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REGULAR MEETING OF THE
COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark – absent/excused, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
ALSO PRESENT: Rick Helwig – City Manager
Clay Pearson – Assistant City Manager
Gerald Fisher – City Attorney
Tom Schultz – City Attorney
Kathy Smith-Roy – Finance Director
Nancy McClain – City Engineer
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Sanghvi wished to add Item #4 under Mayor and Council Issues, regarding the "Fall for Novi" events.
Member Lorenzo asked to add two items under Mayor and Council Issues: #5, "Adjustments to the CVS Consent Judgment", and #6, "Status of Woodland Review Board".
Member Capello asked to add #7 to Mayor and Council Issues, "Amending the Start Time of City Council Meetings" including discussion of possibly adding an additional meeting, and #8, "Status of the Novi Ice Arena Study". He also asked to add #9, "Revision of the Dumpster Ordinance" which Council had recently discussed.
Member Landry asked to add to Mayor and Council Issues Item #10, "Discussion of Authorizing the City Attorney to Review a Potential Development Agreement for the Northeast Corner of Meadowbrook and Grand River".
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi wished to add Item #11, "Handicap Parking".
CM-03-09-299 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-299 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Proposed Music and Family Festival (Walled Lake/Novi) - Mr. Lee Alan
Mr. Alan reminisced about time spent during his childhood in Novi. He noted that the site of the old Walled Lake Casino and Dance Hall in Novi is still undeveloped along Walled Lake. Mr. Alan noted that 2004 will mark the 35th anniversary of Novi and the 50th anniversary of Walled Lake. That Casino and Dance Hall had attracted many patrons from cities like Detroit, and also attracted famous big bands of the day. The site had closed by 1960, even though the Casino was known around the world for all of the entertainers that came there from 1925 to 1959. Mr. Alan said that in 1960 the Casino opened up on Sundays for ‘sock hops’, attracting thousands of people during those Sundays. He broadcast from the stage on Friday and Saturday nights on ABC Radio from 1960 to 1965. The first place that little Stevie Wonder ever appeared was Walled Lake Casino. Many of the Motown acts appeared first at Walled Lake Casino in the 1960’s. On Christmas night of 1965, Walled Lake Casino burned to the ground. Mr. Alan said it would be wonderful if, for Novi’s 35th anniversary and Walled Lake’s 50th, some of the past legacy and fame could be returned. He proposed a Walled Lake and Novi Music and Family Festival. He had a call several weeks ago from Peter Marshall, the person who was the original host of "Hollywood Squares", who said he wished to come back and sing if the event was created. He proposed to Council that it accept the concept of presenting a Walled Lake and Novi Music Festival for 4 days, from July 1st through July 4th, 2004. This event could feature food from every country in the world, and events on the site. He said he was asking for conditional approval to use the site on Walled Lake for the entertainment portion of that festival. One company has expressed interest in making a movie about the event, and another would like to release music CD’s that would be available around the country. The event managers would also find a piece of property somewhere at a later point in time where they could rebuild the façade of the amusement park as well.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Helwig if this could be placed on a future agenda for discussion of whether Council would consider the dates of the July 1st through July 4th event.
Member Sanghvi asked what time frame Mr. Alan was hoping for in Council accepting the concept. Mr. Alan said this timeframe would be as soon it would be a convenient and rational movement for Council, as it would take between the present time and the 1st of June to create the event in a proper way. He said the Council of Walled Lake passed a unanimous resolution to approve the concept. In order for the event to be the success that he felt it would be, he asked Council to expedite the discussion if possible.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she would look for this item to be on the next regularly scheduled meeting agenda.
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE - None
2. CITY MANAGER
Mr. Helwig thanked Council and the community for its participation in September 20th’s Fall For Novi events. The City had an early report on one component of those events, the household hazardous waste collection, which more than 1,000 residents participated in. 49 cubic yards of used computer equipment were collected at the event.
Mr. Helwig said that the quarterly publication, Update Novi, was being sent to City households now. On the front page was a call for citizen participation – the initial citizen involvement in the City’s master plan update and the growth management plan development. The first opportunity to participate will be September 29th at the Civic Center at 7 p.m. This will be the kick-off for some very serious ongoing community involvement, which is something that Council has urged extensively since the last plan process was completed. There will also be other opportunities in the future to maintain a community dialogue. He said he hoped that citizens would come to the Civic Center to start the process of community involvement.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that in Council’s packets, members had received a notice regarding gas customers of Consumers Energy and a proposed cost that would be passed on to those customers. She asked that for the next Council meeting, he bring back any results from the public hearing of September 17th so that rate payers could realize what the rate increase could cost them, particularly citizens on fixed incomes. She said there was really no opportunity for the City to reply to this, considering the date that the notice came to the City. Mr. Helwig said he would do so.
3. DEPARTMENTAL - None
4. ATTORNEY - None
Pete Hoadley, 31084 Arlington Circle, said he had been before Council several times during the past 5 years to discuss Gateway signage. He had asked both Council and administration to consider funding some Gateway signage. The City has $25,000 in the EDC which could be used. Right now there are 3 Gateway signs, all by different developers, and all looking different from one another. All of the surrounding communities have uniform Gateway signage which looks very nice. He said he would appreciate some feedback on his remarks. Mr. Hoadley noted that he had served on the Senior Citizens’ Housing Committee for several years. They were able to secure some property which has since been developed in a beautiful manner, and this has a backlog of residents. He said it is time to look for additional land for additional senior housing. One spot to consider is the 13 acres that the City has on Walled Lake. He asked Council to consider this, or consider purchasing land elsewhere for additional senior housing. Mr. Hoadley said that in the past year and a half, Council had received several bids from outside services, mainly engineering. On numerous occasions, the high bidder was selected. City administration had recommended using a high bidder on insurance a while back, but Council decided against this recommendation. He said he would also like to see gaps between sidewalks in the City fixed, and the City should continue to work on connecting those sections which do not connect. Recently, Council amended the Woodlands Ordinance, and he commented that it is inappropriate to amend ordinances for individual developers, even though circumstances might have warranted its consideration.
Ginger Barrons, 24777 Glenda, expressed her concern with the handicap parking situation at the Civic Center. She showed her handicap parking permit to Council, and said that the lack of handicap parking has been a problem for her when she has visited the facility. Ms. Barrons said she did not park in handicap parking for the evening’s meeting because there were no more spots available. She asked the City to distribute a publication to citizens that explains why there are barriers blocking the northern through-road above the Civic Center and the handicap spaces located there. She questioned why Novi schools are not barricaded if the Civic Center is. The barriers are truly just a perception and are not actually a safety item, and provide a bad image of the City to visitors. She said it is irritating that the handicap spots were taken away from citizens. She hoped the Novi News misquoted when it stated that the City was going to construct a new parking lot using tax dollars when a perfectly good parking lot is already built. She said that no other city halls in the area are barricaded like Novi’s, and this creates a negative perception of the City. If there is a safety concern about the building, then every resident of the City has a right to know what it is. Ms. Barrons asked Council to reconsider the closure of the blocked through-road.
Leonard Ribar, 42901 Thirteen Mile Road, said that two subdivisions would benefit greatly from a speed reduction on Thirteen Mile. The stretch of road across from a park is about a half mile long, has two lanes, and a speed limit of 40 miles per hour. In contrast, the new Novi Road has 5 lanes but has a speed limit of 35 miles per hour. He had earlier presented a petition to Council with about 70 signatures requesting the speed reduction which was originally presented to the City at the end of May. The residents are also hoping to get pedestrian signs at the crossing point, and some lines on the road that would signify that drivers need to slow down.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Helwig to incorporate a response and suggestions to the petitioners, as they submitted their petition in May. Mr. Helwig said he would be happy to do so, and noted that he had just seen the petition for the first time that evening. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Ribar whom he had originally submitted the petition to. Mr. Ribar responded that he had spoken with Nancy McClain prior to submitting the petition. He was not aware that the petition could be presented straight to Council. Mr. Helwig said the City would address the situation immediately and respond to Mr. Ribar.
Tom Greenwald, 29994 Adorne Dr., brought photos to show Council the plight of residents who live in the Chateau of Novi. He questioned why City inspectors had not been more aggressive about the neighborhood during the past 8 years, and why the City was taking so long in improving water and drainage issues for the mobile home park.
Mr. Helwig responded that the City is working closely with the leadership of the Chateau Homeowners’ Association. A week prior to the meeting, the City filed in Oakland County Circuit Court to bring more weight and follow-through to the issues before the State. Many of these matters are regulated by the State, such as drinking water quality and drainage issues. Inspectors have visited the neighborhood during the past 2 weeks to examine foundation issues, electrical problems, plumbing, and abandoned sites. The City plans to follow through and get relief through the court process. Administration is waiting to obtain a signed copy of the agreement which the State entered into with the ownership of Chateau of Novi, and plans to use the Circuit Court to every advantage of the residents that is possible.
An unidentified woman asked that Chateau of Novi be fixed without forcing residents out of their homes to do so.
Rich Aldrich, 29782 Carousel St., asked if the sale of the Chateau of Novi would affect the City or State’s ability to have the mobile home park repaired. Mr. Fisher said the condition of the park is in violation of ordinances and represents a nuisance condition, which reflects the condition of an operating park but has nothing to do with ownership. Mr. Aldrich said residents’ prime concern is that while they want the neighborhood fixed up, they do not want to be forced out of their homes should the sale of the park land go through. Residents are concerned that they may not be able to move their homes to other parks, and would thus be paying mortgages on mobile homes with no place to go.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the City is following up on areas which are within the City’s jurisdiction and would share information with any interested party.
