View Agenda for this meeting

 MONDAY, JANUARY 26, 2004 AT 7:30 P.M.

Mayor Csordas called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Junior Girl Scouts of Troop #3951

Leader: Marcie Smith and Dawn Copley

Members: Jessica Smith, Rebecca Copley, Kylie Olkowski, Anna MacMillan, Elizabeth Ortwine, Shelby Limpert, MacKenzie Murphy, Ryleigh Groner

ROLL CALL: Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry, Council Members Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy and Paul

ALSO PRESENT Rick Helwig – City Manager

Clay Pearson – Assistant City Manager

Gerald Fisher – City Attorney

Benny McCusker – Director of Public Works

Randy Auler – Director of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry

Nancy McClain – City Engineer

Art Lenaghan – Fire Chief

Kathy Smith-Roy – Director of Finance

Doug Shaeffer – Police Chief


Member Nagy added Mayor and Council Issues Item #3, "Vortechnics."

Member Capello added Mayor and Council Issues Item #4, "Jake’s Liquor License." He asked Mr. Helwig if administration would like Council to add Matters for Council Action Item #14, as he had seen information in the Council packet regarding action needed soon on a dump truck.

Mr. Helwig said administration’s request was going to be made under the Departmental Reports, but said this could be discussed whenever Council wished to do so.

Member Gatt added Mayor and Council Issues Items #5, "Post Bar"; Item #6, "Tasers"; and Item #7, "Letter from Mr. Korte."

Member Paul asked to add Mayor and Council Issues Item #8, "Economic Development Committee", and Item #9, "Meadowbrook Town Homes Association."

CM-04-01-014 Moved by Landry, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.

Voice Vote on CM-04-01-014 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY







Mayor Csordas noted that the previous week, the Southwestern Oakland Cable Commission (SWOCC) held one of their quarterly meetings. He said the production for the City of Novi was increased from the previous year. In 2003, SWOCC made 167 Novi productions, 31 SWOCC studio promotions, and 80 live meetings from Council chambers. Novi seems to be a remote, intensive type of entity for SWOCC. Farmington and Farmington Hills do a lot of in-studio things, and Novi does a lot of remote shoots. There were 225 total productions: 87 were Novi productions, 97 were Farmington productions, 41 were SWOCC studio productions. SWOCC also assisted with numerous Farmington Hills and Novi meetings. They are now seeking and soliciting business from private entities to rent the studios out to as well.

2. CITY MANAGER – Selection of Dates for City Council

2004-2005 Budget Work Sessions

Mr. Helwig thanked Council and the community for the wonderful participation the past Saturday at the Neighborhood Leader’s breakfast. He asked for Council’s consensus on Council budget work session meeting dates and times. The previous year, Council had two Saturday sessions and a Wednesday evening session. The budget must be adopted, as required by the City Charter, no later than third Monday in May.

Mayor Csordas said he would definitely like to set those work session dates during the meeting, and asked for administration’s recommendation on those dates and times.

Council consensus was to schedule budget work sessions for Saturday, April 3rd and Saturday, April 24th, from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., and Wednesday, May 5th, from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Member Paul asked if goals are normally set first by Council, with budget talks following later, so that Council and administration can coordinate their goals, and work on the budget with it reflecting the goals.

Mr. Helwig said that administration has done its goal setting with Council in the off-election year, November of 2000 and November of 2002, since he has been with Novi. If Council wishes to continue this cycle, it will set its goals in November of 2004. Administration will be using the goals established in November of 2002 with this budget, but Council could seek other things with the document as well.

Member Paul said that in her management practice with budgets, they have created goals first and then set the budget toward those goals. Some of Council’s goals seem to have changed, as for example Member Capello had recently brought up the issue of the District Court. She felt that Council’s goals were changing and that it may want a brief session for reprioritizing, possibly using the same goals but reordering those in priority.

Mayor Csordas believed that this budget actually includes some of the prior goals, and is a continuation of the goals that were set prior to the current Council. He asked Council to consider simply following the established process, as the City administration truly knows what Council wants, and the budget document is also a sort of goal-setting process in which Council can approve, deny, or modify items.

3. DEPARTMENTAL – Seeking approval for advanced acquisition of a snow plow/dump truck from the Pollard Performance Company in the amount of $143,500. (Discounted from the State purchase bid price of $158,000) – Mr. McCusker

Mr. Helwig noted that the City has started the administrative portion of the budget preparation by meeting with major departments for the better part of a day. During that process, administration learned that Mr. McCusker had learned from the State of Michigan that there were a small number of communities that had placed orders for snow plow dump trucks, but could now not take delivery of those vehicles because of their financial circumstances. Last year, the City was unable to get to the priority of getting an additional dump truck/snow plow vehicle because of limited financial resources. He realized that Council had not seen information regarding this item yet, but said it will be administration’s number one recommendation for rolling-stock vehicles after the City replaces the police cruisers that it must under contract. There is normally a long lead time to order these; the last two vehicles that have been ordered for the City since he has been City Manager in Novi took 6 months and 1 year to obtain from the time of Council’s approval.

Mr. Helwig said the City is presented with an opportunity where it must decide by Friday of this week whether or not to acquire a vehicle that Mr. McCusker has been able to put on hold. The main reason for this recommendation is that by obtaining this vehicle, the City can get through its major streets and to its neighborhoods one to two hours faster. The price is discounted from what the State bid price would be, and includes all equipment. Normally, the vehicle must be purchased and there would be a separate rollup cost for all of the equipment.

Mr. Helwig said the City kept its rainy day fund at 17% at the end of the last fiscal year. With Council’s authorization to acquire the emergency generator upgrade, which was about $360,000, and with this $148,000, that 17% would be reduced to approximately 15%. If Council did authorize the purchase of the truck, it could decide whether to replenish the rainy day fund as part of the 2004/2005 budget deliberations.

Mayor Csordas said it would be his preference to purchase the vehicle and then replenish the rainy day funds in the next budget, as he would like to maintain as close to the 17% as possible. Having that rainy day budget fund of 17% allows the City to take advantage of opportunities like this.

Member Nagy commented that this was great price for the truck, and said the City is "getting a lot of bang for its buck." She said she had inquired as to how many miles of road the DPW plows, and at the present time this is 148 miles within the City. She commended the DPW, as the area has had a lot of snow storms this year but they have done a great job.



CM-04-01-015 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the amount of $143,500 for the purchase of a plow dump truck from Pollard Performance Company (Discounted from the State purchase bid price of $158,000). This amount of money will be replenished in the rainy day fund.


Member Lorenzo appreciated Mr. McCusker and the administration coming forward with this, and said she supported it "150%." Snow plowing is one of the basic City services provided to citizens. During the past few years, the City has had a goal of completing the snow plowing after a snowfall within 24 hours’ time. Every time roads are added to the DPW’s task, there is an increased challenge to Mr. McCusker and the DPW to accomplish this task within 24 hours. During budget time, she would like Mr. McCusker to come forward with a number of additional equipment and personnel that are needed by the DPW. Residents of Novi have an expectation that snow will be plowed in their subdivisions within 24 hours of a snowfall, which is not unreasonable given the taxes that are paid the City for basic services. It is very important that during budget time, Council keep up with the number of personnel and equipment that are needed to achieve that goal for the citizens.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-015 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul

Nays: None

Absent: None

4. ATTORNEY – Process to enable a Class 3 District Court in Novi

Mr. Fisher noted that Judge Powers was in attendance at the meeting, and with permission of Council could give his insights on the Court. There are various courts within Michigan, and the District Court is essentially a trial court, taking on both criminal and civil matters within a certain level of its respective and unique jurisdiction. The 52-1 District Court currently has 11 communities in it, which is definitely a larger number than most District Courts have within their jurisdiction. The current court is financed and operated through a control unit of Oakland County, and is a 2nd-class District Court. The question is whether or not the City should proceed and spearhead a movement to a 3rd-class District Court.

Mr. Fisher said the first thing to consider is what the potential advantages are to having a District Court of the 3rd-class for the City to operate. There are generic examples that apply: the first advantage is that City would secure a greater share of the revenues that pass over the counter at that Court, mainly in the form of fines and costs. The second advantage is that the City would not be shackled with the County’s budgetary and personnel constraints, and the City would be on its own to operate the Court, thus getting more control within this judicial realm. A court of the 3rd-class would go in one of two ways, depending on how things occurred; One way would be to enter into an inter-governmental agreement with all of the 10 other units within the district. That would be "the best of all possible worlds" if this arrangement could be made, but because there are so many units this would be large challenge to accomplish. In the event that an agreement is not feasible, there is a default mechanism; the City would operate the Court as the State law would govern and provide. Entering into an agreement is not absolutely mandatory, but would be advantageous and would probably give some indication as to how the Court would ultimately run.

Mr. Fisher said the process for formulating and moving towards a 3rd-class judicial District Court would be to first deal with the financial matters that administration is looking into in detail, to finance the operation and maintenance of the Court. If the City is able to secure an inter-governmental agreement, then the manner in which the revenues would be divided and allocated and the manner in which the contributions would be made would be as determined in that inter-governmental agreement. There are methods that have been used and are in use now by other districts that could serve as a guide in this regard. Generally speaking, the revenue would be divided, in the default situation, so that the City would receive 2/3rds of the costs, and 1/3rd would go to the community where the violation occurred. Regarding obligations for operating the Court and making the payments, the City of Novi would be responsible for the expenses, but would get a significantly greater share of the revenues to accommodate this. This would also be subject to the inter-governmental agreement determining how the expenses and revenues would be handled. The other subcategory under the point of having an inter-governmental agreement to handle these financial matters would be the potential, as handled in other judicial districts of this sort of the 3rd-class, for the establishment of an oversight committee consisting of a representative from each of the 11 communities. He would recommend giving consideration to this in the inter-governmental agreement situation.

Mr. Fisher said his second point, beyond working out the financial operation and maintenance matters, was to address various other operational things, including employment of the Court staff. Currently, there are Court personnel that are retained and are employees of the County of Oakland. The question is who would be employed and whether all of the County employees would become City employees. In addition, the location of the Court would have to be determined. Once all of these things were worked out, then each of the local communities would be called upon to pass a resolution favoring this arrangement. Also, the County Board of Commissioners, being the current control unit, would be called upon to pass a resolution favoring the transition to the class 3 District Court. If all of this went well and the City had this in place, the resolutions and the request would go to the Michigan Legislature. The Legislature would then have to amend the Revised Judicature Act and actually create the 3rd-class judicial District Court for the 11 communities.

Mayor Csordas invited Judge Powers to give his thoughts on the Court item.

Judge Powers noted that there had been a preliminary meeting, and there are already things on the table for consideration.

Member Lorenzo said she had spoken with David Gillam, who actually wrote the opinion letter. She has already received information regarding the 48th District Court financial information from 2001 to 2002, and they will also send her the current information. She had also just received in her Council packet information from the Farmington Hills District Court, and she is also waiting for information from the 35th District Court in Wayne. From the information that she had gathered, even when a court is a 3rd-class court, income is first generated for the State of Michigan and for Oakland County. When she received the 48th District Court package there was a pie chart of the distribution of funds, which included an allotment for the State and the County.

Mr. Fisher said he was given an instruction to not investigate financial matters very deeply, since this was supposed to be done administratively. There are two types of tickets and fines for District Courts. An officer can write a ticket where a State law is involved, such as something involving the motor vehicle code, railroads, and others. When a ticket is written under State law, the fine structure is slightly different and money goes to the State. In addition to this, there is a very significant structure of regulation that is enforced in Novi relating to common carriers – trucks, and things of this nature. These fines are very significant in amount. A portion of that money also goes to the State of Michigan. There is a distinction between the disposition of the fines and costs from State law violations as they relate to local ordinance violations.

Member Lorenzo said that Mr. Gillam had also explained to her that there may be some other kind of fee that goes to the County for the library operations. She said that the information provided in Mr. Gillam’s opinion included that the total revenue of approximately $5.527 million for the 2001-2002 fiscal year, and that Oakland County’s actual revenue to work with is actually far less than that amount. It appeared from the 2002 actual budget that there was nearly a $1 million deficit that Oakland County had to subsidize for the Court. She noted that the Court may have explanations for this deficit, such as possible overcharges. The 48th District Court planned to spend $405,122 less than the 52-1 District Court in 2002, yet their total Court revenue was $4,319,425 – compared to $3,489,217. This is a difference of $830,208 more that that 48th District Court took in. In order for this to be successful for the City of Novi, it must be assumed that revenues will be more than expenditures. If this is not the case then there will not be revenues to share amongst the communities. Instead, there will be subsidization by the communities back to the Court. She has yet to see any other information that has come forward to show where the money would come from. Oakland County does not own the 52-1 District Court’s building, as this is owned by a corporation. She wanted to get information on who that corporation is, and who the officers of that corporation are. The City is spending $395,971 in rent to the County for the 52-1 Court, but the 48th District Court’s rent is $511,216. Different courts have different expenses, but even with the 48th District Court’s expenditures and the 52-1 District Court’s revenue, there would still be a deficit of $574,142. She wanted to see information for Council on where the money would be for the City of Novi if Council were to consider adopting the Court. Everything she had seen so far showed that there would not be any money in the endeavor for Novi. The City of Farmington made $15,000 this year in excess of expenses for their court, which is not a great deal of money. The other difference that she noticed was that the 48th District Court only has 36 employees, but the 52-1 District Court has at least 70 employees. There are many issues with the Court that need further examination. She is willing to look at any information, and if this would make money for the City of Novi, she would fully support it. However, she has yet to see any documented information to show that this would create revenue for the City. She questioned whether Oakland County would be willing to give up control of the Court if it was profitable.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Judge Powers if he knew approximately how many District Courts there are in the State of Michigan.

Judge Powers replied that he believed there are 74 such courts.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked how many of those 74 courts are 2nd-class courts, as opposed to 3rd-class courts.

