WORK STUDY SESSION OF THE COUNCIL FOR THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, JULY 21, 1997 - 6:30 P.M.
ACTIVITIES ROOM - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor McLallen called the meeting to order at 6:34 P.M.
ROLL CALL: Mayor McLallen, Mayor Pro Tem Crawford, Council Members Clark (arrived 6:40 p.m.), Kramer, Mitzel, Mutch, Schmid (arrived 6:36 p.m.)
ALSO PRESENT: Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson
Mayor McLallen advised they ended their last work session at Section 2505. Off-Street Parking Requirements on page 201 in the comparison draft.
Lynn Kocan - believes her issue could relate to the current ordinance under Article 24 regarding setbacks. Ms. Kocan advised there is a home at the intersection of Meadowbrook and Nine Mile Roads that appears as though it is on Nine Mile. Ms. Kocan reported the Building Department advised that they could not believe that it would not meet the ordinance. Ms. Kocan suggested although it may meet the ordinance that perhaps there is something wrong with the ordinance. She noted they subdivided the lot three ways. She reported the garage door to the home is even with the fence lines of the other homes along Meadowbrook that are constructed approximately 35 feet from the road. She said there is no longer a pleasant view down Nine Mile Road because this house appears to be practically on the road. Because Council is reviewing the zoning ordinance, Ms. Kocan asked that they also look at this issue. It seems to Ms. Kocan that there are minimum yard setbacks that may be need to be applied when they start a subdivision. However, when there is already development she suggested that they may need something in the ordinance that says it should also meet the spirit of the development that is there.
Mayor McLallen agreed and added she believes they split the lots according to road frontages. She does not believe they realized how it would visually impact the whole road.
Councilman Mitzel believes the setback could be from the property line and since it is not in a platted subdivision, there may not be extra right-of-way. He suggested they may want to look into a setback from future right-of-way as opposed to lot line where there is a road frontage. Councilman Mitzel believes there have been presentations in some planning seminars about this issue.
Councilman Kramer believes the question is how the ordinances mostly address plats.
Councilman Mitzel reminded Council the setback standards also apply to separate lots.
Mayor McLallen believes this issue came forward because it was a straight land split and everyone constructed their homes separately without any consideration given to the other pieces.
Mr. Rogers is not familiar with the specifics of the site, but noted Footnote c applies to all the single family residential districts whether or not they are in a plat. He referred to the top of page 175 and that it might be applicable. He then read, "all exterior side yards abutting a street shall be provided with a setback equal to the front yard setback requirement of the district in which located and all regulations applicable to a front shall apply except further where a non residential is built on." Mr. Rogers advised if a lot has a front yard and a side street comes in when lots are fronting in two different directions that is known as an exterior side street. Consequently, Footnote c might apply.
Mayor McLallen stated the three houses have developed independently. She explained the underlying landowner who split the lots must have met the regulations because the assessor split the lots and each lot is developable. The Mayor gave Mr. Rogers a rough drawing of the site.
Councilwoman Mutch believes this issue is something they should address at another time.
PURPOSE OF WORK STUDY SESSION
1. Proposed Zoning Ordinance text Amendment No. 97-126, Zoning Ordinance Re- Write
Section 2505. Off-Street Parking Requirements
The Mayor stated the parking for public schools does not seem sufficient and asked if the ordinance is adequate.
Mr. Rogers interjected, Mr. Arroyo was not able to attend tonight’s meeting, but previously gave him a list of items as they may come forward. Mr. Rogers reported Item 5, Senior High Schools was a clarification of existing standards from a book by Weant and Levison called Parking which is a manual about off-street parking. Mr. Rogers added Item 5 was Mr. Arroyo’s recommendation after his research.
Councilwoman Mutch suggested that they blend this recommendation with calculations for other types of amenities to determine off-street parking.
Mayor McLallen asked if blending is conceivable. Mr. Rogers noted it states whichever is greater and he believes they could blend them.
