REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1997 AT 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor McLallen called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor McLallen, Mayor ProTem Crawford, Council Members DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor ProTem Crawford added an item that would address Country Cousins concerns abut a proposed rezoning from their Saturday meeting before Item 1 under Matters for Council Action. Mayor ProTem Crawford explained the motion for that item would be that City Council will not consider the Country Cousins Mobile Home Park for any rezoning and they will further direct the Planning Commission not to consider Country Cousins in any of their OST zoning deliberations.
Mayor McLallen explained they added this item to the agenda because they had advised the audience from Saturday’s meeting that Mayor ProTem Crawford could only make this motion at a regular Council meeting. The Mayor explained the intent of having this item at the beginning of the agenda is to avoid having the residents speak during audience participation and so they can move forward with the other items already on the agenda. She noted that Council did reach a consensus on this matter and agree to remove the park from their rezoning discussions for this area.
CM-97-12-382: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Mutch, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Agenda as amended
Vote on CM-97-12-382: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
1. State Representative Nancy Cassis Presentation of Plaque to Blair Bowman in honor of Expo Center 5th Year Anniversary
Mayor McLallen advised both Representative Nancy Cassis and Senator Bill Bullard are present.
Representative Cassis stated it does not seem possible that it has been six years since there was a vacant industrial building in the heart of the commercial center along Novi Road. Representative Cassis advised it was a vision of the city manager who saw the possibilities in the vacant facility of creating a landmark for the City of Novi and it was Blair Bowman who helped to make this dream a reality. Representative Cassis believes the Expo Center is a wonderful convention center for Novi.
Senator Bullard added he and Representative Cassis have been working closely to get expressway signs for the Expo Center. Senator Bullard reported according to Mr. Bowman there were 1.4M visitors at the Expo Center, and he believes it was Mr. Bowman’s foresight and hard work that achieved their success.
Representative Cassis read a portion of the sentiment from the plaque that Governor Engler, Senator Bullard and she signed. She added that the facility is an entirely private endeavor and she believes they should congratulate the Bowman’s for that.
Blair Bowman thanked the city and the community for their patience. He said they would continue to grow and he believes they have some long term plans that will benefit the community.
Mayor McLallen asked Representative Cassis and Senator Bullard to note that there is a private sector rezoning on the agenda that also has a dream and shares many of the same challenges that the Expo Center faced. She explained one challenge is getting the state’s attention on Novi and the fact that Novi needs road money to support these types of facilities. Mayor McLallen believes it is Novi’s good fortune that people want to invest in the community and the level of investment is becoming diverse. However, the Mayor explained the problem is that Novi’s road infrastructures in the state-controlled quadrants (interchanges) have not changed for twenty two years. Mayor McLallen asked that Representative Cassis and Senator Bullard convey Novi’s concerns in Lansing. Mayor McLallen added the City is doing everything they can to capitalize on the strong economy within the State of Michigan. However, she added without road improvements, they will not succeed. The Mayor further asked that they keep Novi informed about how the city can assist their state representatives in taking this message to the governor and where they can find new avenues to work together.
Representative Cassis appreciated the Mayor’s comments and that she would like to insure that this dynamic area of growth gets its fair share. She added she is heartened by the fact that the Wixom and Beck interchanges are proceeding on schedule. Further, she advised they will continue to work for Novi and the entire district on road improvements. Representative Cassis added Novi has the attention of not only the state legislature, but they have the governor’s attention as well. Representative Cassis assured the Mayor that they will continue to support the interests of Novi.
Senator Bullard added they will bring the Mayor’s message back to the governor. He said they took some significant steps in July (i.e., 4¢ gasoline tax increase and increase in truck registration fees). Further, Senator Bullard believes they will begin to see significant construction projects around the area next spring. He then reminded Council that they have an ongoing engineering study for the Wixom and Beck Road interchanges, but added there are some things that need to be done beyond what they have already done and they will keep Novi’s needs in mind.
Senator Bullard reported one significant battle next September or perhaps by the end of next year is the reauthorization of the Act 51 Funding Formula. Senator Bullard advised that will be a difficult job and explained if they get more money for roads because they are a growing area, somebody has to lose funding somewhere else and added that is not easy to accomplish politically. Senator Bullard assured Council they will fight for Novi and western Oakland County, and he believes they will see some improvements in the years ahead.
Jonathan Brateman - advised there is a first reading on tonight’s agenda for the NCC ordinance amendment and he believes the amendment represents a very concerted effort between the Planning Commission and the Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Brateman advised they tried to address the issue of fairness as to making the NCC ordinance more workable. Mr. Brateman stated they appreciate the work of city staff, Brandon Rogers and the Planning Commission.
Mr. Brateman believes the ordinance amendments will make the land more workable by raising the building to land ratio to 25%, but added they will still keep a cap on any one particular user at 15,000 square feet. Further, Mr. Brateman reported the amendment will prevent the proliferation of strip shopping centers by only allowing two retail uses at the site. Mr. Brateman advised that marketing these pieces have been very difficult because it is non-center commercial zoning and he would suggest that in keeping with the spirit of TC-1 zoning that they zone it GRCC. He explained Grand River Commercial Center might be a good name for this ordinance because it points to the fact that although they must treat these parcels separately, they are still a part of the Grand River corridor.
Jim Korte - Shawood Lake, advised the Walled Lake Sector Study raised the issue of portable toilets four years ago. Mr. Korte reported there was one East Lake resident who had a portable toilet for an entire year and there is also a problem with another property owner on South Lake who repeatedly has one. Consequently, Mr. Korte supports the ordinance and asked Council to approve it.
Mr. Korte stated the Walled Lake Sector Study raised the issue of a trash pick up because the north end of Novi has different problems than the other areas of the city. He explained one house on Austin has thrown their rotting garbage on the yard across the street. Further, across the street from one of his houses there is an abandoned vehicle that has trash packed into it. Mr. Korte said that getting the Building Department to address the problem is difficult.
Mr. Korte stated the paperwork suggests they are trying to stop the Sunset Grill project. Mr. Korte advised although they are not trying to stop the project, they do have a problem with the condition and quality of buildings within the area that they live. He explained the paperwork for this site clearly indicates that everything must be up to code. Mr. Korte added it also suggests that the footprint will not change. However, Mr. Korte advised the footprint will change with the changing of the door. He reported they have already changed the door and they have also started the reconstruction without permits. Mr. Korte added that the door must be barrier free and pointed out there is an approximate twelve inch step down to the outside. He then added for the building to be barrier free that a ramp, slab, porch, deck or whatever the term may be must be pinned into the ground so that it does not move. Mr. Korte is raising this issue because he has concerns about the health, safety and welfare of the patrons. Mr. Korte also hopes Council can initiate the paving for the parking lot because although the developer states he will pave, there is no performance bond requirement in the city that would obligate the developer to pave.
Jay Rick - represents the Taubman Company, who are the owners of Twelve Oaks Mall. Mr. Rick advised he is present to object to the approval of the rezoning of the Ramco-Gershenson site without first having commitments for the roadway improvements. By commitments, Mr. Rick is talking about the funding, the scheduling and the approvals for the improvements. Mr. Rick advised they are concerned because initial reports indicate there was a lowering of the level of service at each intersection. Mr. Rick reported they met with the city and Ramco-Gershenson Friday to look at some individual traffic issues. Mr. Rick distributed a memorandum and a short summary of their specific concerns and believes they are self-explanatory. Mr. Rick stated although the meeting was a good starting point, there are many issues that they still have to resolve. Mr. Rick explained the access to the mall is paramount to them and they do not want to have the same thing happen that occurred in 1989 when the ingress was totally closed down because of traffic congestion. He also believes the city and other developments in the area do not want that to occur. Therefore, it is their hope that Council will not approve the rezoning at this time so they can have the opportunity to look at the appropriate roadway improvements to make and keep the roadways at or better than the existing levels of service.
Sarah Gray - 133 Maudlin, thanked Council for promptly acting on her request regarding a Garbage Pick-up Ordinance and she asked to be kept informed as it moves through ordinance review.
In addition, Ms. Gray advised Item 3 on the Consent Agenda is another critical issue to her area and added that LARA and SES both support the prohibition of portable toilets.
Concerning Item 6 on the Consent Agenda, Ms. Gray asked that they reject the Golf Course Feasibility Study proposal from McKay Golf and Country Club Properties. She also asked that they reject any other bids or attempt to get funding until the voters have the opportunity to say yes or no.
Concerning the liquor license transfer for Sunset Grill, Ms. Gray believes there is still a parking issue they have not resolved. She reported there were seven cars from the veterinarian clinic parked there and two were still parked there tonight. Ms. Gray reminded Council that the city does not have shared parking and although the clinic is a good neighbor, she asked that the city enforce the ordinance. Ms. Gray added they are not asking Council to deny the license request, but asked that they do their job as elected officials and protect the resident’s interest.
David Poltorak - 22358 Taft Rd., disagreed with the statements the Mayor made to the state senator. Mr. Poltorak explained he is one person who moved to Novi because it was somewhat quiet and rural, and he does not want Novi to turn into a Sterling Heights, a Canton or a Troy where all they see are strip malls, five lane roads and congestion everywhere. Mr. Poltorak does not believe Novi residents really want that kind of life style. Further, he believes the Mayor is misrepresenting the people and suggested that the matter go to a vote. Mr. Poltorak explained there are so many things that change in this city that voters have no voice in and he thinks it is time for them to have a voice.
Mr. Poltorak reported he is actually present tonight to discuss the proposed traffic light for the Nine Mile and Taft Road intersection. Mr. Poltorak does not believe that particular intersection will support a traffic light and explained there is an issue that goes way beyond traffic volumes and that is the safety of just traveling down the road. He advised if motorists travel at thirty five miles per hour, they cannot see what is down the hill south of Nine Mile. He explained it is a straight line vision problem and added because of the increase in traffic volumes, motorists are not driving the posted speed limits.
Susan Comtoise - thanked the residents of Country Cousins for attending tonight’s meeting. Ms. Comtoise asked if Council can summarize Saturday’s joint Council and Planning Commission meeting for those who were unable to attend.
Mayor McLallen replied they will provide an explanation when they get to that item on the agenda.
Mary Ann Grutza - 45385 W. Nine Mile Rd., stated she opposes the proposed traffic signal for the Nine Mile and Taft Road intersection. She explained they have lived there for twenty years when there were dirt roads, no stop signs and no traffic. She advised there was a high accident rate and many fatalities because of the hill. She stated when the stop signs were erected, all the accidents stopped. Ms. Grutza believes if a traffic signal is put there and cars come through without stopping, there will be more accidents.
Ms. Grutza stated her second issue is about the preliminary grading plan for her property. She advised they are talking about cutting down her property to increase the sight distance. She advised she has a two hundred year-old house that is part of Connemara Hills and the right of way is eight feet from her bedroom window. She explained they want to cut down Taft and remove the retaining wall that retains the soil and protects her foundation. As a result, Ms. Grutza has serious concerns for her foundation. Ms. Grutza discussed this matter with JCK & Associates and Mr. Schlick who advised there is no problem with this; she finds that hard to believe.
Ms. Grutza advised her third issue is about the bike paths and sidewalks. She reported that one of the preliminary grading plans includes provisions for preparing her yard for bike paths and sidewalks. Ms. Grutza believes that it is highly unlikely that they would ever run bike paths and sidewalks all the way down Nine Mile and Taft because of all of the hills. She also believes it would be unfair to tear her yard apart when the paths will probably not connect to another path. In general, Ms. Grutza believes if a resident wants bike paths and sidewalks they should move into a subdivision setting. She would like to retain and continue to enjoy the look of the country setting surrounding her home.
Blair Bowman - 43700 Expo Center, concurred with Mr. Brateman’s comments on the NCC Ordinance and thanked him for his efforts. Further, Mr. Bowman advised that he wrote the Planning Commission with respect to their support of the West Oaks Galleria. Mr. Bowman added he shares the concerns regarding traffic and road improvements, but he is confident the petitioner will make certain that they maintain the level of services at an adequate level and this will actually be a program that allows for the much needed road improvements.
Noreen Poltorak - 22358 Taft Rd., advised her home and driveway sits approximately one hundred eighty feet from the Nine Mile and Taft Road intersection. Ms. Poltorak reported that when JCK called a meeting to discuss solutions to the problems at that intersection, they only invited a few residents near the intersection. Ms. Poltorak reported the residents provided JCK with many solutions that obviously they have ignored since they received a letter stating that a signal with limited sight distance was going to be installed. Ms. Poltorak advised they suggested that they install stop signs with limited sight distance and warning signs, and that they lower the speed limit to thirty miles an hour. She explained there are four schools on Taft Road and there is only one small section where there are no residential driveways. She believes the city needs to look more closely at this because of the number of homes and driveways on Taft Road.
Ms. Poltorak advised she is also concerned about sidewalks. Ms. Poltorak reminded Council that this matter was already brought forward, voted on and rejected. She stated they did not move here for sidewalks and believes those who want them can move into subdivisions that already include sidewalks.
An unidentified speaker - advised she has been a Country Cousins resident for six years and she and her friends and neighbors are worried about keeping a roof over their heads. She asked where will they go if they lose their homes?
The Mayor assured the speaker that a positive policy will be established tonight by Council for Country Cousins Mobile Home Park.
The speaker asked if all the residents will receive that in writing? The Mayor replied that the action will be in the minutes and on the record.
Mike Janey - Country Cousins resident, stated he received a flyer that stated he is going to lose his home. He believes Council is elected to protect him and he really believes when they discuss any rezoning that it would be appropriate to directly notify the taxpayer. He does not believe he should have to get this information from a flyer prepared by a neighbor or a newspaper article; he feels betrayed.
An unidentified speaker - wants to know how Council can put three hundred residents out of their homes? She added that she realizes that it is Mr. Button’s decision, but asked Council how can they rezone that area? As the gentleman stated earlier, she advised that the residents received no notice and she is insulted.
Mayor McLallen advised there has been an enormous misunderstanding and added that the city has no intention of rezoning the park. Mayor McLallen advised she will provide further explanation about the purpose of Saturday’s Council and the Planning Commission meeting later in the meeting and restated it was not to rezone the park property. Further, Mayor McLallen reported that the information in newspaper article was false and if the city were considering a rezoning of the park, they would notify them.
The speaker added she knows that commercial zoning surrounds them and so it stands to reason that the city is going to want to put more commercial in that area because of the access to the freeway.
Andrew Mutch - 24541 Hampton Ct., is present to address Item 6, the Ramco-Gershenson rezoning proposal. Before making a decision on this matter, Mr. Mutch asked Council to consider the serious concerns about the traffic, address woodland and wetland concerns especially since the applicant is proposing to pave the entire site, and examine alternative zoning districts. Further, Mr. Mutch believes they need to look more closely at developments like the OST to generate more tax dollars for less impact on the city and its taxpayers.
