View Agenda for this meeting

SPECIAL JOINT MEETING OF THE COUNCIL AND

NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF NOVI

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2001, AT 7:00 PM

NOVI CIVIC CENTER Ė COUNCIL CHAMBERS Ė 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD

Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:08 PM.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

ROLL CALL

COUNCIL: Mayor Clark, Mayor ProTem Lorenzo, Council Members Bononi-absent/excused, Cassis, Csordas, DeRoche-absent/excused and Kramer

ROLL CALL

PLANNING

COMMISSION: Canup-absent/excused, Churella, Kocan, Koneda, Landry, Mutch, Nagy,

Piccinini, Richards

ALSO PRESENT: Richard Helwig, City Manager

Gerald Fisher, City Attorney

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo suggested giving each item a 30-minute time limit. Mayor Clark indicated another meeting could be scheduled if needed.

CM-01-02-045 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Kramer; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:

To approve the agenda as presented.

Vote on CM-01-02-045 Yeas: Clark, Lorenzo, Bononi, Cassis, Csordas, DeRoche,

Kramer

Nays: None

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

Rick Pantello, 24307 Fairway Hills, expressed concern over the dumpster at Childrenís World Day Care. He passed out pictures to the Council and Commission members. The dumpster bordered his backyard and the trash was spreading and accumulating on both sides of the dumpster. The lid had been left open and trash has overflowed the top of the dumpster and has left a smell in his backyard and would draw rodents and small animals. He had talked with the people of Childrenís World many times and had gotten no where and the problem had gotten worse.

The City promised him this would not happen and the Ordinance Officers would be monitoring the situation. Mr. Klaver and Ms. Uglow went out to his home and promised Mr. Pantello this situation would be resolved very shortly. They wrote a letter to the day care regarding a problem with a door that could not be closed and Mr. Pantello did not care about the door. It was not the problem. The day care closed the door but did not pick up the trash, the lid is still open, it is an eyesore and would be a continuing and worsening problem with rodents and small animals. He asked that the ordinance be upheld. He was promised numerous times, as long as two years ago, this would not occur and if it did when he appeared before Council it would be handled. It had been brought before Council and no one paid any attention to it.

 

Mr. Pantello asked that the City make sure this business is doing what they should be doing.

Mayor Clark asked that Mr. Helwig address this and have a report for Council by the February 26th Council meeting. He suggested an Ordinance Officer also check this out and issue violations if necessary. Mr. Helwig stated he would visit the site Friday.

PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING

  1. Downtown Gateway Ordinance
  2. PLANNING COMMISSION COMMENTS

    Commissioner Piccinini said many of the Commissioners had concerns regarding where the Ordinance was at the Council level. She noted many of them on the Master Plan Committee felt very strongly about the Gateway Ordinance and the effect it would have on the City.

    Commissioner Mutch concurred with Member Piccinini. He had worked on the Ordinance from the beginning with the consultants and had pulled together an ordinance that met the needs of the area. It is an issue the Council needed to move forward on and an area that was ready for development and it was much better than what was currently proposed for that area in terms of zoning and development. He encouraged Council to move forward, talk with the consultants, fine tune Downtown Gateway and then return it to the Planning Commission to be moved forward with the rezonings.

    Commissioner Nagy concurred with Member Mutch but asked Mayor Clark if Council was in receipt of the Ordinance or was it new to them? Member Kramer thought it was in a packet about six months ago but not for action. He thought the Planning Commission should present it to Council and put it on the table for discussion and action.

    Mr. Helwig said in January there was a meeting of property owners and businesses that would be affected. A summary of that meeting went out in Council packets this evening anticipating policy direction either February 26th or March 5th. He recommended that this be included as a policy work session item on the next two agendas.

    Commissioner Mutch said a positive recommendation was made quite some time ago to Council. Council had already worked through this ordinance in the project at the north west corner of Grand River and Meadowbrook. A lot of the discussion the Council had on that project dealt with how the ordinance would apply to that type of development. Council is familiar with the kind of development that would come forward, how the ordinance was implemented and he felt it was now in Councilís court to take it up and initiate the process.

