REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2000, AT 7:30 PM
COUNCIL CHAMBERS-NOVI CIVIC CENTER-45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:32 PM.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Boy Scout Troop #407
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor ProTem Lorenzo, Council Members Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche and Kramer
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Kramer added Item #4 under Mayor and Council Issues for discussion review of the fourth draft changes to the tax abatement policy and scheduling of next meeting for Council action.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo added Item #5 under Mayor and Council Issues Magna Woodland and Wetland approvals.
CM-00-04-115 Moved by DeRoche, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the agenda as amended.
Vote on CM-00-04-115 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche, Kramer,
SPECIAL REPORTS - NONE
COMMITTEE REPORTS - NONE
Textron Automotive Technical Center
Sam Lakavoli, President and CEO of Textron Automotive Company presented a potential opportunity to construct a new $50 Million engineering facility that would become their center for product development in North America. It would house 570 professional engineers, scientists and technicians. The operating costs are extremely high, the payroll is $40 Million every year and they would manufacture nothing and there would be no revenue or profits. It is pure cost but a critical cost that must be spent to protect the future. The benefit for Novi would be immediate both financially and in many other ways.
If Novi adopted a tax abatement policy consistent with other communities this facility would generate approximately $700,000 of increased tax revenue every year for the next 12 years starting the day it opened. The taxes then jump to over a million dollars every year; that is $17 million over the first 20 years alone; money Novi would not have if not for this facility and there would be no reduction in school taxes. Mr. Lakavoli introduced Novi resident Bob Burnham, Vice President of Technology Management and Jim Turissini, architect from Smith Group.
Mr. Burnham said Textron was founded in 1922 and manufactured Bell Helicopters, Cessna Business Jets, Jacobson Lawn Equipment, Easy Go Golf Carts and many other products. They have operated in Michigan since 1955 and employ 5,900 people at 61 locations. The Textron Automotive Division has eight technical facilities in North America including several hundred engineers in Windsor Ontario and a research center on the East Coast. Portions of these operations will be consolidated into a single North American Engineering Headquarters to enhance their efficiency and better serve their customers. The Headquarters would be a world class technology headquarters and would bring significant benefits both to Textron and to the community.
For the City of Novi these benefits would be provided specifically in the areas of economic value to the City, Textronís support of the community and stability as Novi grows for the future. This facility would add, during the first 20 years, over $17 million to Noviís tax revenue. This would assist in shifting the tax burden from residential taxpayers to commercial. It would provide about $700,000 a year to Novi in real and personal property taxes for the first 12 years and would increase to about one million dollars after that. By State Law a tax program such as this can not affect revenues for school districts and the State provides monies to make sure this requirement is met.
Beyond the immediate impact, the State of Michigan underscores its commitment to retaining Textronís technical presence in Michigan by pledging three quarters of a million dollars to improve Meadowbrook Road in connection with the Textron Technical Headquarters Project. This would provide Novi with this much-needed improvement without the City having to resort to
a Bond issue.
Textron has a long and honorable history of supporting the communities they serve. In Michigan alone they give to over 25 community charities and strive to build and improve communities where their employees work and live. There are more than 20 special programs supported by Textron. One of these is the quarter million dollar pledge they have made to the Karmanoís Cancer Institute in Detroit. They are a major supporter of educational advancements. An integral part of their new facility would be their Institute for Continuous Learning which would be open for Novi residents to take training courses in computers, quality management and other professional skill building areas. They would link with other educational centers in the immediate area to coordinate class offerings and programs. They have also been a long-term champion for preservation and enhancement of natural resources. At the site they would set aside a significant portion of the acreage as untouched woodlands and wetlands. It would be a park like setting for employees and residents.
Textron would provide customers and revenue to the Main Street Development and all local merchants. Customers and suppliers visiting this location would generate at least 1,000 incremental hotel nights per year. The center would provide job opportunities for professionals and others already living in Novi jobs not only with Textron but also with other associated companies, which would follow their relocation and consolidation. These jobs would tend to be insulated from economic cycles because of the advanced nature of the work required to support future vehicle production programs. To insure the highest caliber facility they have assembled a team of the finest design and construction professionals in the world. The builder would be one of the largest in the mid west and the architect would be the Smith Group who are the second largest architectural firm in America.
Mr. Turissini, Architect from Smith Group, stated the site is on the north east side of the City along the M-5 corridor exit ramp as it goes into I-96. The site is approximately 35 acres and is located with other similar use buildings in the OST Zone and located well away from most of the residential areas to the south and north of it. It will have a low impact on the infrastructure of the City. Meadowbrook Road will be upgraded to accommodate the traffic, which would include turn lanes.
He said they would preserve woodlands, wetlands and animal habitat in the area by preserving the wetlands. The building fits into the OST zone by being a quiet and clean facility. He showed an artist rendering of the facility and explained the facility and the surrounding grounds.
Mr. Lakavoli said the Textron Automotive Innovation Center is a major undertaking for them. They considered themselves a substantial company with a very strong history, which meant staying power, and stability, which is excellent for the community. They would like to build their North American future in Novi and they want Novi to start to reap the kind of benefits described tonight. He said in order to move forward they needed to know where Novi stood on these kinds of opportunities and needed to know as soon as possible about the tax abatement policy.
Member Kramer felt the presentation was excellent and professional. He said Council was working hard on a tax abatement policy and believed it would create true win win situations for business associations and the City of Novi.
Member Crawford thought it was an exciting opportunity for them and the community and that Council needed to formulate a policy soon so everyone knew where Novi stood. He said he would do everything to expedite the policy.
Member Csordas thought the project was a great positive step and opportunity for the City of Novi to solidify the future financially and also to demonstrate that Novi is concerned about the future and wants to bring the proper types of development to the City. He could not see anything but positive things happening for the City as a result of developments like this.
Mayor Clark echoed the statements made by the members of Council and appreciated the candor and openness that Textron has displayed. He said it was not often that the President and CEO of a major corporation takes the time to appear himself which told him Textron was very serious about coming to Novi. This could be a tremendous plus to our community and this area. He said Council would move the process along as expeditiously as possible.
MDOT Eight Mile/Garfield Wetland Mitigation Site
Mr. Nowicki said the M.D.O.T. Wetland Mitigation Site dated back to 1992. M.D.O.T. had proposed to mitigate all wetlands lost through the connector in St. Clair County. An agreement was formulated wherein M.D.O.T. would locate the mitigated wetland site here in Novi and that would provide a zero net loss of any of the environmentally sensitive wetland that would be disrupted by the connector. M.D.O.T. chose the Garfield Road site. It consists of 106 acres 86 of which are wetland-mitigated acres. In 1995 the agreement was formulated with the City of Novi and part of the agreement was that after the wetlands were created and a monitoring period M.D.O.T. would turn the property over to the City for $1.00.
In 1998 M.D.O.T. approached the City with an offer of providing that site to the City for $270,000. The City declined and reminded them of the 1995 agreement. They went back to their files and the City was given the right of first refusal for $1.00 for that particular site. It was the intent of the City to create a passive recreational facility that would not provide for basketball, soccer or baseball but more of a bird and pond watching area for people to walk through. A conservation easement would not provide for that type of facility because a small parking lot was needed for people to pull off and park and it would provide for restroom facilities if the City were inclined to build those facilities as funding permitted.
City administration was working with M.D.O.T. to come up with verbiage that would protect the site and provide for a complete conservation easement on all of the 106 acres and yet provide for passive recreational facilities. That process has been ongoing until recently when our contact person with M.D.O.T. resigned so consequently everything has been delayed until they hire someone else to go through the process.
The title work was a problem also. They could not get a title policy for the property and the attorneys have been working with M.D.O.T. to resolve those issues before taking title to that property. The survey would not close but he thought the engineers had resolved most of those issues and there are ongoing discussions on the conservation deed restriction.
Mayor Clark said as things stand now there is no easement. Mr. Nowicki said that is correct and it is what the title work shows. M.D.O.T. will put it on the property upon transfer to the City. Mayor Clark said the title is still vested in the State of Michigan and the survey is still being finalized. Mr. Nowicki believed the survey was closed now.
Mayor Clark said when the State does get back to us they will present a proposed conservation easement which would be contained in any proposed documents to transfer title from the State of Michigan to the City. At that time, Members of Council, Garfield Road residents and the community would have an opportunity to comment on any conservation easement language that might be proposed before there was any vote by Council.
Mr. Nowicki said consistent with their commitment to the residents in the area even before this was brought back to City Council there would be another public informational meeting seeking input from the residents.
Lisa Hoag, 21850 Garfield Road, has 800 feet of a common border with the property being discussed. She spoke of her concern with wetlands, wildlife and nature. She explained what a mitigated wetland was and how they came about in Michigan. Mrs. Hoag showed pictures of the property, wildlife and wetlands. She also expressed a desire for a wildlife sign on the property.
George Zervos, 21959 Garfield Road, expressed the need for an area like this for the wildlife and felt it was important for the ecology of this City and the State.
