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REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, JUNE 7, 2004 AT 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor Csordas called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry, Council Members Capello*, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy and Paul
ALSO PRESENT Rick Helwig – City Manager
Craig Klaver – Chief Operating Officer
Clay Pearson – Assistant City Manager
Gerald Fisher – City Attorney
Don Tilton – Wetlands Consultant
Tim Schmitt – City Planner
Glenn Lemmon – City Assessor
Nancy McClain – City Engineer
Dave Evancoe – Planning Director
Barb McBeth – City Planner
Kathy Smith-Roy – Finance Director
Benny McCusker – Director of Public Works
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Paul wished to add three items to Mayor and Council Issues: number one, the Planning Director and Permits; number two, Rezoning of Twelve Mile Road; and number three, Fuerst Farm.
Member Nagy wished to add South Lake as Mayor and Council Issues item number four, and Landscape Contract as item number five.
CM-04-06-217 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Voice Vote on CM-04-06-217 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
1. Recognition of the Novi Youth Assistance "Think Before You Drink" Poster Essay Contest winners held in conjunction with Alcohol Awareness Month.
John P. O’Brien said that each year, in an effort to educate and inform the middle school kids on the dangers of drinking and driving, in cooperation with the middle school, Novi Youth Assistance holds an essay and poster contest. This year, the third place recipient was Anisha Jahad, second place went to Sarah Johnson, and the first place recipients were a team of Sarah Robinson and Jennifer Joas.
* Member Capello arrived at 7:38 p.m.
PUBLIC HEARING - None
Member Paul wished to recognize something very positive that had happened in the community. There was a young, twelve-year-old boy that had hit his head on home plate at Power Park. At the same time the catcher was tagging that boy out at home plate, he hemorrhaged in the brain. The umpire at home plate had a cell phone, called EMS, and responders were there in less than three minutes. There had been so many negative reports about the City’s EMS that she wished to bring something positive forward. The young boy is doing well.
2. CITY MANAGER
Mr. Helwig noted that it is road construction season, and the City is doing its very best to try to get information to the motoring public, as well as to businesses that may be affected by upcoming changes. Perhaps the biggest that will start sometime next week in partnership with the Oakland County Road Commission is the prohibition of any turns at the intersection of Novi Road and Grand River Avenue. That prohibition will exist for the duration of the project until sometime in November. Everyone knows what a bottleneck that intersection is when a truck is trying to turn, or just with traffic trying to mobilize through that intersection. This is one of the last remaining intersections, along with Ten Mile and Novi Road, which the voters of Novi approved participation and funding for in the road bond that was approved in November of 2000. The City is delighted that this project is coming to fruition, but it will not be without difficulty for the motoring public and the businesses in that corridor. Starting next week this is something to look toward and to plan around. Last week, bids were taken by the Oakland County Road Commission for the improvement of the intersection of Ten Mile and Novi Road. It appears that the Commission will try through its contractor, a contractor with which the City has worked before, to get that project all paved this year. The original expectation of the Road Commission was that this project would flow into next year. This will also be a challenging pinch point as that contract unfolds this summer.
Mr. Helwig said that to compound things in those two corridors, after much discussion with the Road Commission and CSX, sometime in June they are planning to upgrade the railroad crossings on Novi Road between Ten Mile and Grand River Avenue, and also Ten Mile east of the Novi Road intersection. Those projects will involve some complete shutdowns, and it is not known how long those will occur for, whether for a day or longer. The City particularly receives many complaints about the crossing on Ten Mile Road. This Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. in the Police training facility, the City is inviting all citizens and businesses to a complete update on all road projects. Last year and this year are two of the biggest road work years the City has ever seen, and administration wants to get information out to the City. Community Relations is signing people up for faxes and other means of frequent updates so that they can let their customers know and keep people posted on events. Finally, as of last week, is the closure of part of Twelve Mile just west of West Park Drive over to the Beck Road bridge. Drivers are now forced to go up Beck Road over to West Road if they want to get to West Park Drive. The City is being told that this portion of Twelve Mile will reopen again at the end of July. That project will go until November of 2005.
3. DEPARTMENTAL - None
Mr. Fisher wished to provide a brief update on the litigation that the City initiated against Nanda Enterprises. This was a matter involving a subdivision in which the roads had been proposed and approved by the City to be dedicated to the public in 1998. For various reasons the roads have not been dedicated yet to the City. The City exerted significant efforts to secure an agreement on the part of the property owner and the proprietor of the subdivision to dedicate the roads. An agreement was not forthcoming, and the City initiated a case for the purpose of securing the dedication of those roads, primarily because there are 28 homes that are now sold and occupied within that subdivision and the status of the roads was up in the air. The case was filed and assigned to Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Mester. The City filed a motion for summary disposition, which essentially means that the case is clear enough that there are not facts that are in dispute, and the judge should order an immediate resolution of the matter. That did come on for hearing and Judge Mester was extremely well prepared. Both sides submitted extensive amounts of materials. Judge Mester was extremely well prepared and ruled in favor of the City, holding that those roads should be and are open to the public. The City expects at this point that Nanda Enterprises will appeal. In some instances an appeal, based upon the filing or posting of a bond, will stay the effect of a ruling. The judge very clearly indicated that any stay he would issue would not undermine the public accessibility to those roads unless the Court of Appeals overturns the decision, for which he would be very surprised. At this point the Cheltenham Estates subdivision roads are open to the public pending appeal at the very least.
Mayor Csordas asked if Mr. Nanda had 14 days from the time of that ruling.
Mr. Fisher said the Court determined that it will be 14 days from June 10, in which Mr. Nanda must get all of his materials to the City for purposes of doing a formal dedication. It is conceivable, if Nanda Enterprises posts a bond, which will be a significant bond, they may be able to get a reprieve from having to file all of the papers necessary to formally dedicate. The Court has indicated that, regardless of this, the roads are open to the public, accessible by the public and usable by the public now.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry remarked that Mr. Fisher was to be commended with this case. This was a very unusual situation that faced the City, and he recalled very well that Mr. Fisher’s recommendations were that first the City sit down and try to work the situation out with the parties, which Mr. Fisher did. Mr. Fisher tried to get everyone involved, sit down, talk, and work things out. Mr. Fisher had recommended to Council that if the City could not work out the situation, that it take action, file the lawsuit, and seek a Court approval to determine if the roads are public. Mr. Fisher carried through; the matter turned out exactly as how he had advised Council, and he should be commended with swift and complete action.
Member Paul said there were several residents that were very interested in the case, but when it was under litigation the City could not share any information with them. She asked if a letter could go out to those residents to explain what had occurred so far. The City was in a bit of a stalemate to see what it could do, and she knew that there were many residents concerned with the matter. She said she would appreciate this being done. She asked if Council could have an executive session about all of the different legal matters going on in the City. As a new member of Council, she still has some that she is not completely familiar with.
Mayor Csordas said that Council had recently received a written update of all of those cases.
Mr. Helwig said that normally the written update would come at the end of July, and he had asked for that update to move this up some, as there are some cases very active right now. He suggested that perhaps Mr. Fisher could expedite the report even sooner, given her request, and Council could hold the executive session at the first meeting in July after Council has had an opportunity to look at the written summary.
Member Paul said she had read the written summary prior to the current one, from approximately two months earlier, but there had been much that had occurred since. She thanked Mr. Fisher for his hard work.
Marilyn Witt said she assumed that Council was familiar with her name from letters that had been sent. It was brought to her attention by Member Paul that not everyone was aware of the letter that had been sent last year. The letters that Council had received this year are nothing new. There is a problem with Willowbrook Drive. Approximately six years ago, homeowners attempted to have the street closed off at the bridge just before it gets to the school. Years ago, when the subdivision was new, they were building in the subdivision south of Willowbrook, and at that time residents were promised that the road would be re-closed after the building was completed. The road was needed for equipment access. The re-closure was never done; residents attempted to get the road closed at that time, but it could not be done because of emergency vehicles. Residents understand this concern because of a potential emergency at the school. However, they object to all of the other things that have been going on. She wished to read the original letter that was sent out April 16, 2003. She said she was very upset because little had been done. She had heard from only one member of Council, who no longer is a member. The letter was addressed to Mayor Richard Clark:
Dear Mayor Clark, just over a month ago I spoke with Nancy McClain, Novi City Engineer. Part of our conversation was a discussion regarding the amount of traffic using Willowbrook that could and should be using the connector street, Cranbrooke Drive, a cement boulevard wide enough to allow residential parking on both north and south-bound sides and still have ample room for traffic. All traffic to and from the Village Oaks Elementary School should be using the connector streets for safety, especially the school buses.
Ten Mile Road has high enough traffic that the City hopes to widen it to five lanes. Ten Mile Road has dedicated turning lanes and a newly installed traffic light at the corner of Cranbrooke. Using any street but the connector street, Cranbrooke, with the traffic light to exit onto Ten Mile Road puts everyone at risk, and I should think that the Novi Public Schools would not want that, and their insurance company would not as well. The only school vehicles that need to come down Willowbrook are the three buses in the early morning and the three in the afternoon that must stop at the corner of Willowbrook and Rock Hill to pick up or drop off students from Novi High School, Novi Middle School, and Novi Meadows School. All delivery trucks with supplies, equipment, and food products, and the Waste Management trucks for the school dumpsters should be using the cement streets that are both wide enough and built for that purpose.
When the vehicles use Cranbrooke Drive, Village Oaks School is easily accessible with the use of the triple-wide cement streets of Guilford, Franklin Mill, or Oak Tree, as well as the use of Village Wood, a boulevard like Cranbrooke Drive. The school should not only direct the bus drivers and suppliers, but also the parents of students who drop off and pick up their children. Ms. McClain indicated to me that she would be contacting the school, as they indeed should be using Cranbrooke. So far, the bus drivers, suppliers, and parents of students have not been informed, or have chosen to ignore this concept of safety. The big question is why. During construction on the school last year and the resurfacing of roads of us, all construction traffic made use of Willowbrook Drive. The construction trucks are still working on the school and enter through park entrance off of Village Wood just west of Willowbrook are still using Willowbrook from Ten Mile Road to Village Wood. I purchased a home on a side street, and yet I get over a dozen school buses, dozens of parents, a Pepsi distributor truck, a dairy distribution truck, a Waste Management truck, and all sorts of construction equipment speeding down my street. Again, why?
