REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, JUNE 7, 1999, AT 7:30 PM
COUNCIL CHAMBERS-NOVI CIVIC CENTER-45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor McLallen called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Boy Scout Troop #407 led the Pledge of Allegiance.
ROLL CALL: Mayor McLallen, Mayor ProTem Crawford, Council Members DeRoche (absent/excused), Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
Mayor McLallen wished Member Lorenzo and Mr. Nowicki a happy birthday.
Member Kramer commented that the City recently participated in the Annual Rouge River Rescue clean up with a number of participants. The clean up was strongly supported by Cub Scout Pack #746 and he wanted to recognize the pack for their efforts. The event was organized by City Forester, Mr. Chris Pargoff. He additionally gave thanks to JCK & Associates, Country Epicure, Novi Pizza, Papa Ramano’s, Dunkin Donuts, Total Gas Station, Novi Department of Public Works, the Fire Department and Louise Pargoff.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor McLallen mentioned item 2. Request of IKON for a waiver from Design and Construction Standards for the construction of an 8-foot bike path along Meadowbrook Road. Site is north of Eleven Mile, east of Meadowbrook Road, zoned Light Industrial (I-1) located under Mayor and Council Action – Part I was removed because the resolution of the issue that brought it back to Council has been positively resolved. IKON is going to install the sidewalk and has contributed the right-of-way and Mayor McLallen wanted to publicly congratulate the company.
Mayor ProTem Crawford wanted to remove item B under the Consent Agenda because it is no longer needed.
CM-99-06-125: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Lorenzo: UNANIMOUSLY
CARRIED: To Approve Agenda as Amended
Vote on 99-06-125: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch,
Mayor McLallen invited Mr.Malott to come before Council. Council wanted to offer Mr. Malott congratulations and best wishes on his new position and bid him farewell. Mr. Malott commented he has the best job in the world. The job he now has is basically a one-person news bureau covering the State Legislator for 44 newspapers spreading from Royal Oak to Lansing. There are 120 one-person news bureaus in operation across the nation, which makes it a rare and unique opportunity. Many of the issues that will be covered are the same types that were covered in Novi because the City has been on the cutting edge for years just like the direction of the State of Michigan. It has been a good training ground and he appreciates the support Council showed to him and it has been an enjoyable experience. Mayor McLallen read the proclamation to Mr. Malott and he graciously accepted the honor.
Mayor McLallen said this Public Hearing is in support of a request for a soil mining and filling permit for the Harvest Land Company on approximately 30 acres of land. When the development was started, it was discovered that the land was once an orchard and the soil contained some resident pesticide contaminants, which need to be removed in order to permit the property to be developed.
Mr. Steve Weiner approached Council representing Harvest Land Company. The company found residual pesticides in a portion of the property that was an orchard and in order to meet residential standards for development, a portion of the topsoil needs to be removed. After the removal of the material, it will be taken to a registered landfill. He pointed out that the request includes two variances. One variance is because there is not an ordinance to deal with this type of situation. The ordinance closest to the issue is soil mining and filling and this requires a 200 foot setback in order to protect neighbors. If the 200 foot setback is abided by, then not all of the tainted soil would be removed. That is why a variance has been requested. The other variance is that the mining ordinance again calls for a RUD development plan to be submitted as part of the mining.
Mayor McLallen announced to the public to come forward if they have any questions, comments or concerns with this issue. Seeing no members of the public approaching and no correspondence on the table, the Public Hearing was closed.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Mayor McLallen stated item B was removed because it is no longer necessary.
Member Lorenzo removed items C & H in response to letters received this evening from Ms. Sarah Gray.
CM-99-06-126: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Kramer, CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To Approve Consent Agenda with the removal of B,C, and H.
B. Schedule Executive Session to immediately follow the Regular Meeting of
June 7, 1999 for the purpose of Pending Litigation and property acquisition.
C. Re-approval of Resolution Number 7 for SAD 149 – Eubank Street Water Main.
H. Approval of variance from Novi Code of Ordinance 34.76 a to allow for
Installment payments on S.A.D. 151 due to hardship.