Joe DelCampo, 22140 Garfield, said two sides of his home back up to the wetlands and a piece of the wetlands are in his back yard. He said there was a lot of wildlife on that property and he wanted to see it stay and felt the City should buy the land and not build anything on it. He wanted the original draft of the conservation deed M.D.O.T. had put on the property prohibiting construction or changing of the property. He asked that Council allow the homeowners to participate and that they keep them informed.
Yoda Fisher, 22020 Garfield Road, said her property also bordered the wetlands. She wanted to voice her opinion that the wildlife should be left alone and given a place to be. That is what this was intended for to preserve that space that was taken away when the connector was built.
Scott Hoag, 21850 Garfield Road, wanted to point out the seriousness of wetland reclamation for situations of development such as the 12-Mile connector. The moral, ethical and possibly legal obligation that we have as human beings is to be considerate of that which is going on around us. It is for that purpose that they are all in favor of conserving this space to allow the wildlife and plant life to flourish and live in their natural habitat. He said this area is becoming the only area that is not being pressured by new construction.
Rich Booms, 21580 Garfield Road also has property abutting the wetland area and has the minutes of the Council meeting of April 10, 1995. They stated on page 31 "that the mining permit be granted and that the City and the State proceed with the wetland project contingent on the City and the State honoring the residents of Garfield Roadís request for cooperation in constructing the wetland." This was included in a letter from the State to the City dated April 3, 1995. In that letter paragraph P 3 states "that a conservation easement will be issued covering the entire 106 acres and no structures or disturbance of any soil shall take place." That is contained in the standard conservation easement issued by the State.
He said it was not the residents understanding that the property would be opened up to the public. He asked that the City Council honor the original as recorded in the meeting minutes and not open the wetland up to public use. They will remain cooperative and be glad to work together as long as there is some semblance of honoring the original agreement.
Cindy Gronachan, 21668 Garfield Road, represented the residents of the Garfield Road Homeowners Association in order to help determine the future of the M.D.O.T. mitigation project that is located in their backyards. Back in 1995 prior to the project the residents, City and M.D.O.T. worked hand in hand to insure a successful project and that the residents would be protected prior to, during and subsequently thereafter the project. The mining permit that was issued clearly stated that the residents would be a part of the project and a part of the process. Somehow the residents were removed from that process but thanks to this Council they are now back in the picture and they would like to thank them for that.
In 1995 Ms. Gronachan came before Council and asked that they not lose sight of what they were doing nor why they are doing it. This was a mitigation project to offset the destruction of other wetlands through an Executive Order handed down from Jimmy Carter in Washington that stated for every one acre of wetland destroyed one and one half acres had to be replaced. Letís not lose sight of what we are doing. We are not offsetting the loss of a subdivision, golf course or park. We are offsetting the loss of a wetland, which enables the wildlife that we pushed out with progress to return. We still have residents to concern ourselves with. The residents are in support of the purpose of this project and they feel they should not be exposed to the liabilities and nuisances that can occur as a result of placing a park in this type of neighborhood. Protecting the residents with their one-mile long road, no sidewalks and no fire hydrants should be a major concern of the City.
Ms. Gronachan read into the record the following summary of the residentís request.
The residents of Garfield Road are in full support of the City of Novi purchasing this mitigated property. The residents request that the purchase be made with the conservation easement placed on the entire 106 acres of the property and that the following restrictions be a part of the easement.
That for the next 100 years the property will never be subdivided or sold.
That there will not be any type of structure built on this property.
That the terrain or lay of the land not be altered or changed in any way.
That there will not be any type of park or trails put on this property and it is to be recognized as a wildlife preserve.
Since the City can not oversee the maintaining of the conservation easement it is requested that M.D.O.T. do so.
Any activities, any decisions, any type of altering of this wetland requires that the homeowners of Garfield Road be notified and asked for their input before any changes take place.
Finally the residents, since it is clearly stated in the original mining permit, want to meet with City Council for the final review and approval of the conservation easement before it is sent to M.D.O.T. for closing. When the purchase is finally to take place representatives from the Garfield Road Homeowners Association along with M.D.O.T. and the City will be present. In the event that this is a paper occurrence then copies of the final purchase agreement will be given to the homeowners at the time of signing.
These requests are to insure that the residents and future residents will always be a part of the process and will always be the number one concern of the City. What is best for the City is not always what is best for the residents.
Mayor Clark asked Ms. Gronachan to give a copy of her summary to the Clerk so that it could be copied. She agreed.
Tim Mitz, 22125 Garfield Road, stated he has been a part of this project since the beginning and asked that the agreement be written so that everyone could read it and understand it.
Andrew Mutch, 24541 Hampton Court, said one of the benefits that came out of the M-5 project was the fact that there was a mitigation site created in the City to the benefit of the City and its residents. It is important that this mitigation site serve to benefit the entire City and all residents. This is a large site and there is a large amount of wetlands on this property but with the proper treatment and access, such as is done in Wixom, residents of this community could have access and at the same time protect the needs of the residents of the area.
Richard Bond, 46700 Nine Mile Road, asked Council to keep their promise to these residents.
Robert Wylie, 21760 Garfield Road, was told this was going to be a wetland and that the State and Federal entities had approved it and it would not be changed or altered. He asked that the deed restrictions be put into place and nothing else.
Mr. Stone said this sounded like it could turn into another Briarwood. He said through Briarwood ran a natural watercourse and as the development progressed the builder and developer began to put in landfill. The areas that were partial woodland/wetlands had some standing water but it dissipated and as the years went by they found out they were ponding and retention basins. The trees started to die and are still dying. The wildlife is gone and the woodlands are beginning to look like swamps. He asked that they not let this Garfield area turn into another Briarwood.
The Public Hearing was closed.
Mayor Clark said Mr. Nowicki indicated to the residents of Garfield Road that they would be kept apprised. He said they can be assured that Council expects that and it will take place. No action will be taken until they see what the State proposes, the residents have had an opportunity to review it and comment on it and they will be noticed and will have the opportunity again at another public hearing to make their views known.
Member Kramer respected the residents valid concern. He would like to see a small task force take a look at potential use of the site. There might be a small nature use that makes sense and should be explored with the residents.
Member Crawford stated if a motion could be made during a public hearing he would move that Ms. Gronachanís letter be accepted as the policy. He is of the belief now that the mitigated area was not mitigated for the residents of Novi or Garfield Road. It was mitigated for the wildlife and the habitat and it is probably the way it ought to stay. There is very limited access to this site for even passive use and certainly the neighbors that abut the wetlands do not want a boardwalk in their backyard. When the proper time comes he stated he would be supporting what Ms. Gronachan said in her letter.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo echoed Member Crawfordís comments.
Member Bononi said two important functions of wetlands have not been mentioned which are ground water recharge and pollutant filters that take place in every single wetland no matter the size. She said this wetland was not built to serve people it was built to serve the function of the wetlands that were lost.
Member DeRoche concurred with Member Crawford.
Member Csordas did not think any of the taxpayers money should be invested into that property for passive anything. He asked if it was still a $1.00 buyout? Mr. Nowicki said it was.
Mayor Clark joined in all the comments Council had made relative to this item. He felt the Cityís plate was full with other parks. He commended Member Crawford for his remarks and asked him to hold that motion in abeyance and when it was made he would support it.
Tornado Warning Siren on the South Side of Nine Mile Road
Mr. Nowicki said after resident comments and Council direction he met with the Northville Public School system, electricians and Oakland County Emergency Preparedness Consultant to locate another potential site for the siren. The preferred site was Thornton Creek Elementary School and it was reviewed for the eligibility of electricity, site for the pole and access for vehicles to get to the siren for installation and maintenance. It was determined that the school was not the place to relocate the siren. There is a potential site on a vacant lot across the street and power can be brought to the site by Detroit Edison at no cost. The potential site is on the south side of Nine Mile directly opposite Thornton Creek Elementary School. Mr. Nowicki personally contacted the property owner and he indicated displeasure for the particular location but said he would make his decision and approach Council to provide his input. He asked for direction from Council based on the outcome of the Public Hearing.
Sandy Zander, 46225 Nine Mile Road, stated the property was a one-acre lot and the lot was for sale. Her father owns the property and they felt if a siren is put on the property it would decrease the property value. She said there are already three utility poles on the property. They felt it would decrease the value of their home especially because of the noise factor. She stated that they object to this site.
Jim Heller, 46448 Galway Dr., is building a home immediately behind the site. He objected to this site along with others in the area and stated that the once a month siren would interrupt the naps of children. It would also effect the values and marketability of the parcel around the siren. He understood the safety concerns and asked why their residential area was more attractive for it than where it is currently.
Richard Bond, 46700 Nine Mile Road, lived across the street and down the road from the proposed site. He understood the need for sirens and there were times in his area when he could not hear them. He thought everyone objected to the placement of the siren on a residential lot. Also, the main power on the street is on the north side, which meant they would have to run yet another line across the street. He thought the sirens should be placed on public property. He thought Councilís direction to Mr. Nowicki should be to go back to the Northville Public Schools with a public item going on public land. Those of us who live along Nine Mile Road pay taxes to both Novi and Northville Schools and would be happy to talk to the Northville Schools because they should be receptive to this being installed on public land.
