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REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark – absent/excused, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello – absent/excused, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
ALSO PRESENT: Rick Helwig – City Manager
Gerald Fisher – City Attorney
Clay Pearson – Assistant City Manager
Nancy McClain – City Engineer
Lance Shipman – Landscape Architect
Barb McBeth – City Planner
Benny McCusker – Director of Public Works
Dave Maurice – Environmental/GIS Director
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Landry suggested that in light of the ordinances that would be discussed during the evening, Item #4 should be moved to Item #1 on the agenda. He noted that some members of the audience were concerned with Item #4, and he asked that the item be moved up to keep them from waiting during discussion of the ordinances.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi wished to add Item #7 to Mayor and Council Issues discussion of correspondence that she had received from David Paul of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission through Randy Auler, Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director. This correspondence referred to a request to Council to meet with the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission to discuss the Commission’s master plan.
CM-03-07-225 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-225 Yeas: Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Absent: Clark, Capello
PRESENTATIONS - None
2. CITY MANAGER
Mr. Helwig said he had three items to discuss. He noted that Council had mentioned and passed a motion of appreciation for the Governor, Senator Cassis, and Representative DeRoche at the special meeting the previous week regarding the reinstatement into the State’s five year transportation plan of the Beck Road/I-96 interchange reconstruction project. Administration is delighted with this decision, following much hard work by the City’s representatives in Lansing. City Council was very vigilant throughout the process, inserting administration into every available hearing. Not only has the project been reinstated into the five year transportation plan, but it has also been reinstated into the first year, which begins October 1 of this year. Having spoken with Dave Wresinski, who is the Michigan Department of Transportation Project coordinator for the City and has been sheparding the project for many years, Mr. Wresinski is hopeful that the State can award the contract this calendar year and begin work soon thereafter. This has not yet been confirmed, and the State has to examine its schedules for letting contracts, but this is the hope and is very good news for the Novi community.
The second item concerned the major upheaval caused by the Grand River Avenue upgrade from Beck Road to the bridge replacement over the CSX railroad tracks. The previous Wednesday the intersection of Grand River Avenue and Taft Road reopened, as it had been closed earlier for the need to reconfigure the elevation of that intersection. This will result in much safer sight lines and movements in and out of the intersection. The southern portion of the project - the repaving - is almost done. Soon traffic will be shifted to these lanes and the lanes on the north side of Grand River Avenue will be worked on, opening before the winter. Mr. Helwig thanked everyone for their patience with the project.
Mr. Helwig noted that administration had transmitted to Council the past Thursday, from Planning Director Dave Evancoe, the Planning Commission’s suggestions for agenda items for the joint meeting with the City Council on August 6th. He asked Council how it would prefer to proceed to communicate with the Planning Commission about the agenda, since this was the last regularly scheduled Council meeting before the scheduled joint meeting. He said he had not received any suggested agenda items from Council members by July 1, which was what the Planning Commission had called a number of items down to. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi suggested that Council amend the agenda to include this matter on Mayor and Council Issues.
CM-03-07-226 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UANANIMOUSLY: To include discussion of suggested agenda items for the joint meeting of City Council and the Planning Commission, scheduled for August 6th, as Mayor and Council Issues Item #8.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-226 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
Absent: Clark, Capello
Mr. Fisher noted that administration had held discussions with Maybury RUD personnel and to a lesser degree with the Tuscany RUD people. Discussions had been held at Council regarding the prospect of financing a sewer extension for those projects by way of a contract SAD. The discussions on that subject have been moving forward, and there would be another meeting later in the week on the issue. He is hopeful that there will be an amended RUD for Maybury, and possibly Tuscany as well, and possibly an SAD contract in the upcoming Thursday Council packets with the idea of having the item on the agenda for the August 11 Council meeting.
Karl Wizinsky, 26850 Wixom Road, distributed a letter which he and his wife prepared for Council related to the approval of ordinance 18.172, section 2509, Landscape Standards: Obscuring Earth Berms and Walls, etc. His family has the daily experience of living next to both heavy industrial and commercial neighbors. Over the last 17 years, two significantly different companies, Corvo Iron Works and Profile Steel, have occupied the heavy industrial site adjoining his property. Along that property line, a ten foot berm with a six foot crown is in place per City ordinances. For the last 9 months, his family has experienced Target’s truck drive and loading dock at his northern property line, with a 6 foot berm and wall combination screening 600 feet of his 770 feet of shared property.
Mr. Wizinsky said he was speaking as a Novi citizen who has an industrial neighbor and a commercial neighbor on his shared border. His comments are neither philosophical nor theoretical, but are real life, Novi experiences. Regarding commercial and industrial berm heights, his family’s experience has shown that there is a tremendous difference in screening effect on semi trucks when a 10 foot berm is in place instead of a 6 foot berm. A higher overall volume of truck traffic is required to service commercial/retail sites than industrial. Trucks are the most common source of noise and disturbance. The City has no ordinance to regulate truck noise other than the ordinance under review at the evening’s meeting. Semi trucks are 13 feet tall and have engines that are louder and more odorous than other engines.
Mr. Wizinsky continued saying that a simple way to address this is to set the same minimum berm height for commercial and industrial uses. The proposed ordinance permits the Planning Commission to modify the height when a specific situation warrants a lowered berm. This is an appropriate, situation based approach. Under this proposal, Consent Judgments would be obliged to use the more appropriate minimum screening for protecting residential from commercial without costly litigation.
The second item that Mr. Wizinsky presented was the importance of definitions within City Code. In his June 2, 2003 letter to City Council, he indicated that there was no definition for "shopping center" which is a new term on the Berm Requirement Chart. No definition has been added to the most recent proposal. He said he would present a clear example of the importance of having definition within Novi’s own ordinance. Lack of definition can require time consuming and costly research. Multiple departments may need to confer, and legal counsel may be required. He attached a copy of an email he received from the department head of the City’s Ordinance Office on June 9, 2003 to his handout. It was in response to a question he directed to the City on June 4, 2003. He had sought clarification on why a functional loading dock which accepts truck-based product deliveries seven days a week was permitted to operate fronting residential property. The response was researched by a City planner, who indicated that: Novi has no established definition for "loading dock"; a quick search indicated to the City that no communities actually define "loading door", but have defined "loading space"; the biggest trigger for a "loading space" is generally some type of striping on the pavement, but there is no striping on the pavement; and concluded that the door did not appear to meet the City’s definition of a "loading space." City staff therefore concluded that the double steel door facing his property, bearing the sign "Target Dock Hours" through which Target receives product deliveries daily, is nevertheless not a dock. The email indicates that the Novi Promenade, which is only 30% developed, is regulated under light industrial zoning, and not commercial as it is actually developed. He strongly disagrees with the City on both of these points, and sent an email to the City Manager on June 10, 2003, asking for a confirmation that the loading dock is not a loading dock and that the Novi Promenade is regulated under I-1 zoning. With no response after a week, he set up a meeting with the City Manager. The meeting took place on June 27, 2003 and included the Assistant City Manager. The matter was referred to Novi’s legal counsel, and he continues to await a response. A definition of the term "loading dock" in the ordinance would have prevented the illogical analysis he received in the email of June 9, 2003. There also should be a better process for City staff to interpret non-defined terms with checks and balances to assure common sense.
Jeff Sherman, 24473 Cavendish Ave. W., noted that he lives in the newer Churchill Crossing subdivision. He and his neighbors have a serious problem with trash in their neighborhood, which is under construction. He said that any other home site that is under construction at Island Lake, Meadowbrook, or Weston Estates has a dumpster. A City ordinance requires that a home construction site must either have a dumpster on-site or contain its trash. He had the second house in the subdivision, and his family has lived through a year of trash. He respects that he moved into a construction area and respects that there will be some loose trash in the area, but the trash is not adequately contained in the neighborhood. At the moment, only three houses are under construction, as Phase I is nearly complete. However, Phase II is already in process, and he fears the trash situation that might arise with this phase of the development. He had spoken with Ms. Cindy Uglow, the City’s Director of Neighborhood Services, and her staff had reported that the development was in acceptance. However, he believes that acceptance should mean compliance with ordinance 1684, which requires all builders to have a dumpster or containment site on board. He wrote a letter on June 25 to Adriano Pechico who is the owner of Multi-Build, one of the two builders of the subdivision, and has not received a response. Mr. Sherman said that residents could live with the construction and other related effects, but not with loose trash blowing all around their neighborhood. He asked Council to be aware that if residents were not satisfied soon with their trash situation to the letter of the code, they would be back with a full petition from the neighborhood. He also noted that the builder has not supplied portable toilets for construction workers, causing workers to urinate behind homes that are being constructed. He said he simply would like the City to be aware of the situation, as the City has not previously taken an initiative to his satisfaction.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Helwig to provide Council with a short briefing of the status of the issue at the next Council meeting, in order to ensure that the issues which Mr. Sherman spoke of were taken care of. Mr. Helwig said he would be glad to.
