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REGULAR MEETING OF
THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Csordas called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry, Council Members Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo – absent/excused, Nagy, Paul
ALSO PRESENT: Rick Helwig – City Manager
Tom Schultz – Assistant City Attorney
Doug Shaeffer – Police Chief
Nancy McClain – City Engineer
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Nagy added South Lake Culvert to Mayor and Council Issues Item #1, and Meadowbrook Townhouse Condominiums as Mayor and Council Issues Item #2.
CM-03-12-387 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended
Voice Vote on CM-03-12-387 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
1. Recognition of Novi Police Officer Ayren Edgar – Honoring his service to our Country in the Marine Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Mayor Csordas said it was a great honor to him, as Mayor of Novi and as a veteran, to be able to read the proclamation of commendation to Corporal Ayren Edgar, one of the City’s finest.
Corporal Edgar thanked the City of Novi for its support, as well as the Novi Police Department, and his wife, April.
1. Public Hearing for Special Assessment Number 168 – West Lake Drive Water Improvements
Jim Richardson, 1511 West Lake Drive, expressed his support for both SAD 168 and SAD 169. He had been at the City Clerk’s office earlier that day, and saw a tally of the votes. He saw 21 approvals and 3 objections for SAD 168, and 20 approvals and 4 objections for SAD 169. The majority of citizens want the SAD’s, and he asked Council to move the projects forward.
Brian Kosaian 1523 W. Lake Drive, said he was a strong supporter of both SAD 168 and 169. It was his understanding that supporters had an overwhelming majority of the vote, and hoped Council recognized this in making their decision later that evening. He expressed concern about the cost estimates. The initial estimates included $186,000 in engineering costs, but those actual costs came in at $50,240, leaving a difference of about $136,000. He noted that there had not been any adjustments in costs in the estimates provided to the citizens. Residents were advised at one of the informational meetings that the Grand River bridge also cost less than the City engineers had estimated, and they hope that this will also be the case with their project. He asked for Council’s help to ensure that the project is done in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Mr. Kosaian thanked Council, Rick Helwig, Nancy McClain, and Brian Coburn for getting residents through the SAD process in less than 1 year.
Henry Kozlowski, 1635 West Lake Drive, asked for his name to be removed from the SAD because he lives at the end of the road.
Paul Weindorf, while not included in SAD, lives on a property which borders the SAD’s. He noted that his neighbor, Mr. Kozlowski, wants out of the SAD’s and said he does not want the approach on his property. He said this would be a win-win situation, where the approach would be placed on Mr. Kozlowski’s property and not include him in the SAD, and also keeping the approach off of his own property.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig to take this under consideration and to provide a recommendation to City Council.
Mr. Helwig said it would be appropriate for Council, when it reached Matters for Council Action, to ask Mr. Schultz to comment on what recourse residents might have at this stage in the SAD planning process, depending on Council’s decision.
2. Public Hearing for Special Assessment Number 169 – West Lake Drive Paving Improvements - None
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE - None
2. CITY MANAGER - None
3. DEPARTMENTAL - None
4. ATTORNEY - None
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION – None
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
CM-03-12-388 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda as presented
Voice Vote on CM-03-12-388 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
CONSENT AGENDA: (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)
A. Approval of License Agreement with Wisam Arabo and Linda Arabo for the placement of a concrete driveway within the City’s storm sewer easement over parcel 50-22-02-328-001 (1353 East Lake Drive).
B. Approval to award bid for the purchase and installation of Civic Center stage curtains to North Coast Studios, the low bidder in the amount of $4,695.
C. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 662.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. Approval of Resolution Number 7 for Special Assessment District Number 168 – West Lake Drive Water Main Extension.
CM-03-12-389 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Resolution Number 7 for Special Assessment District Number 168 – West Lake Drive Water Main Extension.
Member Nagy asked for a response regarding Mr. Weindorf’s property.
Ms. McClain said that administration had had discussions with Mr. Weindorf, and the approach was not on his property. The approach is actually on an easement for access for 4 residences on another person’s property.
Member Nagy said she just wanted to make sure that Mr. Weindorf’s question was answered satisfactorily.
Member Paul noted that Mr. Kozlowski had asked that his name be removed from the SAD. She asked if this could be removed from the SAD.
Mr. Schultz noted that this was the 7th and last resolution of the process. There have been other public hearings, including a hearing where the district was created including all of the properties listed that evening. All Council was doing that evening was approving the Special Assessment Roll. At this point, it would be very difficult to delete property from the roll. There has been an opportunity for the property owner to object, and if he objects to the actual Special Assessment amount, he can take that appeal on to the next step in the process.
Member Capello asked Mr. Schultz if "appeal the process" meant to take the appeal beyond City Council, not within the City Council.
Mr. Schultz said this was correct, to take the appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-12-389 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Nagy, Paul
2. Approval of Resolution Number 7 for Special Assessment District Number 169 - West Lake Drive Paving.
CM-03-12-390 Moved by Capello, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Resolution Number 7 for Special Assessment District Number 169 - West Lake Drive Paving.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-12-390 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Nagy, Paul, Csordas
3. Approval of Agreement with Oakland County (endorsed by HUD) regarding the repayment and reprogramming of Federal Community Development Block Grant Funds totaling $137,876, over eight years, utilized for purchase of property along Twelve Mile Road in 1993. (This Agreement will allow the City of Novi to transfer approximately 4.3 acres adjacent to Twelve Mile Road to Sandstone instead of approximately 4.3 acres of additional parkland along Dixon Road at Twelve and One-Half Mile Road
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if the $137,876 in Community Development Block Grant Funds would come back to the City in addition to what it already expects to receive, or if this was just part what the City will receive.