Tina Howie, 46155 Nine Mile, is adjacent to Mr. Zanders property and she said they were good voting neighbors to the Northville School and good residents of the City of Novi. She said they watch the school and any trouble that goes on there. They have accepted a lot of the problems that came with the schools such as the noise of 8 AM Saturday soccer, baseball and football practice and lights that are on 24 hours a day from the school building. That is part of being a good neighbor. It made sense to her that the pole with the siren should be located on the school property. They have an island that divides the parking lot and an easement between the sidewalk and the road. She said their property values are important to them and the Northville School District does not pay the property tax and they do not stand to lose any value but the voting residents of Novi do.
The Public Hearing was closed
Member Kramer agreed with the comments presented this evening and would support a public discussion with the Northville School Board.
Member Crawford concurred with Member Kramer, Mr. Bond and Ms. Howie. It does belong on school public property and not on a residential lot. It was moved already from a residential lot. He suggested residents show up at a Northville School Board meeting and voice their opinions.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo concurred with the previous speakers but if it could not be at the school then explore whether it would be feasible to locate it somewhere on the City owned property east of Taft Road.
Member Bononi also believed that the school site is the most appropriate and she would like to see the emphasis put on negotiating such an arrangement.
Member DeRoche agreed with the previous speakers.
Member Csordas also agreed and hoped the residents would attend the Northville School Board meetings regarding this. Member Csordas said the siren would never be put on someoneís private property but it would go on the public easement. He asked Mr. Nowicki what the story was on the voltage or amperage drop if the siren was put there because their facility could not handle that. He found that hard to believe.
Mr. Nowicki said they talked to the electricians and when so many feet away from a transformer you have to either install another transformer or upgrade some facilities. The electricians did not believe it was the most feasible location for that particular siren. There are power lines along the frontage and according to the electricians that is the wrong phase of power.
Member Csordas asked if they were Northville or Novi technicians? Mr. Nowicki said they had the electrician and consultant from West Shore Services, a consultant from Oakland County Emergency Management as well as the electrician for Northville Schools. Member Csordas stated he hoped Mr. Nowicki would go back to the Northville Schools and tell them they need to step up to the plate and be good neighbors and that the residents here attend those meetings and express their opinions.
Mayor Clark said if this were on the opposite side of the street it would be in the R.O.W. and not on private property, is that correct? Mr. Nowicki said it was.
Mayor Clark asked if it was on the frontage of the school property would it also be in the R.O.W.? Mr. Nowicki said it would but there are overhead lines there and a certain clearance has to be maintained between the overhead lines and the siren itself and that would put the pole into the road.
Mayor Clark said he would like to know when this would be on the Northville School Board agenda and if his schedule did not conflict he would like to join Mr. Nowicki at the meeting. He said that priority is not being given to one residential area over another and as Council Member Crawford said all residents are on an equal position. He asked Mr. Nowicki to contact the appropriate officials at Oakland County and suggest to them that we find ourselves in an unenviable position seeking to comply with their requirements and strongly invite them to attend the next Northville School Board meeting.
Member Kramer suggested, in regard to R.O.W. location, that they expand their horizon of thinking if the pole does not site properly in the R.O.W. because of power lines he thought a cooperative public body would offer a public easement on public land for appropriate location.
Mr. Nowicki said they had talked about it and those horizons have already been expanded.
Mr. Helwig thanked Council for the hospitality this evening and the community reception and was looking forward to many progressive steps with Council and the community.
DEPARTMENTS - NONE
ATTORNEY Ė NONE
Ginger Barrons, 24425 Glenda, also owns property at 179 Penhill and has interest in property at 178 Penhill. She is a broker/owner of Red Carpet Keim in Novi. She said sometimes property rights interfere with the rights of neighbors and this is the situation she is in with the property that is located at 168 Penhill. She owns the property across the street and an interest in the property next to it. It is a burned out home and has been the three years she has been aware of it. It has never been secured, no work has been done for two years, and it has deteriorated and looks terrible. Ms. Barrons and neighbors have continued to update and improve their property and new homes have been built in the same area. She discovered that the City has given the owner of this property, whose variance has expired, another opportunity to work on the property, which means another two years they would have to look at this property unless the owner worked on it.
Ms. Barrons is disappointed but understood that new architectural plans had been brought forward showing an interest in revamping the property. If the City had gone through condemnation it could have taken two years as well so she understood why the permit was issued. She felt that the policy in Novi did not offer the current residents the opportunity to not have to deal with a situation like this. The City could have held a demolition bond and it could have been a remedy to the situation when the next permit expired. There could also be a policy that when a permit has expired another one not be granted but that a conditional permit be granted. The policy is at fault here. She passed a picture to Council of the house from two years ago and stated it is now 50% worse than it was then. The siding on this house actually blew off and hit her son in the head requiring stitches. She asked for Council direction on how the policy could be changed and offered her assistance.
Mayor Clark said Mr. Watson and the Ordinance Review Committee should address this in the near future.
Claire Wilson, 42428 Loganberry Ridge N, said regarding Tax Abatement for Textron and he against it. He took his own survey and out of 60 people 58 of them did not want tax abatements and asked that Council listen to the people.
Toni Nagy, was present on behalf of her association and others around Lakewood. They are opposed to tax abatements and felt Textron could well afford to come to Novi without abatement. It does not seem to be a popular policy with residents in Novi. Residents do not get abatements for living in Novi. She felt that tax abatements create unfair competition.
James Korte, Shawood Lake, addressed #1 on the agenda regarding a sidewalk at 151 Penhill. He thought it would be ridiculous to have this as the only sidewalk in that subdivision. Regarding #4, vacation of Erma Street, he hoped it would be pushed on farther. The liability the City has there is a joke and it would never work. Planning has done everything they can do and it is not going to work.
Mr. Korte stated there were a great number of staff members present and asked Council if they realized these staff members did not have a union contract. He demanded more of this City Hall staff then anyone else in the City. He felt that the City owed them a viable contract. He felt that Council would be shocked and embarrassed at what they, themselves, are saying and doing in the way of union negotiations. He stated it was unacceptable the way people in City Hall were treated.
Jeff Bowdell, representing Pioneer Meadows Homeowners Association and Special Assessment Districts 157 and 158, passed out a packet of documents that he hoped Council would peruse.
Phil Koneda, resident and Planning Commission Member, was concerned that the Wetland and Woodland Ordinances were not accomplishing what they were intended to in Commercial, Industrial and OST Districts. He said at the April 15th meeting of the Planning Commission a Site Plan was presented on behalf of Magna International and they were seeking both Wetland and Woodland Permits. On both of these staff consultants recommended against approval. Until last year, when it was modified, the Wetlands Ordinance had no equivalent or fail-safe built into it. The Determination of Essentiality and subsequent requirement for mitigation was supposed to be the last resort and many felt it was a fail-safe mechanism. If the Consultant recommended that the wetland was essential then they would abide by that ruling and it would be mitigated.
A Determination of Essentiality is not a judgement call and the City consultants should be the sole determination of essentiality and it does require replacement of wetlands by mitigation. It should be the burden of the developer to disprove essentiality and not us to prove that it is essential. He said another problem is developers come in who do not have room on site to mitigate. He said there are about 20 acres on Garfield Road that has not been mitigated and perhaps in negotiations for that site they should consider mitigating that site even further and using it for replacement of developments in other areas.
He said regarding Woodlands incentives need to be given for saving trees and not just penalties for replacing them. The current Ordinance is more of a penalty Ordinance than a reward Ordinance. Relief should be considered from the replacement tree count if saving wooded areas is considered and possibly give some landscape credits for tree preservation. He also suggested a plan for effectively using the money placed in the City Tree Fund.
Mr. Koneda said if tax abatements were considered they needed to be fair, consistent and sure that the residents of the City get something out of it.
Terry Sever, Oakland County Board of Commissioners shared his comments regarding the Woodlands Ordinance and felt that it had been a wonderful tool. He thought the Ordinance would be stronger if Council could put some flexibility in it. He suggested creating incentives to protect woodlands in residential areas particularly.
Mayor Clark advised that Mr. Bowdell submitted a letter to Council relative to S.A.D. 157 and 158 with homeowners statements that indicated 19 people signed in opposition to the S.A.D.ís and 9 signed in favor. Mayor Clark said this would become part of the permanent record relative to those S.A.D.ís.
Greg Nelson, Pioneer Meadows S.A.D.ís, said most residents are not in favor of the cost of this and felt that it was exorbitant. The reaction of the majority is to abandon the problem but he does not want to quit. He wanted to explore this more because these S.A.D.ís were needed. He said Southfield was successful in getting funding from the State or government. He asked for Councilís help because this has to be solved.
Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin, thought tax abatements should be used as a tool and an incentive and should not be disbursed freely. It was a good step to establish a procedure and thanked Council for addressing this with due diligence. Ms. Gray concurred with Mr. Koneda.