Patrick and Janice Van Dusen, 44720 Eleven Mile Rd., asked to inform Council of some problems that they have had with their sewer, and wished to thank some City personnel for helping them to resolve the problems. For the past 4 years, the couple has had 4 different sewer backups into their finished basement. As of last November on the third occurrence, it was determined that the break was not within the couple’s property line, but rather underneath the road. Before this could be acted upon, they had a fourth backup just in the past week. Mr. and Mrs. Van Dusen contacted Benny McCusker, and he took immediate action to help the couple resolve the issue. They wished to thank the City, especially Mr. McCusker, for helping them to put the issue behind them. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi also bid Mr. McCusker a job well done.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Lorenzo said she had a question about the warrant, Item G, specifically check #29548 for James Ervin.
Member Sanghvi asked to address errors in the meeting minutes, Item A.
CM-03-07-227 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda as amended
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-227 Yeas: Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Absent: Clark, Capello
B. Schedule Executive Session immediately following meeting of July 21, 2003, in the Council Annex, to discuss pending litigation involving property acquisition (Eldridge GAP Property), and other pending litigation (Dixon Road - Freedom of Information Act).
C. Approval of special legal counsel fees to Dykema Gossett in the amount of $2,292.50, relative to Sandstone remediation. (75 acres)
D. Approval of Traffic Control Order 03-07 for installation of No Parking signs along the entire east side of Venture Drive.
E. Approval to award two-year contract for credit card services to Fifth Third Bank,
the low bidder.
F. Approval of request from Music & Motor Fest for Fireworks Display Permit to be held at Main Street area on July 26, 2003, subject to Fire Marshal recommendations
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
4. Approval of a request from Art Van Furniture for preliminary site plan approval with a PD-2 (Planned Development) Option (SP 03-12) in order to re-establish the parking requirements under revised parking standards to allow the property to be split. The subject property is located in Section 15 in the West Oaks Shopping Plaza on west side of Novi Road south of Twelve Mile Road in the RC (Regional Center) District. The subject property is 9.96 acres.
Michael Rupert, Corporate Architect for Art Van Furniture, and Jim Meinershagen of ABC Warehouse, thanked Council for hearing their issue earlier than scheduled in the meeting. Mr. Rupert said that 3.3 acres were being split from the Art Van property so that ABC Warehouse could be their neighbor at the old Scott Shuptrine building.
Barb McBeth displayed a map which showed the location of the two buildings in question. The Art Van building is located closer to Novi Road, on the east side of the property. The proposed ABC Warehouse, the former Scott Shuptrine building, is located on the west side of the property. No construction is proposed at this time, but rather a recalculation of the property requirements was completed to allow this property to split.
Member Lorenzo said she had some question, particularly regarding the Planning Commission’s recommendation to the City Council. She did not see the lot split paperwork that the Planning Commission had requested be sent to the City, and thus had no concurrence that this had been done. The shared driveway access agreement should have been included in the submitted paperwork, but was not. The City’s new landscape architect was, according to the Planning Commission recommendation, supposed to review the landscape plan with regard to enhancement of landscaping, and she did not see evidence of this item, either. Member Lorenzo asked someone to inform Council regarding the deficiencies in the application in accordance with the Planning Commission’s recommendation. Mr. Helwig noted that Ms. McBeth was available for information, as well as Mr. Shipman, the City’s new landscape architect.
Ms. McBeth said she was assured by the City Assessor that the lot split application has been provided and the paperwork has been started, but because this is an administrative process and is not normally examined by City Council, the item was not included in Council’s packets. She remarked that the shared driveway agreement was presented to her just before the meeting as a form, and would not be executed until the property split actually takes place, probably at the closing. This shared driveway agreement is being held in the City’s files as a draft document, but has not been signed yet. Regarding the landscape plan, the applicant did supply a revised landscape plan that was included in the information provided to Council for the meeting. The landscape architect did write a revised review letter and had several comments for amending the plan, which was felt could be taken care of during the final site plan review. Member Lorenzo asked if the June 30, 2003 letter was the document that Ms. McBeth had referred to, which Ms. McBeth said was correct. Member Lorenzo thanked Ms. McBeth.
Member Lorenzo said it was her understanding from reading through the minutes of the Planning Commission meeting when this item was discussed, that the Commission was looking to Mr. Shipman for some direction on adding or enhancing some landscaping to the project. She said it was her understanding that this would be undertaken at this time, not necessarily when the "landbanked" parking might or might not be utilized. The companies had looked for some parking relief, and in conjunction with this the Planning Commission could ask for enhanced landscaping on that site. She commented that she did not see anything submitted by Mr. Shipman that would enhance the landscaping on the site.
Mr. Shipman said Mr. Mike McGinnis was unable to attend the Planning Commission meeting earlier mentioned, so the minutes expressed a significant amount of confusion about what the actual expectation was at the submittal time for the plan. He said he had later discussed with Mr. McGinnis what the intentions were to be, and they were explained to Mr. Shipman as providing the necessary landscaping requirement for the additional parking lot involved in the lot split. At this time with no construction taking place, there was no opportunity to enhance the existing landscape unless there was construction done on the property. Member Lorenzo said she did not get this from reading the minutes of the meeting. She said it was her understanding that the Commission was looking for enhancement to landscaping presently existing on the site. Even the City Attorney might have explained that it was appropriate for the Planning Commission to have the discretion to do this, since Art Van was looking for some kind of relief, and as part of an even trade the Planning Commission recommended such relief with increased landscaping at the landbank site. She asked if Council has the same discretion, when reviewing the application, of providing the relief but also requiring some enhancement to the landbanked area. Mr. Fisher answered that Council is essentially making the final decision, following up on the recommendation of the Planning Commission, and thus Council’s authority would be co-equal. Member Lorenzo said she was looking for Mr. Shipman’s advice on how to enhance the landscaping at this site. She said she would like to see some "give and take", with enhanced beautification of the area in trade for the parking relief being granted. Any approval on her part would be subject to some kind of enhancement of the site, in conjunction with what many Planning Commissioners were looking for at that time.
Member Lorenzo noted that the City Assessor could not approve the lot split without the site plan and related information approved. She asked Mr. Fisher if this was because in order for a lot split to be approved, the site must stand on its own, meet all ordinance requirements, and be totally buildable, which Mr. Fisher replied was correct. Member Lorenzo asked if this was why the companies needed to come to the various bodies, because they would not be able to meet those standards under the current lot configuration. Mr. Fisher noted the property was going from common ownership to separate ownership, and it must be ensured that all requirements are met as if it had been developed in that manner with separate ownership from the beginning. Member Lorenzo asked if the Assessor’s office typically approves lot splits, and if there are certain circumstances where Council approves lot splits. Mr. Fisher said his recollection was that the answer is yes, but he could not elaborate. He said that Council certainly approves splits of condominiums and subdivisions, and probably approves platted lot splits as opposed to acreage lot splits. Member Lorenzo asked what the Assessor looks at when reviewing an application for a lot split. Mr. Fisher said the Assessor would look at all of the things in the State statute. In 1997 or 1998, the State Legislature approved an authorization for lot splitting, or land division as it was called, that established a very short list of things that a property owner must demonstrate in order to have an un-platted lot split. Thus the Assessor would look at that list in the State statute, together with any ordinances that may be referenced in that statutory provision. If they are met, the Assessor has no discretion but to grant the split. He said that even these were fairly objective standards for the most part.