    Mayor Clark said Council would discuss it on February 26th or March 5th. Mr. Helwig commented one of the policy issues raised was whether this should be a City initiated ordinance change or whether it should go through individual rezoning initiative.

    Commissioner Churella said there are a lot of businesses in that area that were grandfathered and asked what would be done with them?

     

     

    Mr. Fisher said the decision would be made by Michigan Statutes as interpreted by court decisions. Essentially, under zoning statue and case law if someone has a business or use established and developed on the site they could continue that use until they abandon it.

    Commissioner Churella asked what happened if he sold the business?

    Mr. Fisher said the State Statute by case law said the new owner had the same rights.

    COUNCIL COMMENTS

    Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo was concerned about the ordinance in its current form and had no doubts a cohesive plan was needed for Grand River. She was concerned about the introduction of multiple family housing in that area. In the 1999 update of the Master Plan at build out, the forecast was 68,557 people and it did not include any of these mixed uses. She thought there would be more traffic than with retail or commercial because it would be daily traffic, additional police, fire and water and sewer would not be paid for by the potential residential users. What kind of demand would there be on our services? She felt there had to be a lot more study done on the residential mix before this could be adopted. We are at bare bones minimum regarding City services and until we figure out how to better provide she did not see how they could reasonably and responsibly add multi family housing to that area.

    Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo was also concerned about commercial that would compete with Main Street. She supported Main Street and would do whatever she could to be sure there were no predatory uses allowed that would compete with Main Street. In the Gateway Project, because of the consent judgement, they were able to reduce the amount of commercial and have more control over the uses. She was more interested in uses that would provide a high tax base for the City to pay for the City services that are needed and uses that bring services we donít have.

    Member Kramer said the Planning Commission had done their work on this ordinance and recommended Council proceed with work sessions on this.

    Member Cassis concurred with Member Kramer.

    Mayor Clark commented that Council agreed to begin the process to move this forward. He shared some of the concerns of Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo. He felt the question was how do they deal with this effectively and appropriately and enhance the community while doing it. He was not averse to starting the process.

    Member Csordas felt the bigger issue was that the Planning Commission and City Council did not communicate very well. He asked for better communication and more clarity.

    Mr. Helwig said on February 26th he would encourage the Council to sunset the Town Center Steering Committee and put all of that focus with representation from the Planning Commission, City Council and others on Main Street. Staff had been meeting with Main Street developers and other leaders of that development every other week for several months. He

     

     

     

    thought a number of issues had been crystallized which he would now like the leadership of the community to focus on.

  3. Relocation of the Expo Center
  4. PLANNING COMMISSION COMMENTS

    Commissioner Piccinini said their concern was where the City was at with the Expo Center relocation. At the Master Plan level they have the Expo Center at its present location and they did not want to end up with two locations for the Expo Center and wanted to know the timing of when that change had to be made.

    Commissioner Mutch saw two major issues the Planning Commission needed direction from Council on. If the Expo Center moved to the location they wanted what would the impact of the move on the surrounding areas in terms of land use be? What is the vision the City wanted for that location? Presently, it is a mix of Industrial and Office/Service Technology and the Expo Center is more of a Commercial/Entertainment use. Also, what is the Councilís vision for the current Expo Center location? He felt it was appropriate for Council to provide direction to the Planning Commission so that they could move forward and plan the future of those two areas.

    Commissioner Nagy concurred with Member Mutch and understood this was a process and Council did not have direct control. She suggested that the Planning Commission assume, at Councilís direction, that the Expo Center would go in and that corridor would be Master Planned as well. If Council adopted the Gateway Ordinance it would make sense to extend the rest of Grand River with some sort of continuity. It would increase the value of Grand River and enhance the value of the Expo Centers draw.

    Commissioner Churella thought the real question was how Grand River would be designed. Adding lanes and a boulevard would enhance Grand River and all the surrounding property, which would bring in more tax dollars. He compared our boulevards on 12 Mile Road with Farmington Hills. Grand River needed to be looked at as the gateway to this City so it was the road that needed to be looked at and done right.

    Commissioner Richards concurred with his fellow commissioners and was concerned about the property the Expo Center currently occupied.