Rick Roble, 42769 Brookstone Drive, spoke regarding the Vista Hills Street Tree issue. He said the street trees are not yet planted and the developerís deadline is in two weeks to plant the trees or give notice to the City to release the money so it could be used for that purpose. Their concern is how long it would take to release the bonds and get someone out to plant the trees. They hope this can be done this spring; however they do have a letter from the City stating that if not done this spring it would be done by November. Residents were hoping to get this issue pushed forward so the planting can be done.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Watson if a local bank was holding these funds? Mr. Watson said they were being held by a letter of credit. The Mayor asked if the developer has not taken action by May 1st would he move expeditiously to have those funds released.
Mr. Watson said most likely. Mr. Pargoff forwarded this material and a proposed draft letter to his office to go out to the developer. He said Mr. Pargoff received a letter from the developer regarding some explanation of particular plantings and he did not know if it had been responded to yet. Before exercising letter of credit they would give the developer whatever explanation there is to avoid any confusion. He expected Mr. Pargoff to respond to the letter first.
Mayor Clark suggested writing a letter to the developer simply saying that they are expected to do what they contractually promised and are obligated to do and if they do not do it the money will be taken from the bank and the job will be done. He asked if there was an Ordinance that spoke to this situation?
Mr. Watson said the Ordinance did not have specific time perimeters. It provided that when Certificate of Occupancies are obtained the developer has to post financial guarantees for any uncompleted site improvements. The Ordinance provides for the City to get those financial guarantees and gives the City the authority to utilize those funds if the site improvements are not put in. The specific time perimeters would be found in the Certificate of Occupancy if anywhere.
Mr. Pargoff said the street tree monies are in an escrow account in cash. He was not sure about the Woodland fees but thought they were also in cash. He invited the audience to Arbor Day, May 1st at 7:00 PM on the west side of the building. A tree for Mr. Kriewall will be planted on the south side of the building. He invited Council to attend a young tree preening and pre-maintenance seminar that he would be doing in Lansing on May 24th. This might address some of the citizens concerns. He stated he had applications.
Member Bononi asked if there was an approved planting plan for Vista Hills? Mr. Pargoff said there were two approved planting plans. She said if the plantings are taken over as a result of using the funds that are contained in the letter of credit would it be per that approved planting plan? Mr. Pargoff said that was correct.
Frank Morand, Pioneer Meadows, said all the information Council received with the cover letter the residents just got today seventeen days after the last meeting. Some of the things presented earlier by Mr. Nelson the rest of the subdivision had no information in regard to that at all. He said although this was voted down at the last meeting there is an appearance that someone is trying to push this forward. He said there were more subdivision letters sent to Council than were published in the agenda for tonight.
Mayor Clark said all the letters he received he brought in and had them forwarded to the other Council Members. There were 20 opposed, 9 in favor and he had 10-12 additional letters that were all opposed to the S.A.D.ís. He assured Mr. Morand they would be put into the public record.
Clay Tierney, Pioneer Meadows, stated that he was not opposed to the Water and Sewer S.A.D.ís. There are people who want this pursued and they do not want it to go by the wayside because this is a very serious problem in the subdivision. There is support for this it just has not been as vocal yet but it will be.
Mayor Clark said this is a seven-step process and it is in the very early stages. At some point in time the systems would fail and it would be possible that the State would step in and dictate policy whether we like it or not and this would be much more expensive five or ten years later.
Member Kramer said this is a citizen driven process. He told them it did not have to be the whole subdivision and to consider if there was a group of homes that are together there might be a project that could be designed for them. This has occurred in other places but would not work if homes were scattered. He said the bill is high but would come back in taxes over a 20-year period. He said there might not be a lower cost time to do it because there would be construction in the future and activity to bring water and sewer down Beck Road.
Art Cervi, 28331 Haggerty Road, stated he thought the Textron and Magna International projects would be a plus and a lot of money to Novi. He said there has to be flexibility on the Woodland Ordinances in Commercial areas. The City rezoned this OST and if they intended to maintain this as woodland why didnít they buy it and name it Novi Park. He said he is the only remaining resident and has buildings going up around him. He is selling his place and if Council encumbers his property because a developer would not buy it because of woodlands then he expected compensation from the City.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Bononi removed Item C.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo removed Item G.
Approve Minutes of:
March 27, 2000, Special Meeting
April 3, 2000, Regular Meeting
April 8, 2000, 11:00 am - Special Meeting
Request for renewal of Massage Business License-Visions Salon, 22002 Novi Road
D. Approval of 2000-2001 Agreement between the City of Novi and OLHSA
E. Authorization to accept 1999 Local Law Enforcement Block Grant in the amount of $35,359
with the Cityís match of $3,929.
F. Request for approval of Tollgate Woods SP 98-5 and Tollgate Ravines SP 98-54 ,
Woodlands Replacement Plan, located in Section 11 north of Twelve Mile Road and west of
Meadowbrook Road zoned R-A
H. Award quotation for tower painting to Commercial Antenna Systems, Inc. in the amount of
I. Award quotation for noise analysis RFP to McLaren Hart in the amount of $4,750 (Police).
J. Adoption of Resolution regarding construction cost reimbursement to PLC Novi West
Development, LLC from SAD 155.
K. Approval of Employment Contract with Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
L. Approve Claims and Accounts:
Warrant No. 570
CM-00-04-116 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Kramer; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve Consent Agenda Items A-B, D-F, H-L.
Roll call vote on CM-00-04-116 Yeas: Lorenzo, Clark, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas,
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part I
Request from Charles E. Coram, Jr. for a variance from Design & Construction Standards requiring that a sidewalk be constructed at 151 Penhill.
CM-00-04-117 Moved by DeRoche, seconded by Bononi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve a variance from Design & Construction Standards requiring that a sidewalk be constructed at 151 Penhill.
Roll call vote on CM-00-04-117 Yeas: Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche,
Kramer, Lorenzo, Clark
Request from Paul Bosco for comments from City Council regarding conceptual RUD Project.
Gary Wilson, McKenna and Associates, said the site is located at the NE corner of Beck and Eleven Mile Road. It is two 40 acre parcels and is in the area of the new middle school. The site was originally zoned R-3 and reduced to R-A . Mr. Bosco did not object to the change in zoning and felt he would get the proper zoning his neighbors had when he was ready to develop it. He applied in 1991 for R-1 zoning and it was denied, a suit was filed and it is now in appeal. Subsequently, the City had a change to its Master Plan moving the density line. In light of the density change they began conversations with the City to work out a plan to settle the property and get the zoning resolved. He wanted to discuss natural features of the site that led into the RUD plan. The RUD approach was suggested by the Planning consultant as a way to resolve the density of the property given its unique natural features.
Mr. Ludwig explained the natural features of the property. He said there was a large meadow wetland running through the southwest quadrant, which continues to the east. That area of wetland comprises approximately 19 acres of the site. There is a 5Ĺ acre woodland and isolated uplands.
Mr. Wilson said there are 104 lots on 76.8 acres. The Bosco home site is excluded. They assumed the R-1 zoning which is supported by the new Master Plan density of 1.65 and the RUD provisions of the Ordinance were followed in coming up with the lot count. There is a schedule on the plan that sets forth the different areas, upland, water course and the woodland areas that are included in the computation and it came out to 104 lots allowed using that option. This plan provides for exactly that number of lots. The lot areas comply with the minimums of the R-3 District Provisions which are allowed by the RUD although many exceed that.
In the planners review of the site a number of issues have been brought up regarding whether it complies with the intent of the RUD. The planner did not dispute the technical aspects of the layout but has disputed whether it met the intent of the ordinance. They believe it met the intent.
First, there is a substantial area they have preserved. This plan provides for a 35 acre preserve of wetlands, uplands and unwooded upland area. This is unique because it puts together a unique combination of habitats. It is unique because of the size of the area and the opportunity to create a contiguous preserve. There are 12 acres of upland and 7 of those acres are wooded upland, which is another benefit. This upland would not necessarily be preserved if this were developed under an R-1 plan. The three acre upland area could be connected with a bridge or incidental crossing.
Second, the other factor that provides a benefit to the City is the opportunity to create a regional basin that developments in the area could tie into. This is not included in the plan but the opportunity still exists because of the commitment to preserve the upland and wetlands.
The open space character of the site has issues that need to be considered. The visibility of the development from 11 Mile Road will consist of two lots. The pond is several acres and is a rural element that is being preserved.
On Beck Road the future R.O.W. will be preserved and there would be only four lots visible so the visual impact of this development is not going to be significant in terms of changing the character. It is also consistent with what is around it.
They also provide a reasonable variety of lots; they are 100 feet in width and over 13,000 square feet. They do have the option of going to a cluster plan, which would in effect achieve the variety with smaller units, but they did not feel that was what Council wanted. If they did a cluster plan then the alternative placement would be on the frontage of the site on Beck Road and on 11 Mile Road. They thought it would have more impact and be less consistent with the development in the area.