Councilwoman Mutch advised she has a letter commenting on Zoning Map Amendment 18.599 from an audience member who was unable to stay. The Mayor advised Councilwoman Mutch can read the letter under that item and asked Council to note that there are also an additional letters before them for Items 6 and 5.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Councilman DeRoche removed Item 6.
As a point of information, Councilwoman Lorenzo asked if they are asking Council simply to reject the Golf Course Feasibility Study proposed by the McKay Company or will they get into rebidding this evening? The Mayor replied it is her understanding that the entire matter is before them.
Councilwoman Lorenzo removed Item 1.
Mr. Watson requested that they also indicate that the Executive Session under Item 8 includes Pending Litigation.
CM-97-12-383: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Lorenzo, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Consent Agenda as amended:
2. Approval of request of Sarah Gray to forward to Ordinance Review request for Garbage Pick-up Ordinance
3. Request for Approval of Ordinance No. 97-162 - To prohibit portable toilets except when used on a construction site or pursuant to a permit - I Reading
4. Request for Approval of Resolution, Re: Increase in Zoning Board of Appeals Fees
5. Approval of Document Acceptance as follows:
Type of Document Executed by: Compensation
Release of Indemnity Agreement K.S. Aulakh
Release of Indemnity Agreement Mary Zayti
7. Award Fuel Contract through the Tri-County Purchasing Cooperative to Barrick Oil Based on Unit Pricing
8. Schedule an Executive Session to immediately follow Regular Meeting for the purpose of Property Acquisition and Pending Litigation
9. Approval of Claims and Accounts - Warrant No. 506
1. Approval of Minutes of Regular City Council Meetings of November 24, 1997 and December 1, 1997
6. Approval to reject the Golf Course Feasibility Study proposal from McKay Golf and Country Club Properties
Vote on CM-97-12-383: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION - Part I
1a. Country Cousins Matter
Mayor McLallen would like personally to address this matter because it was at her direction that they included this piece of property in a study session. Mayor McLallen explained Novi is under enormous development pressure and added that Council meets with the Planning Commission several times a year to struggle with those issues. Whether they like it or not, the mobile home park neighborhood is in the middle of an area under development pressure. The Mayor advised before they could make any decisions one way or another, the city needed more information and that was the sole purpose of Saturday’s meeting. She explained hey wanted to find out which areas in the city were under development pressure and so they directed staff and consultants to gather more information.
Mayor McLallen advised that the city does not own the mobile home park land and further, the city has no control over the land because mobile home zoning is a state statute. Consequently, Mayor McLallen explained although Council is ultimately responsible for zoning and the Planning Commission is ultimately responsible for the Master Plan, the mobile home park is currently zoned Mobile Home Zoning and restated because that is not a local zoning, mobile home zoning is not a zoning that the city can manipulate.
Mayor McLallen advised the Master Plan for that area is now and has been Office for approximately five years. This means even if the land were ever to change into something else, the city wanted it designated as Office. The Mayor advised that zoning is already on the books and they did not plan to change it. She then advised they were looking at a new category of office known as Office Service Technology. She explained this type of office is taking place in Farmington Hills and the question is whether this is the type of office research development facility that Novi would like. If so, they also want to determine whether they should change the Master Plan to that designation. Contrary to what the article in the newspaper said about the purpose of Saturday’s meeting, Council could not make any decisions during that meeting because the meeting was simply a study session. Further, she advised the process for any zoning change is that a letter notifies everyone that lives within five hundred feet of the zone to be changed and they hold a public hearing at which time they invite everyone to comment. She assured the residents of Country Cousins Mobile Home Park that the city never intended to rezone the property from underneath the residents. She restated they were only trying to understand how development pressure is affecting that area.
Mayor McLallen advised they know very little about mobile home zoning. However, the Mayor added that although the ultimate answer lies with the landowner for the property, she understands that the residents have certain property rights also. She explained based upon the enormous and positive presence of the mobile home park community, the ultimate consensus of this Council is to remove the mobile home park from their study area and that no action will be proposed by this Council to initiate any rezoning. However, Mayor McLallen added this does not guarantee that the zoning will stay in place indefinitely and that the landowner will not sell the land.
Mayor ProTem Crawford moved that City Council does not consider the rezoning of Country Cousins Mobile Home Park and to direct the Planning Commission not to consider a rezoning of Country Cousins Mobile Home Park or consider a Master Plan change to anything other than what it is now. Mayor ProTem Crawford believes that motion should address the concerns of the mobile home park residents. If not, he would be willing to amend the motion.
Councilman Schmid does not believe the Planning Commission has the authority to rezone the property.
Mayor ProTem Crawford amended his motion to state that the Planning Commission should not consider recommending a rezoning to Council. Further, Mayor ProTem Crawford thought perhaps they would more properly word the motion if he said they would "recommend" that the Planning Commission, instead of "direct" the Planning Commission. Therefore, he would amend his motion to say that they would recommend to the Planning Commission that they not to consider a Master Plan change or a recommendation to Council for rezoning.
Councilman Kramer stated Council has requested that the Planning Commission study the application of the OST in specific areas. Therefore, what they are really asking them to do is not to study this area.
Mayor ProTem Crawford believes his motion states that request.
CM-97-12-384: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by DeRoche, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: That City Council does not consider the rezoning of Country Cousins Mobile Home Park and recommend that the Planning Commission not consider a recommendation for a rezoning or consider a Master Plan change of the Country Cousins Mobile Home Park
Councilwoman Lorenzo would like to add the word "indefinitely" to the motion. Mayor ProTem Crawford disagreed because as the Mayor has already indicated, they cannot guarantee that. Further, although he believes that is their intent, to say indefinitely would have no meaning because another Council could change it any way. Mayor ProTem Crawford restated that he believes the motion conveys their intent and purpose, and the directions they would like to see the Planning Commission take when they study any rezonings or master plan changes in that area.
Councilwoman Mutch agrees with the intent that Country Cousins residential community be excluded from consideration for a rezoning. However, she also thinks they ought to be clear about the direction given to the Planning Commission. She explained Country Cousins should be a part of any studies for rezoning or re-master planning considered for that area to understand the impact that any rezoning or re-master planning of other properties in the area would have on their community. She restated that they need to be careful not to exclude them from any studies that take place and only exclude them from any rezoning recommendation.
Mayor ProTem Crawford does not believe the motion excludes them from any studies.
Councilman Schmid believes the reporter wrote the newspaper article in poor judgement in the first place because Council had not decided what they should look at for a rezoning or master plan. Councilman Schmid believes this incident might be a good lesson that they should not speak to the press about items that they have no authority to do so.
Councilwoman Mutch added she believes these types of newspaper articles should also include appropriate phone numbers so that residents can have the opportunity to get correct information from the city offices. Further, whoever distributed the flyers that told the residents that the homes were at risk should be held accountable because she believes the residents should not have put through this.
Mayor McLallen restated they can only provide a guarantee for two years because this Council will only exist for two years. However, she added it does not mean that anyone else that buys an interest in the property cannot request a rezoning. Mayor McLallen explained they are giving the residents a commitment that the city will not seek a rezoning. The Mayor restated the property is privately owned and is subject to free market. However, they are saying as a city policy, the city will no longer consider this property.
Vote on CM-97-12-384: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
On behalf of Council and especially herself, Mayor McLallen regrets the distress that this caused the Country Cousins Mobile Home Park residents.
1. Street Improvement Bonds
A. Adoption of Bond Resolution
B. Adoption of Notice of Sale Resolution
Dennis Neiman advised the two resolutions authorize the issuance of the bonds and provides for a formal notice of sale. He explained the notice of sale is that document that they publish and serves as the official bidding document on which bidders will bid on the bonds. Mr. Neiman advised that they should read the two resolutions as one.
Mayor McLallen understands that the original bond proposal was for $17M and noted they have spent approximately $9M. Mr. Neiman advised it was $17.1M and the city issued $9M as the first series of that authorization in January 1997. Mr. Neiman advised this will be the second and final series of that authorization.
Councilman Schmid asked what advantage is there for the city to be reselling the bonds? Mr. Neiman restated they are not reselling them. He explained the original authorization of the vote was $17.1M and the city issued $9M as the first series; this is the second series.
Councilman Kramer asked if this a favorable time to sell bonds and is there a need to sell the bonds at this time? Mr. Neiman replied it is their understanding in speaking with Mr. Nowicki, Mr. Kriewall and Mr. Gibson that $8.1M will be used to fund projects that are on the books and constructed in 1998.
In response to the question regarding favorable time, Mr. Bendzinski advised interest rates are currently at a fifteen year low and they expect interest rates still to be at that level in February for the anticipated sale date.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked if there are any specific projects attached to this and if any of the projects were to be delayed and/or eliminated, how would that affect the bond? Mr. Kriewall replied the projects were a part of the original road program that the community approved. Further, the two major projects to be funded by this next issue are the Meadowbrook Road construction from Twelve to Thirteen Mile Road and the Taft Road extension. He added a third major project is the bridge that will extend Expo Center Drive or Crescent Boulevard.
CM-97-12-385: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Mutch, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adopt Bond Resolutions for $8,100,000 City of Novi 1998 General Obligation Unlimited Tax Bonds Notice of Sale Resolution
Vote on CM-97-12-385: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
2. Water and Sewer Revenue Bonds
A. Adoption of Ordinance
B. Adoption of Notice of Sale Resolution
Dennis Neiman advised Council has two documents in front of them. He explained one is an ordinance that amends ordinance numbers 92-153, 97-153.02 and 97-153.03 to authorize the issuance of water supply and sewage disposal system revenue bonds in the amount of $10M to fund projects expected to be constructed during 1998. Mr. Neiman stated in addition to the ordinance, there is a Notice of Sale Resolution for this bond issue. Further, the ordinance can be immediately effective because they are proposing it pursuant to the Revenue Bond Act and therefore, will not require more than one reading. Mr. Neiman stated as Mr. Bendzinski indicated, the market is extremely favorable and they are seeing some extraordinary interest rates and he believes they can all see the advantages of the city moving as expeditiously as possible. Mr. Neiman continued by stating if Council approves the ordinance, they would expect both bond issues to be sold after a variety of steps on February 9.
Mr. Bendzinski added that the water and sewer bonds pledge the water and sewer revenue fund, and would be self-supporting because they are payable from that fund.
Councilman Kramer understands the road bonds are supported by millage and voted on by the constituents; Mr. Neiman agreed. Councilman Kramer also understands that the water and sewer do not have a tax implication and is paid for by the fees as they connect it out. Mr. Neiman agreed and added they actually pay them from the revenues of the system, primarily the capital charges. Councilman Kramer confirmed for the public that this is not a millage issue. Mr. Neiman stated that is correct.
Councilwoman Lorenzo spoke with Mr. Nowicki and he indicated that his department and JCK are researching the fee structure. Councilwoman Lorenzo added they should have a report in February that would determine whether those fees need to be increased to cover the costs.
CM-97-12-386: Moved by Schmid, Seconded by Kramer, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adopt Ordinance 97-153.04 effective immediately
Vote on CM-97-12-386: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
CM-97-12-387: Moved by Schmid, Seconded by Kramer, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adopt Notice of Sale Resolution
Councilwoman Mutch asked why are the first bond resolution and Sale of Notice combined, and this one is separate? Mr. Neiman replied the general obligation bonds were actually both resolutions and the second is an ordinance and a resolution. He agrees with Mr. Watson in that they should be kept separate.
Vote on CM-97-12-387: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
3. Approval of Transfer of Ownership of a 1997 Class C Liquor License with Dance Permit, Property Located at 43393 Thirteen Mile Road from Thirteen/Novi Associates, Inc. to B & M Investments, Inc. (Sunset Grill)
Mayor McLallen reminded Council that this issue was before them at their last meeting and there were some requests from Council to the attorneys pursuant to the separation of the transfer of the license from the site plan issues. The Mayor noted the attorney’s report is in the packet and all items pursuant to the request for the liquor license are in order.
Marler Harlow contractor for the applicant, stated in response to the concerns about the parking lot that they will comply as well as they can. He said they still have a couple of issues they need to resolve (i.e., back fill the woodlands and construct retaining walls). He reported they have an engineer working on that right now and they plan to have it resolved within three weeks. He added they have stopped working on the interior of the building and it is his understanding that the reason is because the city has not yet approved the transfer of the liquor license.
Councilman Schmid recalled Mr. Watson suggested at their last meeting that they have additional comments in their ordinance regarding safety and welfare that could impact Council’s decision about whether they should issue the license. Mr. Watson advised it was a two fold question. He explained one was whether there is any criterion in the ordinance that governs these types of concerns and the answer to that is that they do. Because the parking situation is a lawful non-conforming use, the second part of the question is whether that is an appropriate use to deny it. Mr. Watson advised the answer to that question based upon a prior litigation was that it is not an appropriate basis.
Councilman Schmid understands that the parking issue would not be appropriate. Mr. Watson stated that is correct.
Councilman Schmid asked if it is the applicant’s intent to pave this entire parking lot? Mr. Harlow replied it is their intent to pave the parking lot and add a couple more parking spaces to bring it up to the present occupancy load on the building.
Councilman Schmid understands it is also their intent to follow the ordinance as it relates to landscaping. Mr. Harlow agreed and they would like to repair the building’s exterior. He noted they have already gutted the interior and they are ready to move forward.
If Council granted approval, Councilman Schmid asked at what point would they resolve the outstanding issues? Mr. Harlow replied they would like to start on the parking lot in the spring.
Councilman Schmid believes the ordinance prevents them from adding onto the building; Mr. Harlow agreed.
Councilman Schmid asked if the owner concurs with Mr. Harlow’s statements; the owner agreed.
CM-97-12-388: Moved by Schmid, Seconded by DeRoche, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant local approval for the transfer of ownership of 1997 Class C liquor license to B&M Investment Inc. from Novi B Associates pursuant to Section 3-15 of the Novi Code of Ordinances
Although Councilwoman Lorenzo will support the liquor license, she encouraged the owner to make all of the improvements to the property to best extent that he can.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked what are the ADA requirements for the door and further asked if that would constitute a change of footprint? Mr. Saven advised one issue they look at for all buildings is that to get full compliance they must meet ADA regulations. He explained if they change or do any alterations to a building there is a mandate that they must do something. Consequently, Mr. Saven stated that would then raise the question about whether a ramp becomes an extension of the building. He advised they determined that a ramp was nothing but access to a building just as a sidewalk would be to a building and therefore, he does not find this to be a part of the building. Mr. Saven thinks it is a legitimate determination because it has no foundation and there is no requirement for a foundation.
Councilwoman Mutch asked if the applicant has enlarged the doorway? Mr. Saven replied they try to bring these types of buildings into a more hazardous free type of environment. He noted in this situation the door is very close to Thirteen Mile Road and because they require two means of egress, they try to strategically locate the doors in the best possible area. Consequently, Mr. Saven advised they have no problems with the renovations made to the door for this building.