A few years ago, the residents of Willowbrook Drive attempted to have our street returned to the dead-end street it was before the construction of the subdivision to the south of Willowbrook. We were told that for emergency purposes, fire and police servicing the school and road had to remain open. At that time, one member of the City Council lived in the subdivision south of us and enjoyed speeding down our street, it was shot down. The next big question is how. The residents of Willowbrook had questioned the City Council about speed bumps. We were told that because of the buses and fire equipment, we could not have them. Ms. Nancy McClain has relayed to me that the City of Novi is currently looking into a new type of speed bump that will be placed around Walled Lake. One could be placed just north of the bridge, and one placed halfway between Ten Mile Road and the stop sign at Rock Hill. We could also petition the Department of Public Works to create a traffic control order changing the restrictions on certain traffic from using our street, much as it has done for Nine Mile Road between Haggerty and Meadowbrook Road, which restricts all trucks. We would also like to have all of the no parking signs from both sides of our street removed. With no parking allowed on the street, it has only made it easier and safer for traffic to speed down our street, nothing to hinder them and nothing in their way. The only thing that has helped with traffic on our street was to have a police car sitting on it. We are sure that the City cannot spare an officer and car for permanent full-time duty on our street, then the no parking signs should be removed and speed bumps installed. Perhaps signs at the entrance to our street from Ten Mile Road should be posted to control weight or size of vehicles turning down our street. Of course, the three buses and the emergency vehicles would be exempt, as well as deliveries to any residents living on Willowbrook. There could also be signs posted near the school directing traffic as it should be flowing. At this time, no residents wish to have Willowbrook widened or sidewalks installed. This is not an option we would consider, nor is it needed, as it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money.
We would like to setup a meeting with all persons concerned and no one even bothered. We still need to have the no parking signs removed from our street. If in fact all of the school traffic has been rerouted, we have no need for no parking signs on our street. We really would like speed bumps because those that do come down our street speed. It was Sergeant Whitfield who recommended that we could possibly have no through traffic. That way, the only traffic using our street would be to the school or to the residents on our street. Anyone living in the subdivision south of us would be made to use Cranbrooke. That would have to be enforced by the police until everyone got the message thoroughly. In the meantime, we have several problems with our street. We had wanted to have them addressed last year when they were doing the repaving, but nothing came of it and we would like to have something done at this time.
David Shingler, Willowbrook Drive, said his wife and he took an hour that day to drive around the subdivisions of Willowbrook and Village Oaks. Willowbrook Drive from Ten Mile out to Village Oaks Drive is a half mile. There are 39 traffic signs in one-half mile. No other street in the City has anything even comparable to this. They then went over to Cranbrooke, the other north-south egress/ingress street to the subdivision, which runs a little further; there are twelve signs on that concrete boulevard. The connector streets between Willowbrooke and Cranbrooke, which are Oak Tree, Franklin Mill, and Guilford, have two signs a piece – stop signs at either end. Those streets do not have one speed or parking sign. The signs look terrible, and no one on City Council would put up with them on their street. The City resurfaced Willowbrook Drive the previous summer and did a nice job, which he was very thankful for. However, about six feet from Ten Mile Road south were left undone. He had spoken with the contractor, who said the City did not pull a permit and thus they could not work on that section. It is penny wise and pound foolish to do a complete street but leave five feet undone going into a road. He said he would like the City Engineer do something about this section.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig to check into the street.
Mr. Helwig noted that the City has run into this on Coral Lane and on Willowbrook with the Oakland County Road Commission. The City has to get something straight with the Road Commission because they are prohibiting the City from working on that mouth by itself. The problem is a technical issue that should be overcome. The City has been willing to work on the mouths but has been blocked. He said the administration would continue persevering on them.
Mayor Csordas said that when he had forwarded the letter from Mrs. Witt to Mr. Klaver about a month earlier, he had responded. He asked Mr. Klaver to summarize his response to the letter.
Mr. Klaver said administration had met with the school district, as it had in the prior year when the City received another letter. Administration asked the school district to please restrict traffic other than the school buses. As it turned out, the school district had made that request; however, some of the vendors were not contacted. When the matter came back up again, administration reiterated this, and the school district found that some of the vendors for the school had not received the message. He did not believe that the message had been distributed to parents, but the school district has asked all other traffic to take Cranbrooke.
Mayor Csordas asked for a brief overview of the street signs that had been referred to.
Mr. Klaver replied that these are basically no parking signs. He was not familiar with the genesis of the request, whether it initially came from the residents. He believed this was originally an attempt to address the situation because the streets are very narrow and are without sidewalks and curbs. Administration will take another look at the matter, as it appeared there was some anticipation about the street signs being removed.
Mayor Csordas said that a common sense solution might be to allow parking on only one side, as this might deter trucks from using the street and divert them to somewhere else.
Mr. Klaver said administration would report back on the issue.
Mario Fundarski, 43185 Citation, said he had spoken the previous fall about subjects very close to his heart: voter participation, voter registration, and citizen organization in our democratic society. Since last fall, the good people of Novi in their sound judgment elected three new members to the City Council and a new Mayor. This shows that the people of Novi know what they are doing. Next week, on Monday, June 14th, the City will have a school district election. It is very important that the people of Novi come out and vote in the school election. The school district is requesting a renewal millage, and also has an additional 0.98 recreation millage, which the school district needs in order to continue the good services and the quality of our school district. He urged the people of Novi to come out and vote "yes" on the proposal. He also wished to congratulate Mrs. Lisa Ann Smith, who is the chairperson of a citizens’ committee that got together and backed the "yes, yes" proposal. This is democracy in action when the City’s of Novi’s citizens get together, work on an issue, and try to educate the public and pass the millage. He had spoken the previous fall about a permanent voter registration program for the City of Novi, and he had made some suggestions to the City Clerk. Ms. Cornelius had informed him before the meeting that some of those suggestions have already been implemented. Recently, the City Clerk in Northville held a meeting with the high school students, and used the band to bring the young people out and register them. Northville High School registered 160 18-year-olds, which is fantastic. He asked Council to consider a permanent voter registration program year-round. Novi has a good turnover with people moving in and out. Americans need to participate by registering to vote and empowering ourselves. He asked the City to set a record the next Monday by having the highest voter turnout in a school election in the City of Novi.
Margaret Sayles, 45785 Willingham Drive, wished to discuss item number three on the agenda. There are 29.6 acres of land south of Westmont Village that are currently in foreclosure. There are almost 20 residents that are willing to fund the purchase price of that land for the City to acquire it, so this acquisition will have no impact on the City’s budget. The draft of the Declaration of Preservation Covenant included in Council’s packets had been reviewed, and residents were very accepting of that document except for one change, which is in paragraph three. They requested that the paragraph be changed to read, "This declaration may not be terminated, amended, modified, or restated." If that change could be made, the group of residents would be more than willing to continue funding the price for the City to acquire that land.
David Kramer, 45883 Willingham, said he concurred with Ms. Sayles. The residents were more than wiling to deed the property over to the City; they just want to make sure that there will be no building on the property. They will pay the purchase price and deed the property over, but just do not want any construction on the property without the consent of the landowners.
Gunvor Wrathell, Willowbrook Drive, said she concurred with the two previous speakers before her. She had driven the road that day, and in the quarter mile from Ten Mile to the bridge there are 22 signs. A couple of weeks earlier there was an empty school bus that drove down the road at 45 miles an hour. She called the police, who came out and put a meter up, but that meter is only good when it is up. People who are speeding do not live on their street; they live on Village Oaks. There are two handicapped people living on their street, and because of the traffic speed, those people are very nervous. If there were parked cars on the street people would not speed. She would be very happy if the City would take down the signs before something happens that cannot be changed. She said she was almost hit the past winter by a pickup truck that came off of Ten Mile and went down Willowbrook.
Member Paul noted that Willowbrook residents had commented that police were involved by placing a speed machine on the road. She asked if there was any report from the Police Department that Council could look into.
Mr. Helwig said administration would check on the matter. He felt that real issue was perhaps removing the no parking restriction on one side of the street. Administration would pursue this with the Police Department.
Helen Reisdorf, Willlowbrook Drive, said that she and her husband had moved onto the street the previous October. She was very surprised to see so much traffic on the street, as she had never lived anywhere residential with so much traffic. When she mows her lawn she has to check traffic before turning around. Residents don’t have any extra parking except on their driveways. There is no street parking, yet they are part of a subdivision where everyone else enjoys this privilege except for those residents on this part of Willowbrook Drive.
Andrew Mutch, 24740 Taft Road, said he had a few comments on item number two, the Liberty Park proposal and amendments to the Sandstone agreement. He wished to reiterate some of the concerns that he has expressed in the past in general on Sandstone. Every time they come forward with a new amendment, Council continues to pass up opportunities to clarify ambiguous language that creates problems down the road. Specifically, there is a proposal that has come forward to change some of the development from a multi-family development to a single-family development, but no language has been added to the agreement that clarifies that the density will be capped. He questioned what would preclude a developer from coming back later with a multi-family development with a higher density than was anticipated. Clearly there is an overall cap for the agreement, but he wondered why the City was not working on something that would reduce that number further. Instead of looking at 1500 overall units, the City could look at something much less than that. One of the stipulations of the agreement was that if some of the property was developed for a commercial development, that some of the property would be returned to the City as parkland. Yet, there is no language in this portion of the agreement that assures this will happen. There are development plans that would preclude this from happening, and there was even discussion that a road layout had been approved. He wondered what impact this would have if Sandstone does, in the future, develop some future property to the City, but the City has allowed the company to develop the remainder of the property. He did not see any detail that addressed bike paths or a sidewalk on Twelve Mile; he did see some comments in the review, but nothing directly assuring that this would happen or that the company would connect those exterior bike paths to the interior sidewalks. It seems that every time Sandstone comes forward, the City continues to lower the bar and its standards. He questioned what benefit this has to the City, or the people who will live in the development. These are future residents and constituents, and are the people who will have to deal with the problems created long after Sandstone and other developers involved have left the area.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Paul asked to remove items A, L, and M from the consent agenda.
CM-04-06-218 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the consent agenda as amended.
Voice Vote on CM-04-06-218 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
CONSENT AGENDA: (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)
B. Approval of new Massage Business License to Gina Agosta, Inc., 39831 Grand River.
C. Approval of renewal of Arcade License with ten machines to Novi Bowl & Recreation, 21700 Novi Road.
D. Approval to purchase 1000 R900 Radio Read Remotes from SLC Meter Service, Inc. a sole source distributor, in the amount of $75,000.
E. Approval of blanket contract with SLC Meter, Inc., a sole source provider for meter equipment.
F. Approval to purchase one (1) 24" heated commercial dish with non-penetrating roof mount from Advanced Satellite Communications, Inc., the low qualified quotation, in the amount of $3,366.50.