They did not believe that was the central component of the development. They have provided 12 acres of upland area and think it is sufficient for recreation both active and passive. The site is near the middle school so it also has available recreation.
Mr. Bosco would like to continue living in his residence. They were asking for conceptual direction from Council to move forward with the plan.
Member Csordas asked Mr. Arroyo about his comments of April 11th that said the concept failed in its attempt at meeting the intent of the RUD provisions. He asked him to expand on that.
Mr. Arroyo said the property is currently zoned R-A which means the use permitted by right of residential would be permitted on a one acre lot which essentially is 43,560 square feet. City Council has not rezoned the property yet and that was the frame of reference from which the discussions should begin because it is what the current regulations provide for. They are asking that the zoning be changed to R-1 and the density that is permitted in the R-1 District is in fact consistent with the density recommendations in the Master Plan. The question becomes is this appropriate for a RUD development? In the last few years there has been a substantial overhaul of the RUD ordinance with very stringent standards that are very important and need to be followed when reviewing an RUD. This is a concept and is not a full RUD submittal and their review did not constitute a final review of an RUD plan.
He said it did not meet the intent of the ordinance when it came to development of an RUD. Looking back to other RUD developments, such as Island Lake and at the direction from Council and what they were looking for and certainly the variety of lot sizes, has been an issue that was very critical in discussion with Island Lake. He said Council put that in the ordinance because they were looking for a variety of lot sizes and he did not see it in this plan. This is primarily an R-3 subdivision placed within a piece of property zoned R-A that could be zoned R-1 but that has not yet happened. Some lots are bigger than the bare minimum but only one actually approaches the R-2 minimum and all fall within the range of what would be considered an R-3 subdivision.
Mr. Arroyo said rural community character is specifically mentioned in the ordinance and he thought there was a unique opportunity here to preserve some rural community character in Novi. Part of the Master Plan was the importance of a number of elements that created community character; certainly it could be part of the landscape, fences and structures. The ordinance speaks to preserving rural character. If the home and barn that exist on Mr. Boscoís property could be preserved with this type of development technique it would be a benefit to the City. When this property comes forward in this type of proposal where there is a leftover four acre piece at the corner that includes this property he wondered about its long term use and what might happen to that property if an RUD developed and that four acre area was excluded. What would be the logical development or what would be proposed? Would it be R-1 or R-A or would someone seek commercial zoning? What we know is someone is asking for more units than they could get under conventional development. That is what RUD allows and more units can be obtained than under any other option. The RUD zoning is the best possible optional zoning classification for getting the maximum number of units. For someone to qualify for that they have to meet the test that Council sets forth. Preserving rural character is one of them and he thought by including the property with the barn and house if could be done. He was also concerned about the way this would look from Beck Road and Eleven Mile Road. This is essentially an R-A and R-1 area.
On page 3 of his letter is a baseline for an RUD. It said that lots are provided by whatever the zoning calls for. The Council can agree to modify lot sizes if the number of factors are met. The very last factor is the existence of clear explicitly substantial and ascertainable benefits to the City from the RUD. He questioned whether that was provided for.
Another question is preservation of open space. There are woodland and wetlands areas that are being preserved. They discussed the woodland preservation with Ms. Lemke and whether or not they would be preserved under a conventional development. He thought it was her opinion that they would be regulated and she would seek to have them preserved as part of any conventional development that came forward. He questioned whether or not that is truly a significant benefit that would warrant additional density and smaller lot sizes on this piece of property.
Member Csordas asked if the 4.1 acres would be included in the RUD? Mr. Arroyo said that was not the current proposal. It is not necessary that the parcel be included as an open space feature it could be a lot that is part of the RUD that Mr. Bosco would continue to live on. He was suggesting that if it was included in the RUD it could come under the protection of the RUD contract and the RUD provisions and could be preserved in the manner it existed today. If excluded there is no ability to insure its preservation.
Member Csordas said if Mr. Bosco wants to sell that property to someone else it would not be a problem. Mr. Arroyo said it could be sold to someone else as long as they adhere to the RUD contract and approval.
Member Csordas asked if the site was developed under the Master Planned R-1 how many homes could be built there? Mr. Arroyo said there would be approximately 94 lots.
Member Csordas asked Ms. Lemke what her opinion was of the wetland and woodlands on the property?
Ms. Lemke had not been on the property but had been on adjacent property and according to the Woodlands Map it would be a high quality woodland and they would seek alternatives to save as much as possible. She said it was a possibility that it would not be able to be developed.
Member DeRoche said he was not necessarily opposed to this but the density had to be negotiated and the details pinned down regarding Mr. Boscoís property. He felt it would be a burden on a future homeowners association to maintain a barn and farmhouse plus the acreage. He did not think it was reasonable. He thought this was a good first step to coming to a mutual understanding of what is good for the corner. The idea they had in mind now was intriguing and it did preserve some of the areas of wetlands and woodlands. He thought keeping them out of those completely is more advantageous to the City and maybe cramping the density and lot size a little more to do that is a trade off worth considering. He did not think this would grossly affect the area and felt it was consistent with the subdivisions around it.
Member Bononi was concerned about having a floodgate of conceptual proposals coming before Council. She did not believe Council should be designing subdivisions for anyone and it is not fair to those people who present a fully developed plan and ask Council the questions. She agreed with Mr. Arroyo that this proposal does not meet the intentions of the RUD Ordinance. Specifically, the open space proposed is not valuable or usable open space for the main part. Secondly, the green beltways are to hide some of the housing sections that are to be clustered and to provide a true variation of lot size, which this proposal does not. She described the street layout as pedestrian and did not see what the community benefit would be. She believed it took the density benefit and did not give back to the City and she would not support it.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzoís concern was the lack of variety of lot sizes and wanted to see a substantial number of R-1 lots in the proposal particularly along the mile roads, along Beck and along Eleven Mile to help soften the higher density in between. Also, she wanted the house and barn included in the proposal to the degree that it would prevent some of the eventualities Mr. Arroyo alluded to such as an attempt to rezone it to commercial. She agreed it might be impractical to preserve this site but would like it included to protect it from other types of rezoning in the future.
Member Crawford agreed he would like to have that corner preserved for future use. He asked how it would be a burden on the association?
Mr. Arroyo said there were a number of options. It could be a lot that would be up for sale. It did not have to be a burden to the association. It could be a part of a common element that would be the responsibility of the association to maintain but that would not be a requirement.
Member Crawford said if it was potentially zoned R-1 that would keep it from being office, etc.
Mr. Arroyo said yes. Member Crawford thought this was a step in the right direction but would like to see a little more imagination in the subdivision layout such as a larger variety of lot sizes. He thought it was noteworthy that the wetlands/woodlands areas are preserved in this concept and it might or might not be in other concepts.
Member Kramer did not like the solution brought forward but thought the idea of working it out in the manner that is being proposed has possibilities. He said it did not meet the intent of the Ordinance. He said for the benefit they are seeking they need to provide that the intent of the ordinance is being met and they have not done that.
Mayor Clark would like to see more imagination in the street layout and encouraged the preservation of the barn and the house but he did not want to get into the position of asking someone to give up their home and barn in order to get an approval. The suggestion is that Mr. Bosco could remain there as long as he would like and maybe the way to do it is to come to an understanding over some preservation language. Such as if at some point in the future if Mr. Bosco wanted to move, the house and barn would be preserved as a private residence and could not be sold for any type of commercial development. He felt this was a step in the right direction and was consistent with the adjoining area. If it was rezoned to R-1 it would end up with density less than what is allowed in the R-1. If an agreement could be made it would put to rest some long standing litigation once and for all and this should be considered as well. He said with further adjusting and with the suggestions of the Council he thought he could support this if it came back in the future.
Request for reconsideration of NOVAPLEX Woodlands Permit, SP 99-32, located in Section 12 on the west side of Haggerty Road between 12 and 13 Mile Roads, zoned OST (Office Service Technology)
Mayor Clark said the recommendation here tonight is that the decision of the Planning Commission relative to the Woodlands permit denial be maintained.
Matt Quinn, representing NOVAPLEX, said this is a piece of property that the City assesses at $4 Ĺ million, zoned OST and Beztak is looking to use that OST zoning to construct four buildings. The two buildings that front Haggerty are 68,000 square foot each and are to be used principally for office use. The two buildings to the rear are 54,000 square foot each and are the true office research buildings that the OST is looking for. They were present to facilitate a conclusion to this matter. They had been to a sub-committee per Council and as a result many good ideas did come out and they were going to present a plan to save more trees in the particular area that had not been thought about until last week.
Mr. Quinn said this land was zoned previously R-A and at that time there was a way to credit a developer by giving them increased density in trade for the non-destruction of the regulated trees on this land. Unfortunately, when the OST ordinance was put in place on over 1,000 acres there was no corresponding change in the woodland ordinance that allowed the same type of credits. So, there are two ordinances that are at a loggerhead. The purpose of the OST Ordinance was to create a new tax base for the City and decrease the tax load on the single-family homeowners. This way the City felt everyone would benefit. As part of the rezoning to OST the value of this land increased drastically. When a company comes pays top dollar they expect to have the opportunity to develop this 22 acres of land. One of the problems with the Woodlands Ordinance is that there is no way for a person from the outside to look at a piece of property and know exactly how many trees they can take down and what must remain. It leaves them guessing as to how much property can be developed. Other cities might say 30% of the trees on site have to be saved which is an easily defendable and definable solution. Noviís Ordinance leaves everyone guessing as to how much property can be developed. They felt this was a problem and that some massaging of this ordinance should be done and it was time to do that.