Judge Powers noted that the 52-1 District Court is currently a 2nd-class court. He guessed that about 15% of the District Courts are 2nd-class courts, and the remaining are 3rd-class courts.

Mayor Pro Tem commented that the notion of municipalities bonding together to create a funding unit for a 3rd-class court is usually how District Courts are done. He asked if it was fair to state that it is not an outlandish idea for Novi and surrounding communities to try and tackle this question.

Judge Powers said this was a fair statement.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if there are any 2nd-class courts in Oakland County other than the 52nd District Court.

Judge Powers said there are no other such courts.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if there are any other 2nd-class courts, other than the 52nd District Court, in the tri-county area.

Judge Powers said there are none in the tri-county area, either.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry noted that in metropolitan Detroit, the 52nd District Court is the "lone wolf." He asked if he was correct that in analyzing the numbers from an accounting standpoint, just because the court would be a 3rd-class court, the participating communities would realize more income from the tickets and fines levied than if the court were a 2nd-class court.

Judge Powers replied that this was correct.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if in analyzing the potential of moving from a 2nd-class to a 3rd-class court, the goal of all the participating communities is truly for the court to just break even, because if the court breaks even then the municipalities make more money than if the court were a 2nd-class court.

Judge Powers indicated that this was also correct.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if municipalities do not really look to 3rd-class courts to make a profit.

Judge Powers said it was a fair statement to say that one should never look at the court as being a revenue generator, as this would be an improper perspective.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if the money that the Court takes in should pay for itself and be distributed to the communities, which Judge Powers agreed with.

Judge Powers noted that there are class 1 courts in the State of Michigan, and there are probably 6 or 7 of these. The class 1 district courts are those where there is only one district court in a county, or in a combination of counties. He noted that about 3 years ago, the State of Michigan passed legislation that gave all local municipalities the opportunity to turn their class 3 district courts into class 2 district courts; nobody opted to do this.

Member Nagy said she appreciated Member Lorenzo taking her time to bring forward this information, since it is critical for Council to have proper numbers for consideration. She felt that the Court should not be debated at this point, as it was her understanding that administration would be doing a fiscal analysis on this issue, and that this would be brought forward at the time of the budget discussions. She said she would like to have the issue fully presented to Council, including all of the documentation that Member Lorenzo had researched. This was not the proper time for Council to be making decisions about the Court. Predicated upon all of the facts that will be before Council and the fiscal analysis, she felt that Council was wasting its time discussing the Court at the present time.

Member Paul said that one of the residents of the City of Novi is the administrator and controller for the Plymouth Court. She had spoken with this woman at length, and one of the things that she shared was that no matter how much money is made in any of the court systems, specifically the Plymouth Court, whatever is made is put into the community in programs. There is never a huge surplus of money, since this is always put back into the functioning communities in that Court system. One year, the Plymouth Court made more than $1 million and offered a number of programs for teenagers and issues like drunk driving. When that money was less, less programs were offered. That Court was able to offer a number of things to the public, which the operator spoke very highly of. Her main concern was the insurance costs. Other than this, the operator had no problems with that Court changing into a City Court.

Member Gatt noted that he works for Oakland County, and said he knew the benefits that those employees get from the Court system. He agreed with Member Nagy that this was not the time to debate anything. When administration brings forth the information to Council, he said that Council will have to "compare apples with apples." If the Court employees become City employees, their benefit package will increase dramatically. This will have to be included in any cost analysis.

Member Capello wished to clarify an earlier point. He said that what Mr. Gillam’s letter specifically said was that 2/3rds of the fines and costs assessed for local ordinance violations are paid to the political subdivision, and 1/3rd go back to the court. This is different than the State law that Member Lorenzo had spoken about, regarding money going back to the State and the County. Mr. Gillam’s letter is accurate in regard to the local ordinance violations and the distributions of those monies.

Mayor Csordas commented that what Mr. Fisher was actually hearing from Council were some questions that would have to be answered. Mr. Gillam’s summary is very good and was very informative. He said he would like to know what the advantages of the court would be for the other 10 communities. He wished to know specifically who the employees of the Court would report to, as well as what benefits would be taken by those employees, what retiree benefits had been accrued, and what the financial obligation is to near and long-term retirees. In his letter, Mr. Gillam refers to the 52-1 District Court 2001 annual report and the 2002 annual report. The Mayor said he would not allow the item to come back to the Council table until he saw the audited financial reports for those two years for the 52nd District Court. He did not doubt Mr. Gillam’s comments that higher level of service could be provided to the public with the new court, but he also wanted to know more specifics about this. He realized that Novi would become the district funding unit and would be responsible for maintaining, financing and operating the new court. He wanted to know what the businesses near the current 52-1 District Court would think if that Court moved from its current location. He felt that the oversight committee should not consist of any Council Members, and asked if it was too far ahead to predict who would comprise that committee.

Mr. Fisher said this would ultimately be a decision for Council to make. He did not know who composed this committee for other courts. However, it would need to be represented by some liaison with direct connection to Council, so that Council’s wishes could be carried forward to the committee.

Mayor Csordas said this was fine. He referred to a Detroit News article, titled "Court Expenses Erode Funds for Five Communities" that mentioned the 35th District Court in Plymouth. He asked Judge Powers if this was a 2nd or 3rd-class court, and Judge Powers replied that the 35th District Court is a class 3 court. He said he would like to see this article included in Council’s information so that it can learn more about what is going on with the 35th District Court. He also referred to the Wednesday, January 7, 2004 Oakland County section of the Detroit News that he also wanted included in Council’s packets for review. In addition, he referred to a January 8th, 2004 Detroit Free Press article that profiled the 16th District Court in Livonia, and asked that this also be included for Council’s review. That court had made a request to the Livonia City Council for a new fee schedule to mitigate budget deficits. He said he had not yet made a decision, and he was ok with whatever decision was made, so long as this does not cost the City any money. He repeated that he does not want to see the Court issue again until the financial reports are ready for Council.

Member Lorenzo said to Judge Powers that it would be helpful for the City Council to receive the 52-1 Court’s current fee schedule. She felt there may be a difference in the amount charged for Court costs and fees between the 52nd District Court and the 48th District Court that may make a tremendous difference in revenues generated. Mr. Harkin at the 48th District Court told her that a few years ago, many people felt that his court was charging outrageous fees until Farmington and Farmington Hills outdid this. She wished to know what the 52-1 Court is charging compared to this. She said she is also not looking to the Court to be a revenue maker. If the Court is revenue-neutral, then this is fine, but she does not want the City to have to subsidize the Court.

Judge Powers said he would take care of Member Lorenzo’s request. He noted that a 5 mile-per-hour-over speeding ticket in the 52nd District Court is $100. The same ticket in the 48th District Court is $165.

Mayor Csordas thanked everyone for the comprehensive report and said that Council looks forward to further discussions on the Court.

Mayor Csordas commented that several Saturdays prior, Mr. Ernie Aruffo had brought a photo album to him during the public Mayor’s hours. He asked that the album be placed in the Mayor’s conference room, as it is an excellent photo history of the breaking of the ground of the Civic Center. The album also contains other photographs of past events in the City. He thanked Mr. Aruffo for providing the photo album to the City.

The Mayor also noted that Barn America, a traveling display from the Smithsonian Institution, is on display at the Civic Center until March 6th.


Mark Guidobono of Cambridge Homes praised the City Council and City staff for always working hard to do what is in the City’s best interests. A classic example of this is the City’s action to improve water pressure in southwestern Novi. Many residents who live on that side of town have not been able to obtain enough water pressure during the summer months because of the elevation of the land in that area. He also praised the Council for the rear façade ordinance, as the intent for this is outstanding. However, he believes it is not in the City’s best interests to proceed with the ordinance as written. The ordinance is truly over-regulation, as he said he could not remember any other city that he had done business in having a rear façade ordinance. The ordinance increases the costs of construction, which will be passed onto homeowners who will purchase new homes. He also felt that the ordinance will create a management nightmare for the City’s staff. He was not convinced that having the City staff regulating the ordinance’s requirements was efficient. The ordinance is an architect’s dream, since they will make a great deal of money off of the ordinance. However, conforming to the ordinance will be a builder’s nightmare. He agreed that the 6 or 7 houses along Beck Road with the same rear façade was probably not ideal, but said he could think a many worse things that could be there than those houses. He apologized for bringing up the issue "at the 11th hour" and suggested that builders could work better with the City Council and Planning Commission through the builders’ task force. He asked Council to consider tabling the issue in order to allow for further considerations and input.

Adorno Piccinini, 47750 Baldwin Court, noted that he is a vice-president at the Builder’s Association of Southeast Michigan. He said that he would also speak regarding the new proposed rear façade ordinance as well. Abraham Lincoln said that the strength of the nation lies in the homes of its people. Homeownership is a cornerstone of family stability, security, and prosperity. It strengthens the nation’s communities and encourages civic responsibility. Equally important, housing is a crucial component of the nation’s economy and to the families of Novi. New home construction and remodeling provides millions of jobs and generates billions of dollars in taxes and wages. The value of housing and homeownership to the nation cannot be overstated. He felt the ordinance should be tabled until further studies are done. The new ordinance will raise the cost of homeownership to the community. The increased costs will further push beyond the limits and the ability of the people that service the community, such as the police, fire, DPW, and the civic staff people. These increases will also hinder Novi’s ability to provide affordable housing stock for staffs of corporations looking to locate or relocate here in the vast amount of R & D properties in the City. For these reasons, he asked the City Council to take a tabling action on the ordinance proposal, and to create an impact study of how the increased costs would impact the City. Those results should be made public to the community before any action is taken.

Dean Wishouli, Multi Building Company, noted that his company has been building in Novi for many years. Dealing with the front facades takes a lot of work and time, and if builders had to start working with rear facades they would have to design a house for every home site, and this would be costly for home buyers.

Stuart Michaelson, President of the Builder’s Association, mentioned that he felt the ordinance could hurt the City in the long-run. He said that builders just recently found out about the ordinance, which was why they were bringing it up at the last minute. The Association has an active builder’s task force, of which he is chairman. Had they been notified of the ordinance as it was going through, they could have monitored it and provided input on it. It is important that Council have all the information possible at hand in order to make the right decision. He felt that the builders were only asking Council to table the ordinance, not to not pass it, so that the Builder’s Association can bring in their experts to review the ordinance and provide feedback on what the effects would be. This is not something that has been done in any other community that he knows of. He has never had a complaint with any rear facades in Novi, as people don’t seem to focus on these. He asked Council to table the item so that the ordinance could be studied. Novi has done a great job over the years of developing into a fine community.

Liz Lanni, 41467 Burroughs Ave., commented that she would like to create a playscape for the City. She has been before the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission and informed them of her wish, and she wished to also inform the City Council. Her motivation for seeing the project through is twofold. First, she believes that a playscape in the community fosters a safe and fun environment for children to play, socialize, and develop friendships. Parents can join together on play days, and also meet other parents, by bringing their children to play. A community gathering place is an excellent environment to keep families invested in the community. The second reason is that her mother passed away just three weeks after her second son was born. Her absence has left a hole in her life, and she wishes to do something that her mother would find comforting and positive. Her mother loved children, and she wishes to complete the playscape as a memorial to her mother.

Mayor Csordas said the City agrees with the concept of playscapes, as there are already 7 playscapes in Novi. He thanked Ms. Lanni for her comments.

CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)

Member Capello removed Item D for discussion.

Member Paul removed Item J for discussion.

CM-04-01-016 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda as amended.


Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-016 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas

Nays: None

Absent: None


A. Approve Minutes of:

January 5, 2004

B. Approval of Conservation Easement Agreement for the preservation and protection of Wetlands and Woodlands in the Main Street Village II development.

C. Approval of Change Order #1 to the 2003 Neighborhood Road Rehabilitation Program in the amount of $17,896 for the addition of Coral Lane to the original contract awarded to Oakland Excavating Company.

E. Approval of request from Chuck E. Cheese’s for Renewal of an Arcade License located at 44275 Twelve Mile Road, D-134 with 60 machines.

F. Approval of request from Emagine Theater for Renewal of an Arcade License located at 44425 Twelve Mile Road with 18 machines.

G. Approval to award split bid for gasoline contracts to Mansfield Oil, the low bidder for truck transport over 5,000 gallons, and Atlas Oil, the low bidder for tank wagon deliveries under 5,000 gallons.

H. Approval to award bid for Body Armor for the Police Department to CMP, the low bidder, in the amount of $7,514 and approval to apply for and accept grant funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance for the year 2004.

I. Approval to take second renewal on Electrical Services Contract to McSweeney Electric for a period of one (1) year on the same terms and conditions as original contract.



1. Consideration of Zoning Text Amendment 18.184 to add a new Section 34 "Amendments to Ordinances" to the Zoning Ordinance for the purpose of providing a procedure and standards for allowing a property owner to propose and allowing the City to approve a site specific development, including conditions in conjunction with a proposed rezoning, commonly referred to as the Planned Rezoning Overlay Ordinance – Second Reading

Mr. Fisher recalled that at the last Council meeting he was given the assignment of carrying through alternate drafts of this ordinance, one in the form presented at the January 5th meeting, and an additional alternative, A, with changes on pages 2 and 4 to add certain criteria to the plan and conditions. There are also more significant changes to the alternative A on pages 5 and 6 which would permit the City Council to authorize deviations from the strict terms of the ordinance upon approval of a Planned Rezoning Overlay.

CM-04-01-017 Moved by Capello, seconded by Paul; MOTION CARRIED: To approve Zoning Text Amendment 18.184 to add a new Section 34 "Amendments to Ordinances" to the Zoning Ordinance for the purpose of providing a procedure and standards for allowing a property owner to propose and allowing the City to approve a site specific development, including conditions in conjunction with a proposed rezoning, commonly referred to as the Planned Rezoning Overlay Ordinance – Second Reading.