Councilman Mitzel noted that the public schools do not fall under the zoning ordinance. Mr. Watson concurred and added statute does not require them to get site plan approval.
Councilman Mitzel stated even if they did make this stricter, the schools could ignore them. Mr. Watson agreed.
Mayor McLallen noted there is a possibility of developing private schools. Councilman Mitzel understands that.
Councilwoman Mutch agrees they should not invest a lot of time into this, but believes it would be in the best interest of the community to establish a standard and then the community can bring the pressure on the school districts involved to conform to the community’s standards.
Mr. Rogers added they can also always exceed the standard and cited Walsh College as an example. He explained Walsh has an evening enrollment that exceeds 10,000 students.
Councilman Kramer believes elementary schools seem to provide one parking place for each employee and most do not have an auditorium. Consequently, when they have an event, cars are everywhere and are more of a problem than at a high school level.
Mr. Rogers advised Mr. Arroyo would like Item (15) Health clubs and facilities revised on page 206. He read, "Based on some additional parking research and consideration, we are recommending some changes to the Health club standard to provide a two-tier level. ‘For facilities with 30,000 square feet or less (e.g., Bally’s/Vic Tanny type clubs): one (1) for each 5.5 member families and individual members (memberships). For facilities greater than 30,000 square feet, one (1) for each nine (9) member families and individual members (memberships).’ Larger facilities tend to require much less parking per membership and per square foot than the smaller sites. As a point of documentation, we recommend that the City ask new applicants to compare their proposed membership levels to similar facilities in the area to demonstrate reasonableness." Mr. Rogers believes there is a difference between Vic Tanny’s and a very large sports club. Mr. Rogers supplied a copy of Mr. Arroyo’s memorandum to the Clerk’s office.
Councilman Schmid asked if there were any changes made under the restaurant requirement. Mr. Rogers replied (8A) Drive-through restaurants was added, but there has been no other changes. He asked Council to recall that they amended the ordinance approximately two years ago to provide a new standard.
Councilman Schmid asked if this requirement is less than what the original requirement was. Mr. Rogers replied the old standard required only one space for every two seats and therefore, he believes the new standard is stronger.
Section 2508. Uses Not Otherwise Included Within a Specific Use District
Mr. Rogers advised the Implementation Committee and the industry people recommended this section after a lengthy review. Mr. Roger added they received many compliments on this section. He advised Novi currently permits towers only in I-1 and I-2 Districts. However, he added the new ordinance now permits them in office and commercial districts with a 300 foot setback adjacent to any residentially-zoned district. The section further states that Council may permit a tower in residentially-zoned areas such as a playfield or a hospital where it would have an effect of prohibiting building on a grid or a system.
Mr. Watson added that provision is included because Congress has adopted a statute that states if there is a regulation that prohibits personal wireless services, then it is going to be preempted. He further added the intent is to provide a safety valve so that the ordinance does not do that.
Mayor McLallen asked if the number of towers are limited. Mr. Watson replied the number is not limited if they meet the ordinance requirements.
Mr. Rogers reminded Council that they still makes the final decision for special land use.
Mayor McLallen stated she spoke with Mr. Watson earlier and she was advised that Council previously reviewed this draft, but they did not adopt it pursuant to this conversation.
Mr. Rogers agreed Council has seen this draft, but they did not take action so they could include it with the ordinance update.
Mayor McLallen asked if the essence is that although it still permits local jurisdiction overview and approval, it does not put them in conflict with federal regulations. Mr. Watson agreed.