Ruth Clarey, 41415 Andre Court, said she has lived in Chateau of Novi for 25 years. She has seen the beautiful and well-managed park that it used to be. The problem which was never corrected was the water. Residents have always had poor drinking water, and that issue needs to be taken care of very soon. Several times, ownership has promised city water to neighborhood residents during the past 15 years, but has never fulfilled those promises. She has never had drink of water out of her faucet.
CM-03-09-300 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the consent agenda as presented
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-300 Yeas: Capello, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
Absent: Csordas, Clark
CONSENT AGENDA: (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)
A. Approve Minutes of:
B. Approval to purchase Maximum Solutions software for the Novi Ice Arena in the amount of $7,900 ($7,500 software, $400 training).
C. Approval of Authorizing Resolution supporting the Novi High School Homecoming Parade on Saturday, October 11, 2003, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., as required by the Road Commission for Oakland County annual permit for use of roadways under their jurisdiction.
D. Approval to hold a Public Hearing on October 6, 2003 for the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG) 2003 Proposed Use of Funds.
E. Approval of request from the Homeowner Association for Amberlund Estates to approve the Street Name Sign Agreement.
F. Approval of request from the Homeowner Association for Bristol Corners to approve the Street Name Sign Agreement.
G. Approval to seek bids to replace Civic Center stage curtains.
H. Approval to award the Parks asphalt pathways bid to Summit Transport, Inc., the low bidder, in the amount of $11,184.
I. Approval of Intergovernmental Agreement for Novi’s portion of the Baseline Resurfacing Project from Haggerty Road to east of the I-275 northbound exit ramp for placement of 272 square meters of concrete sidewalk on the north side of Eight Mile Road for City participation of $11,960.
J. Approval to set Public Hearing on October 6, 2003 for the purpose of obtaining public input for the Community Recreation Plan 2003 – 2008.
K. Approval to award bid for a vehicle wash contract to Original Two Dollar Car Wash based on unit prices.
L. Approval of proposed Sanitary Sewer Easement in the amount of $1 for Kirkway Place located off-site on Bosco property; Parcel No. 20-200-012.
M. Approval of additional South Lake Drive license agreements for the placement of conduit under South Lake Drive.
N. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 657
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. Consideration of Amendment No. 2 to Maybury Park Estates RUD Agreement.
CM-03-09-301 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Amendment No. 2 to Maybury Park Estates RUD Agreement.
Member Landry noted that Member Capello would need to be recused. Member Capello said he need to abstain from Items 1, 2 and 3.
CM-03-09-302 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To recuse Member Capello from Council participation on Items 1, 2 and 3 of the agenda.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-302 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
Member Lorenzo appreciated the cooperation of Mr. Paciocco and his representatives, and said it was a pleasure to work with them.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-301 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Csordas
2. Consideration of Agreement for the Finance of Sanitary Sewer Improvements and Creation of Special Assessments on Properties, Special Assessment District No. 170, Maybury-Tuscany-Singh extension of Sanitary Sewer in Section 32.
CM-03-09-303 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Agreement for the Finance of Sanitary Sewer Improvements and Creation of Special Assessments on Properties, Special Assessment District No. 170, Maybury-Tuscany-Singh extension of Sanitary Sewer in Section 32.
Mr. Schultz said two items were changed after the packets were distributed on Thursday after further discussion with the property owners, to clarify issues regarding spreading the responsibility. Both changes improve and strengthen the agreement from the City’s perspective. One change is located on page 10 at the bottom of paragraph G, which deals with the situation where there is an increase beyond the amount of the roll. The prior version indicated that any increase would be added to the next installment due, and the change makes that increase payable immediately. If not paid immediately, this would be added to the next installment due with interest. The second change is on the following page, clarification that in the event there is a sale of half of the proposed lots or units on each of the properties and an overage occurs, the property owner will be posting security in a reasonable amount determined by the City to guarantee sufficient security for the City. This also provides one more line of defense before having 3rd party home purchasers liable under a lien system.
Member Lorenzo asked if this was the appropriate time for Council to make a determination regarding financing. Mr. Schultz said Council could decide if it wanted to proceed with bond financing, but from the perspective of administration, Council should perhaps consider a more complete policy determination based on information from Kathy Smith-Roy about the benefits and disadvantages of financing through bonds now as opposed to in the future.
Member Lorenzo remarked that she was ready to make such a determination at the evening’s meeting.
Mr. Fisher said that in order to determine to issue bonds it is necessary to pass an initial bond resolution that is published for people to have the opportunity to petition for a referendum. Whatever Council decided that evening would be subject to complying with that process.
Member Lorenzo asked if this would be a determination to go forward with a resolution, which Mr. Fisher replied was correct.
CM-03-09-304 Moved by Lorenzo; MOTION FAILED FOR LACK OF SUPPORT: To amend the motion to include the City Attorney’s changes to the agreement, and to issue a resolution for financing by the issuance of bonds.
Member Landry noted that the referenced language was in paragraph 24A. As he understood the language, the City would have the option of proceeding with bond financing or any other manners. He preferred the option of leaving it open to the City to decide at the right time whether to use funds from some other source or bonds. He suggested that paragraph 24A, where it states "subject to receipt of the proceeds of bond financing or other financing determined to be applicable by the City" be amended to state "determined to be applicable by the City Council". This way, something other than bonds would require Council approval.
CM-03-09-305 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; MOTION WITHDRAWN: To amend paragraph 24A to add the word "Council" after the word "City" in the last phrase.
Ms. Lorenzo said her impression after speaking with Kathy Smith-Roy was that unless the City decides to issue bonds at this point in time, any money that is spent will continue coming out of the City’s water and sewer fund. She did not want to see the project funded from water and sewer monies, which is why it is important to begin the process of the issuance of bonds. She said this was the only way she would support the motion.
Mr. Helwig said he had discussed the matter at length with Member Lorenzo, and said administration did not want the financing mechanism to keep the project from going forward if Council wished to proceed with the matter. Perhaps the bond financing will consolidate some other SAD matters that might be before Council at the time, which may be the most efficient path to take. After all of the work that Council has put into the SAD and its applicants, administration does not want the financing mechanism to prohibit the project from going forward.
Member Landry noted that Council required 5 votes to pass the item at the meeting, and given Member Lorenzo’s statements it did not appear that Council would have 5 "yes" votes with his motion as currently stated. He withdrew his motion, which left the language as originally proposed.
Member Lorenzo restated her motion but did not receive a second to that motion.
Member Landry asked Mr. Fisher if Council had to make a motion that evening regarding issuing bonds for the item. Mr. Fisher said Council did not have to make a motion, but the motion for a bond resolution prepared by a Bond Counsel would be put on the next meeting agenda, or some future agenda, as this is a very complex document. That matter would then be subject to further debate and discussion by Council.
Member Landry stated that if the maker of the motion would accept this amendment, he would second it.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said Member Landry was stating a qualifier to the original motion that would simply state the order of events that would ensue.
Member Lorenzo said she would be agreeable to this
CM-03-09-306 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; MOTION CARRIED: To amend the main motion to include the City Attorney’s suggested revisions to pages 10 and 11, and to place on a future agenda consideration and discussion of the issuance of a bond resolution to be prepared by Bond Counsel.
Member Sanghvi said he could not accept this amendment. He had no problem with correcting the language of the agreement in accordance with the City Attorney’s suggestions, but he did not approve of inserting additional language about a bond issuance at that moment.
Mr. Fisher remarked that the decision to actually issue bonds was not an immediate one. What was being done was putting a resolution before Council for further discussion. Council was not making that decision then, but was simply indicating that it would debate it in the immediate future.
Member Sanghvi asked if this was not initially included. Mr. Fisher responded that the anticipation was that the City would issue bonds at some time in the near future, and there was discussion that it may be in the interests in the City to accumulate 2 or 3 projects together, and it would ultimately be in the best interests of the City to wait. This is the type of dialogue that would occur when the bond resolution was placed on the agenda. Member Sanghvi inquired why the bond resolution process could not be more comprehensive and less piecemeal.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi suggested that by inserting that single sentence Council might bring the applicant forward. She said it seemed as if this would be a motion that he would eventually agree to.
Mr. Fisher said this would not even have to be in the agreement, as it would be part of the motion of what would occur.
Member Csordas asked Ms. Smith-Roy what she would prefer to fund the agreement, and what complexities issuing a bond would create as opposed to paying out of existing funds. Ms. Smith-Roy said the suggestion to change the language was brought forward because of the current interest rates and market conditions. Also, the capital funds that are available for the water and sewer funds influenced this suggestion. However, if Council were to direct the City to issue bonds it would not be a problem to do so. The City has issued special assessment bonds in other cases. Two recent contract residential SAD’s that had bonds associated with them were Riverbridge and Sandstone. Those bonds were also paid off and defeased early in the process because the project was completed.
Member Csordas asked if the money was available in the existing funds, and Ms. Smith-Roy responded that it was. The estimated cost in the SAD agreement is $2.5 million, and the City schedules approximately $10 million for long-term investment into the water and sewer fund. Member Csordas understood that the bond market is very favorable at this point. He asked what percentage the City could obtain from issuing bonds. Ms. Smith-Roy said she was not certain exactly what percentage, but it would probably be between 4% and 5%. Member Csordas asked if this would mean $40,000 - $50,000 to fund this bond over a period of time. Ms. Smith-Roy said the City is earning 1% to 6% on its investments right now. The highest investment is earning 6%, but only a small percentage of the $10 million is earning that. A great deal of the investment is earning less than this amount.
Member Csordas asked if the City were to issue a $10 million bond at 4%, it would be considerably more than $40,000 to $50,000 cost to the City. Ms. Smith-Roy said the cost to the City would be nothing because the bond costs would be covered by the SAD agreement, which was why administration did not have a preference for the financing mechanism.
