumental from the standpoint of some of the impact issues that communities typically think about when they address density issues. Mr. Wahl thinks there are clear philosophical issues in the community that do not deal only with density. Another issue is from a design standpoint in terms of what does the community look like, and how do they function and connect. He suggested that Council not get too caught up in the numbers in their analysis. He believes they cannot dictate design by ordinance and hopes as Council reviews the zoning ordinance, to keep in mind that they cannot always fit a good project into the numberís game. He asked them to ask themselves how does the project fit with what the community wants to look like and the quality of the project. He reminded Council that the review of zoning becomes three dimensional and part of it is the creative process of designing a project. He believes they cannot always design what they are looking to be an outstanding part of the community by simply writing a lot of regulations.

 

Councilwoman Mutch said he is not answering her question. She asked if changes in density calculations have the potential to impact other areas.

 

Councilman Mitzel believes the change will only clarify the ordinance and not affect development in the City. He added that the change would probably only affect cluster development. He supports the change because the ordinance is currently inconsistent and the would clarify it further.

 

Mr. Rogers stated there is a residential density study forthcoming as part of the Master Plan update. Consequently, they may have to revisit the population build out of the City in the future. Further, Mr. Rogers reported he supplies data to the school systems. He advised they usually ask for those projects on line for the next three years to give them a good understanding about the density. He added from that, they can use their own judgement. He also knows that JCK adjusts their high - low estimates and may size a pipe to accommodate 0.8. However, when they get into some advanced planning of wetlands, they may only design it for 0.5.

 

Councilman Kramer believes they are dealing with a definition and that it is a policy and philosophy that provide a purer definition than what they have had in the ordinance. He believes they previously worded around the reality that they cannot build in a wetland and now, density recognizes that they cannot build in a wetland. Councilman Kramer stated they should study all the numbers of the entire ordinance and bring them back in terms of what they mean. He added historically, they based the entire ordinance on the knowledge that they did not purely define it up front. Councilman Kramer supports the policy, the philosophy and the definition and believes the concerns raised by the Mayor and Councilwoman Mutch are valid and should be addressed before they adopt the ordinance. He suggested that the traditional density of 0.8 might be improper and perhaps they need to adjust the number to another.

 

Councilman Clark recalled the long Planning Commission sessions that ultimately put Novi in the forefront in terms of woodlands and wetlands. Councilman Clark believes they have to remember that if they are talking about a projected community of 68,000 that the practical implications will be slight that they are going to reach that number in any event. He further believes the only difference in the long run is that the preservation they have done in the community in terms of woodlands and wetlands deal with the issues that Councilman Schmid and Mr. Wahl addressed in terms of quality of life issues. Councilman Clark explained Novi is not any other community and they took the position a long time ago that Novi would be a quality community. He does not think the density as they propose it, will affect the quality of life. However, he does believe it will affect, protect, enhance and encourage the type of development to insure that they have the quality of life about which they are all concerned.

 

Mayor McLallen clarified that they can build in regulated woodlands under certain circumstances.

 

Councilwoman Mutch was not addressing whether she liked or disliked the definition. Her question was whether the density change would impact other issues. She agrees it is a clearer definition, but suggested it is also not so clear because it has the potential to open up the possibility of two acre by two acre encroachment.

 

Councilman Kramer asked if they should request additional information by staff or consultants to address the concerns addressed here?

 

Mayor McLallen asked if Council would like staff to add further clarification of this definition.

 

Councilman Schmid does not believe it has a major impact.

 

Councilman Mitzel suggested that they could compare past and present density calculations on a handful of approved projects.

 

Mr. Rogers stated he could take the official wetlandís map and lay it over the vacant land in the city. He could then compute out 75 acres instead of 100 acres and compare the density against the mapped areas. He believes it may calculate to a 58,000 build out instead of 68,000.

