MONDAY, JULY 28, 1997 AT 7:30 P.M.




Mayor McLallen called the meeting to order at 7:32 P.M.


ROLL CALL Mayor McLallen, Mayor ProTem Crawford, Council Members Clark, Kramer, Mitzel, Mutch, Schmid









Proposed Harvest Lake of Novi - RUD



1. Approval of Residential Unit Development (RUD) - Harvest Lake of Novi, SP 97-06B - Property located north of Ten Mile Road west of Wixom Road


Steve Weiner of Harvest Land Company is present to discuss their area plan, but began by reviewing the chronology of events since April 1995. Mr. Weiner reported he, Johnson, Johnson & Roy and his partner Bob Doyle began their site plan analysis with the lake. He advised they began with a full scale planning, environmental, marketplace and master plan study, and held a series of consultant meetings to develop an understanding of the city’s expectations for development in western Novi in January 1996. Mr. Weiner stated they received input through the zoning ordinance review, and through one-on-one meetings with various commissioners and council members. In the fall of 1996, Mr. Weiner reported they developed primary conclusions that have remained consistent throughout their proposal. Mr. Weiner advised they concluded that development around lake should stay within the restrictions of the ordinance and be environmentally sensitive. They also concluded that the idea of open space planning needed to come to Novi and as developers, they wanted to promote that idea. Finally, Mr. Weiner advised they also concluded it would be economically prudent and market wise to try to offer a variety of housing types that would meet a changing demographic environment in Novi over a projected ten to fifteen year build out. Mr. Weiner explained they decided that no current ordinance would allow for that type of proposal to go forward. Consequently, he wrote a letter in October 1996 advising that the only zoning under which they can propose their project would be in the context of the RUD. Since then, Mr. Weiner reported they made their first submittal on February 14, 1997 and proposed a plan that is identical to the one currently before Council except a few minor changes that came from Mr. Arroyo’s office. He advised that process took approximately a month and a half and they then offered a second submittal on March 31, 1996 reflecting the consultant’s review. As of March 31, Mr. Weiner stated there have been no changes made to the area plan and added they had unanimous support from all of the consultants. On April 16, 1996, Mr. Weiner advised that the Planning Commission and Council adopted a new ordinance and since then, Harvest Lake of Novi has been on Council’s agenda six times. He added they are at a point where they have manipulated the plan to its utmost benefit to the community by reducing the density from 1,010 to 876 proposed units. Mr. Weiner noted they continue to have no seeming organized resistence from the community as evidenced tonight by the lack of audience participation. In fact, he advised there are over a dozen supportive letters in the March packets from their neighbors. Finally, after an exhaustive second review, Mr. Weiner reported they continue to have comprehensive consultant support and they are very proud of what they have accomplished. Mr. Weiner introduced their planner, Mary Jukuri from Johnson, Johnson & Roy to explain the design and concepts of the project.


Mary Jukuri offered a slide presentation about the plan to cover some highlights of the project. Ms. Jukuri advised they would be glad to answer more detailed questions after the presentation.


Ms. Jukuri stated Harvest Lake of Novi will be a premiere single waterfront residential community, rich with natural features and easy access to water, woods, trails and parks. She reported the site lies in western Novi and is one half mile south of the Wixom/I-96 interchange, bounded by Napier Road on the west, Ten Mile Road on the south and Wixom Road on the east. She advised it lies in a residential transition area with industrial, commercial and office service technology uses north of the site, a high density manufactured housing community to the northwest, and residential subdivisions to the east. Further, it has significant open space with the nearby Links of Novi golf course and the significant wetland south of Ten Mile Road.


Ms. Jukuri reported the site also lies in Planning Area 6 as identified in Novi’s 1993 Master Plan. She noted the total number of dwelling units proposed for Harvest Lake of Novi falls below the projected number of dwelling units and population for the site as outlined in the Plan. In fact, the city’s planning consultant has confirmed that with a future build out of all of the remaining vacant parcels in this area (i.e., parcels at Eleven Mile toward Beck and the out parcels along Ten Mile) and the total number of dwelling units proposed for the site, that there would still be a 117 unit surplus. Consequently, they fall below the future number of dwelling units anticipated for this planning area.


Ms. Jukuri advised the RUD plan encompasses 901 acres. She noted there are 122 acres of wetlands including a large forested wetland system in the center of the property. Further, there are 94 acres of upland woods including a large stand on the western side at Napier Road, there are upland woods east of the lake and an upland wooded island in the center of the forested wetland complex. Ms. Jukuri added there is also a pocket approximately 3-4 acres at the northwest corner and a stand at the far eastern edge of the property. However, the most significant natural feature of the project is Harvest Lake. Ms. Jukuri reported it is 169 acres, and was formed by sand and gravel mining activity in the 1980's along the Novi-Lyon Drain. Further, Harvest Lake is now the second largest lake in the City of Novi. Ms. Jukuri reported the lake is more than one mile long and has more than three miles of shoreline. It is because of the significant natural features of the site, the site size and the desire for market flexibility over an anticipated long term build out that Harvest Land Company is seeking an RUD option for the property.


Ms. Jukuri advised that the Harvest Lake of Novi area plan will create a variety of new residential neighborhoods on the property. She explained they will form them as distinct neighborhoods bounded by open space systems and served by an internally connected road network. Consequently, all residents will have access to Harvest Lake. In addition, they will provide land for two new schools and a future city park at the corner of Eleven Mile and Wixom Roads.


Ms. Jukuri stated they are also proposing a variety of housing types. The housing types include single family attached cluster on the north and northwest sides of the property, luxury attached townhomes at the northwest and southeast corners of the lake, and clustered townhomes in the center upland woods. Ms. Jukuri added they are proposing single family detached clusters in the center northern portion of the site as a transition from the attached cluster housing on the northwest to the remaining single family detached lots toward the perimeter of the property. The remaining housing types on the property are a variety of traditional single family detached lots in a variety of sizes. She added there will be large waterfront lots placed along the lake’s edge and single family detached homes on the southern part of the property toward the perimeter.


Ms. Jukuri advised they have tried to place the housing in context to its adjacent land uses as much as possible. For example, they have located cluster housing next to the high density manufactured housing community in the northwest and as a transition from the future office service technology use planned to the north. Further, she reported they placed single family detached homes along the perimeter of the property and along its most visible edges with similar single family size detached lots placed adjacent to the existing subdivisions to the east of the property.


Ms. Jukuri reported the proposed variety of housing allows Harvest Lake to have a broader market appeal than a conventionally developed subdivision. She explained they can provide a variety of housing within the entire development so that they can appeal to young professionals, single professionals, couples, new families, maturing families and empty nesters. Ms. Jukuri noted it will then be possible for people to change housing types within the development as their lifestyle’s change.


Ms. Jukuri reported most of the proposed housing (52%) will be single family detached lots with a significant portion as conventional lots on the water front. She reported 25% will be single family attached cluster, 18% will be luxury townhomes along the water front and in the upland woods, and 5% will be single family detached cluster.


Ms. Jukuri reported a significant portion of the project will be constructed as 43 one acre lots on the waterfront. She stated these will be full one acre sized lots and will conform to the Schedule of Regulations of the underlying zoning that will govern lot size, area and setback requirements. In fact, they are proposing an increased rear yard setback so that no home will be closer than 100 feet from the water’s edge. Ms. Jukuri added that the 43 waterfront lots are significant not only in number, but also in location. She explained this is the visual centerpiece of the project and all of the lots on the lake will be one acre lots at the most visible edge of the development.


Ms. Jukuri advised the remaining single family detached lots will be a mix of 90 to 110 foot wide lots. She reported these lots are wide enough to include a side entry garage and provide a meaningful housing variety and transition from the attached cluster housing allowed in an RUD to the conventional one acre lot development. Ms. Jukuri added this is also the main housing market for the City of Novi in terms of what they see as current and future demand.


Ms. Jukuri restated there will be attached and detached cluster housing in the north and northwest sides of the property with attached cluster housing and luxury townhomes fronting on the lake. She reported they have designed and laid out the housing so that except for the waterfront townhomes, no cluster housing site will be visible from the adjacent thoroughfares. She added there will also be a select number of attached cluster homes in the center upland woods.


Because of the housing variety and the lot size modifications they are proposing, Ms. Jukuri advised they can preserve more than 52% of the site as common open space which would include the lake, the wetlands, the city park, upland woods, resident parks, and other shared open space and preservation zones. Although Ms. Jukuri agreed some of these elements such as the lakes and wetlands are nonbuildable and regulated systems, she noted that even other regulated systems or those areas and natural features currently regulated in the city’s zoning ordinance (i.e., upland woods) could otherwise remain standing in private platted yards. Ms. Jukuri reported their plan will preserve the open spaces as common undeveloped open space features common to residents of Harvest Lake and added that the city park will be accessible to Novi residents. Within these common open space elements, Ms. Jukuri reported more than 25% of the net buildable residentially developed part of the project is still being preserved as common open space. Again, she explained that would include the upland woods, resident parks, setbacks, secondary conservation zones, internal green belts and perimeter landscape. She repeated this is otherwise developable land that because of the housing variety, the lot size mix and the options available through the RUD, can be preserved as common open space and as recreational area that would otherwise be developed in conventional development.

Ms. Jukuri advised they have planned the open space to create meaningful linkages. For example, their plan unites upland woods and preserved wood areas through internal greenbelts to waterfront parks, and links other upland wood preserved areas to forested wetland systems, upland meadows and wildlife habitats. Further, they have created the wildlife corridors and linkages both on site and off site to the east, and to the forested wetland complex to the north. They are also distributing the open space system in a location around the project so that no home site will be more than a three minute walk from the lake, from a resident park or from a natural feature on the site.


Ms. Jukuri reported the largest recreational amenity will be Harvest Lake of Novi. She advised it will be accessible to all residents and will be used for windsurfing, sailing, fishing, canoeing, and swimming for Harvest Lake residents and their guests. She added the lake will be accessible through waterfront parks that total more than 25% of its frontage. She reported two of the waterfront parks will have resident swimming beaches, small parking lot areas, a community structure, picnic areas and play equipment. Besides these five waterfront parks, they are also proposing two playgrounds; one on the north side of the property and one on the south side that will be play areas for those neighborhoods that are off the waterfront parks. She added the parks will include playground equipment, benches and landscaping. Ms. Jukuri noted the fifth waterfront park off Napier Road may include reuse of the existing barn as a future community meeting room for Harvest Lake residents.

Ms. Jukuri advised they have preserved upland woods in large undisturbed stands rather than in private platted rear yards. They will connect them to existing wetland systems and to preserved upland meadows forming a more valuable wildlife habitat and ecosystem that links habitat on and off site, and conform to the city’s wildlife habitat master plan. Ms. Jukuri stated the secondary conservation zone is a significant natural element on the property. She advised it is almost three quarters of a mile long and at its minimum point it is 150 feet wide and goes up to more than 700 feet across. Ms. Jukuri added there will be pedestrian paths through the secondary conservation zone so it will provide passive recreational use as well.


Ms. Jukuri advised major entrances to Harvest Lake will be landscaped with entrance boulevards, and a common visual image established and identified at the entrances. Ms. Jukuri noted there will also be a 25-50 foot perimeter landscape zone between the adjacent thoroughfares and the private platted rear yards. She said this was beyond the normal rear yard setback of the private lots so they can control the visual quality of the development at its edges, maintain hedge rows along adjacent thoroughfares and form a more naturalized landscape buffer between the development and the thoroughfare.



They are also proposing a connected pedestrian network throughout the property to connect all of the open space features, the lake and the external bikeway systems along the major thoroughfares. Ms. Jukuri advised the pedestrian network will include sidewalks on both sides of the streets that link to off-street trails, woodchip paths and boardwalks to environmentally sensitive areas and mown lawns through upland meadows. Ms. Jukuri said the waterfront townhomes would also have a common preservation easement with a footpath that link to the proposed waterfront parks so that more than 50% of the total shoreline will be accessible to residents of Harvest Lake.


Ms. Jukuri added environmental preservation has been a fundamental objective of the planning process for Harvest Lake and they have incorporated many best management practices to ensure the long term water quality for the lake and the site. These best management practices include: placing future residential development in compact clusters to reduce the amount of impervious surfaces and reduce the amount of maintained or mown landscape. Ms. Jukuri noted they have also reduced wetland impacts by placing road crossings at their narrowest point, they have tried to create a more valuable wildlife habitat and ecosystem on the property by linking upland woods to forested wetlands to preserve meadows and other isolated wetland pockets on site, as well as create habitat connections off site.


Ms. Jukuri advised they are proposing a series of new storm water detention basins to retain and pre-treat storm water runoff, and the land they are providing exceeds the required land area by 100%. Ms. Jukuri advised they will design and plant the new storm water retention basins as new wetlands on site and they will look much like the newly created storm water detention basin on the slide. Ms. Jukuri added they will not allow storm water runoff to enter or be stored in the environmentally sensitive existing forested wetland systems on the property.


Ms. Jukuri reported Harvest Lake of Novi RUD is proposing a total of 876 units. She explained that is a combination of 651 units allowed as a base density and was calculated by taking the gross site size less the lake and existing wetlands times the underlying zoning. Ms. Jukuri said they then added an open space credit of 225 for a total of 876 and noted this number does not exceed the density cap of 926 units set for this site.