G. Approval of water main, sanitary sewer with corresponding 20-foot permanent easements for each utility from Ford Leasing Development Company, as well as approval of the Storm Drainage Facility Maintenance Agreement for storm water facilities located on parcel 50-22-24-476-030 for the Jaguar of Novi property at 24295 Haggerty Road.
H. Approval of Storm Drainage Facility Maintenance Agreement with Trane Corporation and acceptance of an Access Easement over parcels 50-22-14-200-011 and 50-22-14-200-012
I Approval to grant a permanent 10-foot wide underground easement to Consumers Energy for placement of a gas line in City-owned property along the east side of Taft Road south of Ten Mile Road, parcel 50-22-27-100-006, to service Novi High School.
J. Approval to purchase one (1) replacement 2000 Ford Ranger Pickup Truck from Varsity Lincoln Mercury, the lowest quote, in the amount of $7,509.
K. Approval of easement from Bell Forklift Non-Motorized Pathway for $1.00 to the City of Novi for the construction of a pathway on north side of Grand River Avenue (to align with forthcoming turn lane widening).
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. Consideration of the request of Robert J. Halso of Terra Libra, LLC, for a proposed Residential Unit Development (RUD) Agreement, (The "Preserve") Site Plan 03-46. The subject property is located in Section 30, on the north side of Nine Mile Road and east of Napier Road. The developer is proposing a 70 unit single-family development on 111.28 acres, including the dedication of 45 acres of open space to the City of Novi.
Bob Halso said he had no comments prepared for Council, but was prepared to answer any questions that Council might have on the agreement. Cliff Seibert was in attendance with him as well.
Member Nagy said she had read through the agreement. Her only concern was with the trail that would go behind some homes. Mr. Halso had said he would take care not to infringe on those properties. She asked if there was anyway that some language could be included in the agreement.
Mr. Halso said he could provide a status report on the matter. Since he had last spoken with Council, the company had made efforts, along with Singh, to survey and do a topographic and tree location for the entire length of the pathway with some alternatives. This had been turned over to Dr. Tilton. At this point, in talking to Dr. Tilton a few days earlier, it is now for Dr. Tilton, the engineers, and the MDEQ to work through a pathway location that they all can live with.
Member Nagy asked if the residents had been informed of this.
Mr. Halso replied that there was not yet an alignment to bring to the residents.
Member Nagy commented that there had been no decision as to how the path will go behind those people’s homes or on the side.
Mr. Halso replied that this was correct.
Member Nagy said this was her only concern. She said she likes what Mr. Halso has done, as the development will be unique in Novi. However, she would like to offer some protection for the residents that are already in that area. She was hoping that by this time, this protection could have been worked out, both in terms of how the path would meander, as well as informing residents. She asked Dr. Tilton if he had anything to add to the discussion.
Dr. Tilton said it is known for sure that the trail will not go on anyone’s private property.
Some things need to be worked out with the DEQ, such as how much encroachment the trail will be allowed to go into certain wetland types in The Preserve property and on the Singh property. This is the element that is lacking, and is why a detailed alignment has not yet been provided to Council. The DEQ has been out to look at the property. Ms. Foose from the DEQ has no problem with this aspect of the trail. They are trying to literally move the trails five or six feet to one way or the other to avoid natural features. Some confusion may have inadvertently been created. When they first laid out the center line of the trail, it was not known exactly where the property lines were. The trail was inadvertently put on private property, but this will all be removed, and no one is going to place the path on private property.
Member Nagy said she would appreciate it if there was a dialogue between Dr. Tilton and the residents who already live in that area. She wants to make sure that those people are informed of what is going on.
Dr. Tilton agreed with Member Nagy, and said there was no question that this was going on, both with the City offices, the developer, and the DEQ.
Mr. Pearson noted that the Plan Review Center had spoken with residents, who are aware of the situation. Those residents are aware that the development will come back to the Planning Commission for the actual site plan. There have been discussions and contact with the residents along Nine Mile.
Member Paul referred to a letter from Mr. Fisher dated May 31st. The last sentence states, "It contemplates completion of the trail improvements within one year of the time improvement of this site commences." She asked if this meant when the site is started, the trail will be completed in a year.
Mr. Fisher replied that this was correct.
Member Paul asked if the path would be put in place when the land is begun to be cleared.
Mr. Fisher said the path will be installed when improvements begin, when the City issues permits for improvements.
CM-04-06-219 Moved by Paul, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the request of Robert J. Halso of Terra Libra, LLC, for a proposed Residential Unit Development (RUD) Agreement, (The "Preserve") Site Plan 03-46, with a waiver of the Design and Construction Standards for the lack of the 43 ½ - foot row along the north property line. The subject property is located in Section 30, on the north side of Nine Mile Road and east of Napier Road. The developer is proposing a 70 unit single-family development on 111.28 acres, including the dedication of 45 acres of open space to the City of Novi.
Mr. Fisher wished to clarify on the record that the dedication of this property for the trail is something that is a voluntary dedication by the property owner, and is not something that the City is forcing the property owner to do as a condition to approving this development.
Mr. Halso said he fully acknowledged that not only was the dedication voluntary, but it is a good idea.
Member Paul thanked Mr. Halso for giving the community this property for parkland. She noted that some volunteers had gone into the site and removed some wildflowers, planting those in Lakeshore Park. This was done with the developer’s approval. She respected the development for trying to improve the City and save the core reserve.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-219 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
2. Consideration of request of the Pulte Land Development Corporation for approval of the Final Site Plan for Liberty Park, Phase 1 for single-family residential development, on the north side of Twelve Mile Road and west of Dixon Road. The subject property is 19.57 acres out of the 87.09 total acres conveyed to Sandstone and subject to a consent judgment. The applicant is proposing the first phase of the development, consisting of 113 (instead of previous 114) single-family detached units.
a. Consideration of amending Settlement Agreement and Consent Judgment to provide minor modifications of regulations applicable to single-family development (in lieu of higher density multi-family)
b. Consideration of Final Site Plan and Wetlands Permit
CM-04-06-220 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve request of the Pulte Land Development Corporation for approval of the Final Site Plan for Liberty Park, Phase 1 for single-family residential development, on the north side of Twelve Mile Road and west of Dixon Road. External sidewalks shall be required for the site plan if required under either the Consent Judgment or City code. In addition, dual signage shall be allowed in the entranceway to the development. Pulte shall be allowed to place a bond in escrow in lieu of constructing this external sidewalk. All outstanding issues identified by consultants and staff shall be included in the recommendations for the final site plan approval. The subject property is 19.57 acres out of the 87.09 total acres conveyed to Sandstone and subject to a consent judgment. The applicant is proposing the first phase of the development, consisting of 113 (instead of previous 114) single-family detached units
a. Approval of amending Settlement Agreement and Consent Judgment to provide minor modifications of regulations applicable to single-family development (in lieu of higher density multi-family)
b. Approval of Final Site Plan and Wetlands Permit
Member Capello said he had a few questions about the plan. He felt that Andrew Mutch’s point was well made. He was not sure if he had seen in the plan a sidewalk along Twelve Mile Road, and if there was, if that sidewalk progressed westward all the way to the phase line for a future phase.
Mr. Schmitt replied that this was one of the issues that was brought up both in the first review by the Engineering Department and the second review. The Planning Department is at the point where the plan is somewhat unclear as to its requirements under the Consent Judgment in the strip of land along Twelve Mile Road. This is something that the City will be looking at prior to the stamping set, and will likely ask for Mr. Fisher’s clarification as to the requirements of this developer for the property along Twelve Mile Road. There is also a piece of City-owned property along that frontage. The City needs to work out the logistics of either having a gap there, or having a boardwalk put in place, and the requirements of the developer with respect to that as well. He said the Planning Department would be looking to Mr. Fisher’s office for some clarification before it stamps these plans.
Member Capello asked what the developer’s response was to whether or not it needs to install a sidewalk along Twelve Mile Road. He asked if the developer had stated that it would not do this.
Mr. Schmitt said he did not want to put words into Pulte’s mouth, but in discussions, it was unclear as to the terms of the consent judgment as to whether or not the sidewalk is actually required as part of the single-family development, whether it is required as part of the road, or whether it is required at all as contemplated in the consent judgment. The language is somewhat ambiguous with respect to that Twelve Mile Road frontage. There is language as to the developer being able to use part of that for buffering and landscaping, but there is no mention of a sidewalk along Twelve Mile Road. With the future construction of the final gap along Twelve Mile Road, it may not make sense at this time to put in the sidewalk and then have an above-grade crossing that could render that sidewalk somewhat obsolete. Both the Engineering Department and the City Attorney will have to weigh in as to whether or not that sidewalk is required or whether the timing is correct.
Member Capello asked for further explanation about the sidewalk possibly becoming obsolete.
Mr. Schmitt responded that ultimately, with Twelve Mile Road being widened all the way across the railroad tracks and eventually connecting to the Beck Road interchange, if there is a grade differential down to where the sidewalk would be, it might not be feasible to put the sidewalk in and then have it replaced at additional cost later.
Member Capello asked if there was no requirement of amenities within that area where the sidewalk is, such as lampposts.
Mr. Schmitt replied that there is no requirement of amenities. Under the terms of the judgment, the developer is allowed at his per view to utilize that strip of land for improvements. In this case, there is landscaping proposed in certain portions of that area.
Kevin Christianson noted that he represented Pulte Land Development Corporation.
Member Capello asked Mr. Christianson if Pulte had spoken with the City at all regarding the sidewalk.
Mr. Christianson replied that his company had spent quite a bit of time with City staff and consultants. Pulte has been working with the City on this project for quite a long time. This has been quite a lengthy and detailed experience, one that has involved many different hands. He said the company has discussed the sidewalk with staff, and has appreciated working with City staff very much. With respect to the sidewalk, it is not in Pulte’s plan, and does not show in any of the plans that have been provided to the City. There have been discussions as to whether or not the sidewalk is required. As Mr. Schmitt had indicated, the sidewalk is not something that Pulte has found is required. An exterior sidewalk is not intended in the plan, but there will be a detailed pedestrian trail system throughout the development.
Member Capello noted that the entranceway was the result of a lawsuit, and that many people are not happy with what had transpired. He was pleased when Pulte came in, and hoped that when people might drive by and see the landscaping in the entranceway, it might ease the pain from that lawsuit a bit. However, when he looked at the development plan, the entranceway did not appear to be very special.