 

Mayor McLallen said that might be appropriate, but they should also include Councilman Clarkís comments about tightening up the definitions and language in terms of defining a quality wetland.

 

Councilman Mitzel reminded Council that Mr. Watson already has that language.

 

Mr. Watson replied he will rearrange the definitions, but he does not anticipate preparing another draft until Council has completed their review of the draft before them.

 

Mayor McLallen stated there are no comments about the changes in Floor Area, Usable on Page 13. She went on to state that Home Occupations on Page 15 is an issue that is coming up in the community. She added there is no change, but she is concerned about it. Item C under the definition states, "There is not involved the keeping of a stock in trade and no article shall be sold or offered for sale from the home." The Mayor believes the language creates potential hardship. As long as they have a chance to talk about the language, she asked if they can be sure that they are not putting something in the ordinance that could cause problems at another time.

 

Councilwoman Mutch stated this is something that is also before Ordinance Review and she believes Don Saven is also reviewing it.

 

Mayor McLallen added that this is an area they may want to change.

 

The Mayor advised there were no comments concerning the changes in elderly housing on Pages 16-17 and for Manufactured Housing Unit on Page 22.

 

Councilwoman Mutch referred to Fast Food Drive-through on Page 25. She believes Council agreed they did not want to include carry-out to include food ordered ahead of time and taken out in disposable containers in the new definition. She asked if they could cross reference this in some way.

 

Mr. Rogers replied it would and added that they address these types of restaurants under the off street parking revised standards and he believes they need it.

 

Councilman Mitzel asked about definitions for a typical fast food restaurant that includes a sit-down and a drive-through. Mr. Watson believes a given restaurant may fall under more than one category and added they are separate because they may want to exclude a facet. For example, they allow fast food with sit-down in TC, but that does not include a drive-through.

 

Councilman Kramer has seen drive-through only windows and believes there is probably still a need for them.

 

 

Councilman Mitzel agreed and added there would be a need under the current definition to address those instances where they would have a fast food restaurant that is a sit-down with a drive-through window. They could also have fast food sit-down, but prohibit those that are exclusively a drive-through and wondered how would they be able to make that distinction under the current definition.

 

Mr. Watson replied they could indicate that they could have fast food restaurants including sit-down with a drive-through in the text.

 

The Mayor reported they have concluded their review of the definitions and they agree with all except one area. Mayor McLallen went on to state there are twenty zoning districts in Section 202. One issue raised during the process was the deletion of the Conference District. She stated the staff and Mr. Watson in his letter of February 21, advise Council not doing anything with it at this time.

 

Councilman Mitzel believes they established the original Conference District for what is now considered to be the Expo District at this point. Consequently, now that they have an Expo Center and they designed the Conference District for the same thing, he asked if it is still necessary.

 

Mayor McLallen replied that is a valid discussion that Council may want to bring forward at another time.

 

Councilman Kramer believes they need to add OST to the list. Further, he believes they should include RUD.

 

Councilman Mitzel reminded Council that RUD is an option in residential zoning.

 

Councilwoman Mutch does not have any changes to suggest, but she would like Council to be aware that the Historic District Study Committee will be making language recommendations to City Council that they hope to incorporate into the zoning district and Master Plan with regard to a Historic District. She is not certain whether it is a proper zoning classification or if it is something entirely different and should somehow be referenced in the text. She noted that Section 302 addresses Historic District extensively and she advised there are some major changes that will be recommended.

 

Mayor McLallen believes the Historic District is a true established zoning classification and they should give them some definition of that. Again, fairly soon in the decision making meeting, Council can send direction to the appropriate body to get the bulk of the particulars in terms of the Conference and Historic Districts on or off the books.

 

 

Mayor McLallen moved on to Article 3 on Page 34. She stated the changes proposed under Section 302 are mostly technical changes. Mr. Watson added it is only a language change to cross reference Section 2516, 2 C. which provides additional criteria for special land use.

 

The Mayor noted there are many historical references under that section.