Member Landry said he would like to see language giving the City the option to go for bonds. Administration would not like to see the item held up over the financing language. The applicant would be satisfied with the bonding financing language. He encouraged Council to pass the agreement that evening.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she was also in favor of using the bond mechanism in the event that there is a choice to do so. Although the usage of City-allocated funding would not cost the City money, those funds are still encumbered in the event that the City would like to do other projects with those funds. Her first choice for financing was via bonds. She said she would support the motion as stated.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-306 Yeas: Lorenzo, Bononi, Csordas, Landry
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-303 Yeas: Sanghvi, Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
3. Consideration of Ordinance No. 03-28.49, an Ordinance requiring payment of availability fees (for Special Assessment District 170). 1st Reading.
CM-03-09-307 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Ordinance No. 03-28.49, an Ordinance requiring payment of availability fees (for Special Assessment District 170). 1st Reading.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-307 Yeas: Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
4. Consideration of Zoning Map Amendment 18.629, the request of RSM Development, LLC, to rezone the subject property located in Section 16 on the south side of Twelve Mile Road and west of Taft Road, from R-A (Residential Acreage) to OST (Office Service Technology). The subject property is approximately 9.86 acres.
CM-03-09-308 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Zoning Map Amendment 18.629, the request of RSM Development, LLC, to rezone the subject property located in Section 16 on the south side of Twelve Mile Road and west of Taft Road, from R-A (Residential Acreage) to OST (Office Service Technology). The subject property is approximately 9.86 acres.
Member Sanghvi questioned why only the 9.86-acre parcel, and not the entire area, was proposed for rezoning, since it was the recommendation of the Planning Commission.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-308 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
5. Consideration of Engineering Agreement with URS-Michigan for Westmont Village Repaving and Drainage, not to exceed the amount of $32,000.
Mr. Helwig said item #5 and item #6 were carryover items from the previous meeting, but they appeared different than when they were presented two weeks prior because it is still one of the key results targeted in the budget document that whatever is decided upon to be corrected in the Westmont Village neighborhood be accomplished in the second quarter, which begins October 1st. The wording was changed from a policy discussion to bringing forward two administrative recommendations, items 5 and 6. The worst area in the Westmont Village neighborhood is the area immediately south of Ten Mile Road, identified as the 850 feet which administration brought forward to Council for complete replacement with appropriate edge drains and the MDOT drainage standard. Ms. McClain is very confident that URS can do all of this in the field given the topographic setting. As far as the remainder of the neighborhood, the City simply needs more time. More information is needed about the scope of work, and Council’s input is needed regarding how that priority would rank with other neighborhood street projects which it might consider in the upcoming construction season in 2004. Ayers-Lewis has agreed that it is most appropriate to be working with URS since that company has done the analysis of the roads.
Ms. McClain displayed a map showing the first 850 feet of the neighborhood. Because of the 2% and 3% grades in that section, the City knows that it can improve the drainage there. This section showed the greatest deterioration, and installment of the edge drain would alleviate the problems. The City has developed a proposal for those 850 feet, and the contractor is confident they can finish the project before the start of winter.
Member Lorenzo asked Ms. McClain if she was proposing to add any catch basins in the area. Ms. McClain responded that the City was considering the addition of a catch basin in the lower area to provide more flow capacity. Another alternative is to place a catch basin across from Westmont Court to catch the intermediate flow.
Member Lorenzo said she had been given the addresses of two homes that had experienced significant flooding problems on their lots – 24144 Westmont and 24157 Remington Court.
Ms. McClain said the 24144 Westmont address was lot #4, and was a major reason that an additional catch basin was being considered in that area. There will be work at the intersection on Remington, but work will not extend up Remington Drive this year.
Member Lorenzo commented that she had mixed feelings about this item, one reason being that the original memo from September 5th did not clearly imply that drainage issues would be addressed by the work. If the City will go forward with the project, it needs to ensure that the work is done well. She expressed concern about the quality of concrete work that can be done in colder weather.
Ms. McClain noted that Tiseo Construction is currently working on Yorkshire Subdivision neighborhood road paving projects, and has said that they can begin work on the Westmont project immediately. This project will be in the same time frame as the neighborhood roads program. The company also stated that they could provide a quality product and have it completed before the snow comes in the winter.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Helwig if administration or any staff member had contacted anyone from Westmont to inform them that the item was on the evening’s agenda. Mr. Helwig said the City has been trading correspondence with the neighborhood leadership, which knew about the item on the agenda two weeks earlier.
Ms. McClain said the neighborhood leadership knew the item was on the agenda two weeks earlier and knew that it was going to come back to Council. She had not specifically talked with anyone other than a few days after the previous Council meeting.
Member Lorenzo said she had questions about the rest of Westmont, specifically regarding inconsistencies in opinions that were received with the analysis. For instance, in the October 18th memo from Ms. McClain, she indicated that phases II and III were approved in October of 1999. In July of 1999 a section of the ordinance was added to require continuous edge drain. Member Lorenzo questioned why continuous edge drain was not constructed in phases II and III if it was required as of July of that year. If Council has the option of going to another funding source for even the edge drain installation, she would like to see this followed up on. Information from the City Attorney on March 26th said that the City specs call for 7 inches of concrete over 12 inches of coarse gravel base, but recent information said that the City does not have the requirement for the gravel base. She asked which information was correct.
Member Lorenzo said that though she had mixed feelings about the proposal, she would approve of the item. The residents of Westmont have waited a long time for this type of repair. In approving the item, she would put her full faith into the Engineering staff, into URS, and into Tiseo that this would be a quality job.
Member Sanghvi asked what the timetable would be for starting and finishing the construction, should the item be approved during the evening. Ms. McClain said the timetable was that the City would issue the change order the next day and have that signed by the contractor. URS has already been working on the log plans. Those would be delivered to the contractor so that the contractor could begin working. It would take about one week for the contractor to get into the field and shift their equipment. They would start work the next Monday, September 29th, and work until about November 21st. It should take about 8 weeks to do this work.
Member Landry said he supported rectifying the situation. As he understood the report from URS, the condition which exists in Westmont is a result of the fact that there were no edge drains and no aggregate underneath the pavement to properly deal with the drainage. Ms. McClain replied that this was correct. Member Landry said it was also his understanding that the reason there was no aggregate or edge drains was that the City’s specifications did not, at the time the streets were built, require them, and they were thus built to City specifications. Ms. McClain said this was correct for phase I. For phases II and III the roads should have had edge drains. Phases II and III are the cul-de-sac ends and should have had edge drains, but do not have those to her knowledge.
Member Landry asked how many other streets in the City were built to the same specifications and are showing the same types of drainage problems as the first 850 feet of Westmont. Ms. McClain said there are quite a few streets that were built at approximately the same time, and there are some of the same problems occurring in them. Some type of condition at Westmont has made the deterioration more apparent, but deterioration is seen in other streets in that area.
Member Landry restated his support for the item, but said the City has a larger issue to face – what to do with the other subdivisions that will request the same assistance for repairing their roads. He questioned how the City will respond to those future requests, and asked if the City was prepared to set aside a certain amount of money for this.
Member Capello asked Ms. McClain what the base is under the roads from phase I. Ms. McClain said the base is compacted sub-grade or fill. The roads have a clay base, with no aggregate above that clay. Member Capello asked what the base was under phases II and III, which Ms. McClain said was the same materials. Member Capello asked if clay would be replaced with aggregate in the new design, or if aggregate would be placed on top of the clay. Ms. McClain said a section of the clay will be removed and replaced with the aggregate so that the elevation at the roadways at the ends of the drives remains essentially the same without much impact to the yards.
Member Capello asked if a total scraping of the layers of clay would be enough to install the 8 inches of aggregate. Ms. McClain said there will be an excavation of about 10 inches and this will be re-compacted back in to ensure a firm base layer beneath 8 inches of aggregate, with concrete placed on top. Member Capello asked what the base is beneath the curbs where it meets residents’ lawns. Ms. McClain said that those bases are also clay for all 3 phases.
Member Csordas said that when the roads were reconstructed in Village Oaks, one of the complaints that he heard was that the road did not line up with the driveways like it did before the construction. He asked that the project be supervised and policed to make sure that the end result looks the same as it did before the project and that driveways line up perfectly with the street. Ms. McClain said the City is anticipating taking the driveway approach back to the 1st joint so that those can be lined up directly.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi echoed support for the 850-foot project, but said she also had concerns about not only resolving drainage in the street, but also the backyard drainage problems as well. She asked if some of those backyard drainage problems also occurred in that first 850-foot span. Ms. McClain said there are some drainage problems along the backyards, especially lots 1-4 of Westmont Village, the first four on the east side of the road. URS will examine what can be done for that problem as well. The time constraints are not as tight for those.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if this was being looked at as part of the complete scope of service, so that part is not done now with part done later, because there are serious concerns about water getting into the structures that exist. Ms. McClain remarked that lot #4 has had problems in both the front and backyards with its drainage, and the City will address both sides.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she read the URS report in its entirety. She disagreed that the existing situation is not a safety hazard, because there have already been bicycle accidents and harm done to at least one person because of the condition of the streets. Also conspicuous by its absence in the URS report is the lack of mention of soil type. When she first began on the Novi Planning Commission, one of the requirements of almost every application was that the soil types be designated. She looked up the soil types in the area on the conservation district map. The soils that are present have seasonally high water tables, 2.5 to 6 feet. She questioned how it could be presumed that pouring concrete onto a clay base would not cause a problem. She has been told by many people that they had never heard of such a practice and who were not at all surprised by the pavement breakup as a result of this method. It was also mentioned to her by 3 different people that regardless of what the City’s ordinance said at the time, engineering professionals have a duty to tell the authority that of unacceptable construction methods. She was pleased to know that Ms. McClain had been doing this on her own via communications being given to applicants. However, she was looking for this standard to be addressed from an emergency level so that regardless of what is being built, the standard meets Ms. McClain’s standards according to prevailing engineering practice.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Ms. McClain how quickly she could bring such an ordinance amendment to Council. Ms. McClain said she had begun working on the amendment late the previous week. This still needed to be submitted to the City Attorneys, and she expected it to be presented to Council within the next 2 Council meetings.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Ms. McClain and Mr. Helwig whether they would intend to meet with residents to thoroughly explain the impacts that this project will have on their access into the subdivision, and also their access to their homes and what they should expect.