Ms. Jukuri stated there is 282 acres of common preserved open space that meet the requirements for an open space credit through the RUD ordinance. She reported this area includes 111 acres of upland open space including the preservation of the upland woods, the secondary conservation corridor, wetland setbacks, resident parks and internal greenbelts. Ms. Jukuri added there are also two areas of quality wetlands that are each less than two acres in size and 25% of the lake frontage is set aside for access from the five waterfront parks for the common use of Harvest Lake.


Ms. Jukuri summarized by stating that the Harvest Lake of Novi RUD plan provides many benefits. She explained it gives a more coordinated approach to land planning and traffic management than what is otherwise achievable through a conventional subdivision process. Because this is a master planned community, Ms. Jukuri reported they can have a more internally connected road system that reduces the traffic impact to adjacent roads and intersections. In fact, their traffic analysis study has shown that the RUD plan does not cause any further detrimental impact over what conventional development would generate on adjacent intersections.


Ms. Jukuri advised the plan also creates a more cohesive group of neighborhoods than conventional development because of the shared or common preservation areas and shared recreation areas. Ms. Jukuri advised Harvest Lake of Novi will have land set aside to provide social gathering spaces and neighborhood parks for the residents, and noted this is something not always found in conventional subdivisions. Ms. Jukuri reported several Planning Commissioners commented that they hoped subdivisions in some way could be encouraged to provide these kinds of amenities so that the city does not have to.

In addition, Ms. Jukuri stated although the plan delivers a greater housing variety, it is still within the context of the master plan and therefore, will give future buyers and residents a greater choice as the west side of Novi builds out. She reiterated the plan stays within the context of the master plan and explained the total number of dwelling units still stays below the projected number of dwelling units for the site.


Ms. Jukuri stated the plan also retains substantial permanent and accessible open space adding that a conventional subdivision would not set aside the same buildable land area or preserve it for common use. She added it also preserves greater unregulated open space and she believes the best feature of the RUD is that the city can give an incentive to preserve land that is otherwise unregulated and that would otherwise be lost to development.


Further, the plan insures superior environmental preservation and management. She explained because this is a single landowner and a large scale master planned community, the city can enter an agreement that ensures more stringent environmental protection and can also insure the city greater control in review over its long term maintenance.


In addition, Ms. Jukuri noted resident amenities are created and maintained at no expense to the city. Ms. Jukuri referred to the 1993 Master Plan and reported it had projected a 16 acre deficit in neighborhood parks on the west side as it built out. However, she reported Harvest Lake of Novi is providing 18 acres of resident parks and therefore, they believe they are doing more than their fair share to offset that deficit.



Lastly, the RUD becomes a binding contract between the city and developer so that both the Planning Commission and Council will be able to further review the plan at each site plan submittal stage as they bring forward each phase.


Ms. Jukuri stated Novi has many fine residential communities and because of the variety, the amenities, access to the lake, the parks and the preservation areas in the Harvest Lake of Novi plan, they believe they can create a community of lasting value that will be a great benefit to the city and to its residents.


Mr. Weiner added there are several issues raised by the Planning Commission that he would like to address. Mr. Weiner advised they requested a variance from the Lakefront Protection Act on Page 6 of their submittal because there has been confusion about what that act really means. He advised their perception of the Lakefront Protection Act is that they designed it to protect Walled Lake from overuse, particularly with motorized watercraft. Further, they believe the act did not anticipate a private lake owned by one developer and developed with the idea of having all the residents within the project using the lake. Mr. Weiner believes they also designed the Lakefront Protection Act to prevent too many people from going through a narrow space to get to a lake. However, their plan encourages that because they want all of the Harvest Lake residents to have access to the lake and therefore, think it is an inappropriate ordinance. He noted they have gotten support from Mr. Rogers for this variance.


Secondly, Mr. Weiner stated he was asked to comment on road improvements at the corner of Grand River and Wixom Road by the Planning Commission. He explained one commissioner was interested in a particular SCATS system. Mr. Weiner conducted some research and discovered that the intersection is in Wixom and will be improved as part of the Wixom Road/I-96 Improvement Plan initiated by MDOT, Oakland County and the City of Wixom. Mr. Weiner added he was also informed by MDOT that they plan to widen the overpass to seven lanes.


Mr. Weiner was also asked to address Napier Road and as he pointed to the map, he noted a section is already paved at certain point. He advised Mr. Arroyo indicated when they get to the phase of development that is currently scheduled for the very end of the project, that traffic may be substantial enough that they must pave to a point further north of the barn. Further, Mr. Weiner advised that Mr. Arroyo anticipated anyone in that area of the project who wants to travel to Grand River or to that side of Novi will not exit at that point. Mr. Weiner stated Mr. Arroyo believes that motorists will either go through the project to exit or travel south and that the traffic volume will be limited. Mr. Weiner’s position was that of Mr. Arroyo’s who requested in his letter that with each site plan submittal, they would also present a traffic study. He stated if the study states they need to do some paving, they will work with the community and the various parties to facilitate that or they will not proceed with that phase of the development.

Further, the Planning Commission asked Mr. Weiner a specific question regarding development of their parks. He advised former Commissioner Markham was concerned that the private parks will end up being raw pieces of dirt without amenities. Mr. Weiner advised they are not known to do that and he presented a matrix that they also inserted in the language of their submittal. He explained the matrix depicts each phase of development and how they propose to amenitize it. Mr. Weiner stated the logic made sense because before they can sell a single home, they are convinced that they must develop the first waterfront park and amenitize it to a satisfactory level for those residents who do not buy a waterfront home. He noted in the first waterfront park they propose to construct a beach, a community structure, finish the grade and complete a series of paths that lead to it, provide parking, picnic tables, benches, furnishings, play equipment and landscaping. Mr. Weiner noted that Council can see as they go through the phases that they will provide those types of elements for each of those amenities.


Mr. Weiner referred to the school and city park land transaction and noted that the city approached Delta Trucking Company in 1994 to discuss acquiring the 93 acre parcel. At the time, Delta agreed and they then discussed the provision of the infrastructure in terms of a long range build out of what has now become Harvest Lake of Novi. Mr. Weiner added that they negotiated a market price of $18,000 plus or minus an acre. Since that point and without any option agreement, without any contract and without any binding commitment Mr. Weiner advised Delta has kept that land off the market and held their price. They are convinced the land is worth between $45,000-$50,000 per acre and based on the zoning, it probably represents approximately 100 homes. Doing the mathematics based upon market value versus agreed upon price in 1994, Mr. Weiner advised that they think they can stand before Council and say even in a conservative assessment that is about a $2.5-$3M donation to the community. Mr. Weiner stated he has shied away from discussing this in a public forum because it was something they discussed in Executive Session. However, they now reported it in the newspaper and he thinks it should become known. Mr. Weiner reported although they are happy to make that contribution to the community, they believe Council should take it into account as they review the plan.


Mr. Weiner stated the current plan at 876 units calls for 0.97 units per gross acre. From their perspective, Mr. Weiner believes that is a low number with 30% of their land zoned as R-1. He reminded Council they are not proposing a rezoning. He advised they are proposing x number of units of what would have been RA and constructing x number of units of RA, R-2, R-3 and cluster. He also reminded Council this is under an ordinance that for 15 years allowed cluster housing as a part of it. Therefore, in a sense they have a range of products. He explained, they have RA on one hand and cluster housing on the other, and they are filling the middle of the range with another product because of the size of the project and market demand. He repeated it is not a rezoning and it is not a density increase. He said it falls under the cap that they authorized in the new RUD ordinance that was originally proposed by Councilman Mitzel. Further, in the same context of that 15 year old ordinance, the RUD ordinance allowed for full credit for lakes. He advised they have no longer allowed for it and it is instead an option they have to earn. Mr. Weiner believes they have earned this option without changing their plan with a 25% public access around the water’s perimeter. Further, the same ordinance allowed for school and park credit for 15 years. He said perhaps they were one of the first people to take advantage of it, but reiterated it has been there for 15 years and therefore, they do not think this is a radical rewriting nor is it a developer written ordinance. He believes it was an ordinance that they modified, but the basic tenets were already there even before Mr. Rogers began consulting for Novi.


Mr. Weiner suggested that the controversy may not be so real a controversy after all and added the plan clearly meets the new ordinance. He explained it falls under the cap for density, it has universal planning appeal and every Planning Commissioner at the meeting (8 of 9) spoke highly of the plan. Even the two who voted against it stated they do not have any problems with the plan, but they still have problems with the ordinance. Mr. Weiner believes they earned consultant support over time and thinks it is environmentally superior. Further, as a development company, they are one of the few that have the resources and capabilities to deliver under the context of owning this land since 1962. They also have broad-based neighbor support. In closing, Mr. Weiner asked that Council take the time to contemplate what was presented and approve Harvest Lake of Novi for 876 units as presented.


Mayor McLallen advised there are responses to the issues raised at the July 22 Planning Commission meeting by the consultants and letters supporting the RUD request included in their packet. However, the Mayor advised many items must be addressed before construction can continue although the responses from the consultants’ and staff are in positive support of this project.


Councilman Clark asked what is the depth of the lake. Mr. Weiner replied it is 30-35 feet at its deepest point and is more consistently 20 feet at a minimum.


Councilman Clark asked if motor boats are permitted on the lake. Mr. Weiner advised they do not permit them.


Councilman Clark asked who will maintain the lake after build out. Mr. Weiner replied the homeowner’s association will have that responsibility.


Councilman Clark saw a replay of the school board meeting and he reminded Council that he had raised the question at their last meeting about title insurance. He recalled they made statements about what someone had been told over the phone and he raised the question of whether they had an actual commitment. Councilman Clark advised a comment made at the board meeting was that they had issued a commitment with 53 exceptions. Councilman Clark asked if they have issued a written commitment and if so, does it still have 53 exceptions. Mr. Weiner clarified that the 53 exceptions are same exceptions that have been there since they presented the first title commitment in 1995. He explained the exceptions are a result of subterranean mineral rights that have been the subject of tremendous confusion and made the whole title situation convoluted. He added the issue was first raised in 1994 by the city’s attorney and advised they received a letter in 1995 which is included in the purchase and sale agreement between the city, the school and Delta Trucking. He advised the letter states that SOMOCO (the well operator) basically insures they do not have any further surface rights, but they will continue to have an operating well there. Mr. Weiner advised that the school has informed him they have no further title concerns. Mr. Weiner repeated that the exceptions were never anything more than underground exceptions. However, he noted if someone owns a percentage of an oil well royalty, it can be used as collateral to underwrite another oil well drilling project or a private residence. Consequently, this creates a tangled web of commitment upon commitment, but reiterated it is all subsurface and there has never been any title problem as it relates to the surface rights of the property.


Councilman Clark raised the question because he recalled that the developer’s attorney made a statement to Council that he would not recommend that Harvest Land sign any agreements. Councilman Clark is very concerned about that and asked if an agreement been signed at this point with the school system. Mr. Weiner replied they have signed several agreements, but there has not been a closing with the school system.


Mr. Watson believes Councilman Clark is of the understanding that Council approved a purchase agreement several weeks ago for this property. Therefore, Mr. Watson believes the question is whether the agreement has been signed by the property owner. Mr. Weiner replied the answer is no. He explained they have taken a consistent position since 1995 that they did not want to incur post closing title liability. He added they were always willing to work through any title issues, but they felt common real estate practice is that the title is clear at closing so that the seller does not incur post closing title liability. He added

the draft signed most recently by the city and the school against their wishes suggested that the developer had post closing liability and the title was going to be worked out. Even with the 53 oil and gas exceptions, there really has been no surface title issue since they first delivered the commitment in 1995. Mr. Weiner knows that the school’s attorney and Mr. Bugbee have recently met with representatives of the title company and he does not believe there are any further title issues. However, he would have to defer to the school representative.


Councilman Clark stated the reason he is concerned is that Mr. Weiner is talking about assuming post closing liabilities. Councilman Clark always thought title insurance was a benefit to both the buyer and seller. He explained if there is a subsequent problem regarding the title of the property and whatever the exceptions that the title company must resolve any problems that develop. Consequently, Harvest Land would not assume any liability and that is why he cannot understand why they have not yet signed the agreement with the school. Mr. Weiner believes there are no title problems and that Michael Cole, who is the senior executive at First American Title Company, assured the school’s attorney and the city’s attorney that there is no need for further concern because the title is clear.


Councilman Clark recalled the statement was made during the slide presentation that there will be areas to swim at different spots along the lake. In addition, there was another statement that there would be parking for a minimum number of cars. Councilman Clark does not believe the homeowner’s along the lake would want to see parked cars. Mr. Weiner believes they have done an adequate job of anticipating the parking demand with the expectation that most of the homeowner’s who do not live on the lake during the summer months will travel to the water’s edge to utilize the two parks that are for swimming. Mr. Weiner pointed to the parks on the map.


Councilman Clark asked if the parking will be visible from those persons who purchase one acre sites on the lake. Mr. Weiner’s expectation is no; the parking will be at the back end along the road for both parks.


Councilman Clark asked who will maintain the residential amenities after they build the project out. He recalled during the slide presentation that they would maintain the amenities at no expense to the city. Mr. Weiner replied the homeowner’s association will maintain the amenities.


Councilman Mitzel referred to Page 14 and noted they mention provisions for future ownership and maintenance. He thought the homeowner’s association would maintain these in the future, but one sentence stated, "prior to the homeowner’s association achieving financial independence, the landowner will provide funds necessary to maintain the project common areas." Councilman Mitzel asked if the developer is providing funds for indefinite maintenance. Mr. Weiner replied what has happened historically in master planned communities of this size is that as the homeowner’s association increases in number of participants, there is normally a tug of war between the developer and the homeowner’s association because the homeowner’s association would like to take control. He said by structuring an entitlement oriented area plan, the homeowner in Phase 2 cannot stop the developer in Phase 7 from developing it as they propose it. Mr. Weiner stated his point is when the homeowner’s association has adequate resources to take over the association, along with handing that over is the control to decide how they manage the amenities. From a developer’s point of view, it is their preference to control it as long as possible so they can establish and maintain a quality image for the whole project.


