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REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
ALSO PRESENT: Richard Helwig – City Manager
Craig Klaver – Chief Operating Officer
Gerald Fisher – City Attorney
Clay Pearson – Assistant City Manager
Kathy Smith Roy – Finance Director
Benny McCusker – Director of Public Works
Dave Maurice – GIS/Environmental Services Manager
Randy Auler – Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Capello noted that at the last Council meeting, he requested information regarding youth hockey at the Novi Ice Arena. He also had requested information on the after-school youth program at the Ice Arena, and how the City was charging Novi Community Schools for the use of the rooms. In addition, he noted that a senior hockey league at the Novi Ice Arena has been run by a private entity in the past, but will be transferring control of that league to another organization or company. Member Capello said he wished to find out whether the City, or another private entity, would be taking over management of the senior hockey leagues. Mayor Clark said he would add the item to Mayor and Council Issues. Member Capello also wished to add the status of the Jake’s Fish House liquor license, which Mayor Clark said was number 4 under Mayor and Council Issues. Member Capello also wished to add Criminal Ordinances in regard to OUIL.
Mayor Clark asked to add another item under Reports, as number 5, "Mayor’s Report."
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
CM-03-06-159 Moved by Capello, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-159 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
1. Community Appreciation Service Plaque – John Chambers, Library Board of Trustees
2. Community Appreciation Service Plaque – Kathleen Mutch, Library Board of Trustees
Brenda Evans, Director of the Novi Public Library, presented portfolios to Mr. Chambers and Ms. Mutch. She noted that while the two Trustees were ending their service on the Library Board, they will continue to serve in various capacities with other aspects of community service.
Ms. Mutch thanked the Mayor and Council for its recognition. She noted that people don’t volunteer to be recognized, but rather for the ability to contribute to community causes and to interact with the community.
Mr. Chambers said he had the opportunity to serve on the Library Board for seventeen years, which he found "a very humbling and humiliating experience at times." He enjoyed working with people involved with the library. He praised the Novi Library’s Director as "one of the finest in the State of Michigan." He reminded Council and citizens that Wednesday, June 4, from 7 – 9 p.m., the Novi Library Taskforce will hold a meeting to encourage participation in managing the Library. In 1835, the State constitution included language concerning libraries. In 1912 the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan said it is very important to have free libraries within a community, because they add to the education, process, and knowledge of communities. He said that the Library does an excellent job in the community because of Ms. Evans, her staff, and the previous Boards and Councils.
1. Revised Special Assessment District 162 – Pioneer Meadows Sanitary Sewer
Mayor Clark noted that Council had received a number of response forms, including one from Omar Aziz, who approves of both Special Assessment District (SAD) 162 and 163; one from Brent and Diana Canup, who both support SAD 162 and 163; Christine Slater, who also supports both SAD’s; Gary Sobotta indicates he welcomes the addition of sewer and water services to his subdivision; Henry Lai also supports both SAD’s; Kathleen Johnson indicates that she installed a new system in the summer of 2002, not knowing the City had plans for these SAD’s, and thus has spent all the money she can at this time; Kathy Bedro and Charles Bedro, on Sierra Drive, object to the SAD; Franklin J. Morandy submitted a response form and objected to the SAD’s.
Brent Canup, 47201 Glamorgan, said he lives within the boundaries of the Special Assessment Districts. He encouraged Council to pass the SAD proposals. Pioneer Meadows is one of the few subdivisions in the City that is not serviced by public sewer and water. This is the opportune time to install these services to his neighborhood. He had an opportunity to review bid packages that were distributed for the SAD’s, and noted that on page 17, items number 1 and 14 dealt with coatings of the roads. It was his understanding that the City would be responsible for this portion of the package. He said he understood that residents of an SAD would pay for these road coatings, but the City would later reimburse those residents for the cost. Mr. Helwig said he would like to confirm with Ms. McClain how the finances for the SAD would work, but said the City is coordinating this task with its repaving program this year. Mr. Canup said his concern was that SAD residents did not need to pay for the paving of their subdivision through the SAD. He thanked Council for its time.
Ms. McClain said that because of the state of the roads in the Pioneer Meadows subdivision, the roads would have been included in the City’s neighborhood roads repaving program. Because of the possibility of the SAD, the City is planning to pave the roads using the contractor for the SAD, paying that contractor with funds from the neighborhood roads program. This process made more sense than hiring two contractors to work within the SAD at once.
2. Revised Special Assessment District 163 – Pioneer Meadows Water Main
There was no public comment on this item
3. Special Assessment District 168 – West Lake Water Improvements
Mayor Clark noted that the City received a number of items of correspondence pertaining to both SAD 168 and SAD 169. He encouraged anyone in the audience who might have signed one of these documents to speak regarding the issue, and also asked the audience for corrections should he misspeak regarding an item, as some of the documents do not clearly note support or opposition to the SAD’s. He said a form from Ernest Von Schlager noted opposition to SAD 168 and SAD 169. A form from Sandra Lesniak, 1512 Lebenta, as well as a number of other following requests on forms, referred to the paving, curbing, and concentration chambers to take care of storm water runoff. These requests also ask that some allowances be made relative to using asphalt rather than concrete for curbs and gutters. Identical forms were also sent by Haitham Semma, 1611 West Lake Dr.; a resident at 1619 West Lake Dr.; Ronald Johnston, 1331 West Lake Dr.; Tom and Joyce Harvey, 1603 West Lake Dr.; Thomas H. Harvey, 1195 West Lake Dr.; and Edward Lesniak, 1516 Lebenta St. Mayor Clark said these letter also all request that West Lake Drive remain a 2-way street, and not be changed to a 1-way street. Mr. Lesniak also requested that the cost be taken down to the previous total of $16,000, and suggested the City quote honest and competitive bids. Lori Marshick also submitted this request. City Clerk Mary Anne Cornelius also noted that Mr. Henry Kozlowski, objecting that he was not part of the original SAD proposal. He is on the tail end, and does not need or want to be part of the SAD. The proposed road is not per the original plat, and he will not give up any of his property for the road. Mr. Kozlowski lives at 1635 West Lake Dr.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Helwig if forms had been submitted for a response on SAD’s 168 and 169, as Mr. Helwig has done for many prior SAD proposals. Mr. Helwig answered that these response forms had not been submitted for the noted SAD’s, 168 and 169. He said that Council had utilized a poll for gathering information for the previous 2 SAD’s, which were eventually turned down.
Tim Richardson, 1511 West Lake Dr, asked to speak in reference to both SAD 168 and 169, in order to save time. He said a letter was sent to Council dated May 23, which included three points. Mr. Richardson fully supports both SAD’s, and said he hopes Council supports them. He said that costs need to be reduced for both SAD’s. The cost estimate from last October of 2002 was approximately $16,000, but the latest cost estimate from the City puts that number instead at about $21,000. He also invited Council to drive down West Lake Drive, and notice the "mess" of health and safety issues. He said there are boulders in the road, and a large hole at the end of Ludlow which could cause injury to a small child. He reiterated his support for the entire project.
Henry Kozlowski, 1635 West Lake Dr., said Mr. Glenn Lemmon said that a road has recently been added within the project to touch his property. He asked how he could be removed from the project. He said that Mr. Lemmon stated he (Mr. Kozlowski) may not be included in the SAD.
Richard Sean Curtis, 1320 West Lake Dr, said he was concerned about the water main, which is a dead-end line. He asked where sediment and contamination go when a new house is tapped into that water main. He said the line should be continuous, continuing perhaps up to North Haven. He has worries about drinking water from the dead-end line. Mr. Curtis said he has already paid too much money for water treatment, and does not want to see the water main installed just yet. On SAD 169, he said elevation changes would cause the road to look like a "rollercoaster." He cited his concern with increased traffic at the ends of the road due to a switch to a one-way street. Mr. Curtis said that the high cost for completing the SAD’s would not be an issue if his house were worth much more than his is worth, and thus cannot justify spending a large sum on the SAD which is a large proportion of the value of his home.
Mike Sulla, 1259 West Lake Dr., said his biggest concern with SAD 168 is that despite the paving of the road, he will still see a great amount of dirt and dust blowing into his yard. He opposes the SAD, because it will not benefit him at all.
Mike Malles, 135 North Haven, said he was not part of the paving and water main in the SAD, but he owns a partial lot that is within 500 feet of the excavation that would occur from the SAD. He asked why people of the Hawthorn neighborhood and people on the lake were not notified of the proposed SAD’s. He believes that everyone in the neighborhood should have a vote on the SAD, because they use the same streets. He warned of potential flooding along the lower elevated areas because of construction within the SAD.
John Harvey, 1321 West Lake Dr., said he is "very much in favor" of installing the proposed water main. He understands concerns of neighborhood residents, and noted that the neighborhood was previously 4 or 5 votes short of being able to install city water. Some of the neighbors have put together a program to promote the approval of the SAD’s, and have undertaken tasks such as polling, communicating with residents, and ensuring that a "significant majority" are in favor of the SAD’s.
Jeffrey Sobolewski, 1405 West Lake Dr., stated that he supports both SAD 168, extension of the West Lake Drive water main, and SAD 169, the paving of West Lake Drive. He feels that the money previously spent by the City to determine that it was 5 votes short on the SAD was a matter of cost. If the project had not been estimated to cost so much, the residents would have surely voted it in. The residents know that they need the SAD, and realize that there are drainage and water problems. Some residents within the SAD have lived there for 40 or 50 years, but receive little or no city services. Occasionally the road is graded but is out of proportion, and the area is frequently flooded. He requested the City examine reclaiming the area and developing it. Mr. Sobolewski asked Council to cut residents’ costs on the SAD by half, as a number of those residents are older and living on fixed incomes which hamper the amount they can afford to spend on the construction.
Joann Aloe, 1529 West Lake Dr., said she is very much in favor of SAD 168. She realizes that the project may come down to another close vote. If the SAD does come down to another close vote, she said it is Council’s responsibility to protect the health of the people in that area. Many residents want a safe source of water. She said it is Council’s job to give those residents access to safe, treated water. She is already paying $60 a month just to have well water treated, and she is not satisfied with the quality of this well water. She would much rather pay that money to receive city water.
4. Special Assessment District 169 – West Lake Road Improvements
Brian Kosaian, 1523 West Lake Dr., said he and two other neighbors were responsible for revisiting the SAD’s in their neighborhood. After Council voted down SAD 159 and SAD 160 in the Fall of 2002, he and his neighbors obtained the ballots that were sent to the residents by the City, and returned to the City Clerk’s office. They then plotted each of those votes onto a map of their area, with red plots meaning stop, and green meaning go. They saw a trend in favorable votes going down Ludlow. There was already a water main in place from the Summerlin and North Haven Woods project to bring water down Ludlow and up West Lake Drive all the way to the point, and they were able to do this with only minimal opposition. In an attempt to accommodate those in favor of the SAD’s, and also eliminate those opposed to the SAD’s from participating in the improvements, both the City and the residents have come up with 43 units of benefit on the current SAD that they’ve proposed. Remembering Council’s sensitivity to opposition from the last SAD, they felt it would not be wise or feasible to include Faywood, Rexton, or North Haven as an exit out of the subdivision. They propose to only go down Ludlow and up West Lake Drive, minimizing the amount of opposition. They have been advised by city engineers that West Lake Drive does not meet current city ordinances regarding street width. In front of his house and some others, the width of the road is only 16 feet. Residents will have to enter on a one-way paved road and exit on an existing gravel road. This is where they need Council’s help. City engineers have informed them that the only one who can approve a design waiver is Council. Without this approval, many residents have said they will not support SAD 169. Their request for the design waiver is reasonable when considering that area. He personally stood in front of the zoning board in order to build his house on a narrow lot, as did many of his neighbors, too. This project can not be adequately considered by only looking at the current ordinances. He said he would not comment on the removal of swirl chambers or the request to use asphalt curbs and gutters, as these are the recommendations of the City’s engineers, and he trusts Council to follow these recommendations. In talking to many of his neighbors, he can say that there is general consensus that his neighborhood is not getting the service that it deserves and pays for. This shared perception has been based on many compounding factors, such as the obvious lack of maintenance on gravel roads. He, too, invited Council to examine the condition of West Lake Drive on any day of their choosing. Adding 3-inch stone in areas, making it so you can’t even walk without twisting your ankle. The lack of grading; at the corner of West Lake Drive and Lebenta, there is a low spot in the road that is so low there is 2-3 inches of standing water there, despite the fact that it had not rained in at least 48 hours. That portion of the street is currently being used as one-way because the residents are trying to avoid the puddle, which shows that one-way traffic can be negotiated in that area. He asked Council to put itself in the shoes of West Lake Drive residents. They have watched the repaving of East Lake Drive, as well as the installation of a brand new water main there, all at no expense to those residents, not to mention the upcoming paving, storm sewer, and bike path on South Lake Drive, all at no expense to those residents. If this is not enough, last week he sat home and watched as Council approved the chip seal projects for Delmont and Dinser as an experiment. He asked himself if those residents had ever made an attempt to pay for those improvements themselves. He asked who decided to pave the roads for those people. Adding insult to injury, somehow Austin was included in that chip seal program, even though Austin Drive was not included on Council’s list of short-term goals. It is obvious to him and neighbors that Council has a lack of interest and support for their neighborhood. Council has an opportunity to change this at no cost to the City. He asked that Council approve the 3 design waivers that were in front of Council. He said if Council would not provide those residents with any help, then to please step aside and allow those residents to pay for the improvements and do it themselves.
State Representative Craig DeRoche, a resident of the proposed SAD area, said he promised his neighbors he would speak at the meeting, and express his support for both SAD’s. He said he informed his neighbors about some of the frustrations Council faced during the last SAD proposal deliberations. He said the previous speaker’s plotting analysis serves as a testament to how much many of the residents want the projects to go forward. He thinks the increased traffic that he will face on Ludlow by its paving is a fair tradeoff for the other improvements that residents can benefit from. He encouraged Council to consider the low traffic volumes on the road warrant the road as a unique situation, and what his neighbors want is to simply replace the gravel road and curbs with asphalt, for the health, safety and welfare of affected residents, and of the lake.