He said Beztak said at the Planning Commission level they had met every ordinance that was required for this site plan. Before they got to the motion to approve the site plan they had to deal with the Woodlands Ordinance and that was rejected. As far as the buildings, layouts and sites they meet all of the ordinances.
He said Beztak looked at different building locations, drainage problems, retention ponds were refined and originally when they looked at the site they used 100% of the site and destroyed all of the trees. Of course, they backed down from that position. They meet the parking standards and have looked into underground utilities to save the most trees they possibly can.
The Planning Commission said they could only build on the front 12 of the 22 acres facing Haggerty Road and denied construction on the rear of the property. They felt the 10 acres is valuable and it is assessed at $4Ĺ million dollars therefore there is a percentage that applies to the 10 acres. When wetlands can not be developed the assessor takes them off the assessed value of the property. He said the assessing office does not take off the value of the woodland property when they looked at whether or not they could be used. Beztak even filed an appeal with the Board of Review claiming since they were being denied the use of the 10 acres they should receive a decrease in their tax rate. They were declined and they taxed Beztak on the entire 22 acres, as if fully developable when in fact it is not. He said they were looking for fairness.
He said with the latest modification they would be saving approximately 45% of the trees on site.
He compared this project with the Magna Project and pointed out similarities.
Henry Gathard, Architect, explained the entryway plantings, the type of structure and facade proposed for all four buildings
Mr. Quinn said they were present to make this appeal a final one and the only appeal from this body was to the Court. Beztak is totally willing and able to abide by the Woodland Ordinance requiring replacements and would mitigate on site. What could not be done on site they would propose to put 150 trees at another property they own, Saddle Creek, and then they would make a contribution to the tree fund in the approximate amount of $120,000. If Council does not want the trees at the apartment site they would pay the money into the tree fund all together. The only issue, under the Woodland Ordinance, is whether there is a feasible and prudent alternative location for the structures or improvements that can be had on the site without causing undue hardship. The square footage of the properties is set and is not going to change. It is a hardship for Beztak not to be able to build the two buildings to the rear.
Tonight they were asking that Council grant the appeal based upon the original plan submitted or grant a conditional Woodland Permit based on the drawing, Alternate 1C, with the condition that the Planning Commission approve the Preliminary Site Plan for 1C. They believed all the parking requirements were met and did not think there were any engineering problems. He believed this was alternative relief that could be granted by Council this evening.
Mayor Clark asked if all four of these buildings were spec buildings?
Mark Sturing said they have been in contact with several tenants. At this point they are spec but they are working with tenants in terms of things they want.
Member Kramer asked what percent of woodland preserve was in their first plan?
Mr. Sturing said the first plan was 1.6 acres in the rear out of the 10 and then 8.83 acres in another area. The acreage stays about the same because they moved it over. They are saving some additional numbers by getting rid of the road and they ended up with about another 20 feet.
Member Kramer asked Ms. Lemke to comment on the plan.
Ms. Lemke showed overheads and explained that not all of the areas they were proposing to save would be able to be saved due to the amount of grading that would take place. They do not go all the way out to the edges of the pavement so her acreage and their acreage disagree. She got a little over 1 acre of preservation, which is ten percent of the woodlands. She has been hearing about trees tonight and the Woodland Ordinance is to preserve areas of woodland and contiguous areas of ecosystem. It is not looking at numbers of trees but at acres of woodland that can be saved.
Member Kramer said the perimeter of 1C has been portrayed as being contiguous to woodland. Ms. Lemke had not seen 1C yet but there are two narrow areas of woodlands on Alternate C and grading would have to be looked at to see how much of those areas could be saved.
She pointed out the Magna and NOVAPLEX parcels on an overhead. Magna had 9.97 acres of woodland and are saving about 5 Ĺ acres. Their 9.97 acres is contiguous with the high quality Beech Maple woodlands that are on the NOVAPLEX site. She did not approve the Magna property the Planning Commission did.
Member Kramer asked if they were saving 45% of the high quality woodland on the west side of the site?
Mr. Gathard said it is 45% of the trees and the trees that are in the woodland are being saved.
Member Kramer said OST does not abdicate the City Ordinances for woodlands. He thought there were remedies for woodlands and had sent a letter dated 3/28 indicating that if they would be willing to change 3 story buildings to 4 story buildings with the same square footage, and ground space saved could be attributed to the woodlands.
Mr. Gathard said certainly but Council could not grant four story buildings and they would have to look at the Zoning Board of Appeals, which Council could not dictate to. They had considered that and it would save about 6,000 sq. ft. of building. He said the decrease in the floor size did not meet the normal market demands and requirements.
Member Kramer requested that they look into a four story building.
Member Crawford asked if the Office buildings went to four stories how much woodland would that save?
Mr. Gathard said about a quarter of an acre.
Member Crawford asked if there were any alternatives to the detention basins? Mr. Sturing said that had been looked at long and hard and engineering had been done to make them a little deeper than they were supposed to be. The two locations had been engineered for a specific purpose. This site has a 940-ft. elevation at the rear and 910-ft. at the front so there is a 30-ft. grade coming towards Haggerty and the detention basins are where they have to be. There was some talk about a regional detention basin to the west but they are not able to access it and there was no guarantee of when it could be constructed.
Member Crawford commented he had tremendously mixed feelings about this whole site. He did not disagree with what Mr.Cervi had to say. This OST zoning was created for some specific reasons such as attracting some high quality office research to provide a more equal tax base to relieve some from the residents. Yet, they were having difficulty trying to implement a Residential Woodland Ordinance. He asked if the site was financially feasible with three buildings?
Mr. Sturing said they did need all four buildings in order to make it an economically feasible project. He said they had explored underground retention, which is a very expensive proposition and adds to their hardship. The water flow would eventually go underneath Haggerty Road into Farmington Hills. Therefore, they did need that size retention to limit the flow of water to the various outlets that go to Farmington Hills.
Member Crawford asked if they could get by with one retention slightly larger on the Haggerty Road side? Mr. Sturing said this is the best it can be. Member Crawford asked if there could be a larger research building? Mr. Sturing said they had tried for 6 months to come up with an idea like that that would work and it can not be done. This is the best product they could end up with considering all the alternatives.
Member Crawford asked Mr. Quinn how much more woodlands are on the C plan? Mr. Quinn said they were creating another acre but a part of that was removing the wasted island so that it is contiguous.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo disagreed with the comments that the OST zoning category should be treated any differently than any other zoning classification. A Woodland Ordinance is not applied based on zoning. The Beztak Corporation chose to purchase the property knowing that the woodlands were on the property. They have done business in the City for a long time and knew full well the ordinance and its provisions. They have chosen to build spec buildings, to maximize the use of the site and to maximize the marketing flexibility. Any perceived hardship based on those facts would be a self created one. These are high quality woodlands and she did still see options. She and Member Crawford went over the options and it appeared Beztak desired to maximize everything including the marketability that is creating this issue. The options Member Kramer suggested are viable options it just meant that the Beztak ideal might not be possible. She could not recall the Planning Commission saying that they could only build on 12 acres. She would not support a woodland appeal.
Member Bononi said regarding justifying the removal of woodland and using the M-5 reasoning was not a valid comparison. They are not a public entity or agency, they are not providing a service for a public good and the benefit to them is private and financial. Comparing themselves with Magna has some validity. However, the matter of degree here does not justify the decision in either case. OST does not preclude woodland regulations nor does it in any other zoning classification and she would hope that Council would not start looking at the OST Zoning classification as a vehicle to make it easy to destroy woodlands. The fact that the Woodland Ordinance is so annoying is because it is working and that is a credit to Novi. If they want to build the buildings in the same way they are proposed on that site then they should have looked for a bigger site. She believed their hardship was self-inflicted and to bring it to Councilís doorstep and expect the City to accommodate them in regard to woodlands to the degree they are asking is too much. She would not support their proposal.
Member DeRoche said he did understand the Woodland Protection Ordinance and he respected it but also realized there are trade offs that should be made when common sense dictates. He was not 100% sold on this plan. This rendering was not presented until tonight and he was frustrated when one of the presenters said this was it tonight and then it was off to the courthouse. He had an open mind on this and asked that they have an open mind as well.
Member Csordas said in Mr. Sturingís letter of April 12th, page 2, 6th paragraph, 2nd sentence he says "I believe that it should be very easy to vote to increase the property tax revenues by over $500,000 per year upon completion of the NOVAPLEX Project instead of a loss of over $10 Million." Member Csordas asked what he was implying?