Councilman Mitzel asked if the language is clear enough. Mr. Watson believes further language and clarifications within the RUD agreement will clarify it further.

In terms of procedure, Councilman Mitzel asked if Mr. Watson would draft a legal agreement that would come back before Council if they approved the RUD area plan. Mr. Watson agreed and added that the ordinance calls for the applicant to turn in a proposed agreement to be reviewed by the city’s attorney for a presentation to Council.


Councilman Mitzel advised Page 17 mentions they would require an outlet structure to control lake fluctuations at the outlet and asked if that is proposed to be constructed as part of the development. Mr. Weiner replied the structure is already there and needs to be enhanced. He explained the structure is under Napier Road and is an outflow by virtue of its height. However, he noted they still need to add to its ability to adjust to make sure that the beach levels remain where they are supposed to remain and when there is a heavy downpour or dry season, there is not a tremendous change in the water level.


Councilman Mitzel asked if the enhancement would be a part of the development. Mr. Weiner replied it would.


Councilman Mitzel asked what is the mix of the housing lot sizes. He understands they want to maintain their flexibility, but he is trying to detect if most of the single family homes will be R-3 or R-1. He recalled the table listed R-1 through R-3 and that 43 lakefront homes or only 5% of the site would comply with the underlying RA zoning. He also recalled that they provided a percentage for cluster, but the rest were single family detached homes broken out by phase and the list did not clarify whether each phase would have a majority of R-3, R-2, or R-1. Councilman Mitzel recalled other large scale development plans included specific information concerning that scale. He then asked the developer to elaborate on the specifics of the type of development that will actually take place. Mr. Weiner referred to Page 30 of their submittal where they address single family detached non-waterfront homes. He explained that those lots will be 90-110 foot lots that correspond with R-2 and R-3 zoning categories. Mr. Weiner recalled they projected the mix between the R-2 and R-3 product to be 50-50 based on their discussions with Mr. Rogers. He then asked Council to recall that the difference in square footage between an R-2 and R-3 is 50%. Mr. Weiner advised R-3 is 12,000 feet and R-2 is 18,000 feet. He explained an established amount of 876 units determined what type of product goes in each area and added they cannot manipulate the R-2 and R-3 much without stealing from one pocket to put in the other. Mr. Weiner presumes Councilman Mitzel’s concern would be that they would skew away from R-2 to R-3 and construct more small lots. Although

they may consume less land, they would also consume overall units within the envelope and they would not have those units to apply elsewhere. Further, he respectfully noted the R-3 product is of a lower value to the developer and project. Therefore, there is no incentive to steal luxury lakefront townhome lots to build more R-3 product.


Councilman Mitzel’s concern is not only that they might skew it either way, but that they may emphasize R-3 development in the earlier phases and then for some financial or other unforseen reason, the project may never reach completion. He explained if they front load the development with smaller units and the remainder of the property does not develop, they are left with most of the development as R-3 or cluster. Councilman Mitzel asked if they will equally proportion each phase or will one phase be predominately R-3 and another R-3, but still balance each other over the entire plan. Mr. Weiner replied they would propose to include the document that they submitted as part of a contract. Mr. Weiner advised that document in verbiage, charts and numbers present a comprehensive series of commitments on their part about what they want to develop and where. Because there are limitations as to references to lot widths and setbacks for each product, the commitment that they will develop when they develop will be per the Schedule of Regulations. They believe the document combined with the market reality of their land mass is going to be ample regulation to prevent what Councilman Mitzel described. He reminded Council they only have so much buildable land to get a total number of entitlements to develop a variety of different product and there is not much flexibility to skew from what they have proposed without short changing themselves. Further, in the unlikely circumstance the project meets with some type of financial failure, the contract stands and therefore, whoever takes over the project would have to abide by the contract. Further, as long term speculative land developments go, one great benefit that successful developers take advantage of is the relatively low land basis and the perseverance to stand by in the good and the bad. Mr. Weiner added, given that they own another adjacent 500 acres in Lyon, and that they are a major property owner in Milford and other nearby areas, they will not see them disappearing from the area if the project fails.


Councilman Mitzel asked if there is any proposal for R-1 along with the lot size mix that they just discussed. Mr. Weiner replied not at this point. However, he explained he would love the market to push them in that direction.


Councilman Mitzel asked if he believes the RA is significant based on the ordinance. He explained not so much because it is only 5% of the total number of dwelling units, but because of the location of the units. Mr. Weiner thinks it is significant because 43 big lots at the price point they expect those to sell is a major commitment given that most high end custom home builders have indicated that they are leaving money on the table. Mr. Weiner believes it was a concession to the community and a concession to Councilman Schmid who asked him why can’t they construct RA lots around the lake. Consequently, they committed that every single family home around the lakefront that is going to be visible from Napier, from Ten Mile Road, from Wixom Road will be mammoth homes at high prices. Therefore, he believes they have not only made a commitment in terms of significant as for numbers, but significant in terms of land value and visibility. Mr. Weiner believes that meets the intent of the ordinance.


Councilman Mitzel can see what Mr. Weiner means in terms of visibility or impact on the lake being significant, but he is concerned that 43 homes still only constitute 5%.

Councilman Mitzel believes the lake is eventually supposed to be a regional detention basin on the city’s storm water plan and asked how does that affect the RUD and the maintenance of the lake. Mr. Watson replied if it were to become a regional storm water basin, they would be looking for easement rights or property rights to maintain it and utilize it as a regional basin. However, it is his understanding from the presentation the developer made to the Planning Commission that it was their intent to request that it not be a regional detention basin.


Kevin Kohls, attorney for the applicant, advised the property will be a regional detention basin in that it will be providing a watershed for the 900 acres. The city’s plan is really just that and the property rights associated with that plan have not been acquired from this property. Further, it is the intent of this community to vigorously protect the quality of that regional storm water detention basin. He added detention basins tend to be chocolate milk in color and not the type they expect to be developed at this site.


Councilman Mitzel raised the question to avoid raising new issues when they tell the homeowner’s association that they must maintain the lake. He believes they could come forward in the future and say that since it is on the city’s map as a regional detention basin, there is a storm water tax to maintain it. He believes they need input from the city’s engineers if there is no intention that the city wishes to use it as a regional detention basin to avoid that issue. Mr. Weiner believes they addressed that in Mr. Bluhm’s letter as an issue that he would like to resolve, but added Mr. Bluhm did not feel it was an obligation to resolve it at the area plan approval level.


Councilman Mitzel suggested the appropriate place to resolve it would be in the RUD contract agreement.


Councilman Mitzel believes Mr. Watson typically incorporates the documentation they are presented as part of the agreement. Mr. Watson agreed.


Likewise, Councilman Mitzel asked if incorporating the presentation material made tonight would be appropriate, including the amenity’s matrix and the slides. Mr. Watson shared the same thoughts about the matrix and agreed the slides should be incorporated as well. He then asked for copies of the matrix and the slides from the developer. In the past, Mr. Watson advised they have used cross references to the minutes as well.


Councilman Kramer asked if all of the materials are available in reduced form. Mr. Weiner replied he can make that material available.


Councilman Mitzel referred to the upland woodlands in the north central part of the site that includes a road and cluster housing. He then noted Ms. Lemke’s letter suggested that this was an improvement over what they previously proposed. However, Councilman Mitzel could not clearly understand whether this was something that was desirable or acceptable from an environmental standpoint in that they are coming forward with a woodland’s permit request. He asked if they would really want a road to cut through the middle of a woodland area. Mr. Rogers replied idealistically they probably would not put a road through those woodlands. However, he advised that the developer came in with other road system alternatives and none of them provided direct access to the waterfront park system for people in the north end of the RUD. Mr. Rogers believes the amendment to the roadway was spacing the clusters more than what the ordinance currently requires. Mr. Rogers added the wildlife corridors and underpasses maintain the continuity of this wildlife corridor that travels north to south in the area and noted Ms. Lemke is comfortable with that plan. Ideally, Mr. Rogers reiterated they would not put the road through. However, it is the best of the alternatives considering the overall concept of an internal road system.


Councilman Mitzel asked if it is the best of the alternatives submitted. Mr. Rogers agreed.


Mr. Rogers believes they do not disturb half the woodlands in that area because of the development of cluster housing. He explained cluster housing does not have side yards, they push the footprints apart, and the minimum spacing is 150 feet between the clusters.


Councilman Mitzel believes from an actual area impact that it was minimized by the spacing in the clusters. However, from his Planning Commission and Council experience, Ms. Lemke’s reviews always seemed to discourage intrusion through the center of a woodland area and he noted that this plan divides the woodland in half. Councilman Mitzel reminded Council when Vistas of Novi made the road connection, they had to make it a "no load" because of that same concern.


Mr. Rogers advised after serious consideration, there was intrusion in the Maples and Vistas’ projects. However, he noted that the woodland’s ordinance does not say they will not touch the woodlands and added that they are preserving the piece near Napier in the south. He advised the roadway leading to Napier was originally planned to be a boulevard, but was reduced to a two-lane road to reduce the impact. In addition, certain roads in the system east and to the middle of the lake were eliminated. He agrees there is some impact, but they spaced the pods to provide a more convenient and safer incentive for a wildlife corridor going through.


Councilman Mitzel believes the slides depict the overall area as a forested wetland, with the center part as an upland forest and asked how much of the upland forest is going to be preserved. He stated it seems they will use the upland area for the housing and the road, and all that is left is forested wetland. Eric Olson replied there is going to be some upland forested areas between the units and for that general area, he would say they would remove approximately half the upland woodlands of the center row.


Mayor ProTem Crawford noted the slide presentation and the plan showed that they were going to build a trail system/pedestrian path system and bridges throughout the whole complex. In addition, they also showed that the same system would continue through the city park and the school area. He asked if it is the developer’s intent to construct the paths in the school and city park areas. Mr. Weiner replied they will connect to the school site, but it is not their intent to develop on the city park or school site.


Mayor ProTem Crawford stated it appears to be a part of their project on the slide and they also show it as one of the amenities in the plan. Mr. Weiner believes he is talking about the agreement between the city, the school, and the developer from approximately one year ago. He explained the school said to the developer they would appreciate having some type of environmental amenity of which the children could take advantage. He advised they agreed to build a boardwalk that they would sign to allow children to go into a protected forested wetland area to conduct experiments on their property to learn about this rich, environmentally sensitive area. Mr. Weiner reported the understanding between the developer and schools in that same purchase and sale agreement is that the developer will develop their foot path for children throughout their project and that path will come to the edge of their property contiguous with the rest of their property across from the school. The school will then be responsible for whatever public or private improvements they need to make in the road and once it is on their side of the road, they would be responsible for sidewalks and so forth.


Mayor ProTem Crawford believes the answer is that it is not the developer’s intent to construct on the school’s park site, but just to provide a connection. However, he noted the slide did show that connection and trail system.


Councilman Kramer noted the developer discussed the road and traffic elements, particularly the Grand River and Wixom intersection. Councilman Kramer advised Mr. Arroyo’s letter also referred to the Beck and Ten Mile Road intersection and he did not believe the resolution was clear. Councilman Kramer noted it discussed additional right turn lanes to enable the intersection to operate at level service C. For the record, Mr. Weiner advised that the ordinance Council recently adopted had language that stated that if an RUD development in comparison with conventional development of the same site created detrimental impact to the road net, that the developer would be responsible to rectifying that. Therefore, Mr. Weiner advised they reran their traffic study after Council adopted the ordinance and that Mr. Arroyo’s letter clearly stated there is no detrimental impact beyond what conventional development would have created. Further, that study considered intersections as far away as Ten Mile and Beck Roads.


Councilman Kramer agreed that the overall conclusion in Mr. Arroyo’s letter was relative to other developments and that there was no significant impact on the traffic in the surrounding area versus what would have occurred with conventional development.

Mr. Weiner added that there was a concern expressed by a Birchwood’s resident relative to traffic in a letter. He advised he was unsuccessful in contacting the resident and he would like to address that concern for the record. Mr. Weiner directed Council’s attention to an exit near the Birchwood’s entrance. He advised they might imagine it is directly across from Birchwood Road and from a design point of view that may or may not be desirable. He reported the exit is not directly across from Birchwood’s and that it is actually offset by 250-300 feet. Therefore, the concern about Harvest Lake traffic traveling eastbound on Birchwood Road is not likely to be a concern.


Mayor McLallen noted they addressed that matter in the letters in their packet.


It is Councilman Schmid’s understanding that they have passed an RUD ordinance and there was much philosophical conversation about that ordinance, most of which he disagreed. Councilman Schmid clarified that they are currently discussing whether this Council is going to accept the proposed area plan for Harvest Lake. He said within that context he believes there must be discussion about what would happen if they did not accept the area plan. He wants to make it clear that this is a thorough discussion about whether this plan, although they have an ordinance, allegedly has nothing to do with the passing of that ordinance and this is the plan that is before them tonight. Councilman Schmid noted this is the only plan that has been before them and suggested that they wrote the ordinance for the plan. Notwithstanding, Councilman Schmid believes they are still talking about an area plan. Councilman Schmid thought after he previewed the slide presentation and listened to the comments, that to say that this plan does not have many fine features would be difficult. However, Councilman Schmid believes the problem is that it is in the wrong area of the city and it does not fit the ordinance or the master plan. Councilman Schmid likes the concept and believes it is too bad that the developer is trying to maximize the advantages of the ordinance.