    COUNCIL COMMENTS

    Member Cassis thought they had to stay with either Town Center or Downtown Development Committee because there are so many questions. We are not a City of just one development and he was concerned with the entire downtown of Novi and not just Main Street. He felt the way to relate Main Street to Grand River to the Expo Center, etc., was to have an overall committee for downtown.

    Member Kramer said the Planning Commission had identified the areas that needed to be planned. The Expo Center would move to its proposed location and it was the Planning Commissions charter to look at the plans and recommend compatible uses. Also, what is the

     

    appropriate use in Town Center? They, the Planning Commission, are the experts in land use and he felt they should get started on this. Council could give guidance best if the Commissioners shared alternatives and thoughts.

    Member Csordas agreed with Member Kramer and said Council valued their opinions and wanted the Planning Commission to do what they thought was right and best because it was their responsibility. They are fully capable of taking the City in the right direction and sending the recommendations to Council for action.

    Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo concurred and asked how much control the City would have over potential uses of the current Expo Center site? Mr. Fisher commented they had as much control over that property as any other; if the concern is about the subsequent use they could change the zoning subject to the non-conforming use rights that now exist. She felt the best use would be High Tech, R & D.

    Mayor Clark suggested that everyone should bear in mind that if the new Expo Center went in the same gentleman would still be holding the title to the present Expo Center site and would not do anything that would create competition for himself. Mr. Bowman is astute enough and wise enough to take that property and maximize its potential for its best use for the community and himself. The new Expo Center would be a catalyst for the western portion of our City, the State made a substantial commitment to improve Grand River and Mayor Clark agreed with Commissioner Churella that Grand River is the gateway for this community.

    Commissioner Landry asked how they could best work with Council to make sure that if there was something they were very serious about, Council would follow up and act on it.

    Mayor Clark said to send it to Council as an action item and not an information item.

    Member Kramer suggested the Planning Commission give a brief presentation.

  5. Development of property on Novi Road (Grand River to Ten Mile)
  6. COMMISSION COMMENTS

    Commissioner Mutch commented there was general consensus that this was an area that needed to be explored. We are all familiar with the mix of uses along Novi Road between Grand River and Ten Mile and that there might be some changes as some of the Industrial users were looking to move to other locations in the City. This area needed to be explored and examined. Currently it is planned for a mix of commercial and office uses but he didnít think anyone would envision it as a big office corridor. He thought there might be an opportunity to look at this area for similar style development as discussed with the downtown Gateway Ordinance. It might better fit the area and support the downtown Novi concept and he felt those types of development were the best thing they could do for Main Street.

    He thought they realized these areas were appropriate for this style of development. The utilities and services are in place. He made the argument that 200 new residents in a Main Street area development or a gateway area development had less impact on the City

     

     

    budget than those same residents in need of City services on one-acre lots out on Napier Road. He also mentioned they needed financial support because this kind of planning could not be done without money.

    Commissioner Koneda echoed Member Mutch and thought it was appropriate that it be taken up for consideration.

    COUNCIL COMMENTS

    Member Kramer said this was an area that needed to be planned and prioritized. He thought a guideline might be derived from the road program because the Novi Road redo had been put off until 2002 or 2003. They should set priorities and Council would look at how much money could be devoted to studies. He asked them not to be discouraged if Council had to clip a proposal or two as it did not mean they didnít support them but just that they could not afford it this year.

    Mayor Clark concurred with all the comments made on this item. He felt if one wanted quality you had to be willing to make the commitment and be willing to pay for it. Council would be willing to work with them to create that quality and would try to be creative and come up with the funding.

  7. Ordinance Review process

COMMISSION COMMENTS

Commissioner Piccinini said there had been several items sent to Council that had not been acted upon because Council did not know they were expected to act upon them. She thought they needed to look at what had been sent up in the last year and give clear direction to Council and ask them how they could be clearer. She asked once items were sent to Council how long would it take?