Paul Weindorf, 1641 West Lake Drive, said that though he is not included as part of the SAD, he is protesting it for several reasons. He said that the way the project is designed, the City would run a road into his private property, setting a precedent. He asked if the City first had to determine what would be done in the future at the site. His second protest was that the original platted paperwork shows the road was supposed to run a different course than it was actually constructed in. He believes that city engineers need to review the original documents and determine where the road is supposed to be. He questioned why certain residents would have their portion of road paved, while others would not. In the original platted documents, he quoted a highlighted portion, "the road easements and roads shown on the plat are private roads, and are not maintained by Novi Township." He asked if the City had considered the potential litigation that could result from obtaining private easements along the road. He asked why Council is letting the SAD’s go forward when there is already a public access road on North Haven. He said there would be a number of contentious issues that would involve litigation because of the amount of private land to be dealt with. Even though the condominium complex has opted out of the SAD, it still has a boat ramp down the road which is part of its property. That complex is not paying anything for road improvements, but will definitely benefit from the improvements. He asked Council if this was fair. In the original SAD 159 and SAD 160, several members of the Council scolded the community for wasting the City’s money in bringing the projects along, only to be defeated. He said the largest problem with the City’s policy for establishing SAD’s uses State Equalized Value (SEV). Thus, the rich people have greater property values, which allow the SAD to be brought forward. However, using a per-unit percentage, which Council voted was a fair thing to do last fall, which are not large percentages to be planning such projects for. There are contentious issues brewing, such as the implementation of one-way streets. He asked Council if it is wise to proceed with SAD’s 168 and 169 without a strong majority vote. He asked Council to reconsider proceeding with the SAD’s as they stand right now. It would be feasible to exit through North Haven, which is a public road and would allow for two-way traffic.
Tom Harvey, 1195 West Lake Dr., said he was not intending on speaking at the meeting, but wished to thank the gentleman who just spoke, Paul Weindorf. He said that Mr. Weindorf’s complaints needed to be said. Mr. Harvey said that residents within the proposed SAD had a meeting with the City’s engineers that was "very fruitful." He said that residents such as himself who worked to develop the official request for paving and city water want those services. He said Mr. Weindorf had some valid points, and what Council saw was his frustration looking at the edges. Mr. Harvey said the original plat documents do contain the noted error, as well as a few others. He asked Council if it wanted to dwell on those errors, or if it wanted to "move the City forward by providing paved roads and water for this area." He said the plan didn’t work for the entire subdivision, but said it could definitely work for just one street. Mr. Harvey said he respects Council and is not "asking for miracles," but rather for Council and City management become part of the solution. He said that it was unfortunate that frustrations were being vented to Council instead of other means. Most people don’t want to see West Lake Drive become a one-way street. While paving the 16-feet-wide road might be a liability, the road is a liability in the condition that it’s in today. He asked Council for a chance to make the SAD work, as it is for the benefit of the City, as well as that neighborhood. Many residents feel that they have not received a "fair shake" from the City. He too noted that South Lake Drive has received improvements for no cost to those residents. He said that he and his neighbors love the area and want to be part of the City, but feel very ignored.
Representative DeRoche thanked Council for another chance to speak. Using a map of the proposed SAD area, he showed that a portion of West Lake Drive runs over his private property, and said he supports donating this land for the purpose of paving a public street. He also noted that the engineering firm working on the SAD desires to install stubs along all the streets of the project. He wished to clarify that a number of people, including him, are donating private property to facilitate the SAD, and said he did not appreciate aspersions that were cast earlier against him.
John Harvey, 1321 West Lake Drive, said he is in favor of both SAD 168 and SAD 169, and is also in favor of passing the waiver to continue allowing two-way traffic on West Lake Drive. He said that things can be viewed differently from different perspectives, and asked to share his perspective on the projects. He has lived in Novi for 8 years, and during that period his road has been turned into a main thoroughfare, West Park Drive. The speed limit of the road has been increased from 35 to 40 miles per hour, and traffic lights have been installed to handle the extra traffic that runs on this road in front of his subdivision. "No Turn on Red" signs have been installed along South Lake Drive to make it difficult to drive along that road. Novi now has more square footage of retail space than the Great Lakes Crossing shopping mall, and Twelve Mile Road is now practically a highway. Subdivisions are frequently approved for dense housing developments, causing more problems. The City has an ice rink "which nobody uses", no City trash collection, and he has no paved road, city water, or fire hydrants. Mr. Harvey said he pays over $9,000 a year in property taxes, and feels very cheated. He asked to read quotes of Council members taken from four years ago: "Mr. Helwig stated, ‘We are committed to a higher standard of performance and problem solving than any other community in the region. Above all, we are committed to finding solutions when people say there are none.’ Mayor Clark stated, ‘I am totally committed to seeing that all unpaved roads in this community are addressed and dealt with fairly, equitably, and as soon as possible.’ He went on to say, ‘There are grant funds and possibilities to explore that have never been explored. We are going after every nickel, dime, dollar, penny and quarter that they can find anywhere to deal with these problems. We will find all money that is needed to pave the 13.2 miles that are left in this community." Mr. Harvey said that in all fairness to Mayor Clark, he did say it would take time and asked for the City’s patience. He said that Mr. Helwig and the City staff have been resourceful. It is his understanding that the City is paying to improve storm drains on South Lake Drive, including curbs and gutter installation. He said he applauds Council, and though they may not always agree, they always have the best intentions for the City at heart. He said if Council is serious and committed to improving the City’s roads, Council should set a precedent for the remaining dirt roads in the City by getting involved with the West Lake Drive improvements and making them work. $200,000 to pave one mile of the remaining 13.2 miles of dirt road is a good decision. He said that if Council waits another 4 years to improve the road, the cost could substantially increase. Mr. Harvey thanked Council for its time.
2. CITY MANAGER
Mr. Helwig said that a number of activities will occur in the Novi Community during the month of June. One event that he wished to highlight was the River Day activities on Saturday, June 7, which are symbolic of the City’s stewardship with its waterways. Those activities were scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m., and would continue until 1 p.m. Registration was at Lakeshore Park. He said the River Day activity is a great program and a terrific way to meet Novi community members. Mr. Helwig also noted that on Saturday, June 28, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., the community open house would take place, along with the ceremonial ribbon cutting at 10:30 a.m., for the new fire station #4 and training center.
Mr. Fisher said he wished to comment on the Westmont Village Road matter, and noted that it was listed as an issue for Mayor and Council issues at the meeting. He offered to wait until that item was discussed by Council, but Mayor Clark told Mr. Fisher he could give his report at the present time if he desired.
Mr. Fisher said the City has been working on the Westmont Village Road project, and was looking at three or four local engineering firms. Administration has discovered that all of the examined engineering firms have had some contact with either the land developer or the road contractor. In view of the fact that this has very high visibility of the project, administration has approached an "outside" firm that contracts work with the State in order to remove any possible doubt regarding a conflict of interest. Administration has interviewed that company, and believed it would have a bid proposal received by Friday, which it had not yet received. He said it appeared that the timeline for the project proposal would be slightly longer than originally anticipated, but will be a "credible presentation" when it is made.
5. Mayor’s Report
Mayor Clark asked Council and the audience for a few moments to speak. He noted that recent weeks had seen significant public speculation regarding whether or not he would seek re-election for Mayor. He said it was a very difficult decision, but he has decided not to run again for office. Mayor Clark said his health problems of the past year and a half were not the primary motivation for his decision. He firmly believes in what he has tried to practice in the past four years, which includes the concept of term limits for persons serving on boards and commissions. He said that "if two terms is good enough for the president of the United States of America, it should be good enough for anyone else." He also wanted to thank each and every member of the community who had supported him in the past. He will be around for "a few more meetings." When he was elected mayor, it did not become "his" office. It is the peoples’ office, and it was only loaned to him for a little while. He hopes that in the process of loaning him the office, he has done his best to maintain the highest principles that the community expected when it supported him. Consistent with what a republic is about, there are some who have not supported him in the past, and that is their right as well. He hopes that whatever side of an issue a person was on, they realize that he has considered serving as Mayor "a privilege and an honor" that he shall always remember. His sole motivation for any action that he may have taken, along with Council, is the long-term best interest of this community. He feels that it has been a privilege and honor to serve with each member of Council. He thanked the community "profoundly, from the bottom of (his) heart."
David Ruyle, 40474 Mill Road Court East, thanked Mayor Clark for the past four years of his service, and said Mayor Clark would continue to be supported in this community with his future endeavors. Mr. Ruyle then asked to address Council on issue #4. As a Planning Commissioner, he said the City Attorney could attest that he had recused himself throughout the whole matter. He said he came before Council as a citizen asking for their support on this "win-win" item.
Michael Meyer, 41088 Malott, said he wished to be the second person to thank Mayor Clark for his service as Mayor over the last four years. He said Mayor Clark has done a wonderful job, and has "served this city nobly." Mr. Meyer wished Mayor Clark well in the years to come.
Representative DeRoche said he was glad to be in attendance at the meeting to witness Mayor Clark’s speech. He said Mayor Clark made "such a positive impact on the City", and gave Novi the foundation to grow from a small town that it was, into the size that it has become. It was an honor serving with Mayor Clark from 1999-2002, and there will be "some big shoes to fill" at the end of Mayor Clark’s term. Under the leadership of Mayor Clark and the current Council, a terrific foundation has been set for success in the City. He said Mayor Clark would be "very much missed in that chair."
Representative DeRoche said he would like to have been at the ribbon cutting for the new Beck Road interchange this Fall of 2003, but "our Governor wants to see things differently." He is optimistic that reconsideration of the project may be underway. He has been working with other leaders in Oakland County and the State Legislature, and many people have submitted bills to the State Senate in hopes of reinstituting a number of road projects. At the recent Mackinac Conference for the Detroit Area Regional Chamber of Commerce, L. Brooks Patterson gave Governor Granholm an "A" rating on her road construction policies, meaning that perhaps funding has been restored for construction on some Wixom and Novi projects.
He also wanted to let Council know that in his opinion, the City of Novi has scored a victory with the forming of the DARTA mass transit project. DARTA was formed by the leaders of Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne Counties, and the leaders of the City of Detroit. He would like to see a plan that makes sense for the City of Novi, that is sustainable, and that actually services riders before Novi would opt back into a system. He reminded the audience that he is accessible for questions, both in his office and in the community.
David Paul, 45761 Willingham Dr., is currently the Chairperson for the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Commission. He wished to share an update on the community sports project with Council. The Commission unanimously selected M.C. Smith as the engineering firm to provide services for that community sports park upgrade. The company was selected based on several factors, one being that the firm has extensive expertise and experience in engineering and implementing baseball fields. The firm also has very strong athletic facility experience. The City also received strong endorsements about M.C. Smith from other communities based on their experiences with the company. Lastly, the selection was a combined decision by the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department and the Commission.
Wayne Hogan, 20923 Woodland Glen Dr., wished his regards to the Mayor as well. They have spent a significant amount of time together on Saturdays, and the Mayor has overseen "quite a bit of movement in terms of accessibility of persons with disabilities in Novi." He noted the additional disabled parking spaces in the Power Park and Civic Center parking lot, and a new play apparatus for both children and their grandparents in the back of Power Park. In addition, the Mr. Hogan hopes to reduce the walking distance for the disabled or elderly to reach a sidewalk for accessing the Novi Library. The Planning Commission issued a text revision for dumpster areas, which is a large issue for persons with disabilities. Those dumpsters can leave large grooves in parking lots which not only cost business owners, but also can significantly impair accessibility of those businesses by persons with disabilities. Item J of the consent agenda dealt with SMART municipal credit funds. Mr. Hogan suggested that Council might wish to speak with a number of chauffeurs from the community. There is no para-transit operating within the City other than the already overburdened lift-van transportation system. There are additional funds and programs available, such as through the SMART system, but the community does not need a major program in order to improve the quality of life for a number of residents. Mr. Hogan thanked Council.
Karl Wizinsky, 26850 Wixom Rd., noted that there was a 2nd reading of proposed amendments to section 2509 of the code of ordinances, which are the landscape standards. One important component of this code of ordinances is the screening and buffering requirements between non-compatible land uses. During the May 5th meeting, he shared his family’s day-to-day experiences living with the use of a six-foot berm to screen his home from thirteen-foot-tall semi trucks. In addition, he indicated that the City has no ordinances to protect citizens adjacent to commercial or industrial sites from truck noise and odors. This leaves no protection to these citizens located adjacent to commercial and industrial areas, other than that screening provided in section 2509. He stated that the six-foot-tall concrete barrier separating his property from the Target store does not adequately block out the effects of 13-foot-tall delivery trucks. Two words that are used throughout both the revised and current ordinances that give the appearance of added protection are "minimum" and "intent". Developers tend to use "minimum" requirement as a maximum. Minimum requirements have been defended by the City’s legal counsel as all that is legally required. "Intent" appears to be legally meaningless. Mr. Wizinsky quoted Council from the minutes of the January 8, 2002 Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting regarding his family’s appeal about the berm between his home and the Target store. "The Ordinance has minimal requirements – that’s the way zoning ordinances work. The question is, did the Planning Commission correctly find that the minimum requirement, even if may not be appropriate, even if it may not accomplish the intent and the purpose of the goals for the project because of elevations, the Planning Commission is obligated under State Law to approve that." Mr. Wizinsky’s concerns include proposed revisions include ranges for berm heights. Berm heights for most uses have requirements like 6 to 8 feet or 8-10 feet high. The intent is to have horizontal undulation without compromising the minimal height. The minimum requirements of the ordinance would have been met by a berm protecting residential from commercial sites with a berm ranging from 6 foot to 6 foot 2 inches or 6 foot 5 inches high. This still remains completely inadequate to protect residents from 13-foot-tall semi trucks. The minimum heights for screening of residential from commercial should recognize that there are no other ordinances available to protect residents. This includes refrigerated trucks running all night with drivers sleeping in them, adjacent to residential property. He demonstrated on a photograph where he said a driver recently had slept during a night. The approval of the consent judgment that placed a truck drive 50 feet from his residential property with a 5 foot berm was a mistake. This mistake has been defended at the ZBA, the Planning Commission, and at City Council, all using taxpayer money. The City of Novi is aggressively defending this mistake in Circuit Court. This section of the City Code of Ordinances has been under review for revisions for over 2 years. It would be a great disservice to residents of Novi to approve revisions that allow inadequate screening between commercial and residential properties. As the City matures, the need for adequate screening between non-compatible uses will increase. Council has an opportunity to reduce future problems by making appropriate, common-sense decisions.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Lorenzo requested to remove items B and C from the Consent Agenda. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi requested to remove Items I and K. Member Capello asked to remove Item E, and said items B and C, as well as item #3, should be discussed under Matters for Council Action.
CM-03-06-160 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNAMIMOUSLY: To approve Consent Agenda Items A, D, F, G, H, J, and L.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-160 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
(Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)
A. Approval of Minutes:
D. Approval of Revised Special Assessment District 162 – Pioneer Meadows Sanitary Sewer Extension Revised Resolution Number 5, directing the City Assessor to prepare the Special Assessment Roll and to file the roll with the City Clerk for presentation to City Council.