Member Lorenzo asked about a conflict between sections of the amendment. The way she was reading the alternate A, number 2, it seemed to almost defeat the purpose of letter C regarding "all regulations governing development and use within the zoning district to which the property has been rezoned, including without limitation permitted uses, lot sizes, setbacks, height limits, required facilities, etc." She felt this might be defeating this purpose by saying that the Council could now grant deviations to those requirements.

Mr. Fisher said that at first glance, the amendment does seem to create a conflict. Essentially, part i states that if a developer is approaching the City for purposes of provision and approval under the amendment, they must expect to comply in all respects with the district. However, this opens the door for the developer to make a proposal under the second part to vary the strict terms for conventional requirements. However, this can only be done if it will enhance the development in a manner that will be in the public interest, and will be compatible with the surrounding area and master plan. On one hand, the amendment sets out the general rule that a development must be compatible, but then creates this exception.

Member Lorenzo said she was focusing on what Mr. Fisher had just said. She questioned how a development could be compatible with the master plan and surrounding area if it deviated from setbacks within the area.

Mr. Fisher said the same thing would happen by petitioning the Zoning Board of Appeals, which he said this amendment was created to avoid. The ZBA has similar requirements for granting a variance, such as that it must be consistent with the spirit of the ordinance and be consistent with substantial justice. The development would have to be fair to surrounding property owners and also compatible.

Member Lorenzo asked what the ZBA’s criteria are for granting this type of a deviation.

Mr. Fisher said that if an applicant went to the ZBA, they would have to show that this would be harmful to them, or create a practical difficulty to the property owner. This provision looks at the world "with the glass half-full." This allows for more opportunity to enhance a project, rather than having the City only able to grant a waiver if there would be a practical difficulty.

Member Lorenzo said her concern was in "beefing" the language up somehow. "Enhancement of the development that would be in the public interest" is too vague, and she did not feel this was a specific enough standard to apply uniformly from case to case.

Mr. Fisher said this language was certainly as clear as the standard of whether or not there is a practical difficulty, as there is confusion across the state of what that means.

Member Lorenzo asked Member Capello for an example of how the amendment would work. She asked what an example would be of a person who would come to the City with a project that might need this type of deviation to enhance the project for the City of Novi.

Member Capello said he could not give such an example. The benefit to the City Council with the ordinance amendment is to not have its hands tied if a good development is brought to the Council. The amendment gives Council the ability to provide waivers and variances without making them meet the strict standards of waivers and variances at the ZBA level. It is a benefit to Council members to work with developers.

Member Lorenzo said she did not disagree with this statement, but she was having trouble visualizing what type of issue might come up where deviating from the standard practice would somehow be a benefit.

Member Capello provided an example: A few years ago, Council asked the Planning Commission to review the ordinances that would give developers an incentive to set houses further away from major roads. In turn, the City might give a 5% reduction in required lot width. With the new amendment, Council could do this. The development would not meet the standards of the ordinance but it would be better for the community all the way around, and this could be done without granting any waivers or variances.

Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Fisher if he felt that the way it was written, the amendment gave Council the discretion it would need to deny a development if it felt the plan would not be a benefit to the community.

Mr. Fisher felt that the ordinance would give Council that ability, but with an important proviso; that in administering this provision, Council make appropriate findings as to what it considers being in the public interest. If Council were to deny a plan, it would need to state why it did not feel the plan would be in the public interest, and why the plan was inconsistent with the master plan and was incompatible with the surrounding area.

Member Lorenzo said she was willing to give the new ordinance a chance.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry said that as he understood the proposed ordinance, someone may request a rezoning, and this would allow Council to grant a rezoning while limiting the development. He believed he understood the spirit by which the ordinance was proposed by Member Capello, that Council could approve a rezoning overlay and development and direct the developer to the ZBA for variances. On the other hand, the option with alternative A would allow Council to do everything without needing the ZBA. This has advantages, but he questioned why Council would take the job of the ZBA away from the ZBA. Although it may be beneficial for Council at times to be able to do everything for a development at once, he felt that ZBA is truly the body that consistently deals year to year with variances. He commented that there could be two different City bodies inconsistently granting variances at the same time, and he was concerned with this.

Member Capello said that he may have misspoken regarding any emphasis on the ZBA, variances and waivers. If the City wants to create a nice project, it needs the flexibility to do it. There may be things that Council wants to see in a project that it is getting a benefit for from developers. A builder may need a 5% reduction in lot size so that open areas and other areas can be provided in a development. If that reduction in lot size were sent to the ZBA, he did not believe it would meet the requirements for a variance or a waiver, as this is not a hardship or a practical difficulty. He wants to keep the entire ability to negotiate the project at the Council level. He wished to remove the comment that this was preventing or eliminating the need to go to the ZBA for a variance or waiver. The focus needs to be the Council’s need for the ability to negotiate a better project. This can be done better at the Council table than by trying to approve something and then sending it to the ZBA to meet another requirement.

Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Fisher if he felt that that ordinance would encourage people to attempt to avoid the ZBA for any reason.

Mr. Fisher replied that he felt the amendment would not be an encouragement to avoid the ZBA. Generally speaking, a developer of a large project would not go to the ZBA for an omnibus grant of deviations from all or several lots. Normally, the ZBA handles cases by an individual property owner or builder who needs a setback or something of that nature. This is, to some degree, a bit different than the business that the ZBA would normally see.

Member Nagy said she also worried about the fact that Council was taking over the responsibilities of other boards and commissions, and this may not be the City’s Council’s place. She wants to ensure that due process would be taken for approvals. She does not want to take away anything from the Planning Commission or the ZBA that is within their jurisdiction. However, having heard the comments from Mayor Pro Tem Landry, Member Capello, and Mr. Fisher, she felt that she could approve the ordinance.

Member Paul said that Canton has a similar ordinance to this. At the Council table, they allow for a bit more flexibility so that they can come off of major thoroughfares and also increase open space. This has worked in other communities, so she would like to see the new ordinance. In some cases, she wishes the ordinance could have been used for Beck and Ten Mile, as the City is in a crunch for space. She felt she could support the motion.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-017 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas

Nays: Landry

Absent: None

2. Consideration of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.182 to amend Ordinance Subsections 303.2, 303.2.a(1)(b), 303.2.a(1)(c) and 303.2.a(1)(d) of Ordinance 97-18, as amended, and to add Subsections 303.2.a(1)(e) and 303.2.a(1)(f) to said Ordinance, to modify the standards for Single-Family Detached Appearance Variations to also include the rear building elevations of single-family homes. - Second Reading.

Mr. Fisher pointed out that this was the ordinance addressed during the public audience participation.

Member Nagy said that she was on the Implementation Committee of the Planning Commission when this ordinance was brought to that Committee. They did an extensive amount of research regarding this ordinance, and the Committee understands that there are other cities that have deployed similar ordinances regarding the rear facades of homes. She believes in democracy and that everyone should have an equal opportunity to comment on Council’s actions. She was willing to take the suggestions of the Builder’s Association and allow them to make a presentation to Council, as this was not a most-crucial item that Council needed to act upon that evening. She understands the concerns about costs, but at the same time it can be attractive for homeowners to not see the same backside of house in their neighborhood. There are months of the Committee’s work in the ordinance and a great deal of research was put into it. She was willing to postpone the decision on the ordinance to obtain more input, but said she was strongly in support of the new ordinance.

Member Lorenzo agreed with Member Nagy, saying she was willing to postpone consideration of the ordinance in order to allow the Builder’s Association to bring forward their case to Council. By the same token, quality is the hallmark of construction in Novi. Mr. Guidobono is probably one of the best developers in the City of Novi and creates one of the best products, and she wanted to hold this standard up to all of the other builders and developers in the City. If Mr. Guidobono’s homes have different rear facades, she felt that other developer’s homes should as well. She was more than happy to look at additional information, but said she wanted to see other developers strive to do what Mr. Guidobono does with his products, and said it would be difficult to change her mind on this ordinance.

Member Paul wished to point out something that she felt had been overlooked. The Planning Commission had public hearings on the new ordinance several times, as well as the Implementation Committee. They worked with the Building Department specifically on this exact ordinance, so it was very difficult for her to postpone the item for further consideration at the Second Reading, as this opportunity has already been given. She also pointed out that there are only three variations with the rear façade ordinance, and this only applies in two situations: when the two rear facades of the homes abut one another or there is an open space; or if there are two front yards, where the backyard abuts a major road such as Beck Road with Broadmoor Park, and the front yard is the internal subdivision street. There are nine homes with the same rear façade in Broadmoor Park, not six. She said she would not support the postponement of the ordinance. She was one of the people who was instrumental in bringing the ordinance forward, and said there have been notifications in the newspaper and at different meetings. The ordinance is very good and only applies to very specific situations. She did not believe three different facades to the rear of a home would "make or break" any builder in this community.Member Capello noted that there were public notices about the rear façade ordinance. He asked Mr. Guidobono how he would propose to present his position on the ordinance.Mr. Guidobono said this could be done at the Council table in 30 or 45 days, or it could be done through staff or a committee, however the Council preferred.

Member Capello suggested that the Builder’s Association could perhaps work with administration and come back in 30 days and make a presentation to Council.

CM-04-01-018 Moved by Capello, seconded by Lorenzo; MOTION CARRIED: To postpone Consideration of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.182 to amend Ordinance Subsections 303.2, 303.2.a(1)(b), 303.2.a(1)(c) and 303.2.a(1)(d) of Ordinance 97-18, as amended, and to add Subsections 303.2.a(1)(e) and 303.2.a(1)(f) to said Ordinance, to modify the standards for Single-Family Detached Appearance Variations to also include the rear building elevations of single-family homes - Second Reading, for no longer than 45 days.


Member Nagy commented that Member Paul was correct. The Implementation Committee worked long and hard on the ordinance and provided notice for everyone. She did not want the item postponed for 45 days, and did not want this extra burden for Council with other items coming up in the future. She did not want the item postponed any later than the first meeting in March. She does not want to see a long presentation, and said she would rather see something in print that she can consider and compare. She also wished to make the decision at that March meeting, as the ordinance has been a long time in coming.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. Guidobono if, in light of the fact that there was already a public hearing regarding the ordinance where members of the public make live presentations to the City, he or his group would be opposed to simply submitting something in writing, or if he felt that live presentation was necessary.

Mr. Guidobono asked if Council would prefer a report over a live presentation.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he would prefer the report, though he did not know how his colleagues felt.

Mr. Guidobono said he felt that the Builder’s Association could get its point across either with a presentation or a report.

Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Guidobono to compile a report to be included in Council’s packets, and asked that any presentation be no more than 10 minutes. He felt it would be a good idea to postpone the consideration of the ordinance for a while. He was concerned with the idea of increasing costs for homeowners. He knows that most developments in Novi are high-end and of good quality. This postponement should not impact anybody since there were likely no projects coming before Council for the next three or four weeks anyways. He commented that while the Builder’s Association needs to pay more attention to what is going on with the City of Novi, it is not too much to ask to postpone the item for a few weeks. This goes with the City’s spirit of flexibility and cooperation.

Mr. Helwig asked to clarify an item. The motion said for the builders to work with the administration. What he was hearing was to have a written report prepared as soon as possible, addressed to the City Council, which would appear on the March 1st agenda for Council’s consideration. He said that there was really no role for administration in the process.

Member Capello noted that his motion was made before this was clarified.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-018 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Csordas, Landry, Capello

Nays: Paul

Absent: None

3. Consideration of Zoning Map Amendment 18.635, a request of RSM Development LLC, to rezone property located in Section 16, south of Twelve Mile Road and west of Taft Road, from R-A (Residential Acreage) to OST (Office Service Technology). The property contains 2.7 acres.

CM-04-01-019 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Zoning Map Amendment 18.635, a request of RSM Development LLC, to rezone property located in Section 16, south of Twelve Mile Road and west of Taft Road, from R-A (Residential Acreage) to OST (Office Service Technology). The property contains 2.7 acres.


Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he could support the motion, and believed that Council should rezone the property. Doing so would be consistent with the master plan, would be consistent with adjacent parcels, and would allow land uses compatible with the industrial developments with good visibility from Twelve Mile Road and I-96.

Member Paul said that when she was reviewing information, she read minutes that said Mr. Evancoe would investigate the previous OST request. Member Sprague asked if there would be some issues about easements and rights-of-way. He did not want to see many curb cuts onto Twelve Mile. When they spoke about this at the Planning Commission, they talked about planning for 5 lanes on Twelve Mile all the way to the freeway. They also spoke about a service drive that would service all of the OST area so that they would come into one section that would avoid the need for many curb cuts onto Twelve Mile for all of the different parcels. She asked administration if this was something that was being planned, and what the thoughts are on that progress for Twelve Mile.

Mayor Csordas said he had seen the meeting that Member Paul recalled, but felt this may be a site plan issue.

Mr. Helwig said he had been told by Mr. Pearson that this had been discussed in the master plan update as part of the thoroughfare plan, and this would be coming through for Council’s review and adoption by mid-year. Twelve Mile Road currently just has a conceptual vision, as there has been no design or engineering work done for that stretch of the road.

Member Paul said she did not want to see the City set a building close to Twelve Mile and then widen the road. She wanted to make sure that Council was thinking ahead in having a service drive that would apply to all of the OST. Every OST district that that came before the Planning Commission while she served on it had driveway spacing variances, had to go to the ZBA, and faced a number of issues regarding traffic concerns. The City already faces this on Novi Road and should not want the same problems on Twelve Mile.

Mayor Csordas noted that the Planning Commission had provided a favorable recommendation of the amendment to the City Council.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-019 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt

Nays: None

Absent: None

4. Approval to award the construction contract for Special Assessment District 168 (West Lake Drive Water Main Extension) and Special Assessment District 169 (West Lake Drive Paving) to the low bidder, Teltow Contracting, in the amount of $555,023.50.