 

Mr. Rogers added they are attempting to standardize the language in all of the districts.

 

Mayor McLallen said the changes in Section 402 on Page 44 are the same type of standardized language changes as Section 302.

 

Mayor McLallen noted there were only spelling changes made in Article 5 on Page 48. In Article 6 on Page 49 and Article 7 on Page 51 the Mayor noted there was clarification of language changes made and no substance changes.

 

The Mayor indicated that the language changes made in Article 8 on Page 53 were due to the State Law for Mobile Home Districts.

 

Mr. Rogers explained he appeared before the Mobile Home Commission and its Technical Advisory Committee in Lansing to seek higher standards for certain ordinances. Mr. Rogers stated they are very strict and this is one area where a local municipality can preempt some of the Stateís control. Further, the revisions will bring Noviís ordinance more in line with what the State will be approving and Mr. Rogers believes this will provide an easy reference for new developers to the rules and citations of the act.

 

The Mayor noted this is the first ordinance they have reviewed so far that has been thoroughly changed and Mr. Rogers has explained the changes.

 

Councilman Mitzel stated that he and Mr. Rogers have discussed referencing the rules. Councilman Mitzel asked Mr. Watson if the rule changes with the State, will the Cityís ordinance automatically update. Mr. Watson replied that was correct.

 

Councilman Mitzel asked if the Cityís ordinances can be more stringent that the states. Mr. Watson replied it is a limited form of preemption. He explained the City is allowed to regulate separately and on occasion more stringently. However, the Mobile Home Commission Act states once a City decides to adopt those types of recommendations they are forwarded to the Mobile Home Commission with a justification of the stringency. The State will then decide whether they can adopt it. Mr. Watson noted they have not yet done that with what is currently before Council because they wanted to run it before Council initially. Mr. Watson added the City is more stringent in some areas and reiterated that if Council approves this language, it would then go to the State for approval.

Councilman Mitzel asked if the density is in line with the Stateís law. Mr. Rogers replied it is and they are very strict about density. Mr. Rogers noted that the present ordinance would allow 5.81 units per acre and under the State law it would increase to 6.34.

 

Councilman Schmid asked for an explanation about the reduction in the acreage requirement from 20 to 15 acres under Item 5 on Page 55. Mr. Rogers replied they believe 15 acres is reasonable and 20, in at least one instance, was considered exorbitant. Mr. Rogers does not see much difference and explained a mobile home park cannot function with less than 100 acres because it must have at least that so that it can have a manager, a community house and other amenities. He added it could not be financially successful on anything smaller. Mr. Rogers stated even though the State sets the standard, he would be willing to raise it to 20 acres.

 

The Mayor advised there is Council consensus to leave the mobile home park acreage standard at 20 acres.

 

The Mayor noted there were comments received from Mr. Bratemen of the Chamber of Commerce for the NCC District and advised they made the change on Page 60 to increase the total gross floor area to 15,000 square feet.

 

Councilman Mitzel asked Mr. Watson to add fast food drive-through under Principal Uses on Page 58.

 

Mr. Rogers noted the NCC District laid dormant since 1985, but they are now fast developing it.

 

Councilman Kramer noted the correspondence that addressed signage, but added that he understands signage is not a zoning concern.

 

The Mayor moved on to Article 10, Expo District.

 

Councilman Kramer does not understand the context of the shaded area in Section 1001, under Principal Uses Permitted. He stated because it says they can do it unless it says they cannot, why say it. Mr. Watson replied the intent of the entire ordinance is to be permissive and added it is the same introductory language used in all the principal use sections. He added there are some sections, for example Section 2508, that allow uses not permitted in a particular district that are special land uses and they also have the use variance provision through the Zoning Board of Appeals. He explained the reason the text reads as it does is because there are some special instances.

 

Councilman Kramer explained he reads "unless otherwise provided in this Ordinance" as the lead in for the section and assumes it means the entire ordinance.