Mr. Christianson said that Pulte has worked with the City’s landscaping staff and planning staff. Pulte is very pleased to be involved with the project. Pulte Homes is not enjoined in the consent. The company is looking to build the project, which it believes will be one of the premier residential developments in Novi. As such, they feel that they have provided quite a bit of detail. One thing that Pulte is very proud of is its entryways, its architecture, and its construction, which can be seen in projects around the region. Any landscape questions found in review letters have been reviewed with City staff in detail, and will work to address those concerns to staff’s satisfaction.
Member Capello said he agreed with Mr. Christianson. He has seen many of Pulte’s developments elsewhere, and has enjoyed those developments’ entranceways. This particular entranceway appeared to be just a short, rectangular brick wall.
Mr. Christianson replied that he had a rendering, a colored overview, as well as plans for some building architecture that he could submit if Council was interested.
Mr. Schmitt said that with regard to the landscaping issue at the entrance, there is a sanitary pump station located within 30 feet of the road at Liberty Park. Mr. Christianson and his staff are still working with the Engineering Department and the Landscape Architect to determine the final design for this. While what Council was seeing did meet the ordinance, it will change somewhat to ensure that the sanitary easement is avoided, as well as the appropriate machinery in the area.
Mayor Csordas asked if this was west of that pumping station.
Mr. Schmitt said the Liberty Park entrance is slightly west of the pumping station.
Mr. Christianson noted that he did not have detailed focal graphics specifically of the ingress/egress points. On Liberty Park Drive, as it meets Twelve Mile Road, the pump station is just to the east. The entryway fans out. It is a boulevard entryway with landscaping on both sides. Initially, the plan was to put signage on both sides of the entryway. However, in accordance with either the consent judgment or the City’s standards, Pulte is only permitted to place a boulevard double-faced sign in the boulevard. It is the company’s intent to landscape the boulevard, landscape both sides of the entryway, and to landscape Twelve Mile Road, as well as the site in accordance with the City’s requirements.
Member Capello commented that the drawing being shown to Council showed brick walls on both sides of the entranceway. He asked if Pulte was only allowed to put the Liberty Park sign on one side without a ZBA variance.
Mr. Christianson replied that as he read the review requirements, he believed the review stated that two entrance signs are proposed, which would not be consistent with the consent judgment, which calls for a dual-faced sign in the boulevard section. Pulte needs to continue to work with City staff to resolve that issue.
Member Capello asked if Pulte would still continue with the brick walls on both sides of the entranceway.
Mr. Christianson said Pulte would like to do this, which was why he was indicating that the company was planning a fairly significant entryway. The company’s intent would be to sign both sides if it can.
Member Capello said he did not see the issue being whether or not the development could have brick on both sides of the entry, but rather the lettering on the brick.
Mr. Christianson replied that this was correct.
Member Capello asked if Pulte would continue with the brick, regardless.
Mr. Christianson replied that at this point, this might be modified if the company has to look at the sign being changed. He asked Council to understand that as it looked at the entryway, if there are brick walls on both sides and landscaping, the intent of the walls is to accommodate the signage. If Pulte has to add something in the middle, the company will work with City staff on it.
Member Capello referred to page 28 of the plan. He said that in the entranceway drawing it appeared that the brick walls were curved, yet in the detail the walls appeared straight. He asked if the wall would be straight or curved.
Mr. Christianson replied that there is a radius to the wall.
Member Capello commented that after the struggles the City went through in negotiating the settlement with the previous owner, he was very pleased to see Pulte come in, a company that the City could work with, and with a quality product.
Mr. Christianson said that Pulte is very proud to be working in the City. There had earlier been a concern expressed by a resident. He asked Council to understand that Pulte wants to become part of the Novi community. At the end of the day, the company’s calling card is that it is part of Novi. Pulte is not here just to build in part of Novi and then leave. The company has staff living in the City, and it will build in the community and contribute to the community. The original consent set a density of about a maximum of 15 units per acre, 24 on one particular acre, with 15 total. When Pulte became involved, the company’s focus was to create a complete comprehensive residential development, with mixed-use single family and multiple family. By amendment to the consent, the total maximum density, which was originally about 1500 units, has now been cut almost in half and is down to 835 units – 304 single family, and 530 multiple family.
Mayor Csordas remarked that he felt all members of Council felt that the bar had been raised.
Member Lorenzo asked if with regard to the consent judgment and whether or not it speaks to sidewalks, and also with regard to the code and whether or not it speaks to sidewalks, it was her understanding that a typical subdivision would require an external sidewalk. She asked if this was correct.
Mr. Fisher replied that this would be his expectation.
Member Lorenzo asked if the consent judgment speaks to the sidewalk there at all, one way or another.
Mr. Fisher replied that he had not looked at this, as the request had not been made of him. He would have to look at the agreement to answer the question.
Member Lorenzo asked if the consent judgment does not speak to the sidewalk and is silent, if Council should then revert back to code.
Mr. Fisher replied that this was correct.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Fisher to look through the consent judgment and report back to both Council and the Planning Commission by the time it receives the site plan.
Mr. Fisher noted that this was actually the site plan review, and that it will not go back to the Planning Commission.
Member Lorenzo asked if Council should amend the motion to make it subject to Mr. Fisher’s findings.
Mr. Fisher said Council could say that if sidewalks are significant, it would require sidewalks if mandated under code and/or the consent judgment.
Member Lorenzo asked for a friendly amendment to that effect. She also requested a friendly amendment to allow the dual signage so that the City would get the more extensive landscaping and the brick.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he had no problem with that suggestion. Member Capello’s suggestions were on point as long as it was intended only for this particular site plan and entranceway.
Member Lorenzo noted that this was the case.
Member Nagy said she would support the motion. She wished to say that she appreciated that Pulte wanted to take the site and develop as well as possible. As a former Planning Commissioner, she said the density for the development did not please her. She said she would appreciate Pulte installing sidewalks, whether or not it is required by code or the consent judgment. This would make a big difference to many members of the community as to their acceptance of what is going on with the site plan.
Mr. Christianson said that as a fellow planner of 20 years’ experience, a former Planning Commission chairperson, and the current president of the Michigan Society of Planning, he appreciates good planning. One of the things that the company has tried to look at is what the requirements are. The company is dealing with Twelve Mile Road. The responsibility for dealing with that road rests with Oakland County. If a sidewalk is to be put along Twelve Mile in the frontage of this development, it will terminate at a point where there is City-owned property. At that point, there is a wetland and there would be issue as to how the sidewalk would continue. In the sense of good planning, he always tries to think comprehensively. He is concerned as a planner that this sidewalk system would terminate, and Pulte would have to put up a sign saying "path ends" until such time as the path will go somewhere. From a development perspective, Pulte is willing to work with this city, there is no question.
Member Nagy commented that she fully agreed about disliking sidewalks that go nowhere. She understands that boardwalks can be constructed over wetlands, and does not know when Oakland County will have the money to widen Twelve Mile. Another developer had provided the City with money to put towards sidewalks. Pulte has many options to be a good neighbor, and said she would appreciate discussion of the matter with Mr. Helwig.
Mr. Christianson commented that he has appreciated working with Mr. Helwig and staff, and said he would certainly work together with them. He said that what Member Nagy was speaking of was providing fees in lieu of, and possibly putting those funds into escrow.
Member Nagy said this was correct.
Mr. Helwig remarked that he was delighted to see Council weigh in on the matter. When the City was negotiating the consent judgment, Twelve Mile Road was being improved with the sidewalk on the south side. At issue was whether there would eventually be a signal for this development, and if there is no sidewalk on the north side how would a person cross the street to get to the south side. The matter was not dealt with given the magnitude of all the other issues the City was dealing with. The sidewalk would be very desirable. This City Council has been much more attentive to filling in the gaps where sidewalks are missing. If Pulte will do its part, the City will do likewise. The City would appreciate this, particularly if it was included in the motion.
Mr. Christianson reaffirmed that Pulte would be willing to work together with the City, certainly with respect to the development’s portion of the walkway along Twelve Mile.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry noted that the Sandstone negotiations were very trying for everybody. During those negotiations, as Council was considering a myriad of items, in the back of everyone’s mind was who would eventually come in and develop this property and what it would ultimately look like. He was delighted to hear that Pulte was coming in to develop the site. When he saw the proposal and saw that the density would be one-third of the allowable density, as the Mayor had said earlier, this was raising the bar. All Council was doing was tweaking the site plan to make sure the community can get a better final product. Council was raising the bar on this development, not lowering it. This is a win-win for everybody.
Member Capello noted that the agenda identified item number 2a and 2b. 2a was consideration of amending settlement agreement and consent judgment. Since Council was not just approving the final site plan and wetland permit that evening but was also amending the settlement agreement and consent judgment, he asked if this could be amended and allow the two signs without requiring Pulte to go to the ZBA.
Mr. Fisher replied that this was correct.
Member Paul asked for a friendly amendment to the motion, that items identified by consultants and staff be included in the recommendations for the final site plan approval. Some of these identified items include utility buffer, perennial ground cover, transformer screening, and landscaping issues. These are minor, but need to be identified. There was a storm water runoff calculation and Dr. Tilton had asked the City’s engineers if they needed to estimate storm water discharge rates. The wetland and MDEQ permits are based on this. She asked Dr. Tilton if he was comfortable with the runoff calculations.
Dr. Tilton said he was comfortable with these calculations. The reason the question was included in a consultant letter was that when the road came through, there was a set of calculations about the relative impact on the wetlands. Now, his firm was asking that Pulte confirm that the assumptions made in those calculations are what that company will work with. To date, his firm has had nothing but concurrence on those calculations.
Member Paul said Dr. Tilton’s letter stated that the impacts on the wetlands, both temporary and permanent, need to be shown. She asked Dr. Tilton if he was comfortable with what had been shown thus far or if he was looking for more in the final stamped set.
Dr. Tilton replied that he was basically looking for Pulte to delineate in the final stamping set. They have agreed as to the extent of the impacts; they just want these on the plans so that everyone can see where they are.
Member Paul asked if this was the same with the landscaping and natural features.
Dr. Tilton replied that this was correct. As far as buffer encroachments, this just needs to be shown a bit clearer.
Member Paul asked if Dr. Tilton would be comfortable if the motion was amended so that his comments were included.
Dr. Tilton said this was correct.
Member Paul said the pedestrian sidewalk crossing ramp neglects to indicate handicap ramps.