CM-04-01-020 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to award the construction contract for Special Assessment District 168 (West Lake Drive Water Main Extension) and Special Assessment District 169 (West Lake Drive Paving) to the low bidder, Teltow Contracting, in the amount of $555,023.50.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-020 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo

Nays: None

Absent: None

5. Approval to award Tree Removal contract to the low bidder, Owen Tree Service, for $52,530 for the removal of 250 ash trees plus $37,470 for removal of 280 additional ash trees (total of 530).

CM-04-01-021 Moved by Paul, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to award Tree Removal contract to the low bidder, Owen Tree Service, for $52,530 for the removal of 250 ash trees plus $37,470 for removal of 280 additional ash trees (total of 530).


Member Capello asked Mr. Helwig where the City currently is at in discussions with Judge MacKenzie regarding the utilization of the probationer to remove ash trees for the City.

Mr. Helwig noted that administration had provided a report to Council on the item. Administration is trying to get a clarification as to what exactly the company was able to do. The company is not certified for the removal of trees – they primarily only plant trees.

Mr. Auler said the City is in discussions with the company, and they will either remove some of the trees or will utilize a sub-contractor to remove the trees, up to 200 community service hours. Legal counsel is currently reviewing the contract, and once this is in place the work will begin, which is anticipated within the next 2 weeks. The Michigan Department of Agriculture has reviewed the information, and the City has been given the go-ahead from both the Court and from the Department of Agriculture. He believes that this will enable the company to remove approximately 200 dead ash trees of the ash tree population.

Member Capello asked if the City was getting around the licensing issue by having the probationer hire sub-contractors.

Mr. Auler said this was one option. The other option is to have the probationer plant trees for up to 200 community service hours. The hope is that the company’s services can be used for the removal of the dead ash trees.

Member Capello asked if the City has more than 530 trees that need to be removed.

Mr. Auler replied that the City is able to remove approximately 500 trees annually. If the City is able to have an additional 200 trees removed by the company through the Court, this will leave the City with approximately 1398 street ash trees that will need to be removed. Originally there were approximately 2500 street ash trees.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. Auler why the City is paying $210 per tree for the first 250 trees, and $133 for the second 280 trees.

Mr. Auler felt part of this explanation was a buy-in discount, and another component is the size of the trees that have been identified as needing removal.

Member Nagy inquired about bids from contractors that the City has used, and asked why these were not included in the Council packets. The bids provided to Council did not provide a breakdown as to whether they included removal and also stump grinding. She asked if stump removal would be included in an alternate bid.

Mr. Auler said that in the bid packet information, the removal of stumps was included in the bid prices.

Member Paul asked Mr. Auler to provide a plan for the additional 1300 to 1400 ash trees remaining in need of removal for the budget sessions, so that Council can examine possible discounts in excess of what the City is being allotted for the removal of these 530 trees. It could be very advantageous for Council to look at the removal of all the trees at once to get a better price.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-021 Yeas: Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy

Nays: None

Absent: None

6. Approval to award the construction contract for Taft Road Phase II Water Main Extension to the low bidder, Rothenberger Company, Inc., in the amount of $537,975.10.

CM-04-01-022 Moved by Paul, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to award the construction contract for Taft Road Phase II Water Main Extension to the low bidder, Rothenberger Company, Inc., in the amount of $537,975.10.


Member Nagy asked Mr. McCusker if he had ever dealt with this company before in his career.

Mr. McCusker replied that he had not previously dealt with the company. He did talk to JCK about the background check that was done on the Rothenberger Company. The company probably does most of their work in the mid to western part of the State. The research that JCK did on the Rothenberger Company indicates that they are a reputable company.

Member Lorenzo asked about the total review of the water study master plan and the status of this. She realized that this was in the 2003 budget, but she hoped that the City would have a "big picture approach" from the water study before it went to contract. She asked if Ms. McClain had received a complete water study in all of the information from JCK.

Mr. Helwig said that water study, a very thick document, had arrived on his table that day. He was going to distribute that study to Council on Thursday after he had a chance to review it.

Member Lorenzo asked if the team assembled by administration was still going to review the water study.

Mr. Helwig said the team had been reviewing the document, and that this was ready to come to Council. The study has been through the City’s task force team; this priority is included in it. He wants to review the study in its final form before giving it to Council, as it has had a long gestation period.

Member Lorenzo noted that the study appeared to have been overdue, which Mr. Helwig fully agreed with. Member Lorenzo said she and Ms. McClain had spoken about this project. She was interested in some of the history of the project, specifically enhancing system pressures and water availability. She recalled that Ms. McClain had said that administration was waiting for some kind of system whereby data can be entered from new and existing subdivisions that would like to tap into the system, and see how this would affect system pressures. She asked if this had been received yet.

Ms. McClain said that as a continuing portion from the master plan, the City will be using a water modeling program for every project that comes on board, whether it be a residential or commercial development, or any other system improvements that need to be made. The City does not yet have that water modeling software. As part of the follow-up from the water study, that data will be put with a water modeling program.

Member Lorenzo asked if the water modeling program was part of the JCK bid.

Ms. McClain said the program itself was not part of that bid, but the data is.

Member Lorenzo asked if the City needed to go out to bid for someone to bid on a water modeling program for it.

Ms. McClain compared this to buying a piece of software. This will be handled through the normal procurement practice, and it will likely be coming back to Council for approval.

Member Lorenzo asked if this was forthcoming within the budget. It is well and good to do the construction and enhance water pressures. However, the City needs to be careful as existing subdivisions want to tap into the supply, that the purpose of the increased pressure is defeated because too many subdivisions are coming back online. She said the City Council needs to establish a policy of who would receive priority on hooking up to the water supply. Residents in Echo Valley Estates are preparing an SAD and have indicated that they want to tap into the system. From what Ms. McClain had told her, it appeared that perhaps the entire subdivision would like to join in on that. Andover Pointe is another existing subdivision that might contemplate tapping into the supply. As subdivisions want to tap into the City water system, she questioned how this would affect pressures, and how priority would be established for tapping in. Council will need administration’s help in developing an equitable policy to address these needs. She requested that Council direct administration to begin investigating what a proper policy may be, and provide a recommendation back to Council at the same time it receives information on the water study.

Mayor Csordas said it was important to remember that this was a matter of public safety, as it is the second connection from north of I-96. This ensures water security for the portion of the population that lives below I-96. The extension will increase the water pressure for the southwestern portion of the City.

Ms. McClain noted that the extension should increase the water pressure into the low-30’s in the Bellagio area at peak hours. With the addition of the booster station that will be forthcoming at Twelve Mile and West Park Drive, the pressure will increase even more and will be more reliable.

Mayor Csordas said he understood that there was another water main crossing 5 or 6 years in the future that would cross from the northern part of the City underneath the expressway.

Ms. McClain said this was correct, and that the extension would cross in the Meadowbrook area. This would provide the redundancy to provide a second backup in the system, but it is not as critical since it will be in the eastern side of the City. That area is not experiencing the water pressure problems that the southwestern section of the City currently is. One of the people who will be most affected by increased pressures is Providence Hospital by the Beck Road interchange, as these will be more reliable.

Mayor Csordas asked if the master plan of the water distribution system was all that was necessary for the anticipated build-out of the City.

Ms. McClain said the master plan was not all that would be needed. As the City continues to build out and add residents and other users in the southwest corner of the City, additional reliability will need to be provided in that area. This will probably be handled with storage tanks, unless there is a change by the Detroit Water and Sewer Department that brings another water main into that area. Those storage tanks do not have to be above ground; they can be ground-mounted like the tank at Fourteen Mile and Haggerty, or can even be buried. This is something to examine as the City faces additional water needs.

Mayor Csordas noted that he had driven by the project at Fourteen Mile and Haggerty. He asked if that was the sole entry of water to the City from Port Huron.

Ms. McClain said that this was correct. This is one of the four connections of Novi’s to the DWSD, and is the primary connection. The other connections only come online during the absolute peak periods.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-022 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul

Nays: None

Absent: None

7. Approval to award grant writing services on a per grant contractual basis (hourly rate $80) to McKenna Associates.

CM-04-01-023 Moved by Landry, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to award grant writing services on a per grant contractual basis (hourly rate $80) to McKenna Associates.


Member Capello said he has full respect for McKenna Associates; however, they are the engineers for Lyon Township. He asked if administration perceived any conflict in that company writing grants for both Novi and Lyon Township, as these may be similar or competitive.

Mr. Helwig said he perceived no such conflict. The needs of the communities are separate and distinct. McKenna Associates would be under contract for the City. It would be under administration’s centralized control to go through City Council for both applying, and the criteria for the grant. The individual working in the various areas is going to report to the City’s centralized committee, which will in turn report to Council. There will be a great deal of accountability and direction. If McKenna shows that it is not professional to do as the City sees fit, administration will have to recommend discontinuation. However, this is similar to engineering firms doing different things for different communities – the conflict is a false issue.

Member Capello asked if anyone had asked McKenna Associates if anyone at Lyon Township had requested the company to write parks and recreation grants.

Mr. Auler said that Terry Croad, Vice President of McKenna Associates, was in attendance at the meeting. He requested that Mr. Croad respond to the question.

Mr. Croad said McKenna Associates works with approximately 200 municipalities throughout Michigan and Ohio, and has a staff of approximately 45 people. In some instances, the staff collaborates and works with each other on particular communities. Each individual planner works with their specific communities to address their specific needs. The company does not necessarily feel that this is a competition within each community, and many times they receive multiple grants from the same grant application form.

Member Capello asked Mr. Croad if he ever writes any grants for Lyon Township.

Mr. Croad replied that when he first started at McKenna about 9 years ago, he was the assistant planner for Lyon Township. He had participated in several projects and studies within Lyon Township. He has not personally worked with Lyon Township in several years. As Vice President and Director of Design, his department prepares the majority of parks and recreation master plans for the entire office. Chris Doozan, Senior Vice President, is the project manager for Lyon Township and typically prepares his own grant applications for the Township, which he did not see as being a conflict.

Member Capello asked Mr. Croad if he was helping the City with its ball fields, which Mr. Croad said was correct. Member Capello asked Mr. Croad if he is a resident of Novi.

Mr. Croad replied that he is a resident of Novi, and is also president of his homeowner’s association and has 3 children in the school district. Planning is his profession, but he would be happy and honored to be able to contribute to his community as well.

Member Capello commented that his concerns were satisfied.

Member Paul was happy to see the City hiring a grant writer. When she was on the Planning Commission, she had the opportunity to go before a group of people about different grant proposals that the City could apply to. There are many opportunities with neighboring communities to apply for joint grants. Sometimes, as a single community, the City is not aware of the needs of other local governments in the immediate area. She felt that the opportunity to have McKenna Associates working with 200 municipalities will be to Novi’s advantage. There were three 3 different groups that had very specific grants written for close communities in proximity that could enhance a whole area. One of those was the Kellogg Foundation, which looks at beautification of corridors that extend from one city to the next. There were grants regarding parks and recreation, and different trail systems. She felt a grant writer would enhance the City’s situation to have the opportunity to beautify more than one area and receive other grants.

Member Nagy noticed that there were hourly charges from some of the other bidders that were lower than McKenna Associates’ rates. She asked about the decision to choose McKenna Associates.

Mr. Auler replied that a grant review proposal committee was established. Each individual read all of the proposals and rated those based upon the qualifications of each of the firms, the level of staffing, related experience, and cost of services. Those ratings were then combined into one rating to tabulate a final rating for each firm. Through that process, McKenna Associates rated the highest. The committee then met to review the proposals, discuss qualifications, and ask questions. After this, the committee still felt that McKenna rated the highest. The company is experienced and has been successful in acquiring over $50 million in grant funds for their represented communities. He did not recall that any of the other firms were able to compete with that success rate. The cost was within the range of all of the other firms. McKenna Associates’ main office is in Northville, so the City will have easy access to the company in the instance of a last-minute grant application. Finally, McKenna was one of two firms that identified the ability to handle all of the grant applications for all of the City departments.

Member Nagy said she appreciated Mr. Auler’s answer. Before she was a Member of Council, she had often wondered what some of Council’s decisions were based on, and wanted the audience to understand the basis for this recommendation.

Mayor Csordas had no doubt that McKenna Associates would do a fine job for the City. He inquired what the term of the agreement was.

Mr. Auler replied that this was a one-year agreement.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-023 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas

Nays: None

Absent: None


Frank Brennan, Zoning Board of Appeals, noted that he had heard the discussion of Council possibly taking on the approval of variances as "trade bait" for what the Council may deem as valuable to the City. The City has boards that are very educated and specific on their tasks. These are the checks and balances of the City government, and he was very disappointed that Council took this away. He does not want to go to ZBA meetings and deal with signs every month. He feels that he has an added valued input into issues that the community has. The City Attorney’s comment was incorrect that the ZBA does not deal with large subdivision tracts. For example, the developer of the development across from Cedar Estates came before the ZBA and wanted to develop the entire subdivision with houses very close to each other. This development was denied, as he had questioned how the developer could have expected to put kids between cars in such space. There have been many occasions where the ZBA has dealt with complete developments. The Board deals a lot with developers on specific issues, but it also works with developers on large issues. He was very disappointed that the City Council had elected to do this.

* City Council recessed at 9:45 p.m.

* City Council reconvened at 10:00 p.m.


8. Approval to award a 7-year contract with Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (Tri-State Coca Cola Bottling Company) for beverage products at City facilities, payment to the city in the amount of $156,100.

CM-04-01-024 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Gatt; MOTION CARRIED: To approve to award a 7-year contract with Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (Tri-State Coca Cola Bottling Company) for beverage products at City facilities, payment to the city in the amount of $156,100.


Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked where the scoreboard in "scoreboard donation in year 3" would go.

Mr. Auler said this was an electronic scoreboard for the Community Sports Park ball field number two, a baseball field.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked where the money reflected in the report would go.