Mr. Helwig said there would be a meeting with residents. There will also be a newsletter provided which is similar to that provided to residents affected by the recent chip sealing process.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she understood that there was only a minimal amount of performance-oriented money that could be claimed toward the cost of the project, which she understood as $23,000. Ms. McClain said this figure was correct. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if at the very least, this money would be used. Ms. McClain replied that this money has already been taken but not spent.
CM-03-09-309 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To Approve Engineering Agreement with URS-Michigan for Westmont Village Repaving and Drainage, not to exceed the amount of $32,000, contingent on approval by the City Engineer.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-309 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello
6. Consideration of Change Order No. 1, in the amount of $250,000, with Tiseo Brothers, Inc. for 2003 Neighborhood Repaving Contract-concrete to add Westmont Village Repaving and Drainage Phase 1.
CM-03-09-310 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Change Order No. 1, in the amount of $250,000, with Tiseo Brothers, Inc. for 2003 Neighborhood Repaving Contract-concrete to add Westmont Village Repaving and Drainage Phase.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-310 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas
7. Approval of Midas Purchase Agreement, Deed and Easement, cost $150,000, Parcel No. 22-15-200-018, for Special Assessment District No. 155.
CM-03-09-311 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Midas Purchase Agreement, Deed and Easement, cost $150,000, Parcel No. 22-15-200-018, for Special Assessment District No. 155.
Member Lorenzo stated she would reluctantly support the motion. She has not supported anything to do with SAD 155 in the past. Given the urgency of resolving the condemnation issue she would compromise and support the item.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-311 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry
8. Approval of DMC Purchase Agreement, cost $149,923, Parcel No. 22-14-200-035, for the Twelve Mile Road GAP.
CM-03-09-312 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of DMC Purchase Agreement, cost $149,923, Parcel No. 22-14-200-035, for the Twelve Mile Road GAP.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-312 Yeas: Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
9. Approval of Redfern Purchase Agreement, cost $211,471, Parcel No. 22-14-200-025, for the Twelve Mile Road GAP.
CM-03-09-313 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Redfern Purchase Agreement, cost $211,471, Parcel No. 22-14-200-025, for the Twelve Mile Road GAP.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi expressed her concern about the cost for a 60 foot by 240 foot construction easement which is about a third of an acre. She asked Legal Counsel to clarify who the $19,489 in attorneys’ fees was for. Mr. Schultz answered that this was for the attorney for Redfern. One-third of the increase between the offer and the compromise is statutory. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi inquired who was representing Redfern. Mr. Schultz said this was Boris Yakima.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she would reluctantly support the motion. The amount of the consideration was excessive in her opinion. The City is in a position where it has to negotiate for outstanding parcels, but this was not the type of negotiation that she liked to see.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-313 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II
10. Approval of Ordinance No. 03-1.03 amending Chapter 30, "Special Assessments," in order to revise and clarify the procedures for approval of special assessments for local public improvements, of the Novi City Code regarding procedures for Special Assessment Districts. 1st Reading
CM-03-09-314 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Ordinance No. 03-1.03 amending Chapter 30, "Special Assessments," in order to revise and clarify the procedures for approval of special assessments for local public improvements, of the Novi City Code regarding procedures for Special Assessment Districts. 1st Reading
Member Lorenzo referred to page 1, paragraph 4 of the strikeout version of the ordinance. The fourth paragraph talks about the definition of a local public improvement, which is said to be "inside or outside the boundaries of the City", and she questioned why something outside of the City would be included in this. She also asked under what circumstances the City would have a Special Assessment District outside of the City limits.
Mr. Fisher added that this provision would have to benefit the properties within the City to be used. He said that in the event that the City is able to acquire property outside of the City that is needed for a project within the City, the ordinance would become useful. To make an improvement on property outside of the City, the City would need a financing source. As an example, if the City were to construct a drainage project and there was a need for a basin, and the natural topography dictated that that basin would lie just outside of the City, then the City could acquire the needed property and finance the improvement of it with this ordinance for the benefit of the properties inside the City.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said it is common that cities acquire property outside of their boundaries for park purposes and other reasons. She asked if in the event that the City determined that this was something that it wished to do, if this would also apply to such improvements.
Member Lorenzo asked if the new resolution #2 should include not only mailing and notice, but that the City would also mail a copy of the report so that the residents, or people within the SAD, would then know the preliminary costs before the public hearing.
Mr. Fisher said that generally speaking, these are the details that are sent out in such a notice with an indication that if further information is desired, it is on file with the plan and any specifications that have been prepared, as well as any cost estimate.
Member Lorenzo remarked that Council has not had a structured Council policy to do so, but Council has been sending out notices before resolution #3 and its public hearing, not only informing residents of the cost, but also asking those residents to return a reply card expressing their support or disapproval of the district. She felt that what Council had been doing in practice should be incorporated into this process so that this is automatically done in time for the public hearing so that residents can speak informed of the preliminary costs and other items.
Mr. Fisher said that this is only at a tentative stage, and he would not want to mislead people. Once the City provides a cost estimate and Council decides to go forward, the City would do a more detailed engineering and determination of cost estimate.
Member Lorenzo remarked that her point was to ask why the taxpayers’ resources should be spent to have various City departments perform work, only to discover later that residents are not interested in a project. She said the preliminary costs may help in determining early interest in various districts.
Mr. Fisher recommended that if it is included that the City will also provide a cost estimate, that if this would be a preliminary cost estimate, this be clarified as only a ‘preliminary’ cost estimate.
Member Lorenzo agreed with Mr. Fisher’s suggestion. She said she would also like to see a response card addressed to the City Clerk with this information. Member Lorenzo referred to section 30-8, Council Determination of Necessity – resolution #3. The middle of this paragraph states "determine what proportion of such cost shall be paid by special assessment upon the property especially benefited and what part, if any, shall be a general obligation of the City". She said this was, in a sense, opening Pandora’s Box. While the City has received requests in the past from participants in SAD’s for the City to make contributions of sorts, she questioned whether the City should grant those requests, and she asked whether this specific sentence should be included in the paragraph.
Mr. Fisher said this was actually a very important ingredient of the paragraph. One of the lead cases in the State of Michigan that dates back to around 1984 or 1985 was Dixon Road Group vs. City of Novi. One of the issues in that case that resulted in creating landmark law in Michigan was that the City was attempting to get property owners to fund the entirety of a Ten Mile Road project that should have been funded at least in part by the City because of the public nature of the road. Therefore, making this conscious assessment of whether or not part of a project is actually public in nature and should be publicly funded is an important ingredient so that when the resolution comes out and the City clarifies that all of the SAD will be privately financed, the City is making a conscious determination that is then subject to hearings. If people do not object at those hearings, it is no longer an issue for court, and thus the statement is important to include in the language.
Member Lorenzo asked if this was an ingredient that the City has been taking into consideration as it has been doing Special Assessment Districts thus far, which Mr. Fisher said was absolutely true. She said she would feel more comfortable if the language was included in the manner in which Mr. Fisher had just presented it, something to the effect that it shall be a general obligation of the City because it is determined that it is a public purpose. Mr. Fisher asked Member Lorenzo to clarify specifically the section she wished the language to be modified for, which Member Lorenzo said was section 30-8, resolution #3.
Member Lorenzo said she could not find any included language that spoke to how the City will fund improvements, or at what point Council would make this determination. By the last resolution Council should make a determination of how to fund a project, whether through the issuance of bonds or another mechanism. This determination should be made by the time the City is finished with the approval process for a Special Assessment District. She asked where this information would be located in the resolution.
Mr. Helwig said the City has been including this information in resolution #7 on the motion sheet, and Kathy Smith-Roy includes this in Council’s final action on the Special Assessment Districts. The specified language should be incorporated.
Member Lorenzo said the language needs be more than included, in that Council has to make a conscious decision prior to this, so perhaps the item should be included with the previous resolution. At some point the Council has to make a conscious determination of how the SAD will be funded, and if resolution #7 speaks to water and sewer and Council decides it wants to issue bonds, then the City would be in conflict with the resolution and not able to approve it.
Mr. Helwig said the alternatives could be included in that final motion sheet and as part of the motion, Council would select the alternative that it desires.
Mr. Fisher asked Member Lorenzo to clarify what language she desired added to the ordinance. Member Lorenzo said this was that administration would bring forth alternative funding for Council to make a final determination of.
Member Lorenzo asked if by resolution #4, the City provides residents with the final costs. Mr. Fisher responded that this was correct. Member Lorenzo asked if this information is typically given to residents in the mail when notified of the public hearing, which Mr. Helwig replied was correct. Member Lorenzo said that the City would then only need to make sure that it provides a reply card to gauge residents’ support for an SAD.
Mr. Helwig asked Council where it would like an advisory poll inserted, if this insertion would be mandatory or optional, and whether it should be inserted more than once in the process. When the advisory polling was discussed in August, it was going to be done only once in the process and at Council’s discretion as part of the resolution #2 process, not in every circumstance.
Member Lorenzo said she was concerned about the polling being discretionary, as all participants should be treated equally. It is important that residents be given a chance to respond after being notified by the City of the final cost of an SAD. Including an additional polling card is very easy and very helpful for the City because if people do not come to the podium and speak at the public hearings, then the City does not know who is in favor of a project and who is not.