Mr. Schmitt said that the typical traffic consultant, Birchler Arroyo, works with Pulte on other projects, so the City was able to enlist the services of Orchard, Hiltz, and McCliment on fairly short notice to assist with the project. Mr. Derring, who reviewed the project, noticed that there was a minor detail missing from the plans. It is a standard detail that at T intersections a handicap ramp is required. The applicant has indicated that this is a minor issue and that the specific detail will be added to the final site plan when the City stamps the plans. This does not affect grading, alignment, or anything of that nature, and is just a detail that needs to be added to the engineer drawings.
Member Paul said she would be appreciative if this was included in the motion.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Christianson if he would be agreeable to this language.
Mr. Christianson said Pulte would agree with the language. In working with City staff, the company has agreed to address the items that had been addressed in the packet of correspondence from the City’s staff and consultants.
Member Lorenzo said that by virtue of the agreement, she would amend the motion to include all of the outstanding issues from the consultants, and that these be addressed in a letter.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he was also agreeable to the amendment.
Member Lorenzo wished to amend the motion to allow Pulte to, in lieu of actually constructing the sidewalk, place a bond in escrow.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry agreed to the amendment.
Mr. Fisher said that this would be fine as an amendment to the motion.
Mr. Christianson said Pulte had no problem with this.
Member Capello asked if this would act as an amendment to the consent judgment, or if it was just part of the motion.
Mr. Fisher replied that his understanding was that the amendment was just part of the motion, and Pulte was acquiescing to that.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-220 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas
3. Authorization to prepare appropriate "Declaration of Preservation Covenant" in partnership with Westmont Village residents to acquire 29.6501 acres of wooded green space. The residents shall cover the expected purchase cost of $12,500 in a transaction with the Oakland County Treasurer.
Mayor Csordas noted that Council had already heard from the petitioner.
Member Paul said she needed to recuse herself from discussion because she had bought this property.
CM-04-06-221 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To allow Member Paul to abstain from participation in item number three.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-221 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Csordas, Landry
CM-04-06-222 Moved by Capello, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: Authorization to prepare appropriate "Declaration of Preservation Covenant" in partnership with Westmont Village residents to acquire 29.6501 acres of wooded green space. Number three in the Declaration shall be amended to state, "This Declaration may not be terminated, amended, modified, or restated for a period of 100 years."
Member Lorenzo said she would second the motion, subject to amending the language in the Declaration of Preservation Covenant, number three, to delete where the language begins "except by the duly-constituted Council of the City of Novi in accordance with all laws regulating its actions." In other words, number three would simply say "This declaration may not be terminated, amended, modified, or restated."
Mr. Fisher said the rest of the agreement speaks in terms of 100 years, so this language should include, "for a period of 100 years."
Member Lorenzo said this was fine.
Member Capello said he would accept the amendment.
Member Nagy thanked the residents of Westmont Village, as what they were doing was very commendable. The City owes those residents a great deal of gratitude, and she said she was very appreciative. The Declaration has been a lot of work on the residents’ part, and this will benefit not only those who live in that area but the City in general. This work involved a lot of time, as well as people’s finances.
Member Lorenzo commented, "Ditto."
Mr. Fisher said that in a transmittal from the residents, there was an assumption that this Declaration of Covenant would supercede and replace the earlier covenant. The way this document has been drafted, which was drafted to be consistent with the Garfield Road agreement, this is to supplement that other agreement and clarify that this area will not be reopened for potential development in the future. He wanted to clarify that this was not to entirely supercede, but rather to supplement the other agreement and clarify that the land won’t be developed.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Fisher if he was saying that the conservation easement remains in place.
Mr. Fisher noted that this was correct.
Member Lorenzo said that easement was between two parties, the City of Novi and Mr. Lewiston, the property’s owner. Now, the City of Novi will actually own the property and will be the only property to document.
Mr. Fisher agreed that this was absolutely correct.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-222 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Csordas, Landry, Capello
4. Consideration of resolution authorizing letter of support and corresponding agreement, to be signed by City Manager, for The Incat Company’s business retention and expansion (addition of 300 jobs over five years to the existing 300 high-technology jobs) through the State of Michigan Single Business Tax credit administered by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, pledging City participation in the amount of $50,000, with $20,000 to be credited to City as a result of enhanced building/planning permitting procedures, and the remaining $30,000 to be secured through selected alternatives.
Mr. Helwig noted that Cynthia Grubbs was in attendance from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, as well as Mr. Ulrich Herter, CEO of Incat.
Mr. Herter said he did not have a prepared statement for Council. The proposed resolution was the result of conversations with the State, the County, and to a certain extent with the City. With respect to the feasibility of this kind of business remaining in the state of Michigan and building up extensive payroll in the Michigan, this is primarily a State issue but also involves the other legal entities, the City and the County.
CM-04-06-223 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED: To approve of resolution authorizing letter of support and corresponding agreement, to be signed by City Manager, for The Incat Company’s business retention and expansion (addition of 300 jobs over five years to the existing 300 high-technology jobs) through the State of Michigan Single Business Tax credit administered by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, pledging City participation in the amount of $50,000, with $20,000 to be credited to City as a result of enhanced building/planning permitting procedures, and the remaining $30,000 to be secured through selected alternatives. The agreement shall contain a call back clause, whereby if the company does not live up to its commitments of 300 jobs and a minimum investment, the funds would come back to the City.
Member Lorenzo remarked that while she had some reservations about this concept, she was particularly going to support the resolution because it did not involve any City of Novi general fund monies. It is fortunate that the Novi Economic Development Corporation has graciously and generously decided to donate a good portion of the dollars for this transaction. It is primarily due to the MEDC’s generosity that she is willing to support the resolution. Hopefully Incat will expand in the future and the City will have a win-win situation with the additional taxes generated through successive business. However, a community can unfortunately never count on these things with the economic cycle the way it is now. There had been a lot of expansions previously contemplated by corporations that unfortunately never came to fruition because of the economy. She said she was hoping for the best.
Member Gatt thanked Mr. Helwig for all of his work in this endeavor. Also, he wished to thank other local elected officials. What is good for the State, the County, and the City is certainly good for the community’s citizens.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Herter how many employees Incat has in the City of Novi.
Mr. Herter replied that the company currently has about 70 people currently employed in its Novi facility.
Mayor Csordas said he needed to know how much this entity paid in personal property taxes over the past three years, per year.
Mr. Pearson replied that over the three year period, Incat had paid a total of about $33,000 in property taxes. For real property, this total was $32,000.
Mayor Csordas summarized that the company paid about $22,000 per year in taxes over that span. He asked how Mr. Herter how much Single Business Tax he pays a year.
Mr. Herter replied that the company pays approximately $300,000 a year to the State of Michigan.
Mayor Csordas said he thought this amount was $600,000.
Mr. Herter replied that this amount will be $600,000 with the increase.
Mayor Csordas asked if Incat owns the building where it is located in Novi.
Mr. Herter said the building is owned by a partnership, of which three of the company’s officers are part of in addition to others.
Mayor Csordas asked if the Single Business Tax is imposed on businesses in any other state in the country.
Mr. Herter said this tax is not imposed in other states in the same way that it is calculated in the state of Michigan. In the state of Michigan, a company’s payroll is effectively penalized.
Mayor Csordas asked how many people over the next five years will work in the City of Novi for Incat.
Mr. Herter anticipated that if the company remains in the state of Michigan, most of the jobs in the state will be in the City of Novi.
Mayor Csordas hypothesized that the major problem was the Single Business Tax in Michigan. Although the City appreciates the $22,000 a year that Incat pays in taxes, the major issue is the Single Business Tax. This company would not run into this issue in any other state. A home in Bellagio generates about $16,000 per year in personal property taxes and does not require many services. This company does not require many services either. He said he was struggling with the financial numbers, and because of those numbers could not support the motion. This is no reflection upon the company and what they do. The State has created a problem by imposing the Single Business Tax. State Senator Cassis has been doing what she can to roll the Single Business Tax back and has faced resistance at the State level on that.
Mayor Csordas said that in the first year, the company wants to buy computers and furniture.
Mr. Herter commented that he anticipated the first-year investment, pending that everything goes as expected with the State, will probably be about $800,000 in the City of Novi.
Mayor Csordas said he appreciated that. It appeared that in future years there would be projected additional City revenue of $14,000 the first year, going to $10,000, $7,000, $5,000, and then $4,000, for a total of $42,000 over the next five years. He believes that the decision for this company to stay in the City of Novi will be based solely on the Single Business Tax. The Single Business Tax is not imposed on businesses in any other state in this country. He asked how much money the City is investing in Meadowbrook Road this year.
Mr. Helwig replied that the City will spend $1.2 million on the road this year.
Mayor Csordas commented that he knew this company is located only on a portion of that road, but the figure could be prorated down. He did not understand why the State would impose a Single Business Tax of this amount of money on a company that has much intellectual capital, no personal property capital, and is a leaser in this City. He noted that he would not support the motion, as he did not believe it was good for the City’s residents. He is concerned that Mr. Herter and his company will probably leave the State for reasons that Novi has nothing to do with anyways, the burden of the Single Business Tax. He said he would not support the motion.
Member Nagy said she concurred with the Mayor, and also foresaw the company leaving this state. She would not support the motion and agreed with Mayor Csordas.
Mayor Csordas said he does support tax abatements for certain developments that come to the City, things that bring huge additional value to the City in terms of jobs, facilities, excitement, and continued draw. Just because he would not support this motion did not mean that he would not support tax abatements in the future. Council has a policy where it has a certain number of abatements available every year, with certain criteria to adhere to. He commented that this was not a reflection upon his opinion of Incat; the Single Business Tax in Michigan is extremely burdensome and drives good companies away from the state.
Member Paul said she appreciated the State crediting the City the $20,000. The City is doing the road improvements, which is a terrific benefit for this company, even though this was done prior to this consideration. She questioned what would happen if Council allocated this $30,000, then in six months or a year from now the company decided to leave.
Mayor Csordas noted that he believed there was a protection clause included in the resolution.
Mr. Helwig noted that Mayor Csordas was exactly correct. The City’s agreement would be similar to the State’s agreement with the company where if the company does not live up to its pledges, the incentives would not flow to the company.
Member Paul said that though she appreciated the money not coming out of the general fund, she looked at how little money the City had to work with in its budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and then looked at trying to squeak all of this money out. With the $1 million expenditure for the roads, she had a very difficult time putting any money into this item. It is a shame that the State has a Single Business Tax, and as a business owner she feels for this individual with a much larger company than her own. She commented that she was having a hard time considering spending taxpayer money on this issue.
Member Capello asked Mr. Helwig if the City would ever recoup the abatement.