Councilman Schmid asked if the contract has been signed with the school and asked why it has taken 2½ -3 years to for the developer to come to an agreement with the city and the schools. He also asked why it has taken that long to clear up any problems with the contract until now. Mr. Weiner replied he did not say that. He explained they did not sign the contract because they have not officially gotten notification from the city attorney that they will accept the language as proposed. He added they were told the reason is that they only recently got to a level of comfort to accept the title as it is presented. Mr. Weiner added he does not believe there are any further issues with the city. Although he cannot speak for Mr. Koster, he also does not believe there are any further issues with the school.


Councilman Schmid asked if he is confident that they will sign it at some point in time. Mr. Weiner agreed they would.



Councilman Schmid asked if there has been any indication that the delay in signing the contract has anything to do with the land that is going to someday belong to the school and the city as it relates to density. He asked if the developer has stalled the signing because they were concerned that Council would not pass an ordinance permitting them to use that density of land they will not own for increasing their density of the project. Mr. Weiner disagreed and explained they have extended and the school has accepted a license to begin construction. He said if they were to go out to the site today, they would see that the school has begun mobilization on the site.


After several Executive Sessions over the past year and a half, Councilman Schmid understood that the developer did not sign a contract because the developer wanted to be sure that school and city land was part of the density. Councilman Schmid asked if his understanding is accurate. Mr. Weiner replied it is incomplete.


Councilman Schmid is confident the developer will sign the agreement after Council gives area plan approval. Mr. Weiner stated that was correct.


Councilman Schmid does not believe Mr. Weiner suitably answered Councilman Mitzel’s question about the R-3, R-2 mix. Councilman Schmid stated the city’s planner suggested that the mix would probably be 50-50. Mr. Weiner confirmed Councilman Schmid’s statement.


Councilman Schmid asked if it would be at least a 50-50 mix between R-2 and R-3. Mr. Weiner did not say "at least," he said it would be approximately 50-50.


Councilman Schmid is having difficulty understanding how they determined that they will make up a "significant portion" of this development of the underlying zoning with only 43 one acre lots around the lake out of 876 total units. Councilman Schmid stated this does not seem to be a "significant portion" of the underlying zoning to him. He asked for a further explanation from the developer about how they made this determination. Mr. Weiner advised they believe it is a significant portion in terms of the definition of significant as opposed to substantial. They think it is significant in terms of its visual impact on the overall project. He reminded Council they have shared lengthy discussions about the idea of creating a project that has the image of low density. He said they thought by definition that the whole project is low density. He explained 0.97 units over 901 acres is low density from their perspective. Further, he advised their project, unlike earlier references to projects north of the interstate that may currently have financial distress, have 4 units per acre. He reiterated this is a low density project and added they think it is significant because those units are dominating all the lakefront which is the highest valued property and the most visually evident part of the project. Therefore, they think it not only meets, but that it exceeds the test.


Councilman Schmid believes common sense would tell them that when they add 225 home sites above what they could have had that it would substantially increase the trip traffic in that area and therefore, it would substantially impact the roads. He noted this is one reason he opposes the project. Councilman Schmid asked if the developer is suggesting that this increase in housing does not significantly impact the traffic and roads. Although he is not a traffic engineer, Mr. Weiner would consider himself as someone that has common sense. He believes the traffic data came back as it did because conventional development would call for all single family detached homes. He explained the prior and the current RUD allows for cluster, so the presumption would be that they would allocate the incremental units to cluster housing. He noted cluster housing based on traffic management and engineering standards that comes from some association with which he is not familiar, presume that there is less traffic coming out of those cluster units. Secondly, as a master plan integrated development rather than a series of individually planned and developed subdivisions, they have the opportunity to create an internal integrated road net that creates less traffic demand coming in and out of the project over time. Mr. Weiner cannot explain the technical realities, but there is a planning theory that by coordinating traffic management and having a minimum of properly designed ingress and egress throughout the project, that they mitigate the overall impact outside the boundaries of the project.


Councilman Schmid does not agree with that theory. He believes 225 homes will greatly impact traffic.


Councilman Schmid asked how many homes would they have constructed if they had developed this land under RA acre and half acre lots on this 900 acres. Mr. Rogers recalled it was approximately 650 homes. Councilman Schmid recalled it was approximately 300 less if they developed it conventionally.


Councilman Schmid asked how do they determine density for purposes of a master plan. Mr. Rogers replied they take the gross area of the property to the bounding streets of a particular planning unit area. He added, they have also said that when actual development occurs, they would have to meet the underlying minimum lot sizes of the zoning district that is there. He explained they administratively remove 20% for internal roads and that is why the density in parts of this area is 0.8 units per gross acre instead of 1.0 units.


Councilman Schmid understands they remove a percentage for roads, but in reality when they determine density accurately they would also have to consider the wetlands and the unbuildable areas in any particular area. Mr. Rogers agreed and added if they did a conventional plat, they could not approach the 0.8 and instead, they would probably be at 0.4. He noted until recently they could capture regulated wetlands under the various cluster, preservation, RUD options for density. However, they removed that option in the new ordinance. Mr. Rogers stated they do not want to cut down the upland woodlands and they can count them for density, and that is how they can approach the 0.8 units per acre.


Councilman Schmid believes when they calculate the density they take the square miles, less the roads. However in reality, Councilman Schmid stated there would not be near that number of homes under conventional development. Mr. Rogers agreed.


Councilman Schmid restated in reality, this development will create far more homes than what would be under conventional and far more homes than what the master plan called for. Mr. Rogers does not agree with that statement. However, he will say under the RUD, clustering can preserve the open space.


Councilman Schmid believes the RUD was used only once before. Mr. Rogers understands Briarwood of Novi and Village Oaks used the RUD and the most recent was Briarwood of Novi.


Councilman Schmid understands it is Mr. Roger’s belief that there will be approximately equal R-2 and R-3 development in this project. Mr. Rogers replied that is his only understanding. Councilman Schmid recalled that Mr. Weiner referred to the market trends, but noted he also said he cannot use many R-3's or he will have a deficiency of R-2. Mr. Rogers stated the best information he has is that it will be a 50-50 split. He added when Mr. Weiner says R-3, with minimum 12, 000 square foot parcel sizes and R-2, with minimum 18,000 square foot parcel sizes, there may be some units that would exceed the square foot parcel sizes. Further, if they do go to the minimum floor, the required setbacks would be in compliance with those two classifications. Mr. Rogers asked Council to recall that they initially proposed R-4, but they removed it from consideration. Mr. Rogers stated if the market shows a demand for R-1, half acre lots, he is certain they will build them.


Councilman Schmid asked Mr. Rogers what he considers to be affordable housing. In his opinion, Mr. Rogers replied he believes it would be housing in the price range of $150,000-$175,000.


Once the lake comes under the homeowner’s control and private ownership, Councilwoman Mutch asked if there is a way for the city to influence its use so they maintain good management practices. Mr. Watson advised the developer proposed that they will maintain this lake according to the, Best Management Practices promulgated by the DEQ. Mr. Watson added that the RUD agreement will provide that the developer will be responsible for that maintenance and then the homeowner’s association will be responsible for the maintenance after that. It will further provide that if that maintenance does not occur or is inadequate, the city will have the authority to perform maintenance activities and then assess the cost for that as a charge to the various property owners just like they would assess a tax. Although the city will have the authority to do that, whether they choose to do that in any given instance will be a policy decision at that point.


Mr. Weiner concurred with Mr. Watson and added that they would use the standard codes, covenants and restrictions for homeowners’ associations in order to have it fair and lasting. Further, he advised that the outflow of the lake is into another body of water that they own. Therefore, they have a strong interest to not only protect this lake for the homeowners, but to protect their downstream interest as well.


Councilwoman Mutch is certain during the time that the developer has control that it would be in their best interest to see that they maintain it. However, she is concerned about people who sometimes do not have the same expertise available as to the kinds of things that protect an investment long term, but noted there seems to be some protection built in.


Councilwoman Mutch referred to Page 4, under Item 3 in the submittal and read, "Environmental Education Opportunities for Residents and Students" and believes Mr. Weiner gave an example of what they had in mind for this item. However, she believes unless they are offering this privately, that these programs would probably include nonresidents. She explained in order to include the school district, Harvest Land and ultimately the residents, they would have to draft an agreement for that purpose. Councilwoman Mutch further stated there might be a similar interest in working with the Parks & Recreation Department and added there might be another activity that makes more sense for the city to provide at an existing site. She suggested that they think about those possibilities before they sell the first lot. She further suggested that perhaps there is a way for the residents of that area and for the city to have programs that they would otherwise provide at a city facility, but would service residents more conveniently without putting the city in the position of providing a service that is strictly private. Councilwoman Mutch suggested a water safety program as an example where they could familiarize children with the water body in their own neighborhood. However, Councilwoman Mutch would not expect that the city would limit participation to only that neighborhood. She believes the environmental education opportunity is a great idea, but she does not want to miss the opportunity because it ends up being that the city will provide things to private organizations or not doing it at all.


Councilwoman Mutch asked for further comment about the rural appearance of the detached cluster housing as to how it will appear to motorists from the road. Mr. Weiner replied that they wanted to make sure that they provided ample space that exceeded the minimum requirement from the house to the road along Ten Mile, Wixom and Napier Roads. Mr. Weiner directed Council’s attention to an example on the map. Secondly, Mr. Weiner advised the proposed density puts the density inside the project with two luxury townhome exceptions. Further, Mr. Weiner advised the density they are proposing for the luxury townhomes is not tight and referred to Blue Herron Pointe on Beck Road as an example. He noted their proposal is a lower density. However, it has a bigger body of water, and buildings constructed further apart and further from the water. He added they are single loaded as well. With the exception of the two townhome areas, Mr. Weiner reported when motorists see the body of water, they will also see the large homes.


Mr. Weiner added that they are inclined to put R-2 on the edges of the property and perhaps move R-3 more inland. Mr. Weiner then drew Council’s attention to the map and noted there is an 86 foot right-of-way built into the project along the residential collector road per Novi’s Master Plan for Transportation and advised they will put R-2 on the upland side away from the water. The final point he would make in response to the question is that next to the Birchwood’s subdivision, they are proposing to mirror the density in terms of lot width across the street from them. He believes their lots are 100 feet wide and his preference would be to put them at 110 feet so that from a visual point of view, they are not creating a conflicting density from the only single family subdivision in existence on their perimeter.


Councilwoman Mutch believes a motorist can see the entire development in Blue Herron Pointe because of its topography. Councilwoman Mutch stated it is difficult to envision what the Harvest Lake site will look like after development because of the height of the vegetation. Councilwoman Mutch advised when traveling north on Wixom Road from Ten Mile she believes it would be difficult to see the luxury townhomes and that they would mostly see the one acre lots because of the length and curve of the lake, and because of the little island. Councilwoman Mutch asked how much would they see of the other things.


Ms. Jukuri referred to the map and replied they are blessed with many natural constraints and noted even Birchwood’s will only really see what is before them now. Ms. Jukuri stressed their plan fosters the view of the lake and not the actual development.


Councilwoman Mutch advised a question was raised about access to the city park site at the Planning Commission meeting and asked if the pedestrian path system provides access for all residents. Mr. Rogers replied there was path system that did lead into the park site, but after tonight, he understands that it will be the city’s obligation to construct those paths.


Councilwoman Mutch believes the question was, were they going to take on the task of developing a path system within the park; she noted the response to that was no. She can understand that because the school district has their own plan and added to arbitrarily complete a system on property that the school district controls would not make sense. Mr. Rogers believes they are going to have a pedestrian path system leading up to Wixom Road at one point or another with a cross walk system. Councilwoman Mutch added that the funding is not their concern at this point and it may never be their concern.



Councilwoman Mutch asked if the two smaller development sites on the east side of Wixom Road have adequate connection to the rest of the development, to the school site and to the city park because she understands that property between is owned by someone else. Mr. Rogers replied there is no provision for walkways through the private property. However, as development occurs along Wixom Road, it is the city’s policy to construct sidewalks and bike paths. Further, where there are gaps that Harvest Land does not control, the city is known to fill gaps by their own initiative. Mr. Rogers recommends this policy.


Councilwoman Mutch asked which side of Wixom Road would provide the better pedestrian pathway as to the existing residential development. Mr. Rogers would like to see a pedestrian walkway or bike path system on both sides of Wixom Road. He advised as they construct the phases they will be obligated to provide these systems if they have the right-of-way.


Councilwoman Mutch asked if the system as proposed adequately covers the west side of Wixom and the two other additional sites east of Wixom; although the east of Wixom would not have a connection. Mr. Rogers referred to the second map following Page 45, the Pedestrian Network Map, and stated it is not adequate until they fill the intermediate points and they can see a sidewalk system on the west side of Wixom Road. He added there are other paths planned, but they are not directly on Wixom Road. Mr. Rogers noted that he cannot determine what the solid black line is on the east side of Wixom Road and he reiterated there is a city policy that they must provide either a sidewalk or bike path if they have the right-of-way.