Vote on CM-99-06-126: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch,
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
Mayor McLallen commented this is a request for the soil and mining permit. The letters that Council has received from staff are in support of this issue. There are actually four items with this request. They are the approval of the permit, the waiver of the 200-foot variance, the Woodland Board of Review, if necessary, and the consultant’s recommendation of using the RUD as the development plan for this site.
Member Schmid commended Mr. Weiner for bringing the issue forward but he is curious because at one time the City was all orchards. How was this discovered and what is the degree of contamination because the City has built hundreds of homes on orchard land? Mr. Weiner said no one should be concerned. These contaminates were discovered by conducting a Phase I Environmental Assessment and during this assessment, an environmental expert views historical air photographs that could lead to a requirement for testing. In the last five years or less, it has been determined that when orchards are present, they are tested for pesticides. These pesticides were found and they are marginally above residential standards. They are not dangerous. The experts said that a person would have to ingest cubic yards of dirt to have any impact. The State has taken a position that when the contaminants are found, they are removed.
CM-99-06-127: Moved by Schmid, Seconded by Crawford, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant the request for a soil mining
And filling permit with variances and subject to all the
Member Lorenzo asked if this issue includes the necessity to go before the Woodlands Review Board for tree removal or replacement? Mayor McLallen said if it is required. Member Lorenzo mentioned that Ms. Lemke made this recommendation. Member Schmid said it may be necessary. Mayor McLallen confirmed it stated, if it is necessary.
Vote on CM-99-06-127: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch,
Mayor McLallen commented Ms. Nuculaj was before Council previously under Audience Participation and was requested to go back to the staff to review the issue. Ms. Nuculaj has met with various department heads and the issue before Council is whether to grant the variance requested. If the variance is granted, then Ms. Nuculaj will agree to provide the City with a Hold Harmless Agreement against any future intrusion that may be caused by damage or some need that occurs to enter into the easement.
Ms. Nuculaj commented that earlier she mentioned the wall was for safety reasons but she was informed it was not much of a safety reason. She recently learned that about 10 years ago there was accident at Nine Mile and Meadowbrook Roads where one of the cars jumped the curb and fence and wounded the horse that was in the field. How can the City say that nothing is going to happen because the house is setback when a car did go up a curb and through a fence. Just putting in some bushes and other trees is not enough to hold vehicles from leaving the road.
Mayor McLallen said the issue is that the City has rules, regulations and processes that are for the good of all citizens. When an individual citizen wishes to do something other than what the rules require, there is a process that has to be followed. That is why the applicant is before Council because a variance is needed.
Mayor McLallen commented the Council is granting Ms. Nuculaj access to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Mr. Dennis Watson said she needs two permissions. The ZBA relates to the fact that the fence is in the front yard setback. The Council permission relates to the fact that the structures will be within an existing water main easement held by the City.
Member Kramer commented that Ms. Nuculaj is asking for a 98 foot wall. Ms. Nuculaj said that was the first request, which she was told could not happen. Member Kramer mentioned there is evergreen plantings up to the edge of the driveways so the wall is for the front of the house. Ms. Nuculaj agreed.
Member Kramer asked Mr. Jerome, Water & Sewer Superintendent, if there is a water main in the area and if it is in the ground? Mr. Jerome commented yes. Member Kramer asked is the location in regards to the proposal? Mr. Jerome commented the western most pillar is outside of the easement but the eastern most pillar is completely within the easement. It encroaches between zero and two feet. Member Kramer asked if all the utilities are in the ground? Mr. Jerome answered yes at this time. Member Kramer asked if there are any more City utility projects that would call for utilizing this easement for any new installation? Mr. Jerome said the planning cycle of a water main is 50 years so at some point there may be a future need. Member Kramer asked about sewer, gas and other utilities. Mr. Jerome said the sewer is on the south side of the street and gas is somewhere in the location and electric is overhead. He thinks the gas is out closer to the street.
Member Kramer asked Mr. Watson if the City was to grant the variance requested, would the City get a standard Hold Harmless Agreement? Mr. Watson said the City would be looking for something indicating any damages to the wall, at any time, when there is further maintenance or construction done by the City of Novi on the water main, which requires the wall be taken down or removed, that the applicant would be responsible for restoring the wall not the City.