Councilman Schmid asked if their intent may be to eliminate the necessity for those who want to propose an expo center from coming before Council or the Planning Commission.

 

Mayor McLallen believes Councilman Schmid raises a good point. She reminded Council they have discussed the issue of who is the ultimate decision body earlier and asked if they would like to take a break to discuss this concern. She added Councilwoman Mutch made a strong statement that in these areas something more than technical reading of the ordinance is going on. Further, there are particular areas that are under special scrutiny in terms of final jurisdiction because they are areas that might visually impact the City. She asked if these are areas where the elected body would be the more appropriate body to make decisions.

 

Councilman Clark recommended that Council clearly define who the decision maker is.

 

Council began by addressing the listing in Mr. Rogerís correspondence dated February 20.

 

Mr. Rogers noted that the intent of the changes in jurisdiction was to give more decision making to the planners for planned projects and it is an option in hopes of streamlining the process.

 

Laura Lorenzo, Chair for the Planning Commission, noted that some of the recommendations did come from a portion of Council. She stated her personal opinion is if Council would like to delegate further responsibility to the Planning Commission that they will take it on to the best of their ability. However, she also is supportive if Council decides to keep the current jurisdiction.

 

After much discussion, the Mayor stated there is Council consensus to maintain status quo in terms of jurisdiction. She added this would include assigning the new OST District under the Planning Commissionís jurisdiction.

 

Councilman Clark believes because the OST is a new district, that it should fall under Councilís jurisdiction.

 

Councilwoman Mutch referred to Item 2 under Section 1001 and asked if "within an existing exposition facility" means that Itemís a-g can only be in an Expo District within a single facility and cannot be freestanding. Mr. Watson replied it means within a single development. He further stated the intent is they cannot have any of the uses without the facility.

 

Mayor McLallen believes there is confusion about whether it is permitted without being in a facility.

 

Mr. Watson stated he will change the wording to state, "in conjunction with."

 

Councilwoman Mutch asked if "existing" means what they have is all they are going to have.

 

Mr. Watson stated he will remove the word "existing."

 

Councilwoman Mutch asked if the original intent was that there would only be a single center.

 

Councilman Schmid does not believe the original intent was meant to be a single center. He explained the conference center came before the Sheraton location and the Expo Center ordinance came after the Expo building. However, he believes the Conference language would also fit here.

 

 

BREAK - 10:47 a.m. - 10:58 a.m.

 

Mayor McLallen asked Councilman Schmid if he would like to make any comments before he leaves.

 

Councilman Schmid referred to Page 106, Item 6 and advised he does not understand the necessity of retail sales in industrial zoning and beyond that he does not believe any of the other changes are dramatic.

 

Councilman Schmid departed at 11:02 a.m.

 

The Mayor stated they are now in to the OS-1 District and the main issue is about the publicly owned and operated parks or parkways.

 

Councilwoman Mutch stated she raised the question about why should certain standards in terms of public facilities be different from private. She also reminded Council that they are the body that has public accountability and there is a different kind of control that they exercise in comparison to private.

 

Councilman Mitzel advised the language in Item 10 on Page 65 was added when Rotary Park came forward. Further, it is the same language in all the residential districts, but they do not list it in the other districts. Although he does not believe they should purchase expensive office land, Councilman Mitzel believes that they should allow a city park anywhere in the city.

 

Councilwoman Mutch agrees parks should be anywhere and she does not have an issue with parks. She stated her issue is with private versus public facilities. She added publicly owned recreational facilities are allowed as a principal use in a district that is not available except under special conditions for a private facility.

 

Councilman Mitzel stated he can see her concern with an indoor facility, but not outdoor. He explained outdoor facilities can include playfields, playgrounds or soccer fields and is what he would consider to be part of a park. He suggested that Item 10 should say publicly owned and operated parks, parkways and outdoor recreational facilities. Then as a special land use, publicly owned indoor recreational facilities.