Mr. Helwig responded that this has been a most difficult challenge. The State, from the outset, has said that local participation is required under Michigan law for this forgiveness. The Single Business Tax requires local participation. He commended that State and Mr. Jakeway’s new leadership, as he is getting creative and not just coming to the City saying it must grant a local tax abatement. He distributed a recent article from Crain’s Detroit Weekly, an article which showed five projects in four communities, four of the projects which involved tax abatements. Two of those projects are located right next to Novi; one in Wixom was extremely large and involved a $600,000 tax abatement. Council has been very adamant about tax abatements, that these will be on a case-by-case basis and will be a hard sell. For months the City has been seeking alternatives. What the company came back with has exceeded anyone’s expectations. He does not want to go down the road of using these incentives, but this is the reality of life in Michigan and the United States right now when it comes to economic development. The company is looking at the state of Washington, Germany, the Czech Republic, and England. This company is in nine countries and fifteen states, and has options. For the reasons that the Mayor had identified, the incentives were very difficult to justify until administration received Glenn Lemmon’s analysis, which was very conservative. That conservative analysis found that the incentives would pay for themselves within five years. What was truly at stake was that the State is deluged by communities seeking this type of development. If Novi were to say no to this development, the State will stop making referrals to Novi unless a company that calls says it specifically wants to be in Novi. He said he only sees the City’s future as becoming more and more competitive in terms of retaining companies that are here. He said he was recommending this resolution because, though "the well is nearly dry," he wants there to be another such consideration for Novi, rather than the door being closed on this community.
Member Capello asked if the $32,000 for real estate was annually, or over a three-year period.
Mr. Pearson replied that this sum was over a three-year period, and was just for real property.
Member Capello asked if this was for real property or just leasehold improvements that Incat pays.
Mr. Pearson replied that this was for real property improvement. There is real property and personal property, which the business pays for things like furniture fixtures and computers with this type of a firm.
Mr. Lemmon said that if there are any leasehold improvements, they are part of the personal property taxes that Incat pays. The real property portion, the building and land, makes up about $11,000 or $12,000 a year in property taxes to the City. Personal property is a little less than this on average, and includes fixtures, computers, and any leasehold improvements that might be considered part of the company’s personal property.
Member Capello asked if the company did move out and took its personal property with it, whether the personal property and leasehold improvement tax would be gone.
Mr. Lemmon replied that this was correct.
Member Capello asked if the real property tax was being assessed on an income approach, since the company leases property from a different entity.
Mr. Lemmon said that right now, the building is in the name of GRS, which has been the property owner there for quite some time. The assessment is done on the cost approach; the City has never done this on the income approach, as the income figures have never been presented as far as lease rates and similar items. If the company is a part owner of the building, the lease rates may not be a true reflection of the value anyhow. At this point the assessment is done on a cost approach on the building. The values that the City has on the building are "pretty reasonable."
Member Capello said that from listening to what Mr. Helwig had said, he would support the motion. He was concerned with what will happen to the high-tech and industrial properties along Meadowbrook Road, and in the Beck Corporate Parks in the northwest section of town. He wants to get the referrals from the State; whether or not Council approves the resolution, he wants the State to know that the City is looking and is a potential candidate for the new high-tech companies that are coming in, and not to refer those companies to Wixom, South Lyon, and Farmington Hills, the City’s major competitors. He said he was supporting the motion, maybe not because he wholly agreed with the concept of what was going on with Incat, but the City needs to maintain, establish, and grow its tax base in that area of industry.
Member Nagy said that after listening to Mr. Helwig, she had changed her mind about the resolution. She asked Mr. Lemmon if what Mr. Helwig had said was correct, that he feels that conservatively, in five years the City can recoup these funds.
Mr. Lemmon said that in trying to be conservative, one thing he had not addressed was any real property improvements. There is a possible addition to the building in the third phase of approximately 8,500 square feet, which would add about $500,000 in true cash value to the building, approximately $250,000 to the taxable value. If Incat does all of the things it has proposed, the City would probably be looking at a five-year average of about $13,000 additional dollars in taxes. With that additional $13,000 over five years, this would reasonably cover what the company is looking at.
Member Nagy commented that this was a tough decision, but said she had to look long term. She said she would be supporting the motion.
Member Lorenzo said that in addition to reason she had given earlier regarding the $20,000 being donated by the Economic Development Corporation of Novi, that is not Council’s money anyway. This cost would not go to the general citizenry anyways, so the City does not lose from this donation, especially since the City has the safeguard that Mr. Helwig had spoken of. This could only be a win situation, not a losing one. The real property tax of $11,254 is going to be standard, whether or not Incat is there, because the building will still pay those taxes. It’s the $16,915 that will go away if the company in the building is not Incat. Whether or not another company leases the building is a gamble. The City is not giving up any money from its general fund, which means this is a win situation. If the City was providing $20,000 from its general fund this would be a different story.
Member Paul asked Mr. Helwig or Mr. Fisher to reiterate the clause of what would happen if Incat moved out of the state after the incentives had been afforded.
Mr. Helwig asked Cynthia Grubbs of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to comment.
Ms. Grubbs said it is very common for communities to make an offer contingent that if there is not a long term commitment, the monies will be paid back. With the economy that is being faced today, this has actually happened. Companies have had to not meet agreements as originally stated and paid monies back. These are very, very tough times for companies.
Member Paul said she appreciated Ms. Grubbs’ comment. Ms. Grubbs’ comments and Mr. Helwig’s comments, as well as Mr. Lemmon’s comments made her more comfortable with the resolution. She said she would support the motion because the money would not come from the general fund. Also, she did not want to risk zero tax dollars coming in from the company, nor did she want to contribute to the number of jobs leaving the state.
Mayor Csordas asked how the State revenue sharing formula is calculated and why the City lost $457,000 lately.
Mr. Helwig replied that the formula is very statutory and constitutional. The State had been deficit-spending, drew down its rainy day funds, and as a result one of the areas that was significantly cut, which to the City of Novi has been cut by almost $700,000, is revenue sharing funds. Other communities have been hit harder than Novi, and the State is still looking at budget imbalances this fiscal year, let alone the one that begins on October 1st.
Mayor Csordas asked where the money came from for the Novi Economic Development Corporation.
Mr. Pearson replied that this money was from fees generated when the Novi Economic Development Corporation issued industrial revenue bonds back in the time when it was advantageous for companies to get City industrial revenue bonds.
Mayor Csordas asked if these were taxpayer dollars.
Mr. Pearson replied that these were company dollars, not taxpayer dollars.
Mayor Csordas said he was hearing lots of "ifs" and not guarantees. There is no question that times are tough for businesses right now, which is why the Single Business Tax is so onerous and something should be done about it. Now, the State had come to the City and told Novi to give its money to this company for furniture and computers.
Member Lorenzo asked to amend the motion to ensure that there was a payback arrangement in a clause in the agreement.
Mr. Helwig said that what was being proposed was a call back provision. If the company does not live up to its commitments of 300 jobs and a minimum investment, the funds would come back to the City.
Member Lorenzo said this was exactly what she had meant.
Mayor Csordas asked when the agreement would start.
Mr. Herter replied that the entire arrangement was a package with the State. Regardless of what Council decided, he believed there was a State session in July.
Mayor Csordas asked how the money is routed.
Mr. Helwig said that Mr. Jakeway had told the City when he was in town that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will review this matter next week, which was why they needed an answer from Council that evening. The, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) will meet in July. That is when they will take the action to afford the small business tax relief, which the company is eligible for if the motion were to pass that evening. The company is not eligible for that relief if there is no local participation. In terms of the money, the $20,000 out of the $50,000 local commitment would be paid to the company in five annual installments, based upon Incat meeting the benchmarks of investment and jobs. That would be $4,000 per year. When the company applies for its plan review for building, the City would be waiving the $10,000 in fees.
Mayor Csordas commented that he thought Incat’s Single Business Tax burden was $800,000.
Mr. Herter replied that this amount was $300,000 the previous year.
Mr. Helwig said the only number remembered seeing was approximately $600,000 for what the Single Business Tax would be with this investment.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-223 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Capello, Gatt
Nays: Csordas, Landry
5. Consideration of request from Grand River Avenue Restaurant, Inc. to transfer ownership of 2003 Class C liquor license with Dance-Entertainment Permit located at 42050 Grand River, Novi, MI from Jamma Associates, Inc. (Italian Epicure)
CM-04-06-224 Moved by Landry, seconded Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of request from Grand River Avenue Restaurant, Inc. to transfer ownership of 2003 Class C liquor license with Dance-Entertainment Permit located at 42050 Grand River, Novi, MI from Jamma Associates, Inc. (Italian Epicure).
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-224 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo
6. Consideration of request from MVEE’S to transfer ownership of 2003 Class C liquor license located at 26139 Novi Road, Novi, MI from Maisano’s, Inc.
CM-04-06-225 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of request from MVEE’S to transfer ownership of 2003 Class C liquor license located at 26139 Novi Road, Novi, MI from Maisano’s, Inc.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-225 Yeas: Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy
Wayne Hogan, 20973 Woodland Glen Drive, wished to mention that the housing project that had earlier been before Council was using a non-compliant curb driveway section. He had thought this would be clearly put out to all future projects.
Kevin Miller, 23651 Maude Lea Circle, said he lives one block away from Willowbrook Drive. He has been responsibly driving on Willowbrook Drive for 20 years now, and opposes any type of closure of that road. Closing that road will restrict the access of people in the subdivision to Haggerty Road and to Nine Mile Road. Further, the City has responded many times to requests by residents on that street. The City has increased the police presence and has put up the mechanism to show what speed a person is driving. He asked the City to consider the aesthetics of people parking on a narrow street, plus safety concerns like children running out between parked cars, people walking and riding their bikes, activities that force them into the road. While he could appreciate people not wanting cars racing down that street, there is a stop sign on the road. Part of the street is restricted to a 15 miles-per-hour speed limit. He felt that the issue had been over-dramatized. People who have lived on the street for 30 years might have some contention that the road should not have been opened up, but people who have moved there since the road has been opened can see that there is a pathway to the school, and people will use the street to get to that school. He said he appreciated the time and effort that City Council puts in.
* Council recessed at 9:35 p.m.
* Council reconvened at 9:48 p.m.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II
7. Approval to award the construction contract for Special Assessment District 171 – Woodham Drive Water Main Extension to the low bidder, MDS Excavating, in the amount of $110,143.00.
CM-04-06-226 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to award the construction contract for Special Assessment District 171 – Woodham Drive Water Main Extension to the low bidder, MDS Excavating, in the amount of $110,143.00.
Member Paul asked if a construction engineer would be on site at all times with this project with the low bidder.