Member Lorenzo said the reason that she was asking was that Council did not have copies of the lot split application, and she felt she might be at a loss without this document. She said she also would have appreciated copies of the driveway access agreement in Council possession as well. Her other questions referred to other deficiencies in parking spots. She asked if the Art Van site would meet today’s parking standards. Ms. McBeth said that what the petitioner was asking for was a reconsideration of the parking calculations, partly based on the former zoning ordinance standards, and partly based on today’s standards. Member Lorenzo said she understood, and asked if the existing Art Van wanted the City to look at the old standards. Ms. McBeth said that the company wanted half of the building to comply with the old standards, and half to comply with today’s standards. Member Lorenzo asked if this meant that both the addition and the Scott Shuptrine/ABC Warehouse building would comply with today’s standards, which Ms. McBeth agreed with. Member Lorenzo said the standards were changed because of concerns that if there was redevelopment of the site, furniture uses could not be redeveloped as different uses without having deficient parking standards. She asked if the older portion of the site, the Art Van portion, would be deficient according to today’s standards. Ms. McBeth replied that the site would be deficient according to today’s standards, though she could not say by how many spaces. Member Lorenzo commented that she realized Art Van has been in business for a very long time, but questioned whether there would be enough parking for the site were it ever redeveloped for another use. She said she would not want to make a decision during the evening which would put either Art Van or the City at a disadvantage in the future. Ms. McBeth said she had calculated that the Art Van location would be about 180 spaces short if they had built under today’s standards, but the company had never used the landbanked parking for actual parking spaces because a furniture store apparently does not need as many parking spaces as other uses. She noted that Art Van would be retaining a "small tail" of land along the northwest side of the building for 62 additional parking spaces. Member Lorenzo noted that the store would still be deficient in parking. Ms. McBeth commented that Art Van was actually before Council at the meeting to request that Council reconsider the parking standards, partly based on the older, lower standards, and partly based on today’s higher standards. If Council were to approve the request, the store would be suitable for a furniture store or an appliance store for years to come. If the site wished to become another type of retail store it might be short by a few spaces, based upon today’s ratio. The ratios could change in the future depending on peoples’ needs to use various retail stores. At the Planning Commission level, alternative uses that could locate within the Art Van store were contemplated, should Art Van ever wish to leave the site and another furniture or appliance company did not wish to occupy it. They decided that a plant nursery would be an acceptable use, as would also a museum or public building. Member Lorenzo said that these were not uses being seen in any of the City’s shopping areas. She was concerned that while a museum or nursery may officially fit into the building, neither of these uses would be realistic, given what types of stores are locating in the area. Ms. McBeth said she felt Member Lorenzo was making very good points. The parking standards are in flux and are always being re-evaluated, and could change in the future. A portion of the Art Van building could be removed if needed and have additional parking installed. Member Lorenzo noted that she does not support creating "seas of parking", and would prefer to see just the opposite. However, she does want to ensure that there is enough parking for real-life uses, should something happen in the future.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Rupert how the City should address the parking deficiencies should "real world" retail uses want to locate at the site in the event that something would happen with Art Van. Mr. Rupert responded that the property is worth a great deal of money. He noted that Art Van just recently purchased a piece of property in Rochester Hills and is tearing down the existing building in order to build a newer Art Van store on the site. He assumed that anyone who would ever purchase the Art Van store would modify the building to create the required parking, as this would be part of a purchase agreement. A company would probably not come in to buy the building "as is", because it is a very unique structure and has the Art Van image and look. Member Lorenzo said that the Scott Shuptrine building was a similar case. Mr. Rupert said that though the Scott Shuptrine building has a unique look, it is not an "image" store. All Art Van stores in the area have a very similar appearance to the Novi store. If a company were to purchase the Art Van site, they always have the option to tear down or modify the building so that it meets parking requirements. There is already a large amount of parking on the site, with over 300 parking spots, plus an additional landbanked area of 60. Art Van is trying to bring in ABC Warehouse to the Scott Shuptrine site, which has been vacant for at least 6 months, so that the building has a tenant, which would be valuable to the City of Novi. Member Lorenzo said she thought Mr. Rupert’s point about modifying the building was valid, but this was not what the Planning Commission or City Council always hears. Not many companies wish to replace an existing structure with a smaller building. Member Lorenzo thanked Mr. Rupert.
Member Csordas said that Council was making a very complicated issue out of a very basic issue. Any kind of tenancy in the Scott Shuptrine is better than its current state of emptiness. Having a long-term, profitable company like ABC Warehouse occupying the building could be nothing but good. He was on the Planning Commission when Art Van came through, and he recalled issues with parking on the site. He said he spoke with some experience in saying that ABC Warehouse would never need additional spaces, and Council should not concern itself with anything that comes on in the future that it will have no control over. The spaces that surrround the current building which would be occupied by ABC Warehouse provide plenty of parking for the store. He has never seen Art Van’s parking lot entirely full. He suggested that the City of Novi’s parking requirements are very cumbersome and lead to the seas of asphalt in the City. Twelve Oaks has a very busy parking lot for 4 weeks out of the year. West Oaks probably has a busy parking lot for 3 weeks out of the year, and the lot is never full. He asked why Council is even considering requiring increased landscaping on the landbanked areas. He said it was good that the landbanked area was not a parking lot. The lot split does make sense, and leaving the area landbanked also makes good sense. He does not believe that the additional parking spaces will ever be needed for the property. Member Csordas said that simply keeping the landscaping clean and looking good should be suitable for everyone. He said that, in short, there was much ado about nothing. He said he supported approving the lot split and encouraging a good company to occupy the store.
Member Sanghvi said he did not believe that anyone would notice that the lot had been split. ABC Warehouse will occupy the store and do their business. There is already too much parking everywhere in Novi, and there is too much unneeded asphalt. He would prefer to see more green areas. Enhanced landscaping is a great idea, and would help customers to know where the lot line is to separate the two stores. He said he had no problem supporting the motion.
Member Landry said that the City has a vacant building, somebody wants to put a business in it, and Council is just trying to accommodate this to happen. He is also concerned with the "real world", but he would focus "real world" concerns on today, because the City has a vacant building right now that needs a business.
CM-03-07-228 Moved by Landry, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Art Van Furniture for preliminary site plan approval with a PD-2 (Planned Development) Option (SP 03-12) in order to re-establish the parking requirements under revised parking standards to allow the property to be split with the proviso that prior to site plan approval there be some enhanced landscaping in the parking land bank area, subject to the approval of the City’s landscape architect prior to final approval. Utilities and access easements, and shared parking, shall be subject to approval by the City Attorney. The subject property is located in Section 15 in the West Oaks Shopping Plaza on west side of Novi Road south of Twelve Mile Road in the RC (Regional Center) District. The subject property is 9.96 acres.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Fisher if the utilities referred to that are commonly shared at this particular point, or are located in areas that are subject to the split, be adequately planned to meet his legal approval. Mr. Fisher said he was satisfied that this could be worked out, and he assumed that this would be part of a shared access and usage agreement. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if Council’s approval should be subject to the submission of such a utilities easement for Mr. Fisher’s approval. Mr. Fisher responded that this would be appropriate, for utilities and access. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if any access easements or cross easements are required for mutual use of the site, which Mr. Fisher answered there were. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if Council’s approval should be subject to Mr. Fisher’s approval of those easements, which Mr. Fisher said it should. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if it was possible that Ms. McBeth, the Planning Department, and the applicant had discussed alternate parking or parking sharing as a means to satisfy any negative parking requirement for either side. Ms. McBeth said that some alternatives were discussed. It was asked if the applicant would be agreeable to parking sharing between the two stores. The Planning Commission had discussions about whether there would be an opportunity to share parking within the West Oaks Shopping Center, which was also looked at as an option. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked for the applicant’s opinion. Mr. Rupert said Art Van would gladly share parking. Mayor Pro Tem asked Mr. Fisher if he would entertain a formal agreement to share parking between the two parties, and asked if Council’s approval should be conditioned upon his approval of that agreement. Mr. Fisher answered yes to both. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked the applicant if it would be willing to work per Member Landry’s motion with the landscape architect to come forward with an enhanced landscaping plan. Mr. Rupert answered that Art Van would. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi told Mr. Helwig that she would appreciate a clearer definition of Council’s authority over lot splits from Mr. Fisher at the next Council meeting. She noted that there were 3 comments made at the Council table during the evening’s discussion about this Council’s approval of lot splits in the past, which were not necessarily plat revisions. Even a statement from Mr. Lemmon about the sufficiency of both lots meeting all City requirements would be very helpful. The Mayor Pro Tem’s last comment was that when she and Member Csordas both sat on the Planning Commission together, Art Van was asked to scale down the size of its addition to accommodate additional parking, and the company did so. Any future building or adaptive reuse proposal would be subject to the same sort of requirement. Also, it is very likely that a building proposal for usage may contain warehouse or storage space that would reduce the parking requirement.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-228 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
Absent: Clark, Capello
1. Approval of the Haggerty Detention Basin Inter-Agency Agreement (IAA) with the Rouge Program Office (RPO), to provide funds to complete the final design and construction of the project, and prepare the final report.