Member Kramer asked if there are other instances throughout the City that this has become reasonable and a common practice? Mr. Watson said he cannot recall but the City has allowed subdivision signs license agreements for subdivisions, which have included similar provisions.
Mr. Edward Kriewall mentioned there are existing fences as an example in Village Oaks along the north side Nine Mile Road where the City has a Hold Harmless Agreement because of it going into the right-of-way.
Member Schmid commented he understands the fence is on private land and asked if the City received right-of-way to put in water? Mr. Watson answered yes. Member Schmid said he is shocked that the applicant went ahead and built the wall and commended the City for adhering to the ordinance. Obviously, the house met the ordinances of the City, but it is a very difficult piece of property to develop. He does not know about safety but the owners probably would like some privacy.
CM-99-06-128: Moved by Schmid, Seconded by Lorenzo, CARRIED: To grant
the variance to construct a 4 foot wall between the pillars within a utility easement for 41420 Nine Mile with a Hold Harmless Agreement to be provided by Ms. Nuculaj
Member Lorenzo wanted some clarification on Mr. Schrier’s letter from JCK. It acknowledged that the actual water main is not in the location. Mr. Jerome commented the letter is addressing the water main in relation to the sidewalk. Member Lorenzo mentioned that one pillar is in the water main easement. Mr. Jerome said the pillar is within the water main easement and it is basically 8 feet from the centerline of the pipe.
Member Lorenzo commented the information that Council received included a letter of request from Ms. Nuculaj dated February of 1999. Who was the first person to receive this request? Mr. Terry Morrone explained that request was in the form of an application for a right-of-way permit. Member Lorenzo asked why was the petitioner not informed of the process in February. There is an ordinance and this type of request is typically not acceptable but there is a process to go before Council and Zoning Board of Appeals. Why was the petitioner not made aware of these facts to move forward into the process, before June of 1999? Mayor McLallen commented the petitioner was told but chose to do something else. Ms. Nuculaj said she was told she could not construct an 8 foot wall.
Member Lorenzo mentioned her concern is that it appears staff and administration was making a decision which Council or ZBA has the authority over. Some compromises were made when Ms. Nuculaj’s request for a fence was denied, so instead she used pillars. Why was administration offering these compromises when this process was available to the applicant? Mr. Morrone said they did not make that decision. The original right-of-way permit was applied for in February of 1999 and it was denied. There was then a re-application for a building permit for a rear concrete porch and for the 2 foot by 2 foot pillars at 4 foot high on each side of the driveway and a 20 foot wall between the two drives. At this point in the time the permit was released for a porch in the rear yard only and a note in red was put on the approved plan, that a ZBA case would be necessary for the wall. Additionally, the issue of the wall being in a right-of-way was granted through Council. Papers were given to Ms. Nuculaj that showed the procedure for dealing with the variance from the Council. Member Lorenzo asked when did that happen? Mr. Morrone stated the permit was April 29, 1999 and it was in writing on the approved plan in red stating that ZBA variance would be necessary for the wall.
Member Lorenzo asked back in February of 1999 when Ms. Nuculaj came forward with the original request, why was she not given the ZBA option at that time? Mr. Morrone said it was not the same request. It was just for a wall within the right-of-way only. So it was viewed differently and handled through the Department of Public Service. Member Lorenzo asked why was it looked at differently? Because of what reasons? Mr. Morrone said because it was not a structure in the front yard anymore at that point. It was more of a right-of-way issue and not really a building permit for constructing a wall. It did not come through with a building permit application process.
Member Lorenzo stated Ms. Nuculaj was informed that she would have to come before Council and go before the ZBA. Is that correct? Mr. Morrone answered yes. Member Lorenzo asked Ms. Nuculaj to give her viewpoint. Ms. Nuculaj said at first she was told that the permit was for the back only but she kept pursuing the issue. She was told by Mr. Morrone that a compromise could be done by giving the pillars but not the wall. She said Mr. Morrone did mention Council but she does not know a lot of the legal situations and did not know the steps to take. She said Mr. Morrone said only pillars and no wall and then he did mention about going to Council. Member Lorenzo asked Ms. Nuculaj if she was informed? Ms. Nuculaj said no. She had no idea how to go about approaching Council. She was then told of a Council meeting and that is when she approached Council and was told how to start the procedure by writing a letter. She was given more details and the more she learned the more steps she could accomplish. The paper work was started during the winter months so it could be completed during the summer. If she would have known about all the materials earlier, she knew about the Council meeting, but she did not know how to proceed. Member Lorenzo said her concern is that Ms. Nuculaj was not informed of the steps to approach Council earlier. She expects staff and administration, when this type of request comes forward, would bring the applicant through the process and have them approach Council. She said it appears that Ms. Nuculaj probably will get what was requested but it would have been better if the issue would have come before Council earlier. She hopes in the future that when similar requests are made that she does not learn of any administrative compromise. If an applicant wishes to proceed with their request, that they are told they can come before Council and the ZBA because that is the process.