Councilwoman Mutch believes it looks as though there is a line showing the internal sidewalks at Eleven Mile and Wixom Roads, on the perimeter on the west side of the road. Further, south of Delmont Drive as it curves, it follows an internal street and it is difficult to determine if they propose houses between that street and Wixom Road. She believes that might also provide some perimeter access. However, she added that she does not see any connection and cannot tell from the map whether there is anything proposed on the east side except internally. Mr. Rogers advised the roads feed out to Wixom Road from the two isolated subdivisions to the east and they do not show a sidewalk system there. However, Mr. Rogers assured Council and restated that as they develop the area, there will be a sidewalk required per the ordinance.


Councilwoman Mutch suggested that they update their map.


Councilwoman Mutch asked if they require the developer to provide access from another development to the city park. Mr. Rogers cannot recall that there is such an ordinance. However, he believes it would be good policy.


Councilwoman Mutch noted they do not propose this as a typical subdivision, but it is a neighborhood where all the open space is commonly owned. Further, because of its size they can also view it as a road block for the mobile home park residents to the city park. Councilwoman Mutch asked if they would normally propose a direct connection or would they propose the northern route (to Napier, to Grand River and down) given the distance and topography. Mr. Rogers replied that is hard to say because they do not have anything on the plan that shows this connection. He added the two mobile home parks have children and whether they want to create a public walkway system is really the developer’s option. However, he believes it would be good planning to include it.


Councilwoman Mutch asked if he could conceive a public pedestrian pathway along the northern perimeter that would connect at Wixom Road to a public sidewalk, but not a part of the internal project as a sufficient connection. Mr. Rogers advised there is another piece of private property north of the project and they may not wish to have a sidewalk.


Councilwoman Mutch stated the reason she raised the question is that she did not see an answer for it and wanted to give the developer the opportunity to explore the possibility. Councilwoman Mutch would not want the people who live in that area to see a public park developed relatively close to their neighborhood and then not be able to access it if it were possible. However, it sounds to her that there are many reasons that it might not be possible. Councilwoman Mutch would not suggest that a connection be made from the mobile home park through the development for environmental reasons and because she believes they would be back to the trail system negatives. Further, she believes they are developing this in a way that has a certain integrity and it should be respected. She also believes that providing access to the public park is a challenge for the city.


Councilwoman Mutch asked if mineral rights guarantee access to property and the right to extract them. Mr. Watson believes Councilwoman Mutch is referring to subsurface rights and advised that the law provides for reasonable access. Mr. Watson believes this is an issue of concern for this project. He advised they are currently working on the completion and revision of language within the title policy to assure that the subsurface rights do not interfere with the school and the city’s surface use of this property. Mr. Watson anticipates that this will happen within the next day or so.


Councilwoman Mutch understands someone having mineral rights is an asset in themselves without any mining activity and can be used as collateral for financing another project. Councilwoman Mutch asked if the mineral rights in themselves mean that someone can suddenly begin mining. Mr. Watson replied it does not mean that. However, the issue that they must resolve is the right that someone might have to do that.

Councilwoman Mutch asked if they regulate mining activity. Mr. Watson replied there are state laws that regulate oil and gas exploration activities, but as the purchaser in acquiring property, they cannot place their reliance on that.


Councilwoman Mutch said that was not her question. She stated she is looking at it from the perspective that if somebody purchased swampland that they could not build on it because of regulations. She added she is not actually looking at the whole issue. She asked if owning the mineral rights would guarantee that the owner can conduct mining activity because of all the other things in place. Mr. Watson asked what other thing is she talking about. Councilwoman Mutch replied the city may have ordinances or the state may have laws that regulate mining activity and if they cannot meet the conditions to issue a permit, then no mining will take place. Mr. Watson believes that may be the case, but he added having the rights to the subsurface asset does not guarantee that the owner is going to be able to mine it. However, the point he was making was that in acquiring property, they cannot rely on that to protect themselves.


Councilwoman Mutch realizes that is where the focus has been, but that was not what she was interested in discussing. Mr. Watson noted Councilwoman Mutch continued to use the word guarantee and he was looking at it from the converse as to what guarantees or assurances that the city has which seems to be from his standpoint, the pertinent focus of what they need to look at in the property acquisition.


Mayor McLallen added part of what the attorney’s are looking at in this issue is the contract that precludes any surface activity as to a pre-existing agreement with SOMOCO that there would be no surface activity. It is her understanding that they are protecting the city’s interests. Mr. Watson agreed.


Councilwoman Mutch understands that if they build this development as proposed and they build the other remaining undeveloped properties in the same planning area under their zoning, that it still would not exceed the expectations for density in Planning Area 6. Mr. Rogers replied that was his opinion and noted he did not include the 20 acres at the northwest corner of Ten Mile and Beck Roads. Therefore, they should deduct 20 x 1.65 from 117, which would equate to 33 more lots. He stated those numbers were aggregated on short notice and have withstood the test of time. He added there was a reference that they would never max out because there is a table in the master plan that states there might be a 10% divergence. Mr. Rogers stated that would reduce the overall maximum build out number of 2,700 and it would also reduce the number of lots that they could build in these out lots. However for consistency reasons, it is his opinion that perhaps it is not the most clairvoyant opinion. He explained Planning Unit 6 could accommodate approximately 2,700 dwelling units and added they may not attain that. He noted they could build another golf course or perhaps some property might remain as farmland.


Councilwoman Mutch said if those property owners were to develop their property with maximum density allowed for the zoning, she asked if this proposal would adversely affect them. Mr. Rogers replied they would not adversely affect them and further, substantial greenspace feathering into the other development surrounds all these parcels. Councilwoman Mutch reminded everyone that Planning Area 6 extends to the east and takes in other currently undeveloped property. Mr. Rogers agreed and added that it includes the mobile home park, it goes over to Beck and Eleven Mile Roads, and includes the R-3 property south of Providence.


Councilwoman Mutch stated her interest is in the effect on other property owners who have waited for development to come to the west side and who may have owned their properties for decades. She noted their focus before this when they talked about density in Planning Area 6 has been from another perspective.


Councilwoman Mutch believes this has been a very comprehensive and civilized questioning that has brought out points that they have not discussed previously to the same detail.


Mr. Rogers stated under the present ordinance that there cannot be further RUD development in this area because they do not comprise 80 acres.


Mayor McLallen asked if the mobile home parks are in the Novi School District. Mr. Weiner advised they are not in the Novi School District; they are in the Lyon district. Mayor McLallen stated then this will not be the elementary school for those children, but it will be a public park for them.


Mayor McLallen asked who is Harvest Land. Mr. Weiner replied Harvest Land is the development affiliate of the Edward C. Levy Company that is a privately held industrial conglomerate based in Detroit, Michigan.


Mayor McLallen asked if the Edward C. Levy Company has owned this property for 35 years. Mr. Weiner replied it has been owned by them for approximately 35 years.


Mayor McLallen asked if this land has been an active mineral, sand and gravel extraction site, and a combination of leased farming. Mr. Weiner agreed.


Mayor McLallen asked how is the Edward C. Levy Company different from other large developments as for its financial stability and why is this project of specific interest to its parent company. Mr. Weiner replied the reason the Edward C. Levy Company has a different perspective is that land development today is a small subsidiary entity of what they do. He explained they are primarily a construction materials firm, they have a substantial land portfolio throughout Michigan, and elsewhere in the United States and overseas that they assembled through either acquisition from other companies or land acquisition for extraction of aggregates. He noted they are leaders in Michigan in the sand, gravel and slag businesses. Mr. Weiner stated in order to maintain a leadership position over the next century in that industry, they have to be able to obtain mining permits and they are difficult to obtain. He added the way a progressive and environmentally responsible mining company mines is by developing a sensitive plan that is a complete land use cycle. The plan would include clearing, mining, reclamation and reuse in a planned and organized fashion that reduces impact on the community by leaving it better off than before. As a company in business for 80 years, they learned that approach pays great dividends. Mr. Weiner believes they have the opportunity for the first time in a large scale to have completed a major mining extraction effort, reclaimed the land to the best possible degree, and now they propose to redevelop the site and use it as the prime example of their ability to complete that full land use cycle. Mr. Weiner added because of their holdings elsewhere, they will plan the same kind of project in perhaps 10-20 years. Mr. Weiner believes that is the difference between Edward C. Levy Company and a speculative land developer who may come in to purchase a piece of property fully leveraged with a bank loan with the presumption that they can rapidly upgrade the zoning of the property, build it out and leave. Mr. Weiner reassured Council that they are here to stay.


Mayor McLallen stated then Edward C. Levy Company is not interested in selling the Harvest Land Development Company. Mr. Weiner said they were not interested in such a transaction.


Mayor McLallen asked what is Mr. Weiner’s position with Harvest Land. Mr. Weiner advised he is the president of the company. However, to further answer the Mayor’s earlier question, the full commitment of the Edward C. Levy is behind this project. He explained although it is small in the context of their other endeavors, it is critical to their long term plan for a leadership role in mining.


Mayor McLallen advised the establishment of amenities are very important and added part of their reticence on this project have been past track records with the lack of delivery of such amenities by other developers. She believes it was very wise of them to bring forward the matrix that includes an amenity plan and noted that the attorney’s have advised that they should make it a part of the contract. She added that they also suggested that they include the slides. Mayor McLallen noted an attractive playscape was included in the slides and added that the community has just raised substantial monies to construct a similar playscape. Therefore, she advised Mr. Weiner that the city expects a similar type of expensive structure and asked if they are willing to commit to that. Mr. Weiner believes their company was one of the largest contributors to that structure and that Mr. Levy personally made that contribution. Mr. Weiner does not believe that they would do anything to undermine the quality of what they hope will be the focal point in Oakland County.


Mayor McLallen appreciates that, but speaking for Council she must say they were burned before and they do not intend to let that happen again. Therefore, if the photograph is an indication of what they intend to construct, then the city will expect that same quality in the Harvest Lake development.


Mayor McLallen believes the amenities are the things that will make this site special. She noted that the plan and tonight’s conversation alluded that the barn will stay intact, and that they will restore it as a community site. Mr. Weiner replied that is their intention. He explained the structure is a 1860's barn and it has some historical significance by virtue of the way it way they constructed it in that it allowed the wagon trains a turnaround inside it because it only had one column. From a barn restoration expert’s point of view, this is a special barn. They would love to restore it, but the permit and the legal procedures as to fire safety, structural safety and cost is quite prohibitive. Fortunately, from a phasing point of view it is at a location on the site where it is toward the end of the project and they will be able to do that. However, he cannot promise that they will turn it into a residential piece because he is not certain whether they could get a permit from the Building Department to do so without tearing it down and rebuilding it. He advised it is their intention to restore it and have it be a physical icon for that phase of the project, but also as an amenity for the people to use as a community meeting house. He added he believes they have not really released their creativity at this point because it is so far away that he cannot anticipate exactly what the use will be.


Mayor McLallen has driven the entire site and one of the most interesting things about the site is that what people will see from the exterior and even at build out, is not much different from what is seen today. She explained that becomes obvious when they go back into the interior pockets that used to be farmed. She explained they amazingly protect the interior property from the exterior, and the land is inward looking with beautiful viewscapes that are something new and different for this community.



BREAK - 10:00 until 10:18 P.M.


Mayor McLallen advised the steps that have led them to this point is all of the planning issues and the proposals. She explained tonight’s decision is about agreeing or not agreeing that this is an acceptable area plan. The Mayor advised if they accept the plan, Council must direct the city attorney to take the comments made and put them in a contractual form because an RUD is actually a development contract between the development entity and the city.


Mayor McLallen asked if there is a time frame in which they must bring back the contract. Mr. Watson advised there is no time frame.



Mayor McLallen advised that they will bring back the agreement before Council in legal and binding contractual form for further Council review and acceptance. She added once they sign the contract, then the developer begins the actual site plan process as for the detailed issues pertinent to each of the six phases of the plan.


Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if the motion would be for the approval of the RUD of either the site plan or area plan for Harvest Lake of Novi. Mr. Watson replied the motion would be to grant preliminary approval of the Harvest Lake RUD application.


Mayor ProTem Crawford would also include everything that has been verbally committed to tonight, including the slide presentation, matrix and map in the motion.


Councilman Clark asked if the maker would include that an approval would be subject to the consultants’ recommendations.


Mayor ProTem Crawford would agree to include the consultants’ letters, the bound text, presentations made tonight and questions that they answered. He is not sure how all of that is captured in the motion, but that is his intent. He further explained everything that the petitioner said, everything the consultant’s said and answers given to questions raised should be also included in the motion.


Mayor McLallen believes all the issues raised in the letters of record and previously received are included.


Councilman Clark would also propose that they also include a requirement that if they pass this, it is subject to Harvest Land Company signing an agreement with the schools within seven days.


Mayor ProTem Crawford is uncertain about whether he would include that because he does not understand the logistics involved if they include that provision.


Councilman Clark believes all the parties except the developer have signed the agreement.


Mayor McLallen clarified that the school and the city have signed their agreement, but they have not yet signed the agreement between the city and the developer. She reminded Council the city must first acquire the property before they can sell it to the school.


Councilman Clark’s point is that the stumbling block all along seems to have been that Harvest Land will not sign anything with the school until they know that the city approved their area plan.


Mayor McLallen interjected, the agreement is between Harvest Land and the city.

Mr. Watson does not know whether they can provide any assurances that they will resolve all the title issues and sign the contract within seven days.


Councilman Clark asked if they could suggest a more realistic time parameter. Mr. Watson replied that he cannot provide that assurance.