F. Approval of Outdoor Gathering Permit requested by the Novi Lions Club for Arts & Treasures Show at Fountain Walk Mall June 7 & 8, 2003.
G. Approval to award bid for Vending Services for City Hall, Police Department and Parks, Recreation & Forestry, and the DPW facility to AIM Vending, the low qualified bidder, based on unit pricing and rate of commission.
H. Approval to award a three (3) year contract for local telephone services to XO Communications, the low bidder, based on unit costing and with an annual estimated cost of $43,000, and award the implementation of the Telecommunications Program to Plante & Moran at a cost of $4,300
J. Approval of FY 2003 Contract for SMART Municipal Credit Funds
L. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 650.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. Approval of Command Officers (Lieutenants and Sergeants) 7-1-03 through
6-30-06 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
CM-03-06-161 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Command Officers (Lieutenants and Sergeants) 7-1-03 through 6-30-06 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-161 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
2. Approval of proposed water and sewer rates resolution for 2003-2004.
CM-03-06-162 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of proposed water and sewer rates resolution for 2003-2004.
Member Csordas said he could not find the percentage of increase specifically noted in the packet, and asked if the rate increase was included in the packet. Mr. Helwig said the increase was included in the off-week packet. The percentage rate increase for water was 2.82%, and the increase for sewer for Huron-Rouge was 9.23%, while the increase for Walled Lake was 11.53%. Mr. Helwig apologized, and said Kathy Smith-Roy had completed a lengthy memo dated May 21st which could have been attached to the packet for this meeting. Member Csordas thanked Mr. Helwig, and said he continued to support the motion.
Member Capello said he asked several months ago for information stating the rates being charged by the City of Detroit, and said he had not seen that information yet.
Kathy Smith-Roy said administration had presented the information in a separate earlier packet. In the future, she will include the information in the motion packet as well. The rates for the City from the Detroit Water and Sewer Department (DWSD) are based on three factors: service, distance, and elevation. The service category is made up of treatment costs. The distance category is made up of the distance from Novi to the center of the five treatment centers that the City of Detroit has. The five district treatment centers are Port Huron, Northeast, Water Works Park, Springwells, and Southwest. The third major component is the elevation component, which is based on the elevation increase from the service area of those districts to the City of Novi. Additionally there are two other minor components which are the number of meters, and the commercial use factor. The City of Detroit hires a consulting firm to determine these calculations, which this year was Black & Beech.
Member Capello asked Ms. Smith-Roy to provide the cost in dollars per gallon of water, and dollars per gallon of sewer treatment. Ms. Smith-Roy said the cost for sewer treatment is $16.58 per 100 count. The current cost of water from the DWSD is $2.164 per 1000 gallons, and is increasing to $2.23, effective 2003-2004, which is a 2.9% increase. The Huron-Rouge un-metered quarterly sewage rate will increase from $54.25 to $59.95, which is an increase of 10.5%. Member Capello asked if by "un-metered", Ms. Smith-Roy meant "well." Ms. Smith-Roy answered no, that these properties were billed on a flat quarterly charge. Member Capello asked what was meant by "un-metered." He said he assumed that this meant that no water was coming in, so there is no way to meter the sewage outflow. Ms. Smith-Roy said this was correct. Member Capello asked about the metered rates. Ms. Smith-Roy said the metered rate is currently $1.45. Mr. Helwig noted that the rate will increase to $1.75, an increase of 18.2%. Member Capello asked for a projection, following the increase from the City of Detroit, that Novi will make from water and sewer charges to cover the City’s own administrative costs from administering these services for the next year. Ms. Smith-Roy said she could not provide a specific dollar amount, but the percentage markup is a range between 14% and 20%, which is for a variety of different charges. Member Capello asked if administration needed to determine a budget configured to know what the City’s administrative and overhead costs are, in order to appropriately determine the proper rate to charge residents. Ms. Smith-Roy answered that this was last done in 1997, and the City is currently operating under that same rate as a percentage markup.
Member Capello noted that on the last page of the item packet, under "water tap fees", there is an exception of one Special Assessment District (SAD), 126. He asked if this SAD is the only one involving this factor, which Ms. Smith-Roy answered was correct. She said the other SAD’s were excluded because they pay another rate in addition to this $500. Member Capello asked if every SAD should be excluded, because the cost would already have been built into the SAD for reimbursements for the tap fees. Ms. Smith-Roy said tap fees are not included in the calculation for the SAD’s, and the City only charges for the services provided. This tap fee is for connection to the individual service facility. Member Capello asked if the same procedure would apply to any payback ordinances that the City might have. Ms. Smith-Roy said this was correct.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that Ms. Smith-Roy had answered an email in which the Mayor Pro Tem had asked similar questions concerning rate of percent increase, and the previous speaker asked about dollar charges as well. She said that there were differences between the rate of increase provided in the email, particularly with the Huron-Rouge sewer increase of 9.23%, and the most recent increase is 10.5%. Ms. Smith-Roy said the figures provided to the Mayor Pro Tem in her email were the correct figures. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if the rate increase for the Walled Lake sewer is 11.53%, which Ms. Smith-Roy also said was correct. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked for an explanation of how the rate increases come down. She asked if the City is told what the increases are and are expected to accept them, or if the increases are proposed and the City negotiates a better rate. Ms. Smith-Roy answered that administration is told what the rates are. The City has staff that participates in meetings that are housed by the DWSD. Mr. Jerome and Mr. McCusker both attend these meetings on a regular basis, and this is the area where the City has an opportunity to express any concerns that it has. Once the rates are determined, the City has a contractual agreement to accept the rates as they are computed. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked what administration’s response was to the initial rate estimates that were provided, and asked who represented the City’s interests with regards to this. She asked what the City’s proposal was with regard to the amounts that were brought forward, and asked if the City countered those amounts. Ms. Smith-Roy said she would have to defer the question to Mr. McCusker. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi thanked Ms. Smith-Roy, and said that it is very important for the City’s water users to know how and why these increases are being brought forward.
Mr. McCusker said a series of public hearings are set up by the City of Detroit. In part of the review process, the five-county area is examined. The rates are also calculated considering commercial entities that purchase water from the City. All of these factors are calculated into their formulas. The City has had double-digit increases proposed from Detroit for "pretty much the last three years." For some reason, this year Novi has a better rate on the water side, though the sewer increase is still about 10%. Mr. McCusker said the City has gone on record at all the public hearings asking the DWSD to review their rate proposals. Novi has a newer water and sewer system, and he believes the community is being charged overall on the system to improve other parts of the DWSD system that are not crucial to the City of Novi. The Drain Commissioner’s Office at Oakland County has requested an outside agency to review the DWSD’s formulas, because those formulas are not believed by some to be consistent through the five-county area. Mr. McCusker has attended the meetings and has gone on record for the City of Novi to inform Detroit of the community’s dissatisfaction with rate increases. The City has not passed all of the increases to residents, as the City has picked up some of the cost increases over the years. However, the City cannot afford to continue doing this with constant double-digit increases.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she appreciated Mr. McCusker’s explanation. She asked if the City asked for anything less, and what the ultimate answer was. Mr. McCusker said the City is currently in contract negotiations with the City of Detroit, and administration has asked for a reduction. Whether or not Novi gets the reduction is perhaps dependent on Detroit’s lawsuit with the City of Warren. Because of this lawsuit, Detroit "does not have to step up to the plate and do anything at this point", but administration believes that once rates are reviewed for the entire five-county area, the DWSD may have to amend some of their rates. This may be coming in the near future because of the pressure put on the City of Detroit by the five county area. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commented that she is glad there is some positive pressure being applied. She said she looked forward to Mr. McCusker representing the City’s interests in that regard, and also representing the financial expenditures of consumers. She asked if the higher rates have anything to do with Novi’s decreased consumption of water, so that the City pays more for what it buys. Mr. McCusker said there are a few factors which may help the City reduce some of its rates. The City will receive better water pressure from the new 14 Mile Road pump station, and may receive better costs as a result of that station by reducing Novi’s peak pressures. The key factor on rate increases is on the peak usage part of the day. By reducing the City’s peak hours, it may be able to reduce its overall rate. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked when administration will know if its peak hours have been reduced. Mr. McCusker answered that this can be determined as soon as the new pump station comes online, hopefully within the next 3 months. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commented that she drove by the station recently, and it appears that some erosion and sedimentation controls may be needed at that station as well. Mr. McCusker acknowledged that there have been a few problems regarding this at the site.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she had one more question regarding the material. Although Novi’s residential and commercial users will pay significant increases, especially with regard to waste water treatment, it appears to her that the cost for constructing service lines will remain the same. She asked if this was correct. Mr. McCusker asked if she meant this for the tap structures. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the heading on page unnumbered says "Now therefore be it resolved that the following related water fees remain unchanged with the adoption of this resolution." She said she is looking for parity with regard to these increased costs. Mr. McCusker said these are the tap costs for the installation to the house services. The City is currently seeking bids on this. The Mayor Pro Tem asked if this includes equipment fees, which Mr. McCusker said was correct. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she would be "looking for something different there."
Member Sanghvi asked Mr. McCusker how much the bill would go up. Mr. McCusker said that "on the water side", rate increases would be insignificant, and the community would see only maybe a slight increase in sewer costs. He said he could put a scenario together for Dr. Sanghvi. Member Sanghvi asked him to kindly do so, as the City has little or no control over their costs, so to speak.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-162 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi
3. Consideration of request from West Lake Drive residents for variance from the Design and Construction Standards for Special Assessment Districts 168 & 169.
Mr. Helwig said administration had relayed information from residents to Council regarding these SAD’s. He noted that officials "are not bashful" about making recommendations, but were slightly "perplexed" as whether to submit recommendations regarding these SAD’s before or after citizen comments were heard. Regarding the turn-of-the-previous-century setting, administration has no qualms about maintaining two-way traffic in these small corridors. Second, given the setting, administration supports eliminating the curb and gutter inclusion in this project. The third recommendation is where administration departs from what the residents have requested. He said Council has heightened its own goal setting of the stewardship regarding the body of water known as Walled Lake. Council has been vigilant about increasing the example that the municipality is setting, particularly on South Lake Drive. On this West Lake SAD, administration feels that the three swirl concentrators that can provide a level of pre-treatment before the flows go into the lake are very important because of the lasting impact and influence they can have on the lake. Council is in the process of forming the City’s ad hoc participation with the Village of Walled Lake in terms of looking at, on a six month’s basis, the long term quality of that body of water, and influences on degrading that quality of water. Given this, the City Engineer has suggested that there could be some 50/50 cost sharing of the participants of the SAD with the City, as there is an approximately $60,000 cost. Or, the City could absorb the entire cost if Council felt this was the equitable thing to do. Ms. McClain’s initial suggestion was that the City absorb the entire cost, but upon reflection decided cost sharing would be the proper thing to do. Mr. Helwig thanked Mayor Clark and Council.
Member Sanghvi said he was pleased to hear some of the things that Mr. Helwig had to say, and agreed that there is no reason to make West Lake Drive a one-way street. Dr. Sanghvi said that Walled Lake belongs to the entire City of Nov, and suggested that the City should pay for all costs of the swirl concentrators, not passing the cost on to a small segment of the population who live there. He said it beholds on the City to try and find $60,000 from somewhere to cover all the costs of the SAD, in order to preserve water quality. Member Sanghvi said he was slightly confused about what lot #9 was. Ms. McClain answered that there are two lot #9’s in the whole area, which leads to additional confusion. The northern lot #9 is owned by the entire subdivision, so to speak. The second lot #9 has an existing easement across it for storm water purposes, and this is the lot that administration proposes using. The City proposed bringing the storm water outlet into the lake far enough to leave the beach as a usable area. This would also be included as a swirl chamber to help keep the area clean. Dr. Sanghvi asked if this lot #9 could be referred to as lot #9 south, which Ms. McClain said was perfectly fine. Dr. Sanghvi asked if the City has estimated the cost of paving all unpaved roads in that portion of Novi. Ms. McClain said that the previous SAD handled all the streets in this general area, but did not include those roads south of the lake. She said the estimated cost was available, though she could not provide it at the present moment. Member Sanghvi said he has driven on all of those roads over the years, and they are in poor condition. He said that this area is a blemish on the City, and sooner or later the City should find a way to pave all of those unpaved streets in the area. These issues should be looked at more sympathetically. It is a requirement of a good city to have good streets, clean water and clean sewer. He suggested keeping the paving of the area’s streets in mind.
Member Landry asked Mr. Fisher about earlier comments regarding plats showing the SAD area’s private streets and private easements. He asked if these are public roads by way of highway by user. Mr. Fisher said that this was absolutely correct. There is an old Michigan Statute, part of the Highway Act that provides that when an area of roadway is used for public travel, and public moneys are expended for a period of 10 years, the roads become public in the locations that they have been utilized. Member Landry asked if the City is discussing the paving of private property and private roads. Mr. Fisher answered that these are public roads, and a great number of roads in Michigan townships are public roads for this same reason.
CM-03-06-163 Moved by Landry, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant variances from the design and construction standards for the purpose of proposed Special Assessment Districts 168 and 169, with respect to the concrete curb and gutter waiver. The issue of maintaining West Lake Drive as a two-way street shall be further considered by Council following the receipt of comments from Mr. Arroyo concerning the City’s proposed improvements to roadways within the SAD. In addition, the City of Novi shall absorb the cost for the three proposed swirl treatment concentrators for $60,000.
Member Capello asked if the City would have any additional maintenance of asphalt curbing as opposed to concrete curbing. Ms. McClain answered that during very hot days, asphalt curbing can be nicked easier, which can also happen from snow plows. However, cracking can occur on concrete curbs, so asphalt curbs just require a different type of maintenance, which is very comparable. Member Capello asked if it would cost the City any additional money to use asphalt for curbing as opposed to concrete. Ms. McClain said that it is actually easier to replace a portion of asphalt curb than concrete curb. Member Capello thanked Ms. McClain.
Member Csordas asked if the easement on lot #9 is a public or private easement. Ms. McClain said that the lot is held by private owners, but that there is an existing public easement for drainage on the site. The northern lot #9 does not have an easement across it. Member Csordas asked if the lot #9 in reference is actually privately owned with an easement. Ms. McClain answered that both lot #9’s are privately owned, but the southern lot #9 has an existing easement across it. Member Csordas asked how wide the southern lot #9 is. Ms. McClain answered that the lot is approximately 20 to 25 feet wide. Member Csordas asked how wide the easement on the site it. Ms. McClain said that the easement is about 20 feet wide. She said the City has full access underground, but the site owner still has full access aboveground.