Councilwoman Mutch recalled there was a comment made about shared parking and she understands that the city does not have any control over that. Mr. Saven replied that issue was brought to his attention and he will take full responsibility for it. He advised they have always had a problem with the parking at the veterinarian clinic and he added they have notified the clinic several times that they have to do something about their parking. Mr. Saven believes they chose to use this property during this time when they have a high peak period and is an ongoing issue they are currently trying to resolve.
Councilwoman Mutch asked if there is any alternative for parking? Mr. Saven replied when there is an ordinance violation, the only alternative is to seek a shared parking approval through the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Councilwoman Mutch stated if the veterinarian clinic is using the parking at a time that is predicted low volume for the other business, there may not be a problem. However, she can see if that is the situation now, there is also the potential if the parking is short on the Sunset Grill parking, that the veterinarian clinic’s limited parking might then be available for their use.
Mr. Saven added there may also be a safety factor. Councilwoman Mutch believes there is even more of a safety factor because of the affected judgement of the night time pedestrian traffic that would come from Sunset Grill.
Councilman Kramer thinks they should discourage the use of across the curb road parking as overflow for the veterinarian clinic on the basis of health, safety and welfare. He explained if the veterinarian clinic is experiencing problems, they need to be put on notice and find a solution.
Councilman Kramer would like the motion to include that an approval is contingent upon the applicant making improvements.
Mayor McLallen believes the motion is that the applicant’s construction will conform to all of Novi’s ordinances.
Councilman Kramer replied that is correct, but added that the applicant has indicated that he is interested in doing the paving and landscaping to the extent of his best efforts. Mayor McLallen so noted Councilman Kramer’sstatement.
Councilman DeRoche recalled that was their concern at the last meeting and agreed that discussing those issues when they are transferring the liquor license was not appropriate. Councilman DeRoche added he would like to discuss those issues at a later date and will support the motion to transfer the license at this time.
Vote on CM-97-12-388: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
4. Request for Approval of Tentative Preliminary Plat and Wetlands for Settler’s Creek Subdivision, SP 96-22C. Property located east of Clark Street between Ten Mile and Eleven Mile Roads
Cliff Seiber of Seiber Keast advised the last time they were before Council there was much discussion about the construction of a lot on an upland woodland area. He advised at one time they had proposed mitigation and another time, they proposed a single family lot. Since meeting with Linda Lemke and Sue Tepatti, they made revisions to that plan where they have eliminated any mitigation or construction of a home on that lot and have now located their wetland mitigation areas completely outside the regulated woodlands. He advised they have one wetland mitigation area at the southeasterly corner of the site, one at the northeasterly corner and one at the northwesterly corner adjacent to Clark Street. Mr. Seiber believes they now meet the requirements of the consultants and ordinances, and they are requesting tentative preliminary plat approval.
Councilman Kramer asked for further explanation of obtaining a second emergency road access to the plan. Mr. Seiber reported they are adjacent to the Novi Heights subdivision to the north and Clark Street is a dead end. However, there is an existing road right-of-way that dead ends at the southerly border of their property. With the cul-de-sac extension they have attempted to negotiate or at least discuss a possible connection to Johnson Controls’ existing driveway. He noted there is an existing fire hydrant and the driveway wraps around the building. Due to security constraints, Johnson Controls was not willing to grant any access easement at that point. However, Mr. Seiber believes this situation is better than the one Council encountered with the Beckenham subdivision, Turnberry Woods or Cheltenham where those had long temporary dead end situations. In this case, Mr. Seiber advised they have a drive way and cul-de-sac located adjacent to the end of the cul-de-sac. Mr. Seiber noted although they are not able to provide vehicular secondary access, firefighters can carry hoses and get to the end of the cul-de-sac by accessing through Johnson Controls.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked the purpose of the eight hundred feet limitation? Mr. Watson advised the purpose is to limit the number of homes that would be isolated if there was something that would block the entrance way to the cul-de-sac.
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands that was increased by three hundred feet. Mr. Watson recalled that was originally six hundred feet and then increased to eight hundred feet.
Councilwoman Lorenzo believes it appears as though there are repeated requests for extensions and the request is usually for more than just a couple of feet without secondary access. Councilwoman Lorenzo noted they already changed the ordinance from six hundred to eight hundred feet and there are still requests. Her question is when does it end and whether they are doing justice to the reason that this is in the ordinance. Councilwoman Lorenzo noted in this situation they do not have secondary access, they have limited ability in the future to obtain secondary access and they have an extensively long cul-de-sac with an ordinance put in place to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Novi. Councilwoman Lorenzo is caught between a rock and a hard place in these cases because she sees a pattern of long extensive cul-de-sacs occurring.
Councilwoman Lorenzo has a particular concern with the previous application because it did not have an excessive length in terms of the eight hundred feet in one place, unless they were measuring from the intersection. Mr. Arroyo advised it did meet the eight hundred foot requirement.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked what is the justification for the extra twenty feet? Mr. Arroyo understands that it has to do with environmental constraints in trying to make the site work. He added that question should be asked of the applicant.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked how many lots they would delete from the plan if they were to require compliance with the ordinance at face value? Mr. Arroyo replied if they took it at face value they would lose a lot. He explained the way the ordinance reads, they would measure the length of the cul-de-sac from the point where they would have two points of access. He noted that is where they mention the intersection of Clark and Marlson. Mr. Arroyo believes they would pull it back significantly and although he is not certain about how many lots they would actually lose, he believes it would be a significant difference from what they see on this plan.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked what is the purpose of those particular calculations in the ordinance? Mr. Arroyo replied by initiating a cul-de-sac length requirement they are specifically trying to indicate an area where if it were to become blocked off, there would be a limited amount of area where fire equipment would have to be extended manually if they could not reach the area with their vehicles. Further, if the two points of access are going to be the point of constraint for fire department access, then that would be a logical place to measure the eight hundred feet. Mr. Arroyo believes that is the reason that provision is in the ordinance.
Councilwoman Lorenzo does not know what the answer is and asked if they should change the ordinance requirements. However, it seems to her that the ordinance requirements seem to be for safety, health and welfare reasons. Councilwoman Lorenzo restated she is very concerned because they are seeing these kinds of requests repeatedly.
Mr. Kriewall noted they have small parcels of property throughout the community that they should look at from a practical standpoint. He believes there is really no other way to provide secondary access to this parcel and that the applicant has done a good job addressing the woodland and wetland issues. Further, from a fire protection standpoint, they will have access through Johnson Controls. Therefore, he believes they meet the intent of preserving public safety on this site and he would recommend approval.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked if Mr. Arroyo agrees that they will have adequate access. Mr. Arroyo cannot address the fire department issue, but he does agree it is advantageous if there is a fire hydrant on the back side at Johnson Controls. He believes the hydrant makes it a lot better than many of the other situations they see where the cul-de-sacs are isolated. In terms of the fire safety improvement, he believes that the fire department has reviewed this and he would ask Council to look at their concerns.
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands that the fire department has not signed off on this as of yet. Mr. Arroyo believes that is correct.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked the petitioner what is the purpose of the request for eight hundred and twenty feet instead of eight hundred? Mr. Seiber replied the reason is because of the reconfiguration at the end of the cul-de-sac in configuring the wetland areas on either side and reconfiguring the storm water detention basin. Mr. Seiber pointed out that Clark Street dead ends and the parcel to the south is an eighty acre vacant parcel. He further noted there is a connection point (a stub street) provided through the Cedar Springs Estates subdivision. Mr. Seiber added once this parcel develops they will connect the through street and there will be secondary access at least to the end of the cul-de-sac.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked if they have an arrangement with Johnson Controls? Mr. Seiber replied they have no ingress/egress easements with Johnson Control. He would assume the fire department would access their site just as they would if Johnson Controls had a fire.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked if there is a fire department representative present this evening. The Mayor advised they are not typically present and noted they have submitted a letter for the packet.
Councilwoman Lorenzo would like to know if this arrangement is appropriate. Mr. Arroyo clarified that he reviewed the fire department’s recommendation and advised they do recommend approval.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked if the fire department can enter the Johnson Controls property in case of a fire as a public safety entity? Mr. Watson replied believes the fire department has access to Johnson Controls if Johnson Controls has a fire.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked what if the fire department responded to a fire in Settler’s Creek? Mr. Watson does not believe that would make any difference.
Councilwoman Mutch understands there is a fire hydrant on the Johnson Controls property and asked if the fire department had access to that or any public utility like that? Mr. Watson advised they do have access and added when they constructed Johnson Controls, the city required them to supply easements in the bill of sale to turn over that infrastructure so that the city may utilize the water mains and fire hydrants and therefore, they become public infrastructure for that purpose.
Councilwoman Mutch asked if the fire department had any difficulty in accessing any property that has its own security measures? Mr. Kriewall advised there is no problem.
The Mayor understands that the breakaway gates meet the fire department’s standards for breaking away. Mr. Watson has never heard of that as being a problem. He added that the fire department has expressed some concerns about some developments that are gated communities and they are working on ways to resolve those concerns. However, there is never a concern in cases where there is emergency access.
Councilwoman Lorenzo will support a motion for this plan to move forward because she recognizes this is an improvement over the previous plan. However, she added there are some remaining concerns that she will need to see addressed before final in order for her to continue supporting this plan. Councilwoman Lorenzo would like to see a copy of the approved LOMA from FEMA to confirm that FEMA concurs with the elevation revisions. She would also like confirmation that they will not increase drainage from the lots into the wooded wetlands beyond the pre-development conditions, and that the amount and duration of water will avoid tree die off in those areas. Further, Councilwoman Lorenzo advised Mr. Bluhm from JCK & Associates had indicated to her that he believes there is enough slope to avoid water pocketing and tree die off in the upland woodlands, and she would like confirmation of that before final approval. Further, Mr. Bluhm also indicated to her that the culvert at Clark Street will pass the one hundred year flows to avoid any increased ponding or flooding impacts to both the Settler’s Creek and the Novi Heights subdivision homeowners. She would also like confirmation about the plan to eliminate the detention basin on the plan because there is a plan to construct a regional basin further down stream. She explained the information from JCK in the packet indicated that the detention basin would also eventually function as a permanent water quality basin. If that is the case, she understands that basin will then continue to exist even when the regional detention comes on line.
Mr. Seiber confirmed it will still remain as a water quality basin, but advised they may reconfigure it.
CM-97-12-389: Moved by Lorenzo, Seconded by DeRoche, CARRIED: To approve tentative preliminary plat, wetland permit and waiver for length of cul-de-sac for Settler’s Creek Subdivision, SP 96-22C subject to consultants’ recommendations, addressing remaining concerns before final approval and obtain the Fire Department’s review and approval of the secondary emergency access road
Councilman Kramer believes it was represented earlier that the Fire Department gave a positive recommendation. However, he noted their two letters in the packet do not indicate that. He believes they suggest that they want the design and details for the secondary emergency access road before they approve the plan. Councilman Kramer understands the applicant has a secondary emergency access plan and he thinks part of the contingencies of the motion should be to obtain the Fire Department’s review and approval of the plan.
Councilwoman Lorenzo agreed to amend her motion to include that.
Councilman Kramer commended the applicant for coming forth with an improved plat.
Mr. Seiber asked if Council requires them to secure easements or secondary access? Councilman Kramer disagreed and explained the motion is to follow up on the Fire Department’s letter that said, "to provide details of a secondary emergency access plan." Councilman Kramer restated that the Fire Department has not yet supported the plan and he would like to be certain of their support.
Mayor ProTem Crawford shares similar concerns on the length of the cul-de-sac and he is still not certain about whether it is eight hundred and twenty or if it is thirteen hundred depending upon where they measure it from. Mayor ProTem Crawford’s guess would be that it would be thirteen hundred and some feet because they would have to go to the intersection of Marlson, if that is truly a second access with the breakaway gate. Further, if he understands the intent of the ordinance, it is not only for fire access, it is also for emergency vehicles. Although Mayor ProTem Crawford understands they could run fire hoses through Johnson Controls, he does not believe ambulances or police cars could obtain access through Johnson Controls. Therefore, he will not support the motion because he believes in effect that they are asking for a thirteen hundred foot cul-de-sac which is approximately a five hundred foot waiver.
Mayor ProTem Crawford is also concerned about the mitigated wetlands to the north of the cul-de-sac because he is not certain how that will affect the current residents on Marlson. Mayor ProTem Crawford knows there is a creek bed that runs roughly east and west through that area, and there is a small amount of water in there at times. He asked if that will be a permanent ponding situation? Mr. Seiber advised that the creek is located very close to the property line (approximately twenty to thirty feet) so there is a very narrow band of upland area right now. However, the plan is to dig that down close to the elevation of the creek in order to make it a higher frequency during the year and then plant wetland plantings within that area.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if water will extend northward? Mr. Seiber replied it would not and there is no mitigation planned to the north.
Mayor ProTem Crawford realizes that, but asked if the mitigation plan will affect the area to the north? Mr. Seiber replied it will not and further explained the plan is lowering the band next to Johnson Controls. He added they are also excavating in another area to make it a suitable wetland.
Mayor ProTem Crawford understands they will then not see any ponding of water or water in upland areas that does not currently exist. Mr. Seiber replied that will not occur adjacent to these homes.
Councilman DeRoche agrees with Mayor ProTem Crawford’s assessment about the cul-de-sac situation and other emergency vehicles. However, Councilman DeRoche stated he will support the motion because he has taken into account the planning and scrutiny given to the plan, and the quality of the use of the land.
Councilman Schmid shares Mayor ProTem Crawford and Councilwoman Lorenzo’s concerns and added he believes sometimes land is not ready to develop and sometimes it is not developable, and noted that is not Council’s responsibility. However, Councilman Schmid believes it is Council’s responsibility to do what is best for the City of Novi and follow its ordinances when they are adopting similar plans. Councilman Schmid advised that the Fire Department has said that they do not support this project and ask that the applicant provide details of a secondary emergency access road on the engineering plans. Councilman Schmid reminded Council that they have held up other developments for years because they could not meet the ordinances and he does not believe the plan is ready for adoption. Therefore, Councilman Schmid will not support the motion.
Councilman Kramer reminded Council the approval is contingent upon the Fire Department’s approval of the plan.
Mayor ProTem Crawford added that the Planning Commission’s approval was contingent upon the applicant providing details of a secondary emergency access road and not just an agreement that they have use of a road. Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if they have pursued access to the west? Mr. Seiber replied they have and the property owner has not responded.
Mayor ProTem Crawford believes that agreement would give the applicant a temporary access road that they could relinquish when the development is completed in the future. Mayor ProTem Crawford does not believe the plan is acceptable as it is now because there is no secondary access.