Mr. Morrone said a copy of the ordinance was given to Ms. Nuculaj, which explained Council variances. She was also asked to go see the City Clerk to get on an agenda. Mayor McLallen thanked Mr. Morrone. This has been a very difficult issue with the site belonging to an individual rather than being part of a subdivision.
Mayor ProTem Crawford commented that the motion is to grant the variance for wavier. He is not clear with the motion. What is the reason for the granting of the waiver or the variance? Member Schmid commented this issue is a unique situation. Normally the ordinance is upheld and should be upheld. But this is a unique piece of land and corner. He believes it would be appropriate to have a retaining wall or other structure for whatever reason. Mayor ProTem Crawford asked is it for a safety reason? Member Schmid said primarily for the safety of young children because of the closeness to the road and he believes the applicant is making sense. He still does not accept the fact that Ms. Nuculaj went ahead with the construction without permission.
Member Mutch commented the statement was made the wall was for safety reasons. She asked if another applicant comes forward with a piece of property where the configuration of the property was such that they would have to build close to the road to have any yard, would Council allow a similar situation if there were no children? What rational could that applicant use if there where no small children? She does not expect an answer but the City needs to be very careful. Member Kramer said Council is present to listen to reasonable requests and make judgements.
Vote on CM-99-06-128: Yeas: McLallen, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
Mayor McLallen explained to Ms. Nuculaj that she has to go to the ZBA . She would caution Ms. Nuculaj if she has any questions about any work that she anticipates doing, to please ask questions. Mayor McLallen said through this process Council has asked more questions to learn what Ms. Nuculaj wants and she commented Ms. Nuculaj needs to show the same curiosity to the staff and do not progress with any work until the proper permits are obtained.
Ms. Nuculaj commented on her tree bond and she asked earlier what is needed or not needed. She was told that the Forester would deal with the situation. She commented just this day Mr. Morrone informed her that she has too many trees or not the right kind of trees. She said when she spoke to Mr. Morrone earlier he said they do not take care of tree bonds that the Forester handles the issue. She is being told different things from everybody and hopes that she is not getting the payback treatment.
Mayor McLallen explained the development process is
very complex but it is for all the citizens good. All of these rules are
to help everyone live in harmony with health and safety and to protect
their investments and property. Within the staff each department has very
specific jobs. Mr. Morrone is responsible for the construction and Mr.
Pargoff is responsible for forestry issues and she needs to speak to him
concerning the trees. Member Lorenzo mentioned that maybe Mr. Nowicki
should direct Mr. Pargoff to get in touch with Ms. Nuculaj. Mayor McLallen
said that probably has already been taken care of.
Mayor McLallen stated that this is an annual issue for the Council. Water is purchased and sewage is processed with the Detroit Water System. Novi’s rates are based on what rates are being passed down. There will be no change to the water rates this year because expansion, participation and usage is at a level which have enabled continued rate for residents. There will be a slight increase in the Huron Rouge Sanitary System rates but there will be no change to the Walled Lake/ Novi Sanitary Sewer rates. There will be an increase in the miscellaneous water and implication. This is because every year the City should raise the connection fee by $50.00 to keep up with growing costs.
Mr. Ed Kriewall mentioned the increase volumes have made up for the increases that Detroit has given to Novi and that is a fortunate situation for the community. The City continues to operate a very efficient Water & Sewer Department. Historically the City has the lowest increases on water of any suburban community and the City is proud to continue that at this time.