Member Csordas said he supports the motion, but had a question about curbs. He asked for a clearer definition of what an asphalt curb is, as he cannot remember ever seeing an asphalt curb before. Ms. McClain provided a description of the curb. Member Csordas commented that the asphalt curbing would seem to be cheaper than using concrete, and would not impose increased maintenance for the City either. Ms. McClain said that this was correct. Member Csordas said he would continue to oppose paving all of those roads because other people in the City have had to pay for the paving of their roads, and it would not be fair to pay for the paving of this area’s streets.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Ms. McClain how many total households would be able to benefit from this project. Ms. McClain answered that she believed 43 households were involved with the SAD’s. There are 48 property parcels involved with the SAD’s. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she was concerned with a memo dated May 22nd, which states that only 9 households were represented in the meeting where these variances came forward. She is concerned that the City may be "jumping the gun a bit" regarding looking for variances for specific design criteria and ordinance requirements. She asked if the preliminary designs for SAD’s 168 and 169 were done in-house, which Ms. McClain said was correct. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked who would do the entire design engineering project. Ms. McClain answered that this has not yet been determined. The City had received proposals for preliminary design. It was decided to do the preliminary designs in-house before any received bids were opened. Based on what Council decides, the City would solicit final design dollar amounts from those firms and continue the process.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that Dr. Tilton was in the audience, and asked if he had examined this preliminary proposal from the standpoint of additional or alternative or different methods that could prevent pollution in the design process. Dr. Tilton answered that he has had an opportunity to review the plans, and the City has been very cooperative with him. The City has been very open to his suggestions about how to improve the runoff character, and the swirl concentrators are exactly what he is recommending. The present proposal represents the most feasible and prudent way to protect water quality, especially floating pollutants. Swirl concentrators are much more effective than any constructed wetland or any other type of device. These concentrators trap storm water that enters a swimming beach in a structure where it can be removed, instead of on the beach. This is a fine proposal that is one of the finest he has reviewed in a long time, and minimizes pollution and impacts due to road runoff. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the front page of the document refers to "sloped asphalt pavement," which she first interpreted to mean sheet flow, when in fact the document is talking about a curbed system. She asked for verification on this. Ms. McClain said that the "sloped asphalt" refers to a sloped asphalt curb, a reversing of the grade for about 2.5 feet in order to catch water in a gutter, rather than installing an asphalt curb which would look like a typical concrete curb and gutter.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if with regard to the variance from the design and construction standards, administration has anything from the City’s traffic engineer, Mr. Arroyo, to specify how these very tight roadway widths will adequately address the traffic that will use them. Ms. McClain responded that in the previous SAD, the City received a letter that spoke to the "neck-down" areas. It was basically stated that they wished to go to a more city standard. There is a term used in traffic engineering called a "yield mode flow." What this means is that on a subdivision street with cars parked on either side, you will yield to the car coming forward to you because it is narrower. These are only used in residential areas with low volumes, and should not be used in large areas. Many alleys and older subdivision streets use this system. Because the area sees traffic almost exclusively from residents, the yield mode flow would work in this area. The Mayor Pro Tem said it would have been helpful to have that information included in the packet. She asked if with regards to those roads as they currently exist, at the point where the City actually improves these roadways with substandard widths and resultant complaints and such, what the City’s risk exposure is. Mr. Fisher commented that he would like to find out from Mr. Arroyo or his company if the City would actually be making the roadways worse by attempting to improve them. The roads exist the way they are right now, and the City is not truly changing them. It would be nice to have "a little comment or explanation point" from Mr. Arroyo, confirming that the City would not be exacerbating a problem. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she appreciates Mr. Fisher’s opinion, which she also shares. She said that she would feel more comfortable if the maker of the motion would consider altering that portion of the motion until such time that Council could have that designation from Mr. Arroyo through Mr. Fisher. Member Landry asked if Mayor Pro Tem Bononi was referring to the entire motion, or just the portion in discussion. He said if this would be brought back at a later time with respect to granting the waiver after receiving a comment from Mr. Arroyo, he would agree to the amendment.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if anyone had investigated seeking right-of-way easements from the property owners in question for the road. Ms. McClain stated that this was suggested in the previous SAD. To either side, the distance to houses and garages is very tight, and the property owners have not been favorable in wishing to grant right-of-way. This would probably have to be done through a condemnation procedure. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Fisher to take this into consideration regarding the question he would be asking Mr. Arroyo. She asked Dr. Tilton what he would presume the impact of the usage of that easement would be to property owners as a result of placing the chamber on that site. Dr. Tilton answered that structure itself is literally a below-ground structure, so the effect on the site would be the equivalent of having a man-hole or access. It is nothing visible like a utility box or pump station. The chamber cover cannot be screened because trucks must have access to the site, which presents one possible adverse aspect. If a truck needs to back down to the location if it is near the lake, there may be rutting or vegetation damage. If the access is located up near the edge of the pavement so that the truck can stay on the edge of the pavement, there is no impact whatsoever, and the only disturbance is a temporary disturbance due to the installation of an outlet pipe out into the lake to the property owner. Once that construction is done, they can have the quiet enjoyment of their property. It is typical for these lines to have an easement so that people cannot plant woody material on top of the chamber, but can maintain a vegetable garden or grass, so long as they don’t impair the maintenance of the structure should it need to be fixed. The benefits are that the floating solids, such as cigarette butts, oil and grease, sandwich wrappers, and other debris that can get in the street, are held in this chamber. It also does a fabulous job, up to 90% removal efficiencies, for particle sizes such as sand and gravel. The chambers usually need to be cleaned about once a year. On balance, this is a minor imposition to the property owner, is very unobtrusive, and could possibly be located in the road so that the only thing passing through the property is the subterranean pipeline.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if with regard to the comfort level of the people nearby, there would be issues of noise, vibration, odors, or other factors. Dr. Tilton said that this is an entirely different scenario than some may think. There is a cap on the chamber that eliminates the mosquito threat unlike some open drains that residents have complained about. There is no access for insects to get in or out of the chamber. These have been installed in southeast Michigan for about 5 years now, and there is a good record of understanding how these chambers work, what their limits are, and what their benefits are. The Mayor Pro Tem said people need to know that this chamber is not going to remove their excess fertilizers and pesticides. Dr. Tilton said this is absolutely correct, and the chamber is only effective for larger grain sizes. Silt and clay pass right through the chamber, and residents still need to get a hold on the sources of excess nutrients getting into the lake if they’re interested in protecting the water. Septic systems, fertilizers, and herbicides on lawns, and good street maintenance can all contribute to these issues. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi thanked Dr. Tilton.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Helwig if he believed there would be any problem having Mr. Arroyo provide the City with his opinion in the next two weeks in order to consider this matter at the next Council meeting. Mr. Helwig responded that administration would definitely do this and would convene a meeting with both Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Fisher to expedite this.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-163 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello
4. Approval of Development Agreement between Brightmoor Christian Church/PT Commerce, LLC and the City of Novi for property located in Section 1, north of Thirteen Mile Road and west of M-5, and approval of Zoning Map Amendment 18.621 for rezoning of subject property from RA (Residential Acreage) to RM-1 (Low Density, Low Rise Multiple Family).
CM-03-06-164 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Development Agreement between Brightmoor Christian Church/PT Commerce, LLC and the City of Novi for property located in Section 1, north of Thirteen Mile Road and west of M-5, and approval of Zoning Map Amendment 18.621 for rezoning of subject property from RA (Residential Acreage) to RM-1 (Low Density, Low Rise Multiple Family).
Mr. Fisher said that this agreement was prepared, and administration had worked with a council for Brightmoor and PT Commerce, LLC. Negotiations were very amicable, and he believes this is a fine agreement.
Member Capello asked for a friendly amendment to include additional language under either page 2, under E(1)-(2), or on page 4 under subsection 2. The language follows the same intent as the previous wording, but he would like the lease restrictions to be contained in the master deed that is recorded, as well as language that would say that no sale of more than one unit to one unit owner would be allowed, with the exception of 6 units to Brightmoor Christian Church. This ties down the fact that if things go sour in the economy, they won’t be able to sell a handful to developers. Member Lorenzo asked for clarification, that the units cannot be rented out, and must remain condominiums. Member Capello said this was correct, that only one unit can be sold to one owner. Member Lorenzo said she agreed with this.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she had a few questions for Mr. Fisher. On page 2, under letter E, the last sentence states "Owner shall identify such units in a letter to the City prior to any marketing activity relating to such units." She asked if it wouldn’t be a good idea to have this on the plan, from the standpoint that anyone buying there would be forewarned about the usage of the properties. Mr. Fisher said that this could be done, if Brightmoor Church knew what units they were going to purchase. He doesn’t know if the Church knows this, however. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that the language refers to marketing, and she said that buyers should have some kind of disclosure about how these units are differing from the rest of the units being offered. She asked Mr. Fisher whether he feels that this is adequate. She said that E(2) refers to a retail consumer. She asked for a definition of "retail consumer." Mr. Fisher answered that a retail consumer would be an ultimate user of the property, as opposed to a builder that is buying the property, then building a unit and selling it. This would not be a retail consumer, but would rather be a wholesale consumer of sorts. The Mayor Pro Tem asked Mr. Fisher if what he was saying was property owners would be excluded from doing something that only the developer can do. Mr. Fisher responded that once the property is transferred to individual owners, there is nothing in this arrangement that would prohibit that owner from leasing the unit. On page 3, under G, a review process with regards to a conservation easement is discussed, and the item notes the easement shall be reviewed and returned to the City Attorney. She asked at what point the matter shall come before Council, because the language makes no reference to Council. Mr. Fisher said that the matter would have to come before City Council because it is an agreement. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the document should state this. Mr. Fisher said this is a matter of law, and that the Planning Commission doesn’t have the authority to approve such an agreement. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said on page 4, item #3, approximately mid-point, there is a phrase that states "The Undertakings have been voluntarily offered by Owner in order to provide an enhanced use and value of the Land, and to protect the public safety and welfare," she does not understand what the City is protecting in terms of public safety and welfare, but agrees with the rest of the language. Mr. Fisher said this was the language that he wanted, and it means that the City is "protected a little bit more."
Member Lorenzo noted that Mr. Fisher said he drew up the agreement. She asked him who paid for the agreement and his legal fees. He said that he billed the fee under the escrow situation, but this is something that the City may be able to pass on if wished. Member Lorenzo said she believes the cost should be passed on. Member Lorenzo made an amendment to her motion to pass the costs of associated legal fees for the agreement on to the applicant.
Mayor Clark he recalled Council specifically directing Mr. Fisher to make this agreement. Now Council wants somebody else to pay for what Council directed him to do, which was to ensure that these condominium units would be owner occupied. He said it grossly unfair, after Council has given an order that will benefit the City, to turn around and make the applicant pay for it. He said Brightmoor Church has worked very diligently and has acted in good faith, and has roadblocks and impediments along the way when they first developed their church, and was very patient with the City. To now make the Church pay for something that Council has ordered would be totally unfair, and he cannot support this amendment. He can support the rest of the motion.
Member Csordas said he could not remember if the City required the agreement or not. Because Council did require the agreement, he said he could not support he amendment.
Member Sanghvi said the comment made by Member Capello is not a question of anybody buying more than one unit, but he doesn’t know if in today’s society a person can be prevented from purchasing as many units as they can afford. It is not Council’s business to tell someone how many units they can buy.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Fisher how much time he had invested in the project. Mr. Fisher said he could not say precisely, as he did not have access to his billing records, but guessed about 500 dollars’ worth. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if from the standpoint of overseeing the terms of this agreement, who the compliance shepard is. Mr. Fisher said there are various aspects of the agreement. In connection with the number of units, this would be sheparded through by the Planning Commission. Most development process items would be addressed by the Planning Commission. There are a number of environmental issues that would come afterward and would be sheparded by ordinance enforcement and other bodies. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if those decisions with regard to coming forward are totally in the hands of the developer and the property owner. Mr. Fisher asked if she meant coming forward with proposals which the City will review, which the Mayor Pro Tem said was correct. Mr. Fisher answered yes. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she can see the point in asking about whose agreement this is, because Council is not a direct party to the agreement. When Council does not ask Mr. Fisher the question with regard to whether or not Council is direct party to an agreement, then "shame on us." She suggested that Council may wish to, in the future, look at a Council policy with regard to such agreements as it sees more of them come down the road. This agreement is essentially between Brightmoor Church and their property owner, and Council is not truly "in" the document. She said that she will be asking more specific questions regarding development proposals and agreements in the future. Mr. Fisher said that this is item #13 on the evening’s agenda.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-164 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas
Council recessed at 10:03 p.m.
Council reconvened at 10:27 p.m.
5. Award of Construction Contract for South Lake Drive to Anderzack-Pitzen Construction, Inc., the low responsive bidder, in the amount of $1,768,981.00.
CM-03-06-165 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi; MOTION APPROVED: To award Construction Contract for South Lake Drive to Anderzack-Pitzen Construction, Inc., the low responsive bidder, in the amount of $1,768,981.00.