Mr. Kriewall noted that this parcel of property is obviously a left over piece and the access to this development will be no worse than Marlson, Durson or Stassen. Further, they have had many dealings with the people that own the property to the south regarding sanitary sewer and water main easements, and they just do not want to cooperate in any way with the city. Mr. Kriewall added there has also been a stream of developers in this community that have attempted to purchase the eighty acres for the past fifteen years and the owner refuses to discuss a sale or cooperate in any manner. From that standpoint, Mr. Kriewall does not believe there is any other alternative for this parcel than the layout that has been provided. Frankly, Mr. Kriewall does not believe they would want a secondary road into Johnson Controls because that could cause some potential commercial or industrial traffic to travel into this residential area.
Mayor ProTem Crawford stated based upon Mr. Kriewall’s statement in regard to additional commercial traffic, he assumes it would be a break away gate and would not be an accessible road for residents or anyone else.
Mayor McLallen noted these issues cannot be resolved tonight and reminded Council all they have before them is a tentative approval. She added if the applicant wants a final approval, he must come back and resolve these issues.
Mayor ProTem Crawford stated if that is their intent and yet the applicant is telling them tonight that they cannot resolve these issues, then it does not make sense to approve tonight’s request for tentative preliminary plat approval.
Mayor McLallen advised that is what this motion will permit the applicant to do.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked if Council has adequate reasons to postpone this matter in terms of the cul-de-sac length? Mr. Watson believes the issue is just a decision put before Council. He explained either they will waive it and provide the variance for that based upon the hardship they are claiming to the parcel or they do not believe that they have shown sufficient hardship. As to the emergency access, Mr. Watson advised he understood that the motion was directing the petitioner to resolve that issue with the Fire Department. Further, if he could not resolve it by the time of final preliminary plat approval, then Council will not have a final preliminary plat before them.
Councilwoman Lorenzo restated that her continued support of this project depends upon secondary access.
Councilwoman Mutch understood that Mr. Kriewall stated that this particular street and its configuration is not significantly different from the situations they would find on Marlson, Durson and Stassen. She also believes someone else commented that they will continue to run into this problem where there are ribbon lots or pieces of acreage with only one street in and that the size of the lot is not going to make a difference. She asked if someone could comment further about this issue.
Mr. Kriewall presumes that they will plat the eighty acres to the south at some point and at that time, the planners will require that they make a connection to this roadway. Consequently, the problem will get resolved at that point.
Councilwoman Mutch understands that, but she believes the concern was about what will happen in the mean time. She is pointing out that Mr. Kriewall stated that it is very similar to existing situations where they do not seem to have had a problem and she is asking how similar are the situations. She further asked if the length of the cul-de-sac is about the same? Mr. Kriewall replied that the length is about the same.
If they blocked any one of those streets at Clark, Councilwoman Mutch asked whether it would be significantly different than if they blocked another street? Mr. Kriewall agreed it would.
Vote on CM-97-12-389: Yeas: McLallen, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch
Nays: Crawford, Schmid
BREAK - 9:45 P.M. until 10:00 P.M.
5. Request for Approval of Zoning Map Amendment 18.572 - Biltmore Properties from R-A, Residential Acreage to RM-1, Low Density, Low-Rise, Multiple-Family Residential District or any other appropriate zoning district. Property located north of Twelve Mile Road, west of Novi Road
Mary Jukuri advised the property is located in a residential transition area with higher density residential, commercial and future office uses to the east and south; transitioning to lower density single family residential districts. She added it is master planned for R-4 to the north and R-1 to the west. Ms. Jukuri noted that the site is long and narrow, and is approximately a half mile long by approximately 630 feet wide and has more than five acres of wetlands on the south and east sides, and a second generation woodland on the north part of the property. Ms. Jukuri advised they are requesting a rezoning for the front five acres to OS-1 and the remaining twenty eight acres to RM-1. Ms. Jukuri stated this rezoning will bring the property into full compliance with the intended land use that they specify in the city’s 1993 Master Plan. Ms. Jukuri continued by stating that wetlands heavily impact the OS-1 parcel and will not support office development. However, it will accommodate an entrance road from Twelve Mile Road and it requires only one wetland crossing at the narrowest point of the wetland (thirty to forty foot stretch). Ms. Jukuri reported this results in the front five acres having a no load road for the first seven hundred feet and gives the site tremendous curb appeal off Twelve Mile and limiting the visual impact of development on Twelve Mile Road. Ms. Jukuri advised that they anticipate they can develop the RM-1 property with no impacts to wetlands and leave the woodlands area largely intact and preserved as a continuous stand of woods. Further, homeowners of the property will have access not only to the open space on the site, but also to the city park to the north and northwest on Twelve ½ Mile Road. Ms. Jukuri added they have also shown the ability for a stub street connection to the west that will ultimately lead to Novi Road and as necessary, an emergency access to Twelve ½ Road.
Ms. Jukuri reported Biltmore Properties proposes to construct "For Sale" condominiums because they believe the real market demand for this type of unit is largely unmet in Novi. Ms. Jukuri displayed a drawing of a preliminary concept of a proposed townhouse unit that Biltmores Properties is currently building in the northeast side of Ann Arbor. She explained they will be upscale units with attached garages, brick facades and architectural detailing.
In summary, Ms. Jukuri stated that the proposed rezoning is in full compliance with the city’s 1993 Master Plan including the recent Master Plan update in March when the Planning Commission removed the PD-1 option from the residential portion, but affirmed the RM-1 Master Plan designation. Further, Biltmore Properties commits to building a high quality, "For Sale" condominium development with a 700 foot no-load road and no impact to wetlands except for the one entrance road crossing. Lastly, she restated they believe this development will fill a small, but an important market niche that is currently unfilled in Novi today.
According to the drawings, it seems to Councilman Schmid that they could not build a building on this land anyway. Ms. Jukuri agreed they could not build on the OS-1 portion.
Councilman Schmid asked why would it not be better to leave it as multiple since it is unbuildable anyway? Ms. Jukuri agrees with the question and they have had lengthy discussions with Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Rogers, and added that the Planning Commission has also discussed this matter. She explained the Master Plan states that this should be office use. Ms. Jukuri then referred to Section 25-18 in the Zoning Code and advised the zoning allows for a service drive access from a multi-family district through a nonresidential district. Further, there is another portion of the zoning ordinance (Section 25-06) that does not require them to have the front parcel rezoned to something other than single family residential. She explained they cannot have an access connection to a single family residential district, but they can if it is zoned either multi-family or a nonresidential district. Ms. Jukuri advised they had originally proposed RM-1 for the entire parcel based on the Planning Commission’s discussion. However, after further consideration among themselves, they decided that they should just move forward with full compliance with the Master Plan.
Councilman Schmid understands that they will build nothing on it; Ms. Jukuri agreed.
Councilman Schmid asked what is the zoning to the west of the property? Ms. Jukuri replied the zoning is RA and currently there are some large acreage homes on Dixon Road.
Mayor McLallen noted that the property is currently zoned RA and the Master Plan is a split zoning with the Twelve Mile frontage being OS-1 and the northerly portion of the property is zoned as RM-1, which the petitioner is saying they will stay in compliance with. However, when Mr. Rogers submitted his review of the property, his recommendation and the recommendation that he took to the Planning Commission was to have the entire piece of a like zoning.
Mr. Rogers agreed that was his recommendation. However, upon further research he discovered there was an alternative approach of running a roadway through an OS-1 district which is the zoning to the east. Further, since the property has substantial wetlands that cannot be used for density computations under the recent amendment, Mr. Rogers advised that it was then acceptable to the Planning Commission, to the developer and to him. Consequently, he offers the alternative option of leaving the zoning consistently for about 600-630 feet in depth on Twelve Mile Road. Mr. Rogers added although they have not used it for density computation, they show a future right-of-way taking approximately 103-104 feet for a Twelve Mile widening. Mr. Rogers stated they have also provided a forty three foot setback for Twelve ½ Mile Road that they have not used for the density computation. However, Mr. Rogers advised they are legitimately using the internal roadway system for density computations.
Councilman Schmid noted there is single family residential to the west of this property. Mr. Rogers agrees and believes there are six to eight homes on large parcels.
Councilman Schmid asked where does the stub street on the west lead to? Mr. Rogers believes the applicant does not intend to provide that. However, he added that they do have a stub into Society Hill at the north.
Councilman Schmid asked if that meets the ordinance? Mr. Rogers advised the applicant has an emergency access to Twelve ½ Mile Road.
Councilman Schmid asked why would Mr. Rogers recommend multiple zoning on this narrow strip with the large parcel lots to the east? Mr. Rogers replied this piece of property had to be sensitively designed. He believes the developer has positioned the buildings at forty five degree angles, they have preserved the wetlands and woodlands and he believes it does work with the curvilinear street system. Mr. Rogers stated he believes that someone will consolidate the lots to the west that front onto Dixon Road and bring in a single-family, R-1 half acre subdivision design as master planned. Mr. Rogers does not believe anyone has ever suggested that they rezone that area to more RM-1. He believes this is probably the last RM-1 parcel other than at Nine Mile Road and Haggerty that is undeveloped.
Councilman Schmid asked why is this better suited for 181 condominiums as opposed to 15 or 30 single family homes? Mr. Rogers replied those are alternatives and he believes either plan can work. He explained they could have any of the single family configurations. Mr. Rogers noted that the plan before them does not maximize out the straight RM-1 and he recalled that it amounts to approximately six dwelling units per acre. Consequently, it is very low density even with the RM-1 design plan.
Councilman Schmid asked if there is a time and place for cities to stop having multiple development. Mr. Rogers believes it has already happened in Novi. He explained except the NOBE rezoning on Beck Road, Main Street Village and the two PUD’s there have been no rezonings to RM-1 that he knows of in the last ten to fifteen years. He added nearly half their population in multiple dwellings are mobile homes.
Councilman Schmid started out by supporting this project, but he continues to see massive traffic generators. Although he understands it is only a zoning issue that is before them tonight, the positive side of this plan is that it is for condominiums .
Councilwoman Lorenzo shares Councilman Schmid’s concerns. She advised that she would have preferred to see this parcel zoned as R-1 because the density is in the western half on the western property boundary in the Master Plan. Councilwoman Lorenzo advised it was a great issue when Society Hill came before the Planning Commission and it was a great issue after Society Hill when they removed the PD-1 option from that property. She would have preferred to see this changed to single family, but it was not. Councilwoman Lorenzo will support the Master Plan in this location at this time. However, she is going to draw the line in the sand and although any property owner to the west can come forward with a future rezoning, she can say that she will not support any future rezonings to multiple westerly of this site.
Councilwoman Lorenzo moved to approve Zoning Map Amendment No. 18.572 from R-A, Residential Acreage to RM-1 and for the southerly portion of the property parcel 22-10-400-037 from R-A to OS-1 subject to two conditions. Councilwoman Lorenzo explained the first condition will be to increase the landscaping berm on the westerly property boundary from 4' 6" to between 6' to 8'. She advised the reason for this condition is to maintain compatibility between this RM-1 zoning and what she hopes will be at least R-1 zoning in the future. She explained when she was a member of the Planning Commission’s Implementation Committee and they were studying the creation of a noise ordinance, they learned that in terms of the absorption sounds, the greater the mass of the berm, the greater the effectiveness of absorbing the sound. Councilwoman Lorenzo has taken that idea and the land available for a berm on this site, and come up with 6' to 8' to which the applicant is agreeable.
Further, Councilwoman Lorenzo advised the second condition is to prohibit outside parking within the 50' adjacent to the westerly property boundary for the purpose of sound absorption so that in the future when they have single family to the west, they will not have a situation where they will have parking lots directly abutting the single family backyards. Councilwoman Lorenzo advised she has discussed this with Mr. Watson and he advised her that he believes this is an appropriate approach for this type of rezoning application. Councilwoman Lorenzo added she has also confirmed this with the applicant and his attorney.
Mr. Kohls, attorney for the applicant interjected, those conditions are acceptable to the petitioner.
CM-97-12-390: Moved by Lorenzo, Seconded by Crawford, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Zoning Map Amendment No. 18.572 to rezone the southerly portion of the applicant’s property, parcel 22-10-400-037 from Residential Acreage (R-A) to Office Service District (OS-1) and to rezone the remaining balance of the property in the application from Residential Acreage (R-A) to Low-Density, Low-Rise, Multiple-Family Residential (RM-1) subject to increasing the landscaping berm on the westerly property boundary from 4' 6" to between 6'- 8' where practical and the prohibition of outside parking within the 50' adjacent to the westerly property boundary for the purpose of sound absorption
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if there is sufficient room for a berm requirement? Mr. Kohls replied that is an engineering issue that they have not reached, but it may require some use of retaining walls in areas of the property. However, he believes it is possible depending upon the height of the berm in a particular location that they require a retaining wall on one side or the other. Mr. Kohls added they will work with the city as they implement the berm requirement under Section 25-09 which does allow exceptions.
Although Councilman Kramer believes the contingencies are reasonable, he further believes that they sound like site plan issues. Therefore, he would ask if they are appropriate for a rezoning. Mr. Watson replied the contingencies are appropriate. He explained there was a Michigan Supreme Court case that dealt with the issue of conditional rezoning and coincidentally, it dealt with providing landscape buffering and other types of mechanisms to protect adjacent property. He advised the court held that it was enforceable in that case.
Councilman Kramer understands that they do not constrain the petitioner to build what they have shown Council. However, if they were to build something of that nature in terms of garages and driveways, he asked if that is considered to be outside parking. He explained at this point there are no conceptual parking lots, but there are driveways and garage doors. As Mr. Watson understood the motion, outside parking meant carports and parking lots as opposed to a driveway in front of a garage.
Councilman DeRoche asked if it would be easier if they removed the first condition now if it is going to have to be revisited for engineering purposes in the future? Councilwoman Lorenzo would prefer to maintain her motion as stated.
Councilman Schmid asked when was this negotiated? Councilwoman Lorenzo would not call it a negotiation. She explained she consulted Mr. Watson about her idea who asked for further clarification in terms of an exact berm height. She added she met with the applicant and told him that she would prefer to approve this project subject to a conditional rezoning to protect the westerly property, and they told her they were agreeable to that condition.
Councilman Schmid believes that is Councilwoman Lorenzo’s right. However, he thinks it would be helpful if those negotiations took place across the Council table so he could totally understand her reasoning.
Councilman Schmid admitted he is not well versed in berms and asked if it would be a better approach to have six foot trees rather than a massive berm. Further, from an aesthetic standpoint, he is also concerned about the construction of walls.
Councilwoman Mutch is not a fan of berms because she thinks there are other ways to protect future residents and noted there are other options available through the ordinance. Further, using up that much property to create what she sees as an oversized fox hole situation does not appeal to her. Councilwoman Mutch fully supports the goal of having the kind of environment where people have a peaceful neighborhood. However, she restated she believes there are different ways to do that and to say arbitrarily that a berm must run the full length of the property would require an engineered solution that might not be attractive to those who have to face a wall. Councilwoman Mutch thinks it may be defeating some of the purpose of having a berm in the first place. Councilwoman Mutch suggested that the whole question of berming be addressed at a later time. Councilwoman Mutch hesitates to vote against the motion because she thinks the petitioner presented a good argument for the rezoning.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked whether amending the motion by adding "where practical" would be sufficient. Councilwoman Mutch would be more comfortable with that language.