 

Councilwoman Mutch cited Powers Park as an example of an outside facility and noted the lighting for the ballfields.

 

Councilman Mitzel replied that was addressed through the site plan process and added they held a public hearing. Further, he believes the Parks and Recreation Commission gave up quite a bit of publicly owned land which now cannot be used. Councilman Mitzel does not want to see park use as an inappropriate use in any part of the City.

 

Councilwoman Mutch is not advocating either way and stated she only raised the question. Further, she believes Councilman Mitzel is saying that all the various recreational facility possibilities listed under Item 5 on Page 66 should be addressed. However, she is saying something completely different. She is focused on why they should allow public as a principal use when private requires special conditions.

 

Councilman Kramer believes the intent is to permit park areas in all the districts. However, now public entities are becoming interested in facilities and reminded Council that Rotary Park is the entity which raised this issue. Now they have to define possible facilities like an aquatic facility in which the City is getting interested in. Further, he believes they are more intense building and land use oriented and he does not know if they can discriminate between them. Councilman Kramer believes the challenge before Council is to come up with language that will discriminate and say that a relatively passive use can go on the principal uses permitted or whether they should say everything is active, could affect the neighbors and consequently, require a special land use. He thinks Councilman Mitzel is referring more to the process listed under special land use and would require a public hearing. He agrees with Councilwoman Mutch in terms of what is good for public is good for private and also believes both should hold to the same standards unless they can define the thin line between what is more passive or active. Further, he believes the term "facility" is what raises questions and suggested that it should all be addressed by special land use.

 

Councilman Clark does not believe parks or parkways raise concerns. However, he does believe that indoor and outdoor recreational facilities do and also believes they should hold public versus private to the same standards. As a practical matter in terms of recreational facilities, he can only see the ice arena and aquatic facility as two possibilities in the future. Councilman Clark believes the issue with these will be where do they propose that they go. In terms of public versus private, he believes the issue will always be whether it abuts residential. He added that he believes they are already addressing the ice arena.

 

Councilman Mitzel asked if there is a way to address their concerns in the facility section about large scale, structural, high intense issues and still find a way to include Item 5. Further, can they address what Councilman Clark is saying about the review process for a park (i.e., Powers Park, the Sports Park, or Spirit of Ď76 Park) where they treat the nature of those parks as benefits, but when they start constructing large buildings or concessions it would require more scrutiny.

 

Mr. Watson stated they could make the distinction in the principal uses permitted section. Instead of saying, "Publicly owned and operated parks, parkways and recreational facilities.", they could say, "Publicly owned and operated parks, parkways and outdoor recreational facilities." Mr. Watson explained that would eliminate any large buildings. However, Mr. Watson added it might not eliminate everything that Council might consider more intense and he supposes they could have softball diamonds or soccer fields and then, the special land use provision would be indoor recreational facility. Mr. Watson supposes the language for outdoor recreational facilities might then be superfluous.

 

Councilman Mitzel thinks they would still want to keep privately owned outdoor recreational facilities so that they could combine it with an indoor facility where they may have a complex like a driving range. In other words, it would require that outdoor would have to be kept with indoor.

 

Mayor McLallen believes the first issue is whether Council and the Community want to make a distinction between the ownership of the park. She believes Councilwoman Mutchís concern is why are they creating two classifications based on ownership when the land use is going to be the same. The Mayor is trying to find out the distinction between public and private, and whether the actual land use under ownership is any different and is a primary concern of the zoning ordinance in terms of the impact of the land use. Further in terms of land use, whether it is public or private, the threshold appears to be its adjacency to residential issues. In the Mayorís opinion, based on what the terms are, perhaps they need to develop the threshold impact. She explained even if they include it in Item 10, they still have no definition of what a park is and they do not define the threshold of the impact. She stated technically a community swimming pool is an outdoor park. She thinks their concern is about the threshold impact and the ownership. The Mayor is beginning to think the ownership and land use are irrelevant, and that the impact is the real issue.