Mr. Helwig replied that this money was in addition to what the City expects to receive.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry commented that this was then a net-zero to the City.
Mr. Helwig said administration could not be more delighted in the outcome of the year-long discussions and work on the issue. This means that the City does not have to part with another 4.3 acres of wooded parkland adjacent to North Novi Park along Dixon Road. The City can, as Council has desired all along, transfer this parcel in the middle of what will be the development along Twelve Mile Road to the developer, save the parkland, and save the remediation cost of arsenic on the property. The resolution by HUD was that because $137,876 of Block Grant funds were used in 1993 toward the purchase of the property, HUD has accepted the valuation put together by Mr. Fisher. The City will repay this out of general funds in 8 annual installments, and can convey this after the City pays the first installment on December 17th to Sandstone. The City is done with land with Sandstone after that transaction. In turn, over the next 8 years, the City will get that $17,000-plus dollars back in additional Block Grant funds that will stay locally for Council to program as it sees fit.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. Helwig if he said that the City would be done with land transactions with Sandstone after this, which Mr. Helwig replied was correct. Mayor Pro Tem noted that during the negotiation process, this was a difficult parcel of property. He described the settlement as a win-win for the City.
CM-03-12-391 Moved by Landry, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Agreement with Oakland County (endorsed by HUD) regarding the repayment and reprogramming of Federal Community Development Block Grant Funds totaling $137,876, over eight years, utilized for purchase of property along Twelve Mile Road in 1993. (This Agreement will allow the City of Novi to transfer approximately 4.3 acres adjacent to Twelve Mile Road to Sandstone instead of approximately 4.3 acres of additional parkland along Dixon Road at Twelve and One-Half Mile Road.)
Mayor Csordas commented that Mayor Pro Tem Landry was exactly correct in stating that Council had "hard core" training on negotiations for 3 years. This is a win-win, net-zero cost transaction to the City.
Member Paul commended the City staff for working this agreement out, as well as Oakland County. She commended everyone for their good resolution and not removing any more of the dearly-needed woodlands from the City.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-12-391 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry
Mr. Helwig noted that at Council’s next meeting, it was administration’s intent to bring forward what Council asked for in 2001 when negotiations commenced on Sandstone – a legal instrument that will preserve all of what comprises North Novi Park. This was something that the Planning Commission felt strongly about, and City Council adopted a policy resolution saying that when land matters with Sandstone were completed, the City should ensure that there will never be an inroad to North Novi Park. He said it was administration’s intent to bring this back to Council on December 16th now that the City is done with land transactions.
4. Approval to award bid for Generators and associated electrical for emergency electrical power for municipal buildings from Doshi & Associates, Inc., the low qualified bidder, in the amount of $290,320.
CM-03-12-392 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to award bid for Generators and associated electrical for emergency electrical power for municipal buildings from Doshi & Associates, Inc., the low qualified bidder, in the amount of $290,320.
Member Paul asked why the City always goes with the low bidder on any process.
Mr. Helwig said it is desirable to choose the lowest and best bid, meaning that the bidder is qualified, has met all of the criteria through the pre-bid process, and has a track-record in the field. Low bidders sometimes, but not often, can be disqualified for various reasons or passed over because of prior experiences or other reasons.
Member Paul asked if, once issued, the work would be done relatively quickly in case there is another power outage.
Mr. Helwig said the contract calls for completion by April 1st, 2004. Most of the generators are diesel backups, and there is one natural gas backup. It will take a few months to get most of that work accomplished.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-12-392 Yeas: Gatt, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello
5. Consideration of Zoning Map Amendment No. 18.631, a request of Hummer of Novi to rezone 6.721 acres of vacant land located in Section 24 on the northeast corner of Grand River Avenue and Meadowbrook Road, from I-1, Light Industrial to B-3, General Business, with a development agreement.
Scott Riddle, the owner’s representative for Detroit Hummer, congratulated Members Paul, Gatt and Nagy for winning the recent City Council election, and congratulated Mayor Csordas for winning the mayoral race. He introduced members involved with his project who were in attendance: Gary Wood, Debbie Pasik, Jeffrey Budzien, Matt Quinn, and Tracy Skrocki.
Mr. Riddle said that the Hummer brand image design was presented to the Planning Department in March of the year for the first time. It was from that initial meeting that they captured an understanding of what would be accepted in the City of Novi. From that time of March through the past 9 months, they have worked diligently on developing a design that they believe is compatible to the Gateway East criteria, and consistent with the City’s downtown theme. Over the course of those 9 months, they have developed a collaborative and positive open communication link with the Planning Department. He commended the City’s Planning Department, including Dave Evancoe and Barb McBeth, for guiding and directing them through the City’s processes. He said Detroit Hummer had a project that is befitting to the City and will represent the East Gateway at the northeast corner of Meadowbrook and Grand River to enhance the neighborhood. He said a letter included in Council’s packets was from the City of Southfield, speaking to the character of Gary Wood as a business owner and as part of that community. He said that if Detroit Hummer was successful in capturing Council’s approval that evening, the City would also have such a relationship with an individual like Mr. Wood as part of the business community.