Mayor ProTem Crawford said if they have areas in the city zoned for towers, then how is it interpreted that they prohibit them. He believes this section states they will construct towers anywhere in the city at Council’s discretion. Mr. Watson replied the key is not that they permit towers somewhere in the city, it is whether they permit them at sufficient locations and that they can provide personal wireless service throughout the city. In other words, there may be technical reasons why it will not work if they zone it just for a couple of small areas in the city from a radio standpoint.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked why should they even say that they permit towers in I-1, I-2 and OS Districts? Mr. Watson replied they would rather see them only in those districts and if someone wants to put a tower in a residential district, they would want them to show unless they put it in that location that they are unable to provide the service.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if there is a way to verify that other than by the word of the industry? Mr. Watson assumes they would have to turn to their engineers who would in turn consult people with more technical expertise.
Councilman Schmid asked if they typically permit towers in the zones listed in this ordinance? Mr. Rogers replied this ordinance is superior to other cities. He explained the ordinance is suitable for a city that has considerable office, commercial and industrial to accommodate these sites. He added that a bedroom community is a different situation. He noted some communities will permit this use in any district providing it is special land use approval and meets different criteria. Mr. Rogers believes most communities restrict towers to commercial, industrial or public use districts. He also believes it is a good idea to have it on municipally owned property because the city can then collect the rent and can continually govern it. He noted they are currently doing this at the DPW site and advised Sprint is co-locating on the tower. Mr. Rogers reported the Ameritech location on the Twelve Oaks tower required a use variance in the RC District from the ZBA. He added there may be a proposal in Orchard Hill Place to construct a tower on the top of one of the buildings in an office district. Mr. Rogers reminded Council there are currently seven providers and suggested there may not be a need for towers in ten years when they get into the satellite system. Further, he advised the Telecommunications Act of 1996 permits local jurisdiction over what districts a community can initially permit towers. He explained they still have the authority to allow them only in I-1 and I-2 districts and he reminded Council about the exemption that Mr. Watson mentioned earlier.
Councilman Schmid is concerned about most communities going to what he thinks is a liberal interpretation of where they can construct towers. He added he is concerned about towers period and because they can possibly construct towers on Main Street. Mr. Rogers reminded Council that applicants still have to have a site plan review, they still have to get special land use, they still have to have a public hearing and they still must come before Council. Mr. Rogers added the ordinance draft speaks strongly about co-location.
Councilman Schmid asked how could they stop a tower from being constructed in an RC or B-3 District if they meet all of the requirements. Mr. Rogers replied they would have to have a 60 foot fall zone from any property line if the tower is 150 feet and noted there is very little B-3 property.
Mayor McLallen believes Councilman Schmid’s question is why do they have the ordinance if they are going to be federally overruled. Mr. Watson replied they are not going to be federally overruled in every case. He explained despite the fact the government may say their location restriction will interfere with providing their service, the city may still want to restrict districts to serve as a safety valve.
Councilman Schmid is asking if they can put a tower anywhere assuming the applicant meets all of the requirements. Mr. Rogers replied it has to be a listed district.
Mayor McLallen believes they could potentially construct a tower at McDonald’s at Twelve Oaks because it is zoned RC.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked why couldn’t an applicant claim it is the only spot in town they can construct a tower to serve their customers. Mr. Watson replied according to the federal government, if an applicant can show that they absolutely require that a certain location provide service, they can construct the tower there.
It seems to Councilman Schmid that the ordinance is generous in terms of all the districts. He added he has been around long enough to know if they meet the ordinance requirements, they must permit it. He then asked why have they liberalized the areas so much. Mr. Rogers reminded Council they already agreed to permit towers in an RC District. Councilman Schmid argued that was a one time instance and was not a unanimous vote of the Council. Mr. Rogers advised they are adding five districts to this list. Mr. Rogers added the only other areas they might consider would be the OS-2 District along Grand River Avenue and the OSC District in Orchard Hill Place. He advised this was just a recommendation of the Planning Department staff and the consultants. He believes this recommendation fills a need for better cellular service and reminded Council it is still their discretion on what districts they want to list.
Councilman Schmid asked if they permit towers in Birmingham and Bloomfield? Mr. Rogers replied there are some towers in the center of some towns.