 

 

Mr. Watson does not believe ownership is irrelevant. He explained the reason there is a distinction between private and public is because of the Cityís ability to respond during the approval process if concerns arise as to the nature of the facility or its operation.

 

The Mayor agreed. However, she believes everyone should comply with the same higher standard.

 

Mr. Watson stated it is purely a policy decision and further explained that the City can deal with public facilities directly. This is the reason they do not need a more detailed land use review. Further, the City does not need special land use for things like roads because as a public entity, they are already addressing those kinds of concerns.

 

Mr. Rogers interjected that they have always included the distinction in all residential zoning categories.

 

Councilman Mitzel asked how do they currently develop subdivision open space into a private park.

 

Mr. Watson replied that he does not believe there is a policy and believes it may be considered an accessory use.

 

Councilman Mitzel believes the park, parkway language is appropriate, but that the facility is the issue. In terms of facility, Councilman Mitzel believes they would all agree it is a structure of some sort. He would like a distinction made in the language and Council would then have to decide at what point is that facility a special land use because it would not matter in OSC. He believes special land use should be used depending upon what it abuts and how it fits with the principal use.

 

Councilman Kramer believes they should divorce the issue of ownership in Item 10, Page 65.

 

Mr. Watson is concerned about the potential of something like a Softball City and believes if they want to do something like that there should be a distinction made between indoor and outdoor. He further believes they should make a distinction in terms of adjacency to a residential district.

 

The Mayor stated this is a pervasive issue within the community and they should continue to look at this. Further, she believes for their process they must define park and parkway.

 

Mr. Rogers replied that defining it may be difficult, but he and Mr. Watson will work on it. Mr. Rogers added he believes if Mr. Davis were there he would relate a facility to a building also. He then cited the Rotary Park restrooms and advised although it is a building, it is an accessory building.

 

Mr. Watson added that indoor and outdoor does not preclude concession stands.

 

Councilwoman Mutch suggested that they distinguish between the two as opposed to having an ultimate definition for parks and recreational facilities. Further, she believes there are facilities that do not resemble Softball City or a miniature golf course. Consequently, she thinks it is less indoor and outdoor than it is impact. Since they are proposing parks for every district and removing publicly owned, Councilwoman Mutch asked if it would mean that they could now have a private facility abutting residential.

 

The Mayor replied they need to first understand what that really means.

 

Councilman Mitzel stated they will only allow outdoor when it is associated with indoor and it would require a special land use.

 

The Mayor moved on to Article 14, B-2.

 

Councilman Mitzel believes the major issue for the B-2 District is the requirement for the intersection of two major thoroughfares.

 

Mr. Rogers reported there are currently two districts; one is developed and found at Pontiac Trail and West Road and the second is undeveloped near Providence Hospital.

 

Councilman Mitzel believes the intent is to serve OSC Districts and consequently, he believes that leaving gas stations and fast food restaurants may be more beneficial although he realizes there is concern about aesthetics. Councilman Mitzel suggested that they do not delete Item 3 on Page 75 and he especially does not understand the prohibition of fast food in this district.

 

Mr. Rogers reported the two major thoroughfare requirement is in the Intent Section and reiterated the importance to maintain the aesthetic value for this special district.

 

Councilman Mitzel suggested that they address aesthetic concerns under special land use and he further advocates that the gas station section remain intact.

 

Councilman Kramer is open to retaining the gas stations because he believes gasoline prices are higher in Novi because of the lack of service stations. However, he encourages restrictive language in terms of architecture. Further, Councilman Kramer believes there are enough fast food restaurants in Novi and he does not support the construction of additional establishments.

 

Councilman Clark disagrees philosophically with Councilman Kramer concerning gas stations. He believes gas stations operate on the basis that they will charge what the traffic will bear.