Ms. McClain said this was not correct. The construction engineer was in the engineering contract for Anderson, Eckstein, and Westrick. This was not included in the construction bid, but in the engineering bid. It is a requirement to have a full-time inspector on site.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-226 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
8. Award of contract for 2004 Neighborhood Repaving and Rehabilitation for asphalt roads to Al’s Asphalt Paving Co., Inc., the low bidder, in the amount of $212,443.50.
CM-04-06-227 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of contract for 2004 Neighborhood Repaving and Rehabilitation for asphalt roads to Al’s Asphalt Paving Co., Inc., the low bidder, in the amount of $212,443.50.
Member Paul said she knew there was an area that was patched just south of the Eleven Mile area on Clark Street, which was a fairly large patch. She asked if this area could be incorporated.
Ms. McClain said the Engineering Department would take another look at the area. If additional repair is needed, the area could probably be worked in at a minimum cost.
Member Paul said the area was fairly large, probably 100 feet by 10 feet wide. The section of road looked like it had a patch job about a year ago. If the area needs to be incorporated, she would appreciate this being done.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-227 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas
9. Award of Contract for 2004 Neighborhood Repaving and Rehabilitation for concrete roads to John Carlo, the low bidder, in the amount of $1,219,043.00.
CM-04-06-228 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to award Contract for 2004 Neighborhood Repaving and Rehabilitation for concrete roads to John Carlo, the low bidder, in the amount of $1,219,043.00.
Member Paul asked how specific neighborhoods are selected to be included in the neighborhood paving program.
Ms. McClain replied that these neighborhoods were selected by PASER rating and by some of the commitments that were made to the residents. The City has held discussions with Walden Woods; those streets are badly in need of work and are symptomatic of conditions in Westmont and Addington. The streets had a PASER rating of 4, which brought them (Arcadia and Gina) into the program at this point. Of the next five roads included for concrete roads, Cider Mill is quite a long road and rates a 4 throughout. There are areas that need complete replacement, some that need spot replacement. The section of Galway to the east of Center Street that was incorporated has cracking and also rated a 4. The other three streets, Carlisle Court, Princeton, and Roma Ridge, were rated 4’s. Those streets do not need a full-depth replacement, but need patchwork and are close to other 4’s.
Member Paul said that a comment had been made the previous year that $800,000 would be appropriated to Westmont. The first 850 feet of that subdivision were done and it was supposed to be brought back to Council. Addington Park’s streets are in horrible shape. She asked when the PASER scale would be done on the other subdivisions and what the plan was.
Ms. McClain noted that Council had awarded the PASER project for this next year, which is currently in progress. She has been in touch with GIE Technologies, which would be out doing the roads that week. She said she would have data for the next Council meeting for Council to discuss the rest of those concrete roads. At that point, the City will be looking to possibly put an additional change order to this program for approximately $900,000 worth of road work. The City will be using those PASER ratings in making its decisions. Roads in Addington and Westmont are some that will need complete replacement.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if the motion was to lock these dollars to these roads; however, Council was expecting updated PASER ratings and had budgeted approximately $1 million to expend toward additional concrete roads, with the priority being set by Council.
Ms. McClain said this was correct.
Member Nagy said her concern was that Council had allocated $800,000 to Westmont, spent over $200,000, and had $500,000-and-some left. She wanted to ensure that that subdivision was completed. She would like to see each subdivision be completed before going on to the next one. Council owes it to the residents of Westmont, since they have been generous to the City. She would like to guarantee that the rest of that subdivision’s roads will be done this year.
Mr. Helwig said that at the next Council meeting, Council would have the PASER ratings for these additional concrete streets, over and above what was being discussed that evening. Council will also have different scenarios from Ms. McClain as to how to potentially allocate. Council had appropriated $750,000 in the capital improvement budget over and above neighborhood repaving, and there is a $264,000 carryover from neighborhood repaving two years ago. Council will need to chart which additional concrete roads it wishes to have done this year. Ms. McClain values the universe of need for the City’s neighborhood roads at probably well over $2 million worth. The decision made on the 21st will require Council to decide what it wishes to accomplish this construction season within that $1 million. Administration will try to compile all of that information in a very understandable way so that on the 21st, Council can make that decision, and the City can get approximately an additional $1 million worth of work over and above these neighborhood contracts done this construction season.
Mayor Csordas commented that he knew Cider Mill is in poor shape, and there are some very bad roads in the Addington subdivision as well.
Member Paul said that a motorcycle had hit a child on Jaslyn Lane, between Addington and Westmont Drive. That is a very short street and is in horrible disrepair because of the amount of water that sits in the road. The child was not hurt, but the motorcycle had a very difficult time steering because of gaps of crumbling rocks. She said she would like to have the PASER scales finished before spring in the future so that Council can have the road repair underway in June and not look to continue construction into the fall season.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-228 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry
10. Approval of property and liability insurance contract to Municipal Insurance Alliance for Fiscal Year 2004 and 2005 in the amount of $456,763.00.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry noted that he does legal work for the Michigan Municipal Alliance, as well as Midwest Claims Service. He asked permission to recuse himself from this item.
CM-04-06-229 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To allow Mayor Pro Tem Landry to recuse himself from participation in item number 10, Approval of property and liability insurance contract to Municipal Insurance Alliance for Fiscal Year 2004 and 2005 in the amount of $456,763.00.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-229 Yeas: Csordas, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
CM-04-06-230 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of property and liability insurance contract to Municipal Insurance Alliance for Fiscal Year 2004 and 2005 in the amount of $456,763.00.
Mr. Klaver said that as Council was aware, it has been a goal to have competitive proposals submitted in a timely fashion for property and liability insurance. This year the City achieved that goal. The best proposal, as was the case last year, came in from the Municipal Insurance Alliance. The comparison of the quote for similar coverage, which was the basis for comparing the three proposals the City received, would be slightly over by approximately $2,000 over last year’s cost, which by itself is significant. However, out of that proposal, $7,000 is attributable to the State of Michigan. Absent of that additional tax, the plan would have actually had a significant reduction in its premium. Administration is recommending that of the two proposed alternatives, the City self-insure for vehicles under the value of $30,000, which saves a little more than $50,000 in the premium. The City also supplements its standard policy by adding catastrophic coverage for these vehicles that would be uninsured when stored at the DPW maintenance garage. The City has approximately 10 vehicles that could be there at any given time. In light of the experience of the Road Commission for Oakland County earlier this year, where they lost so many vehicles, administration is very conscious of potential and feels this would be a reasonable addition to the premiums. He noted that Mr. Robert Bucko was in attendance as representative for the Municipal Insurance Alliance.
Mayor Csordas said he appreciated Council supporting him on this last year, because the premium was reduced significantly for the same amount of benefit. The rate action this year of a couple thousand dollars is miniscule vis-à-vis what happens in the industry. He asked what the stop loss is on the vehicles with the catastrophic coverage.
Mr. Bucko noted that this was $1,000,000.
Mayor Csordas asked if this figure was collective for the vehicles.
Mr. Klaver replied that this was correct.
Mayor Csordas commented that this was a good use of taxpayer dollars.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-230 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Capello
11. Consideration of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.164 to amend Subsection 2503.1 of Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, to revise the standards for accessory buildings within the city. 1st Reading
Mr. Helwig asked Mr. Evancoe to comment on the Planning Commission’s recommendation that was coming forward. This matter started with the City Council, was referred to the Planning Commission, and after much hard work was coming back to Council with three major components.
Mr. Evancoe said that Council had initially recognized a need to possibly increase the size of accessory buildings in the City of Novi. Several local developers were heard from, who have run into many instances where they must seek variances from the ZBA in order to construct the type of accessory buildings that their clients desire. With that, the Planning Department worked with the Planning Commission’s Implementation Committee and received the recommendation that Council had before it. The increases in size were provided for, but under various conditions. This is not a unilateral increase, and depends on many factors. He noted that Barb McBeth from the Planning Department had worked very closely on this item.
Member Nagy asked if Planning Commissioners Kocan’s and Cassis’ comments were included in the language of the new amendment.
Ms. McBeth replied that these comments were included in the language before Council.
Member Nagy asked Ms. McBeth if there were any other changes that she felt were necessary for the amendment.
Ms. McBeth replied that there no other changes that the Department would like to make at this point. There had been a number of changes over the 90 days that the Planning Department had been working on the amendment, but there were no additional changes at this point.
CM-04-06-231 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.164 to amend Subsection 2503.1 of Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, to revise the standards for accessory buildings within the city. 1st Reading.
Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher if he was the drafter of this amendment, or if someone in his office had worked on the document.
Mr. Fisher replied that he believed Mr. Schultz had worked with Ms. McBeth.
Member Capello asked if "accessory buildings" included attached and non-detached garages.
Ms. McBeth replied that this was correct.
Member Capello referred to sections 1(b): "Accessory buildings shall not be erected in any required front yard or exterior side yard." When driving through the City, a person sees attached garages where the garage might be in front of the living area of the house or in the exterior of the living area. He asked how these are addressed in the ordinance, or this is a non-compliant accessory building under the ordinance.
Ms. McBeth replied that this part had already been included in the ordinance for some time. What the amendment was saying was that the accessory building itself needs to be set back a distance equal to the front yard setback requirement of the zoning district. Whenever a person sees a garage that might even be pushed out a bit in front of the house, this is always set back behind the front yard setback line, unless it is a non-conforming situation.
Member Capello asked if the garage is an attached accessory building, the front yard and side yard setbacks are the setbacks of the accessory building itself.
Ms. McBeth replied that this was correct.
Member Capello suggested clarifying this in the drafting of the amendment.
Member Paul thanked Ms. McBeth for her hard work. She has worked with Ms. McBeth on the Planning Commission’s Implementation Committee, and she does a great job. The Implementation Committee has come up with many ordinance changes in the past six months. She hopes that Council can alleviate some of the ZBA requirements regarding garage issues.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-231 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
A. Approve minutes of:
May 17, 2004, Regular meeting
May 25, 2004, Special meeting
May 26, 2004, Special meeting
Member Paul said she had no problem with the May 17th meeting minutes. There were comments about ADA requirements in the May 25th and 26th minutes that were missing from several different discussions. She asked that the tapes from the meeting be re-reviewed so that the ADA information is there for the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Commission, and just for the record in general.
CM-04-06-232 Moved by Paul, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the minutes of May 17, 2004, and to re-review the minutes from the May 25th and 26th Council meetings.