Mr. Helwig wished to confirm with Council that in the recently concluded fiscal year, Council had appropriated $235,000 for the City’s involvement with this project, and there had also been an allocation in the previous year. While there is no new appropriation in the current fiscal year that began July 1, all of the appropriations have been put in place in prior years.
Mr. Maurice showed a map to Council, demonstrating where the Haggerty Detention Basin is to be constructed. The major problem faced with storm water control is flow. When the City has a significant rain event, rivers fill up with very high volumes of water, and thus the flow increases and causes erosion and other problems downstream such as the sedimentation in Meadowbrook Lake. This basin would be part of the solution for addressing the problem of erosion and sedimentation, which is affecting areas downstream. At the location, there is a detention and mitigation area at the western portion of the site, a sediment basin near the lower portion, and a detention and mitigation area on the eastern portion. The regional sedimentation basin is the primary water quality device, and captures the first flush from approximately 47 acres of industrial property. The basin has been designed for 2.47 acre-feet of storage, to capture more than a 0.5 inch storm, or a 1.5 year storm event. The western basin was designed to provide additional storage volumes to take advantage of its natural topography. The basin will receive all flows from the 27 acres of existing development to the west, which currently discharges un-detained and untreated water. The east regional basin has been designed with a lower maximum water surface to take advantage of the existing topography of the site. This is a two-stage basin, in which water will empty into the second basin when it reaches a certain height in the first. This is a good project which is part of the City’s storm water master plan, and is an RPO project to provide $250,000 to complete the project. The City will submit its costs to the Rouge Program Office, and the RPO will send the funding to cover expenses of up to 50% of the total project cost.
CM-03-07-229 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Haggerty Detention Basin Inter-Agency Agreement (IAA) with the Rouge Program Office (RPO), to provide funds to complete the final design and construction of the project, and prepare the final report.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-229 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Csordas
Absent: Clark, Capello
2. 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.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Council whether it wished to entertain a process by which it addressed its comments for this item. She asked for an assessment of whether there were a number of comments, and if so, whether Council wanted to go through the document chronologically by section, with questions asked during each section as needed. She said another method could also be used if suggested by Council, one which would move the issue forward expeditiously.
Member Landry said that since this was the 2nd reading of the ordinance, and Council had reviewed the document previously, he knew there were only a small number of items that he had concerns with. As a matter of procedure, he recommended that each Council member simply take turns reviewing their concerns and ask any questions during their turn, rather than going through the document from beginning to end. Mayor Pro Tem said this would be fine, as her suggestion was made to accommodate anyone with numerous items of concern.
Member Csordas said he appreciated the attempt by City administration to honor his request on getting other sample ordinances from near the City. His concern remains the same with this ordinance, in that other landscaping ordinances are shorter in length than Novi’s. The City of Wixom’s landscape ordinance is 4 pages long, and West Bloomfield’s, which has historically been very strict, is only 8 pages long, but Novi’s is 57 pages long. He said he would still like to see the ordinances of Northville, Farmington Hills, and those of some other cities that he had also requested. Member Csordas said that though the City needs to protect it environment and appearance, the length of the ordinance makes it very hard to do business in Novi. He said he would not discuss many specific issues about the ordinance, because he could not support an ordinance of such length. Specifically in the ordinance, Member Csordas did not approve of the provision that berms could reach 15 feet high, and said these would seem like "a huge fortress." The Mayor had commented at a previous meeting that 15 feet tall berms were extreme. Member Csordas asked how wide the berm would need to be to accommodate a 15 foot height. Ms. McClain said the berm would need to be about 100 feet wide. Member Csordas commented that this would take up a lot of land and create a hardship. He said that regarding the comments, with all due respect to the people who have worked very hard on the ordinance and its revisions, he could not support an ordinance that was so detailed. He remarked that such a detailed ordinance would be very difficult to defend at the Planning Commission level.
Member Lorenzo said she strongly disagreed with the previous speaker, particularly with regard to the 10 to 15 foot berm. The areas which those berms would be used are adjacent to residential property. She asked what the alternative would be to not using the berms, and noted Mr. Wizinsky’s situation. While growth is important for the City, Council’s primary responsibility is to protect the residents’ interests. Council should not ignore these adjacency issues for being burdensome to another property owner who wishes to develop, because their primary responsibility is to the resident who lives next door. The 10 to 15 foot berms would not apply to all situations, such as like uses. However, those berms are necessary in order to screen, prevent sound transmission, and all of the other reasons noted previously, such as when Meadowbrook Lake faced these issues with the Hickory Corporate Park. She said her main question about the ordinance was with berming. She said she did not know where Mr. Wizinsky had read from the shopping center definition, or lack thereof, but if there was such a mention in the document then an official definition is needed. The City does need a 10 foot berm or such next to commercial property of the noted intensity. She commented that she was looking to Mr. Fisher to identify what the high-intensity commercial centers should be called. Mr. Fisher said the City did have definitions in the ordinance for "planned commercial center" and for "regional center." Member Lorenzo asked which of these definitions the Target store and that promenade would fit into. Mr. Fisher said he believed this would be a planned commercial center. Member Lorenzo asked where residential adjacent to non-residential provisions were located in the berm requirement. Mr. Fisher said his interpretation of this was that "shopping center" would encompass both things in one phrase, as there are regional shopping centers and other types of shopping centers. Member Lorenzo said that on page 2 of the ordinance, with the residential next to non-residential berm requirement chart, B-1, B-2, B-3, RC, and NCC were listed. She wished to have additional information added that would include shopping centers, so that their berming requirements are better defined. Mr. Fisher said this was certainly the prerogative of Council. When this ordinance was prepared, there had been a specification for commercial berming that was 6 to 8 feet high, and a separate specification for auto wash, drive-in restaurants, service stations and shopping centers that was to be 8 to 10 feet high. If the height restrictions will be uniform and will be rolled into one requirement, there is no need to have subsection 8 of the ordinance, because all of these uses would be included under "commercial." Member Lorenzo agreed that this was a redundancy, and said that instead of saying "shopping centers," Mr. Fisher’s proposed terms should instead be used. Additionally, there should be a subsection under "commercial" to identify planned commercial and regional centers. These classes should have berming requirements of 10 to 15 feet. Mr. Fisher said this would only be a redundancy if Council made this change so that they both have the equivalent burden of 10 to 15 feet. The intention, when the ordinance was prepared, was to create a greater burden for separation or berming, for these particularly specified uses, such as auto wash, drive-in restaurant, and others. Member Lorenzo asked if this was consistent with the previous ordinance. Mr. Fisher said he could not answer this question. Member Lorenzo said she could not recall discussions over those specific uses when Council went through the landscape ordinance. She said her biggest concern was that there should be two headings for "commercial" properties. Planned commercial and regional should be 10 to 15 feet. She suggested that the auto wash, drive-in restaurant and service station terms be eliminated, because these are part of B-1, B-2 and B-3.