CM-99-06-129: Moved by Mutch, Seconded by Kramer, CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the request to Water and
Sanitary Sewer Quarterly user fees, Water System
Connection Charges and miscellaneous fees and the
Escalator clause of $50 will be evaluated annually
Member Schmid asked what types of studies are used to make the connection fee recommendations? Mr. Kriewall said typically the connection fees are based on overall expectations of costs in terms of expanding the system and providing the pertinence that are needed to facilitate the entire system in terms of meter pits, oversizing and master pressure deducing valves. The City has a study by Frank Naglich, which was completed about 5 years ago. He made projections for the ultimate build out of the system. They included future mains that need to be constructed. The City rates parallel that Master Plan of retiring the debt on the entire City system.
Member Schmid asked what is the present rate for the association of the connections to the water system? Mr. Bruce Jerome said the current water connection fee is $1,100 per single family residential unit. Member Schmid asked for percentage of the recommended increase is what percentage? Mr. Jerome said it is between 4% or 5% for a recommendation of $50 per year. There is an escalator just like this on the sewer connection charge. The last time the water connection fee was adjusted was in April of 1991. That adjustment raised the connection fees from $500 to $1,100. Instead of raising the fee every 8 or 10 years, it made more sense to put in a factor to compensate for inflation and have it annually adjust itself. The recommendation of $50 for this year is just over 4%. It is reasonably close to the current inflation rate.
Member Schmid wanted clarification when the last increase was done? Mr. Jerome said it was in April of 1991. Member Schmid commented it went from $500 to $1,100 at that time. Mr. Jerome said that is correct. Member Schmid commented Mr. Jerome is proposing to raise the fee $50 each year. Mr. Jerome stated the increase would be on the 1st of every January. Member Schmid said this formula does not seem to fit from 1991 to 1999 if it is only raised $50, yet it has been said that from here on out it is going to be raised $50. He questioned the figures and asked if the City has taken a beating for the last eight years and is it costing more than $1,100? Mr. Jerome said there is the equipment fees in the cost. The connection fee is for the installation of system wide improvements such as pressure reducing valves and major transmission mains. This is a projected cash flow of capital expenditure. The City looks to the user, as they get on the system, to pay their share. Member Schmid said that is $1,100 and next year it would be $1,150 and so on. Mr. Jerome said that is correct.
Member Schmid said his only question is that if the connection fee has not been raised since 1991, it seems that the $50 increase fee each year is excessive. Mr. Jerome commented that if he thought it was excessive, he would not have brought it to Council. With inflation going up every year, it is reasonable. Member Schmid commented to put on an automatic $50 fee appears to be without solid basis. He thinks $1,100 is a lot of money to hook up to the water system. He wonders why the City is going up with an escalator of $50 per year, when the City has stayed on the same price from 1991 to 1999 with no parent loss in revenue to Novi. He believes some justification needs to be presented as to the dramatic change of fees.
Mr. Jerome said the connection fee is a sum of money that is set-up to create a hypothetical accumulation of money to replace transmission mains and to replace or install major components within the water system that benefit the entire system. It is a projected amount. Member Schmid questioned it has been projected over the next number of years that the amount will be even with the City and not making money? Mr. Jerome commented that it is something that will be looked at every year like in the past. There is always a lot of discussion and compromises that go on every year when the rates are reviewed. Member Schmid mentioned the rate that is being asked for is an automatic escalator. Mr. Jerome answered yes. Member Schmid said if nothing is mentioned it will automatically increase? Mr. Jerome answered correct. Member Schmid asked Mr. Kriewall if this is typical of most communities. Mr. Kriewall answered yes and the City does the same thing with sewer rates, which increases $100 every January 1. The cost of utilities and the escalation of construction cost to build these special necessities are probably not high enough but it is standard practice. Member Schmid said if Novi were to survey other communities what would be the outcome? Would the fee be higher or lower than other communities? Mr. Kriewall answered it probably would be lower but it is difficult to compare growing municipalities. Member Schmid asked how was the $50 determined? Mr. Jerome said it was an easy number to manage. Member Schmid asked if it could have been $32? Mr. Jerome said it probably could have been $1. Member Schmid again asked how was the $50 determined when the City is asking the citizens to pay this amount when connecting to the water system. Mr. Jerome said he looked at a flat rate percentage.