Councilwoman Mutch asked if there is any particular advantage to the city in having separate zoning as opposed to single zoning? Councilwoman Lorenzo replied there are two advantages; one, is they are in compliance with the Master Plan and secondly, she believes they are reducing the amount of density by approximately eleven units. She explained just the zoning change by zoning OS instead of RM-1 reduces the density on this project.
Councilwoman Mutch does not believe there is a way to hold the applicant to that lesser number of units.
Mayor McLallen advised if they rezoned everything to RM-1, the land that becomes available for density calculations permits the other eleven units.
Councilwoman Mutch understands that, but she said it does not appear that there is a way to say that it makes more sense in some ways to have this under a single zoning classification because it is a single project and still hold them to the proposed number of units. She added that the Master Plan does not take into consideration in every case what is actually there and what they can do with the property. She explained the city might master plan something for office, but if a developer cannot build upon it according to the ordinances in place, to hold it to the Master Plan seems counterproductive. She just wondered if there was a good-logical reason other than conforming to the Master Plan that does not necessarily take into account what can actually be built.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked whether they considered making the emergency access road a permanent access road to Twelve ½ Road? Mr. Kohls replied that Biltmore is committed to insure that the development would allow an appropriate ingress/egress for all residents to Twelve ½ Mile Road whenever it is ready to handle that traffic.
Mayor McLallen understands that the first condition is to increase the berm to a six to eight foot berm where appropriate.
Councilwoman Lorenzo restated where it is practical it is not an option and where it is not practical they do not do it.
Mayor McLallen has reservations for conditioning a rezoning approval on a site plan that they have not seen. She is not certain whether they are confining a developer to something that perhaps is not as advantageous as something they would present in a site plan. However in this case, she agrees this particular developer can comply with these two requests. Although Mayor McLallen finds the conditioning unacceptable, this developer has found them acceptable and added he also controls the land. Consequently, Mayor McLallen will support the motion.
Councilman Schmid asked if it is the developer’s intent to build condominiums? Mr. Kohls replied it is.
Vote on CM-97-12-390: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
6. Request for Approval of Zoning Map Amendment 18.559 - Ramco Gershenson from R-A Residential Acreage and C, Conference, to R-C, Regional Center, or any other appropriate zoning district, property located south of Twelve Mile Road West of Donelson Drive
Mayor McLallen noted they had three members of the audience make statements about this property. She advised Mr. Bowman supports the rezoning, but has concerns about regional traffic implications; the Taubman Group does not support the rezoning because of concerns about regional traffic implications and Andrew Mutch also raised concerns about regional traffic implications. The Mayor added that she received a telephone call from the owner of Vic’s Market and he also has concerns about regional traffic implications. Further, Mayor McLallen noted Councilwoman Mutch has a letter from an audience member that was not read earlier.
Councilwoman Mutch read from a letter received from Rob Mitzel which states he believes replacing the convention zoning with R-C would be acceptable so that they can eliminate conference zoning entirely from the ordinance. Mr. Mitzel continued by stating that he opposes the rest of the R-C zoning because he believes Novi already has a healthy regional center as it is and that they need high tech development (OST) so that those who live in Novi and have technical degrees can also work within the community. Therefore, Mr. Mitzel would recommend OST for the remainder of the property.
Michael Ward from Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust advised they have been a community resident since 1979 with the commencement of West Oaks I and followed with the completion of West Oaks II five or six years later. He added they are currently in the process of a $4.0M renovation at West Oaks I. He reported the proposed West Oaks Galleria will sit west of West Oaks I and II, and has been in various phases of planning for approximately three years. He explained it has taken that period of time because of the many different considerations for this property and added they have followed the advice of the city’s administration, staff and consultants. He reported they did not accept some of their earlier concepts and one of the earlier issues was about the configuration from the standpoint that the city did not want to see another West Oaks II that backed up to Twelve Mile Road and Donelson Drive. That brought them to a preliminary conceptual configuration which they will have the opportunity to explore with Council at a site plan level.
Mr. Ward advised in order to create a site plan unlike West Oaks II, they had to purchase approximately another 264 feet to take all of the unsightly things (receiving, servicing and rubbish) that everyone was concerned about in respect to a conventional strip open center. Mr. Ward advised the 264 feet is the principal piece of property that they are asking to be zoned and added they needed that piece zoned in order to provide 360 degree parking around the site about which Mr. Sutschek will address.
Further, Mr. Ward advised that they fully acknowledge that the primary issue with respect to the rezoning is traffic. He reminded Council that they have more than $150M in assets sitting on the west side of Novi Road and they have no intention of jeopardizing those assets with another proposed development. Mr. Ward advised they had a beneficial meeting with the Taubman organization and he thinks they have identified a great deal of the traffic concerns. He even believes they came to an agreement on a resolution of those concerns.
Mr. Ward understands the ordinance requires zoning before site plan approval and added that same type of policy is also the nature of their business. He explained they must be zoned before they can site plan. He noted they have some very exciting users that are anxious to be a part of this community. However, he noted they cannot get a written commitment from them until they have a piece of property with appropriate zoning. Further, as he understands the Taubman organization’s concern, it is not so much the cure of the problem as it is the funding and scheduling. Mr. Ward agrees those are legitimate issues and he thinks as they go through their process that they will be able to satisfy the concerns of the Planning Commission and Council, and that the funding and scheduling will be in accordance to accommodate the project.
Mayor McLallen stated for the record there are three letters in Council’s packet from landowners in Section 15 that support the rezoning.
Joe Sutschek, Director of Development for Ramco-Gershenson advised that the seventy acres of land of which they have control is a part of a much larger development area bounded on the east by Donelson Road, on the north by Twelve Mile Road, on the west by CSX railroad tracks and on the south by I-96. Mr. Sutschek advised that the area is currently in three zoning designations; Residential Acreage (R-A), Regional Center District (R-C) and Conference District (C). Further, the seventy acres under their control is zoned as follows: thirty eight acres are as zoned R-C and fourteen acres are zoned as C. Mr. Sutschek advised that those two districts represent 74% of the seventy acres that they have under control. He advised the remaining twenty six acres are currently zoned as R-A. Mr. Sutschek advised their request is to rezone the residential and the conference center portion of the property to R-C and consolidates the seventy acre R-C parcel. Mr. Sutschek noted that the Master Plan recognizes that this area is not suited for high quality residential development. Further, if they were to combine the area currently zoned R-C with the portion of the seventy acres which they currently show as R-C on the Master Plan, they would have approximately fifty five acres of the seventy acres either currently zoned or shown on the Master Plan as commercial. He advised it is only the westerly 264 feet of the land that they have under control that is shown as Office on the Master Plan and not Commercial that they are requesting to rezone it as Commercial.
Mr. Sutschek advised they cannot comply with the request given to them approximately three years ago when they first began looking at this project by the planning staff. That direction was to provide a high quality transitional commercial development to the future office development further to the west. Mr. Sutschek advised they did not want to repeat the current situation where they have the rear of the existing commercial shopping center facing Donelson Road. He said if they were to develop the land as zoned, they would have to develop the commercial with the service portion development facing one of the public streets or the adjacent private property. Therefore, Mr. Sutschek believes the site is not wide enough to do anything different.
Mr. Sutschek continued by stating that two things would have to happen in order to provide that high quality transition. He advised the land would have to be consolidated under one ownership and the commercial zoning would have to be extended approximately 264 feet further west than currently shown on the Master Plan. Mr. Sutschek believes they have accomplished exactly what the city was looking for by changing the zoning as they have proposed. Mr. Sutschek reported they can develop an entertainment project that consists of high quality theaters, entertainment and shopping. He continued by stating that they will orient the buildings in a ring; the fronts of the stores will face one of four public roadways and all of the service activities are hidden from view because they take place in the center of the development. Mr. Sutschek restated that in order to accomplish that, the land must be consolidated into a logical zoning package and it needs to be approximately 260 feet wider to create enough parking on all sides of the project so that all stores front the four surrounding public roadways. Mr. Sutschek added this development would enhance the development of the OST development further to the west. He explained they would extend what is currently Donelson Drive which travels in a westerly and northerly direction further to the west along the southern boundary of the development and then north along the westerly boundary of the development. Mr. Sutschek advised that would open the OST area with a new public roadway and provide access to the interior of that area where access does not currently exist.
In summary, Mr. Sutschek advised they are requesting the property to be rezoned to R-C, Regional Center District.
Councilwoman Lorenzo noted there was a memo in the packet that she sent to Mr. Wahl for Mr. Capote regarding his professional opinion as the city’s Economic Development Coordinator. She advised that they discussed this matter and she asked that he restate some of his comments. Councilwoman Lorenzo advised her first question was whether R-C or OST zones in this particular location best serve the city in achieving their economic development goals (diversification of tax and job base, providing most tax dollars with the least amount of impact to the quality of life in Novi, consideration of personal property taxes, eligibility for Category A state grants, overall traffic generated, trip generation and the number of high paying jobs created).
Mr. Capote replied the OST ordinance would be consistent in accomplishing the city’s economic development goals for diversifying the city’s tax base, increasing personal property and limiting traffic congestion. Mr. Capote believes they clearly delineate the overall trip generations in the traffic study.
Councilwoman Lorenzo recalled Mr. Capote mentioned to her he felt that in terms of the numbers, OST zoning would actually offset the trips as compared with the existing commercial zoning. Mr. Capote agreed and added that the peaks would occur during different periods of the day. He explained there would be earlier peaks for the OST development and they would not realize those peaks for the retail until later in the morning and later throughout the day. He added the number of trips generated for an OST development during the day would be much less. Mr. Capote noted weekend traffic for OST development is virtually nonexistent as they were able to observe in Farmington Hills.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked Mr. Capote to address the Category A grants. It is Mr. Capote’s understanding that the eligibility for a Category A type grant for a regional center would not be applicable as it does not generate higher paying technical engineering type jobs as the OST would attract.
Councilwoman Lorenzo stated this is foremost a land use issue and she believes if they are concerned about traffic, then they are concerned about land use because the two go hand in hand. Councilwoman Lorenzo stated the City of Novi is a business and as a Council member she has to look at this as a land use issue in a practical and shrewd business-like manner. Councilwoman Lorenzo agrees they will have development in this area. However, the critical issue is what type of land use and development will best serve the city in achieving their economic development goals. Councilwoman Lorenzo stated the land use facts and comparisons as Mr. Capote has just confirmed lead to the conclusion that the city has reached its threshold of new regional center development. Based on these facts, it is Councilwoman Lorenzo’s opinion that they should not expand it any further west. Further, in comparing R-C with OST zoning in this location, Councilwoman Lorenzo believes Donelson Drive provides a natural break and transition. Councilwoman Lorenzo stated they have highway visibility which is essential for OST. She added they have higher personal property tax and higher paying, more diverse jobs for OST. Further, OST would place much less of a demand for police and fire service; it would provide eligibility for Category A state grants; trip generation would occur at different times of the day and would offset the trip generations for Twelve Oaks, the Town Center and Main Street, and OST would be approximately one eighth the amount of traffic as they will see with the proposal before them. Further, the overall traffic generated by R-C development in this particular proposed development is 17,666 trips per day versus 2,100 overall trips per day for OST use. As for jobs, Councilwoman Lorenzo stated this type of development that they are proposing will provide more minimum wage jobs as opposed to more higher paying jobs with OST. In addition, the traffic will not compete with the surrounding land uses. Councilwoman Lorenzo does not believe they will deprive Novi citizens without this entertainment center. She explained similar projects are in the works in two of their neighboring communities. Further, the negative impact of R-C zoning and this entertainment center in particular clearly outweighs any positives. Councilwoman Lorenzo added that the voters have not requested this type of development and she believes the new Council has an excellent opportunity to take a real leadership position by setting the tone for future OST development in this area that will best enable the city to achieve its economic development goals providing the most tax dollars with the least amount of impact. Councilwoman Lorenzo not only believes that this is a bad business decision, but she also believes it borders on corporate insanity. Councilwoman Lorenzo added that they have the option of moving forward at another time with particular rezonings perhaps even north of the site to OST.
With that, Councilwoman Lorenzo moved that Zoning Map Amendment 18.599 be rezoned from R-A, Residential Acreage and C, Conference District to OST in this location.
Seeing no support for the motion, Mayor McLallen advised the motion failed.
Councilman Kramer would like to discuss traffic since it is the major area of concern. Further, he is interested in Mr. Watson’s opinion concerning the function of resolving the issue of traffic versus zoning and site plan issues. Councilman Kramer reminded they have had considerable discussion at the table regarding the currently zoned R-C property. He recalled the Council’s consensus was that R-C was an appropriate land use given the design orientation of West Oaks II which has the backs of the buildings facing Donelson Drive. As represented earlier, Councilman Kramer advised that they had attempted to use the property as office for many years without any offers. Further, he believes the viability of the R-C is obvious and noted shortly after moving to that designation, the city began to get proposals. Councilman Kramer believes the orientation of the buildings is sensitive because it addresses the adjacent conditions as was presented earlier. He also believes it sets up the property to the west for other office related use. Although Councilman Kramer agrees the traffic issues need resolution, he believes the plan is innovative and sensitive. He also believes it provides the infrastructure to support further development.
Councilman Kramer understands there is an agreed upon major issue about how to handle the eventual traffic that this development will cause. He asked what are the requirements in terms of resolving that at a zoning level versus a site plan level. Mr. Watson stated if they are talking about impacts on the adjacent streets in terms of causing problems to levels of service and so forth, he believes it is more of a zoning than a site plan issue. Mr. Watson explained suppose they rezoned the property and when they submit a project, it is simply a principal use in a zoning district which under the R-C District is probably not most of the uses. He further explained when a plan comes in as a principal use permitted, they do not really address the level of service questions because it is presumed once it is rezoned, that other than ingress, egress, access and circulation issues within the site, that the level of service questions were things that were considered when they rezoned the property. The one time they do consider it on a project by project basis is when they are considering a special land use. He explained they look at the impacts on infrastructure, including roads based upon whether it is detrimental in comparison to the principal uses.
Councilman Kramer asked when a single purpose development uses the entire land for its intended purpose, is it appropriate to resolve the basic traffic questions before doing the rezoning? Mr. Watson is saying that they cannot rely on being able to resolve those issues assuming that they come in with something as simple as a principal use permitted unless they simply relate the concerns to ingress and egress to the site, the typical acceleration, deceleration and left turn lanes and so forth under normal conditions.
Councilman Kramer suggested that they discuss the traffic issue further and added he would like to review the presentation from the developer and the city’s consultant.