Commissioner Mutch thought it was much broader. He was concerned that traditionally the Planning Commission had been responsible for the zoning ordinance and City Council had focused on all the other ordinances that affected City operations and activities. The concern was that in some cases, there was the appearance that City Council was taking over the role as the developer of the zoning ordinances. The Commissioners understood they were a recommending body to Council and that Council was the authority for all the ordinances in the City. However, it was disheartening when they spent a lot of time crafting an ordinance, sent it to Council and Council sent it to the Ordinance Review Committee rewriting the ordinance completely. If the Council wanted to start the ordinance writing process and send it to the Planning Commission for their recommendation and return it to Council then it would be OK if that was what Council wanted. It was not Council tweaking the ordinances or making changes because they did not feel what was presented was proper; it was Council essentially not even discussing the ordinance and sending it off to Ordinance Review to be rewritten. The Planning Commission had not received any input on those amended ordinances nor had the ordinances been sent back to them and realized it was just a rubber stamp for the Commission because they had not been a part of the process. He felt Council needed to be aware of how they felt and address a way to make the process work for both bodies.

 

Commissioner Nagy felt communication was the way to alleviate this situation. There could be communication between the Planning Commission Chairman and the Mayor regarding various things sent up to Council. The Planning Commission Chairman could then inform the Planning Commission whether or not things had been presented. She felt they had to honor Councilís processes of having their Ordinance Review Committee review the ordinance. She asked if the Planning Commission Chairman and the Mayor wanted to have direct communication with each other regarding those items. She asked that changes in an ordinance submitted by the Planning Commission be sent back to them so they have an idea of what Council was looking for.

Commissioner Mutch said while they respected Councilís right to make changes they wanted to be a part of the process and continue as they had in the past. He asked that Council not get in the habit of completely rewriting ordinances. Member Mutch said they have had situations where they were reviewing issues in light of ordinance changes that they had never seen and at best were vaguely aware of.

Commissioner Koneda thought the Planning Commission felt they should have a more active role in the process of developing the ordinances after Council got them. The process now was to send a draft to Council and if Council acted on it and sent it back it would look totally different. All the Commissioners felt very strongly that they should be involved in that review process so they could help with the rewrites and be aware of what was going on. He felt the Commission owed the Council updates on ordinance considerations and rewrites they were looking at.

Commissioner Piccinini commented she would have no problem meeting with Mayor Clark once or twice a month at a set time to speak on issues to help the communication between the two bodies.

Commissioner Nagy asked Mr. Fisher to explain the process.

Mr. Fisher said the Council is the policy making body. To some extent there is a deviation from that in relation to planning in the sense that it is the Planning Commission that creates the Master Plan and the Master Plan dictates planning for the future. There is a check and balance on that because if the Planning Commission does not prepare the Master Plan in the way that the City Council desired, changes would be made on the Planning Commission and the ultimate authority for policy making within the City. The process started with the Master Plan, which is the land use policy document for the City for the future. Then consistent with the Master Plan individual recommendations are made to implement the Master Plan by way of zoning. So the Planning Commission would have rezonings whether they would be small areas or large, single parcels or multiple parcels. They would have the authority to make recommendations to the Council with regard to land use map changes or text changes in the ordinance, comprehensive zoning ordinance changes or individual section changes etc. Those recommendations then proceed to the Council for finalization. It is interesting that the comment is made that it might be nice for the Council to return changes to the Planning Commission before they are implemented because in the Township Zoning Enabling Act that is an obligation. So that when a Township Planning Commission sends a recommendation to

the Township Board and they make a change in it before they make the change they send it back to the Planning Commission for a report. Then the report, in turn, goes back to the

 

Township Board and they make any change they wish whether consistent or inconsistent with the report.

COUNCIL COMMENTS

Member Csordas requested the Planning Commission look at the FaÁade Ordinance as soon as possible. He understood the comments of the Commissioners and noted it should not be Councilís goal to micro manage and change direction without telling them why. He thought it was a great idea for the Chair of the Planning Commission and the Mayor to develop a relationship and keep communication going back and forth.

Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo respected the role and responsibilities of the Planning Commission but as a Councilperson reserved the right to act in her role.

Member Cassis said there used to be a liaison between Council and the Planning Commission and felt a liaison that brought unity between the two bodies would be present again.