Mr. Quinn said this was a "win-win" for the City of Novi and for his client, Gary Wood. General Motors looked at the area for where a Hummer dealership should be sited, and decided on one mile from the Grand River and Haggerty intersection, Farmington Hills and Novi. Mr. Wood came to Novi, looked at 5 available sites in the City, and found the site at Grand River and Meadowbrook. This was, and still is, a very difficult site. There have been industrial projects for that particular corner, but because of the problems with the soils, it is a very expensive site to develop. His client would spend about $500,000 just in site development, before the building is constructed, because of the bad soils in that particular area. The Gateway East District actually helps this, because it pushes the building up towards the front corner where some of the better land is. The back areas will be parking space, green space and wetlands area. He said the site would end up being 51% open space, which is a benefit to the City.
Mr. Quinn noted that 6.72 acres of land currently zoned I-1 were under consideration. In the new Gateway ordinance, Council lets its intention known that it desired that particular corner, and the other corners on the intersection, to become Gateway East. However, this is currently still I-1 and master planned for community commercial as is the corner on the south of the intersection. Mr. Wood wants to comply with the City’s 20-20 master plan that says the 4 corners of the intersection should all be commercial. After the development agreement is entered into and the property is rezoned to B-3, Detroit Hummer would then come back before the end of the year with an application for the Gateway East rezoning, and then would come back with the compliance to the Gateway East rezoning. He said the group was not applying for Gateway East rezoning that evening because they had time constraints with General Motors, as the group had to have a rezoning in place by October 31st. The group did not meet this goal, so Mr. Wood had to go back to the company to get an extension. They still need a zoning extension to the B-3. With the granting of the B-3, the agreement says they must have a rezoning that will allow an automobile dealership to be properly zoned for that site. With the B-3 request with the development agreement, Detroit Hummer would comply with the requirements that his client has with General Motors. They know that they meet all of the Gateway East requirements – all of the setbacks, the parking requirements, the greenspace requirements, and others. He said they were asking Council to approve the B-3 rezoning and the development agreement. His client would pledge to follow the development agreement and would have the rezoning to Gateway East applied for by the end of the month, and would then be simultaneously working on the site plan.
Member Paul said that when she was on the Planning Commission, she had a hard time having a car dealer on Grand River. She still felt that all of the car dealerships are on Haggerty Road, which is the proper place for this site. Unfortunately, her understanding of the development agreement was that Detroit Hummer already had a lot of support for the project. She said the project was very attractive, and she hoped that the City could have a good business relationship with the company. She commended the group for their perseverance.
Member Gatt commended Mr. Quinn’s clients, as this was a beautiful building that would add much to the City. He said he fully supported the project.
Member Capello said that on page 4 (H), it is stated "determined in the discretion of the City Planning Commission and City Council…", and he felt this should just be in the discretion of the City Council, since it would be Council’s final decision. He recalled a number of his own concerns in the past pertaining to the sales of used cars, and said one of the things moving this project forward was the fact that the dealership was selling Hummers. In the final draft, he would look for something that had some limitations on the sales of used vehicles. He had seen a number of different renderings, but did not recall that the very corner was a car display area in some of the previous drawings. This was one of his two concerns – having car displays right on the corner of Grand River and Meadowbrook – seeing as the previous renderings had them off to the sides. He asked if the east side of the building would be the main entranceway for foot traffic.
Mr. Riddle said the east side of the building would be the main customer entrance.
Member Capello expressed concern with the visibility of the cars in the parking lot. He said he wished to see some kind of wall landscaping between display vehicles in the parking lot. He noted that the agreement says there will be service work done, and he asked if there was any body shop work being done at the site. Mr. Quinn replied that there would not be body shop work done.
Member Capello asked if Council was moving for the rezoning and approval of the development agreement for Hummer of Novi.
Mr. Schultz said that this was correct. He recalled that Member Capello had also looked to a final draft, and said that this was the final draft before Council.
Member Capello stated that he meant when the SDO comes back to Council.
CM-03-12-393 Moved by Capello, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Zoning Map Amendment No. 18.631, a request of Hummer of Novi to rezone 6.721 acres of vacant land located in Section 24 on the northeast corner of Grand River Avenue and Meadowbrook Road, from I-1, Light Industrial to B-3, General Business, with a development agreement eliminating the reference to the City Planning Commission in Page 4, Section H; and replacing the word "southern" on the top of page 5 with "northern."
Member Nagy said that when she was on the Planning Commission she did not vote for the project because of her experience with Jaguar of Novi. With Jaguar, when the Planning Commission approved the conceptual plan and the model was presented, waivers and other items were requested, and she did not even feel that the building looked like the scaled model. She had read the agreement and looked at everything that had been done with Hummer. She was much more comfortable having an agreement in place with a project of this sort, because if it is not built the site reverts back to the I-1 designation. She felt this was protective of the property and for the City.
Member Nagy noted that Page 4 (2) indicates that "The minimum landscaping requirements for the Land shall be as provided in the landscaping provisions of the Zoning Ordinance, but shall include all landscaping depicted on the attached Exhibit C." She interpreted this to mean the dealership would put the minimum out, and would not put anything extra in. She asked if this was what was intended by that paragraph.