Ralph Killian, Senior Vice President with Metro Transportation Group in Hanover Park, Illinois advised they were retained to prepare a traffic impact analysis for this project. He reported they have submitted a traffic study to the city and added that the city’s consultants have commented on it before the Planning Commission hearing. He advised they have continued to work with the city to incorporate their comments for further analysis. They have also met with the Department of Transportation to show what they were proposing since part of the road system is under their jurisdiction. In addition, they have met with representatives of the Taubman Company who also have provided input which again they are incorporating into the ultimate proposals for making this project work. At this point, Mr. Killian advised he would like briefly to review the proposed improvements that they have formulated to date. However, he would add that they continue to work on this as they receive input from different people and in particular, as MDOT reviews their proposal. He noted MDOT also has offered their own proposals that he will also share.
Mr. Kllian described the layout of the project and surrounding roads. He pointed to the roads they are proposing to add to accommodate the additional traffic that not only this development will generate, but also the traffic that approved unbuilt projects will generate. Mr. Killian advised they looked at Twelve Mile Road and in particular the intersection of Twelve Mile and Novi Road. He reported there are two scenarios. One scenario would be, what do they do with the existing roadway to accommodate this development. The second scenario would be, rather than upgrade the existing roadway which they will widen in the future as a boulevard section and throw all that initial work away, they asked whether they can implement part of the future boulevard cross section. Mr. Killian advised they would prefer to improve the Novi Road and Twelve Mile intersection to construct the boulevard through that intersection. He reported that would bring the level of service at that intersection up to a level that is better than what it operates today with the development traffic added to it and with all of the other unbuilt developments that have been approved added to it. Secondly, they would prefer to build the southern half of the boulevard along Twelve Mile Road from east of Novi Road west to west of their property. Mr. Killian advised this would provide the ultimate three lane cross section for the southern half of the boulevard along the entire site, existing West Oaks II and the proposed Galleria. At some future point in time when the city completes the boulevard, Mr. Killian advised they would simply add the northern part of the boulevard.
Mr. Killian reported they are also proposing some modifications along Novi Road. He reported they are proposing that they take advantage of the existing north bound left turn at the west bound off ramp. As everyone knows, there is a center left turn lane that goes over the bridge which is not used. Mr. Killian would propose that traffic desiring to go to the Galleria be allowed to turn left at this location and use the Donelson Drive connection to enter the project rather than travel to West Oaks Drive and make a left turn. That proposal is currently under review by MDOT to determine whether they can actually add another signal phase to that intersection.
Along with that improvement, they are proposing that the existing west bound off ramp be widened and the storage on that ramp lengthened. The reason for the widening is to create a second lane for through traffic west into the Galleria. The widening will also increase the storage for traffic exiting at Novi Road; today the ramp is four lanes wide. He reported they currently have a combination left and straight with a left turn lane. They are proposing to provide a dual left, a single through lane and a dual right.
Mr. Killian advised at the time they met with the Planning Commission, one Commissioner suggested that they see if they can accommodate traffic exiting the development and bring that traffic to a point and back onto the freeway so that the traffic would not have to exit onto Novi Road and then enter the freeway. Mr. Killian advised they took that suggestion to the State and the State suggested that they look at removing the existing on ramp west to where Donelson Drive is. Mr. Killian advised they think this is an excellent idea for many reasons. One reason is the confusion surrounding the current ramp. He explained an unfamiliar motorist does not know whether they are entering the freeway or entering something else. He further explained by removing the existing ramp, it looks like it is a road that goes into something. Along with proper signage and markings, Mr. Killian suggested that this would be the entry to the Galleria. Further, by providing a ramp at this location, they can then take advantage of traffic generated by the Galleria and by West Oaks I and II, get better use of Donelson Drive for that traffic to travel west on I-96 while at the same time, keep the traffic off Novi Road.
Mr. Killian advised they are also proposing to add a second right turn lane for traffic exiting West Oaks I at West Oaks Drive and Novi Road. In addition, Mr. Killian advised they have discussed the frontage road intersection and noted they have tried to keep traffic out of that intersection. Mr. Killian explained they are proposing to signalize that frontage road intersection, tie the signal into the existing West Oaks Drive Novi Road intersection and use this traffic signal to control the traffic at that intersection to allow inbound traffic the opportunity to make the left turn into the frontage road without blocking traffic that turns left into West Oaks Drive. Mr. Killian believes that is a substantial improvement over existing conditions.
Mr. Killian reported they are also proposing to signalize the intersection of West Oaks Drive and Donelson Drive. He explained the reason for that is the additional demand that they create for traffic entering and exiting the area.
Mr. Killian advised they are proposing to signalize the new north-south roadway at the west end of the site at its intersection with Twelve Mile Road and all three locations along Twelve Mile Road will have right turn lanes. As he indicated earlier, Mr. Killian restated they are looking at two options for Twelve Mile Road. He explained they are looking at either a newly built southern half of the boulevard which would be a three lane section essentially operating as a three lane roadway with one moving lane in each direction and one center lane for left turns until they build the northern half of the boulevard. If they cannot accomplish that, they would simply widen existing Novi Road from a two lane to three lane section from Novi Road to the west of the Galleria development.
Mr. Killian concluded by stating that is basically the road improvement program they are currently suggesting for this project. He restated they have presented this to the Planning Commission, to staff and consultants, to the Taubman Company, to MDOT, as well as the North Central Novi Traffic Planning Committee. Mr. Killian advised everyone is aware of what they are doing and they are trying to work with everyone to come to a consensus of the improvements and the aim is to maintain at least the same level of service at these intersections that exist today or better.
Councilman Schmid understands they have met with the Taubman Company and asked what were the results of that meeting? As he sees it, Mr. Killian does not believe there are any significant disagreements. He believes their concern is with the applicant’s ability to provide the improvements before the development opens for operation. He added there is also a question about their ability to finance these improvements. Mr. Killian noted one reason they are looking at alternatives is because if they were to build a boulevard cross section through the Twelve Mile, Novi Road intersection, there is the question of the availability of right-of-way. If they are unable to secure the right-of-way that would provide the ultimate improvement through that intersection now, then they would have to go to Plan B which is simply to improve the existing roadway within the existing right-of-way until such time they make the boulevard improvement.
Councilman Schmid asked Mr. Killian to comment on the Taubman Company’s concern with the timeliness based on when they can get the project done. Mr. Killian replied they must have these improvements in place for their development to function and therefore, having the improvements in place before the opening of the center is their intent.
Councilwoman Mutch recalled the Taubman Company representative mentioned concerns about funding approval. She is not certain whether they were just concerned about whether they could afford to do that, but she thought they were concerned about how much of the ultimate improvement would come at some cost to them as a property owner at the Twelve Mile and Novi Road intersection. Mr. Killian replied they have not specifically addressed that, but added there are several ways they can fund road improvements. He thinks they would like to explore all available options for funding whether it is 100% of their funds or whether it is a combination of public and private funds. He noted they would certainly look to the state for assistance in funding the ramp improvements at the interchange. Mr. Killian believes the primary concern is about the need to have these things in place for the development to function adequately and he restated it is their intent to have those improvements in place.
Councilwoman Mutch stated it seemed to her that the Taubman Company’s big concern was that they would not have the opportunity to come in later with additions to their own project and share the cost of improvements with other developers that Taubman would deem were necessary because of the traffic generated by all of the projects. Mr. Killian agreed that is a concern and Taubman would have to provide the same thing that Ramco-Gershenson did. Further, he would like to reiterate there are many projects approved by this city that really do not do anything as for contributing to the road improvements. He continued by stating what they are proposing to do is accommodate all of that while at the same time take care of their own needs at least to maintain the same level of service that is there today and added their aim is actually to improve on that.
Hypothetically, Councilwoman Mutch stated if the city rezones this property and the petitioner builds the project, and all the road improvements are in place before the center is open, then if Taubman or someone else were to come in and propose changes, Taubman or the other developers would have to address changes or levels of service from that point on. Councilwoman Mutch understands that Mr. Killian is saying that Ramco’s suggested road improvements would be accommodating the currently approved projects. Mr. Killian agreed.
Mr. Arroyo reported they have been working closely with the applicant’s traffic consultant, city staff and they have also met with the Taubman Company and their traffic representatives to try to address this issue. Mr. Arroyo advised they have made much progress and would like to give a brief overview of what they see as the key issues. Mr. Arroyo believes Mr. Killian did a good job of giving an overview of the proposed improvements and thinks although there are many improvements, he would say there are even some key improvements. Mr. Arroyo believes the most obvious improvement is the Twelve Mile Road improvement by providing a boulevard section through the intersection of Twelve Mile and Novi Road. Mr. Arroyo advised that intersection was identified as a critical intersection in terms of degradation of level of service when they looked at the total traffic scenario. He reported they concur that a six lane boulevard section through that intersection would improve it to an excellent level of service as compared with what it would be without that improvement. He noted it would be a Level of Service C during the afternoon peak hour. However, he added there are right-of-way issues that would have to be addressed. He thinks one issue talked about for years was that there are some structures (particularly the Midas building) that are close to the road. Mr. Arroyo advised the city’s consultants have been working on an ongoing right-of-way study at Twelve Mile Road and reminded Council that they are in line for funding for the boulevard improvements for Twelve Mile Road, but that funding is not programed for construction for another ten years. Consequently, the question comes down to, how can they make those improvements happen? Mr. Arroyo advised the traffic improvements proposed tonight are some interim improvements, but those will require funding and right-of-ways and are issues that need to be resolved.
Another critical component of this is getting people into this particular site. Mr. Arroyo explained this is a difficult site in terms of its location and the intersection of the west bound off ramp from I-96 with Novi Road is probably the critical intersection. However, Mr. Arroyo noted there are several improvements proposed there. He reported one is to allow the northbound left turn movement from Novi Road to travel westbound on Donelson Drive and access the site. However, that decision would be in MDOT’s hands.
Another improvement would be the addition of a lane to the westbound off ramp that would provide for that through movement. Further, there is a proposal to shift that ramp to the west to line up with Donelson Drive. Mr. Arroyo noted representatives from MDOT have attended some of their meetings (particularly the North Central Novi Traffic Committee meetings) and they are in the process of evaluating that. One of the concerns they have identified about moving the ramp to the west is the fact that as they move toward the west, they get closer to the uphill grade for the bridge that goes over the railroad tracks. He explained there is concern about trucks getting on in that area to make the grade if they sift the ramp to the west. However, they probably will not have an answer on that particular issue until some time in January or February. If MDOT does not approve that (the northbound lefts or the moving of the off ramp or the adding of the additional lane), that means much of that inbound traffic gets shifted to the north which means a substantial amount of inbound traffic will want to make a left turn at West Oaks Drive. Currently, Mr. Arroyo recalled during the Saturday peak hour that left turn is at Level of Service E and cannot handle much more additional traffic. Consequently, Mr. Arroyo reported they would need to add a second left turn lane for north bound traffic on Novi Road to go into West Oaks Drive. Mr. Arroyo added when they looked at the numbers, it is also likely that they will require the north bound second left turn lane to go west bound into West Oaks Drive regardless of whether they make the improvements at the west bound off ramp intersection. He further added just because they are looking at the most idealistic conditions, Level of Service E continuing for that northbound left turn at West Oaks Drive, there is still some concern about queuing in that area which they have not yet addressed.
Mr. Arroyo advised if they had a second left turn lane at that area, they would also have to widen West Oaks Drive to provide for two westbound through lanes because they could not take two left turn lanes and dump it into one lane. Therefore, there would be a need for improving West Oaks Drive to add a second westbound lane all the way to Donelson
Drive to accommodate that traffic. Mr. Arroyo advised the addition of a second northbound left turn lane widens out the profile of Novi Road and puts it even closer to the service drive that goes down to the DoubleTree hotel and makes that intersection more challenging. Therefore, there would likely be some rethinking about how that is going to work. He suggested shifting that over or restricting turning movements. He noted there was discussion of possibly signalizing that approach, but he thinks they should study it in more detail. Mr. Arroyo believes there are ways to address the inbound situation, but at this point they are concepts and they are anxious to hear from MDOT about the ones that will impact them. Further, if they get into the situation of providing for a second left turn lane for northbound Novi traffic turning into West Oaks Drive, that will obviously impact both sides of the roadway and they would have to widen Novi Road by six feet on either side.
Mr. Arroyo agrees they need appropriate funding to have these improvements occur and he believes it may involve a partnership. He explained this first came up with the Twelve Mile Road issue and advised the widening of Twelve Mile may involve higher city participation to try to move it up on priorities. Mr. Arroyo advised this would suggest they would potentially try to fund it through some alternative means or providing a higher local match. He added there were some concepts presented such as establishing a contract special assessment district for the improvement of Twelve Mile Road in order to get the property owners to share in the widening because it is obviously an improvement that will not only benefit this particular developer, but other developers including the Taubman Company.
From a level of service standpoint, Mr. Arroyo believes the comparisons in the report illustrate what happens with these improvements. Mr. Arroyos stated without the improvements there would be problems and with the improvements it appears they are getting close to agreeing upon a set of improvements that would provide for appropriate levels of service. In terms of trip generation, the report contains information that they typically provide for rezoning applications. However, Mr. Arroyo noted depending upon whether they look at the entire seventy acre site or the thirty two acres currently before them, they can see how they provide trip generation during existing zoning and proposed zoning, as well as OST. He noted OST has been an issue on other rezoning applications in this area and they have provided that comparison because he knows both the Planning Commission has looked for it and Council has expressed an interest in that information. Mr. Arroyo believes they have made substantial progress in trying to resolve exactly what improvements are needed in order to provide for acceptable levels of service.
Councilman Kramer understands that they can expect a response from MDOT by the end of February. Mr. Arroyo advised the MDOT representative at the North Central Traffic Committee indicated they would have some preliminary indications from a geometric standpoint about that time.
Considering this project alone, Councilman Kramer asked if there was any consideration about whether the Galleria project would impact the area on Twelve Mile Road where it decreases from two lanes to one and slightly east of the Taubman project. Depending upon the time of day, Councilman Kramer reported traffic can be backed up as much as a half mile. Mr. Arroyo replied the traffic study included the Twelve Mile and Novi Road intersection, but did not go to the east. Councilman Kramer suggested that may be an additional area at which they should look.
Given the elements that need to be looked at on Twelve Mile Road and resolving the issues surrounding West Oaks Drive, Councilman Kramer asked if it is likely that this could all come together in February.
Mr. Arroyo wondered if he is asking whether they will agree upon a conceptual road package improvement. Councilman Kramer believes they have a road team that includes Taubman, Ramco-Gershenson, MDOT, city consultants and staff, and the North Central Novi Traffic Committee and asked if they would be at a point where a plan will work. Mr. Arroyo thinks the deadline is reasonable if the team works diligently toward coming together with a package upon which they can agree.
Councilman Kramer asked if that would be an approximate schedule? Mr. Arroyo restated he believes it is reasonable.
Councilman Kramer asked whether the developer would be agree to postpone a decision on the zoning until they get this feedback if they can have it in a reasonable period.
Mayor McLallen advised they also can make a motion conditional upon that February meeting coming to a conclusion.