Member Lorenzo quoted an item from the proposed ordinance, Number 8, Letter C: "A City representative will perform landscape inspections following a request from the developer." She asked what would happen if the developer never requested a landscape inspection. Mr. Fisher said the developer would never get a certificate of occupancy. Member Lorenzo asked if this was for a final or temporary certificate of occupancy. Mr. Fisher answered that this was for either, and the developer would not get a return of their financial guarantee. Member Lorenzo said that if everything was being weighed against a certificate of occupancy, then the City was covered. She asked if the City was still going to rely on the developer to contact it, since the City is interested in the landscaping effects far more than money that might be received from this. She said she would like to see the city document the proceedings with developers. Mr. Fisher said that the City had an obligation for the developer to complete the landscaping within a certain period of time, which is what will need to be tracked. The City would not go out and perform an inspection if the landscaping was not completed. If the landscaping was not completed within the period of time specified, a tracking system would put into motion the penalties of taking the developer’s financial guarantee and curing the problem. Member Lorenzo asked what the tracking system was. Mr. Helwig said there must be a tickler system, which the City does not yet have for the inspections which Member Lorenzo was describing. The City is gravitating towards this system, which is inherent in this policy direction. Member Lorenzo asked if in other words, Council would approve the ordinance tonight and would direct administration to come forth with a policy that would implement this.
CM-03-07-230 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; MOTION WITHDRAWN: To approve 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 create a separate section under "Commercial" for "Planned Commercial and Regional Centers" that would require berms of 10 to 15 feet high, and to request direction from the City Manager to implement a tracking system in order to implement the ordinance.
Member Sanghvi said he supported the motion for the sake of discussion. He asked who would decide the actual required height of a berm from within the required range. Mr. Fisher answered Dr. Sanghvi, saying that page 3, "Berm Requirements," included a directive of how the height is measured in relation to other things. There is a paragraph below this that specifies "Where a range of height is stated for use on the chart, the basic berm height shall be deemed to be the lower measurement, with approving body of the City having the discretion to increase the height up to the higher measurement…" The approving body generally is the Planning Commission, and in some instances the decision may come to Council. Dr. Sanghvi asked if it should be specified exactly who would determine the heights. Mr. Fisher said it is specified, in that the body charged with the final approval would determine the berm requirements. Other sections of the ordinance direct which elements come to Council; all other developments would be approved by the Planning Commission. Dr. Sanghvi asked if there was any way that some steps could be eliminated by specifying that the Planning Commission would perform certain functions, so that the City and Council would not need to approve everything and prolong the procedure. Mr. Fisher said this could be done. For example, the Planning Commission could approve all berms. The complication from this is that where the ordinance otherwise directs a project to come to Council, the Planning Commission would have to approve the berm but Council would have to approve the rest of the project, and thus something may be lost in the process.
Member Sanghvi remarked that the ordinance was a very nicely drawn up document, but was very long. Mr. Fisher was given the directive to compress the ordinance into something less, but the revised document was still very long. Dr. Sanghvi commented that he was brought up in the school that the best government is the least government, with the basic things and not micro-details to operate by.
Member Landry said that with respect to the berm height, he could not imagine that a regional commercial center would lie next to residential property very often. He believed it happened in Mr. Wizinsky’s situation because of the consent judgment that was entered, but that was not planned. He questioned how often the 10 foot berm would be required on a property.
Member Landry noted that he had some questions to address regarding landscaping in parking areas, but did not know who to address these questions to. As he understood the ordinance with respect to landscaping islands within parking areas, every 15 parking spaces, the City is requiring an island. Mr. Helwig asked Mr. Shipman, the City’s Landscape Architect, to answer the questions. Mr. Shipman wished to preface his statement by stating that he was not one of the architects of the current landscape ordinance, but would attempt to answer any questions as best he could. In terms of the parking lot, an island would be required not for every 15 spaces, but rather for every 15 spaces in a row. If there is a single bay of parking that exceeds 15 spaces in a row, the property owner would have to provide an island for every 15. Member Landry said his concern was specifically in regard to large shopping center areas such as Fountain Walk and Twelve Oaks. He asked Mr. Shipman to correct him if he made any incorrect comments. Member Landry asked if Twelve Oaks Mall would be required to provide an island for every 15 parking spaces in a row under the ordinance. Mr. Shipman said he would have to look at that specific zoning classification. If the ordinance was applied to every zoning classification, then this would be correct. Member Landry said he would like an answer to the question of whether this requirement would be applicable in all zoning classifications. Mr. Shipman said he would be able to answer this question if he was afforded the ability to review the document while Council discussed other things.
Member Landry said his other concern was that if the ordinance would apply, he was concerned that trees in parking islands might obstruct sight distance in those areas. He said he was not concerned with smaller parking lots, but rather the large ones. He asked if this part of the ordinance had been reviewed by the City’s Traffic Engineer. Mr. Fisher responded that he was not certain, but that the document had gone through a lengthy process and review through Ordinance Review and the Planning Commission. Member Landry said he would like to know whether the ordinance would apply to a large parking area.
Member Csordas noted that in a July 16, 2003 memo from Mr. Fisher, a latter paragraph essentially said that he was convinced that the only way to significantly shorten the ordinance would be to utilize an entirely different format such as the establishment of performance standards that would apply in various situations. He asked Mr. Fisher to expand on this. Mr. Fisher said that in this particular amendment, the document went through the process of development with the assistance of two consultants. The document then went through the administrative process, and the two consultants essentially were formatting this on the basis of separately attempting to address each type of situation that may arise, such as the parking lot or adjacency issues. Another type of approach to ordinance regulation of this type would be performance standards, where a set of criteria are established for an ultimate objective in terms of screening, and this objective would apply throughout any number of situations to protect adjacent property owners and rights of way, etcetera. However, this would essentially be going back to square #1 in the process. Member Csordas said he understood, and was not in a rush to judge this particular situation because the current landscape ordinance is not necessarily broken. He asked Mr. Fisher if he had had a chance to examine either the 4 page Wixom landscape ordinance, or the 8 page West Bloomfield ordinance. Mr. Fisher apologized and said he had not. Member Csordas asked Mr. Fisher to do so before the item was brought before Council again, to see if his alternative idea might apply to those shorter ordinances. He said that "less is better" for the revised ordinance, in order to allow some flexibility.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she knew from the Ordinance Review Committee that the visibility questions noted by Member Landry were discussed at length, particularly with regard to the types of canopy trees and how these would affect visibility, both before and after maturity. Pine trees are not allowed to be used in rows, as these could pose a danger to visibility. She asked Mr. Fisher if, with a project with multiple phases, whether the City could expect that any phase currently under review or completion would be subject to landscape regulations that were approved in place at the time the application were approved. However, anything beyond the pre-application status with regard to a new phase would come under the new landscape regulation. She asked Mr. Fisher how he would see this. Mr. Fisher responded that he saw this being governed by a very fundamental doctrine of vested rights. If, for example, there were 3 phases to a project and the developer had installed the landscape materials that were intended to make provision at least in good part for all 3 phases, he believed the property owner would have some vested rights with regard to the approval that had been previously received. On the other hand, if the project was being developed phase by phase on a separate basis, he could not see how a change could be made for vested rights on subsequent phases. Therefore, he would say that the new ordinance provisions would apply to subsequent phases.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said her question went to part B of Mr. Fisher’s comments regarding stand-alone phasing. She asked Mr. Fisher if he believed that this language was inherent with regard to both of those points and that agreement, which Mr. Fisher replied that he did. He said the intent could be stated in the motion without being put into the ordinance. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if Mr. Fisher was satisfied that the language regarding financial guarantees should only be specific to limit hardship circumstances to actual hardships. She feels that there is an allusion to weather, as she has had experience that weather and the ability to get plants into the ground due to seasonal limitations are the only true limitations. Mr. Fisher said he knew that page 24 of the ordinance provided very great detail of times of planting, and relates to the weather. He does not believe that there would any other basis in the ordinance for a delay. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if the fact that there is no conclusion in this regard leaves a window open which could allow someone to offer another reason. For example, she recalled a recent circumstance where an applicant claimed they could not afford to do the landscaping. Mr. Fisher said he did not believe this basis would suffice under the ordinance unless Council saw fit to provide a deferral on this basis under its discretion. He did not believe that that reason could be advanced under the ordinance.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that with regard to the maintenance agreement included with this package of materials, a 50% dead street trees connotation is listed. She asked how this applied to existing street trees that are already dead. Mr. Fisher said his assumption was that this intended to provide an objective standard to avoid the argument of whether or not plant material needs to be replaced. This would apply to material that is more than 50% dead.