Member Kramer commented he does not have a problem with approving the $50. Not making it an annual escalator but have it made as a case each year. Mr. Kriewall commented that is reasonable. Member Schmid said that would be appropriate or at least come back next year with some rational for the dollars involved. Mayor McLallen asked if it is possible for the maker of the motion to remove the word annually and for the 1999-2000 year it would be $50 and on the anniversary it would be re-evaluated. Member Mutch said she does not have a problem.
Member Lorenzo commented she agrees with the change. She certainly does not want the City to be losing money since the City has not increased the fee since 1991 but she also does not want to overcharge the citizens. She asked Mr. Jerome if he is saying that since 1991 the City has not kept up with inflation and who has been picking up the extra costs? Mr. Jerome explained it has not been a fund that the City has made capital expenditures out of at this time. It is a fund for future expansion and replacement of the system so the connection fees are basically a projection. The projection is looking at the ultimate development of the system and how many connections. A budget is formed on what the City thinks the capital expenditures would be and then divide the number of projected connections into the number to arrive at an amount to fund the system. It is an estimate.
Member Lorenzo commented since 1991 the City has not been keeping up with the projection? Mr. Jerome said the needs of the system are evaluated. If periodic adjustments are not made to the figure, then in 30, 50 or 70 years the system could have a shortfall of capital. Member Lorenzo said no one wants that to happen so the charges need to be appropriate. The motion is a good one because the City will be reviewing the issue every year in terms of projection of future structure based on the raise.
Vote CM-99-06-129: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Mutch, Lorenzo,
Mr. Bob Hinbern, Director of the Novi Chamber of Commerce, came before Council to inform them of some issues that are coming before the Chamber. He commented the guest speaker would be Michael Bouchard, the newly appointed Oakland County Sheriff for the monthly luncheon scheduled on June 15th. He mentioned on June 23rd the dedication for the Main Street Clock is scheduled along with the Band Shell ground breaking ceremony on the corner of Main and Market Streets in downtown Novi. attendance is being handled on a RSVP bases by contacting the Chamber by Friday, June 18th at 248-349-3743.
Council did not take a break.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
B. Schedule Executive Session to immediately follow the Regular Meeting of
June 7, 1999 for the purpose of Pending Litigation and property acquisition.
Mayor McLallen commented the Council received a letter from Sarah Gray and the issue involved is whether everyone in the assessment district is capable of seeking the finance relief. The answer is yes if the resident meets the financial criteria.
Mayor McLallen commented on another question in Ms. Gray’s letter involved the issue that the awarded contract for the S.A.D. is more than 5% of the projected contract. At what time would the difference in payments be given back to the participants? Mr. Watson said the Special Assessment Ordinance has a provision that if the imposed assessment is larger by 5% or more, there is a refund. The ordinance also reads that when the special assessments are paid with installments, the procedure is to credit against the last installments due. That is when the participants would receive the credit. Member Lorenzo clarified that the participants do not get a refund check but their last installment is reduced by that amount. Mr. Watson said that is correct. Member Lorenzo asked if S.A.D. 149 might be added to item H? How does the process work in terms that the City has a request for an approval of the variance for S.A.D 151 due to hardship and is it appropriate to add S.A.D. 149? Mr. Watson said if Council desires. Mayor McLallen commented that the ability to apply for a hardship should be applied to both S.A.D. 149 & 151.
Member Schmid asked what is the hardship and how will it operate? Mayor McLallen said there is criteria set-up within Oakland County particularly through the Administration of Community Development Block Grant. There is a profile which states who qualifies for this type of relief. Member Schmid stated it could be applied to water hook-ups. Mr. Watson explained the variance the City is granting is if someone meets the hardship standards they would be permitted to pay the connection fee with an installment plan to reduce the initial charge.