Mr. Helwig said the City has polled three times now – two of the three times at the stage which Member Lorenzo was speaking to. The polling was done earlier for Connemara Hills because there was such a wide range of representations of what 17 homes were thinking. He suggested that Council could retain the option to do something earlier, but should place any mandatory polling deeper in the process.
Member Lorenzo commented that placing the polling deeper in the process would cost the City more money without knowing what residents truly want. If a proposal does not end up as a Special Assessment District, the taxpayers are burdened with the cost.
Mr. Fisher said it may be appropriate to place the advisory poll in the first notice, and then in resolution #4 either tell residents that the cost estimate of the SAD has not changed by more than 5% in which case there is no need for cards; or tell residents that the cost has changed by more than 5%, clarify what the actual increase is, and provide polling cards.
Member Lorenzo said this was simply what she was suggesting. She said she would approve the 1st Reading with the hopes that her comments would be included for 2nd Reading.
Member Sanghvi referred to the section of Definitions, #31, 4th paragraph, and asked why the phrase "local public improvement", specifically the word "local", was used in the language when the ordinance is only for the local area anyways. He commented that the ordinance would not be used for national improvements, and the word "local" could be removed. In section 33, he noted the phrase "The City Council shall be authorized" and asked who would be authorizing the City Council.
Mr. Fisher responded that the ordinance simply clarified that it is Council that holds the authority to determine whether to go ahead on a project. The ordinance clarifies that Council can do so without a petition. The next section speaks to what happens if Council gets a petition, and clarifies that it remains Council’s decision and that Council is not obligated to proceed with an SAD. Bringing those two sections together was merely a clarification that Council can initiate the project on its own without a petition, or it can proceed by petition.
Member Sanghvi asked why, in section 30-6, the word "tentatively" was used in the phrase "if the Council tentatively determines the local public improvement to be necessary, it shall pass a resolution tentatively."
Mr. Fisher said the essence of this language was to ensure that the City was not misleading people. The phrase says that the City is tentatively looking at the issue until it has more information. Merely because Council is passing resolution #2 does not mean that it has made any final decisions to go ahead with the project is essentially the point.
Member Sanghvi asked, while referring to section 30-6, page 4, what the difference between 7 full days and 7 working days would be in the language "The publication shall be made at least seven (7) full days before the date". Mr. Fisher said that 7 full days includes time on the weekend. 7 working days does not include days during the weekend. Member Sanghvi said that with holidays in conjunction with a weekend, people might only be in town for 3 days during a 7-full-days span. Mr. Fisher remarked that 7 calendar days is the general rule for this. Member Sanghvi said he understood that it might be the general rule, but questioned which would be the better option for residents. He said the 7 working days may be a better option for residents, noting that Thanksgiving weekend would remove 4 days from the span of 7 calendar days, and mail may not be delivered during that time. He suggested clarifying this item for Council.
Member Sanghvi said section 30-11 discusses sending notices by first class mail to each owner (or person in interest in) property to be assessed, and questioned whether the City can legally assume that first class mail is always delivered. Mr. Fisher said that from personal experience, the City can not always assume this. He commented that there is little alternative to this option, however. Member Sanghvi suggested that these notices could be sent via registered mail instead, unless there were a large number of persons in question for an SAD. Using registered mail, the City could ensure that notices were actually sent to their destinations.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-314 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
Mr. Fisher noted that he had spoken with Glen Lemmon about records. Mr. Lemmon had told him that the Assessor’s records are more current than the Treasurer’s records for property records, and he asked to substitute Assessor’s for Treasurer’s records. Mr. Fisher said he would bring this back for 2nd Reading.
11. Approval to award the contract for Construction of the Haggerty Detention Basin, to B & V Construction, the low bidder, in the amount of $441,406.00.
CM-03-09-315 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To award the contract for Construction of the Haggerty Detention Basin, to B & V Construction, the low bidder, in the amount of $441,406.00.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-315 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello
Council recessed at 9:35 p.m.
Council reconvened at 9:50 p.m.
12. Approval of resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2004-03, including back-up power generators.
Mr. Helwig said that based upon the recent emergency blackout situation, it became very obvious that the City needed to do a critical analysis of its backup power generation. This backup power serves a full array of needs, but also has caused problems at pumping stations and the Civic Center. The City also has an inability to plug in emergency generators, even to the Police Headquarters facility that was modernized fairly recently. An extensive analysis was compiled, and Committee recommendations were prepared. Administration spent several weeks reviewing the analysis, and was aided by a professional in the business that is familiar with the University of Michigan’s hospital power system, and what their critical care facilities do for backup power. The financial impacts of administration’s recommendations are $208,000 for the general fund, and a much smaller amount in the water and sewer fund and the building fund for Meadowbrook Commons.
Mr. Helwig said the target amount for the City’s rainy day funds was 14.2%, but the actual funds from June 30th totaled 17.95% of the annual appropriations. This difference is about $900,000.00. He suggested using some of these extra rainy day funds to pay the costs of the budget amendment. The greatest cost is $190,000 for the diesel power generation for the Civic Center so that it can always be the main comfort station for the community. This would also support the City’s data center, which currently has no backup power. There were also items that would be brought back to Council in the next budget cycle. Fire Station #4 already has backup natural gas, and the City is not recommending any changes there.
Mr. Pearson said the budget amendment would be a kick-off. The City would still need to acquire professional assistance in designing the system, and would also need to go out for bids. This would get the endorsement and the money in place. The market and costs of power generation is in flux at the moment because of high demand, but administration provided as best a cost estimate as possible.
Member Sanghvi commented that the requested funding was not a final cost for the backup system, and the project was simply conceptual at this time.
CM-03-09-316 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2004-03, including back-up power generators.
Member Capello said he supported the concept of the backup power generation system for the City.
Member Lorenzo asked if the need to construct on-site fuel storage for the diesel power generation at the Civic Center was included in the $190,000 cost, and asked where this would be located. Mr. Pearson said this was included in the cost, and would be similar to the system at the Police Station headquarters. The fuel storage is likely below the generator so that the system is self-contained in the same block. Member Lorenzo inquired what costs would be to fuel that system on a periodic basis. Mr. Pearson replied that this would be regularly refueled. The power generation systems need to be exercised, both for the generator and so that the diesel fuel does not stagnate and separate. Member Lorenzo said that if administration felt the City would benefit more in the long-term, she would support using a permanent natural gas system instead of the diesel system.
Member Lorenzo asked if the $54,000 cost for Fire Station #1 did not include the natural gas generator. Mr. Pearson said this was correct, as administration did not recommend the natural gas power generator at this time. The generator that is in place is also diesel, and though this failed during the power blackout, it has since been repaired and is online with the system again.
Mr. Helwig said the City can relocate its central operations to Fire Station #4, which is the City’s second backup emergency operations center. Administration tried to be very cost conscious with this plan, as even the proposed costs are higher than perhaps many people originally thought they would be. The switch to a natural gas generator is something that should be done in time, but administration did not feel that with the other catch-up work that this work needed to be incurred right now.
Member Lorenzo asked if the sleep-in program was being switched to Station #4. Mr. Helwig replied that if the situation arose where one facility was superior to another, this could happen very easily. Member Lorenzo asked if this was where the City has different equipment that first goes out, especially during the evening hours. Mr. Helwig said this was correct. Member Lorenzo said her concern was that a 21-year-old diesel generator failed during the blackout, reliability has been termed as "suspect", the Fire Station is where the sleep-in program is quartered and acts as the base center for dispatching EMS and Fire, and is where the equipment which goes out during the evening and early morning hours is located. She commented that she did not want to "skimp" on $54,000. She asked if the $18,000 for the Police Department was to cover mobile generator readiness, which Mr. Helwig said was correct.
Member Lorenzo said she would like to see Fire Station #1 included. She wanted a professional opinion for option 2 or 3 for the Civic Center. If $45,000 would provide a better long-term product for the facility, she would not want to be "penny wise but pound foolish".
Member Csordas said he agreed with Member Lorenzo regarding Fire Station #1. The reliability of the generation system has been termed "suspect", and since the money is available it would be a good idea to upgrade this facility to be state of the art. He said the recommended option for the Police Department, Option 3 – Mobile Generator Readiness for Critical Only Functions, made sense. He asked if the required rental unit for this option was identical to the rental units that were previously outside of the building. Mr. Pearson said the unit that was outside of the Civic Center was a 2 megawatt tractor-trailer, which provided 5 times more electricity than is needed at the Police Department. The rental unit would be larger than what is available for a standard rental, but not as big as the large generator that had been outside of the Civic Center.
Member Csordas said he supported the recommendations. He asked if the motion was to consider the recommendations. Mr. Helwig said the motion was for approval of a budget amendment which appropriates funds and sets in motion everything to come back to Council, including accepting bids. Member Csordas said he would also like to see the additional $54,000 upgrade for Fire Station #1.
CM-03-09-317 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To amend the original motion to include appropriation for Fire Station #1 in the amount of $54,000.00 for a 50 kW natural gas generator.
Member Capello asked how much money Council was actually being asked to allocate. Mr. Helwig responded that from the general fund, the cost would be $208,000 plus $54,000, so the total allocation would be for $262,000 for general fund purposes at this point in time. Member Capello commented that there are two ways to budget: decide how much money is available to spend, and then decide how to spend it; or decide what needs to be bought and figure out how to buy it. He said he would prefer to follow the second method. He would like to utilize the option of getting a new generator for the Police Station, and relocate that old generator to the Civic Center at the all-inclusive $45,000 cost. Mr. Pearson asked Member Capello if he was referring to option #6, which Member Capello said was correct. Mr. Pearson said that if option #6 for the Civic Center was utilized, option #2 for the Police Department would also need to be utilized.