Mr. Sturing stated he was implying that the loss to Beztak over time would be over $10 Million. When considering the value of the land as determined by the City assessor in terms of interest differential, loss profits and lost equity he thought it would exceed $10 Million.
Member Csordas said he sensed legal action on the horizon. If this property can not be developed then there should be tax relief as there is in the Wetland Ordinance. He agreed with Mr. Sturingís comments in his letter on page 2, paragraph 3, "the Planning Commission was not fully prepared to deal with the new issue regarding the Woodland Ordinance in the OST District at the time that NOVAPLEX submitted its plan to the Planning Commission" or any body that is coming forward to do that. He said right next door Magna was recently approved and he thought that maybe the magnitude of the woodland area that was saved might be a little more. He said we may be coming down to the taking of land and thought that an offer to replace the trees on other property in the City and to contribute to the City fund is consistent with one of our residential ordinances. His perception is that it is Beztak and Mr. Sturingís intention, if this is not reviewed and reconsidered for future development, to go to court and we are on the way to another lawsuit in this City. He felt there would have to be some flexibility on City Council and input from consultants and more communication from the developer and owner. He saw a lot of trouble on the horizon and was very concerned. He did not want the City to be accused of taking land and setting double standards.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Watson to comment on the taking.
Mr. Watson said one thing relatively clear from recent taking cases is that you do not devaluate a taking based upon whether use of property is limited. If that was done everytime there was a set back requirement or height limitation you would be reducing the maximum value of the property and in theory you would have a taking. That is not how the courts look at a taking. They look at the parcel as a whole and whether, after the regulations are put into place, there remains an economically feasible use of the property. The difficulty with what is presented to Council tonight is that the way the question has been framed for Council is what we are looking at is either the site developed in a fashion that they would desire to be developed or the alternative of losing two buildings and that that results in a taking. The difficulty is the way the question has been framed. He did not think anybody has said that losing two buildings is the only way this property is acceptable under the Woodland Ordinance. Ms. Lemke made a comparison with the Magna property showing the amount of acreage that would be preserved on that site compared with the amount of acreage that would be preserved on this site. He did not think there was any question that if this project could come into the Planning Commission not with that entire rear area taken up with two buildings but with a plan that preserved an equivalent amount to what Magna is producing the Planning Commission would have approved it. He doubted Council would be having this struggle if there was a proposal that would do what was done on the Magna side.
Mr. Watson said in the letters that had been provided to Council there was a statement by one of the Planning Commissioners that he felt had been taken out of context. At one point during the Planning Commission proceedings of the Magna project Planning Commissioner Cassis referred to there being a double standard. It has been paraphrased in this letter as a justification for relief under the woodland ordinance. Mr. Cassis was not talking about woodlands when he said that. The concern he had was with the question of evaluating wetlands as being essential or non-essential. Mr. Cassis felt the consultants were not being listened to with regard to that particular issue and that was the context of his comment regarding a double standard. It had nothing to do with Magnaís woodland proposal versus the woodland proposal in this project.
Mr. Watson thought Council had to keep those issues clear. In terms of taking he said the courts would look at the entire parcel. He did not think the City was saying to the developer and property owner, that the only way to get approval of this project is to preserve all those woodlands and eliminate two of those buildings.
Mr. Helwig felt this was solvable if the parties really wanted to solve it and utilize the site in a win-win manner. He stated in the last three years he had dealt with more speculative office buildings in Dublin, Ohio than he has in his entire career. He has seen footprints of 30,000 sq. ft. of floor, four stories, 120,000-sq. ft. even with a floor of underground parking that would take all this asphalt and reduce the lot coverage dramatically. He did not know their vision for the research buildings and whether they can be consolidated in a similar way. Maybe three buildings is a compromise rather than two and maybe the office building could go closer to the woods and the other two out here and you have saved dramatically the amount of woodland. It pained him to see this amount of asphalt in a quality development. These buildings are the most fantastic architecture and people are paying the freight for them. There are ponds, a campus setting and they can get the square footing on this site in an enhanced manner that would sell in the market place and meet the City Councilís objective and the extent you can preserve woodland adds value to your development.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Quinn if he would be amenable to taking one more look?
Member Crawford asked if it would be appropriate to postpone or table this rather than put them or us up against the wall. He suggested a decision is not best made tonight.
Mr. Quinn said Mr. Sturing had no problem if there was a short tabling but he would not want to wait until June to address this.
CM-00-04-118 Moved by Crawford, seconded by Kramer; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To postpone the NOVAPLEX issue until the May 1st meeting.
Vote on CM-00-04-118 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche, Kramer,
Consideration of Request to vacate Erma Street and authorization for staff and consultant review and preparation of Resolution.
CM-00-04-119 Moved by Kramer, seconded by DeRoche: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve consideration of request to vacate Erma Street and
Authorization for staff and consultant review and preparation of resolution.
Vote on CM-00-04-119 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche, Kramer,
5. Request for approval to amend the RUD Agreement for Island Lake of Novi Phases
2B, 3B, 3C and 6, SP 99-58, and to grant a Design and Construction Standard
Variance, and a Subdivision Ordinance variance, located in Section 18, 19, 20 on the
north side of Ten Mile Road between Napier and Wixom Roads.
Dino Lakis, Smith Group J.J.R., said a few more trees could be saved by pulling the buildings forward closer to Timber Trail and reducing the setbacks from 30 ft. from R.O.W. to 16 feet from R.O.W. He also requested moving the sidewalks from 1 foot from the R.O.W. line to six feet from the R.O.W. line.
Mayor Clark said the consultantís recommendation has been to recommend approval. The departmental recommendations have been to approve and the recommendation was a motion to amend the R.U.D. agreement to allow for the reduction in front yard setbacks to 16 feet to grant a Design and Construction variance and Subdivision variance to allow for the repositioning of the sidewalk to five feet off the back of the curb instead of one foot inside the R.O.W.
CM-00-04-120 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Kramer; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To amend the RUD agreement to allow for the reduction in front yard setback to 16 feet, to grant a Design and Construction Standard Variance and Subdivision Ordinance variance to allow for the repositioning of the sidewalk to five feet off the back of the curb instead of one foot inside the right of way.
Member Kramer said this was the element of the RUD that went through the woodland and that was clustered up to minimize the intrusion. He asked if the buildings would be constructed with sensitivity so the land balancing for individual buildings, construction spoils, etc. end up in the backyard?
Mr. Lakis said there is a general need for soil elsewhere on site so he did not feel that would be a problem.
Roll call vote on CM-00-04-120 Yeas: Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche, Kramer,
Lorenzo, Clark, Bononi
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - NONE
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION PART II - None
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
C. Request for approval of Ordinance Number 2000-37.23, to Amend Subsections 34-
99(a) and Sections 34-111, 34-419, 34-429 and 34-435 of the Novi Code of Ordinances,
to revise the requirements for Water and Sewer Connection Charges Ė I Reading
Member Bononi asked why this was being brought forward and by whom? She thought it lacked information with regard to why this is being done. She questioned the over sizing of sanitary extensions and the fact that parcel tax identification numbers are provided but we do not know anything about who these owners are. She asked how the property owners are benefiting, are they aware of such over sizing, who knows about it, who decides the size of the line and who geographically will benefit. She looked at this as a potential benefit to many people but also as a sprawl promoter. The Planning Commission has been charged with a Master Plan to specify areas that Council wants to promote this could run contrary to that in some cases. Since this information is brief and non-inclusive she came away looking at this as a sprawl promoter. She requested postponement of this item until the administration could bring forward answers to these questions and provide back up materials. She said not to long ago a proposal was brought forward before Council with referral to a policy being written and she would like explicitly to know what that policy is.
CM-00-04-121 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; MOTION CARRIED:
To postpone Request for approval of Ordinance Number 2000-37.23
until May 15th.
Mayor Clark asked if Mr. Jerome could be ready with the information if added to the May 1st agenda?
Mr. Jerome said the staff in reviewing the ordinances noticed there were some inequities and they made the proposal and talked with Mr. Watson. The SADís involved are projects that were done in 1987-88. These are not new projects they are closing omissions from existing projects. The over sizing was done because the developer wanted to extend the utilities out to his parcel. They looked at the Utility Master Plan and told him in order to do that they wanted him to over size the pipe to service a service area that was indicated in the Master Plan. They agreed. The developers paid for the over sizing and the payback was set up so that they would recover their cost for the over sizing from the parcels within the benefiting district that did not participate in the SAD process.
Member Bononi understood that and said that this is an administrative policy and not a regulation and requested it be revisited.
Mr. Jerome asked if she was asking about determining the paybacks?
Member Bononi said simply stating that the area is Master Planned to be used in a certain way is not justification to be providing that.
Mayor Clark asked if this could be brought back by the 15th. Mr. Jerome said it could.
Member Crawford said this sounded like this was to tie up loose ends on projects that have already been done. Mr. Jerome said that is right. Member Crawford asked what he would bring back that would affect these projects? Mr. Jerome said this was done in 1987 and 1988. He asked how the information coming back would affect what is before us? It might affect something in the future but this probably needs to be acted on.