Member Kramer agreed with the need for general communication. He felt the Planning Commission was asking for feedback from the Council on changes, which should be common courtesy. He suggested it might be advantageous to create a joint committee on ordinances of a planning and zoning nature or to raise awareness of the Ordinance Review Committee and to invite representatives of the Commission to participate when there are zoning and ordinance items on the agenda.

Commissioner Nagy assumed that once a Planning Director was in place some of the problems in planning would be alleviated. Mr. Helwig replied he had very high expectations.

Mayor Clark agreed with all the comments made. The Planning Commission should feel welcome anytime they send something to Council to attend the Council meeting and address that item during audience participation. Council might find, with commissioner input, a document that would be closer in line to what the commission had originally presented.

5. Future Role of Consultants and the Planning Commission

COMMISSION COMMENTS

Ms. Piccinini noted the Planning Commission wanted to know what Mr. Helwigís vision was of the department, the commission, where the consultants would fit in and what the Councilís vision was.

Commissioner Nagy commented there were nine commissioners and the tenth person is the attorney who is considered a consultant. She requested that the City Attorney sit at the consultantís table to be better seen and heard by the commission members

Commissioner Churella asked if Mr. Helwig would improve the process so that the plans would be adjusted before they went to the Planning Commission?

 

 

 

Mr. Helwig said the goal would be to enhance and streamline staff support at the staff table to the Planning Commission members, City Council members and to shore up the value placed on short term and long term planning.

Commissioner Nagy asked if the role of the Planning Department was to take those things and make sure they met with the ordinances? She asked if that was part of the change Mr. Helwig was looking for to facilitate the Commission? Mr. Helwig said yes and it would be discussed later in the meeting.

Commissioner Piccinini commented when the consultants send the letters and there are waivers, they do not recommend approval unless the waivers are approved. It is the Planning Commissions decision whether they pass something with or without waivers.

Commission Mutch commented the City has excellent consultants and the commission absolutely needed their input and knew their word was good. Mr. Arroyo and Ms. Lemke, have a history and dedication in this community and Novi was a much better place today and would be in the future because of the work they had done. Therefore, there was no way he could support reducing or eliminating the role they play in the community. He would not support it as a Planning Commissioner or as a citizen and felt there was too much history, experience and input provided from them. He did not think it was supported by the Planning Commission or the Council and did not think it was a direction the community needed to move towards. It is the nature of Planning Department positions to be somewhat of a revolving door. These employees get a lot of experience in Novi and then move onward and upward to better opportunities and there is a loss of institutional knowledge and continuity that our consultants provide. Therefore, he hoped Council concurred and would not support that kind of direction either.

Member Koneda said the Planning Commission enforced the intent of the ordinance. The Planning Consultants spend a lot of time with developers to insure that the plan had minimal impact on residents in surrounding area. An important step the Planning Commission put into the process was the discussion of the site plan so that the residents understood the impact the development had on them and why it was being granted. He commented communication with the residents was very important.

He felt Mr. Helwigís plans to enhance the staff and streamline the process was good but it all comes down to whether or not it was the right business decision. He hoped Council would look at it as a business decision and make the right decision.

Commissioner Kocan wanted to hear the proposal before critiquing it.

Commissioner Richards said the consultants are very aware of the latest and greatest planning activities and procedures and he always felt so much better informed than most other Planning Commissions. He went to the State Planning Convention this year

and in discussion with other planners he came away realizing how much more he knew than the other planners because he had learned so much from the different consultants. He felt Novi was one of the leaders in the State in terms of how a community is planned

 

and felt a lot of it came from having consultants that could be trusted. He felt the consultants were doing the City a great service.

Commissioner Piccinini concurred with Commissioners Mutch, Koneda and Richards. She felt the same way when she attended the planning conference because they were one of the best informed commissions and were definitely considered a City that most others would want to be like. The Consultants bring knowledge and information to the table and without it she didnít think they could have made the decisions as good as they were. She said the Planning Department had more staff in the past and the very hard working planning staff could use some help. The vacant positions need to be filled. She felt the consultants and their role had helped Novi become a first rate city.