The Mayor Pro Tem said that in the strike-out version provided to Council, one section, C, asked about landscaping areas of no less than 300 square feet within an adjacent off-street parking area for any development other than a single family dwelling. She asked what this meant, as she did not recall any such consideration. Following this, part F states that wheel stops or curbing shall be installed to prevent vehicles from encroaching more than 3 feet into any parking landscape area. In instances where vehicles overhang a sidewalk, the parking stall may be reduced in length to 17 feet, the curb must be dropped to 4 inches, and the sidewalk must be a minimum of 7 feet in width. She agreed with Mr. Fisher’s edit comment that this section was not clear. She asked if the elevation of the curb would be dropped because of the sidewalk elevation. Mr. Fisher said the elevation of the curb would be dropped to allow a car to back over the stop all the way to the wheels, in which case the sidewalk would be made wider. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if the language had been improved from the strike-out version, which Mr. Fisher responded that it had. The Mayor Pro Tem said she was satisfied that items that were removed and replaced in other sections are more relevant where they are.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she agreed with Member Csordas’ concerns about the viability of any ordinance this long. However, the last 12 pages of the document are either planting lists or design suggestion diagrams, which are very important for people looking for examples that the City desires. She agrees with Member Csordas about the length of the ordinance, but the City’s entire ordinance code is like this. A comparable city’s ordinance would likely be about one third the size of Novi’s ordinance, which Mr. Fisher said he agreed with. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi summarized items which Council had reservations about, including plantings in traffic islands, further comparisons, and a further explanation of how the berm situation would work both from the standpoint of commercial adjacency and commercial to residential adjacency.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Fisher if with regard to a potential consent judgment situation whether a judge would have to consider any of Novi’s zoning regulations. Mr. Fisher replied that the judge would not.
CM-03-07-231 Moved by Landry, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone the matter until the next available Council meeting, so that Council may be further enlightened regarding its concerns of Ordinance No. 03-18.172 to amend Ordinance 97-18, 2nd Reading.
Mr. Fisher noted that there was already a motion on the floor. Because a motion to postpone does not take priority, but a motion to table does, the motion would need to be stated to amend the prior motion or postpone so that Council can discuss the issue at the next meeting, rather than the motion to approve the amendment. Member Landry modified his motion.
Mr. Fisher wished to clarify that at the next meeting, a new motion would need to be made for this item.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-231 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Csordas, Landry
Absent: Clark, Capello
3. 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.
CM-03-07-232 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; MOTION WITHDRAWN: To approve 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.
Mr. Fisher said that this motion was tied together with the previous one, and should also be postponed.
CM-03-07-233 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone consideration of Ordinance 03-45.27 to amend Appendix C, Subdivision Ordinance, until the next regular meeting of Council.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-233 Yeas: Sanghvi, Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
Absent: Clark, Capello
5. Consideration of request from Toll Brothers Development to amend the Island Lake Residential Unit Development (RUD) Agreement, Site Plan Number 02-48, for a Third Amendment to the original Agreement to amend the phasing plan for Phase 6 and Phase 2B.
CM-03-07-234 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve request from Toll Brothers Development to amend the Island Lake Residential Unit Development (RUD) Agreement, Site Plan Number 02-48, for a Third Amendment to the original Agreement to amend the phasing plan for Phase 6 and Phase 2B.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-234 Yeas: Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Absent: Clark, Capello
6. Approval of Endorsement and Conditional Acceptance of the Rouge Watershed Assembly Agreement for 2003.
CM-03-07-235 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Endorsement and Conditional Acceptance of the Rouge Watershed Assembly Agreement for 2003.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-235 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
Absent: Clark, Capello
Mr. Fisher asked if there was a desire to set a date for the appointment of a member to represent the City for the Rouge Watershed Assembly Agreement. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Helwig if he would propose that Mr. Dave Maurice should act as the City’s delegate to the Assembly. Mr. Helwig said he would if it was appropriate to have a staff individual in that capacity. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that it was her understanding from working with groups that had discussed the Assembly prior to its first meeting that a municipality could select whoever it agreed should be its designated member to participate. Mr. Helwig said the City looks to Mr. Maurice to follow through on Council’s policy direction. He is very familiar with the Rouge Watershed Assembly Agreement, and has worked with Mayor Pro Tem Bononi on Rouge Program Office items. He said that Mr. Maurice would be a good steward of Council’s direction in this capacity.
CM-03-07-236 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To appoint Mr. Dave Maurice to represent the City of Novi for the Rouge Watershed Assembly Agreement for 2003.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-236 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Csordas
Absent: Clark, Capello
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - none
Council recessed at 9:29 p.m.
Council reconvened at 9:43 p.m.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II
7. Approval of road paving contract for Pioneer Meadows Subdivision (Sierra Drive, Strath Haven, Glamorgan Drive and Sanford Drive) to the low bidder, Thompson-McCully, in the amount of $334,050.04.
CM-03-07-237 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; MOTION CARRIED: To approve road paving contract for Pioneer Meadows Subdivision (Sierra Drive, Strath Haven, Glamorgan Drive and Sanford Drive) to the low bidder, Thompson-McCully, in the amount of $334,050.04.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-237 Yeas: Lorenzo, Bononi, Csordas, Landry
Absent: Clark, Capello
8. Approval of contract for the asphalt portion of 2003 Neighborhood Road Repaving Program to Thompson-McCully, in the amount of $485,975.02.
Mr. Helwig said this item was a slightly unusual circumstance. This year’s Neighborhood Road Repaving Program, as in past years, is divided into bituminous asphalt work such as the program before Council, and concrete work. This year’s situation is that the City has tried to dovetail the award of work for the asphalt work with the Pioneer Meadows SAD with the Neighborhood Repaving asphalt contract with other subdivisions. Bids were taken on June 5 for the Pioneer Meadows subdivision, which is the time of year that the City likes to take bids for its Neighborhood Road Repaving Program. Based on the proposal from Ayers, Lewis, bids for this work were not going to be taken until later in the construction season. There are several objectives at work. One is to coordinate the asphalt repaving bids that were taken June 5th, as there were 8 competing bids taken on this date. The second is to have the best use of taxpayer dollars. Mr. Laud of Ayers, Lewis, as well as Ms. McClain and Ms. Smith-Roy, have said that there is no guarantee that going out to formal bids would come out better than what was taken on June 5th. Finally, the City is always interested in getting the Neighborhood work done sooner. This is why the issue came to Council as an extension of the Pioneer Meadows asphalt work.
Member Csordas said that Council had a letter from Ayers, Lewis, Norris and May stating that it is not necessary for the City to go out to bid. He whole-heartedly disagrees with this, and believes that everything that the City does requires competitive bidding.
CM-03-07-238 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To deny contract for the asphalt portion of 2003 Neighborhood Road Repaving Program to Thompson-McCully, in the amount of $485,975.02, and to solicit competitive bids for the asphalt portion of the 2003 Neighborhood Road Repaving Program.
Member Lorenzo said she agreed with Member Csordas. She asked Mr. Laud from Ayers, Lewis to come forward to answer questions. She asked Mr. Laud when the plans were provided to the City. Mr. Laud said the preliminary plans were presented to the City during the previous week. Member Lorenzo asked when the plans were given to Thompson-McCully, which Mr. Laud said was also in the previous week. Member Lorenzo asked if this was according to the schedule that Ayers, Lewis gave the City when they entertained the bid for this project, which Mr. Laud replied was correct. Member Lorenzo asked if Ayers, Lewis was meeting its timetables at this point, which Mr. Laud said it is. Member Lorenzo said she understood what administration was saying, but the City should have a bid package ready to send out and it does not. She agreed with Mr. Helwig’s assessment that the City wants to progress sooner than later, but if there were concerns then these should have been brought forth when Council was entertaining the Ayers, Lewis schedule. It was her understanding that the bids from June 5th were for the water, sewer, and the roadway work that was going to be done for the utilities, and not the expanded version of Pioneer Meadows. Mr. Helwig said he did not understand what was meant by "the expanded version of Pioneer Meadows", but the bids were meant for the SAD in Pioneer Meadows. Member Lorenzo said she meant "expanded version" by all the streets being done currently. Mr. Pearson said the bids were to remove and replace the roads throughout Pioneer Meadows. Member Lorenzo asked if this was not just for the streets that were to have utilities work done. Mr. Pearson said this was correct. Originally the project was just for Sierra Drive, was then expanded to all of Pioneer Meadows, and last October there was consideration that this should be a Neighborhood Repaving project as opposed to limited replacement of the road where it was chopped up for utilities. Member Lorenzo asked if the bids that went out on June 5th were for the entire Pioneer Meadows Neighborhood Repaving Program. Ms. McClain said this was correct, as the only difference between an SAD and the Neighborhood Repaving Program in terms of roads is a small section of Sanford that connects the neighborhood out to Beck Road.