Member Capello asked why there were only two bidders for this contract. He said that with the lack of work for firms, it would seem that there should have been more bidders. Ms. McClain said that the City held a pre-bid on the Monday before the May 12th deadline. At the pre-bid, the City had 10 attendees, and administration was thus also surprised that it received only 2 bids. Several bidders who had attended the pre-bid meeting noted two major concerns: the tightness of the right-of-way, staging, and keeping traffic open during the construction; the second was the quantity of earth work, since the project was so close to the lake. Those seemed to be the two largest factors in why more firms did not want this job. Member Capello asked why staging was such a high cost for the bid, $87,000 from Anderzack and $75,000 from Waterland Trucking Service. He asked what this cost included. Ms. McClain responded that typically when a company does a roadway project such as Grand River or Twelve Mile Road, there is additional right-of-way that the company can use to place signs and equipment in along the roadway. The right-of-way is very tight along South Lake Drive, and there is no place outside of the road to go. There are no easements along the side of the road where the company could place equipment, so the site is very tight for a company to work in. The company will also have challenges when trying to keep the road open while also moving gravel in and out, as evidenced by Grand River, and that road has much more room to work with than South Lake Drive. To cover for this, the company will have to use more trucks, spend more time moving equipment around on the site than what they would have had otherwise. Member Capello asked if this figure included the staging plan, or if it only included the additional work and labor for staging. He asked if there would be a staging plan in place, either from the contractor or the engineer. Ms. McClain said that it is the contractor’s responsibility to develop the plan, and it is the engineer’s responsibility to review it and approve it. Member Capello said the preliminary cost estimate for the job was only about $1,000,000. He asked how the cost increased to almost $2,000,000 now. Mr. Helwig said that the project pre-dates his arrival to administration 3 years ago, but since he has been on board the estimate was never only $1,000,000. The available funding in one of his first budget years was only about $1.2 million, but that was more available funds as opposed to an accurate estimate. Administration knew that once the community and Council reached a work program, this figure would have to be augmented, which was done about a year ago. Member Capello said the $1.2 million figure was what he had in his head, and Mr. Helwig said this was "just to get our foot in the door" for starting the project. Member Capello asked Ms. McClain if there was a line item for construction staking, or if this was included somewhere else in the budget. The differences were thousands and thousands of dollars between some line items, so he assumed that some costs were hidden somewhere else. Scott Clein of Giffels-Webster said that the unit cost for items such as staking are factored into unit costs for other items listed on the budget, which is why there may be variations in some of the units for one particular contractor over another. The line items for construction staging were pulled out because it was a significant stand-alone item. The unit prices for staking and other various mobilizations were included in the unit prices quoted by the contractor. Member Capello asked if there is any way that it can be determined what the bidders are actually charging for items. Mr. Clein said the contractors are charging the unit prices for items, but the unit prices don’t only include the material item but also the installation, taxes, transportation fees, and many other miscellaneous costs. The total project costs for staking and some other items can be placed into the unit cost. Member Capello asked where the unit cost for the construction staking would be placed into. Mr. Clein said the cost would be spread apart by the contractor into their unit cost. Most likely it would go into the cost for aggregate base, which would be the stone base for the road, potentially the pavement as well. The unit prices that were quoted for these were slightly higher than expected, so he guesses that this is where those costs were placed. Member Capello asked if it is difficult to "compare apples to apples" with unit costs the way they are summarized on the bids. Mr. Clein said it is difficult if one wants to get down to specific work items, but is not difficult if one knows that they are all provided with the same parameters, and are required to include all of the same costs in their units. Member Capello asked if the contractor was not going to perform a non line itemed required service or scope of work, how would the contractor know how much money to have deducted from the payment. Mr. Clein said that if there was a deduct that was agreeable to the City staff and Council, it would be something that Giffels-Webster would request a quote from them on, and then negotiate.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Ms. McClain who would be providing contract administration on this project. Ms. McClain responded that the administration was awarded to Giffels-Webster Associates in April. She gave a personal request to the firm, "so the folks at home know that we are talking about a 4% contingency fee that amounts to $177,000", to ride herd on this, so that the City would not have to use that money if possible. Mr. Clein replied that he agreed.
Member Csordas asked Ms. McClain if she considered the proximity of construction to the lake, as well as keeping the road open during construction, as "red flag" issues. He also asked if the lack of bids from so many potential bidders scared her. Ms. McClain said these issues did not scare her, as these were parameters that were put on this job. The City committed to the residents that except for the time when the culvert had to be removed and replaced, that there would be through traffic on South Lake Drive. This will have to be maintained by the use of flaggers to maintain this through use, since administration wants emergency vehicles to have this availability. The narrow right-of-way is a constraint, but it is not anything that she worried about. She knows that the contractors can do it, and this is just one of those things that make it a more challenging project. Member Csordas said that he understood, and asked if there would be penalties or such if the contractor was not able to perform this task. Ms. McClain said that the City does not have a financial penalty, but would instead continue working with the contractor to make sure that the roadway would remain open. There is only so much time that the contractor can block that road when the City needs to keep it open in that manner, the same way that the City is working to keep Grand River open while that road is worked on. Member Csordas asked what the concerns are regarding the proximity of the project to the lake. Ms. McClain responded that part of the problem is the higher water table, which when performing an excavation, can cause problems by softening the ground underneath the aggregate for the road. Member Csordas noted that a certain amount was budgeted for the project, but the lowest bid submitted came in over that budgeted amount. He asked if it is possible to return to the lowest bidding company after the bids have been opened, inform the company that only a limited budget is available to fund the project, and try to negotiate the price further. Mr. Fisher said the best way to proceed in this manner would be to reject all bids, then re-propose the same project for bids and wait for new bids to be submitted. Member Csordas commented that this would still not guarantee that a bid would be submitted that would fit the budgeted funding, which Mr. Fisher agreed with. Mr. Helwig said that another approach would be to bid various deducts as well as add-ons, but in fashioning this project Council has scrutinized this project several times, and administration "wrestled" with the issue several times. Often times, a city will shed deducts off of a project to reduce funding to a desired level. In this instance, administration felt the project had already been taken to a minimum level. Member Csordas said he believed this was true as well, as he noted there were a number of originally proposed items removed from the final proposal. He noted that nobody wants to delay the project at all.
Member Sanghvi said he was looking at the letter from Giffels-Webster regarding the project that was addressed to Ms. McClain, and noted that several items featured comments such as "significantly higher than the estimate." He asked Ms. McClain to explain why these items were higher in cost than estimated. Ms. McClain responded that each contractor has the ability to put costs where they wish. For instance, number 2 in that letter states "Unit prices for the vortechnic structures provided by Anderzack-Pitzen are all significantly higher than the estimate. Anderzack-Pitzen took a number that they received from a supplier, and added part of their profit to this cost. The estimate for Waterland is right on the City’s estimate. The City is trying to identify where prices were varying significantly so administration can determine where the costs were over, since both of these projects were over. There are other places where costs might be less than the City’s estimate. One example is the under-drain, where the City’s estimate was $10 per linear foot. Anderzack-Pitzen’s estimate was $7.50 per linear foot. This is $37,000 lower than the City’s estimate. Items identified in the letter were items that were significantly higher than the City’s estimate, but there were also items that were significantly lower than the estimate. On that same item, Waterland provided a cost of $19 per linear foot, putting that cost $130,000 over the City’s estimate. If things had been reversed, this could have been a "higher than expected" item. How a contractor determines his/her prices is not usually known by engineers, because the contractor decides where they wish to put profits in items. Dr. Sanghvi read the last paragraph of the letter, "Therefore, if the City wishes to proceed with the bids currently received…" He asked if this says something to Ms. McClain. She responded that this says the City has the option to reject all bids, which is always an option. If the City wishes the proceed, as this cost did come in over what the City’s estimate was, administration is recommending that the City stay with the lowest bidder, Anderzack-Pitzen. Member Sanghvi asked why administration would not want to reject both bids if they were both more than what was expected. Ms. McClain said that there is no guarantee that issuing a new bid proposal request would bring in lower-bid proposals the second time. There is, however, a time issue in that the City is trying to get this project under construction this year. Member Sanghvi asked what couldn’t wait about this project. Mr. Helwig answered that the condition of the roadway has deteriorated significantly over the past two years to the point where the road is actually crumbling. He asked to draw attention to the second or third sentence in the Giffels-Webster letter, stating "Anderzack-Pitzen submitted the lowest bid… which is approximately 4% above the engineer’s estimate." If the City waited another year, that cost could very easily be absorbed in the cost of doing business. Those are at least two reasons for the recommendation. Dr. Sanghvi said that these are possibilities, but not facts. He noted that the project has been discussed for a long time, and Mr. Helwig added that it has been 5 years. Dr. Sanghvi said the condition has deteriorated so much over 5 years that there is no time to find a smaller bidder. He said that finding money that does not exist in the budget to spend on this project does not make sense to him.
Roll Call on CM-03-06-165 Yeas: Lorenzo, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry
Member Capello asked for a copy of the specifications which included the scope of work when the item comes back to Council for a contract.
6. Approval to award the Design-Build contract for the Clean Michigan Initiative Outfall Repair and Streambank Stabilization grant project to the consulting team of Tilton and Associates, Inc., and Applied Science, Inc., in the amount not-to-exceed $177,050.
CM-03-06-166 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To award the Design-Build contract for the Clean Michigan Initiative Outfall Repair and Streambank Stabilization grant project to the consulting team of Tilton and Associates, Inc., and Applied Science, Inc., in the amount not-to-exceed $177,050.
Member Landry asked why the bid for this item was two and a half times the budgeted amount of the contact by the City. Mr. Maurice said the bids came in higher than expected to do all outlets, outfalls, and stabilization involved with the project. Mr. Helwig said he had asked the exact same question. This project goes back at least two and a half years ago. He said the City is almost done with these kinds of projects, but in questioning staff about this item, it was emphasized that they felt the engineering estimates dismissed the target when the whole work program was first contemplated. Member Landry asked if the $177,050 was a firm price, or just an estimated cost. Mr. Maurice said this is a fixed cost, and costs cannot exceed this amount. Member Landry asked where the extra funding above the amount budgeted for the item would come from. Mr. Helwig answered that the motion sheet shows the extra $105,700 comes from the drain fund contingency. Member Landry thanked Mr. Helwig. Mr. Helwig added that Kathy Smith-Roy has been involved with the project "the whole way" as well.
Member Lorenzo noted that there was an amendment to the grant between the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the City of Novi included in Council’s packet. In that information is the quote "The initial schedule was to award the design and build contract for the project beginning in early 2003." She asked Mr. Maurice for an explanation of the delay in this contract. She asked why the contract needed to be amended now, as it "is sort of embarrassing on the part of the City." Mr. Maurice said administration intended to have the project designed and built through this construction season, and have the design done earlier this year, and have the construction done over the summer. The way the schedule worked out, it appears the project will not be completed by the end of July. He has met with the DEQ to get the proper paperwork in place, so if the City can get signatures from its highest elected official it can carry this through this construction season and report to the DEQ by December. Member Lorenzo asked if there was a particular reason that it could not meet the original deadline. Mr. Maurice said there was not a particular reason. Some items needed to be discussed before being brought before Council, based on what was allocated previously, and money available in the drain fund that could be used to complete this entire project. Member Lorenzo asked if anything would be done out of scope, as she is concerned from experiences with Sandstone. In that experience, Mr. Kapelczak had submitted a "not to exceed" project cost, which ended up costing far more than this amount. Mr. Clein said the project would definitely not exceed the proposed budget amount. Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Helwig if the project could have been brought to Council earlier. Mr. Helwig said this should have been done long ago.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said from her past experience working with the DEQ, there is nothing to be embarrassed about in the delay of this project. There is nothing wrong with doing your job and doing it right according to local circumstances. She asked, with regard to the outflow stabilization sites on the project map, why these were chosen to be done, why their locations were chosen, and what the time immediacy of the sites are. Mr. Maurice said that most everyone realizes the City will be dredging Meadowbrook Lake, which is downstream from a number of these outflow sites. If the City can get a hand on some of the upstream problems it will help the long-term viability of the Meadowbrook Lake problem. These locations were approved and designated by the DEQ. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that if Council decides to support this project, it needs to reexamine how it does storm water business, as it is also considering development projects that would affect these sites.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-166 Yeas: Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
7. Approval of Professional Services Agreement with M.C. Smith Associates and Architectural Group, Inc. for design, engineering and construction supervision services for the Community Sports Park Ball Field Improvement Project, in the amount not-to-exceed $12,000.
CM-03-06-167 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Professional Services Agreement with M.C. Smith Associates and Architectural Group, Inc. for design, engineering and construction supervision services for the Community Sports Park Ball Field Improvement Project, in the amount not-to-exceed $12,000.
Member Capello said he knows that the cost is only $12,000, but he would still like to see more information pertaining to bids and bid selections, rather than only relying on the recommendation of the department. The proposal says the cost is not to exceed $12,000, but the body of the contract states that "In no event shall the total compensation for professional services, expenses and costs (not including costs for soil borings and topographical surveys) exceed $12,000 where the project construction costs do not exceed $125,000.00", which really means that there is no $12,000 cap. He asked if there was any reason that this cost could not actually be capped at $12,000, and require the contractor to return to Council for additional funding requests should the actual costs exceed $125,000. Mr. Auler said the available construction funds that his department has are $100,000, and the company’s proposal was based on that $100,000, which is $7900. There was a 7% fee if the City had any additional money over. Parks, Recreation and Forestry has a total of $124,345 budgeted. Coming out of this are the design costs and the contingency costs, so the thought was the City may be able to go over the $100,000 figure a little bit, depending on the contingency costs. This is how the cap for design costs was determined to be $12,000, and this is a firm number that will not be exceeded. Member Capello asked if the last part of the sentence, "where the project construction costs do not exceed $125,000." Mr. Auler said this could be done. Member Capello asked if Mayor Pro Tem Bononi would accept the removal of this sentence as a friendly amendment, which she agreed to.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-167 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
8. Approval of Resolution to authorize the fourth quarter Budget Amendment #2003-6.
CM-03-06-168 Moved by Capello, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Resolution to authorize the fourth quarter Budget Amendment #2003-6.
Member Sanghvi asked about items on the budget amendment. The first item he asked about was the local street fund revenue. Dr. Sanghvi asked what an item in the budget amendment, "Transfer from Major Street" for $115,000 meant. Ms. Smith-Roy answered that this is an offsetting transfer between the major and local street funds, which is the maximum allowable transfer under Act 51 rules. Member Sanghvi asked if this maximum allowable transfer amount is $115,000. Ms. Smith-Roy replied that the maximum amount is actually greater than this, but the $115,000 transfer brings the City’s total transfer amount up to the maximum allowable transfer. Dr. Sanghvi asked for an explanation of "Appropriation of Fund Balance" under the local street fund category, which was in parentheses for $65,000. Ms. Smith-Roy said this meant that administration is actually increasing fund balance, because of additional revenue that is coming into the fund. Dr. Sanghvi then asked for a description of "Appropriation of Fund Balance" under the Revenue category. Ms. Smith-Roy said that when "Appropriation of Fund Balance" is in brackets, this means that the fund balance is increasing, and when the item is not in brackets, this means that the City is using the balance. Member Sanghvi asked for an explanation of "Personal Services (temporary salaries)" under Parks, Recreation and Forestry Appropriations. Ms. Smith-Roy said this is for part-time staff in the administration department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry. This is a year-round part-time position. Dr. Sanghvi thanked Ms. Smith-Roy.
Member Lorenzo said she had concerns regarding some of the numbers in the proposed budget amendment. With regard to the legal charges for Assessing, she noted that the budgeted amount is $10,000, as the City faces more tax tribunal charges this year than anticipated. Her concern is that the City is receiving more than it is spending. In other words, she is hoping that the resolution of these cases is far more substantial to Council and the City than only $10,000 that is budgeted. She said she is looking for additional information as to how much the City puts out in legal services, versus how much the City receives back through the resolution of these cases, to make sure that the cases are worth actively pursuing. She noted that the Department of Public Works (DPW) overtime wages request was for $50,000, and said she assumed that part or most of this cost is due to the snowing plowing and de-icing services of this year, which Mr. McCusker said was correct. Member Lorenzo said she is concerned with the Council packet materials being delivered on overtime for DPW employees, rather than during regular work hours. She said she recognized that this may be the fault of administration, in terms of not having all packet materials submitted and prepared by a certain hour. She said she expects Mr. Helwig and administration to do a better job of getting those items together so that the DPW can get those items to Council during regular time. Mr. Helwig noted that he and Member Lorenzo have discussed this item a number of times. It is administration’s goal to have all packet materials delivered on regular time. Some materials, such as a recent Memorandum of Understanding from Sandstone, have not been delivered until 6:30 in the evening. Rather than providing Council with incomplete information earlier, administration has made the decision to wait until later for materials, and thus has been paying extra for this service. He said he is well aware of the goal of having packet materials "to the door by 2:00, and out the door by 2:30."