Councilman Kramer believes they need a more concluding focus on the traffic issue and one approach would be to postpone action and bring it back within the schedule they just discussed. He then asked the developer how he would feel about postponing this matter.
Mr. Ward replied he is disappointed and explained they would like to get the zoning behind them because it permits them to keep the rest of the project going. In due respect to Mr. Arroyo’s optimism, he thinks that trying to get final conclusive results from MDOT between now and February is unlikely.
Councilman Kramer asked if they should condition a rezoning upon returning with a consensus resolution which does not give a rezoning approval until they get to that point. Mr. Ward advised they do not have a problem saying when they come back before Council for site plan approval, they will have some positive resolutions to what Mr. Killian has already stated they will do as a developer before the project opening for business.
Councilman Kramer would favor conditional rezoning contingent upon resolving the issues. He still believes they need further closure on the road issues before they give the applicant free reigns.
Mr. Arroyo agrees with Mr. Ward in that they will not have final resolution on the road improvements at the end of February. He was referring to trying to develop a conceptual framework that everyone felt would be an appropriate way to proceed in terms of getting a preliminary indication from MDOT, getting involvement of the Oakland County Road Commission, getting all the impacted property owners and provide a framework for a conceptual road plan that would be far removed from final approval or final resolution.
Councilman DeRoche understands studies have been conducted for Twelve Mile east of Novi Road in the past and asked if that back up is at its worst primarily at rush hour or is that primarily generated from the regional center area traffic. Mr. Arroyo asked if he is referring to the entrance to Twelve Oaks Mall. Councilman DeRoche is referring to the back up on Twelve Mile approaching Novi Road, heading west on Twelve Mile Road. Mr. Arroyo replied right now there is an interchange with M-5 at Twelve Mile Road which cannot go north so therefore, they are seeing extremely high volumes of right turn traffic from westbound to northbound Novi. He recalled they are exceeding 550 during the p.m. peak hour which causes much of that backup. However, they anticipate much of that traffic will divert to M-5 once it opens to the north.
Councilman DeRoche asked Mr. Watson to comment on the recommendation that they put a restraint on any action they take tonight. If Mr. Watson understood Councilman Kramer correctly, he believes they would condition the motion on the various issues that they are discussing and that they should resolve them. He thinks the net effect of that is that the applicant does not have an effective rezoning until that occurs.
Councilman DeRoche asked if it would serve the function of preventing zoning which would prevent the development from moving forward until such time Council is satisfied with the plans for the traffic improvements? Mr. Watson replied it would.
In addition to what Mr. Arroyo reported, Mr. Wahl advised he has been chairing the North Central Novi Traffic Planning Committee that has been trying to initiate a plan that everyone could agree on as meeting the requirements of this kind of development. Mr. Wahl believes they have made much progress and that they are close to a consensus of what improvements are needed to meet the traffic projections. Further, Mr. Wahl believes they have made considerable progress and noted the reaction that they have had from other agencies (i.e., MDOT and Oakland County Road Commission). Mr. Wahl added he was surprised about the kind of positive reaction they have been receiving this early in the discussion. Mr. Wahl believes that saying that they have an implementation program for these improvements in the schedule about which they are talking is difficult. To restate what Mr. Arroyo reported, Mr. Wahl believes they are very close to have a plan upon which everyone can agree. Further, it has been Mr. Wahl’s experience that these types of projects can drive getting the improvements. He explained the committee has been inactive for almost one year because they did not have anything to focus on to pursue the improvements and they have made more progress in the last sixty days than the last sixty months because of this project.
Councilman Schmid stated it seems almost critical that they improve the ramp at some point in time. He continued by stating if they assume MDOT does not follow through, he thinks it would be extremely difficult for this project to work without that improvement.
If they reach a point where MDOT says they will not support improvements to the ramp to allow northbound left turns, Mr. Arroyo advised they would ask that there be a reconsideration by the applicant’s traffic consultant to come up with a new plan for ingress. Mr. Arroyo agreed with Councilman Schmid and added, based on current situations, he thinks there would be some serious concerns about northbound left turn movements and trying to get people into this site. Therefore, he believes that issue would have to be revisited because it is a major improvement and major component to the success of the operation of this general area.
Councilman Schmid stated he cannot see Novi Road or Twelve Mile Road accommodating the additional traffic. Councilman Schmid concurs with Taubman’s concerns about traffic. However, he is disappointed in all the years that Mr. Taubman has been here that he has not proposed widening Twelve Mile Road from Haggerty Road up to Novi Road because they have been using those roads for many years and have not done much to improve them. Councilman Schmid assumes they will join the applicant and improve the road to the west of this site. Councilman Schmid added he is mostly concerned about Taubman’s interest and he does not want this project to move forward if it causes problems for Taubman.
Councilman Schmid is also concerned about uses. He explained many times projects have come forward on this site that he has opposed and he is concerned about any projects that would be in direct competition with Twelve Oaks Mall. Councilman Schmid understands this is not a use issue, but he thinks it is an important issue when they are considering a rezoning of another thirty acres to commercial. Councilman Schmid thinks it is critical that they rezone this additional land to have a usable and quality development there. However, he restated his concern is about uses and asked Mr. Ward to address his concerns briefly. In respect to the uses, Mr. Ward advised it is their absolute purpose not to duplicate any of the other major uses that are in any of the other major shopping facilities. He said the entertainment concept is something new on the shopping center horizon across the country. Not only are those uses not present in Novi, Mr. Ward reported for the most part they are not present in the metropolitan Detroit area. Mr. Ward reminded Council they had this land tied up for quite some time as they tried to determine what they should do with it. He is grateful they did that because he cannot think of a development that he has been involved in more than thirty years that he has been more excited about than the potential of what can happen with this piece of real estate. Mr. Ward added they understand the site plan will not be a quick process, but he said if they do not have appropriate zoning, they cannot continue to keep their tenants waiting.
If they do not make the improvements to the ramp, Councilman Schmid asked if Mr. Ward believes they could come up with an alternative that would address the traffic issues. Mr. Ward replied Mr. Killian is the person they hired to give them those answers and he reported that Mr. Killian had a resolution to the Novi traffic problems before this ramp situation came up. He reminded Council that this issue did not occur until they appeared before the Planning Commission.
Councilman Schmid asked if Mr. Ward would guess that this is a possibility from an MDOT standpoint? Mr. Ward said it would be and noted that this was MDOT’s idea, not theirs.
Councilman Schmid is extremely concerned about traffic and asked what are they going to do if they do not make the improvements to the ramp? Mr. Arroyo clarified by stating there are many things that relate to this particular intersection at the westbound off ramp. He explained one is the proposal to allow northbound left turns from Novi Road to the ramp, another is the addition of a fifth lane to the westbound off ramp and the last is actually modifying the ramp by extending it to the west and possibly making a connection from Donelson to that. Mr. Arroyo noted all three of these improvements are interrelated and will play a significant role in making this proposal work. Mr. Arroyo added if MDOT does not permit any of the improvements, the next thing they will review is how much traffic can be accommodated by the additional northbound left turn lane into West Oaks Drive. Mr. Arroyo reported he does not have an answer about the level of how much additional traffic that can handle and whether it would be sufficient. Mr. Arroyo noted once they start increasing that volume of northbound left turn traffic, it is going to require more of the green time. He said if they start taking away the green time from other movements at that intersection, the traffic will begin to back up in other directions. Without further information, Mr. Arroyo does not how much further they can push that and make the whole network function.
Councilman Schmid needs some assurance that something positive will happen from a traffic standpoint and now Mr. Arroyo is telling him if one fails they are in trouble. Mr. Arroyo said it depended upon which ones fail and which ones do not. He added they need additional information from MDOT and they need other resolutions in place before there is 100% assurance that it will work and he cannot promise they will resolve it. However, he will state they have made much progress and they are working toward a solution.
If they assume the rezoning will take place tonight, Councilman Schmid asked if there is any mechanism in the site plan process to control the traffic situation. Mr. Watson replied they have limited controls. He explained the ordinance has certain items that the Planning Commission should look at during the site plan process. Among those items is where the traffic access to the site is such that vehicular congestion or other impairment of traffic may result from access to and from the site. Mr. Watson advised when they are talking about an impairment of traffic, they are talking about it from a point of view of access to and from the site as opposed to an impact on the overall network of the area. Mr. Watson advised they also look at circulation features within a site, but that is not the broader issue they are talking about here. Mr. Watson continued by stating that they do get into those broader issues when they are dealing with special land uses. However, he further explained when they have a special land use they compare its overall impact on the level of services on the broader road network with uses that they otherwise permit. However, Mr. Watson pointed out that it sounds like the types of things they are proposing in the R-C District are not really special land uses; apparently they are principal uses permitted.
Councilman Schmid said if they rezone this tonight, they have to hope that the traffic proposals will take place.
Mr. Killian added that when he met with MDOT, it was the first time in many years that he had met with a state agency where he received a very positive response to the issues. By positive, he means that MDOT were the ones to suggest the ramp relocation so they could benefit from traffic getting onto the freeway without putting it on Novi Road. Mr. Killian noted this rarely occurs.
Because of what MDOT must go through to justify the ramp location, Mr. Killian advised that might not be as easy to do, but added that is the least of the three issues that Mr. Arroyo mentioned. Mr. Killian advised they evaluated what they would need to do in case the northbound left turn did not happen and they determined that they need a dual left lane on Novi Road at West Oaks Drive and all of the things that go with it. Mr. Killian added they are currently evaluating the signal system along Novi Road at the request of the Taubman Company. He advised Taubman wants to make sure that the investment they made in the signal system will continue to function as it does today. In terms of MDOT, Mr. Killian feels positive that the ramp improvements and the signage are possible, but he is uncertain about the northbound left. However, he restated it will take some time for MDOT to complete their review.
Councilman Schmid stated assuming MDOT does go through with this, he asked if they are sticking to the statement that they would not open until completed. Mr. Killian assured Councilman Schmid that their business could not handle the traffic otherwise. Mr. Killian added if they have a dual left northbound at West Oaks, they would widen Novi Road on the west side by one lane and noted there is sufficient right-of-way both north and south of West Oaks Drive to accommodate that. Consequently, they do not need to make any improvements to the Taubman side of the road.
CM-97-12-391: Moved by Schmid, Seconded by Crawford, CARRIED: To approve Zoning Map Amendment No. 18.559 to rezone subject property located south of Twelve Mile Road and west of Donelson Drive from Residential Acreage (R-A) and Conference District (C) to Regional Center District (R-C) as presented
Mayor ProTem Crawford concurs with Councilman Schmid’s comments that to make this a viable piece, they need to have a solid piece of zoning. Mayor ProTem Crawford is confident that the petitioner will not develop to the magnitude they propose unless all of those traffic improvements are in place. Mayor ProTem Crawford believes the time to address all of their concerns is during the site plan process.
Councilman Kramer believes they are seeing a quality project and agrees they have made great progress on the proposal for the road design. However, he also believes there are some critical items and although he will continue to support the project, he thinks they are premature in timing and therefore, he will not support the motion at this time.
Councilwoman Lorenzo advised that Council has the option of initiating a rezoning and therefore, they could rezone those thirty acres to OST. Councilwoman Lorenzo thinks this is a major mistake and therefore, she will not support the motion.
Councilwoman Mutch recalled the petitioner commented that the traffic generated from OST zoning would occur during rush hour and that retail traffic comes at another time. She would like to consider the fact that much of the new residential, not just in the immediate area, will be traveling during rush hour and she believes they would not appreciate additional traffic at that time. Further, Councilwoman Mutch believes the most reliable guarantee that the applicant will make a good effort is the investment they already made in their adjacent properties. Councilwoman Mutch wishes there were some way they could get the commitments now rather than later because fortunes and businesses can change. However, she added that is a risk the city takes and sometimes when they do these things there is a risk.
Vote on CM-97-12-391: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Mutch, Schmid
Nays: Kramer, Lorenzo
Debbie Bundoff - Novi and Twelve Mile Road, advised two decisions made by Council will affect her directly. She explained the RM-1 rezoning decision created a small narrow long strip between Office and PD-1 with a RM on the other side. Further, Ms. Bundoff believes Council gave the RM development a mandate to protect the people to the west with a buffer because they are RA. Ms. Bundoff reminded Council that she is also zoned RA and asked if she should get the same option? Ms. Bundoff added Council specifically added it to one side and not the other. Ms. Bundoff hopes when they develop the site that they consider her. She explained she has an active farm and it leaves her without a buffer between her RA zoning and the multiple zoning.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION - Part II
7. Request for Approval of Ordinance No. 97-125.11 - To amend the requirements for the replacement of trees and woodlands use permits - I Reading
It is Mayor McLallen’s understanding that there was some question of having the Planning Commission review the ordinance before a second reading.
Councilwoman Mutch recalled Councilwoman Lorenzo offered a directive to send this back before the Planning Commission for their comments. She said if that is the essence of her directive, she will make that motion.
Mayor ProTem Crawford will not the support the motion because he does not believe that delaying this any longer for these types of minor changes is necessary. He recalled the major concern of some members was the understory removal. However, he believes they now have a letter from Ms. Lemke advising that what is in the current ordinance is sufficient and does not need changing. He added that he understands the current language is more stringent than what they proposed and they could move forward without sending it to the Planning Commission.
Linda Lemke recommended in her December 10 letter that they leave the language as it is. She advised there is a mechanism already in place for those who wish to clear what begins the woodlands through the Woodlands Review Board. She added there is also a list of acceptable replacements if they want to clear certain species. Further, Ms. Lemke believes Novi has the privilege of having a woodland’s ordinance instead of a tree ordinance and to continue a woodland’s ordinance they have to be concerned about how the woodlands grow and mature, and eventually climax for them which is ultimate succession. If they were to add anything to the ordinance, she would recommend that they provide a provision to direct single family homeowners where to go if they wish to clear a grub up to eight inch in dbh.
Mayor McLallen noted they had not seconded the motion.
CM-97-12-392: Moved by Mutch, Seconded by Kramer, CARRIED: To approve first reading of Ordinance No. 97-125.11 amending the requirements for the replacement of trees and woodlands use permits; send to Planning Commission for input prior to a second reading at the January 26, 1997 Council Meeting and strike language on page 4 (e) beginning with the word "notwithstanding" and ending with the word "wildflowers"
In light of Ms. Lemke’s remarks, Mayor McLallen asked if the makers of the motion would like to incorporate her comments.
Councilman Schmid asked Councilwoman Lorenzo to clarify her concerns.
Councilwoman Lorenzo believes the Planning Commission should look at the entire ordinance.
Councilman Schmid asked if they have made dramatic changes.
Councilwoman Lorenzo’s point is whether they are dramatic or minor, she thinks because the Planning Commission is the body that grants approvals or denials of woodland permits, they deserve to review it.
Councilman Schmid understands that Councilwoman Lorenzo believes that the changes are sufficient enough that they require the review of the Planning Commission.
Mayor McLallen restated there is a motion to approve the first reading, but send it to the Planning Commission for review before it comes back before Council for a second reading.