Mr. Riddle said his group’s intent was to meet the Gateway criteria, and not to do the minimal amount. They have a significant investment in mitigating the wetlands and some trade-offs in treating that area. In terms of landscaping, they will be screening the parking area from Meadowbrook and from Grand River, and will be doing more than what the minimum requirements would be for them.
Member Nagy asked if the drawing provided to Council accurately depicted what the final building would look like, which Mr. Riddle said was correct. Mr. Riddle stated that they are not changing and altering the design, and there is a finish board that was delivered to the Planning Department depicting the actual building finishes that they expect to execute at the time of construction.
Member Nagy said that when the Hummer proposal came before the Planning Commission, the Gateway ordinance did not include the northeast and southeast corners. Council later included the northeast and southeast corners in the ordinance. She asked what the process would be for reviewing site plans, as Member Capello wished to remove the Planning Commission from the review process.
Mr. Schultz replied that Hummer will, by December 31st, submit an application under the new Gateway Ordinance for Special Development Option approval. This is similar to some of the other optional developments where a conceptual plan comes through, is reviewed by the Planning Commission, and ultimately approved by the Council with a contract and agreement in addition to this development agreement.
Member Nagy asked if this proposal would go to Planning.
Mr. Schultz said the item would come back for a second site plan review to the Planning Commission, but would ultimately be decided on by City Council.
Member Nagy stated that she had thought the Planning Commission was being bypassed altogether, and thanked Mr. Shultz for the clarification.
Member Capello commented that since by the time the Hummer proposal goes through it will do so under the Gateway GE ordinance, special development, it would come back to City Council for approval and would not go back to the Planning Commission.
Mr. Schultz said that ultimately, the Planning Commission has a role in terms of recommendation to the City Council. There is a conceptual step that will have to be dealt with. There will be plenty of opportunity for the Planning Commission to get its comments in, but ultimately the project will need Council’s approval.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry noted that the top of page 5 references "The Demonstration Drive area at the southern end of the site." He asked if the Demonstration Drive area was at the northern end of the site, which Mr. Riddle replied was correct. Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked for a friendly amendment that the word "southern" on the top of page 5 be replaced with "northern", which Member Capello agreed to.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he would support the project. It is consistent with the master plan and with Novi 2020. The architectural façade was, in his opinion, exactly what Council was looking for in the Gateway area. The original plan was slightly different than the current plan, but he commended the petitioner. Many people will be watching how Hummer of Novi proceeds through the Gateway East Special Development Option process, as they are the first company to do so. He was pleased to have the company as the first, as they have demonstrated an ability to listen to the City’s concerns, and they are convinced that the City is willing to listen to their concerns as well. Together, this can be a quality project for the City that will comport exactly what the Gateway East ordinance intends. The notion of a car dealership on the corner is one thing, but this will be a car dealership like no other. He said he would support the project.
Mayor Csordas commented that there was no question that the original design of the dealership was different than what Council saw that evening. He had the opportunity to see the design early on, and it was refreshing to have the petitioner ask for information and opinions on the design, changing it to something that will blend in nicely with that area. He asked how many units would be moved through the dealership annually.
Mr. Riddle said there would be roughly 808 units per year moved.
Mayor Csordas asked how many units Mr. Riddle would guess that the Ford dealership on Ten Mile and Haggerty moved a year. Mr. Riddle replied that this was probably about 4,000.
Mayor Csordas remarked that the Hummer dealership would be low volume, which is a good fit for the area. He asked if the City had protections in the agreement that would revert the land back to its original zoning if the land is transferred.
Mr. Schultz said the development agreement runs with the land, so if there is a transfer, the land has the protections in the development agreement and ultimately in the Special Development Option contract as well.
Member Paul noticed that only one flag was shown in the rendering presented to Council, and she asked if this would be truly what was on the site, since other dealerships have a slew of flags for attention.
Mr. Riddle replied that there would only be one flag.
Member Paul noted that the City’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director is trying to implement 10-foot bike paths. This will be very difficult along Grand River because of the small easement, but to the north and east of the Hummer site there is more flexibility because there is more open space. She asked that the bike path route around the wetland if possible in the site plan, as this would be a nice corridor for people to go north on Meadowbrook. She said this would be greatly appreciated.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-12-393 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION – In order to hear all citizen comments at a reasonable hour, the City Council requests that speakers respect the three-minute time limit for individual comments, and the five-minute time limit for an individual speaking on behalf of a group.
Paul Sherbeck noted that he was a 17-year resident of Novi. William Goodwin, a late 18th century philosopher, said that government was intended to suppress injustice, but its effect has been to embody and perpetuate it. Of all the taxations, the property tax on a person’s home is the most unjust, and is immoral. Pay off the mortgage on your home and you still don’t own it. City governments, county governments, local and county school districts feed on these taxes. These taxes pay for police and fire, but also for the Sandstone fiasco. Property taxes pay for a new academic wing at Novi High School, but also for the Oakland Schools’ "Taj Mahal", where money meant for special needs children was confiscated to construct an administration building. Property taxes pay to melt ice on the roads, but also to make ice for skating. Tonight, Novi has on the agenda Resolution for the Approval of a Deficit Reduction Plan for the Ice Arena. Instead, the Council should be resolving to get rid of the Ice Arena. Providing ice time for upper middle-class citizens is not a legitimate function of government. The Ice Arena should be sold. Privately owned and operated sports venues do exist in Novi and in Wixom. Also, according to the Detroit News, Suburban Sports Group, a Farmington Hills based company, has been trying to purchase up to 8 acres of Macomb Corners Park, to build and operate a 2-sheet rink. It is time for Novi to get out of the recreation business.