Member Lorenzo said she was looking for an explanation of the $19,000 additional request for "professional services" by Planning. She said she understood "professional services" to only mean meeting time and special projects. Mr. Pearson replied that these items are a large part of what the category is. However, the City has been without a landscape architect for some time, and hired out related items. There are not the same expenditures on the personal services for that person, and the City has been paying for this on the outside. The new landscape architect started (today), and Council will soon be provided with an update on this. Member Lorenzo said her concern is that with regard to the fee structure, her interpretation is that the City can charge the applicant at the per-hour rate that the City is charged. In other words, if a City consultant is charging the City more per hour than the City would typically charge to an applicant, it is her understanding that the City can approach the applicant and request whatever fees are necessary to conduct those reviews. She asked Mr. Fisher if he had looked into this item at all. Mr. Fisher said he remembered the resolution, but did not do a full analysis in view of the fact that the City was undertaking this ordinance. Member Lorenzo said she would appreciate this, because she understood the City to have this ability, and would like the City to take advantage of this if possible. Mr. Pearson said the City’s system is set up so that on re-submittals, the City has charged a review fee 34 times in the first 9 months of the year. The system is not set up for specific cost accounting for an hourly rate on every single project, meaning that some require more hours than others. The $250 charged for reviews covers the costs on most of these. The City can switch to billing an hourly rate for reviews if circumstances require it, and administration is just as interested in saving money as anyone else. Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Pearson what he meant by "the system is not set up…" Mr. Pearson explained that administration does not cost account for every single hour of every project. Member Lorenzo asked why. Mr. Pearson said an applicant is not charged on the exact hours of every single project. Member Lorenzo commented that this is obviously needed. She said to Mr. Helwig that if Mr. Fisher believes that the City can charge applicants for the hourly rates that the City’s consultants are charging, then the fees should be charged back to the applicants. She does not want extra money charged to the taxpayers of Novi.
Member Lorenzo asked for an explanation of the decrease in revenue of $73,000 from the drain perpetual maintenance fund. Ms. Smith-Roy said this was a result of the change in the ordinance that the City is now going from regional basins to site basins. Member Lorenzo asked if the City anticipated having $73,000 more in tap-in fees that it did not receive because of this. Ms. Smith-Roy answered that the budget was prepared last March, and the change was not anticipated. Member Lorenzo thanked Ms. Smith-Roy.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if, regarding the last question about water tap-ins, how administration predicated the $73,000 figure. Ms. Smith-Roy said the number was arrived at by projecting revenue remaining for the year. The City did not do a study of how much would be used. The last few months, administration has had little money from regional basins, and so it will probably have very little drain revenue for the rest of the year. This had been budgeted back in March, based on a prior year when the City was utilizing the full regional basin system. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she would not expect administration to look at the Master Plan "down to the dollar." She said the number may or may not mean something. She asked what is being proposed for the Randolph Street drain. Ms. Smith-Roy said this work has already begun, and involves additional maintenance that the Oakland County Drain Commission requires the City to participate in. It is discussed in the budget amendment because the City has to issue the check for the project.
Member Capello said he agrees that the citizens should not be paying for some of the noted development costs. He asked if there was a line item for the revenues collected from fees that developers pay. Ms. Smith-Roy said the accounting system is set up to collect these fees through the Trusted Agency Fund, and these are not recorded as revenues or expenses. The fees are collected into the trust fund and passed along to a third party. Member Capello asked who this third party is. Ms. Smith-Roy said the third party is various consultants. The revenue fees collected for services performed by City staff is recorded as revenue under the general fund under Planning Review Center line items. Items collected for outside services, such as engineers and consultants, are not counted as revenues or expenses. Member Capello asked where the money for landscaping fees and reviewing new plans has been going. Ms. Smith-Roy said this money is not recorded as revenue, but is set up in the escrow account for that specific project. The City taps into those fees until they are used up.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-168 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
Wayne Hogan, 20923 Woodland Glen Dr., wished to speak regarding additional disability issues. He asked that Council request some planners to look further in the area of accessibility in the process of planning and construction needs. Some things are borderline as far as accessibility goes. Several people have noted to him that they would not mind making facilities safer. He would like this to be a goal, rather than going by the letter of the book. By approaching facilities at the beginning, working with these entities can be easier. He also wanted to read a quote from the auto industry regarding community transit. Recently, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler released a joint declaration endorsing regional transit system in the southeastern Michigan area. The quote is "we want to reiterate our support for public transit in southeast Michigan. An effective regional transit system is important in connecting workers with jobs, servicing a rapidly aging population, and reducing traffic congestion – which has a positive effect on the environment."
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II
9. Approval of Ordinance No. 03-18.172 to amend Ordinance 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, as codified in Appendix A, Zoning Ordinance, of the City’s Code of Ordinances, Section 2509, Landscape Standards: Obscuring Earth Berms and Walls, Rights-of-Way Buffers; and Interior and Exterior Landscape Plantings in order to update and revise the entire section. 2nd Reading
CM-03-06-169 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone until following review by Legal Counsel, approval of Ordinance No. 03-18.172 to amend Ordinance 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, as codified in Appendix A, Zoning Ordinance, of the City’s Code of Ordinances, Section 2509, Landscape Standards: Obscuring Earth Berms and Walls, Rights-of-Way Buffers; and Interior and Exterior Landscape Plantings in order to update and revise the entire section. 2nd Reading. And to increase the berms for commercial projects from 6-8 feet up to 10-15 feet; to reinstitute the language on page 16 that was stricken with regard to the no final certificate of occupancy and the no reduction in financial guarantees; and to change the wording of "final certificate of occupancy" to "temporary certificate of occupancy."
Member Capello said he cannot support this ordinance, which is 30 pages long, and includes references to additional code provisions. It is easy to tell that this ordinance has been in committee for two years, because it has come out as a novel instead of an ordinance. He said that a number of areas in the proposed ordinance could be streamlined. He said Mr. Evancoe had a comment in his report that the ordinance could be streamline. Member Capello said there are a number of ambiguous areas in the ordinance. One that he referenced is on page 5, subsection 5, "berm requirements," that there is no true limit on the actual size of the berm. Particularly on page 5, there is too much asphalt in the City as it is, and the City’s parking requirements are already too great. The City did try to correct some of this with land bank parking, but it is not working. To require additional islands and larger islands will just expand the asphalt in the City, and he doesn’t want that to happen. On page 16, there are provisions requiring a developer to guarantee street trees for 2 growing season, but there are no provisions for death from natural causes or insects. From the last winter that was had, anyone with landscaping can know the weather took a toll, and this should not be the developer’s responsibility. 150% of the guarantee is too high. The developer is not allowed to use replacement trees for street trees or landscaping trees, and this still bothers him. If the tree comes out, the constructor will put the tree in the exact same spot but cannot be given credit for the tree, which makes no sense. This ordinance needs a lot of work, and is not in any position that it should be approved at this Council meeting.
Member Lorenzo said she would take it as a compliment that she helped to write a novel with her colleagues. She agrees with Mr. Wizinsky that the area, in terms of residential adjacent to non-residential berm requirement chart, is lacking. With commercial next to non-commercial, Mr. Wizinsky’s photographs highlight this. She would rather live next to an industrial site where she could get a 10-15 foot berm with a 6 foot crest and 80% opacity during the winter and 90% during the summer, than a commercial site with a 6-8 foot berm. Large box stores are not the same "animal" as a little convenience store at the corner. She believes that the City should be beefing this up to 10-15 feet, like the City does with industrial districts. On page 16, she is concerned that some of the most important language that the committee discussed and agreed to and recommended to Council has been eliminated. This is with regard to the financial guarantees. Two things that the Committee agreed upon were that one would not receive a final certificate of occupancy until trees had been approved, and there would be no reduction in estimated cost of financial guarantees. From the last reading to this reading, that section has been eliminated, and she does not appreciate or agree with this. This should not have been removed, as it was one of the most important sections of this ordinance. The City has had to hire a new person for Ms. Smith-Roy’s department because of SAD’s and financial guarantees. The City has backlogs of financial guarantees, there are trees that have not been planted, there is money that has not been spent on trees, and she is looking to get out of the business of financial guarantees. She is looking to reduce the workload of Ms. Smith-Roy’s department and the burden of funding that taxpayers have to pay for street trees that the development community is responsible for. She would like to see this section reinstated to what was there originally, and also there is a paragraph discussing "street trees for any lot and unit shall be installed no later than 60 days following the issuance of a final certificate of occupancy", and she believes this should read "temporary certificate of occupancy." She does not want to prevent anyone from moving into their homes, but instead wants to place a good incentive for the developer of the project to plant street trees and meet his or her obligations. The three revisions that she would have would be in terms of the berm requirement charts, to increase the berms for commercial projects from 6-8 feet up to 10-15 feet; to reinstitute the language on page 16 that was stricken with regard to the no final certificate of occupancy and the no reduction in financial guarantees; and to change the wording of "final certificate of occupancy" to "temporary certificate of occupancy." Member Sanghvi said he had no problem with her amendment, with the provision of requiring berm heights in conjunction with the terrain. Member Lorenzo said she would be agreeable to language indicating a dependence on topography for berm heights.
Member Landry said he had a question when the revised ordinance first was discussed that no one could answer. His question was, "Given that we are now changing the reference point on the berms from where they shall be measured from, can anyone tell me how high that berm would have to be under this ordinance next to the Target store, adjacent to the Wizinsky-Boynton residence?" Mr. Evancoe said he does not know exactly what the finished floor elevation of Mr. Wizinsky’s first floor, but it is obviously higher than it is at the property line. The way that that berm was measured was at the property line. If his finished floor elevation was 5 feet higher, then the berm would be that much higher as well under the way that this ordinance was re-written. Member Landry thanked Mr. Evancoe for this, and asked Mr. Wizinsky if he could answer his question. Mr. Wizinsky said that according to the old ordinance, if it would remain six feet, it would be an additional six feet. Member Landry asked Mr. Wizinsky how high he understood the 18-wheelers at Target to be. Mr. Wizinsky said that they are 13 feet tall. Member Landry asked Mr. Wizinsky if under this ordinance, his berm would be required to be a 12 foot berm. Mr. Wizinsky responded that the berm would have to be 12-14 feet tall, but his understanding from legal counsel is that the 6-8 foot requirement is meaningless because only the minimum amount must be met. Member Landry said his thought is that he would also like to see some increase in the berm height for residential adjacent to commercial. He asked a committee member for some rationale on the 6-8 foot requirement. He would like to support this, but would like to see heightened berms for residential adjacent to commercial, and does not understand the current status of what is being proposed.
Mayor Clark said he understood that the motion was to approve the ordinance, and then there was an amendment proposed. This is what Member Landry said he did not understand. Mayor Clark said "topography" was the phraseology. Member Landry asked if the current status of the motion is, instead of the 6-8 foot requirement, it would be changed to 10-15 feet. Member Sanghvi said this was correct. Member Landry said that if this was the status then he could support the motion.
Member Lorenzo said not only the topography of the land but the intensity of its use should also affect the berm requirements. In other words, if the property was a corner grocery store it might not have the same impact as a big-box Target that uses huge semis. Adjacent property use and topography should both be examined before coming to a conclusion. She would still support 10-15 feet, but not only topography should be looked at.
Member Landry asked if what was being proposed was that the berm height for residential adjacent to commercial remain 6-8 feet, except in those situations where topography calls for a 10-15 foot berm, which Member Sanghvi said is what he understood. Member Landry asked who would determine whether topography called for the higher standard, and under what criteria would an administrator make that decision. He understands both Member Lorenzo’s and Member Sanghvi’s concerns, but he does not see any criteria for the Planning Commission to know whether to instruct a developer to construct 10-15 feet tall berms, instead of 6-8 feet berms. Member Landry asked Mr. Evancoe for his thoughts on this subject. Mr. Evancoe said that a number of mentioned concerns are actually addressed in this draft of the ordinance. There are several options for measuring the height of a berm. If the City requires that a commercial berm must be 6-8 feet, the ordinance also recognizes that the way one measures this berm also takes into consideration the topography, as well as the elevation of the residential that is adjacent. In the Wizinsky situation there would be a 12 foot berm, as opposed to the 6 foot berm that was installed. This is because the ordinance would account for this unique circumstance. Member Landry said he appreciated this and applauded the flexibility of the ordinance. However, he said that a 12 foot berm does not do the job with a 13 foot semi. Mr. Evancoe said that the berm is only one component of the screening that is being offered to the residential property. There is landscaping that is placed on top of the berm that is also part of the screening mechanism. In his opinion, a situation like the one in Mr. Wizinsky’s photograph cannot be judged to say it does not work. It must be considered on a longer-term basis as well. When considering other projects, elevations are considered, as well as maturity of landscaping. He also added his concern adding a 10-15 foot berm next to commercial sites is that many commercial sites small. To do a 10 or 15 foot berm would require up to 100 feet of horizontal distance that could take up the width of an entire property in some instances. The way the ordinance was crafted, the commercial requirement was left at 6-8 feet, but shopping centers and service stations were increased to 8-10 feet. There reason for this is primarily shopping centers. Member Landry asked if shopping center was defined in the ordinance. Mr. Evancoe said he could not say whether it was or was not defined within the zoning ordinance. Member Landry again said that he likes the rationale, but does not believe the administrators of the ordinance are being given sufficient criteria to determine what a shopping center is. He asked Mr. Evancoe if he believed that the berm next to Mr. Wizinsky’s property would work. Mr. Evancoe said that over time, he believes it will, but this is difficult to say. Based upon drawings presented by the landscape architect at the time, it was determined that the berm would meet the City’s opacity requirement. Member Landry said that with respect to the ordinance, he is only concerned with the berming issue. He doesn’t believe the ordinance provides sufficient basis for administrators to deliver on. He likes what he’s heard from Member Lorenzo about the consideration of land use intensity, and he likes what he’s heard from Dr. Sanghvi about consideration of the land topography. He would like someone else to take a look at the ordinance, rather than spending the time to debate it at the present time. He said he cannot support the 2nd reading at this point.