Mr. Auler said this money was anticipated to go to the Parks, Recreation and Forestry fund, and the money generated by the Ice Arena would go to the Ice Arena fund.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if the portion for the Ice Arena would be figured specifically into the Ice Arena financials.

Mr. Auler replied that this was his understanding.

Member Capello said he had spoken with Mr. Auler about the contract before Council had come back to session. He felt that a 7-year contract was too long. The economy should recover in the next 7 years, and businesses will again spend more money in advertising, and the City could have the opportunity for better negotiations. Another concern of his was the in-kind contributions, which he felt were overstated. For example, a case of water was stated at $13 per case, which is far too much. Also, soda was listed at an in-kind value of $10 per case. He questioned how realistic the figures leading up to the $200,000 total value of the contract were. He asked if the $3 off per case for self-fill and $4 off per case for full service was a discount off of the $10 per case price, not a cost for the case.

Mr. Auler replied that this was correct.

Member Capello said he did not see any upside to the contract. He preferred to sign a one or two-year contract, and see if the City can get a better contract in a couple of years. He asked if there had been any discussion to increase the volume to coordinate with Novi Schools, to see if together they could negotiate a better contract with either Pepsi or Coca-Cola.

Mr. Auler said that Novi Schools have a joint contract with Coke and Pepsi and are in the middle of their term, so they are not in a position with which to partner. Under the City’s original contract, which was a 5-year contract with an option to renew for an additional 5 years, the City received were the 4 scoreboards that are up at the Power Park softball complex. The prices on the cases for soda pop - $3 for self-fill and $4 for full service - are the prices that the City pays for each of those cases. This is broken down at 1,000 cases each, which is based on the City’s current sales.

Member Capello said he had thought Mr. Auler had told him that these prices were the discounts that the City received on beverages.

Mr. Auler replied that the soda is discounted, but the discounts are actually $6 and $7 for the soda. The actual price that the City would pay to Coca-Cola is $3 per case for self-fill and $4 per case for full service, and the City would then sell that product.

Member Capello asked if it was correct that the City will pay $3 per case if City employees put the soda in the machines, and $4 per case if Coca-Cola employees stock the soda.

Mr. Auler replied that this was correct.

Member Capello apologized, and said he had misunderstood Mr. Auler during their prior discussion. He asked for clarification that the soda would not cost $10 per case, and that the in-kind value of the soda is only $3 or $4 per case.

Mr. Auler said that the City were to buy the product without a contract from Coca-Cola, the cost of the soda would be $10 per case.

Member Capello believed that a good contract was negotiated with Coca-Cola, but said he was still not happy enough to live with the contract for 7 years, and would rather see a 2-year contract or have this contract end when the School’s contract ends. He would not vote in favor of the contract, and said he would favor postponing the contract approval to try for a better joint contract with the School District.



CM-04-01-025 Moved by Capello, seconded by Landry; MOTION FAILED: To postpone approval to award a 7-year contract with Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (Tri-State Coca Cola Bottling Company) for beverage products at City facilities, payment to the city in the amount of $156,100, for the purpose of possible joint contract negotiations with the Novi Community School District.


Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Auler what the possible downside could be to postponing the approval of this contract.

Mr. Auler said there would likely be no consequences from this postponement. The City currently buys products from Coca-Cola at the $3/$4 per case rate to maintain the machines that are running, but it would be good to have a contract in place for the spring season, when all of the concession stands are running.

Mayor Csordas asked if it would impair the contract at all to go back and look for a 2 or 3-year agreement under the same financial terms.

Mr. Auler said he was not sure how open Coca-Cola or Pepsi would be to a 2-year contract. When the City began the negotiation process, both companies came in without much to offer because of the hard economic times, but were not willing to go below a 5-year proposal. The City indicated that it would consider a 5-year contract, which was the highest that it would consider. The companies wanted a 7-year deal because of how they depreciate their equipment and are able to enhance their proposal. He was not sure if the companies would come back with a 1 or 2-year proposal.

Mayor Csordas suggested giving the companies an opportunity to decline.

Member Paul asked if the difference between a 5-year and 7-year plan would benefit the City financially. She felt that there was an incentive to go for a 7-year plan, to go from $156,000 to $201,000.

Mr. Auler said that Coca-Cola’s 5-year proposal would have a total value of $117,250. The guaranteed cash in this would be $94,000, so this is a difference of about $62,000.

Member Paul said that in the past, the City has never received any money from a contract. The increase from $0 to $201,000 is a lot of money. Council asked Mr. Auler to spend time working on this contract, and she asked how many hours it took him to complete this contract.

Mr. Auler replied that the City had begun a process last fall seeking proposals from both of the companies. They met bi-weekly for three or four months, reviewing proposals and countering.

Member Paul believed that administration’s time expenditure for the project was great, and said she did not want to postpone the contract. It is a benefit to residents, and the contract might be lost. She did not feel that postponing the contract after initiating the process last fall would be beneficial for the community. She said she would not support the motion to postpone the contract, but would support the motion to move it forward.

Member Gatt asked Mr. Auler if this was the best deal that the City could get.

Mr. Auler replied that this contract was the best deal that he felt the City could get. Administration negotiated with the companies over several months.

Member Lorenzo said she agreed with Member Paul. A previous Council had a 5-year contract, which expired last June. The City has gone nearly a year where it could have been making some money. The only thing that the City received for that 5-year contract was 4 electronic scoreboards worth $20,000. She agreed that this agreement was "infinitely better" than the previous 5-year contract. She said she has been one of the Council Members who has told the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department that it needs to find money for the improvements to sports parks, which is exactly what Mr. Auler has done. $156,100, or a total of $201,000, is "nothing to sneeze at." She felt that Council should support the contract.

Member Nagy agreed with Member Paul, and said that a 7-year contract was a great deal. For Mr. Auler to go back and renegotiate after the considerable amount of time that he had already spent on the contract was not feasible. She would not support the motion to postpone, as she felt the contract was very good. She expressed her appreciation to Mr. Auler for the contract.

Mr. Fisher noted that the motion to postpone had not been seconded.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he would second that motion.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry remarked that he had no doubt that Mr. Auler had put a considerable amount of time into the contract. However, Council had no other proposals to balance the proposed contract against, other than the 5-year contract that had just ended. He felt that Member Capello’s point was excellent, that a 7-year contract is a very long contract, and that a lot of things can happen in 7 years. He would like to see something to compare the contract against. He would like to see what might be offered for a 2 or 3-year proposal, as Council can always reject this. He said he would favor postponing the contract approval, getting offers for a 2 or 3-year contract, and then comparing these with consideration of a possible joint contract with the School District.

Member Paul asked Mr. Auler if only Pepsi and Coca-Cola were negotiated with, which Mr. Auler replied was correct. Member Paul asked if the companies were put against each other for the best deal, which was what he presented to Council in the recommendation paperwork.

Mr. Auler said that each company was met with several times. The companies brought several proposals, and the best proposal from each company was included in the recommendation packet.

Member Paul asked if both of the companies wanted a 7-year contract, and Mr. Auler got them to propose both a 5-year and a 7-year contract.

Mr. Auler said this was correct.

Member Paul asked Mr. Auler if, with the two largest pop companies competing, the best proposal was being brought to Council that evening, which Mr. Auler also said was correct.

Member Paul said she would not support the motion to postpone.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-025 Yeas: Capello, Landry

Nays: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas

Absent: None

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-024 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry

Nays: Capello

Absent: None

9. Consideration of the request of Cambridge Drive homeowners for a General Appeal Variance of Section 15-21 (g) of the Fire Protection Ordinance to allow for a gated private road.

Mayor Csordas asked City Council to be aware of the fact that this was Council’s decision, and not the Fire Chief’s decision, since that would go against the ordinance and the Chief is obligated to maintain the City’s ordinances.

CM-04-01-026 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; MOTION CARRIED: To approve the request of Cambridge Drive homeowners for a General Appeal Variance of Section 15-21 (g) of the Fire Protection Ordinance to allow for a gated private road, including a City release agreement from liability of property damages in the case of an emergency response that shall be signed by all property owners in the Cambridge Drive neighborhood and registered with the Registrar of Deeds, applicable to successors.


Member Lorenzo said there was some considerable question in the documentation about a Knox box for the Fire Department to get into. She asked whether or not one of these was available.

Chief Lenaghan said it was his understanding that the Cambridge Drive homeowners said that should the variance be granted, they would work with the Fire Department in providing whatever entry system the Department felt was necessary.

Member Lorenzo asked if a Knox box would be included, should Council approve the request that evening.

Chief Lenaghan said this was his understanding.

Member Lorenzo said her concern with the request was to have a hold harmless agreement. This is necessary for liability of property damage should an emergency vehicle somehow destroy something, or for any delay in an emergency vehicle being able to respond to an emergency because of the gated road. She asked the motion maker to accept a hold harmless agreement for total liability.

Mr. Fisher said the hold harmless agreement and release would be very doable for the first issue, liability for property damage. However, the second issue, liability for the delay in response time, would probably make the installation unfeasible. The cost of insurance by the homeowner’s association would be astronomical, as this could potentially involve a death case for an entire family at worst. He did not know if an insurer would even write such a policy.

Member Lorenzo asked if the City would have governmental immunity in such a situation where someone loses life or limb.

Mr. Fisher replied that this was correct, with the exception of gross negligence.

Member Lorenzo asked if it would be considered gross negligence to approve something that would cause extra response time to get to residents.

Mr. Fisher said there could be circumstances for gross negligence, as someone could allege gross negligence in a situation like this.

Member Lorenzo asked how courts generally look at this.

Mr. Fisher responded that the case could go to trial.

Member Lorenzo said this was her concern with the request.

Mr. Fisher said the release language is not an uncommon requirement for this type of situation. The hold harmless agreement for personal injury for accidents would be unusual for this type of situation.

Member Lorenzo asked if people might put that on their personal insurance riders.

Mr. Fisher replied that this would have to be something for the entire subdivision.

Member Capello noted that there is no homeowner’s association for the homes. The Cambridge Drive homes are not a subdivision, but rather a series of individual lots with an easement for a road.

Mr. Fisher assumed that these would have to go together in some fashion. If the homeowners each paid a premium for this, it would be very significant.

Member Lorenzo said that the City potentially being responsible for gross negligence was her only concern. She does not want to subject the City to possible lawsuits. If the variance could not be granted without a hold harmless agreement for injury, she would not support the motion.

Mayor Csordas noted that there was a representative from the Cambridge Drive neighborhood in attendance, Kathleen McLallen, and that she had sent a letter to Council requesting approval of the gated road. He invited Ms. McLallen to address the Council.

Ms. McLallen said that her neighborhood had sent a letter to Council asking that the gated road be approved. Their small collection of homes is actually Novi’s oldest neighborhood. It is very unusual, and everything is very unique there. Unfortunately, because it is unique and was put together in the 1920’s, things are very different there. Their road is very small and is a private driveway. People tend to think of the driveway as a road, but it is only a driveway for 7 houses, which is why they are requesting the gate. They would like Council’s blessing on the project to move forward and protect themselves from the liability that the continual trespass from outsiders on their private driveway is causing. The neighborhood is aware of the liabilities and is willing to accept them.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he had no real problem with the gate. However, he felt that Member Lorenzo’s concern about the gate was a good one, regarding the release of physical damage by any vehicles to the physical structure of the gate. He understood the desire to protect the City with a hold harmless agreement, but there are several other similar gates in the City that he was aware of no similar hold harmless clause for. The City can be sued at any time, and there is nothing that can be done to prevent someone from filing a lawsuit. Council should be vigilant to limit these, but the City is protected with governmental immunity. A plaintiff would have to show gross negligence on the part of the City, and that gross negligence would have to be the sole cause for harm. He could not imagine that a judge would not throw out such a case, and said he would have to support the passing of the motion. He asked for acceptance of the friendly amendment of a release with respect to physical damage to the structure of the gate and property.

Member Capello and Member Gatt both agreed to accept the friendly amendment.

Member Nagy said she totally disapproved of the request. The City has ordinances, and the people in that area know of these ordinances. She has talked to the Fire Marshall, who has said to her that the City stopped approving gated communities. She did not believe the gate was safe. She lives in a condominium complex, in a cul-de-sac, which is a private road. People come into their property and turn around all the time. The neighborhood put the gate up, but did not look for the ordinance, and this is incumbent upon the homeowners. She felt the process should be followed with the gate, and did not see the need for it. When she had talked with the Fire Marshall, he was totally against the gate. The City has turned down more than one gated community at the Planning Commission, as has the City Council. She said she would not support the motion.

Member Paul asked Chief Lenaghan if there had been a delay in River Oaks Apartments, Enclave Apartments, Turnberry Estates, or Bellagio, regarding response time in getting to a home because of the gated road.

Chief Lenaghan said there had been one difficulty at the Enclave Apartments, which has a gated drive. The City’s ordinance is quite clear on gates, as the Mayor had said. The DPW yard has a restricted entrance as well. There is some delay at a gate, as whatever security system will cause at least a momentary delay to enter a restricted area.

Member Paul asked the Chief if in his estimation there are only moments of time in the response delay, not a long period of time. She also asked if he felt comfortable with the response time being generally safe.

Chief Lenaghan said the Fire Department is not in favor of any restriction on response time. However, the Department will encounter such a situation from time to time. He did not believe that this type of entrance would restrict emergency access "that much." They ask cooperation from wherever a restricted entrance is used in order to facilitate getting in as quickly as possible. For example, if there is a keypad for entry, whatever time it takes to enter the proper code in will delay in reaching the property. If the gate does not move, they have actually physically gone through the gate.

Mayor Csordas said that the Chief could not provide a recommendation on the matter, and that there was no question about this.

Member Paul said she understood this, but was just looking for a time delay that the Chief had experienced at any of the other gated areas so that she could understand the safety issue.