Henry Kozlowski, 1635 West Lake Drive, said he was before Council earlier and asked to be taken off of the SAD. He was told that he was never on the project. He had sent letters to the City asking to be taken off of the SAD, and he felt that no one acknowledged him.
Paul Weindorf said the city Engineer’s comment that the approach does not go on his property might be debatable. The easement does not run in the front of Mr. Kozlowski’s property. Mr. Kozlowski asked to be removed from the SAD because he is not on the easement, but is near the tail. He felt the approach actually went onto his property. He said his wife was given a map that showed other lines than what were on the original platted document.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II
6. Approval to purchase nine replacement patrol vehicles through the Macomb County Joint Purchasing Program from Signature Ford, in the amount of $181,858.
CM-03-12-394 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to purchase nine replacement patrol vehicles through the Macomb County Joint Purchasing Program from Signature Ford, in the amount of $181,858
Member Capello asked if it would be beneficial to the Police Department if the City tried to purchase Tahoes instead of sticking with the current Crown Victoria’s. He noted that Crown Victoria’s were the only cars remaining with rear-wheel drive. Chief Shaeffer noted that these had a heavy frame.
Member Capello asked if there would be any benefit to switching to a Tahoe for some of the vehicles.
Chief Shaeffer replied that there can be some deficit and negative attributes from having a larger center-of-gravity vehicle. In fact, these are not certified for pursuit-type activities or higher speed activities that are sometimes required by police officers. The Department limits these types of vehicles to 4-wheel drive so they can respond in incremental weather. They try to minimize the number of SUV’s in their inventory.
Member Capello asked if the Crown Victoria was still the best type of vehicle available to purchase for the Department. Chief Shaeffer said that right now, this was correct.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-12-394 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Nagy
Absent: Lorenzo, Paul
7. Approval of a request from Northern Equities for Beck North Phase II for a variance of the Design and Construction Standards (Section 11-68(a)(1) to allow 2400 feet of dead-end water main to be installed without an immediate second point of system connection.
Jason Sutton from A.R. Decker & Associates, said he was the design engineer on phase I of this park, at which time they were working with JCK and City departments to develop the park. It had always been their understanding that the water main would connect through an intergovernmental agreement between Novi and Wixom. Detroit has pointed out that the contracts with municipalities do not allow them to do so, so the company is boxed-in with nowhere to go at the moment. It was his understanding that the City had on its master plan to extend the water main to the north to hook up on Pontiac Trail in the future.
Mayor Csordas asked if the issue there was with well water mixing with City water. Mr. Sutton said he was not aware of the specific problem, and he was only told by the City Engineering staff that it was in the master plan to do so.
Mr. Sutton said JCK has done a flow test and has found that there will be adequate fire protection flows at the end of the water main, prior to any other future connection that would be made. It is unusual to do a dead-end that long, but he said they were in a corner without an option. His client, the developer, has proceeded through the whole process understanding that they would be connecting to Wixom.
Mayor Csordas asked where the connection would go to close the loop. Mr. Sutton said he did not know and would have to refer the question to the City Engineer.
Ms. McClain said the connection would go across Pontiac Trail, and would be a looping connection that is proposed in the CIP.
Member Nagy asked if the City of Detroit Water and Sewer Department had approved the change.
Ms. McClain said the City of Detroit has not yet gone through all of the reviews on this. They rely on Novi to know the fire flows. For the City’s purposes, it is the Fire Department and the Design and Construction Standards that mandate what the pressures need to be in the area. They have analyzed the situation through the water study to make sure that it will work.
Member Capello asked if when the water main is installed, Northern Equities would make the connection at their cost. Mr. Sutton replied that Northern Equities is going to provide the water main to the property line right now, so the City would end up making the connection with the City’s design in the future. Northern Equities would provide their portion of the stub right now.
Member Capello asked if this was right to where the water main will come when the City brings it there, which Mr. Sutton said was correct.
CM-03-12-395 Moved by Capello, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve request from Northern Equities for Beck North Phase II for a variance of the Design and Construction Standards (Section 11-68(a)(1) to allow 2400 feet of dead-end water main to be installed without an immediate second point of system connection.
Member Nagy asked if the City had plans to put a water main along there, where it would be connected to in the future. She did not remember if this was on the Capital Improvements or not.
Ms. McClain said that under the Capital Improvement Plan that will be coming forth to the Capital Improvement Committee within the next couple weeks, that is one of the recommendations coming from the water study. In that area, the City has more properties than just Beck North that need available city water provided.
Member Nagy asked if when the water main is installed and the company taps into the water main, all of the properties would be paying fees. Ms. McClain said all properties would be paying the normal connection fees that they would pay.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry noted that the Design and Construction Standards calls for a loop system, but an exception is provided for. The Standard itself states that an exception will be made in those instances when a second connection is not available. A second connection is not available in this circumstance. The development was begun and built out with the understanding that the developer could tap into the neighboring city, but Detroit will not allow this. Under the exact wording of the Design and Construction Standards, this was when an exception should be made, and he said he would support the motion.