Mr. Jerome said it is not a major issue whether action is taken tonight or on the 15th. The individuals who fronted the cost for these utilities have not asked for these amendments. Mr. Jerome said when looking at the ordinances he determined there was an escalator in the ordinances for 10 years and some for 11 years. They asked what happened at the end of the escalators? The escalators were put in the ordinance in theory to recover the construction year cost with inflation.
Mr. Klaver said some of the questions that Member Bononi asked are more of what the philosophy is as opposed to what is being proposed tonight. He felt it would make more sense to bring this back and perhaps there would be time to talk in the interim to make sure he understood her questions correctly. Member Bononi said she was looking for policy not philosophy. Mr. Klaver said he understood that.
Member Bononi said also from the standpoint of knowing all of those individuals who were involved here and that they have been informed is the other point.
Member DeRoche said what Member Bononi said had validity and should have its hearing but that does not mean Council should not pass the first reading and go through the normal processes since it is coming back anyway. It is a way of postponing it because they are not going to bring back a second or third hearing until they can answer all the questions and pass it.
Mayor Clark said if all the points are clarified on May 15th Council could expedite and do a second and third reading at a subsequent as well.
Member DeRoche said he did not want to pass first, second and third readings in the future so if that is going to be the case may be we should put the first reading on the books.
Mayor Clark said Mr. Klaver said he would like the opportunity to look at it again so it seemed to make sense when the administration is saying that now and Mr. Jerome said no one is pushing it or making waves with reference to it.
Vote on CM-00-04-121 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Csordas, Kramer, Lorenzo
Nays: Crawford, DeRoche
G. Authorization for the City Attorney to draft an agreement between the City of Novi and
Singh Development for Meadowbrook Commons Sewer Connection.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked who did the planning on this? Unfortunately, the plans relied on tapping into Willowbrook Farms, which is not yet built and is not anticipated for two or three years.
Mr. Klaver said they were thinking that they were going to be a lot further ahead in their planning process. He said very early on they had talked about the possibility of having utilities come through the Singh project across the road. It appeared as if it was going to be there in plenty of time and when it turned out they were not going to be there they charged Ms. Conley with talking to them about the idea of billing us so we could tap into them. This is the necessary payback arrangement to accommodate that.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked if this was included in the design and cost of the project? Ms. Conley said no. She said there was no plan B? Mr. Klaver said plan B would be to come up with an alternate route, which they knew would be more expensive than this arrangement.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said this is asking us to float $57,000. Mr. Klaver said that is correct and instead of out of the project it would be out of the Water and Sewer Fund. She said the Water and Sewer Fund that according to the budget for 2000-2001 is running at over a million-dollar deficit.
Mr. Klaver said that issue would be dealt with at the next budget meeting and is more of a question in terms of how the depreciation is treated than it is an actual loss.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said this project has to move forward because there is not going to be a Senior Citizen facility without sewer obviously but it would be her intent to make up this $57,000 difference by cutting costs somewhere else within this project.
Mr. Klaver said this proposal would not make it part of the project cost. It would be funded from the Water and Sewer and at such time as its been built and Singh is ready to proceed with their project they would repay us. We are just carrying it in the mean time.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said she would like to see this made up through the project rather than carry it for two or three years.
CM-00-04-122 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi; MOTION CARRIED:
To authorize the City Attorney to draft an agreement between the City of Novi and Singh Development for Meadowbrook Commons Sewer Connection and explore through the budget process ways across the board of making that $57,000 pull.
Member Crawford felt the motion needed to be clearer. He did not want to jeopardize or penalize the Senior Citizen Project and would not support asking that $57,000 be cut from the Senior Citizen Housing Project.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said at this point it is the exploration. We are going through a budget process now and if we can not look at a budget and see if there are any possible cuts that can be made to pay us back but would not harm the project she thought it was worth the exploration.
Member Crawford asked if it would be cuts in the City budget or the Senior Citizen Project? Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said in the project itself. Member Crawford said he would not explore that possibility because he thought it had disastrous ramifications to start looking at ways to cut a Senior Citizen Project that has already been cut in many ways. He thought an agreement should be drafted but not with the proviso that we explore ways to cut.
Member Bononi said this is a very disconcerting thing. She asked if Council had financial accountability or not? How would we ever allow an applicant who came before us not to have proved that he had all utility services for his project? She thought this was part of the question and it is how we got where we got and she is very concerned and Council should be leading by example. She thought the suggestion that when we are over spent we do look into alternatives whatever they might be and looking at an exploration is a positive move and she would support the motion.
Member DeRoche agreed with Member Crawford and thought it should be limited to an agreement. He was not interested in negotiating budgets of specific projects at the time when we are putting out fires with other projects. It is noble and a good idea and sent a good message but it is not something he would vote for because he had a practical problem with pursuing things along that line.
Mayor Clark said all points were well taken. There is concern about accountability and if there is concern about making up $57,000 he did not think it should be made up at the expense of the seniors. Perhaps we will have to look at the various departments across the board and say everybody will be making a contribution to the Senior Citizen Complex and find $57,000 by spreading it across every ones budget.
Member Crawford said it looked like we planned on tapping into their sewer. They are not planning on billing it and it is not something that they did wrong. It is not their fault. He did not want to look at the budget to find $57,000 because we are going to take something out of the Water and Sewer Fund or wherever. To cut an already bare bones budget that we all have our personal pet projects we want to add to the budget is going to be undoable. He asked what the motion was?
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said it is to authorize the City Attorney to draft an agreement between the City of Novi and Singh Development for Meadowbrook Commons Sewer Connection and explore through the budget process ways across the board of making that $57,000 pull.
Member Crawford said he would not support it.
Roll call vote on CM-00-04-122 Yeas: Csordas, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo,
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
Mayor Clark suggested moving Item #3 to Item #1 and asked Council to consider carrying over the other items until the next meeting. There also had to be a discussion of the budget meeting schedule.
Vista Hills Tree Plantings Ė Member Csordas
Member Csordas said Vista Hills Subdivision has been dealing with the City for a number of years and there is a recap in Council packets pertaining to this. Member Csordas said enough is enough. Mr. Pargoff was not in attendance and Member Csordas asked Mr. Watson what could be done to get the letter of credit executed and get trees in the ground for this subdivision?
Mr. Watson said it is not a letter of credit ;it is cash that the City is holding. Mr. Pargoff wrote a letter to the developer giving them until May 1st to take care of this. He suggested not planting trees prior to May 1st. It was his understanding that the developer wrote back asking for some explanation and details about plantings. He suggested that Mr. Pargoff give immediate response to that and answer those questions. Then when May 1st rolls around or shortly thereafter the City can take action.
Member Csordas asked that Mr. Pargoff respond tomorrow and overnight it so we know exactly what the response is. This subdivision has been told that if it is after May the plantings can not be done. He asked Ms. Lemke about planting the trees.
Ms. Lemke said they could be planted in May and part of June depending on the weather. It depends on if it gets hot it would have to wait but if we have a cool spring they could be planted.
Member Csordas asked Mr. Helwig to talk with Mr. Pargoff and insure that the process is started and research how much it would cost, how many, etc. He said the City has ignored these people and enough is enough.
Mr. Helwig said he would provide Council with a timetable if the City must do the work if it is acceptable to Council and the neighborhood.
CM-00-04-123 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Crawford; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To identify the work to be done for Vista Hills Subdivision Tree planting and take money out of the escrow account to accomplish it.
Vote on Cm-00-04-123 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche, Kramer,
Mayor Clark addressed Mr. Watson and said Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo has asked when the remaining items come back at the next meeting that he have a report on the situation with Magna on the woodlands and wetlands and also from Ms. Lemke and Ms. Kay.
Discussion on scheduling a Council meeting for every Monday night-Mayor Clark Ė POSTPONED UNTIL MAY 1ST
Discussion-Budget Meeting Schedule
Mr. Klaver confirmed the budget sessions scheduled for Wednesday, April 26th, and Thursday, April 27th at 7 PM. Also to inform Council that in discussions with the Finance Department they will try to have all remaining budgets, except for Public Services, dealt with on Wednesday night and then on Thursday do Public Services and wrap up.
Mr. Klaver suggested rescheduling the Executive Session.
Mayor Clark said it would be carried over to the next meeting.
Mr. Klaver asked about the tax abatement?
Member Kramer said they had an updated draft and if there were comments on it to give them to Mr. Capote before the first so additional comments could be compiled.
Mayor Clark had comments from Greg Herman, citizen, which he would provide to Mr. Capote. He asked that they be copied for Council and the Mayor.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo thought it would be appreciated if the proposed amendments that each Council Member included in the previous packet be sent or faxed to Mr. Bacon and other members of the State and County. She wanted to be sure all their comments went to the above mentioned.
CM-00-04-124 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To adjourn the meeting at 1:40 AM.
Vote on CM-00-04-124 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche, Kramer,
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Nancy Reutter, Deputy City Clerk
Transcribed by: ____________________
Charlene Mc Lean
Date approved: May 1, 2000