As a point of information, Councilman Mitzel asked if the approval of the RUD preliminary area plan clears the way for further development without approving the RUD contract that will be forthcoming. Mr. Watson believes that is correct and advised the contract is to be brought back before Council and approved by resolution under the ordinance. Once that occurs, Mr. Watson reported they will execute and then record it. Mr. Watson added that the ordinance further states that final approval of the plan is effective only upon that recording and that any physical development must wait until that takes place.


Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if that would take place at their next Council meeting unless they schedule a special meeting. Mr. Watson agreed, but noted that does not mean that an RUD contract would be ready by the next Council meeting. Mr. Watson explained the next Council meeting would be the earliest date it would be back, but that does mean there will be a completed RUD contract ready to be approved.


Mayor McLallen clarified by stating that the RUD contract is a separate item from the actual land sale contract that is very important for the development of the school.


Mr. Watson noted that contract is not coming back before Council because it has already gotten Council’s approval unless Harvest Lake or Delta Trucking has an amendment to that agreement.


Therefore, Mayor McLallen believes the question of how soon the resolution of the issues takes place is up to the petitioner. She explained the issue is still the resolution of the subsurface oil leases.


Mr. Weiner stated it is their understanding that the title company has informed the school and city’s attorneys that they have no further concerns about the title. Further, he believes the city’s attorney has met with the title company and the school’s attorney, and as Mr. Watson stated earlier, he believes they are very close to finalizing that.


Mr. Watson advised that the title company does not believe there are problems with the surface rights on the property. However, the key is having that reflected in a title insurance commitment to the satisfaction of the city and the school. Mr. Watson has seen the most current language as of the middle of this afternoon and it is not yet satisfactory. Mr. Weiner noted the way they negotiate the language with the title insurance company and the city is not their call.

Mayor McLallen advised the motion would only receive support if they would accept certain amendments. Mayor McLallen asked if the contract for the sale of the land from Delta Trucking to the City of Novi be signed within the next seven days.


Mr. Kohls replied it can if the city and the school district accept title in writing, and that may require a further Council blessing of the state of title. He is not certain how the city attorney would advise them to proceed.


Mayor McLallen stated this is a very complicated title issue, but they have talented attorney’s working on this and asked why can’t they resolve this matter. Mr. Watson replied the issue is with the form and language of the policy with respect to the mineral rights. He explained the liability relating to the frustration they are currently feeling is incomparable to the frustration they would feel if someone wanted to use the school property or the city property for surface rights to mine the underground minerals three years from now.


Mayor ProTem Crawford does not recall that there was any concern about an oil well when the well went in near Echo Valley because there are other regulations to prohibit that activity. He asked why can’t those same regulations apply under these circumstances.


Mr. Watson does not have the Echo Valley leases before him and advised the reason it might not have been a concern is because it could be that the leases precluded any use of the surface.


Mayor McLallen believes their concern is that there is an end to this discussion.


Although, Councilman Kramer understands and supports the concerns, he believes this is the first of two steps. He explained the first is a step to approve the area plan and the second step is the actual approval of it by the signing of the contract. It seems to him that the tenor is to move forward and although they are close to a resolution, they cannot not commit to a time period. Furthermore, the contract may or may not be back by their next meeting. Councilman Kramer reminded Council that this cannot move forward until they sign the actual legal binding agreement. He stated if Council believes they are relinquishing any control in trying to move things along by approving this, he believes the actual control point is at the meeting where they actually have an RUD contract before them to sign. He added he would be willing to continue their concern to the next meeting when the contract comes back as the control point.


Mayor McLallen noted that the RUD contract is not going to be ready for Council’s August 11 meeting.



Mr. Watson interjected, he did not say that it would not, he stated that it may very well not.


Mayor ProTem Crawford understands Mr. Watson’s caution and asked if he would consider two weeks to be a reasonable period of time to develop this contract. Mr. Watson does not believe two weeks is enough time.


Mr. Weiner stated if Council approved the area plan subject to the negotiation of a contract with the city attorney that they agree may take 30 days or more, that the signature and recording of that contract is what actually makes this RUD final. Further, since they agree this not going to take place in less than 30 days, he stated if Council approved the area plan now, they would be willing to close on that transaction when the city and school are ready to accept the title. Mr. Weiner added if there are any problems between now and the final RUD contract draft and the school does not close, the city can say they will not sign. Mr. Weiner does not believe the city will give up the entitlements to that property until they sign the contract with the developer as drafted by the attorney’s at which time they will execute and record at Oakland County.


Mayor McLallen does not have a problem with that contract; the problem is with the sale of the land contract. She explained all three parties as of this afternoon are not comfortable with the language. Mr. Weiner believes on July 21 their attorney proposed two alternative ways in writing to the other attorney’s and the title company to adjust the tri-party agreement. He advised the agreement has already been executed by the city and the school and would only require a side letter amendment to meet the developer’s requirements and make that contract ready to sign. Mr. Weiner believes that action is acceptable from Mr. Koster. He added he does not believe that the school board needs to reconvene formally to agree on one paragraph that addresses one complicated yet limited issue as it relates to the title. Mr. Weiner does not see any barriers to closing that deal.


Mayor McLallen stated Councilman Clark’s specific question is time. Mr. Weiner imagines it is very forthcoming. He added they are doing a thorough and meticulous job of making sure that every i is dotted and t is crossed as it relates to the 53 exceptions. Further, the senior most executive member at First American Title is assuring them that he will write language that will satisfy the attorneys. Mr. Weiner further believes Mr. Bugbee is being extremely careful, but noted they have given them assurances that they can meet the title requirements.


Councilman Clark understands and he is not disputing what Mr. Weiner is saying. However, he reminded Mr. Weiner there are 53 exceptions and during his years in private practice involving property, he has never seen anything with that many exceptions. He believes those many exceptions are like red flags. Councilman Clark stated other than his concerns about the limited number of one acre homes, he favors the project. However, if they do not resolve the issue with the school, he has a problem supporting it.


Mr. Weiner advised Mr. Koster told him this morning that with an area plan approval, the school will proceed with construction tomorrow morning. Further, the liability that the city incurs by giving a preliminary approval to an area plan is nil if for some reason the city cannot sign the contract because there was not closure on the school property. Mr. Weiner asked Council to remember that it is in their best interest to close immediately with the school and to allow the infrastructure to proceed. He added they do not have different objectives and goals than the school. He also does not believe that Mr. Watson would suggest that they were fairly close unless he was fairly confident they were.


Councilman Clark thought the school stated they will not begin any major construction until they know the title is clear. Mr. Weiner advised that is no longer accurate.


Mr. Kohls added Mr. Weiner is suggesting that the area plan approval be conditioned upon a closing of the school sale occurring before they sign the final contract; it is a substitute to the seven days signing the contract. Mr. Kohls advised they may sign the contract this week and if it were signed, the school and the city would still need to be very comfortable with the state of title and the agreements of the title company.


Councilman Clark would appreciate hearing from the school’s representative if in fact they are at the point where they are beyond just a willingness to move dirt and actually start construction before they have title.


Councilwoman Mutch stated they had a motion that they have not yet seconded and they have gotten so far into discussion that she suggested that they second the motion first. She understands that Councilman Clark was attempting to amend the motion, but that motion is not even amendable until it has a second. Therefore, Councilwoman Mutch seconds the motion.



CM-97-07-252: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Mutch, CARRIED: To grant preliminary approval for the Harvest Lake of Novi, SP 97-06B Residential Unit Development (RUD) area plan subject to consultants’ recommendations, the inclusion of the video/slides, the bounded plan in the July 28 packet, all maps and the amenity matrix as presented tonight, and the minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council held on July 28, 1997




Mayor ProTem Crawford confirmed he is willing to include consultants’ recommendations. However, he would not include the amendment requiring that an approval is subject to the signing of the agreement with the school within seven days because he believes they will resolve the issue before the actual RUD contract comes back before them.


Councilman Clark understands that, he is just trying to get further clarification on that.


Mayor McLallen asked Mr. Koster from the Novi schools to comment. Mr. Koster clarified that the Board of Education gave him some direction last week after their meeting. He advised that if Council were to pass this application and there was good intent by the developer to sign the contract, they authorized him to proceed with site development, but not full construction. He explained they would move the top soil to get the site ready for construction. Further, they gave the approval because they are assured that the developer will sell them the land and they are assured following Mr. Watson’s recommendation and assurance by their attorney that it will be within two to three days. Mr. Koster also advised their attorney has indicated that they have an endorsement of the title commitment and that it is just a matter of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. Mr. Koster believes that will occur within a day or two. If Council approves the application, Mr. Koster repeated that the school will begin site work tomorrow morning.


Mayor McLallen restated the motion made by Mayor ProTem Crawford is to grant preliminary approval of the RUD. Further, included within in the approval is the maps, the book, the video/slides, all maps, the matrix for the park, subject to all consultants’ letters and recommendations, and all comments made this evening.


Mayor ProTem Crawford noted the motion will also include the petitioner’s comments from the minutes.


Mayor McLallen stated they will include the minutes of the meeting of July 28, 1997.


Councilman Mitzel asked if the approval will include the issue of the exterior safety path sidewalks along the main roads since the motion includes all the discussion of tonight’s meeting. Mr. Watson believes they should slightly clarify that item. He understood the point Mr. Rogers made was that there are certain ordinance requirements for pedestrian safety paths along mile roads that they do not reflect in the pedestrian network path shown within the area plan. Mr. Watson believes to clarify that they should indicate that they condition upon there being a revision of the pedestrian network to reflect such requirements.



CM-97-07-253: Moved by Mitzel, Seconded by Mutch, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To amend the main motion and revise the perimeter pedestrian network to reflect the city’s ordinance standards for exterior pedestrian pathways and safety paths




Mayor ProTem Crawford would like to make certain that the petitioner has the opportunity to respond to any amendments made to the main motion since this is a contract between the city and the petitioner.


Mayor McLallen asked if the placing of the pathways would conflict with the heavy vegetation on the west side of Wixom Road because she does not believe they should construct paths where they still want trees. She added that she does not believe the safety path is that flexible at this point. Councilman Mitzel disagreed and explained that the design standards show that the path meanders around the trees.


Mayor McLallen wants to make certain that their goals do not conflict and that they can achieve the progression of people without harming the visual aesthetics that they have worked hard at achieving.


Mr. Rogers stated there are certain places (i.e., Beckenham Estates) where Council waived the sidewalk requirement on one side of the road if it destroys important woodlands or view corridors. He added they do not want pathways only on Wixom Road, but they also want them on Ten Mile Road as a minimum requirement.


Councilman Mitzel noted his motion only included the perimeter and not the interior path network.


Mayor McLallen can support the motion if Councilman Mitzel is comfortable that the standards allow them also to protect the greenspace.


Councilman Mitzel believes it does and added he was only trying to formalize what they clarified during earlier discussion.


Councilwoman Mutch seconded the motion based on earlier discussion with Mr. Rogers when she asked him whether he believed that the plan adequately addressed the pedestrian issues as proposed. It would be her expectation that if the motion said to go back and revise it, that the revision would be because of a consultation with Mr. Rogers for input so that they would have the best possible options so that it is not arbitrarily two rows of concrete on both sides of the road to just provide that connection.


Mayor McLallen can then support the motion. Further, she added since Mayor ProTem Crawford pointed out that this is a contractual obligation, she asked for comment from the developer.



Mr. Weiner advised their perspective is that in the site plan review process, they would be working through the details to protect the substantial wetlands and woodlands. He added their intent is to provide safe and adequate pedestrian access while reducing the damage to any environmental issues. It was their presumption all along that they would be agreeing on a concept plan at the area plan level and then as each phase moves forward through the site plan review, they would be fulfilling the individual and specific requirements of the planning staff and ordinances.


Councilwoman Mutch spoke with Mr. Watson about the perimeter pathway issue. She stated Mr. Rogers earlier comments seemed to indicate that they would have perimeter sidewalks or pathways because the city’s ordinance requires it. However, the whole beauty of the RUD is that what they see and what they agree to, is what they get. Therefore, they can make it what they want and if they are careless and overlook something such as perimeter sidewalks, they are not going to be required. She believes if they do not specifically say this, the other ordinances do not necessarily apply because they say this is the pedestrian system that is acceptable for this development.


Mr. Watson advised the position the city would take is that the RUD agreement should specifically indicate that they are bound not only to the area plan, but to the RUD regulations and to all other ordinance requirements for which they have not granted them a variance or waiver. However, this issue has raised the point that there was a specific instance in the area plan that seemed inconsistent with particular requirements and the whole purpose was to clarify that.


Councilwoman Mutch believes their earlier discussion indicates that while the ordinances would tend to require a very specific item (i.e., asphalt or concrete pathways), Council already indicated as part of their discussion that they are supportive of some flexibility for the reasons they mentioned. Therefore, she believes they would travel down a different path than just saying, as required by the ordinance.


Mr. Watson replied that may or may not be true. He recalled from the ordinance that in certain instances they provided for flexibility and in fact when they reviewed the RUD ordinance, they specifically added some flexibility.


Mayor McLallen restated there is an amendment to the main motion to add a revision of the external pedestrian pathway system pursuant to the city’s ordinance.


Mayor ProTem Crawford believes this discussion is important and he does not want the motion to be understood that Council demanded that sidewalks be constructed on both sides of the road. He adamantly stated that they want to remain flexible and he hopes the language in the RUD ordinance expresses that flexibility. He added that he knows there was flexibility in the RUD ordinance they adopted, but that was perhaps more internal than external. He repeated that he believes it is very important that they include the discussion or an addendum on the motion that they are looking for environmental protection and flexibility once it becomes a site plan issue.