Member Paul said there was a site that came before the Planning Commission approximately 6 months ago, and this was a same type of ordeal. The Planning Commission was looking for a water connection from Wixom and had no report. If the City is looking to tap into someone else’s lines, before it gets through the initial stages there should be a letter of approval stating that the connecting city approves. Otherwise, this process was completely unnecessary. She felt that the City needed to do a better job. When there is a joining body that the City is looking for support from for services, she wanted to see a letter of approval or she would not support the project. This is a long and unnecessary process for the developer and for the City.
Mayor Csordas wished to bring to everyone’s attention that the request had been reviewed and recommended for approval by the City’s Engineering, Building, Planning, Landscape, City Attorneys, and the Fire Department.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-12-395 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Nagy, Paul, Csordas
8. Consideration of request from Lucky Strike for updates to the Arcade Ordinance
03-97.01 – 1st Reading.
Jim Lamphere from Schostak Brothers said he was in attendance on behalf of Fountain Walk with his associate, Miles McFee, the general manager, and with their legal counsel, Dennis Cowan. They were on behalf of not only Fountain Walk, but also of Lucky Strike, owned by Steven and Gillian Foster, who were before the Mayor and Council some time ago. Steven and Gillian have been involved in the entertainment business for over 25 years, were previously with the Gillian Group that they started, built that organization up to over 40 units similar to what they proposed for Fountain Walk, and sold that business in the late 1990’s. They opened up the first Lucky Strike several months ago, opened up a second unit, both in California, and are very excited about the opportunity to open up in Novi. They would occupy 64,000 square feet, 2 levels, and would tie into the family and friend entertainment concept, which Fountain Walk was originally developed for.
Dennis Cowan of Plunkett & Cooney noted that the group had been working with the City’s legal staff and administration to come to an appropriate ordinance revision, and he said he believed they had reached that. They have asked for changes in three areas. The City’s current ordinance was passed in the 1980’s when arcades were a problem. They were put up in storefronts and single-purpose buildings, and became a beehive of inappropriate activities. Today, this has totally changed. Places such as Lucky Strike, Dave and Busters, and Game Works are high-tech, greatly regulated, and are nowhere near what they were in the past. This, in part, has come due to oversight from communities such as Novi in providing appropriate regulation.
Mr. Cowan said the Group is looking for three things, including the redemption of prizes, as liquor control rules allow prizes valued up to $250 to be awarded for games of skill, which is exactly what is in the City’s ordinance – the mirror image of State regulations. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission must review and approve each game which is placed in the facility. They are given a "rip sheet" which is a description of the game and review what the game is about before approving it to be on a liquor license facility. Many of the games are things that children might have at home, just in a slightly different format. Tickets are generated from the games and can be redeemed for prizes.
Mr. Cowan said the second regulation that the Group has asked for some change on was that on the current City of Novi ordinance, there is a restriction that no arcade-type games are allowed within 3,000 feet of each other. Fountain Walk already has several arcades together within 3,000 feet of each other, and if this were enforced and not changed, it would allow whoever had the first arcade to have somewhat of a monopoly and not allow anyone else in.
Mr. Cowan said the Group had a few requested changes to age restrictions. He noted that there was concern expressed about age, and he said he was a parent of 2 past-teenagers and one 11-year-old. The issue is that Lucky Strike has no problem with the restriction on school nights, as Mr. and Mrs. Foster believe this is appropriate, and 16-years and under should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian on a school night. They asked for a clarification in the instances of non-school nights and non-school days. What they have asked for in Mr. Fisher’s supplemental note was a request that on Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays, summer vacations and other prescribed school vacations, it would not be a violation for students between the ages of 13 and 16 years old to be allowed on the premises between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Basically, these are daytime hours. The reason for this did not have to do with the young people, but had more to do with the parents. In a lifestyle mall such as Fountain Walk, the point of those types of malls is to have various options for people of various ages so that when a family goes there, youngsters can be allowed to pursue other entertainment than shopping. In many instances, children between then ages of 13 and 16 will want to go and do something on non-school days and nights, and this is an appropriate alternative, along with the movie theatre there, or bowling alleys or restaurants. This is about 165 to 170 days by his math, which is less than half of the year. On weekends and holidays, those children will have the opportunity for their parents to be with them, and will certainly have the supervision of the staff at the mall, who are 21 and above. For someone to invest several million dollars, no one will attempt to take a foolish risk and attempt to have improper service of alcohol. Lucky Strike intends to provide training, and will have a program of protocol with their staff and management about young people being on the premises for gaming and arcades. Lucky Strike agrees with the portion of the ordinance that says all persons 16 and under, whether they are with adults or not, will be off the premises at 10 p.m.
Member Gatt asked if the LCC had denied any games. Mr. Cowan said the only exception was video poker, which Lucky Strike did not have the intention to place. He did not know whether the LCC had denied any games of skill.
Member Gatt asked if the City’s ordinance was wrong, as he noted that Mr. Cowan had said that there were arcade games within 3,000 feet of each other right now at Fountain Walk. He asked if the ordinance should be addressed and changed to make it legal.
Mr. Schultz felt the ordinance was not wrong, but he said it may be old, and what was before Council was a proposal to bring it into line with the State statutes without any kind of admission that it’s currently incorrect.
Member Gatt asked what was meant by a "school night", whether this meant a day where kids go to school, or a day before school. To him, Sunday is a school night, a day where children should be getting ready for school the next day.