Member Gatt noted that Council had in its packets a memo from the Police Chief, who is not restricted by the ordinance in providing a recommendation. Chief Shaeffer said in the memo that there would be minimal to no impact on the delivery of police services. As a former police officer, he promised that the police would go right through the gate if needed.

Member Capello said that in regard to the comments that the homeowners installed the gate without proper approvals, Council had a letter in its packets from the gate system. The homeowners hired Security Gate Systems to go through the approvals and install the gate. The installer was apparently used to installing gates on subdivisions that had site plan approval, with the gate as part of that approval, and he did not realize that he needed to obtain further approvals from the Building Department. Member Capello believed there had been a problem with vandalism in the back of the old Brown estate in the past, and this could have generated some of the need for a private gate.

Mr. Fisher said that the release/hold harmless agreement being discussed for property damage to the structure would have to be signed under the circumstance by all of the property owners. This is not an organized subdivision, so it would have to be signed be each property owner. He recommended putting this in a recordable document and recording this with the Registrar of Deeds so that it applies to all of their successors as well.

Member Capello asked if this agreement would have to be signed by all of the property owners with access to that easement, or just the fee-holder of the property that the gate is actually located on.

Mr. Fisher replied that he believed all of the property owners with access to the drive would have to sign the document, because they will be responsible for replacing the gate.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-026 Yeas: Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt

Nays: Lorenzo, Nagy

Absent: None

10. Consideration of update to Woodlands Consulting Service Fee Structure for Plot Plan Review.

CM-04-01-027 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; MOTION CARRIED: To approve update to Woodlands Consulting Service Fee Structure for Plot Plan Review.


Mr. Pearson said there was a clause in the agreement that was executed with Vilican Leman for the first time, to have the plot plan review fees reviewed after the company had a year of experience. They originally had proposed a fee of not only the plot plan reviews, but also the inspection to release the bond – about $200 for each of those. After a year’s experience, the company is finding that these reviews are quite a bit of work, and they are very diligent about doing the tree fencing inspections. Also, Vilican Leman has been very helpful to the City in closing out some of the financial guarantees and the bond releases. They have come back with a single fee of $200, which would apply exclusively to new subdivisions. Each individual lot is reviewed for a woodlands inspection.

Member Nagy asked for the duration of Vilican Leman’s contract with the City.

Mr. Pearson replied that this is a two-year agreement, signed in May of 2003.

Member Capello said there should be a distinction made between reviewing building plans where there has already been a woodlands permit given in the subdivision or condominium approval, as opposed to an individual parcel of property that someone will build a house on. If the City has already paid the company once to review the woodlands permit through the approval process, he felt that $200 was too much to pay for the same thing on the same piece of land. He could understand this if the company would have to look at a new piece of land that had not been reviewed. However, he wanted to see the fee structured so that it would be $200 for a lot that had not been examined or approved in the past, and something less, perhaps $75 or $100, for a piece of property that the company had already reviewed the woodland permit on and approved.

Mr. Pearson said there is a fair bit of difference between the subdivision review, when the "big picture" and aerial views are examined, and details such as grades on a lot. The company must make sure that the excavations for the footings are not damaging trees. There is quite a bit more review for individual parcels. The fee includes not only the review, but also the inspections for the tree protection fencing and maintenance, and releasing these at the end. The fee covers the costs for the package of review and inspections.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-027 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Gatt, Lorenzo

Nays: Capello

Absent: None

11. Consideration of Payback Agreement between the City of Novi and Park Place Estates, Inc., in the amount of $682,275.00, in consideration of the construction by Park Place Estate’s Sanitary Sewer Force Main and Pump Station on Nine Mile Road between Napier Road and Garfield Road, for use by the public.

CM-04-01-028 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Payback Agreement between the City of Novi and Park Place Estates, Inc., in the amount of $682,275.00, in consideration of the construction by Park Place Estate’s Sanitary Sewer Force Main and Pump Station on Nine Mile Road between Napier Road and Garfield Road, for use by the public.


Member Capello said that between his positions on the Planning Commission and the City Council, he worked on this project with his private practice on behalf of the developer, and said he needed to be recused from participation in Items 11, 12, and 13.

CM-04-01-029 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To recuse Member Capello from participation in Items 11, 12, and 13 of Mayor and Council Issues.

Voice Vote on CM-04-01-029 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

Mayor Pro Tem Landry believed there was a typo in paragraph 2 on page 1 of the Sanitary Sewer Payback Agreement, as "thirty" should read "sixty."

Mr. Fisher replied that this was correct.

Member Nagy asked how old the station was, and if it included interest.

Mr. Fisher said this is a relatively new pump station and facility. The negotiations have been going on for a long time, but the amount of payment for the agreement will be a fixed amount that will increase on an annual basis.

Member Nagy asked if the City had been receiving tap fees.

Mr. Fisher replied that the City has actually received tap fees, but has not collected many payback amounts to date.

Ms. Smith-Roy said that during the negotiation process, the City was collecting for a portion of the period, stopped collecting, and started collecting again. The fees that were collected have not accrued interest.

Member Nagy asked why the dedication of the sanitary sewer pump station took so long.

Mr. Fisher responded that there was not a simple answer to that question.

Member Paul said she wanted to make sure that Mr. McCusker was happy with all of the developers meeting the needs, and that he was able to accept that agreement without any concern.

Mr. McCusker said that the pump station has been up and running for a number of years and there have not been any problems with it to date.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-028 Yeas: Paul, Csordas, Landry, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy

Nays: None

Absent: None

Abstention: Capello

12. Consideration of Acceptance of Sanitary Sewer Force Main and Pump Station constructed by Park Place Estates, Inc., in the area of Nine Mile Road between Napier Road and Garfield Road, as public sanitary sewer utilities.

CM-04-01-030 Moved by Landry, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Acceptance of Sanitary Sewer Force Main and Pump Station constructed by Park Place Estates, Inc., in the area of Nine Mile Road between Napier Road and Garfield Road, as public sanitary sewer utilities.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-030 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul

Nays: None

Absent: None

Abstention: Capello

13. Consideration of Ordinance No. 04-28.51, to amend Chapter 34, "Utilities," of the Novi Code of Ordinances, to add a subdivision regarding Park Place Estates/Nine Mile Road Sanitary Sewer Force Main and Pump Station and to provide for the reimbursement of sewer tap charges. – First Reading

CM-04-01-031 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Ordinance No. 04-28.51, to amend Chapter 34, "Utilities," of the Novi Code of Ordinances, to add a subdivision regarding Park Place Estates/Nine Mile Road Sanitary Sewer Force Main and Pump Station and to provide for the reimbursement of sewer tap charges. – First Reading

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-031 Yeas: Landry, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas

Nays: None

Absent: None

Abstention: Capello

CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)

D. Approval of Change Order #2 to the 2003 Neighborhood Road Rehabilitation Program contract, awarded to Oakland Excavating Company, in the amount of $32,765.85 for actual as-built field quantities. – Member Capello

Member Capello said he had some questions about the overages and quantities listed in the contract. The removal of the pavement was almost double, as the overage was $21,864.50. He asked for an explanation of this.

Ms. McClain said that when they were in the area of Glyme and Penton Rise, they had initially proposed to do a mill and an overlay. The City had also checked to see what the quantities would be if it was required to completely remove and replace the road. When they began work on the road, the removal and replacement was needed, and this was where the change in the overage came in.

Member Capello asked why it was not known ahead of time that the removal and replacement would be necessary.

Ms. McClain said that when the City began to take up the road, the coring samples had been done and the amount of pavement they showed implied that it would be sufficient to do that. The pavement was not of uniform thickness. As much as the City tries to use coring samples for the entire subdivision, these are only good at the exact place that they are taken. When the cores were milled out, it was discovered that there was less pavement in some areas than was thought and that it was best to pull the road out and start over so that it will last longer.

Member Capello asked how many coring samples were taken in that area.

Ms. McClain replied that approximately 1 for every 200 feet was taken, so probably 5 or 6 in total, though she did not have that number with her.

Member Capello asked why the City was able to save $15,000 with sub-grade undercutting.

Ms. McClain said that sub-grade undercutting is one of the areas that is estimated. The Engineering Department tries to estimate this a bit higher so that there are not overages. One of the reasons for that underage is that not as much bad soil had to be removed as had been expected.

Member Capello asked Ms. McClain to explain what sub-grade undercutting was.

Ms. McClain said that sub-grade undercutting is a process which follows the removal of the pavement. If following this removal there is a soft soil, this is dug out and a gravel or more evenly graded soil is put back in that will allow proper drainage. This provides a better road base.

Member Capello asked if even with the core samples, one must guess what the road bed is like.

Ms. McClain replied that the contract is bituminous. Some of the neighborhood roads are 30 to 40 years old and were built directly on sub-grade and did not have as much beneath them. In places, the poorer soils had not been removed. The City had been patching these roads over the years, but upon excavation and examination, some of the poor spots became more visible.

Member Capello noted that the cost of the under drain and sub base was more than double the cost of the estimate, and he asked for an explanation of this.

Ms. McClain responded that with the mill and overlay, not as much sub-drain is installed. With pulling that out and completely replacing it, it also had the sub-drain put underneath it.

CM-04-01-032 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Change Order #2 to the 2003 Neighborhood Road Rehabilitation Program contract, awarded to Oakland Excavating Company, in the amount of $32,765.85 for actual as-built field quantities.

Roll Call Vote on CM-04-01-032 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry

Nays: None

Absent: None

J. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 665. – Member Paul

Member Paul noted that Item number 33678 was for Hydrologic Associates, Incorporated, and was Sandstone environmental sampling for $4,844.75. She asked if this would be the last check written for Sandstone, or if there was anything else that Council needed to know about.

Mr. Helwig said the report was delivered that day to the MDEQ. This is the last issue with Sandstone.

Ms. Smith-Roy said this payment took the City through the November 30th date, so there will probably be additional payments. The purchase order was issued for $48,000, and there is $21,000 left on that purchase order.

Member Paul asked if more soil would be removed.

Mr. Helwig replied that soil would only be removed if MDEQ would find an issue that was not discovered with the large remediation along Twelve Mile Road, but this is very unlikely here. The soil removal is completed, and the report just needs approval.

Member Paul referred to Item number 33686, "International Institute of", and asked for a better definition of the item.

Ms. Smith-Roy replied that this should have read "International Institute of Municipal Clerks."

CM-04-01-033 Moved by Paul, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 665.

Voice Vote on CM-04-01-033 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY


1. Planning Commission term limits (2 three-year terms) – Mayor Csordas

Mayor Csordas said he wanted to address something that everyone was aware of but never wants to talk about. He wanted to diffuse the political pressure involved with the Planning Commission. Anything that this Council can do to help future Councils, Mayors, and Planning Commissioners to avoid the political rancor will help. He had talked with the City Manager and other people in the City. Clearly, the route to the City Council, with the exception of one current Council Member, is through the Planning Commission, which is not bad. The Planning Commission is a great training ground, and Commissioners are familiarized with the reams of paperwork, the analyses involved, and the processes by which the City works. He could not imagine why anyone would want to serve more than 6 years on the Planning Commission. Those are 2 very good terms. With term limits, once those 6 years expired, it would allow the Mayor and City Council the opportunity to bring on new people, new ideas, and keep everything evolving. He has had the opportunity to meet with some professional consultants who work with people in Germany, Japan, and other countries, and recommend businesses to come to the City of Novi. Novi has not been on the "A" list for a number of years. Sometimes, the recommendation is that Novi can be considered by the company, but is not the ultimate recommendation by the professional consultants. This has a tendency to shake people up.

Mayor Csordas said he believes that everyone on the Planning Commission is doing a very good job, and that this has nothing to do with people who are sitting on the Planning Commission now, have in the past, or will in the future. He just wanted to address something that he did not believe had ever been addressed before. He has also been told that somebody might consider applying and interviewing for the Planning Commission, but are discouraged because they feel there is little chance of being accepted because the same people will be selected. It would take a few years for the term limits to take place in their entirety. There has also never been a guarantee of reappointment after the first 3-year term, and this will continue. He said he did not want to discuss the item that evening, but wanted City Council to think about the subject and consider it.

Mayor Csordas said that he was very fortunate in that right after his election he had the opportunity to appoint 3 new members to the Planning Commission. He believes that those Commissioners will do a great job, and he was fortunate to have unanimous support from the City Council. He said he his trying to do something for the betterment of the process and provide some stress relief as well. He asked Mr. Helwig to discuss the idea of term limits with Mr. Fisher and put this on a future agenda for Council consideration. He reiterated that this idea had nothing to do with the people on the Planning Commission, as they are there for all of the right reasons and do a great job.

Member Nagy said she appreciated the fact that the Mayor had given the idea of term limits a lot of thought. She has been a part of the process, and having served on the Planning Commission she did not feel that the Commission has a bad reputation outside of the City or in general. She felt that only applying term limits for the Planning Commission might be prejudiced. There have been many times where an applicant has come forward to apply, and there is a built-in bias, which is unavoidable. John Avdoulus, an architect, had every reason and experience to serve on the Planning Commission and was not selected the first time he applied, but was the second time. The City Charter only requires that Planning Commissioners be residents of Novi, which is the only requirement to serve on any board or commission in the City. While she appreciated the spirit by which the Mayor proposed the term limits, she felt that Council needed to be careful about them. If term limits are applied to one commission, then they must be done to others.

Member Paul said it was confusing to discuss two 3-year terms. She filled Mayor Pro Tem Landry’s spot on the Planning Commission when he moved up to the City Council, so she had a half term, and was reappointed for a second full term. She wondered if she would have been allowed to seek a third term under the term limits rule as proposed. Some of the people on the ZBA have been there for 25 or 30 years. There was recently a very tenuous voting session for ZBA members. If the term limits were applied across the board, perhaps more citizens would apply. The services of those who serve on all of the City’s boards and commissions are very much appreciated. However, all of the possibilities must be considered. Gwen Markham served on the Planning Commission, took a break from that, and is now serving again on the Planning Commission; Brent Canup is another example of this. She felt that the ramifications of term limits would have to be considered before placing the item on an agenda.