Member Capello asked if the Police Department already has a backup generator, which Mr. Pearson replied was correct. Member Capello asked if option #3 would be a backup to the backup. Mr. Pearson said this was also correct. If option #6 for the Civic Center was the decision, and the Police Department system was changed, this would only maintain the status quo for those facilities, which already have a generator. To enhance those facilities, an additional $18,000 would be needed for a backup to the backup, essentially. Member Capello asked if this would be status quo for the Police Station, except it would have more power. Mr. Pearson agreed. Member Capello asked if this would not be status quo for the Civic Center, which Mr. Pearson also agreed with. Member Capello remarked that the Civic Center would then be upgraded, as it does not currently have a backup system, and the Police Station would just be provided with more power. He felt that a larger mobile unit and two smaller mobile units were needed, and said that the costs of his proposal would be closer to $370,000. He agreed with Member Lorenzo that a permanent system for the Civic Center should be examined over the next few budget years.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked what the total appropriation amount would be with all of the requested amendments. Mr. Helwig said the total was $262,000 prior to Member Capello’s suggestions.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she was very pleased to see the issue come forward, including the considerable amount of work that had been done. She had the pleasure of serving on the Emergency Response Committee and saw how people patched non-working equipment together and did whatever it took to provide comfort and cooling stations to persons who needed them. She said it may not have been stressed enough how important the downed communication of the operations was. The importance of opening the Civic Center during such a blackout is also symbolic to the community.
The Mayor Pro Tem asked if the City had any chance of recouping costs stemming from the blackout, including approximately $95,000 for people services, bottled water, and generator rentals, and $40,000 for public safety. Mr. Pearson said the City has submitted the required paperwork that was requested. He has not heard any updates regarding the City’s standing on this. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if any received refunds would be specifically used to pay those expenses. Mr. Pearson said any refunds would be used to offset any incurred expenses.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the mobile generator readiness, which is included in the proposal, is absolutely crucial to supplement such items as sanitary sewer lift stations. Overall, she said she supported the comments that were made, and congratulated administration for a job well done.
Mr. Fisher said that because this was a budget amendment for a substantial amount of money, he wished to suggest for the record that the motion was for a budget amendment.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-317 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-316 Yeas: Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
13. Consideration of easement agreement to construct a 24" water main on International Transmission Company property, Parcel No. 22-16-226-013, located in Section 16,for the Taft Road Extension, in the amount of $1 and application review fee in the amount of $10,473.
CM-03-09-318 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of easement agreement to construct a 24" water main on International Transmission Company property, Parcel No. 22-16-226-013, located in Section 16, for the Taft Road Extension, in the amount of $1 and application review fee in the amount of $10,473.
Member Lorenzo commented that the application review fee was "highway robbery". She hoped the City would follow up on previous opinions to rectify the situation in a more formal manner. She noted that the City had been in discussions with Detroit Edison in a friendly manner, which didn’t seem to accomplish much. She said the City should be looking for a more formal arrangement.
Mr. Fisher said he reported in June that the City was making efforts on a very informal but friendly basis with Detroit Edison, and that those efforts had broken down. He suggested that this be placed on an agenda in the future for direction so that alternatives can be deliberated.
Member Capello said that in negotiating on behalf of Park Place, he ran into the same problem with Edison regarding a small emergency access easement. Edison charged $10,000 for that easement, and provided virtually no explanation for the cost.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-318 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. City Water Service Assessment and Action Plan – Mayor Pro Tem Bononi
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she hoped Mr. Helwig would place this item on an agenda for discussion within the next 30 days. She proposed examining the water quality assessment report that was delivered to the City to consider the proposals therein, and to consider the number of storage facilities that will be required to improve the City’s water pressure and storage capacity. Also for examination are the form of those storage facilities, the type of desired facilities, and how the City can hope to alleviate its low water pressure problems in the short-term. The capital improvements section of the budget suggests the amount of money that the City should be setting aside. She said that this should be discussed sooner than later.
Mr. Helwig said the water quality assessment report, and its recommendations, are about master planning. This discussion is sorely needed for the community, and he appreciated Council’s willingness to explore the issues.
2. Unilateral decision by a Council Member – Member Csordas
Member Csordas referred to a memo from David Evancoe to Mr. Helwig dated September 3, 2003. This was a request by Member Lorenzo to expand the public notification regarding rezoning. It has been discussed in the past that if a Council member desires information beyond set policy from a member of City administration, that Council member must come through City Council to get an opinion about the request. He said that within the letter, he interpreted strong signals from the Planning Director that the City may be setting precedent. The Planning Director confirmed in the letter that Council met and exceeded its legal obligations for notifications and procedures. Member Csordas said the Department’s long-standing position is that standard procedure is legally more defensible and fair than customizing a procedure that changes from case to case. He asked for Mr. Fisher’s opinion about the subject.
Mr. Fisher replied that it is more defensible to have a consistent, fairly applied, even-handed type of procedure. This type of action on a sporadic basis may create expectations of others, but in his opinion it would not create a legal obligation of the City.
Member Csordas said the action would put additional burden on the City, in addition to time and expenses, to go outside of normal policy. Mr. Evancoe stated in the memo that he remains concerned that non-standard notification efforts may prove to be detrimental. Member Csordas said Council should come back to what its policy is and ask all Council members not to make unilateral decisions, and instead have Council discuss the item.
Member Lorenzo said her request was an inquiry. She called Mr. Evancoe on a Wednesday and asked him about who had been notified about something. He told her that he did not know the answer to her question, and would have to call her with the information. Instead of telephoning her, Council received the memo in its Thursday packets. Member Lorenzo said she told Mr. Evancoe that she was trying to be time-sensitive to the applicant in question, and it was very important to her to obtain residential input before she could make a decision regarding the rezoning that her request pertained to, or else she would have to vote no. She was looking for direction from the Planning Department on whether she should come to the Council meeting prepared to ask for that information. She was trying to accomplish two things: inquire about who was notified and obtain direction from administration; and be time sensitive to the applicant’s needs for materials. She said that she had also tried to contact Mr. Helwig as well to obtain direction on what to do. It was actually Mr. Evancoe who made the decision which Council saw in its packet, and was not hers. She said that if Mr. Evancoe had called her and told her that she should bring forth the item at the Council meeting, she would have been happy to do so. Member Lorenzo said that regardless of Mr. Evancoe’s actions, he made a good decision for the citizens of Novi. She had received a phone call from someone in Meadowbrook Glens, who had been contacted by the City, and was looking for information regarding the decision. She would have been happy to have followed Council procedure, but Mr. Evancoe made a decision that benefits the citizens of Novi, as well as herself, in being able to make a decision in the future.
Mr. Evancoe said he did not have much to say about the item. He did try to call Member Lorenzo back on numerous occasions, but found that the phone was busy every time he tried. The notice was something that concerned him because the issue has come up in the past when someone has made a request well above and beyond staff’s typical duties, and legal advice which he was given then was to stick to standard procedure. The way that he interpreted the conversation was that he was being instructed to do so, lest the project be held up at a later date. Because the public hearing was that evening, he was forced to make a decision. He said he was simply trying to help Member Lorenzo and her good intentions to promote broad public participation.
Member Csordas thanked Mr. Evancoe for his forthrightness, and wished to tell administration that this was not acceptable. He saw the inflection in the memo, and the discomfort of a city employee before Council. Administration is not to exceed City policies and procedures for notifications or anything else if Council calls. He asked Mr. Helwig to enforce the procedure of no unilateral decisions from Council. Council has set a policy, and requests must go through Council.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commented that Mr. Evancoe made a management call, and this was the best decision he had at the time, which she respected him for.
Member Landry said he did not question anybody’s intention, either in Council or administration. He said he agreed with Member Csordas’ comments. Once the City begins to tinker with due process, trouble can ensue.
3. Request by Fountain Walk manager, Schostak Brothers & Co., for updates to City Vending Regulations – Mayor Clark and Member Capello
Jim Lamphere of Schostak Brothers & Co, said he was in attendance with Robert Schostak, Miles McFee, and Dennis Cowen. They also had with them prospective tenants, Steven and Gillian Foster. They have been involved with Fountain Walk for about 18 months. The property has had its share of challenges, and they have struck a deal with a major tenant that is prepared to occupy 64,000 square feet in space H-160. They feel this is a significant, major entity for the shopping center.
Steven Foster said he and his wife had traveled from California to be at the meeting. Mr. and Mrs. Foster have been creating entertainment environments for 25 years. They started about 25 years ago with a family roller skating rink in Boston, which was extraordinarily successful. In 1987 they created a company called Gillian’s, which in 8 years was built into possibly the country’s largest operator of multi-venue entertainment facilities. In that period of time, they opened up almost 40 locations in 21 states, ultimately employing 7,000 people. In the last 4 years, those stores have generated almost 50,000,000 customer visits. The company has never been cited, and has never had a liquor license rescinded. He said the company is more than willing to provide recommendations from communities and police departments. Two years ago, he and Gillian sold their interest in the company Gillian’s, and created a new venture called Lucky Strike. Lucky Strike is an upscale artistic interpretation of a bowling environment. It has the same enduring experience that is known as 10-pin bowling, but it is offered in an environment that is upscale, sophisticated and artistic. For example, at the end of every two lanes is a large, high-definition video projection screen. With the 16 lanes proposed for Fountain Walk, they would have 8 screens. Those screens become an exhibition for local artists. In Hollywood, where the first Lucky Strike was opened 4 months ago, they have 65 local artists featured, and the number is growing every week. Gillian’s was a very sought-after product, invited by Mall of America, Universal Studios, and others. He said Lucky Strike will likely be even more sought-after. What they want to do at Fountain Walk is combine the best of both – the best of Gillian’s and the best of Lucky Strike. The facility would be two floors. On the first floor would be a 250 seat restaurant with a sports bar component, a state of the art sports bar. They would also have a game room offering the latest virtual simulation games, as well as games of skill. There will be 10 or 11 pool tables in a lounge-like atmosphere with a fireplace. The second floor will have Lucky Strike, the bowling concept that he described, as well as a casual south of the border type of restaurant as well. In one facility of about 65,000 square feet, they will have a social haven which is family friendly and ideal for parties. The facility will focus much more on entertainment than on drinking. Drinking is a component of the venue, but the primary emphasis is interactive social entertainment. Fountain Walk will be the largest Lucky Strike, and will be a paradigm-breaking mold. Fountain Walk has always been envisioned as a Lifestyle Center.