Member Lorenzo said the real question about the issue was timing. She asked why the other streets had not been chosen and been brought forward to Council, and why a contract had not been brought to Council sooner. Ms. McClain said that because the project was an SAD it was run separately, and the time frame that was developed for this was developed by the Department of Public Works. She said JCK beat the schedule that the DPW had set for that SAD. Member Lorenzo said she was talking about all the other streets that were incorporated into the road program. Ms. McClain said that because JCK finished approximately 7 weeks ahead of their given schedule, the SAD was finished early, but the roads would have otherwise been on schedule with the Neighborhood Roads program. Member Lorenzo asked what the SAD had to do with the other streets being selected. She asked when the other streets were selected. Ms. McClain answered that the street selection was initially done last fall, and the City then extracted soil borings. During the discussion of the street selection, the topic of the Pioneer Meadows streets arose, as did the fact that the SAD was ongoing, and also the Paser ratings. It was decided at that time, subsequent to the initial selection of the streets, to include Pioneer Meadows with the program because it was the most logical use of money. The SAD was already going along as scheduled, and because the SAD finished early, while the two programs would have finished together based on their initial schedules, the SAD actually finished early, so the bids went out early for the SAD portion of the work.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked where the discussion was leading to. Member Lorenzo said she was trying to find out what could be done next year, so that this year’s situation could be avoided. She asked if the other streets had been chosen during the past fall, why the other streets were not ready on June 5th for the bid process. Mr. Helwig said the City had close to an ideal schedule last year, as Council awarded contracts at the second meeting in June, including asphalt. The work was substantially completed by the start of the school year. This year, the design contract was awarded later than usual, in May. All staff was very focused on the SAD bids. Then, staff saw the opportunity for the June 5th date. What staff started to see was a possibility that the asphalt could carry the City for this season. Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Helwig if he was saying that staff was pre-occupied with Pioneer Meadows and did not get to actually establish a bid package for the Neighborhood Roads Repaving Program. Mr. Helwig said this was his sense of the situation. Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Helwig to make sure that staff is not preoccupied next year, and that the Neighborhood Roads program is on track. She appreciated the attention that was paid to Pioneer Meadows, but there is more than one subdivision that needs attention this year. Member Lorenzo said she believed that the City needs to solicit bids, as she was not comfortable accepting the June 5th bids for the program.
Member Landry asked Mr. Laud if he was the author of the noted letter from Ayers, Lewis, which Mr. Laud answered he was. Member Landry noted that in the third paragraph of the letter, when he suggests that the City should contract with Thompson-McCully, there are two reasons provided: the availability of viable and competitive market prices from Thompson-McCully; and the additional risk associated with delaying the project. Member Landry asked what the "additional risk" was from delaying the project. Mr. Laud said the implied risk was that there was concern in the City Manager’s office about the late date that the paving work may be started, beginning in September and ending in October. In past years the weather has been cold enough during these months to compromise the work.
Member Sanghvi noted that there were two documents regarding the program provided in Council’s packets, one of them from Mr. Laud, dated July 17th, and a letter from Thompson-McCully dated July 16th. He asked at what time it was decided to ask Thompson-McCully to provide a bid. Mr. Laud answered that the City staff provided a set of preliminary documents on the proposed design to Thompson-McCully for review and submittal of proposed unit prices for the project. Dr. Sanghvi asked Mr. Laud if he knew when this was. Ms. McClain said this was July 14. She said the plans were dated July 11th, and were picked up by herself on July 14th and taken directly to Thompson-McCully that morning. Dr. Sanghvi said he agreed whole-heartedly that the City should entertain a proper bidding process, and said he could not support the proposition.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi stated that this Council’s main consensus has been open and competitive bidding for all projects. Circumstances that might be extraordinary should not be eliminated. This is a program that was long in the works, funded, and allocated. She firmly believes that it is an advantage to the City to conduct open and competitive bidding.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-238 Yeas: Sanghvi, Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
Absent: Clark, Capello
9. Approval of Resolution Authorizing 2003 Refunding Bonds, Unlimited Tax, in an amount not to exceed $7,500,000.
CM-03-07-239 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To Approve Resolution Authorizing 2003 Refunding Bonds, Unlimited Tax, in an amount not to exceed $7,500,000.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-239 Yeas: Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Absent: Clark, Capello
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
Approve Minutes of July 7, 2003 – Regular meeting
Dr. Sanghvi asked for corrections which he had previously discussed with the City Clerk. His corrections included adding the word "not" to a sentence as to indicate that he was not present at a meeting in December of 2002. He also asked to correct a number that was stated regarding apartments and condominiums.
CM-03-07-240 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the minutes of the July 7, 2003 Council meeting as amended.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-240 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
Absent: Clark, Capello
G. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 653
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. McCusker for an explanation of check number 29548 to James Ervin for uninsured expenditures. She asked how such uninsured expenditures were incurred. Mr. McCusker said that Haverhill Farms is a subdivision that is being flooded by the Commerce Sewer Treatment Plant. The Ervins back up against the subdivision and are the furthest against the wetlands area that is being flooded. The site flooded halfway up their backyard last year, destroying most of their landscaping and eroding most of the area along the pond. In an effort to help out the Ervins, the City offered to help them repair their landscaping. The City also contacted Commerce and informed them that Novi would be forwarding future bills to them. When the City finishes the rerouting of the drain, the lowering of the culverts and the lowering of the pond, all of those bills will be forwarded back to Commerce Township. Member Lorenzo asked if this bill would be reimbursed. Mr. McCusker said he informed Mr. Zoner that Novi would be sending him bills, and while there is currently no paperwork, it will be taken care of.
CM-03-07-241 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To Approve Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 653
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-241 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Csordas
Absent: Clark, Capello
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Grease Trap/Interceptor Maintenance Issue – Mayor Pro Tem Bononi
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said this was in reference to a proposed ordinance that would deal with the City’s food service providers being responsible for the implementation of grease traps or interceptors, or the proper handling of fats, oils, and grease. Fats, oils and grease cause backups of sanitary sewer lines, and often cause great expense to the City, especially when there are emergency backups. What a food service fat, grease and oil ordinance does is align those circumstances where a food service provider must provide for a trap or interceptor, provide for a maintenance plan, and also provide for costs that are incurred by the City to be refunded to the City in the event that it must help out in emergency situations. This matter will be required under Phase II of the storm water permit. She wished to get started on examining such an ordinance that might fit the City’s requirements. This is a very simple and straight-forward ordinance. She proposed to simultaneously refer a sample or any other sample ordinances that are brought forward to Ordinance Review, and to submit the matter to Zoning Compliance Officer Ms. Uglow as well. This would be brought back to Council in 90 days, as it is not an emergency matter.
CM-03-07-242 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To obtain and refer the proposed grease trap ordinance to Ordinance Review and the Zoning Compliance Officer, and to return the ordinance for Council consideration in 90 days.
2. Request for information regarding the status/results of fact-finding meetings concerning turning District Court 52-1 into a Municipal Court – Member Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo recalled that in February, this item was one of the long-term goals established by at least 5 members of Council. In reviewing Mr. Fisher’s billings over the past few months, she noticed several billings to this item. In February, Ms. Wintraud worked on finalizing a legal analysis of funding issues. She asked if there was a document or any written information that was produced by Ms. Wintraud for this item, and asked that it be forwarded to Council.