Member Sanghvi said that when talking about Mr. Wizinsky’s property, the biggest problem was that he did not have a single baseline to go by. In the past there have been problems with administrators not knowing where to measure berm heights from, which caused the biggest problem. This ordinance sets up criteria that determine how to measure berms, so this issue is more or less taken care of with the new document.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that the way she sees it, there are two distinctly different things going on. Council is trying to relegate the terms of the consent judgment over which generally Council has little control, from the standpoint of relegating what the terms of that consent judgment were, and how that culminated into the building of the Target store. The way she sees it, the only way Mr. Wizinsky will not see the semi trucks is if the berm is at least 20 feet high from his finished floor elevation, but nothing that would fit within a 10-15 foot berm. Her second point was that if Council wants to look at all of the factors that will affect adjacent property uses from the standpoint of single family zones, or even multi family zones, with I-1 and I-2, then language similar to this could be looked at. Particularly if considered from the Planning Commission level where this is viewed for the first time, Council could say something like "the Planning Commission when specifying the berm requirement for single family zones related to industrial zones, shall take into consideration all of the following: Number One: Finished floor elevation of both existing and proposed construction. Number Two: Elevation of existing and proposed main uses. Number Three: Visibility of all improvements on the adjacent site. Number Four: The height of the berm is to a maximum of 15 feet." If fifteen feet is used as the maximum, this would be a design challenge for an abutting property owner to meet, but a judge would not necessarily care. That is where we are with regard to this particular example, and it is an anomaly, not a great example of how to write the language for the ordinance. That is not to say that Council is not concerned with this case, but she does not believe that a 15 foot berm will totally help Mr. Wizinsky’s situation. This ordinance cannot necessarily address that, but it can address all adjacency issues with regard to single family adjoining I-1, I-2, and/or commercial. Secondarily, she does not understand why one would want to arbitrarily say that every berm that adjoins residential with commercial, retail, industrial, would necessarily be 15 feet high. What if you have a single family residence, and next door a low slung, halfway into the ground, Frank Lloyd Wright professional building is being proposed that is nowhere near visible from the abutting property. Would you then require someone to build a 15 foot tall berm? If one takes into consideration all these criteria that allow the Planning Commission or this body to take into consideration all of those things, have somebody like Mr. Evancoe or the engineers decide what will be seen, and applicants come in with information about finished floor elevations. It will take a bit of creativity, but it can work. She has seen it done before.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked who changed the language regarding cost guarantees. Mr. Evancoe said that he did, in consultation with others. It was his understanding of the request from Member Lorenzo at the 1st reading. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she did not believe this was the case. Her concern about this is that with regard to ordinance language in her experience, when Council has major authorship changes that are made absent from a formalized report, they are brought forward and explained. The concern that she has about this is that this ordinance language is now a radical difference from the ordinance language that was presented at the public hearing. To say that either the ordinance review committee, or any discussion at this table, culminated in this language, she doesn’t believe is the case.
Member Csordas said he just supported the motion in order to get dialogue going over the ordinance, but said he would not vote to support the motion, which he said is overburdening. At the next meeting he would like to see a copy of Wixom’s ordinance, and a sample of Northville’s ordinance, and an example of West Bloomfield’s. He would like to see these not to model Novi after those communities, but to see if they achieve the same intent in 10 pages or less. Also, he believes that 15 foot tall berms with trees on top make no sense. Council is spending a lot of time talking about a consent judgment for one specific issue in the City. Mr. Evancoe and consultants stated that he believes that in time, Mr. Wizinsky’s berm will be sufficient the way it is. Another problem that he has is that he agrees with Member Capello, but in a different sense, about parking lot requirements. When driving by West Oaks during the busiest time of the year, he cannot remember ever seeing the parking lot completely full. He said there is simply too much asphalt in the City, even at places like Fountain Walk. He said he cannot support the motion as written.
Mayor Clark said that there had been a lot of good comments, and it makes sense to him to have Mr. Fisher look at this issue in light of all the comments made this evening. He does not want to see the community turn into the appearance of "a bunch of little fortresses with fifteen foot berms around them." Member Landry raised the question of who will pay for and administer this ordinance. Council does not need to create any additional work for the City’s legal counsel. He strongly recommends to Council that it defer acting on this issue this evening until after Mr. Fisher has been able to reexamine the issue and report back to Council.
Member Sanghvi said that in light of the conversation had about the issue, he withdraws his motion and suggests that Council refer the issue back for cleaning of the language.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Fisher how much time he would need to examine the new ordinance before being able to respond back to Council about the subject. Mr. Fisher said he would need until the first meeting in July.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she wanted to make sure she understood what was being done. She recalled that on two different occasions she had requested that the ordinance be examined by legal counsel to "get it into some vague codification shape." When this is done, it will satisfy some of the concerns about the repetitions and the ways that the ordinance could be streamlined. She wished to suggest that the language changes, made absent consultant review or Council’s direction, with regard to cost guarantees, be removed to the original form of the ordinance. Any other concerns with regard to berms also be added.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-169 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi
10. Approval of Ordinance 03-45.27 to amend Appendix C, Subdivision Ordinance, of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances for the purpose of conforming the ordinance to amendments made to the landscaping provisions of the City’s Zoning Ordinance relating to trees and plantings within subdivisions. 2nd Reading
CM-03-06-170 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone the consideration of this ordinance in conjunction with the postponement of Ordinance No. 03-18.172.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-170 Yeas: Csordas, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello
11. Approval of Ordinance Number 03-28.48, to amend Subsections 34-429, 34-419 and 34-435 of the Novi Code of Ordinances, to revise the requirements for Sanitary Sewer Connection Charges (Amendments to Special Assessment Districts 83, 94 and 97). 1st Reading
CM-03-06-171 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Ordinance Number 03-28.48, to amend Subsections 34-429, 34-419 and 34-435 of the Novi Code of Ordinances, to revise the requirements for Sanitary Sewer Connection Charges (Amendments to Special Assessment Districts 83, 94 and 97). 1st Reading.
Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher if Council is allowed to amend the amount that people have to pay after already approving a Special Assessment District. Mr. Fisher answered that these are charges that will be imposed to property owners that have not been included in an SAD. Mayor Clark asked Mr. Fisher if what he was saying is that if another development comes along that was not included in the original SAD but will benefit from that SAD, they will not get a "free ride." Mr. Fisher said this was correct, and that this ordinance is not imposing any new charges, but is merely creating an extension of the time/price differential that has already been occurring. There was no anticipation that these charges would be continuing this long, so the time period was not extended out as far as the City needs to go at this point. Member Capello asked if this acts as some form of lien on the property when the owner taps in, which Mr. Fisher said was correct. Member Capello asked what kind of notice would be given to the property owner. Mr. Fisher said this is an ordinance, and everyone is expecting to have to pay some form of charge to benefit from the SAD. Member Capello said he was concerned because if someone wanted to buy a piece of property, it would be cumbersome for them to have to find out if their property would be affected by this revision. He asked if there was any other sort of notice that the City is required to give. Mr. Fisher said that he did not believe there is any other requirement that the City has to give another notice. Ms. Smith-Roy said Mr. Fisher was absolutely correct that there is no legal requirement that the City provide another notice to property owners; however, administration has suggested two methods to help resolve this. One is that through the GIS system, the City will map out the different ordinance areas on a map, so that someone could look up what ordinances or provisions they are subject to simply by looking at a map. The other way is that the City is working with Oakland County to put a notation on the property record that would indicate the parcel is subject to certain ordinances.
Member Sanghvi asked how property owners of the various parcels are identified, and how old the SAD’s were. Ms. Smith-Roy said that the SAD’s had been around for years, and that these had been around since 1987. There was no indication that the SAD’s would continue on after 10 years. What is being amended is the continuation of the fees that were already established at that time. Properties are determined in the ordinance itself. Mr. Helwig said that maps could be provided for the 2nd reading if it would be helpful.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-171 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas
12. Approval of Ordinance Number 03-37.30 to amend Subsections 34-99(a) and
34-111 of the Novi Code of Ordinances, to revise the requirements for Water Main Connection Charges (Amendments to Special Assessment Districts 93 and 98).1st Reading
CM-03-06-172 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Ordinance Number 03-37.30 to amend Subsections 34-99(a) and 34-111 of the Novi Code of Ordinances, to revise the requirements for Water Main Connection Charges (Amendments to Special Assessment Districts 93 and 98).1st Reading
Mr. Helwig said that administration would include maps for the second reading of this item as well.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-172 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry
13. Discussion of Zoning Ordinance Amendment No. 03-18.182, an ordinance to amend the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, as previously amended, for the purpose of providing a procedure and standards for allowing a property owner to propose, and allowing the City to approve a site specific development, including conditions with a proposed rezoning. (Continuation of March 29, 2003 Policy Discussion)
Mr. Fisher said this is intended to provide a process and a predictable set of policies and criteria for the circumstances under which a property owner could propose to do a site-specific development. At this point in time, for each zoning district, the City has a laundry list of various uses that a developer can utilize, and any number of any different site development plans. In many instances, a developer would like to come in with a site plan. Historically this has happened in many communities, and development results that nobody anticipated. This ordinance is intended to allow a property owner to come before Council and say it wanted to do a very specific development if Council would rezone certain land, and provides a whole scenario for how this would happen, including the use of a site plan, including the use of conditions that would be imposed as part of the development, and including the use of a very specific binding agreement that would be recorded. It also would contain standards to ensure that this type of vehicle could not be utilized unless the bottom line result would be in the benefit of the public interests of this community. This is a lengthy procedure, several pages long, but the reason is that in order to allow something quite as discretionary as this, it is important to include numerous standards of what would happen to lay out the procedure, to clarify that it is being done under authorization in the Zoning Enabling Act. If someone questions whether the City has the authority to do this, he wants to make it clear that the City does have the authority, and in some respects is simple, in some respects is complicated. This allows Council to require a property owner to do what it says it will do. In the event that it turns out that a property owner had every good intention of doing a development and it doesn’t work out, then the property owner may petition for rezoning, or the City may rezone the property to a reasonable classification, and no development occurs in the meantime.
Member Sanghvi asked if this is allowing Council to maintain its jurisdiction over a particular area. Mr. Fisher said this was correct, and allows the Planning Commission and Council to get involved a bit more on a site specific planning process.
Member Landry asked Mr. Fisher if respect to the fee aspect in paragraph H, if at the beginning of the process a developer steps forward and indicates that they want to avail themselves of that process, they begin to deposit money into an escrow account that would pay for Mr. Fisher’s fee, which Mr. Fisher said was correct. If the developer decides to proceed further, they would put more money into this escrow account. Member Landry said that if the developer decided to abandon the pursuit at any point, they would just "put the brakes on", stop pursuing the development agreement, and if there is any extra money left over it is returned to the developer, which Mr. Fisher said was correct. Member Landry asked Mr. Fisher if a developer wished to avail themselves of their options, "it would be on their dime." Mr. Fisher said this was correct.
Mr. Fisher said that because this would be a zoning ordinance, if Council wished to proceed further it would be appropriate to refer it to the Planning Commission, which would have to go through the whole zoning amendment process.
CM-03-06-173 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To refer the matter of Zoning Ordinance Amendment No. 03-18.182 to the Planning Commission for a public hearing.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that this goes to show that if you’re willing to wait long enough, almost anything can happen. When she was on the Planning Commission, she introduced such a proposal, and two members nearly had a cardiac arrest simply because the City does not have a vehicle to offer applicants who want to do something different. The thing that is missing from this document is that if it is going to make a difference for the City to look at projects that have a high degree of discretion, especially if they wind up at the Council table, there has to be a high level of quality about them. In order to provide this vehicle for an applicant to be able to use for something, you need quality-oriented landmark potential, then there has to be give and take back and forth that this vehicle will be used for somebody who’s interested in doing something truly great for the City, which is absent from this document. She also suggested that if it can legally be considered, whether or not Council needs to tie such a vehicle to a zone change. What if an applicant would want to do something in a given zone, and would want to look at wholesale changes with regard to that permitted land use, but would not want to change the given zoning. This could also apply, and at the point where the City had developments like Fountain Walk, it probably would not have ended up with developments like it ended up with. She said this is going in the right direction, but from the standpoint of not having a quality issue built into this she has a large problem. She would also like the matter referred to Ordinance Review.
Mr. Fisher asked the Mayor Pro Tem if she had page six of the document. The Mayor Pro Tem said she was missing page 10 of the materials. Mr. Fisher said that on page 6, paragraph 2b, he has language built in that does have a quality standard included. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she saw this language, but said it would not go far enough to address her concerns regarding how those points would be quantified. From the standpoint of the language of the ordinance, it should spell out examples of this. Mr. Fisher said this is tailored specifically for a rezoning situation, and he fully agrees that having discretion in an existing zoning district would be appropriate. His recommendation would be to have a separate vehicle for doing this. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said this would be fine.
Member Lorenzo said she would like to see some things included, including a fiscal analysis and an impact analysis. She mentioned that rezoning properties can affect numerous factors, including police, fire, traffic, and neighboring areas. This way when the applicant comes to the City, there would be written documentation of how that will impact the City financially and service wise, so that administration can make an educated decision.
Member Capello said that listening to these comments, he wonders if many of the provisions in the most recent gateway ordinance would come into play. A lot of that was discussed in that ordinance and might fit very well. Mr. Fisher said he did not draft this proposed gateway ordinance, but did draft a planned unit development provision. It has gone through the metamorphosis of the Committee. Member Capello asked for a copy of that proposed gateway ordinance for Mr. Fisher, as he said it might fit together very well. He asked how this is different from contract zoning. He said that Mayor Pro Tem Bononi’s question reminded him of something from his experience on the Planning Commission. Mr. Fisher said this is in effect contract zoning, but is lawful contract zoning because it is authorized under the Zoning Enabling Act, under a planned unit development.