Member Landry asked what type of art was envisioned for the screens in between bowling alley lanes. Mr. Foster replied that these would feature either photographic art or canvas art.
Member Lorenzo said she was concerned that the company targeted youth and minors with prizes, but at Gillian’s prizes are valued up to the thousands of dollars. Mr. Foster said Gillian’s did something which never really worked, and he was not proposing it for Lucky Strike, but they would offer a car as a prize, for example. Nobody ever won the car, and it became more a notion. In reality, most of the prizes are in the 10-cent to $250-300 range. Older people have as much fun winning finger contraptions as kids do.
Member Lorenzo said she had no concerns about adults, but was more concerned about targeting youths. She referred to a recent article in the Oakland Press titled "Betting Culture Puts Teens at Risk of Lifelong Addiction". She said she was concerned with allowing, attracting and targeting youth in such an environment. She said she would like to get both Chief Shaeffer’s and the Coalition that Cares’ opinions about what they think of the proposal.
Mr. Foster said that Member Lorenzo’s concerns were valid. It is fun to win something occasionally, but winning something because of skill is different than winning because of luck. All of the redemption games are games of skill. If a child does well at one of these games, they are rewarded, which reinforces something that is positive in society.
Member Lorenzo said that this type of activity has been considered gambling in the past. The ordinance as it reads now constitutes such activity as gambling. Poker is a game of chance and a game of skill. Mr. Foster said such devices as video poker games would not be allowed in Lucky Strike as redemption games. Member Lorenzo said that before she would consider such an establishment, she wanted to obtain input from members of the community who have been involved with youth concerns. Mr. Foster compared the games of the proposed Lucky Strike to those of a carnival, where kids can win stuffed animals at many games.
Member Capello said remarked that he has spent hundreds of dollars on his children at similar establishments, and said that the types of games in question are not at all gambling. Kids do become "addicted" to the games, but no differently than they may become "addicted" to video games. He said that considering the games as a type of gambling is farfetched. The ordinance is outdated and needs to be revised. It is structured to protect children and to prevent establishments like Pinball Pete’s from entering the City. It does not bother him that there may be two different establishments with arcade types of uses within 3,000 feet of one another as this is simply competition.
Member Capello said the part of the ordinance that had him confused was section 4-65.5 and 4-65.6, one which pertained to restrictions for people 16 and under, one for 17 and under.
Mr. Fisher said the key difference was that if the paragraph involving 16-year-olds was approved in the manner proposed, they would not be required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Member Capello said he would like to move the item forward and get language back at the next Council meeting so that the applicants could know whether they would proceed at Fountain Walk or not.
CM-03-09-319 Moved by Capello, seconded by Csordas; MOTION FAILED: To request proposed revisions to City Vending Regulations from the City Attorney.
Member Sanghvi thought the item was supposed to be a presentation, and questioned why the discussion included topics such as gambling and revising a City ordinance. He said it was not an appropriate time or place to discuss the issue at this point in time.
Member Csordas commented that ordinance change requests were not unreasonable. He asked Mr. Foster to expand on how a game participant would accumulate points at Lucky Strike. Mr. Foster replied that the person would play the game, and based upon their success at that game, a certain number of tickets are produced by the machine. Those tickets are then redeemed for a prize. Member Csordas remarked that he felt this system was a great concept. He also said the requests for changes to the ordinance are also not unreasonable.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi agreed that this was a departure from procedure, in putting an item of discussion to this degree on Mayor and Council Issues, as well as requesting an ordinance change without being a regular agenda item. She said that while the Lucky Strike concept sounded enjoyable, she would not rush to judgment on such an issue. She said she would like to hear Chief Shaeffer’s comments about children and the establishment.
Member Capello said his motion was to ask Mr. Fisher, through administration, to come back to Council with some proposed revisions to the ordinance for Council to discuss in its customary manner.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she was concerned about amending an ordinance to satisfy any one particular project. She was not sure she agreed that the resources of the City should be spent on that response at this time, considering the form that this came before Council in.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-319 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry
Nays: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi
Dennis Cowen, legal counsel to Lucky Strike, asked for instruction as to the proper method to come before Council and propose ordinance changes.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi replied that Mr. Cowen should consult with Mr. Helwig or his staff for direction.
4. Fall for Novi – Member Sanghvi
Member Sanghvi said that all of his questions had already been asked and answered, and he had nothing further to inquire about.
5. Adjustments to the CVS Consent Agenda – Member Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo noted that Council had received a letter to Cindy Uglow from Nancy Mitts, who was the primary informant to Council about sound problems from CVS. Ms. Mitts wanted to make sure that the neighborhood’s comments were reflected prior to the City actually accepting the Consent Judgment as it has been presented. She asked if the City’s Legal Counsel was aware of the letter, and how the City would respond to this.
Mr. Schultz responded that the City Attorneys were aware of Ms. Mitt’s letter. This was a case that was filed by the City of Novi as plaintiff, essentially involving noise nuisance claims relating to the CVS warehouse impact on the residential properties to the west. It was the subject of a consent judgment that was entered in February of 2003 that did three things: acknowledge that the CVS use as a 24-hour use was permitted; place limitations on the operation of CVS, exclusively regarding the fans on the west side of the north building that face the residential area; and bring the resolution back for Council to examine by September 31st. This is the opportunity for Council to address whether the program is working.
Mr. Schultz stated that Ms. Mitts raised 4 issues in her letter. The first is a point that she thinks the judgment should be changed to indicate no fans operating on a Sunday or holidays. Right now, the judgment specifies non-working Sundays and non-working holidays. The City Attorneys would need direction from Council regarding whether this something that they should continue to negotiate. Items 2 and 3 on Ms. Mitt’s list are procedural, about who to call if the agreement is broken, Cindy Uglow, and what repercussions CVS would face if they went outside the agreement. Mr. Schultz said this is a court order and would be enforced in the typical Circuit Court judgment way. The fourth issue is another request to amend the language of the agreement to keep sound levels down to the current levels with regular maintenance. This is another issue that Council would need to provide direction on. The true question for Council is whether it believes the Consent Judgment is working as is, or if it would like to address the issues about holidays and Sundays, and sound levels. If the City proceeded with these amendments, it would need to file a motion to vacate the Consent Judgment as it currently exists, which would bring the City back to square one. He had no indication from CVS whether they would be agreeable at this point.
Member Lorenzo said her opinion was that Council should amend the Consent Judgment to include those two areas. Ms. Mitt’s presentation was valid in that the fans were not previously on during Sundays. The maintenance issue should have been included from the beginning.
CM-03-09-320 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To direct the City Attorney to explore amending the CVS Consent Judgment to include the issues of discussion regarding fans and their maintenance.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-320 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi, Capello
6. Status of Woodlands Review Board – Member Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo recalled that Council had just received an opinion about whether it could appoint a subcommittee of the Planning Commission to sit on the Board, and the answer was no. The entire Planning Commission would sit as a Committee of the Whole. She inquired about the status of the Woodlands Review Board, as Council has not received a response.
CM-03-09-321 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; MOTION CARRIED: To direct the City Attorney to amend the ordinance to provide that all woodland applications be directed to the Planning Commission.
Member Lorenzo said she would not want to have no board or commission in place to review applications. She said she would be amazed if the City had not received any applications throughout the spring or summer, based upon her experiences from serving on the Planning Commission and the Woodlands Review Board.
Member Sanghvi asked if Council was putting a time limit on the item. According to what the letter states, no two people should be doing the same things at the same time.
Mr. Fisher suggested possibly amending the ordinance to provide that all woodland applications go to the Planning Commission.
Member Lorenzo and Member Sanghvi both said this would be fine.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-321 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Bononi,
Nays: Capello, Csordas
7. Amending City Council Start Times and Adding an Additional Meeting – Member Capello
Member Capello said that given the extent of Council’s schedules, he proposed to start Council meetings earlier on Monday nights, perhaps at 6:30 p.m. He also suggested examining a method so that Council could hold additional Council meetings each month, such as a third meeting every month or every other month, at least until agendas can be reduced to a "workable" length. When he served on the Planning Commission, they would occasionally hold a meeting on the third Wednesday of every month which was utilized for special meetings. He proposed beginning Council meetings at 6:30 or 6:45 p.m., and holding an additional Council meeting at least once every 60 days.
Member Landry said he was not opposed to either of Member Capello’s propositions. Of the two, he was more supportive of the extra meeting. He would be in more agreement with starting meetings at 7:00 than 6:30. However, he would certainly support adding an additional Council meeting, until further notice, either every month or every other month.
Member Csordas agreed with Member Landry that adding an extra meeting would be helpful. Council has had extraordinary agendas recently, and he did not want to tamper with due process for petitioners. He asked that the start time be 7:00 instead of 6:30 for logistical reasons.