Mayor McLallen advised there is a Council consensus that staff will check with other communities, particularly the commercial center of Birmingham to move this forward.
Mr. Rogers advised Ameritech is co-locating directly behind Jacobson’s in the City of Grosse Pointe.
Councilman Mitzel asked that staff include a map highlighting where they allow towers in Novi and the location of existing towers. Mr. Rogers noted they have recently prepared such a map.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if their current map includes potential sites. Mr. Rogers replied it does not.
Mayor ProTem Crawford is concerned that there is nothing in the ordinance that will limit the number of towers in a community. Mr. Rogers advised there is nothing other than the strong reference to co-location. He added there is a pending work program that the Planning Commission may want to continue about a wireless master plan. Mr. Rogers explained it is a phenomenal investment and grasping it is difficult because they have certain technical requirements that they are not familiar with.
Mayor ProTem Crawford stated they may want to take the initiative in order to protect themselves.
Mayor McLallen asked Mr. Rogers to keep working on this issue because the emerging technology is continually changing.
Mayor ProTem Crawford added they have to be careful with any of these ordinances to revert to whatever the FCC states is okay. He guarantees whatever the FCC states, is not going to be okay and referred to his experience with them in other telecommunication areas. He advised it is an open door for the industry and does not protect the community.
Mr. Rogers understands the providers are suing the FCC to exempt them from any local regulation.
Mayor ProTem Crawford added they have to be careful to follow the applicable FCC rule.
Section 2509. Landscape Standards: Obscuring Earth Berms and Walls, Rights-of-way Buffers, and Interior and Existing Landscape Plantings
Mayor McLallen asked what is meant by "to require the ‘amenity’ of pedestrian movement" as it appears on the bottom of page 230. Mr. Rogers knows the Mayor does not like that term and believes they could easily change it to "ability."
Mr. Rogers reported these standards were reviewed and approved by Linda Lemke and Chris Pargoff as a result of reviewing close to six hundred site plans in the last ten years. He advised it is technical language and assured Council they have carefully proofed the Latin names and species; he is recommending that Council adopt this language.
Mayor McLallen asked if the two growing seasons specified as the "establishment and replacement period" is sufficient. She explained there are a number of pathetic looking trees throughout the city and asked how would the average resident recognize the period of a growing season. Mr. Rogers advised there is a footnote that they will continue maintenance and replacement of any species that does not survive on every site plan. Mr. Rogers added they perform inspections before the final certificate of occupancy and the release of the bonds.
Eric Olsen reported one growing season is from April through September.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if they plant a tree in April that is then dead by the following April, would they have to wait another growing season before they replace it? Mr. Olsen disagreed and advised they would replace it at the time they detected it was dead. He added two growing seasons is a guarantee period where the landscape contractor is insuring that a species will survive two growing seasons.
Mr. Rogers interjected, most communities only require one growing season.
Councilwoman Mutch agreed with Mr. Olsen; she noted if a species dies and it is replaced, it must live for two growing seasons.
Mr. Watson added it is a continuing requirement. He noted they also have a provision that says it is a violation of the ordinance if they are not conforming to the approved site plan. He explained if at anytime the landscaping dies, they must replace it.
Mr. Rogers admits there are some that are not well cared for, but there are many others that are maintained; he cited Pheasant Run as a good example.
Mr. Rogers added the street tree planting is a function of DPS and it also must conform to this ordinance. However, he believes maintenance is a matter of enforcement.
Councilman Mitzel asked if there are any provisions to revegetate abandoned sites and cited Phase II of the Vistas as an example. Mr. Watson believes that issue would be provided for under Soil Erosion. He added there are provisions to do temporary sedimentation control measures while the project is under construction and permanent provisions when the project is completed.
Councilman Mitzel restated his question is what provisions are provided when they stop in between.
Mayor McLallen believes another example is the southwest corner of Meadowbrook and Grand River which was to have been an office complex.