Member Lorenzo said there were different perceptions about people serving on boards and commissions. She did not feel any conflict, stress or pressure from the appointment process. There are areas where one body will disagree with the judgments of another, especially when either body has put a great deal of heart into whatever they are doing. She felt that Council and the Planning Commission can agree to disagree on issues, and this is healthy. In terms of a turnover, it is good and healthy to have turnover, but that opportunity is already available. Planning Commissioners are nominated by the Mayor, but must receive Council’s approval. She did not feel there was any pressure for the Mayor or anyone else to support either an incumbent or new candidate. She has no problem appointing new people or the same people, as this all depends on the situation. She agreed with the comment that Council should not single out the Planning Commission for term limits. If Council feels these are a good idea because of turnover, then they should be considered for all boards and commissions. She wondered if term limits were being considered for the right reason. If the purpose of limits is to allow for turnover, this is one thing, but she did not feel that perceived conflict was a correct reason for considering the term limits.

Mayor Csordas noted that he did not feel a conflict of interest when he nominated people to serve on the Planning Commission.

Member Paul said that one conflict which she could see had nothing to do with the Planning Commission, but to have a City employee serve on a board or commission. This is a conflict that does exist on one board. This is not to say that that individual does not do a good job, but there is a potential conflict. If Council should examine any conflicts, this is one to possibly address.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry said it was a good idea to discuss and look into the possibility of term limits. He agreed with several comments that were made. Clearly, Council would have to explore a number of scenarios when considering the term limits. He reminded Council that there is no pressure with the sitting Planning Commission and the City, but that the idea pertains more to the appointment process. When he was appointed to the Planning Commission, there was a huge dispute on the City Council. For several months, the Planning Commission did not have enough people, and this log jam was only broken because Member Capello voluntarily stepped down from the Planning Commission to resolve the political conflict. Member Capello decided to put the interests of the City ahead of himself and said "Ok, I’ll step down." This broke the political log jam, and he ended up being appointed. As he perceived the issue, this was how the Mayor was looking at the concept – that the political appointment process can become very political. Perhaps term limits should be discussed for all boards and commission, but the Planning Commission was being raised at this time because by State law, only the Mayor can make nominations, and this was not the case for anything else but the Library Board. If Council is to start making term limits, it would have to start with the Planning Commission. Council certainly does not want to "jump into" the idea of term limits, but they are worth consideration.

Member Nagy appreciated the spirit with which Mayor Csordas brought the concept of term limits forward. She felt that a truth had to be told: "politics is politics." Her appointment was not easy either. Each board and commission is affected after an election. However, what is really important is the person who is running a meeting and has the ability to set the tone of a board, commission, or of the Council. This is a tremendous pressure, whether they are the Chair of the Planning Commission or ZBA or Mayor of the City. This is the crucial element as to how a board or commission functions. To his credit, Mayor Csordas has brought something to the Council that is evident to the public, which is why she appreciates his thoughts and the spirit of his idea. She respects all of the boards and commissions and noted that these are all volunteer positions that require an enormous amount of time.

Mayor Csordas wanted the audience to understand the spirit of the conversation and tone. He was not pressing the idea; this was something that he just hoped Council would talk about. He said he would push the idea, and would not ask that the idea come back again. He appreciated Mayor Pro Tem Landry’s offer to bring the term limits concept back, but he did not know if there was consensus for this idea or if it would be productive. He asked Council if there was consensus for the concept to come back to Council for consideration on a later agenda.

Member Nagy noted that budget discussions will begin in the coming months, and did not feel the item should come back.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry suggested that Council consider the idea for a while, and someone could raise the idea as a Mayor and Council Issue if they felt it necessary in the future.

2. Cheltenham Estates – lack of dedicated roads and ongoing issues – Member Paul

Member Paul said she had received two letters of correspondence from Cheltenham Estates. The first was from Gordon Fuller, who is the Homeowner’s Association president. He had several issues, including salting and plowing the roads, a concern of a lawsuit, and secondary access. Mr. Fuller felt that the secondary access could possibly go through Beckenham or Edinborough as an emergency access only. He also wrote about the temporary easement and the duration of this easement, and permanent use of the secondary access. The second letter was received from a person in attendance that evening, John Garabelli. He also had the same concerns about a lawsuit, snow removal, and the safety of the roads. His suggestion for the emergency access was to go through the same subdivisions, and he provided very specific sites west of Beck Road and north of Edinborough. Both of those individuals have great concerns because Mr. Nanda had brought forward his concern about access to the Wilshire Abbey subdivision by Mirage Development. She asked Mr. Helwig to respond to these on the record for the residents’ sake, in order to understand the interactions with the developers. She also asked Mr. McCusker to address the snow removal situation.

Mr. Helwig said that he had spoken with Mr. Fisher earlier that day about Cheltenham. What will really solve the problems is for the neighborhood developer to live up to the representations and the obligations and get the streets dedicated. The City Council has weighed in heavily on this in recent weeks. Mr. Fisher has been given a pledge by that individual’s attorney that this dedication will happen. Until that happens, the City cannot, and this goes completely against the grain of public service, because of the exposure to the City, respond to a homeowner and de-ice or snowplow. The representation that there is a contractor being paid $3,000 who goes there and provides those maintenance services on behalf of the property owner, is an absolute charade according to Mr. McCusker. Mr. McCusker had told him that day that if there is such a presence, this is 72 hours after a storm and does not involve any de-icing salt. The City is being put in a most un-tenuous position. He asked Mr. Fisher for his expectation on when the dedication of streets will be completed, since there is a neighborhood at risk with the way it is functioning.

Mr. Fisher confirmed that he had spoken with Mr. Helwig that day. Beth Kudla in his office is working on the matter, and she was on vacation for the week. He had put out an all-persons bulletin, which she called in a response to. Mr. Nanda has reported to his office that he has not been able to get a bonding company to write the bond that is on the requested form. Beth Kudla has provided Mr. Nanda with an alternative form, and she is waiting to hear back from him. At that point, everything would have to fall into place. He felt that the City would have to increase the pressure to get the dedication done as quickly as possible, on an expedited basis.

Mayor Csordas asked what increasing the pressure would entail.

Mr. Fisher replied that this meant getting Mr. Nanda’s lawyer involved and indicating that the pledge of dedication has not been fulfilled.

Member Paul said that this has happened in several other neighborhoods, where the City has had a subdivision come forward. Oakland County has had the roads in the subdivision, such as Aberdeen, dedicated to the City map and Oakland County maps. The City then collects financial gain for that road. She asked if this was what happened in Cheltenham Estates, or if no financial gain at all had been collected from the County.

Mr. Helwig replied that, to his knowledge, the City had not accepted any Act 51 money from the State, nor had it requested any such money. Any work that has been done has been done on the basis of reimbursement from the developer. He did not condone this, given the circumstances that were being dealt with.

Member Paul asked if the City was plowing the roads at all.

Mr. Helwig said the City is not doing anything with the Cheltenham roads right now.

Member Paul asked if in the past, if anything was done, money was taken out of the bond per se.

Mr. Helwig said that for any work, the City had billed the developer, which is a less-than-satisfactory arrangement.

Member Paul asked if the developer had paid those bills.

Mr. McCusker said that Mr. Nanda had not paid those. Mr. Nanda is very hard to get a hold of, and when a bill is sent, he tends to ignore it.

Member Paul commented that this was "interesting," as Mr. Nanda had attended several recent Council meetings. She asked the homeowners to realize the very precarious position that the Council was put in. The roads have not been accepted by the City, and the City is waiting for Mr. Nanda to complete some repairs. If the City does salting, snow removal, or any kind of repair to those roads, it is essentially accepting those roads. In doing this, the City will alleviate Mr. Nanda’s responsibility of fixing many of the issues on his outstanding list. Until a commitment is received from Mr. Nanda’s lawyer, and any outstanding issues are resolved, the City cannot do any of the safety measures necessary, such as snow removal. This is very unfortunate, but legally this is the City’s only recourse. The only concern of the Cheltenham residents that Council had not addressed was the emergency access, and this goes along with the legal ramifications and concerns. Council had addressed this with the Wilshire Abbey subdivision, and there are some negotiations occurring between the lawyers that the City does not yet have to provide information on. Hopefully those items will be addressed in the near future. She asked if there was any time limit that Council could place on the concerns so that they are not prolonged until the spring time, when snow removal will not be a concern.

Mr. Fisher said that Mr. Nanda’s lawyer would be contacted and informed that the dedication has to happen immediately.

Member Paul asked if this could be done in written form.

Mr. Fisher replied that he would do this.

Member Paul remarked that phone calls are easy to avoid. She would appreciate having a written letter in the file.

Mr. Fisher noted that Mr. Nanda’s lawyer has been very responsible in trying to move the dedication forward.

Member Paul asked for information to come back to Council so that it can understand what is happening to and for the Cheltenham residents, which Mr. Fisher agreed to.

Member Capello asked where the City was in regards to the inspections and approvals of the road and sewer systems.

Mr. Pearson said that to the best of his recollection there were only a couple of pothole repairs in the roads. The City could either apply a financial bond security for this, or have it done. The actual physical condition of the infrastructure was not a problem as he remembered it.

Member Capello asked if the storm sewer had been inspected yet.

Mr. Pearson said that this had been inspected and was ok.

Member Capello asked if there was sanitary sewer and City water installed, which Mr. Pearson replied was correct. Member Capello asked if the development was entirely set to go once the paperwork is completed. He asked if, aside from the potholes, there was anything else that the developer needed to do that he had to wait until spring to complete.

Ms. McClain said that all of the utilities are ready for acceptance. The street has a couple of very minor repairs that are needed. When those are done and the paperwork is ready, it will be ready to bring to City Council.

Member Capello asked if there was an on-site storm water detention basin.

Ms. McClain replied that there is some detention on-site, and that this meets all requirements.

Member Capello asked if this had been checked to ensure there was no buildup of silt.

Ms. McClain said that the detention basin was working fine. The problem has been the reluctance by Mr. Nanda to come forward and make the dedications.

Member Lorenzo said she was absent from the Council meeting where the large discussion about Cheltenham took place. She had some questions about the development, because there were some answers from Mr. Fisher that she did not feel were necessarily backed up with documentation. For instance, Member Capello raised some good issues, particularly with regard to the emergency access. Mr. Fisher had indicated that on Mr. Nanda’s plat, it indicated that the permanent secondary emergency access would be on what is now known as the Wilshire Abbey site.

Mr. Fisher said he believed this was correct.

Member Lorenzo asked if there was an intention and an understanding by virtue of that plat that this was where the secondary access would permanently be.

Mr. Fisher replied that in his judgment, there was an intention on the part of the City for this to happen.

Member Lorenzo inquired if, on the Wilshire Abbey plat, there was any notation to the effect that they would have to, if not in the specific location where it was, come up with a permanent secondary emergency access.

Mr. Fisher replied that this was correct.

Member Lorenzo said that Member Capello specifically asked if, on a condition of Wilshire Abbey’s approval, they would have to find and agree to permanent secondary access, and this never made it into the motion. Nobody ever actually included this in the motion. Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he had the same concern, Member Capello raised it, and the only three things that made it into the motion were the three conditions that Mr. Fisher recommended. Mr. Nanda made good faith representations on the plat that these roads were going to be public, and she agreed with this. But by the same token, there was an equal intention and good faith that Wilshire Abbey was going to house the permanent secondary access.

Mr. Fisher asked Member Lorenzo to understand that there was no intention or expectation that that issue would be "swept under any rug." This is an issue which he took as legal counsel’s assignment to work on as best as possible, and to do so in the proper order of things. His office intends to pursue that concern in the proper order of time.

Member Lorenzo asked if Council would have cleanly handled the issue that evening if that were just placed as a condition. Based on the same premise by which he was basing Mr. Nanda’s responsibility to come forward with the acceptance of the streets, Mr. Lokey and/or Mr. Rossi have the requirement to come forward with the secondary access.

Mr. Fisher said this was just not the subject of the discussion that evening.

Member Lorenzo noted that Member Capello had raised the concern during those discussions.

Mr. Fisher said he understood, but that the concern was not the issue that was being discussed at the time.

Member Capello said that his concern was addressed at that meeting. The reason that they could not continue with it was that somewhere between the Planning Commission and City Council, Mr. Lokey pulled off a section on Beck Road from the plat recorded with Oakland County that was part of the secondary access, retained title on this, and only granted an easement. This was what Mr. Fisher had to follow up on. Council did not miss his concern, but left it out on purpose because they did not yet have that answer.

Member Lorenzo asked what would have happened had Council gone ahead and made this a condition. Granted, Mr. Lokey said that he would fight this vigorously. However, Council was considering taking Mr. Nanda to court because it feels that he, by virtue of the plat, made a legal good faith promise to turn those roads into public streets. Mr. Lokey made the same good faith promise and intention to make his property the permanent secondary access. She felt that Council had every right to place a condition on that property that evening. Mr. Lokey could go to court, and the judge will look at what the intention and reasonable understanding were. Council could have cleaned the matter up that evening. From a conversation that she had had with Mr. Nanda, the release of that easement on his property is a big issue to him.

Mayor Csordas said that Mr. Nanda had come to Mayor’s hours. He said that what Member Lorenzo spoke of must have been "another story."

Member Lorenzo said this was not "another story." She told Mr. Nanda that if he wanted his road to be private, then he should have stated on his plat that he wanted private streets. But by the same token, Mr. Lokey made the same good faith intention and promise that he would have the permanent secondary access on his property. If Council is going to hold one of the parties to a standard, then it has to hold the other to that standard.

Mayor Csordas said he understood, but said that if Member Lorenzo would have been at the meeting, she would have seen that the entire discussion was "a mess."