 

The Mayor concurs with Councilmen Kramer and Mitzel about gas stations. Instead of eliminating them, she believes they should do a better job incorporating them aesthetically. Further, she believes they need performance standards for those things that are necessary, but are often not aesthetically pleasing.

 

Mr. Rogers replied they will investigate it.

 

Councilwoman Mutch believes restaurants would benefit the district and prevent people from traveling. She added if their concern is about drive-throughs, then perhaps they should delete drive-throughs altogether.

 

There was Council consensus to eliminate drive-through restaurants in the B-2 District.

 

Councilman Mitzel does not know if there is a way to address performance standards because he does not believe it is appropriate for Council to design buildings. Councilman Mitzel also believes the tools of review are lacking in this area.

 

Councilman Kramer believes Council will recognize that when they have asked for quality, they frequently get a positive response from their verbal discussion. He cited the Amoco station on Novi Road as an example. He suggested there may be a way to indicate the expectations in the ordinance so they do not have to address this verbally.

 

Mr. Rogers said there were major changes made in Section 2520, Page 283 under Architectural Review. He read, "the intent is to encourage developers and their architects to explore the design implications of their project to the context of the site, surrounding area and the City, and to give the Planning Commission a sense and appreciation for the design process. Mr. Rogers explained they are trying to make buildings fit not only on the site, but with the architecture of adjacent buildings.

 

Mr. Watson added facade standards are a way to address those concerns, but it is not a perfect way to accomplish it. Mr. Watson stated they have always known that these were not precise tools and he believes they were originally added to the ordinance with the thought that the only way they could have a precise tool is to model it after regulations in other communities which primarily dealt with historic areas or an established architectural pattern. However, Mr. Watson reminded Council that there is not an established architecture pattern nor a historical area in Novi.

 

 

Mr. Wahl stated the Planning Commission has a series of seminars scheduled for the next eighteen months. One programmed for the next sixty days will address architectural design and standards. Mr. Wahl said they also hoped to bring in experts from that field for a brainstorming session. Mr. Wahl is looking to get away from referencing a table, but still give the community the capability to be imaginative and have a dialogue. Mr. Wahl does not believe they are at that point professionally and that they are still at the point of trying to design things with tables and percentages. Consequently, they lose the creativity that the community is looking for. Mr. Wahl asked Council to give the Department and staff time to continue to work on more creative solutions to continue to make Novi a quality city from a design and architectural standpoint. Mr. Wahl added that at the same time, they could address concerns raised by the development community that Novi is over regulated.

Mr. Rogers added that Section 2520 has some vitally needed amendments and he would recommend that they add them to their ordinance. He explained they are superior to what is currently on the books and offers a more sensitive architectural appreciation.

 

Councilman Mitzel agrees with Mr. Wahl and Mr. Rogersí comments.

 

Mayor McLallen believes they have summed up the B-2 District and advised they have eliminated drive-through in the district. The Mayor advised there is Council consensus to recommend that they schedule another work session Saturday, March 15, 1997 in the Activities Room at 8:00 a.m.

 

Councilwoman Mutch asked if they will address RUD as a separate issue. The Mayor replied RUD involves a real project and there are issues surrounding the project.

 

There was Council consensus to address RUD outside the work session.

 

Councilman Kramer said for the work that has gone into the RUD thus far, he would suggest that the creators of RUD may want to touch base with Council because of the substantial changes.

 

Mayor McLallen believes they will address the RUD and project in a joint session with the Planning Commission. She reminded Council that the developer has not yet submitted formal plans.