Member Lorenzo agreed with a 7:00 p.m. start time, but would not agree to a third meeting. She said she would be unable to prepare for an additional meeting per month. Council has the option to hold special meetings. She believed that the Gateway Ordinance item from the last Council meeting should have been discussed at a special meeting with only one item on it.
Member Sanghvi said he had no problem beginning meetings at 7:00 p.m., but said 6:30 would be very difficult. He felt additional meetings should be held on an as-needed basis rather than as a routine. He suggested that agendas should have an item in which a representative from the City would summarize issues that were raised in the previous meeting, and what actions had been taken on those issues.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the action items sheet which is provided to Council performs the function which Member Sanghvi had requested an agenda item for. She said Council can always add another meeting whenever it would like to. In consideration of the potential changes in Council membership after the November 4th elections, she did not want to make a decision about meeting start times at this time. If Council should begin a meeting earlier than the standard start time, she said the City Manager should provide a strong message about that start time.
8. Scheduling the Ice Rink – Member Capello
Member Capello noted that a few months prior he had suggested that it was time to give residents some type of break on the fees that they pay for the Ice Arena, whether with a break in fees through the Youth Hockey Association, or whether they are skating as seniors or ice skaters. He had asked for the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department to meet with Mr. Anastos and return to Council with some type of proposal to charge residents differently than non-residents. At this time, residents and non-residents pay the same rates, which is unfair to tax paying residents. Member Capello asked for this item to be placed on an agenda within about a month.
9. Review of Refuse/Trash Receptacle Segment of the Ordinance – Member Capello
Member Capello noted that at a recent meeting a resident of Churchill Crossings subdivision had complained to Council that there were not enough dumpsters on construction sites in that neighborhood. Member Capello viewed that subdivision, which brought several things to his mind. Requiring a dumpster on every construction lot, as the ordinance currently does, does not provide a pleasant experience for residents. He said the ordinance should be examined, and the City should perhaps require a dumpster on a lot, or to be shared by two lots for a certain period of time. Once the house is enclosed there will be less construction refuse that would have to go in that dumpster, and most likely the refuse would be kept within the house or the garage. The ordinance should include fines to be imposed on persons who use dumpsters but have no right to do so, such as neighbors dumping their refuse into construction dumpsters that do not belong to them. Dumpsters should not be required for as long as the ordinance currently stipulates, and people who are required to provide dumpsters should be protected with penalty provisions in the ordinance.
10. Development Agreement at the Northeast Corner of Meadowbrook and Grand River – Member Landry
Member Landry noted that Council has a rezoning request coming to it regarding the northeast corner of Grand River and Meadowbrook. It is his understanding that what is being contemplated is a rezoning with the development agreement. He suggested Council give the City Attorney authority to begin reviewing that development agreement as it is being drafted, with his fee to be paid by the developer. This way, a development agreement would not be presented to Council that was solely drafted by the developer, and time would be saved.
CM-03-09-322 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; MOTION CARRIED: To authorize the City Attorney to review development agreements.
Member Lorenzo said the applicant should have been before Council and asked for the City Attorney’s participation on the development agreement. She was concerned whether the City could actually charge this to the applicant without the applicant’s consent and voluntary agreement. Council will have to wait for the applicant to come forward and request the development agreement to become involved.
Mr. Fisher said that the City has an ordinance in place that where an applicant applies to the City for some approval or benefit, the applicant is obligated to pay the City Attorney’s fees. If the applicant submits the development agreement for review, then they must pay for it.
Member Lorenzo responded that if the applicant had requested the motion, she would feel differently about the matter. However, Council had not received anything from the applicant so she would be uncomfortable supporting the motion.
Member Landry said he was simply trying to avoid making Mr. Fisher have to tell the applicant that he can not examine a development agreement until he receives Council approval, should the applicant submit such a development agreement. If the applicant does not submit a development agreement, he does not suggest that Mr. Fisher draft one. He said he did not want Mr. Fisher to be stalled by procedure on the issue, should the applicant apply.
Member Sanghvi asked if this was proposed on an incidental basis, or if the motion would apply as a general Council policy. If Council should make such a decision about a potential development, it should adopt the decision as a policy issue rather than as an incident issue. He proposed a friendly amendment to the motion to provide standing instructions to the City Attorney to facilitate the process regarding development agreements. Member Landry and Member Csordas accepted the friendly amendment.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that the applicant has the opportunity to present a petition to the City at any time. She shared Member Sanghvi’s concern with such an item being included under Mayor and Council Issues as opposed to a regular agenda item. Council has never established a defined policy about whether it wants to do development agreements except in very special cases. Often times, Mr. Helwig has to guess as to what Council policy is. If Council is to discuss development agreements, it should be an item on an agenda, and Council should determine how and when it will use them and who will ask for them. After Council does this it can ask for Mr. Fisher’s advice on how to use them appropriately. She did not want to think that Council would end up having all of its zoning approvals on the basis of agreements by attorneys. This would remove the City from the decision-making picture. Furthermore, if Council entertains a development agreement, there is a presumption that the City has an approval. She said she would not support the motion.
Member Capello said it makes perfect sense to be pro-active and look at having a development agreement before Council when the rezoning comes before it. There is nothing wrong with knowing about rezoning to a zoning classification that would not be acceptable but a use that is acceptable, to look ahead to see if there is some way to accommodate the use that is desired at the same time rezoning is under consideration. This is done with a development agreement. He would prefer to have that development agreement before Council when the B-3 zoning comes before it so that Council can be better prepared to make its decision. By simply examining the B-3 zoning, Council would likely have to deny the request. Council does not need to delay by tabling the item when it comes before Council. Member Capello said he was wholly in favor of the motion.
Member Landry said he only trying to avoid a situation where a developer would come before Council and propose a development agreement, but Council could not receive Mr. Fisher’s advice because he was not allowed to examine the agreement. He said Member Sanghvi’s amendment was excellent general directive that if anyone presents a development agreement, Mr. Fisher is allowed to look at it and provide an opinion to Council, so long as any fee that the City Attorney may charge is paid by the developer.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi was concerned that people may feel that Council is expediting applications on behalf of developers.
Mr. Fisher said he had prepared a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would create a very structured arrangement by which the Planning Commission and Council would be the key players in the process upon the request of a property owner for a development agreement. This is now working its way through the Planning Commission’s normal process and will hopefully be in front of Council in the not-too-distant future.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commented that Mr. Fisher’s proposed amendment would help to clarify Council policy. She also expressed concern regarding the appropriateness of some mentioned items to be under Mayor and Council Issues, because this puts Council members in a position of not being able to respond or prepare for some very complex matters. To enter into discussions that involve specific projects is inappropriate.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-09-322 Yeas: Sanghvi, Capello, Csordas, Landry
Nays: Lorenzo, Bononi
11. Handicap Parking – Mayor Pro Tem Bononi
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi recognized that the City currently is under circumstances in which it has handicap parking spaces which are not open to handicapped persons who might wish to use them. There is a great deal of consternation about the location of the parking spaces that are now available or will be available. She said there was a great deal of concern heard from handicapped persons who attended the Fall for Novi events about accessibility of the newly designated handicap spaces to the east of the building and the sidewalk being built, particularly during the winter. She shared concerns about the proximity issues of those spaces. She requested reassessing the preservation of spaces that are being newly created as a result of administrative decision, and asked administration to assess if the north side of the building could be used as a drop-off point for handicap persons. This might be a reasonable alternative for people taking an impaired person to the Civic Center, thus alleviating that concern. This would not alleviate the concern of handicapped persons driving their own cars, but it might free up many other parking spaces. She said she supports the security provisions that have been made, but would like to revisit the situation to possibly gain some additional parking spaces and use the northern side of the building as a drop-off point. She suggested perhaps keeping one access road open and closing the other one.
Member Lorenzo said she thought that when Meadowbrook Commons was completed, the City was to hold its senior activities there. She asked what senior activities the City still holds at the Civic Center, and why.
Mr. Helwig said there are still classes in the main assembly room such as tap dance classes and others, as well as bridge and card playing activities.
Member Lorenzo asked why those activities had not been transferred over to Meadowbrook Commons. Mr. Helwig said he would inquire about this. Member Lorenzo said this might alleviate much of the problem, if activities were held in a location with plenty of accessible handicap spaces.
Mr. Helwig thanked the Mayor Pro Tem for her suggestion and said administration would look into them. The genesis for many of the changes at the City has been from the concept of "defensible space." It is no longer desirable or common to build a through-road adjacent to a building that houses many people coming and going. The expansion of Novi High School was to include a through-road on the north side of the High School. Incidents in other school complexes around the country have nothing to do with terrorism, but everything to do with a crime of opportunity and the ease to get in and out quickly without being seen. The fact that people can see a potential criminal is a major deterrent from committing a crime. This has been the thrust for the changes which Council has been supportive of. He was saddened to see the debate take on the dimension that it has, but the suggestion was an excellent one because it would still eliminate the through nature of the road.
Member Csordas asked how many handicap spaces were on the north side of the building. Mr. Helwig said that before any changes occurred, there were 8 handicap spaces on the north side and 4 spaces on the south side. The City now has all 12 spaces on the south side, 4 of which are now where the City employees used to park, and 8 others in the main lots opposite the south entrance.
Member Csordas said that based upon what Mr. Helwig had mentioned about defensible buildings and such, the parallel parking spaces on the south side could be converted to handicap spaces. Mr. Helwig said the difference between the north and south side parking situation is that the through-road still exists on the south side of the building, but the north side handicap parking is recessed into a cul-de-sac. The safety of moving to the rear of a vehicle is guarded on the north side. On the south side, the rear of a vehicle would be exposed to a through-road, which is not acceptable for handicap parking.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business to come before Council, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi adjourned the meeting at 11:42 p.m.
Michelle J. Bononi, Mayor Pro Tem Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: Steve King
Date approved: October 6, 2003