Member Lorenzo said that she was looking at the discussion from a legal process, and felt that it could have been handled differently. She asked if regarding the right of way bond, that this had already been issued and that this would be used in the case of Wilshire Abbey deteriorating the roads of Cheltenham.

Mr. Fisher replied that there would be bonds filed by both Mr. Nanda, in connection with the dedication of the roads for Cheltenham; and by Mirage, the developer of Wilshire, to cover any damage that they cause.

Member Lorenzo asked how it would be known which development caused which damage. Wilshire Abbey has said that they will not use the Cheltenham entrance for construction purposes, but sometimes the gravel haulers and other trucks use the streets anyways. She wondered how this damage would be divvied up.

Mr. Fisher said this would have to be addressed as the facts unfold.

Member Lorenzo said she saw both sides to the issue. She did not feel that they should be petty, but if she was a property owner and had to pay for construction of streets and an entranceway, and another property owner got to use that as benefit and did not pay anything towards that, she would be angry as well.

Mayor Csordas said this was not the case here.

Member Lorenzo said she understood that Mr. Nanda made public streets, which she has told him in conversations. She did not know if residents understood exactly what secondary emergency access is. This is only for emergency vehicles. Residents will not be able to use this to go in and out of the subdivision, as it is only for emergency vehicles.

Member Paul said that both of the residents who had mentioned the emergency access knew that it would be gated and never used except for emergency vehicles. This was all that they had interest in.

Member Lorenzo said the issue could wind up with 2 emergency accesses and no permanent one.

Mr. Fisher said the City would not let the emergency access stay tucked under.

Member Lorenzo said she would not look favorably upon attaching the emergency access to Beckenham and/or Edinborough. She is opposed to connecting subdivisions, as this makes for increased traffic problems and more strife in the neighborhoods. Most of the traffic problems that she has on Galway Drive are from people in the neighboring subdivision. If subdivisions want to have only their own entranceway for in and out, she supports this. She does not want to force more connections that may create additional problems in the future.

3. Vortechnics – Member Nagy

Member Nagy said that because of her comments regarding South Lake Drive, and because she is on the Storm Water Committee, she has done research and wished to include several things in the next week’s packet. However, Council already has enough to read, so she would only include one of the three studies that she researched that compares stormceptors with Vortechs. She feels that there is a major difference in the ability to filter particulates. She was disappointed because the contract called for vortechs, MDEQ approved vortechs, and the lake is very near. She had highlighted significant information for Council.

Mr. Pearson said he would like the opportunity for the City Engineer to look at the information and have the full package for the professionals. Dr. Tilton had weighed in, and the stormceptor solution saved the City money. He wished to put this forward and review the entire package.

Member Nagy said her question was whether this saved the contractor money, or the City. She said she would give all of her information to Mr. Pearson.

Mr. Pearson said that the substitution saved the City money.

4. Jake’s Liquor License – Member Capello

Member Capello asked if there was a chance that the City could get its liquor license back from Jake’s in any fashion whatsoever. The City only has one quota license left, and there are several applications in for that. It would be nice if the City could get the license back from Jake’s.

Mr. Fisher said he did not believe this could be done after the fact. There are some methods which, by amending the ordinance for the future, the City could avoid some profiteering on liquor licenses.

Member Capello asked what the State does with the liquor licenses. From his understanding, there are a number of liens on that license. He did not believe that the State would let a lien holder, unless it was purchase money lien holder, take the license.

Mr. Fisher said that if the license goes into escrow, and the property owner transfers it, they may be able to transfer the license itself without the liens. The liens may stay on the property.

Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher if he was saying that the license was in escrow and the owner of Jake’s Fish House still owns it.

Mr. Fisher replied that this was correct, or that the owner still has some control for a while and the ability to transfer it.

Member Capello noted that some time ago, Council had asked Mr. Fisher to work on some revisions to the ordinance regarding liquor licenses.

Mr. Fisher said he was ready to provide something if Council wished to have it.

Member Capello asked if this could be provided in the second week of February.

Mr. Fisher agreed to do this.

5. Post Bar – Member Gatt

Member Gatt said that in Council’s packets there was a letter from Mr. Fisher dated January 16th to the Post Bar, in which he outlines the City’s concerns. Also in Council’s packets there was a detailed and well-written letter from Chief Shaeffer regarding all of the activities at the Post Bar from November through January 17th. He was concerned with several things, including 6 OUIL arrests from January 1st through January 22nd. He did not have anything to compare this to, and wondered if the Police could compare this to any other establishments in the City. He asked if this was something that Council should become more concerned with, or if it should wait and see what the response is from Mr. Fisher’s letter.

Chief Shaeffer said that consideration of OUIL arrests on any volume causes police and community concern. The numbers of arrests in the past two months stemming from the Post Bar, 5 and 6 respectively for the past two months, is probably in line with the volume being seen from other locations. This is in consideration of the number of patrons that frequent their facility. The Police do keep running tabs of where people tell them they’ve been drinking prior to being arrested for OWI. At one other establishment in town, they regularly see 3 to 5 such arrests a month. At establishments with far fewer patrons, they see nowhere near this level. The arrests are related to the number of patrons seen at the Post Bar.

Member Gatt said he suspected this also could be related to the number of other drinking establishments in that immediate area, with Gus O’Connor’s and Local Color. Even though the people being arrested might have been coming out of the Post Bar, the other establishments could have contributed as well. He felt that Council should stay aware of the problem, and perhaps receive another report in a month or so. By then, the letter from Legal Counsel should have been thoroughly reviewed by the owners of the Post Bar.

Chief Shaeffer clarified that he believed Council would be seeing a monthly report with reference to the Post Bar.

Member Lorenzo said that while she appreciated the efforts that the Post Bar has made since the original information came to Council, it unfortunately appeared that they are not doing enough. With all due respect to the Chief, while he has indicated "off the cuff" with regards to other bars and incidents, she would prefer to see a chart, as Council did for incidents between July 1st and October 19th. When Council saw this chart, there were a significantly higher number of calls, particularly OUI and assault and battery types of violations.

Member Lorenzo said that he had talked to Mr. Fisher, and it appears that the letter is going to manager of the bar. This is well and good, but the bar has owners and financial interests. They need to be specifically aware of the seriousness of these issues. If Council takes this any further, it will be those interests’ investment that will be impacted. She asked to make sure that in the future, and correspondence sent to the Post Bar be copied to every single financial interest in the Post Bar establishment. She also suggested sending a copy of the letters in discussion and sending copies to the ownership, as she does not want there to be any misunderstanding of the severity of the issues by the owners.

Member Lorenzo said she was willing to give the ownership of the Post Bar time to reflect upon what they are going to do. However, it appears that what they have done to date has not changed anything significantly. She found the numbers totally unacceptable for the community. These are a bad reflection upon the Novi community, and she does not want to see that many incidents. She does not want to tell the owners how to run their business, who their clientele should be, or what kinds of activities they undertake at the bar. She was particularly concerned about the item because she sat at the meeting in the Post Bar’s defense at the meeting where the recommendation for their liquor license was approved. The Chief did not even give a favorable recommendation based upon their dealings in other communities. She was willing, in good faith, to give the ownership an opportunity to prove to Novi that they could do better than in the other places. She said she was very disappointed for having believed the Post Bar’s case. She expected the arrest numbers to decrease by one way or another. She also questioned whether the number of people allowed in the bar was still too much, even if this had been decreased from prior numbers. The City needs better criteria for the maximum occupancy in bars, since it appears to be questionable as to what is currently allowed. She said that in the previous Friday entertainment section of the Detroit News, where bars and activities are listed, the paper called the Post Bar a "party place." She did not appreciate that reputation for this community. She hoped that the ownership would be contacted and made aware of the severity of the problems, and she wanted to know exactly what the ownership planned to do to decrease arrest statistics.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Chief Shaeffer if the number of OUIL arrests, where the person referenced the Post Bar as a place where they had been drinking, was about the same for the Post Bar as other establishments in the City.

Chief Shaeffer said that bars which are more heavily attended, though he did not want to draw too much of a correlation, had seen similar numbers of OWI arrests.

Member Nagy noted that the Post Bar sees a younger crowd, but that this does not condone the bar’s actions of serving too many drinks to too many people. She believed that the Novi Expo Center hires the City’s Police for events on Fridays and Saturdays, and said that the Post Bar could also do this. If this was not the case, the bar could even hire the Oakland County Sheriff’s people. There is only so much that the City’s Police Department can do. Just like in other bars, she felt that someone who was intoxicated might eventually be in a car accident and will sue the bar. This does not make anything right, but there is not much more that that Novi Police and Fire Departments can do. She wanted to indicate that the onus is on the Post Bar, not on the City’s Police Department.

Member Capello said that this is a real challenge for the Police Department. There is only so much that the police can do with this or other establishments that do not deserve more police protection. Not condoning anything that has gone on at the Post Bar, he did not want the City to have a reputation for closing down and taking away liquor licenses from establishments in the Main Street area. If that reputation were to develop then there could be large repercussions relative to new businesses coming into Novi, particularly the Main Street area. He sees that area growing first with restaurants, and secondly with other types of small shops. He felt that Council needs to be very careful in how it is approaching the Post Bar and the problems that the police are having.

6. Tasers – Member Gatt

Member Gatt commended the Police Department and Chief Shaeffer for bringing the taser guns to the Department. He recently saw a demonstration at Oakland County with the tasers, and he invited the Chief to bring one in for the Council to see when the tasers come in. This is a tool that police officers can use that will eventually save lives.

Mr. Helwig said that a purchase order process is underway that will come to Council for approval. The Police had actually brought the item to administration’s attention for the next fiscal year, starting July 1, and administration felt it was best to bring this to Council before that. This will be coming soon.

Member Gatt promised that whenever they come in, Council would be fascinated by the tasers.

Mayor Csordas asked why the taser devices come with an insurance policy, and why this was necessary.

Chief Shaeffer replied that he did not want to speak on behalf of the manufacturer, but could offer some speculation. Shocking devices are not new in law enforcement, as these actually predate his involvement in law enforcement. The devices that were used earlier were, in some cases, being misused and used as a punishment device. As a result, law enforcement saw quite a few lawsuits, including several civil rights lawsuits. Michigan State law was founded on this premise, which had precluded the use of shocking devices by law enforcement. Until this last year, when Michigan State law changed, these devices were not allowed. The device’s technology has certainly improved in that amount of time, and is now so high-tech that not only does the device discharge once it is used, but this use is recorded on a memory chip, and the device spreads very small pieces of paper everywhere that says the device has been used and prints the serial number of that device. If the taser is used, there will be a trail, which holds up accountability with the use of the device. There was no accountability with the old devices, and they were sometimes used in inappropriate ways. There is also likely a medical application in the insurance, in the event that someone was seriously harmed from the use of a taser.

Mayor Csordas appreciated Chief Shaeffer’s answer. He asked if it was his intent to equip all officers with a taser.

Chief Shaeffer replied that this was correct.

7. Letter from Mr. Korte – Member Gatt

Member Gatt noted that on January 11th, Mr. Jim Korte sent a letter to the City Council, with a copy of the letter that he sent to the Novi News printed on the back of it. The letter to the Novi News posed several questions, and he asked if there were answers to those questions.

Mr. Helwig said he had seen a response that day from CEMS. He had asked Chief Lenaghan to ensure that Mr. Korte gets this response, and it would be provided for Council in their Thursday packets.

8. Economic Development Committee – Member Paul

Member Paul said her understanding was that the Economic Development Committee had not been meeting very regularly. Bob Churella, whom she had served with on the Planning Commission, mentioned that he was hoping to possibly get that Committee up and running again, and offered to be a member. He was talking to her about some areas that the Committee could look into, voids that the Council sees in the City, that the Committee could be instrumental with in bringing them to the City. She hoped that Council could possibly look at that Committee flourishing again.

Mayor Csordas said he thought that the City was jumpstarting that Committee.

Mr. Helwig said there really has not been a defined mission or work program for the Committee. Rather than wasting peoples’ time, the Committee has been on a hiatus. Staff does not have a focus for the Committee, and if Council has one the City would love to put it in motion.

Mr. Pearson said that in October, the Mayor had brought up the topic of the Economic Development Committee. Right after that, the City tried to convene a meeting of the EDC in order to do their annual required function of approving the audit for the funds, and to look at what to do with the $30,000-something that were available. Since then, administration has tried to get a quorum of the group to meet, which has been impossible until now. Mr. Churella has expressed formal interest to the Clerk’s office, and will be interviewing. It has been very difficult to try and get the group together.

Member Paul asked if the next interviews were in February, which Mayor Csordas said was correct. She said that sometimes it only takes one person coming forward to spark something that might be of interest to everybody.

Mayor Csordas commented that if the City cannot get that Committee jumpstarted, then the City needs to take the money and purchase entrance signs for the City.

Mr. Helwig replied that administration has had a task force working on that and would have a report coming to Council in the next month.

Member Capello said that from what he understood with the EDC, their scope was so narrow and they had so little money to deal with that they did not do anything for a long period of time. He recalled one Committee member who had often complained. That EDC is different than the EDC branch of the Novi Chamber of Commerce, where they actively go out and try to develop the economy. This was part of the problem with the old EDC. He suggested that Council might need some type of an idea from administration what this particular EDC does, so that Council’s expectations of the jumpstarting are not too high.

9. Meadowbrook Town Homes Association – Member Paul

Member Paul said that Meadowbrook Town Homes Association has corresponded to Council on several occasions. She asked administration to at some time address the status of the City accepting the Meadowbrook Town Homes Association, and what the outstanding items on their punch list are before the City accepts everything in the master deed.

Mr. Helwig said that Mr. Pearson would prepare a report for another meeting on the item.



There being no further business to come before the Council, Mayor Csordas adjourned the meeting at 11:57 p.m.


____________________________ ___________________________

Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk



Transcribed by Steve King


Date approved: February 23, 2004