 

Laura Lorenzo explained they presented their proposal based upon Mr. Wahlís cover memo to Council for the February 10 meeting regarding the report about all of the zoning options and it was her understanding that this was considered a first reading. Further, Mr. Wahl recommended a deadline established Monday night by Council to receive all input from all interested parties regarding any of those options for a timely processing of improvements to the ordinance. As Planning Commission Chair and an Implementation Committee member, Ms. Lorenzo advised that she could only take that at face value. She stated if they did not have any known information to provide to Council for the RUD, Council could possibly consider anything in their packets thus far and make a decision on it. She reiterated that it was not meant to be a final draft and unfortunately, they did not have the opportunity to fine tune it to the degree they would have liked. She stated they scrambled to present something to Council in terms of conceptual guidelines about what they thought they would like to see in the ordinance. On behalf of the Planning Commission, Ms. Lorenzo believes Council needs to separate amending the RUD in general from the Harvest Land Company project. She explained whatever they do with the RUD is going to have grave implications across the board in the western part of Novi. She does not believe they can look at any changes to the RUD whether they are coming from the Planning Commission, from Council, from Harvest Land Company or from the public. She added the Planning Commission would like to have a joint meeting to discuss possible amendments to the ordinance, but they would prefer to review the Harvest Land Company application independently.

 

The Mayor stated Ms. Lorenzo has made some valid points in that they should not confuse an already submitted project with a pervasive text amendment. She added they also know that the petitioner of this project has recommendations for portions of the ordinance pertinent to his project and those will need to be addressed during the process. However, the current issue before Council is, do they wish to proceed as a group or do they want both bodies to meet.

 

Councilwoman Mutch does not believe there are any significant changes in B-3 and believes they should begin their next work session with Article 16, TC and TC-1 on Page 81.

 

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

 

Lynn Kocan - assumes any changes made to parks and parkways will be made in all the appropriate districts and will also apply to Mondayís review of the recreational district. In terms of accountability and responsibility, Ms. Kocan stated she is not familiar with approval levels and is concerned that there is no level of appeal for special land use within the City.

 

Mr. Watson replied it is an ordinance issue.

 

Councilwoman Mutch believes the intent is to depoliticize planning decisions. She believes it was especially necessary for special land use situations so that commissioners would make decisions on the basis of what is best from a planning perspective and not let an upcoming election influence them.

 

Mr. Watson said that would be a reason. However, the Zoning Enabling Statute is the reason there is no appeal process. He added unless the ordinance specifically allows it, they view special land use as a discretionary decision and consequently, would not send denials on to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

 

 

Chuck Young - has seen a lot of information presented today that has not been presented before. He added there was a tremendous amount of pressure put on the Implementation Committee to have input for this meeting. To him, haste makes waste and it takes time to plan. From a citizenís point of view, he believes there is more concern about roads or stalled trains causing traffic jams. He reiterated that it is important to have better communication and improve public relations as much as possible within the community.

 

 

Peter Hoadley - stated as a citizen, he would like to commend Council and believes they are not rushing the review process of the zoning ordinance. In regard to the debate of recreational facilities, he believes they have to consider using the same measures whether it is special land use or a Tier 1 use. He further thinks outside and inside facilities are of equal importance in terms of impact because they share the same issues. He stated it is a land use issue and the City should be consistent. In his opinion, he believes it should be special land use. Further, he thinks Council would be better served to publicly debate these issues. Mr. Hoadley also agrees with Ms. Lorenzo in regard to the RUD issue because it is one of the most important ordinances that they can come out with over the next twenty years. Mr. Hoadley hopes that the final product will fit other areas that might be considered for an RUD project. He also stated he is an advocate of open space planning, but he thinks they must consider land sensitivity in terms of how they plan the land.

 

 

Laura Lorenzo - stated the Planning Commission and staff strongly recommend that Council maintain the 75-foot front yard setback in the B-2 District. She further believes there is Commission consensus that the current minimums are too lenient in terms of green space requirements and that they would be looking at increasing it instead of decreasing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business before City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 12:20 P.M.

 

 

 

 

Mayor City Clerk

 

 

Transcribed by Barbara Holmes

 

Date Approved: March 17, 1997