Mr. Cowan said a school day would be considered a day in which the school district is holding classes. Although Saturdays and Sundays would not be school days, Fridays would still be included, and parents would be required to accompany youths under the age of 16 on Fridays.
Member Gatt commented that he felt the ordinance should possibly be amended to allow children of the mentioned age on Fridays and Saturdays, but not Sunday, as Sundays in his house are a day when children are getting ready for school. He asked how it would be enforced if one school district had class on a particular Tuesday, but another did not.
Mr. Cowan replied that Lucky Strike was willing to go by the schedule of the local school district. There is a portion of the ordinance which addresses children who might have a day off at a private school.
Member Nagy asked Mr. Schultz if by taking the updated ordinance, Council was essentially approving Lucky Strike coming into Novi.
Mr. Schultz said that Council would be amending the ordinance, but there would still be a license review process that would result from Lucky Strike’s submission of an application for an arcade license under the new ordinance.
Member Nagy said that from reading the materials, it was her understanding that it was Lucky Strike that came forward to point out to the City that its Arcade Ordinance needed updating. Mr. Schultz replied that this was fair to say.
Member Nagy remarked that she did not feel very comfortable with the proposal. She felt that the ordinance was not being updated because it needed updating, but was rather being changed to accommodate a future applicant. This was like having a special ordinance for a special person, and she did not feel that this was fair. She also did not like the hours of operation listed where children under 16 could come in. There is another facility in Fountain Walk where kids hang around. She was not trying to make any kind of moral judgment. She did not support the idea of updating an ordinance only on behalf of one particular person or applicant.
Member Capello said he had no problem amending the ordinance. The City learns from other areas of the country, normally from the west coast, which in a way of development and business exceeds what we do here. Fountain Walk is a perfect location for a business of this sort. He felt that Lucky Strike was requesting the ordinance change for the City to keep up with new businesses that are coming, which is all that Council would be doing. He had flown into Denver, stayed at a Marriot Hotel, and across the street was a Gillian’s. He and his friend brought their 7 kids aged 4 to 14 into Gillian’s, and spent at least 3 hours there, and he said the kids "had a complete riot." He described the venue as a very plain place to bring children and play games. He spent a half-hour talking to the manager there and asked him if there was any trouble with gangs, loitering, or children and alcohol, and he was told "no" to all of the questions.
Member Capello said he knew the setup in Novi would be different, as the Denver Gillian’s was a much larger, 1-floor area, but they had the bar in one area, the bowling area was on the other side of the bar, and all of the games where the kids earn prizes were separated from the bar and the bowling alley. The waitresses would work the bowling alley and would not come out and work into the game area where the kids were. If he wanted a beer, he had to walk up to the bar to get it. He passed around a document promoting "Family nights at Gillian’s" on Wednesdays, and said it was good to attract children and their parents this way. There was absolutely no gambling involved, and the older kids enjoyed winning the tickets to give to the younger kids. He wholly supported the establishment and the amendment to the ordinance. He said that if the ordinance was approved for 1st reading that night, there was a conflict between the 1st section, "permit any persons under the age of 16 years to be on the premises at any time unless accompanied by an adult", and the underlying language, "on Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays and during summer vacation, it shall not be a violation for licensee to permit people between 13 and 16 during certain times" needed to be addressed before it came back to Council again. He liked Member Gatt’s language about addressing the definition of a school night. He felt that on Friday nights, kids could stay up later than on Sunday night.
CM-03-12-396 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; MOTION CARRIED: To approve request from Lucky Strike for updates to the Arcade Ordinance 03-97.01 – 1st Reading, and authorize the City Attorney to come back with language that standardizes ages, clarifies hours regulations, and defines "school night."
Mayor Pro Tem Landry agreed with the previous speaker, and said he could support the motion on 1st Reading. He also would support Member Gatt’s suggestion on tightening up language on what constitutes a school night. Respectfully, he disagreed with the previous speaker who focused on the person who is proposing the ordinance change. He doesn’t care who proposes an ordinance change, as he is going to evaluate it on the merits of the ordinance and the merits of what is proposed, regardless of who it is that makes the proposal. He felt the City should be open to anybody coming to the City making a request for changing an ordinance, whether this is a developer or not. If the ordinance is out of date, it should be changed.
Member Paul said that as a mother and as a nurse, she looked at children and alcohol on the same premises, and though she appreciated Member Gatt’s comments about Friday and Saturday being the days that children should be allowed, the concept of games and alcohol being together did not mix with her. She said she was unable to support the motion.
Mayor Csordas said there was no right or wrong on any of these issues, just differences of opinion. He said that on Chief Shaeffer’s memo dated November 26th, which at the bottom says, "For ease of regulation and enforcement, Council may wish to combine the age and hours criteria to a single standard." He asked Chief Shaeffer to explain this comment.
Chief Shaeffer remarked that it is a very cumbersome activity to think about who can be on premises, during what hours, and under what standards. He said that the current ordinance components were very confusing. He questioned how a proprietor would regulate the requirements and how the Police Department could enforce them.
Mayor Csordas asked Chief Shaeffer what he would recommend with the ordinance.
Chief Shaeffer said he would encourage Council to send the ordinance back to the City Attorney to try and streamline the language so that the City can accommodate the petitioner’s needs, and also put the ordinance in a format that is easy to regulate and easy to enforce. He suggested that the ordinance needed to be more age-group specific, and also clarify hour regulations as well.