Member Lorenzo said that Mr. Fisher and two Council members, likely Members Landry and Capello, met with judges for two hours to discuss the prospect of a Class III court. She asked if there was any fact-finding information that Mr. Fisher could bring forward regarding those billings. She said she would expect this information included in a packet for another meeting.
Mr. Fisher suggested that the item was premature at this point. Administration is in a mode where it realizes that it needs financial analysis in order to move this forward and bring something meaningful to Council for whether it is in the interest of the City to pursue this idea. The method of achieving a financial analysis is currently undergoing discussion. He met with the legal counsel for Commerce Township recently, and reached a consensus that a budget is needed for that purpose. Member Lorenzo asked if there was a document produced by Ms. Wintraud. Mr. Fisher answered that Ms. Wintraud was determining what the formal structure and step would be for establishing a class III court, and there was nothing meaningful produced except determination of steps that need pursuing. No formal documents were produced from this, however. Member Lorenzo said she had concerns about $500 being spent with no formal documentation to show for this money. When Council asks Mr. Fisher for something, there typically is some documentation or opinion produced. Mr. Fisher said that there would ultimately be documents produced for this idea.
Member Lorenzo said she was concerned about who had asked Mr. Fisher to get involved with this issue, as she did not remember this item coming to Council. Mr. Helwig noted that this issue was established in Council’s goals. He said he believed Member Capello had asked. Mr. Helwig noted that staff is not really yet fully mobilized on the issue. Member Lorenzo asked if Mr. Fisher was needed to work on the item, or if staff could look into the same information that Mr. Fisher has been looking into, as his services are generally more expensive than staff’s. Mr. Fisher said the time spent so far on the item has been productive, as there are certain preliminary steps that must be taken to get to steps 3 and 4. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Member Lorenzo if Mr. Fisher could simply provide either a note or bullet point index of what was discussed, in order to inform her of the services provided. Member Lorenzo said this would suffice if this was available. Mr. Fisher said that he would produce anything in his file that would make sense to produce. Member Lorenzo requested that Mr. Fisher not do any further work on this item, and asked that administration handle future matters with the issue.
Member Landry noted that he was at the same meeting as Mr. Fisher. This was an issue that has been discussed, has been identified as a Council goal, and could potentially significantly increase income to the City. However, to change a court from a county court to a municipal-run court requires cooperation from numerous municipalities. It also requires treading very carefully vis-à-vis to county. To make this move, the municipalities involved in the court system all have to share information and coordinate. Member Capello did put the issue forward, and he agrees with him. All the group did was meet very informally with the judges and representatives from some other communities to gauge interest in the proposition, which there certainly was. Mr. Fisher had only asked some people in his office to do some initial research, and they may have come back and only produced verbal responses. This does not mean that the time was not productive. Member Landry is glad that the discussion is limited to verbal records, because sitting down with a Dictaphone costs more money. It is fine if the City received the information it needed simply by verbal reports from Mr. Fisher’s office. It does not surprise him if there is not yet a formal report in Mr. Fisher’s file, as this issue is in its infant stages. He suggested that Council may need to define what its commitment will be to this issue. He said he was confident that Mr. Fisher’s work was productive, and he is full-heartedly behind the entire court issue. He did not believe a significant amount of money had been spent, but was willing to investigate what Council’s commitment should be.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that this was another example of an issue that needs improved communication.
3. Request for information regarding status of all pending litigation – Member Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo said it had been several months since Council has received an update on all pending litigation. She suggested that Council perhaps adopt a timetable for quarterly reports, so that members do not need to request the information.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Fisher how he would recommend this information could be provided. Mr. Fisher said that this file and information had been updated on a monthly basis, but it was decided that this was not a good expenditure of time or money, as the monthly update was "overkill." He recommended a quarterly update, and said that Mayor and Council Issues 3 and 4 could be done together.
4. Request for status of all pending Tax Tribunal matters with specifics regarding amounts owed and amounts in contention – Member Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo said that she was satisfied with this issue if the information would be provided in quarterly reports.
5. Status of request for information from the City Attorney regarding any obligation on City’s part to accept the streets and utilities in Island Lake – Member Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo recalled that the last time Toll Brothers presented to Council, she had asked Mr. Fisher whether or not the City has an obligation to accept the streets and utilities in Island Lake. There are a great number of streets in that subdivision, and she questioned what it would take on the part of the DPW to maintain those streets. She asked Mr. Fisher if the City has an obligation to accept those streets and utilities, or if the City can simply not accept them. She felt it would be a good idea for Mr. Fisher to read the RUD and come back to Council with an opinion on whether the City does or does not have an obligation.
Mr. Fisher said that the RUD is a very lengthy document. He suggested that Beth Kudla was very involved with the document, and said that she had provided a document to him about this item, which he would provide to Council.
6. Administrative communications – Member Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo said it came to her knowledge after the last week, when Council had decided on a new protocol for administrative requests, that the packet in the library and the newspaper’s packet do not include administrative information. She requested that this information, excluding any confidential information, be included in those packets. She felt it was routine information about matters that Council requested updates and follow-ups on. An example is the larvicide treatment for the west nile virus program. Council had approved a budget item on this, but never received any information about when or where the treatments were conducted, and she had requested this information. If this information was in the library and newspaper, then everyone in the community would have this as well.
Mr. Helwig said administration would definitely provide this information.
7. Joint meeting of Council and the Parks and Recreation Commission
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi read a letter from David Paul, Chairperson of the Novi Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission. Mr. Paul noted that the Commission has worked to develop a strategic master plan. He asked Council to participate in a joint meeting with the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission, on either August 12th or 19th at 7:00 p.m. The purpose of this meeting is to review the final draft of the master plan. The strategic master plan is the foundation for all aspects of the City’s work within Parks, Recreation and Forestry. The ADA compliance plan will also be included in this. Copies of the final drafts will be provided to Council for review, in advance of the meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Council if there was agreement to either of the proposed dates. Council agreed to meet on the 19th of August.
8. Council’s response to the agenda proposed by the Planning Commission for the joint meeting of Council and the Planning Commission
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that Council had specified a date by which time Council members were supposed to submit agenda items. She asked Council to review the items that the Planning Commission had submitted, and asked for additions that Council wished for. Member Landry suggested that Council leave the agenda as is, as did also Member Lorenzo. Council agreed to leave the agenda as proposed by the Planning Commission.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION – none
CM-03-07-243 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To enter into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing pending litigation (Eldridge)
Vote on CM-03-07-243 Yeas: Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Absent: Clark, Capello
Council recessed at 10:29 p.m. to enter Executive Session
Council reconvened at 10:43 p.m.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that the meeting was reconvening for the purpose of addressing two issues. Each issue would be prefaced by a comment from Mr. Fisher.
Mr. Fisher said the first matter was the City of Novi vs. Eldridge, a condemnation case which is pending in the Oakland County Circuit Court. After negotiations, he recommends a settlement of the case.
CM-03-07-244 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To authorize the City Attorney to settle the City of Novi vs. Eldridge on behalf of the City of Novi in the amount of $160,000.
Member Landry said that this settlement would not be an admission of any liability on the part of the City of Novi. This would set no precedent, but would merely be a resolution of a pending claim against the City. The $160,000 would break down as follows: the portion for the just compensation would be $143,178; appraisal costs, $7,800; and attorney fees, $9,022, for a net total of $160,000, which would be all-inclusive, and would finally resolve this matter.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-244 Yeas: Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Absent: Clark, Capello
Mr. Fisher stated the second item was the item of Coblentz et. al vs. City of Novi. This case was initiated by the plaintiffs under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, and deals with certain documents that had been requested under that Act. Administration believes that all of the actions taken by the City were proper. Mr. Fisher said he believes that a settlement would in part confirm that the position was proper, and this would bring an end to the dispute. For settlement purposes only, and without admitting any reservations improperly taken by the City, he recommended entering into a settlement agreement and order of dismissal. There was a discussion on utilizing a vehicle of agreement rather than an order to resolve this matter, but the consensus was that the order would provide more finality and clarity for both sides.
CM-03-07-245 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To authorize the City Attorney to enter into an order of dismissal and settlement agreement for Coblentz et. Al vs. City of Novi
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-07-245 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
Absent: Clark, Capello
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 10:50 p.m.
Michelle Bononi, Mayor Pro Tem Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: Steve King