Member Landry said that while he certainly encourages high quality developments in the City, he would be concerned with putting a uniqueness requirement in the ordinance. As he understands it, parcels are difficult to develop in the City. They are difficult to develop because of wetlands, woodlands and such. The kind of developer that will come to the City will make the argument that as zoned, the property is not build able and has no economic value, and therefore this is a takings as currently regulated. He would like to have a vehicle to work with a developer and avoid litigation, and try to come up with a quality project. However, to his mind the City does not have to develop anything very unique, as long as it works. He personally does not believe the City needs a super unique requirement in the ordinance.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-173 Yeas: Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)\
B, C. Member Lorenzo said that she pulled these issues to see where they went. Before Council takes the next plunge and approves resolution number 3 and starts paying engineers to produce blueprints and profiles and such, it would be prudent to have administration send out cards with updated information, in order to determine support for the issue. Her motion is to postpone items B and C until a poll is taken on support for SAD’s 168 and 169. Mr. Helwig asked Member Lorenzo if her plan is to deal with the two-way street issue in the next two weeks, which she said was correct. She said she would like to have the results of the poll at the same time. She said she understood the two-way street matter to be in, as long as there is no objection from Mr. Arroyo. Obviously if Council receives information from Mr. Arroyo that the two-way street matter could be a liability for the City, then Council may rethink this. Mr. Helwig advised holding up on the polling then until consulting with Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Fisher. He said that if there was a "red flag" on the issue after discussions, they would hold up the poll until Council can deal with the two-way street issue in two weeks. He asked Member Lorenzo if her preference would be to do an official poll through the City Clerk’s Office about whether or not to proceed further with the process. Member Lorenzo indicated that this was correct, as she would like the poll to be conducted before the City spends more considerable sums of money on the issue.
CM-03-06-174 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone Consent Agenda Items B and C until an official poll is conducted by the City Clerk’s Office, to determine support for Special Assessment Districts 168 and 169.
Member Csordas asked if this was done by the number of properties, or by the state equalized value. Mr. Helwig answered that the City has a consistent method that it has conducted polling by, which is Unit of Benefit.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-174 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
E. Approval of Revised Special Assessment District 163 – Pioneer Meadows Subdivision Water Main Extension Revised Resolution Number 5, directing the City Assessor to prepare the Special Assessment Roll and to file the roll with the City Clerk for Presentation to City Council.
CM-03-06-175 Moved by Capello, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Revised Special Assessment District 163 – Pioneer Meadows Subdivision Water Main Extension Revised Resolution Number 5, directing the City Assessor to prepare the Special Assessment Roll and to file the roll with the City Clerk for Presentation to City Council.
Member Capello said he wanted to clarify some cost issues regarding the project. He said it is his understanding that. That design has actually gone out for construction bids. He asked Ms. McClain if this was correct, which she said was true. Member Capello asked why in the proposal with Ayers, Lewis did the City still have about $40,000 for design and construction engineering in their bid if it’s already done. Ms. McClain asked for clarification regarding the question. Member Capello said two weeks ago when discussing the neighborhood repaving program, the Pioneer Meadows were in this. He asked questions about the Pioneer road already being designed, and why that was still in the proposal. This was JCK’s explanation for the company did not bid that amount of work. Given the fact that replacement of the road has actually gone out to bid with SAD 162 and 163, he asked why administration is leaving the $40,000 for design when the road is already done. Ms. McClain said the design is not totally complete, as she has not finished approving that design. She said it was sent out for bid, and the design bid was in the packet to be sent out for bid. This had not been fully reviewed by her office, and she has some changes to make. When the City did the bid for the neighborhood roads, the design of Pioneer Meadows was not as extensive as it ended up to be. The other engineers did not have a deduct number for Pioneer Meadows specifically. However, it will not be included, so there will not be hours expended against it. Member Capello said he understood, but that Ms. McClain should have said this two weeks ago. These plans were ready to go out to bid two weeks ago, and he said Ms. McClain led Council to believe that the City was going to pay $40,000 to Ayers, Lewis for work that was already done. He wants to make sure that the City is not paying that amount again. Ms. McClain said it is not $40,000 worth of work on Pioneer Meadows. It is about $2,000 worth of work, which would be deducted for Pioneer Meadows. Member Capello said the total street length of the project is 21,000, and Pioneer Meadows is about 4,000, or about 18% of the total. He said that 18% of $180,000 is well more than $2,000. Ms. McClain said the drainage was already covered under the SAD project. The change in elevations would have been covered under the SAD project. Member Capello said when he asked Ms. McClain two weeks ago how she made her estimate to make a determination that this was too much work for JCK, she told him that she did it on a straight lineal foot basis, which Ms. McClain agreed with. Member Capello said that if she came back on a straight lineal foot basis and pulled Pioneer Meadows out of the neighborhood road program, she should be deducting about 18%, not just $2,000. What he is trying to get at is that the people in Pioneer Meadows should be given a credit from work that Ayers, Lewis does not have to do. Member Capello apologized to Mr. Helwig for cutting him off, but said that the issue needed to be brought out tonight because there were real misunderstandings on the issue.
Mr. Helwig said that administration has said that the City will absorb the costs in this year’s neighborhood roads repaving program for anything associated with paving the roads in this SAD area. The SAD is not going to be charged a single dollar for any of that. If Council wants to be certain that the City is not paying two different engineering firms for similar work, this won’t happen. The City is charging Ayers, Lewis and the neighborhood repaving program for anything associated with paving the roads in Pioneer Meadows. This goes beyond whatever the SAD is doing. They are designing the road improvements that will be done in Pioneer Meadows under the neighborhood repaving contract that Council awarded 2 weeks ago. Member Capello asked who that contract went to, which Mr. Helwig said was Ayers, Lewis. Member Capello said that this was his point, that the road is done. Mr. Helwig asked who was saying this, because he had heard that the road was done also, from Mr. Kapelczak, but that is not the issue. Member Capello asked how the project could be sent out to bid when bids are due in three days and it is not done. Mr. Helwig said this is not what Ms. McClain was saying. Member Capello said that Ms. McClain was saying that she had a few minor changes to make. Mr. Helwig said that there are more than a few minor changes to make. Member Capello said he is trying to figure out what is included within this SAD, and what Pioneer Meadows has to pay. Mr. Helwig said Pioneer Meadows is not paying through the SAD for their repaving, and asked Member Capello to let administration administer this. Member Capello said he would not allow Mr. Helwig to administer this if the City was going to pay two engineering firms for the same work, which Mr. Helwig said the City was not doing. Member Capello said Mr. Helwig had just said the City was going to pay Ayers, Lewis for the repaving program. Mr. Helwig said the City would absolutely pay Ayers, Lewis, because the firm is the City’s consultant for the repaving program, and that is the company that Ms. McClain will ultimately rely upon. Member Capello asked why the City would pay the company if the road is already designed. Mr. Helwig said that Ms. McClain was trying to explain that the road is not designed to her satisfaction of completion yet. Member Capello said Ms. McClain said she had only a few minor changes to make. Mr. Helwig said the road is not designed to her satisfaction of completion. Member Capello said that a few minor changes that Ms. McClain needs to do should not result in Ayers, Lewis having to redesign the road for $40,000. Mayor Clark commented that Member Capello was becoming argumentative. Member Capello said he was not getting answers from the City Manager. Mr. Helwig asked how Member Capello determined a $40,000 cost for the project. Member Capello said this was a percentage that he calculated. Mr. Helwig said that no firm bid $40,000 for the Pioneer Meadows design. Member Capello stated that two weeks ago, the City’s engineer told him that the way she estimated this out was on a lineal foot basis. He just took the percentage of lineal feet for Pioneer Meadows and multiplied it by the cost. Mr. Helwig asked Ms. McClain if this was correct, because he had not heard her say that $40,000 was attributed to the cost of this road. Ms. McClain said that she did not. Mr. Helwig said they paid for a 21,000 linear foot neighborhood repaving program, period. How they cover that can be distributed in all kinds of ways. They did not say $40,000 for Pioneer Meadows. Member Capello restated that to compute the costs, he simply took the linear foot percentage of Pioneer Meadows and multiplied it by the total cost to get his $40,000 figure. He does not see why the City is paying Ayers, Lewis to duplicate work that the City has already paid for. He said that Mr. Helwig is saying that the City will pay Ayers, Lewis to redesign a road that has already gone out to bid. Mr. Helwig said that he is saying that Ms. McClain has Ayers, Lewis available to her to design all of this year’s neighborhood repaving programs, period. Council has authorized this contract, and that is who is available to her. Until Ms. McClain says it is done, it is not done to his (Mr. Helwig’s) satisfaction. Member Capello said he would be watching this to see if that $40,000 is spent twice. Mr. Helwig said the City cannot pass audits if $40,000 is spent twice, and the City does an excellent job of passing audits.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-175 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
I. Acceptance of Park Place Subdivision Sanitary Sewer Pump Station.
Member Capello said he needed to recuse himself from participating on this item, as he was a member of both the Planning Commission and is now on City Council, and works on this project.
CM-03-06-176 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To allow Member Capello to recuse himself from participating on Item I of the Consent Agenda.
Vote on CM-03-06-176 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she had a few questions regarding the issue for Mr. Helwig or Mr. Fisher. She asked if this Council was bound by a payback agreement by the 1995 Council. Mr. Fisher answered that if an overall arrangement was entered into whereby a developer relied upon it, then the answer would be yes. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that in answer to this, those minutes that reflect what was decided upon by that Council need to be reexamined by this Council. She said she would ask some questions, then make a motion to bring this item back for the next Council meeting so that Council can examine what the 1995 Council did regarding this item.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she did not believe anyone on the present Council sat on the 1995 Council. Since Council is working on such as policy by way of an ordinance at the moment, there was no policy with regards to paybacks in effect at that time, and there was no ordinance in effect at that time as well. She asked Mr. Fisher why Council is accepting a sanitary sewer lift station, and not the entire sanitary system, which is the City’s custom. Her next question was why the City is accepting 2.7 acres of property along with it instead of the original proposal. The reason she asked is that if a maintenance requirement exists on the site, Council should know immediately. Her last question pertained to a letter dated January 3, 2003, and is under the letterhead of Park Place Estates, Inc., and is written by Ms. Elizabeth Kudla. At the bottom of the letter, Mr. Capello’s name is copied. She asked why only his name was copied at the bottom of the letter, and not the names of any other members of Council. Mayor Clark noted that Member Capello recused himself because he had a connection with the project at that time. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she understood this, but asked if there are members of Council who are actively representing applicants in the City. Mayor Clark said that Member Capello did not sit on Council in 1995. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked what the status of the issue is at this point, because the letter was dated January 23, 2003. Mr. Fisher answered that he did not know why the company would only copy Member Capello’s signature. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she has concerns about this, as Council should know about issues of representation within the community.
CM-03-06-177 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To delay discussion of Item I to the next regularly scheduled City Council meeting, so that Council can obtain and review the 1995 Council minutes regarding action on the issue.
Member Lorenzo said she agreed that the issue is premature. In addition to what the Mayor Pro Tem requested, she requested the City consulting engineer review reports that Ms. Kudla referred to on page 1 of her May 8, 2003 letter. She also requested the maintenance bond information. She requested information from the City Attorney if Council has an obligation to accept the pump station. She also wanted to know if there would be any costs associated to the City. In other words, would the maintenance bond cover all costs, in perpetuity, for the maintenance of this pump station and storm sewer improvements, or would there be any additional costs that the taxpayers would be expected to pay.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-177 Yeas: Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
K. Approval to accept the water main and sanitary sewer constructed to service the Novi Medical Dental Building located at 42430 Twelve Mile Road as public utilities and acceptance of all documents conveying such to the City of Novi along with all permanent easements mandatory for City acceptance.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if with regard to accepting these lines, that the City is accepting maintenance responsibility for lateral service. Ms. McClain said the City is accepting responsibility up to a gate valve. Primarily what the City is accepting responsibility of is a particular line. The Mayor Pro Tem said this was ok, and asked if the City will build any sewers that would cause a maintenance responsibility that would traditionally belong to property owners, and Ms. McClain said the City would not. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said this was her only concern.
CM-03-06-178 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to accept the water main and sanitary sewer constructed to service the Novi Medical Dental Building located at 42430 Twelve Mile Road as public utilities and acceptance of all documents conveying such to the City of Novi along with all permanent easements mandatory for City acceptance.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-178 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Westmont Village Pavement and Drainage Issues – Mayor Pro Tem Bononi
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that in view of the fact that Council and Mr. Fisher described a presentation that he will be making shortly, she asked Mr. Fisher if he provided a date that he will be doing this. Mr. Fisher said he is hoping to do this by the next meeting, and he is also hoping to get something out in the mid-week package before the next meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if with regard to this, if Mr. Fisher had any kind of time frame that he was looking at in order for his project to get underway. Mr. Fisher responded that this will be part of the proposal that he anticipates receiving.
2. Surplus City Properties – Mayor Pro Tem Bononi
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said her concern about this is literally how we value the properties that we own. Many years ago, she thought she saw a map that showed City-owned properties in addition to institutionally owned properties such as Fire, Police departments, and City Hall, but also properties that the City owned, in order that we understand their proper valuation. Either from the standpoint of requests made by others, as in the case of two weeks ago, with regard to right-of-way easement requests, but also from the standpoint of Government Accounting Service Board (GASB) 34 reporting. She brought along the article she was referring to in determining how the City will determine the value of its assets, which is why she asked what method the City has chosen, or if it has chosen a method. Ms. Smith-Roy said administration is recommending the depreciation method at this time. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she is still looking for a listing, nothing that is time consuming, so that when a request is made for the usage of City assets, administration knows what they are, where they are, and how much they are worth, and this would be updated at least on a yearly basis.
3. Ice Rink Issues – Member Capello
Member Capello said he asked administration to get back with him on two issues regarding the ice rink. One is the after school care program, and the other is to somehow give Novi citizens credit or reimbursement for the Novi Youth Hockey Association. He got a call last week from Ed’s Hockey, who has been running the Senior League. As part of that report, he would like to find out how Suburban will handle the Senior League, whether they will take over the league themselves, or whether they will rent the ice out to another entity that will take over the leagues.
4. Jake’s Fish House – Member Capello
Member Capello noted that Jake’s is now closed and had been provided with a liquor license, and asked Mr. Fisher if there was any way of retrieving that liquor license back. Mr. Fisher said he would look into the issue. Member Capello said he thought Mr. Fisher was working on some amendments to the language to protect the City from this happening again.
5. Ordinances OUIL Seconds – Member Capello
Member Capello said he had asked Police Chief Shaeffer if he could get back to Council in the next couple months regarding this item. It seems that how the City is handling OUIL and OWI seconds is that the City is forwarding these on to the County prosecutor for prosecution. The only difference between the two is that if they are handled in the district court, the penalty is a maximum 90-day misdemeanor, whereas at the County level they can go up to a year. He has never seen a judge put anyone in jail for more than 90 days on an OUI second. If the City keeps them in house, it can also keep the money in house. He would assume that the City’s local prosecutor has about 99% of these people plea out. He wants to see if it makes sense to keep those, or to keep them in-house as opposed to sending them to County. This is one of the highest fines paid on a criminal matter, so that would give the City the greatest return on all of those. He asked Mr. Fisher to look at it and provide his opinion within the next couple months.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business to come before the Council, the meeting was adjourned at 12:44 a.m.
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: Steve King