Councilman Kramer suggested they propose it as an addendum.


Mayor McLallen believes the motion essentially addresses that.


Councilman Mitzel reported the current ordinance actually states that it may vary in certain areas along the main roads. He explained it may meander around trees and so forth.


Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if the ordinance allows that a sidewalk not be constructed. Councilman Mitzel reminded Council that they have the authority to waive a city ordinance at any time. Councilman Mitzel was trying to make the point that the exterior perimeter of this site along the main roads would be no different from any other subdivision in requiring those with this motion. Likewise, this would be the same policy with any other subdivision in that they have the option of coming before Council and ask for waivers or flexibility for certain requirements if they have difficulties with environmental features. He noted that Mr. Watson said this was the method to do it.


Mayor ProTem Crawford would like to be certain that their discussion is reflected in the minutes that there is concern about the flexibility and that it was not simply a motion made to require sidewalks.



Vote on CM-97-07-253: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Clark, Kramer, Mitzel, Mutch, Schmid

Nay: None


Councilman Mitzel recalled the developer mentioned there is a collector road through the site and apparently there is a proposal to have the lots directly front the collector road. He asked if an area plan approval would in effect waive the subdivision requirement that states all lots may front on a collector road or does it have to be specifically waived. Mr. Watson believes the applicant must seek a specific waiver or variance at the time of site plan approval.


Mr. Weiner stated they reviewed that issue in detail with Mr. Arroyo and they got his support to permit lots to front directly on the collector road as part of an area plan approval. He recalled that they designed the collector road as part of a transportation master plan many years ago.


Councilman Mitzel clarified his question was from the standpoint of procedure and whether that waiver had to be included now or at the time of site plan approval. Mr. Watson believes it would be included at the time of site plan approval unless they specifically provide for it in the area plan and he does not know if they actually included it. Councilman Mitzel stated it appears on the area plan and angles along the south and west side of the lake.


Mr. Weiner interjected, one of their associates just informed him that the ordinance indicates that residences cannot front on arterials, not collectors. Therefore, this does not require a waiver.


Councilman Mitzel stated his understanding was that homes could no longer front on collectors.


Bob Doyle of Edward C. Levy Company, stated they discussed this matter in detail with Mr. Arroyo who reviewed the ordinance and concluded as they had, that a collector road was not a major thoroughfare. He explained the subdivision ordinance states that they cannot front a thoroughfare.


Councilman Mitzel believes that issue is then taken care of.


Councilman Mitzel is concerned about the two developments east of Wixom Road. He advised one development is directly adjacent to Birchwood’s and the other is on the southeast corner of Delmont Drive and Wixom Road. Councilman Mitzel believes both developments would be a part of Phase III and are proposed as single family detached homes that meet R-2 and R-3 standards. Councilman Mitzel recalled that the petitioner mentioned that the lots adjacent to Birchwood’s would match the lot widths in Birchwood’s. However, Councilman Mitzel believes those lots adjacent to Birchwood’s should not only have minimum matching lot widths, but also matching areas. Further, he recommended those lots to the east side of both those properties and those lots to the south that directly abut the non-developed RA should also be RA because he believes it will be a more appropriate buffer. Councilman Mitzel is concerned that those two sections of R-2 to R-3 type of development will get stuck on the east side of Wixom Road and may cause a domino effect in that the neighboring property may request a rezoning for R-2.



CM-97-07-254: Moved by Mitzel, Seconded by Clark, FAILED: To amend the motion by requiring that the Phase III areas east of Wixom Road and directly abutting Birchwood’s Subdivision will have lot widths and areas at least as large as Birchwood’s. Further, those areas on the eastern boundary of those two phases will have lot areas and widths meeting RA standards.







Councilman Mitzel made the motion because of his concerns about incompatibility. Further, the ordinance as part of the review criteria in Section 2402.7, E.7, states the RUD will be compatible with adjacent neighboring land uses existing in the master plan. Councilman Mitzel does not want to micro-manage the site, but he believes the two most sensitive areas are where the RUD abuts single family residential. He added Wixom Road for the most part buffers the area west of Wixom Road and the southern portion adjacent to large undeveloped parcels will provide stub streets for future development. Councilman Mitzel advised the area along the east side of Phase III abuts existing large residential homes and the area on the south side of the northern part of Phase III directly abuts the Birchwoods’ homes and is why he made the motion. Consequently, Councilman Mitzel respectfully believes that would be the most appropriate type of development for that area.


Councilman Kramer asked if the motion only addresses the property that is immediately adjacent outside the RUD. Councilman Mitzel is referring to the area to the east of those internal roads and the southern abutting encroachments. Councilman Kramer believes the motion is within the sphere of what they were aiming for by having abutting adjacencies compatible.


Councilman Mitzel added that the total number of dwelling units will not change and he is not trying to affect that number.


Mayor McLallen will not support the motion. She is concerned because the philosophy throughout the city has been that adjacent lots must be mirror images. Yet the Mayor noted that 90% of the development in the city does not abut mirror images and seemingly, are in harmony. She asked why did they suddenly decide mirror images were a new standard. Mayor McLallen believes their real goal is quality development and she does not think quality is intrinsic to the size of the lot.


Mayor ProTem Crawford believes Councilman Mitzel mentioned that it would not affect overall density. Consequently, he would like to hear further comment about if they reduced density in that area, where would it feasiblely be more dense in the remainder of the area. Mr. Weiner stated that they built Birchwood’s in the late 60's or early 70's. Mr. Weiner believes it is a 40 unit development and has a 5 acre park in its center which is a shared common septic field. Therefore, the lots are more of a peculiar dimension than those of the 1990's lots in the current Schedule of Regulation. He stated the lots are 100 feet wide and 250 feet deep, and the back portions of the lots are for a shared septic field. Therefore, trying to match Birchwood’s from a depth point of view does not seem to work from their perspective.



Councilman Mitzel clarified that the motion was from a width and area perspective. Although it does not mean they must match width and depth, it does mean it must be at least that width and at least that area.


From a curb perspective, Mr. Weiner advised they are proposing roads loaded on either side adjacent to them, but no more than that and therefore, they will not get triple depth. Consequently, he does not understand the logic of restricting it to area. Even so, Mr. Weiner advised that the Council spent months debating a perimeter buffer language. They finally got to a point where they have agreement on the language and now the amendment basically states, get rid of the perimeter buffering language. He explained they have an ordinance, they are abiding by the ordinance and they have carefully reviewed it with Mr. Rogers. He is not certain what benefit they would create for the community if they try to take a 19 acre parcel with limited ingress and egress and large single owners surrounding it, and arbitrarily slice it into one acre lots. He said that would essentially put one acre lots across the street from attached clusters. He believes if the basis of the argument is to try to protect transitions, he would argue that they would be better off having 90 and 110 foot lots between a cluster and what is zoned RA, than jumping from one acre lots to this attached product.


Again, Councilman Mitzel reminded the petitioner his motion is only for the eastern edge of that piece; it was not for the entire piece. Mr. Weiner stated to achieve that, they have to have 334 foot depths and would basically eliminate the use of that parcel for anything but a few one acre RA lots. Again, Mr. Weiner stated the reason they went through the perimeter buffer debate was to anticipate transitioning in development. He noted Council approved an ordinance with established stringent regulations about how they should develop it and now, this motion contradicts the ordinance.


Mary Jukuri referred to Page 21 of the report and believes Councilman Mitzel is offering a two-part amendment. She advised one is to address the lot type and lot area of the Birchwood’s Subdivision and the second is the concern about a possible domino effect for the vacant parcels south of the two parcels east of Wixom Road. Ms. Jukuri referred to the Build Out Analysis Planning Area No. 6 and stated it shows vacant properties south of the RUD parcel and east of Wixom. She explained there is a RA parcel, Dinser’s nursery and a day care center. Ms. Jukuri reported she does not believe that would constitute an 80 acre site even if someone were to assemble those sites. Therefore, future RUD development would not be allowable. Ms. Jukuri reminded Council that the intent for both of those parcels is to reflect the housing type and lot size found in the Birchwood’s Subdivision in terms of the lot width and the basic density pattern. She stated the two parcels are approximately 16-17 acres each and are too small to have that big a range of housing product. She added it would work in a larger plan because they would have a more meaningful transition over a larger property. However, she restated she does not believe it makes as good a housing mix on smaller parcels.

Councilman Mitzel asked if the transition along the lake is RA across the street to R-2 and R-3. Ms. Jukuri replied it goes from RA to 110 foot wide lots across from the RA, but it then transitions back over a greater area. Councilman Mitzel asked if it would then be RA to R-2. Ms. Jukuri agreed and added they cover it over a larger distance. She explained it is not just a 16 acre parcel, but on areas that are 70-80 acres. Councilman Mitzel asked if they cover it directly across the street. Ms. Jukuri agreed and noted it is also across a residential collector that is an 86 foot wide right-of-way.


Councilman Mitzel realized there were certain site constraints when he made his motion. However, he believes the large estates along Dinser Drive have been there a long time and if this had come in as a rezoning or a subdivision development, it would have been different. He explained in an RUD, R-2 or R-3 may be directly adjacent to these large estates. He believes it is only proper from the road to the east that it is RA type development on the southern portion. Likewise, Birchwood’s has been developed for quite some time and development in that area (i.e., Nottingham Woods and Pebble Creek) has been very similar in lot size and shape. Therefore, he believes the area that borders Birchwood’s should be similar. Councilman Mitzel noted the developer already stated they will match the lot size, he is just asking them to also match the area.


Councilman Mitzel restated the motion was to amend the plan to require the lots in Phase III immediately adjacent to Birchwood’s to have at least the same lot width and lot area as those in Birchwood’s. He is further asking that the area along the eastern part of Phase III both north of Birchwood’s and south of Delmont Drive that is adjacent to the neighboring parcels be RA lot sizes. Councilman Mitzel explained that would still allow them to have R-2 and R-3 interior in the development on those parcels on the inside of those roads. Councilman Mitzel made his motion based on the review criteria which states whether it is compatible with the adjacent neighboring land use.


Mayor ProTem Crawford is still not clear about what impact that will have on those parcels. He asked if Councilman Mitzel is talking about constructing all RA lots on the parcel to the south and around the perimeter to the south and east side. He would believe that would also change the internal configuration and perhaps render those parcels undevelopable.


Councilman Mitzel stated perhaps his original motion included the south side of that also, but his main concern is the east side of that parcel. Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if he means the east side of the southern parcel. Councilman Mitzel agreed and added it directly backs up to the homes along Dinser Drive that are on what may be one acre lots or more.


Mayor ProTem Crawford asked whether they are one acre lots or more. Mayor ProTem Crawford recalled that Councilman Mitzel did not care what the depth was as long as the width and area were the same. He explained if they keep the width the same and a larger area, then the depth will increase. Councilman Mitzel did not say anything about the width; he said it should meet RA standards. Mayor ProTem Crawford recalled he said that it should be similar width. Councilman Mitzel said that was of Birchwood’s and explained it should be at least the same width and area. Mayor ProTem Crawford believes they then must have an extended depth. Councilman Mitzel stated that is true if they match, but it does not have to be as deep if they make it wider.


Mayor ProTem Crawford is concerned about what it may do internally to what will be left there.


Councilman Mitzel’s concern is about what it may do to the neighbors that have lived there for many years.


Mayor ProTem Crawford reiterated the Mayor’s question about why do they have to have mirror images. When they talk about compatibly, Mayor ProTem Crawford believes they are talking about single family residential next to single family residential. Hypothetically, he asked if that means they want manufactured homes to be compatible with the adjacent manufactured home park.


Councilman Mitzel replied his point is those people have lived adjacently to RA zoned land and for many years they expected that RA development would occur there. He does not think R-2 and R-3 under the RUD is proper in terms of adjacency.


Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if they have apprized the Birchwoods’ residents of what was going to go in next to them. Mr. Weiner advised they have a signed letter from their Board of Directors. He believes their general assessment is that their development is going to increase the value of their property and they are excited about the development. Mr. Weiner would propose that the context of this debate be to look at the ordinance that they approved and within the ordinance they established perimeter buffering rules to anticipate transition of development. He advised they are abiding by the perimeter buffering rules throughout the site and now they are changing the rules with the motion. Furthermore, if Council wants to micro-manage design of individual parcels, he asked that Council remember they are small parcels and they are not particularly flexible in changing lot dimensions. Again, from a transition point of view, Mr. Weiner believes they have ample buffering distances and much more than they would find throughout the rest of Novi. He pointed to an area on the map and advised those are rear yard setbacks. He explained they have a house, a deep rear yard and a new property, a rear yard and then a house.

Councilman Schmid asked how large are the parcels. Mr. Weiner replied they are roughly 18-19 acres.



Councilman Schmid agrees with Councilman Mitzel’s motion in terms of considering the total 900 acres and asked why can’t they build one acre lots there. Mr. Weiner does not believe the large lots to the south are acre lots; he believes they were developed residences before there was an ordinance. He believes the lots are narrower and deeper than RA. Mr. Weiner reiterated that they very carefully crafted the ordinance to protect transitions and it was the wording that was probably the single greatest subject of debate. Mr. Weiner stated they developed a plan consistent with that ordinance and assured Council that they would be very protective and respectful of their neighbors.


Mayor ProTem Crawford is still unclear. He asked if they are saying that the eastern boundary of that southern parcel is to be RA.


Councilman Mitzel said that was the motion


Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if that includes the southern boundary or the other parcel.