COUNCIL COMMENTS

Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo thought this discussion was premature. What Mr. Helwig would explain had come before the Consultant Review Committee, which had met during the past two weeks. These are very initial discussions and they had told Mr. Helwig they would keep an open mind and allow him the latitude to come forward with options as he saw fit. The Consultant Review Committee would consider everything diligently and a recommendation would be made to the Council and they would make the ultimate decision on whatever Mr. Helwig proposed. She respected the position, individualism and professionalism of the consultantís letters and as long as we have consultants serving the City, in her opinion, that would not change.

Member Kramer commented this had not been proposed but they had discussed being a sounding board to develop proposals.

Commissioner Mutch asked where the Planning Commission fit in in terms of providing input because of the two bodies the Planning Commission would be the most affected. Also, the Planning Commission was more reliant upon the consultants. He said they needed to be a part of the process too.

Commissioner Churella wanted to hear what the changes were and then discuss them in a committee of planners and the review board. He felt they had to listen to the economics of it because this is a business and we work for the taxpayer.

Mr. Helwig said it was unfortunate there were such strong feelings when there had been so little discussion.

Mr. Helwig was not interested in change for change sake. He was interested in change when it resulted in significant benefits to the community. This was an organizational culture that did not have staff meetings among departments, had not talked to one another very much and was very isolated from each other doing their own thing. When in fact, each of those areas must serve higher ends. There are Council goals and it had been a scavenger hunt trying to find out what the direction was. That direction is very closely knitted to the work of the Planning Commission and a body so critical to Novi becoming all it needed to become.

 

 

Mr. Helwig said it had been a privilege to work along side Mr. Arroyo and Ms. Lemke and what he was talking about would not diminish their roles but would enhance it.

They are doing a lot of processing and there are a lot of policy matters that went somewhere and had not been debated or acted upon during the ten months he had been here. We are not focusing on what should be focused on. He saw a lot of paperwork but did not see a direction coming from the Master Plan and did not see the Master Plan referred to very much at all during his day. He was used to seeing the comprehensive plan sitting on everybodyís desk where he worked previously. It is that important and in a community like Novi that is so blessed and could be such a hallmark of communities around the nation in the future it is a sad commentary. He said he did not want to kid ourselves that they were focused on quality or Master Planning to the extent that everybody wanted them to be or everybody thought they were. So he has tremendous respect and admiration for the people who serve this community so well in a consultant role and hoped they would not go anywhere.

Mr. Helwig said he was concerned about a process that was not knitting them together and was costing more than it should. He wanted to pinpoint accountability and right now accountability was all over the map. As City Manager he is accountable for just about everything and in order to perform at the level expected he had to further pinpoint that accountability.

One of the best examples of how skewed our system is is an applicant must submit 21 sets of plans and he had never worked anywhere where it was more than 6 or 8. There is a lot of reviewing not being coordinated and done in a timely manner and it was not focused on quality. He was not taking anything away from the consultants but going into the future and building out to 70,000 or 75,000 it is a foreign concept to him to have processors in the Planning Department relying totally on consultants as has been comfortable up until now.

Mr. Helwig was exploring how to bring to the City Council, community and the budget process more of a balance to that system. It would result in higher accountability, a greater focus on quality and more timely, comprehensive and coordinated provision of support to the Planning Commission and City Council in the process.

He envisioned a document for each case coming before them that had all the background, all of the issues elaborately highlighted, with the consultant information as part of the presentation all being knitted in there. Also, the conditions that would come along with the staff recommendation and the basis in the Master Plan for those recommendations so their deliberations could be about compliance with the Master Plan and enhance the discussion about quality and where we are going.

We do not have a quality community when Grand River Avenue, which should be the main stay of this community, looks and functions as it does today. These are the best economic times he had seen in his life and he could make a case that time was already passing Grand River Avenue by. Our report card is what happens out in the community and what it looked like 10, 50 or 100 years from now.