Mr. Watson suggested they refer this matter to Ordinance Review Committee to look at the soil erosion regulations. He knows the Planning Commissions Environmental Committee began to look at this matter and also have some recommendations.
Mayor McLallen advised there is a Council consensus to refer this matter to Ordinance Review.
Mayor McLallen noted screening four sides of a transformer under Item 9. c on page 261 is new.
Mr. Rogers added Edison places transformers wherever they like and he believes they need to advise them that they can be very unsightly.
Mayor McLallen asked if this can be retroactive. Mr. Rogers replied zoning is not retroactive.
Section 2511. Exterior Lighting
Councilman Mitzel advised it seems the lights are not shielded at the new Speedway at Ten Mile and Novi Roads. He believes if Items 4 and 6 do not address this kind of issue that perhaps they should make the ordinance more clear.
Further, Councilman Mitzel does not believe Item 4 reads clearly. Mr. Watson noted "An lighting" is a typographical error.
Councilman Mitzel asked if this section would address service station canopies and further asked how is it verified in site plan review? Mr. Rogers believes the lighting should be shaded down so it only illuminates their property.
Councilman Mitzel reported the fixture is down, but it illuminates outside the canopy and he is not certain whether it would constitute a safety hazard. Further, Councilman Mitzel is not sure whether better screening of light would be addressed in this already or if it is something that should be noted in the architectural section.
Mr. Rogers will check to see what they showed on the construction drawings. He advised they are not supposed to direct light off premises.
Councilwoman Mutch is not certain the lighting is directed off the site; she believes the amount of light is what makes it so bright. Further, she believes part of what Councilman Mitzel is talking about is caused by the relative darkness of the intersection.
Councilman Mitzel agreed and added that it may not be as obvious once they construct the street lighting.
Councilman Schmid noted the unsuitable location of the pipes at the Speedway station. Mr. Rogers advised the pipes were not indicated on the site plan.
Councilman Mitzel noted they discussed this matter at their last meeting in terms of an architectural review.
Mr. Rogers advised Mr. Olsen has recently supervised a landscape inspection for the site, and there are many undersized and dying trees. Consequently, they have much work before them in terms of improving the landscaping. Mr. Olsen concurred.
Councilman Schmid believes they need to look more closely at where the pipes should go. Mr. Rogers believes they are regulated and reiterated they were not on the site plan.
Mayor McLallen has an issue about Item 4 on page 264. She explained the car wash at Galway and Novi Roads has a large American flag, and they use a flood light to illuminate it. Consequently, the light is not contained on the property. She added although it does not shine on anyone, it is excessively bright. Further, she does not know if they have received any complaints.
Mr. Rogers noted the Novi Car Wash has an approved plan to add to the front and to the rear of its site.
Section 2519. Performance Standards
Mayor McLallen referred to (5) Day Time Hours on page 281 and asked if it is feasible for work to begin seven days a week at 7:00 a.m. She explained she is just raising the question as it was presented to her and they can provide an answer at another time. Mr. Rogers does not see how they could prohibit work beginning at 7:00 a.m. any day of the week the way it is currently written and he will investigate what the original intent was.
Councilwoman Mutch believes they address work hours in another section of the code. Mr. Watson agreed.
Councilwoman Mutch asked if they have considered the cost involved in the construction of walls for residential areas adjacent to a major roadway like M-5 because setbacks are not sufficient. Councilwoman Mutch suggested that the setback in this type of situation should be different to avoid the huge investment of a wall in the future.
Mayor McLallen asked if there is a consensus to send this matter to Ordinance Review; there was no response.
Mayor McLallen advised there is a Council consensus to send the ordinance back to staff to formulate a presentation for adoption by Council in August.
There being no further business before City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 7:31 p.m.
Mayor City Clerk
Transcribed by Barbara Holmes
Date Approved: August 11, 1997