Councilwoman Mutch does not want to wait six months for the Planning Commission’s review. Mayor McLallen suggested that it come back before Council in January; Councilwoman Mutch agreed.
Councilwoman Lorenzo proposed that they amend the motion to strike language under Item (e) on Page 4 beginning with the word "notwithstanding" and ending with the word "wildflowers" which is per Ms. Lemke and Mr. Pargoff’s recommendation; Councilwoman Mutch agreed.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked whether the Planning Commission asked to look at these changes. Councilwoman Lorenzo is not certain whether they want to look at these particular amendments, but as a former member of the Planning Commission’s Environmental Committee, she advised they were looking at proposed amendments to the woodland’s ordinance. She assured Council that the Planning Commission is interested in any amendments made to the woodland’s ordinance.
Mayor ProTem Crawford understands that they did not initiate these changes; Councilwoman Lorenzo agreed.
Councilwoman Mutch does not believe that the Planning Commission reviews every ordinance that the city has with the intent of changing them. However, when the opportunity arises for review and directly deals with their area of responsibility, she believes Council should afford them the opportunity for input as a courtesy.
Mayor ProTem Crawford understands that it is Council’s area of responsibility to adopt ordinances. Although Councilwoman Mutch agrees, she added Council also seeks input from interested parties.
Mayor ProTem Crawford clarified by stating Ms. Lemke’s recommendation in the packet is to leave Section 5 as it was.
Ms. Lemke agreed and understood that Councilwoman Lorenzo recommended that they exclude the clause proposed to be added.
Vote on CM-97-12-392: Yeas: McLallen, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
Nays: Crawford, DeRoche
8. Request for Approval of Ordinance No. 97-18.137 - To amend the NCC Ordinance to modify the standards and uses allowed in the Non Commercial District - I Reading
Mayor McLallen noted Mr. Brateman suggested that they could rename the entire NCC which is actually only used along the Grand River Corridor to a more user friendly name and suggested they name it Grand River Corridor Commercial (GRCC).
Councilman Schmid asked Mr. Rogers to point out the major differences.
Mr. Rogers recalled they had to remove B-3 to protect the entry to what is now the Town Center by setting up some very stringent regulations (i.e., two acres, two hundred feet of frontage, one curb cut, etc.). Mr. Rogers added it was a mixed district and innovative at the time. Mr. Rogers advised approximately two thirds of the property has been built upon or spoken for uses now permitted under the NCC. However, there are still some difficult parcels located near Marty Feldman because of the multiple small ownerships. Mr. Rogers advised the Implementation Committee did not intend for this amendment to be just usable for Grand River Avenue. He explained they also wanted to use it in areas where they wanted a limited business district that would provide extraordinary greenspace and less build out on a given site. Mr. Rogers advised by reducing the minimum site size from two acres to one, keeping the two hundred foot frontage, allowing for two businesses to be in a common building with shared parking and shared entrances, and being more specific on the type of retail businesses and business services than what the ordinance now provides, they saw some value to move the remaining properties on Grand River as well as possible looking at other intersections that Council may seek to rezone in the future.
Mr. Rogers reported they also introduced some innovative things in this ordinance that may be applicable toward other districts. He advised the section on marginal access roads, floor area ratio, and open space ratio (OSR) are a few examples. He added that the Implementation Committee would like to introduce the OSR standard into other districts.
Councilman Schmid is still unclear, but understands the difference is instead of two acres they can have one acre, the setbacks are similar, and they have reduced the minimum seating from 150 to 50. Mr. Rogers agreed, but added there is a schedule for setbacks in the back and the only change appears in the one acre.
Councilman Schmid asked when would there be a use for a 50 seat restaurant that is not a fast food. Mr. Rogers believes Gatsby’s has a seating capacity of 50 to 75.
Councilman Schmid asked what was the minimum building size? Mr. Rogers replied there was no minimum and providing they meet the 25% floor area ratio of 0.25, a one acre site could have a 12,500 square foot building. He added it could be on one or two floors. However, if it were on two floors, the footprint would be just over 6,000 square feet on a 50,000 square foot parcel.
Councilman Schmid asked how many businesses could be built on the site. Mr. Rogers replied they could only have a maximum of two businesses on the site.
Without having a complete understanding, Councilman Schmid sees they allow barber shops, beauty shops, copy centers, florist shops, and liquor and wine stores. Councilman Schmid is not certain about whether they want those types of businesses on Grand River.
Mr. Rogers noted most of these uses are now permitted in NCC and B-1 Districts. He explained these are considered neighborhood business.
Councilman Schmid is not interested in what is sellable, he is interested in what is good for Novi. He explained when they developed this ordinance in 1984-1985 they had great concerns about making that area a "fast food alley." Although Councilman Schmid thinks it is a good ordinance, it has caused other problems and he asked if this will permit that kind of development along Grand River Avenue? Mr. Rogers replied both the existing ordinance and the proposed ordinance will exclude fast food carry out, fast food sit down or fast food drive through. However, he noted it would permit something like a Starbucks.
CM-97-12-393: Moved by DeRoche, Seconded by Mutch, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adopt first reading of NCC Zoning District Text Amendments, Ordinance 97-18.137 that modifies the standards and uses allowed in the NCC District
Vote on CM-97-12-393: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
Mayor McLallen asked that Council members review the ordinance before this comes back before them.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Items listed
on the Consent Agenda which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
1. Approval of Minutes of Regular City Council Meetings of November 24, 1997 and December 1, 1997
Councilwoman Lorenzo referred to Page 19 of the November 24, 1997 minutes and asked that the word "he" in line nine of the second paragraph be changed to "Mr. Lewiston."
Councilwoman Lorenzo referred to Page 30 of the December 1, 1997 minutes and asked that "in the same manner as the Planning Commission" be added after the word "document" in the last sentence of the last paragraph.
Mayor ProTem Crawford corrected motion CM-97-11-354 by changing "permit" to "per" in the November 24, 1997 minutes.
Councilman DeRoche referred to line two of the second paragraph on Page 3 of the November 24, 1997 minutes and believes the word "accurate" should read "aggressive."
CM-97-12-394: Moved by DeRoche, Seconded by Mutch, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Minutes of Regular City Council Meetings of November 24, 1997 and December 1, 1997 as amended
Vote on CM-97-12-394: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
6. Approval to reject the Golf Course Feasibility Study proposal from McKay Golf and Country Club Properties
Councilman DeRoche removed this item because he was not a Council member when this matter was originally considered. Now, due to lack of response from the consultant’s for the golf course proposal and the overwhelming input of the citizens, he would like to revisit the entire direction of Council and their instruction to Parks and Recreation to seek this study.
It is Councilman DeRoche’s personal belief that the city should not pursue a study or any other action that points in the direction of developing a golf course at the tree farm. He briefly explained he is opposed to this development because he believes it commits a large amount of space and money from a public standpoint to a private enterprise that could very well be profitable as displayed by golf courses throughout Oakland County to the argument that a golf course would be self sufficient and therefore payoff any bonds and would generate revenue for the city. Councilman DeRoche believes that is an inappropriate use and that the city should generate its revenues from taxes. Therefore, Councilman DeRoche does not support recreational projects that are abundant in the private sector. Further, if the city facilitated a golf course, it would only benefit a distinct minority of the citizens.
Councilwoman Lorenzo has no problem supporting the request to reject the McKay proposal. However, her concern is about a memo written by Mr. Davis which recommended they go out for rebids. She believes it is very premature to go out for a rebidding of this at this time. Based on the citizen’s input thus far, her preference would be to place requests for RFP’s on the next ballot. She suggested they should ask the citizenry if the City of Novi should pursue an RFP for an environmentally responsible golf course on the tree farm property and should the City of Novi pursue and RFP for an environmentally responsible golf course on other city owned property. Councilwoman Lorenzo does not believe they should move forward unless they get a confirmation from the citizens.
While Councilman Kramer agrees they eventually need to take this issue to the voters. However, he believes they first need to have a critical mass of facts and this is part of the fact finding. Councilman Kramer noted Mr. Davis wrote this information would be critical in determining whether to include this recreational facility in the city’s overall park master plan. He advised they are asking for factual information to support a decision about whether it belongs in their long range plan. He advised they thought it might be a good idea in concept and that there might be appropriate land in place for it, and noted that they placed it as a "c" item on their priority list. Councilman Kramer restated he does not agree that an RFP is premature because it is a part of gathering information. Further, Councilman Kramer believes they should include other courses that are on the horizon. Councilman Kramer added that he would agree that the study would conclude that they do not need it. Councilman Kramer recognizes there has been much opinion and he restated this is their means to accumulate the facts.
CM-97-12-395: Moved by Kramer, Seconded by Schmid, CARRIED: To reject the Golf Course Feasibility Study proposal from McKay Golf and Country Club Properties and permit staff to solicit other RFP’s
Mr. Davis agrees with Councilman Kramer’s assessment. He explained what they are looking for is to reject the one proposal they received and continue the course that Council set forth last year in getting the information the Parks Commission needs to bring forth a recommendation about whether they should proceed with including the golf course within the Master Plan of the North Novi Tree Farm. Mr. Davis noted it is not a foregone conclusion and added there has been a lot of personal observations about whether the city needs a golf course. Mr. Davis advised the Parks and Recreation Department and Parks Commission are only trying to ascertain the factual information at this point. Mr. Davis noted if the golf course makes sense, then there is a whole variety of other issues they must tackle at that point. Mr. Davis’ recommendation is to continue with the process that the previous Council directed them to do, which is to gather the information for the RFP.
Councilwoman Mutch asked whether undertaking getting involved in a municipal golf course is feasible for the City of Novi and if they are going to be site specific, she asked if that particular site is feasible. She noted they may come up with an answer that a municipal golf course is a good idea, but this is not a good site or that it is not a good idea whatsoever. Councilwoman Mutch reminded Council that as recent as their last meeting, they had input from citizens who were berating the city for not providing the very same kind of information before they asked them to vote on the aquatic facility. On the other hand, Councilwoman Mutch stated citizens have publicly asked why the city would spend money on a feasibility study when they do not want a golf course. Councilwoman Mutch agrees with Councilman Kramer and what Mr. Davis has stated time and again is that it is Council’s responsibility to make decisions based on facts and information as best as they can obtain it. Councilwoman Mutch restated they cannot make good decisions in any area without having good information. Further, Councilwoman Mutch believes Council cannot constantly make decisions based upon how many people show up and how loud they are or how many letters are written to the local paper. Councilwoman Mutch added if Council agrees to continue the feasibility study, she agrees they should first study the feasibility of a municipal course versus the feasibility of a particular site.
Councilwoman Lorenzo respectfully reminded Council that they purchased the land for the democratic process of placing this issue on a ballot to ask Novi’s citizens whether they even support an RFP. Councilwoman Lorenzo does not believe they should spend any further money on this issue until they get the citizen’s support.
Councilman DeRoche asked if there is a citizen committee that is trying to organize a support group? Mr. Davis is not aware of such a group. However, he advised in 1985, the Parks Commission undertook the preliminary master planning of the north Novi property. He further advised that over an eighteen month period and through a variety of decision making processes, they came up with four options of use for the property as a result of the advice of a professional landscape architect. Mr. Davis restated there is not a group advocating for or against the golf course, but noted the Parks Commission is doing their job in the master planning project and that is where they generate this request from.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked what type of golf course are they discussing? Mr. Davis advised the RFP indicates an eighteen hole municipal golf course. Further, within that it would be a golf course that they would moderately price and they included the environmental information within the preliminary master plan. Mr. Davis reminded Council they are just looking at the feasibility of the option of land use and there is obviously a lot of information they must solicit through the Audubon Society, the National Golf Foundation and a variety of other mechanisms. However, he noted that is for some time later in the process.
Councilwoman Mutch believes they should remind themselves that an RFP is a request for a proposal. She explained that means when they notify the public that the City of Novi is interested in receiving proposals for a golf course and when those who are interested do their homework, they will be aware of what the concerns are. Consequently, they may raise questions that Council had not considered.
Councilman Kramer suggested that they look for opportunities within the Park and Recreation Commission to expand the discussion within the community at the RFP or at the return of a study stage to help review and critique the proposal.
Vote on CM-97-12-395: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Mutch, Schmid
Nays: DeRoche, Lorenzo
COMMITTEE REPORTS - None
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Council Organizational Rules and Order of Business
2. Continuation of the Novi Futuring 20/20 Process - Councilman DeRoche
CM-97-12-396: Moved by Lorenzo, Seconded by Crawford, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To carry Item 2, Continuation of the Novi Futuring 20/20 Process over to January 12, 1998 City Council Regular Meeting
Councilwoman Mutch suggested that they amend the motion to adopt the rules as submitted in Item 1 and direct the Rules Committee to review and make a recommendation.
Mrs. Bartholomew advised they could move to defer the second item and leave the first item open.
Vote on CM-97-12-396: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
CM-97-12-397: Moved by Mutch, Seconded by Crawford, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adopt Council Organizational Rules and Order of Business as presented and to convene the Rules Committee to address those issues submitted in writing by Council members
Councilwoman Lorenzo would prefer that Council address these issues as a whole as a whole so that they will not forget it.
As a committee member, Mayor McLallen assured Councilwoman Lorenzo that they will have this back before February.
Vote on CM-97-12-397: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
MANAGER’S REPORTS - None
Mayor McLallen asked Mr. Watson if there is any resource available to help Council understand how the city interfaces with mobile home zoning.
1. Resolution from Oakland County Board of Commissioners, Re: Policy Positions on Road Reform Issues
2. Letter from Frank Brennan to City Council, Re: ZBA Appointment thank you
3. Letter from Councilwoman Lorenzo to James Wahl, Re: Economic Development Impact of R-C vs. OST Land Use for Twelve Mile/Donelson Drive area
4. Letter from Virginia Fette, MMFOA, to Edward Kriewall, Re: Kathy Smith-Roy appointment as Treasurer to the Association
5. Letter from JCK to Anthony Nowicki, Re: Meadowbrook Road Water and Sanitary Sewer Construction - Request for Road Closure
6. Letter from Jim Utley to City Council, Re: Walden Woods I - Streets and Infrastructure Problems
7. Letter from JCK to Anthony Nowicki, Re: Signalization Projects 9 Mile Road / Taft Road Intersection - Public Information Meeting Summary
8. Letter from Terence K. Jolly to City Council, Re: Appointment to District Court Vacancy
9. Letter from David Poltorak to City Council, Re: Proposed 9 Mile and Taft Road Intersection
10. Architectural Design Review Report - Jim Wahl and Doug Necci, JCK & Associates
11. Letter from Carol Bauer to City Clerk, Re: Resignation from Cable Access Committee
12. SEMCOG Report from Steve Rumple
13. Main Street Town Center Sign Update - Jim Wahl
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business before City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 1:10 a.m.
Mayor City Clerk
Transcribed by Barbara Holmes
Date Approved: January 12, 1998