 

 

He apologized for not attending Planning Commission meetings. He thought when he moved north snowplowing had been figured out. It took 20 hours to get any salt on Grand River Avenue when 12-inches of snow fell. We are dealing with a lot of basics to shore up this community that we label first rate and outstanding well into the future. He was sorry for that and it was wearing him down. They took a lot of time to try to find a Director of Planning that they thought fit a green community, fast growing community and a community that has very high and growing expectations. He asked that the Director of Planning be afforded lots of support and hoped if they saw proposals for a couple staff planners and a reduction in dollars going to consultants that they would understand the spirit of all this based on his comments tonight and future interaction with them.

Commissioner Mutch understood the position the City Manager was in and what he was trying to accomplish and would be willing to listen to proposals and go into discussions with an open mind. He said the people who had kept their eye on the Cityís Master Plan and all the planning done over the last years are the consultants. The consultants have consistently looked at the issues that those of us on this side of the table had not always kept their eye on.

It is not because our consultants did not have an eye on the Master Plan that Grand River doesnít represent what they wanted it to be. It isnít because our consultants didnít make recommendations. We could pull a half dozen plans that relate to what Grand River should be. He said without informed decisions and recommendations from the Planning Commission and without political will from the City Council and without support from the citizenry there was nothing they could do to make Grand River a better place. Day in and day out they have their eye on the big picture and have the benefit that not every body has a history of knowing where we came from and he felt they needed to be an integral part of the future.

Commissioner Nagy appreciated the City Manager looking at the City with fresh eyes. She did not believe that any of the comments made had anything to do with the integrity, capability or competency of the consultants. She said Mr. Helwig was trying to take the administration and lift it up and put it on par with what was in other cities. She thought they had to support him, be open-minded and did not think we should stay at the same administrative level.

Commissioner Cassis said all those Council people and Planning Commissioners that had proceeded us had an imprint on this City and were the ones who really deliberated and put their heart into formulating a vision for this City. He was not saying consultants were bad but they came and went. Mr. Arroyo was a consultant to many other communities. How many communities could he be loyal to and love and be the upper most confidant for? He said it depended on those who live, serve, and paid to be

people that solve the problems of the City that eventually come up with the ultimate solution. Those City fathers who had made so many commitments to the City and had really brought forward so much of what we enjoy today we can not discredit those people because they are the ones that brought us forward. Member Cassis said consultants do have their place and make the recommendations but it is the people of this community who decide what is wanted in the community.

 

 

Member Cassis remembered when there were five or six people in the Planning Department and agreed with Mr. Helwig that it should be that way again. The consultants have their position but we also have our ultimate position and the vision for the City. We are not trying to minimize the importance of our consultants; they are doing a marvelous job.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

Richard Atto, Bloomfield Hills, owned property at the southwest corner of Grand River and Meadowbrook and was present to discuss the Gateway Ordinance proposal. The intent of the ordinance was very exciting and he looked forward to developing under that ordinance but there were some issues he would like to address. He asked that when it was discussed further he and a few of the developers be included in the discussion and would like to offer input on some of the finer points of the ordinance. If there is a way they could be notified and involved they would love to do it. He apologized to the Planning Commission for not being involved when they were working and putting all their efforts into it.

Debbie Bundoff, Twelve Mile Road, commented she had missed not being able to attend City meetings for nine months. In the past when the Planning Commission wanted Council to understand exactly what they wanted agreement on they made sure their minutes were sent with their recommendations to approve or not approve. She said the public needed to know and understand what was being recommended or not, what was being waived or not and why. People did not know what the consultant letters said unless they were read out loud for them and understanding these letters would give citizens the opportunity to speak out at the different boards and commissions.

There has been a lot of turnover in this City and a great deal of knowledge, history and understanding of what had been in the past and planned for the future has been lost. This community spent a lot of time on Vision 20/20 and she suggested these documents be dusted off and looked at to see what the community wanted.

Bill Bowman, asked that if there was going to be a Gateway Ordinance would Council rezone all the properties? Would they rezone in a Master Plan shape of all those properties instead of leaving each one to come in and ask for the rezoning?

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business before the Council or the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 9:40 PM

______________________________ ________________________________

Richard J. Clark, Mayor Mary Ann Cabadas, Executive Secretary

 

Transcribed by: _________________________

Charlene McLean

Date approved: February 26, 2001