Mayor Csordas thanked Chief Shaeffer for his recommendations, and said the memo also had confused him. He commented that it would be appropriate to try and streamline the language between the 1st and 2nd Readings. He recommended examining the local ordinances of other cities that the petitioner is located in.
Member Capello said Chief Shaeffer was referencing paragraphs 5, 6, and 7, and he said he had the section pertaining to ages 16 through 18 circled for discussion as well. It seemed that 6 and 7 could be eliminated and combined into one section.
Mr. Schultz asked if the concept of different age groups having different curfews was something that Council wanted to be altered, or simply set up to be easier to follow.
Mayor Csordas said the first step would be making this easier to follow. He suggested looking at a local ordinance of another municipal entity in another state that the company has to deal with, as it might have something similar to what the City is attempting to achieve.
Member Capello asked if there was any problem with cutting off the age at 16.
Mr. Cowan said his group would be happy to work with Council to try and streamline the ordinance and make it easier for both Lucky Strike and the Police Department to enforce.
Mayor Csordas said the proposal made a lot of sense, and the City was just trying to update what might be an outdated ordinance.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-12-396 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Csordas, Landry
Nays: Nagy, Paul
9. Resolution for Approval of the Deficit Elimination Plan for the Ice Arena.
Mr. Helwig noted that each year, the City is required by the State of Michigan to put forward a deficit elimination plan where there is a fund that is in deficit. This is because of the long-ago loan from the general fund, which is inching downward. The City must show the State future progress over the next 5 years.
CM-03-12-397 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Resolution for the Deficit Elimination Plan for the Ice Arena.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-12-397 Yeas: Gatt, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. South Lake Drive Culvert – Member Nagy
Member Nagy said that in reading the MDEQ permit, she had some other questions about the culvert. She wanted to understand if Mr. Losee and the City were on the same page regarding the term "navigable." She called Mr. Losee, and his response was that at first, the MDEQ permit was denied. Mr. Losee, upon speaking with Mr. Clein and the City Engineer, approved the permit based on the fact that there would be adequate headroom in the culvert, so the original headroom would be maintained. She said she was concerned for the City because it might receive a violation from the MDEQ. Mr. Losee had also said that the commercial definition for "navigable" was outdated regarding a log going through, and he said this is not the true definition anymore.
2. Meadowbrook Town Homes – Member Nagy
Member Nagy asked what the outcome was for the resolution on the landscaping, and what administration had done to ask the developer to comply.
Mr. Pearson responded to the letter distributed from Mr. Aramian. He said that administration agrees with some of the items listed in the letter, but he said there has not been an inspection done for the Certificate of Occupancy to date, as this has not been requested. There have been inspections for Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, and the City is holding money for the developer to meet the obligations of the site plan, but the fact is that this is a work in progress. The City has done an inspection, and Mr. Shipman has prepared an extensive letter on what the developer needs to do to meet the site plan obligations.
Member Nagy noted that she was not trying to put the City on the defensive, but was rather disappointed in the developer not meeting the site plan. She inquired about the recourse that the City has to enforce its ordinances. She asked if there was anything that could be done as to meeting the requirements of that site plan.
Mr. Pearson replied that his understanding was that the Final Unit Certificate of Occupancies were issued last year for the Phase I. The developer now needs to begin completing the site plan requirements for Phase I. There are 2 phases, and many of the elements are interrelated, making it hard to distinguish what needs to be done. There is nothing that the City can compel because there is nothing to compel at this point for some of the elements. The developer has asked for an inspection from Mr. Shipman, who has prepared a letter. In the spring, the developer will have to complete those items, or the City won’t give their money back or can take options through the Attorney’s office and use that money and do the work, which nobody likes to do.
Member Nagy asked if administration was looking for some kind of resolution by the spring. She asked if anything applying to the Phase I would be "law" once everything has gone through.
Mr. Pearson said the problem was that Phase II can start while Phase I is still under development.
Member Nagy asked Mr. Schultz if Phase I stands as a site plan by itself.
Mr. Schultz replied that Phase I stands on its own in terms of site plan review and approval. In this particular development there is some overlap of the 2 phases. There are residents living in some of the units, so Temporary C of O’s have been issued, but issued with the agreement of the developer through the City’s ordinance process that there are still some items that need to be cleared up before Final C of O’s are issued. He understood that this was frustrating to an individual living there, but ultimately the idea is that before Final Certificates of Occupancy are issued there will be compliance with the site plan from the City administration’s perspective, and what the City is entitled to have done will be done.
Member Nagy said she was hoping for some resolution for those residents.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION – In order to hear all citizen comments at a reasonable hour, the City Council requests that speakers respect the three-minute time limit for individual comments, and the five-minute time limit for an individual speaking on behalf of a group.
Wayne Hogan, 20923 Woodland Glen Drive,
Mr. Hogan commented that the handicap parking spaces for the new Baja Fresh Mexican Grill are located too far away from the building, 322 feet away from the restaurant door. He asked the City to look into this, and wondered why the restaurant was allowed to open without any nearby handicap spaces.
Mayor Csordas asked if this restaurant was located in the same building as the ski and golf shop in Novi Town Center.
Mr. Hogan replied that this was correct, and the restaurant encompasses the other side of that building.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig to have someone check to see if the restaurant is in compliance with the distances for the handicap parking requirements.
There being no further business to come before Council, Mayor Csordas adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m.
Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Steve King
Date Approved: December 16, 2003