Member Mutch wanted clarification that this is an opportunity that the participants have already and Council is just specifying the hardship issue at this time? Mr. Watson said that is not correct. The ordinance that would allow a person to pay the initial tap charge over time, normally only applies when there is an excess of a certain amount of tap units. It usually involves larger amounts of money. Member Mutch commented this allows a smaller S.A.D. to have the advantage. She asked for clarification that both of the S.A.D.’s are within the HCD area? Mr. Jerome explained the issue that is before Council is a request for a variance to an existing City ordinance. The ordinance on single family residential homes requires that the connection fee is paid at the time the application is made for the building permit or application is made to connect to the system. The next section in the ordinance addresses non-single family residential uses such as multi-family, commercial and industrial. In that section of the ordinance allows for the installment payment schedule with 1/5th at time of application and the remaining balance spread over 16 quarters with an interest rate of 8%. Basically, what is being asked for is for the ability to grant people who have demonstrated financial hardships the ability to spread their fee by installments. It was requested from some residents involved.
Member Mutch stated the variance takes care of the question if a specific S.A.D. is compared to the others and then every S.A.D. would be eligible under this variance. Mr. Jerome said it has nothing to do with S.A.D. funds. Member Mutch stated this would apply across the board if another S.A.D. were to follow this procedure if Council grants this variance. Mr. Jerome said that is correct. The only reference to HCD is the criteria that is used and nothing to do with the funding? Mr. Jerome said that is correct. The money that the City of Novi would be loaning to the requestor the money at 8% interest. The way this request got to Council was that the Community Development Block Grant Funds cannot be applied towards the connection fees but can be applied to the physical connection. Member Mutch stated this variance would allow for the City to pick up the cost up front and allow the residents to pay over an installment bases.
Member Kramer clarified this is a request for a variance to the ordinance for S.A.D. 149 & 151. The request is to allow a temporary change in the ordinance for these two items as a variance. If it becomes the intent to further ask the ordinance to be revised so that it could be applied to others in time, then it should be referred to Ordinance Review. The request is a variance that is applicable to S.A.D. 149 & 151 as written. Mr. Jerome said these S.A.D.’s are the source for the request. Member Kramer stated the Council does not amend ordinances with variances so he would accept this as applicable to these two S.A.D.’s only. Mayor McLallen said Council would have to go through Ordinance Review to review the merits of adding the word residential to the language in that ordinance.
CM-99-06-130: Moved by Lorenzo, Seconded by Kramer, CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To grant reapproval of the resolutions number 7 for S.A.D. 149 and the approval of variance Novi
Code of Ordinance 34.76a for S.A.D. 151 & S.A.D. 149
Member Schmid said the issue could come back each week for another S.A.D. to be added. Mayor McLallen answered unless the ordinance is changed to add the word residential in the ordinance.
Member Schmid commented the City has a hardship provision and does this issue not fit into that ordinance? Mr. Kriewall answered it is different. Mr. Jerome said the hardship under the Special Assessment process addresses physical items and actual construction and does not address the connection fee. Member Schmid commented maybe it would be beneficial to look at the existing ordinance on hardship and then expand it. Mr. Watson said yes for a long-term solution.
Vote on CM-99-06-130: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch,
Mayor McLallen commented if Council wants to formally send the issue of hardship needs within the City Ordinance or if a specific change to Ordinance 34.76a, then the matter needs to be addressed by a motion.
CM-99-06-131: Moved by Lorenzo, Seconded by Kramer, CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To send Novi Code of Ordinance 34.76a
to Ordinance Board of Review
Vote on 99-06-131: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch
Member Mutch mentioned the Communications Committee would be meeting soon. The City website is now on the Internet. The address for the City of Novi is www.ci.novi.mi.us. The website is not complete but it does contain information. Comments would be appreciated. Please forward all comments to Lou Martin.
Member Schmid asked what progress has been done with the cable situation? Mayor ProTem Crawford said, the 6th meeting is scheduled. Substantial progress has been made. Hopefully by the end of the month some staff and legal professionals will get together to work on a concrete agreement.
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES-None
Mr. Kriewall said the fountain project has a conceptual approval. The City is waiting for the actual cost of the fountain. Mr. Watson said a draft has been sent to the company. The City is waiting for additional comments.
Mr. Kriewall pointed out the new clock on the wall. The next step is to get a couple of runners built in front of the speaker stand to get rid of the easels.
There being no further business before City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 8:54 p.m.
Kathleen S. McLallen Tonni L. Bartholomew
Melissa H. Place
Date Approved: June 21, 1999