Councilman Mitzel replied that was for the southern parcel; the northern parcel was the part that abuts Birchwood’s.


Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if that would be the southern part of the northern parcel. Councilman Mitzel agreed and that part would have at least the same width and lot area as Birchwood’s.


Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if he is talking about developing the eastern portion of the northern part and the southern portion of the northern part as RA or at least the same lot width. Councilman Mitzel reiterated the motion was that they would develop the eastern part of both of them as RA. Further, the southern part of the northern parcel that is the part that directly abuts the rear yards of Birchwood’s would have at least the same width and lot area as those lots in Birchwood’s that they abut. He explained it would be equal or greater width and equal or greater area.


Mayor ProTem Crawford asked what will that do to the lot count and the developability of those parcels. He explained there may be wetlands around which they cannot develop. He thought maybe they could only get two lots on that southern border instead of something else. Mr. Weiner believes he is correct. He explained there is a small rectilinear parcel with environmental limitations with both of them laid out in a logical fashion at R-2 density. Because of when they platted and the way they developed it, Mr. Weiner suggested that the depths of the Birchwoods’ properties go all the way to the center of the septic field. Therefore, the area argument does not make sense. However, they agreed in February they would try to mirror their width. He advised the width is 100 feet and they propose either 90 or 110 feet. They thought they were doing Birchwood’s a service and they also tried to coordinate them from a road use point of view so they would not impact their traffic or impact having headlights coming into someone’s front window heading west to east from their property. Mr. Weiner cannot tell Council what the implication is in terms of count. However, he can say that trying to design in this type of environment is not a particularly prudent process.


Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if there are only single lots around what appears to be a cul-de-sac in the northern parcel. Mr. Weiner agreed and added they will be inward looking lots.


Further, Mayor ProTem Crawford noted on two of the three sides they are talking RA and the internal diagonal would be whatever they had proposed. He also agrees that they spent considerable time on their buffering discussion and it would be unfair to support the amendment if Harvest Land already complies with the ordinance.


Mr. Weiner added then the question becomes are there any other design proposals that may take them back to having to redesign the whole thing and the implications for the schedule and the process along which they are proceeding. He assured Council that they have applied the best planning efforts available in Michigan to this plan from the beginning. He does not believe there is any violation of any of the perimeter buffering strategies that Council approved. Mr. Weiner said if they got to a point in the site plan approval process where there were 100 angry neighbors, they would listen to their argument and reminded Council that is what they have tried to do from the beginning.



CM-97-07-254: Yeas: Clark, Mitzel, Schmid

Nay: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Mutch


Mayor McLallen asked if there is further discussion on the motion.


Councilman Schmid is not going to support the motion because he is very disappointed that this RUD application is before them this evening and that it has been before them for the past year. His major opposition to the whole concept is by virtue of Council’s action tonight that they will eliminate large lot subdivision development in Novi. Councilman Schmid reminded Council developing large lots in the western part of Novi has been on the master plan for several years and this virtually eliminates that concept of the master plan. He added that the development has all kinds of R-1 through R-4 lots, but they do not have many one acre lots. He believes there is a big demand for one acre lots, but this developer would like them to believe that he is developing this way because he can sell this kind of development in today’s market. Councilman Schmid disagrees and believes large lot subdivisions do sell. He repeated that his major opposition is that this Council has succeeded in getting rid of large lots. Further, this ordinance was clearly written by and for the developer of this piece. He added this development would be significantly different if they developed it under the old RUD ordinance. However, the developer chose to rewrite the ordinance with the help of the Planning Department.


Councilman Schmid added that it also exceeds reasonable density credits. He explained more than 300 additional homes are going to be allowed than what they would allow under conventional zoning. Councilman Schmid disagrees with the developer who will state that he is developing this property this way for the good of Novi. He believes the developer is doing it for the good of the developer. Councilman Schmid asked everyone to imagine the additional money the developer will make by building 300 more homes.


Councilman Schmid believes the real value to the developer in having this type of subdivision is not the 300 homes, but the decrease in cost for the infrastructure. Councilman Schmid explained the developer will put in hundreds of miles less sewer, water and roads than he would have to put in under conventional zoning. He believes the developer is maximizing his profits and it is too bad this city is allowing him to do that.


He also disagrees with the density credits for a lake that the developer cannot build on and credit for land that he will not own. Councilman Schmid then reminded Council that they are fully aware of what happened with the sale of the school land to the city. He explained Mr. Weiner absolutely refused to sign a contract because he wanted to get credit for the land that he will sell for a school.


Councilman Schmid read from the ordinance under Residential Unit Development Regulations, "1. One-family dwelling cluster provided that a majority of the dwelling units within an RUD are detached, non-cluster one-family dwelling. 2. A significant portion of the dwelling units are conventional one-family dwelling units. Conventional one-family dwelling units are units constructed on platted lots or site condominium building sites with the area and width conforming to the Schedule of Regulations for the underlying zoning district. " Councilman Schmid advised the underlying zoning district in this area is acre and half acre lots. Therefore, Councilman Schmid believes a significant portion will be one acre and half acre lots. The developer and the Planning Department wants them to believe that 43 lots are a significant portion. He believes it is not a significant portion and instead is a give away to the developer. Further, Councilman Schmid stated the developer likes to talk about all the supportive letters that he got from the surrounding area. If they read the letters, Councilman Schmid believes they will find that 90% are from neighboring landowners who will be before Council looking for an RUD. If he were a landowner, he would probably do the same thing.


Councilman Schmid believes this will also cause excessive traffic congestion and disagrees with the opinion that it will not.


Councilman Schmid stated the development will increase the need for additional police and fire, and other city services that a conventional development would not. Councilman Schmid reminded Council that they were going to have approximately 500 homes under conventional and now they will have 876, and it will increase the need for police and fire. He agreed one could argue that they also have a greater tax base. However, every statistic he has seen suggested that individual homeowners do not pay for themselves. Therefore, they are going to increase the burden on the city and the citizens of Novi will pay for the increase in city services. In addition, there will be further impact on the schools.


As he mentioned earlier this evening, Councilman Schmid stated the density that Mr. Rogers likes to talk about was devised by taking the gross acreage and dividing it. He believes the facts are that they cannot get that kind of density in the western part of Novi, although that is the figure they like to use.


Further, Councilman Schmid does not believe this development is a world class development. He believes it is a developer’s paradise because he will maximize his profits and not for the benefits of their open space philosophy.


Finally, Councilman Schmid believes the developer misled, stalled and delayed for well over two years for the sale of the property for the sole purpose of getting credit for the acreage that he is selling to the city for a school. He does not know how Mr. Weiner has convinced this Council that this project is good for Novi. Councilman Schmid submits it is not and further asked Council to consider rejecting this request.


Councilman Clark shares some of Councilman Schmid’s concerns. He is primarily disappointed about the density credit given for the lake and the school, and the minimum number of 43 lots being proposed as one acre lots. He agrees 43 lots under anybody’s definition are not substantial. His biggest concern and the reason he will not support the motion is that they still do not have a commitment from the title company and they still have a list of 53 exceptions. Until that is resolved and since the parties involved do not feel comfortable with it, Councilman Clark cannot support it.


Councilman Mitzel believes the next step is the RUD contract and asked whether Council could basically not approve that contract depending upon the outcome of the school property sale. Mr. Watson replied among the criteria they are considering first is whether benefits occurring from preservation and creation of open space in the establishment of school and park facility outweighs desirability of conventional residential development within the city that will result from the RUD. He added he has not gone through all the criteria again, but he believes there are a couple other instances. Further, the school and park site is one thing that has been put forward as a benefit of this plan, and he believes that is the concern.


Councilman Mitzel asked for a definition for "significant." Mr. Watson replied he would turn to the classic standard dictionary of the word.

Councilman Mitzel reviewed this plan based upon the ordinance that they approved, although the developer seems to disagree with his last motion that he was not applying the ordinance. He explained he was applying the review criteria as opposed to what they allow in the buffer zone, but he was following the ordinance. Councilman Mitzel does not agree with the ordinance’s provision for giving density credits for the lake, but that the way the ordinance is written. Councilman Mitzel stated if that were the only issue, he would support this development plan because it met the ordinance. However, he does not believe it meets the ordinance in the sense that he does not consider 4.9% of the dwelling units to be significant no matter where they are located. He explained there is less than 5% of this site that is going to be developed under conventional zoning and his issue of addressing that adjacency to those areas to the east would have helped to alleviate that problem to some extent by increasing that number. Likewise, under Review Criteria 6, Considering the Preservation of the Natural Resources it states, "specific consideration shall be given to whether the proposed development will minimize disruption to such resources." Councilman Mitzel stated although Ms. Lemke’s letter regarding the road in the forest in the middle of the development states that is less disruption than previously proposed, he would still hold that it does not minimize disruption to that forest area. Further one of the big selling points of this development is that it is supposed to be pro-environment and preserve open space, yet a road in cluster units cuts through the middle of the woods. He was previously prepared to make an amendment to say they should remove and reconfigure it around the edges, but based on the opposition about the buffering he knew how the vote would go for that motion. Based on criteria 6 and 7, Councilman Mitzel cannot support this development or the RUD agreement.


Councilman Kramer refuted the indication that they wrote this ordinance for this plan. He reported they spent substantial time, effort and resources to rework the ordinance and the plan was never an element of their work. He advised they were very thorough about how they would apply the ordinance in various situations. Councilman Kramer would agree that the developer was interested in the proceedings, but Council did not write the ordinance for that plan. He added if they wrote it for that plan, they could have completed their review in two hours because they could look at the plan and write down what an ordinance should be.


Councilman Kramer added they have looked at density in several ways and each way has its own validity. He said density as a planning element in Planning Area 6 in the planning of the city and in the planning of the infrastructure of the city provides for a number of dwelling units. He said they had thoroughly discussed that the build density would be less than the master plan, although the build of this project would be higher than what would be buildable under RA. He believes there are many aspects that are worthwhile considering.



As Councilman Schmid stated earlier, Councilman Kramer agrees to build this in a traditional manner would require more roads, more utilities and more disruption to the site. Further, when they talk about master plan intent, he advised this is the rural area of their city, but then asked what constitutes rural character. He advised they have two valid but different visions of that. He explained one is the benefit in what they get from large lot developments and he supports that. The other is what do they get out of preserved open space and that is the direction this RUD has taken. Further, they portray this as preserving rural character and that large amounts of the development are actually not visible depending upon the perspective as one drives near the site. It is disrupted less, although the individual buildings are more dense where they build them. They are both rural in character and asked if they can reasonably say that having an RUD means that everything will be RUD. He reminded Council that they discussed that thoroughly when they discussed the ordinance and advised they did not intend for that to occur. He added they put a number of provisions in the definition and the applicability of the RUD ordinance (i.e., 80 acres minimum for development) to avoid that situation.


It is Councilman Kramer’s feeling that they have created an option and he would like to believe that they will see this used in some places and understand that it is not applicable in many others so they can get the large lot developments in addition to where preservation of open space is applicable. He does not believe they are insightful enough to know where they will apply each parcel and that is why they have the ordinances with which to work.


Councilman Kramer added that the traffic report is not saying there is not traffic impact. He advised there were increases in traffic, but they assessed that the increases were not significant and did not change the level of service.


Councilman Kramer said schools are an appropriate part of an RUD. He said there also other developments around the city that include schools (i.e., Orchard Hills and Village Oaks). He believes that owning the school property is appropriate for the school district.


Councilman Kramer stated in terms of upland woodland development there are currently subdivisions plotted in woodland areas. He said they would not have chosen to do that, but advised that the ordinances do not preclude cutting down trees, but rather it provides for the replacement of trees removed. He would agree trees are desirable to keep and are unfortunately they are a renewable asset. He believes this is a sensitive application of building in the woodlands and although he would not choose to build in the woodlands, as a practical matter it may not be reasonable to preclude it. He believes they allow space between the cluster pods to keep the character of the area and hopefully also to preserve the integrity of the woodlands.

Councilman Kramer fully supports the concern about the title issue and believes they should do all they can to influence the conclusion of that process as quickly as possible. However, he does not feel they will lose any control over the proceedings because of this issue. He believes the control point is the agreement to sign the contract for the RUD. Further, although Councilman Kramer would prefer to have the land purchase agreement signed now, he suggested it might be too much of an unsure situation and added he is still comfortable moving forward. He encouraged all three parties to resolve this issue. Councilman Kramer will support the motion.


Mayor McLallen favors the motion and shares a different perspective than Councilman Schmid. Mayor McLallen said what is fascinating about this project is that it is not truly in the most rural area of the city. She noted the adjacency is to highly intense residential and manufactured housing, and to nonresidential use to the north in a yet to be determined build out. Further, to the east is a large manufacturing facility, to the west is an active mine, and the road to the south is the only paved road between Livingston and Macomb counties. Although she believes it is a unique piece of property, it is not rural land. She agrees the setting is open, but believes it is not true rural land. Mayor McLallen believes the project is a good compromise because of all of the adjacencies and that the developer has tried to be extremely sensitive in a way that they have not seen previously to their residential neighbors. Mayor McLallen believes it will ultimately be an excellent conglomeration of neighborhoods for the community and she will support it.



Vote on CM-97-07-252: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Mutch

Nay: Clark, Mitzel, Schmid




Steve Weiner - thanked Council and hoped that his team will continue to earn their respect and support as they move forward.





There being no further business before City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 11:56 P.M.






Mayor City Clerk


Transcribed by Barbara Holmes


Date Approved: August 11, 1997