Voice Vote on CM-04-06-232 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
L. Approval of Final Pay Estimate for the Novi Lakeshore Park Restroom Facility in the amount of $13,228.60. – Member Paul
Member Paul said she wanted to bring one thing to the attention of administration. There was an incident the past spring where there were portable toilets in the Community Sports Park area that were there for approximately one month. They were removed the first weekend in May, and unfortunately the restrooms were not unlocked, so there were no facilities for people to use. There was a tournament for the 16-year-old boys, and there were no restroom facilities available. She said she would like to see what the City could do to address these problems. Her understanding was that of the City’s restroom facilities in all of its parks have pipes that are inside the concrete block; therefore, workers are afraid of those freezing. She wanted to know the cost estimate of what this would cost to repair, and the cost of keeping portable toilets in all the parks for the time needed. She does not want to see people come to the parks and not have restroom facilities available.
CM-04-06-233 Moved by Paul, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of Final Pay Estimate for the Novi Lakeshore Park Restroom Facility in the amount of $13,228.60, with the requested information about park restroom facilities and portable toilets to come forward to Council in the future.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-233 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo
M. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 674. – Member Paul
Member Paul referred to page 6, item 36485, Legal Services, and said she wanted to clarify that the City was paid through April. She asked how the City would bring some of the items a little closer to avoid over-expenditures.
Mr. Helwig replied that based upon Council’s budget discussions, administration is planning to discuss a price-per-month billing with legal counsel. The City would receive more frequent billings so that it can get the information to Council and assure that it will be known when the $187,500 appropriation is approached. Administration will try to put this in place in the middle of June, starting July 1.
Member Paul referred to the Spartan Concrete Company, South Lake Drive improvements item. She asked why Spartan Concrete was there when Giffels Webster, the engineering company, was working on this project.
Ms. Smith-Roy said there was some work that the City had to have done that was outside of the scope of the contract.
Ms. McClain said the Engineering Department had discussions with the Fire Department regarding the radius up at Thirteen Mile Road. This was also discussed with the DPW, and it was decided that the DPW would go in and make the small changes to the radius at Thirteen Mile Road, as the concrete company was no longer on site for South Lake Drive, and the City could get the work done quicker by having its own crews do the work. Thus, the $945 was spent to have Spartan Concrete deliver the concrete directly.
Member Paul asked if this was part of the improvements that had already been made, which had to be enhanced because of a turn problem.
Ms. McClain replied that these were changes that, after running through and working with the Fire Department, it was decided would be made.
Member Paul asked if these changes were made on the road previously constructed by Giffels Webster.
Ms. McClain replied that this was correct.
Member Paul said she appreciated the repair but hates to do things twice. Item 36526 was for Tiseo Brothers. She asked which neighborhood roadway the City was paying $110,000 for.
Ms. McClain replied that this money was for Yorkshire. There is one more payment to be made on that road, which will be the final balance and change order and the final payment, which will come before the City Council.
Member Paul said that there is a very large hole in the sidewalk where the kids walk to school on Yorkshire where it abuts Taft Road. This hole is approximately four feet deep. She asked if that problem had been rectified.
Ms. McClain replied that this problem was not included with this project, but was being handled with the Taft Road project that would be coming forth at the next Council meeting.
Member Paul asked if the hole would be left there.
Ms. McClain replied that it would not be left there; the City would have somebody fill the hole at least in the interim. The rest of the work will be handled with the Taft Road project.
Member Paul asked that the hole be repaired in the near future, as it is dangerous.
Mr. McCusker said he would look at the hole the next day.
CM-04-06-234 Moved by Paul, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve consent agenda item M, Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 674.
Member Capello asked if the City had gone back to Giffels and asked for reimbursement for the mis-design of the intersection.
Mr. Helwig replied that this had not been done because it was the City’s desire, as a traffic-calming priority, to place the island at its location. Passenger cars did not have a problem with the island, the DPW snow removal did not have a problem, but the Fire Department had a problem with the turn. Rather than change the island, it was decided instead to change the northeastern-most curve. This was one of the few things that Giffels Webster did not have anything to do with. It was something learned from practical experience, and the Fire Department had requested the change.
Mayor Csordas believed that some time ago, Council had asked that no residents or any members of boards or commissions could call Secrest Wardle, with the firm billing the City for those calls. He said he would appreciate it if Mr. Fisher would make sure this did not happen again.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-06-234 Yeas: Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Planning Director and Permits – Member Paul
Member Paul said that approximately two months earlier, before the budget sessions began, she had requested that when a permit is issued to an applicant it is followed up on to ensure compliance with the permit. She said she had not seen any type of response back to her request.
Mr. Evancoe replied that he had provided a written report back to Council shortly after Member Paul’s request. That report was about a three page memo addressed to Council that addressed the topic.
Member Paul asked Mr. Evancoe to include that memo in another packet because she had not received it. She asked for a briefing of what the memo had stated.
Mr. Evancoe said this had been a fairly comprehensive report that went into some of the processes that take place within the community. He said he could not get into the specifics at that very time because the report was very detailed, but the report described what the various departments do subsequent to site plan review, for example, as well as some of the guiding principles for consultants and enforcement staff. These principles help to ensure that what was on a site plan is actually built. He said he would provide another copy of the report.
Member Paul commented that she wants to know what happens after a permit is issued, as this is something that has come before Council. She hopes that the City will find problems through an inspection or review process.
2. Rezoning of Twelve Mile Road – Member Paul
Member Paul noted that on the Farmington Hills section of Twelve Mile Road, there is only one area with a cut into the major thoroughfare. Instead of having a curb cut onto Twelve Mile for each parcel, a service drive might be preferable, and this might align with West Park Drive. This would allow for use of a light that is already in place, would create a service drive that would direct traffic into one corridor, and would create a smoother traffic flow. She wished to provide this recommendation, noting that it would be discussed by the Planning Commission. She hopes that the City can solve some future traffic issues with the concept.
Mr. Helwig said that this item was being discussed by the Planning Commission, and said he would appreciate any other feedback about the idea. The service drive would apply to the area south of Twelve Mile near West Park Drive.
Member Paul said she supports the OST rezoning if that is what the Planning Commission decides upon. More curb cuts along thoroughfares create more traffic problems. Also, there is already a light at Twelve Mile and West Park Drive.
3. Fuerst Farm – Member Paul
Member Paul said it was brought to her attention that Council did not, unfortunately, allocate the $2500 for Fuerst Farm. Member Capello had asked Ms. Mutch what amount of money was necessary to have the Fuerst Farm picnic, and this was the amount that was given in response. She had asked Ms. Smith-Roy to provide Council with information about what had been spent on the event in the past. It was brought to her attention that Council put money towards the Fifty’s Festival, and the Fuerst Farm picnic is another festival that Council is cutting off very quickly. The event requires a small amount of money, but many people benefit from it. She would like to know what is needed for the Historical Commission to be able to continue the Fuerst Farm picnic, but also begin to require fund-raising to continue the event, as has been done with the Fifty’s Festival.
Mr. Helwig said that Kathy Smith-Roy had provided a memo to Council, which he had distributed that evening. Administration is trying to obtain more information to pinpoint exactly what expenditures have been associated with this event. He said administration would hopefully get the information to Council in its Thursday packet.
4. South Lake – Member Nagy
Member Nagy asked if when the City awarded the design for South Lake Drive to Giffels Webster, if Ms. McClain approved what the company had drawn up.
Ms. McClain replied that she oversees what the company draws up.
Member Nagy asked Ms. McClain if she has the ability to approve, disapprove, or make changes in the drawing itself.
Ms. McClain replied that much of what was dictated in the design, and much of the discussion that entailed about the design, was asked for by the City Council. Everything that was done in the design was done according to proper engineering procedures. Both Giffels Webster as professional engineers and herself have the ability to oversee this work.
Member Nagy asked Ms. McClain if she ever makes suggestions about the design, or makes suggestions to Council about the design of a project. She asked Ms. McClain if she has this latitude as an engineer for the City of Novi.
Ms. McClain replied that there were many discussions back and forth about the design during the design process for this road. She said she does have input into the design.
Member Nagy said she was not sure what Ms. McClain’s job function is, which is what she was trying to find out. Several members of Council had discussed the problems of turning right on South Lake Drive, especially for large vehicles, from Novi Road onto South Lake. Somebody in the City must have finally heard this comment because she had seen the DPW putting an apron in on the road. That apron cost the earlier-mentioned $935, but also costs time and materials, and takes away from other tasks that the DPW should be working on. She said she had reviewed the contract for South Lake Drive; the accepted lump sum bid for excavation was $340,000. In August, a change order was put in for an additional $53,400 for the excavation, and the DPW had to remove a great deal of soil. With the recent rains, South Pointe is still experiencing flooding. She asked when that area will be fixed.
Ms. McClain responded that a letter would be going out the next morning to Anderczak-Pitzen that the company has two weeks to finish all of its punch list items. If those items are not finished within that two week period, the City will be drawing money from the retainer and doing the work itself.
Member Nagy asked if because the DPW had removed soil and graded the area, if the City was also looking for money to be returned. She said she was looking for a refund for the DPW’s work.
Ms. McClain replied that this had not been discussed at length.
Member Nagy said she felt that the City really should receive a refund. She asked if Anderczak was responsible for the side streets.
Ms. McClain said this is one of the punch list items that the company still needs to complete.
Member Nagy said that if the company does not complete the work, the City should keep all of the money. City staff has been out to work on things for this project that they did not belong working on.
Member Paul asked for an overview of what had been spent so far on the South Lake Drive contract, and what remains to be paid, as well as overages. She said she did not understand the expenditures. On a previous warrant from three or four months earlier, Member Lorenzo had pulled Giffels Webster on the South Lake Drive project. She said she would like to know where the City’s expenditures on the project are so far, since there are outstanding items.
Member Nagy noted that she felt the City was over budget on the project.
Mr. Helwig said administration had sent such a report about 60 days earlier, and would do so again that week. The City is not way over budget on that project, which is more than a $2 million project. He said he would be more than happy to provide a special briefing on the matter. He has said many times that administration is not satisfied with the professional work that it contracted with. The City employee who ok’d a berm with all of the dirt on the landing will be dealt with, which is why the dirt remained there. That employee had told the contractor to leave the dirt and create a berm on the landing, as was done on the south side of the road, even though they had no authority to do that. The City has been resolving the issue in the best interest of the taxpayers. The City made money on using that dirt, but that was not in the plan, which he has stated before. He said the report would be sent out again, and administration would provide the update for Council.
Member Capello asked if the City had a payment performance bond for the project.
Ms. McClain replied that the City has all of the standard bonds on that project.
Member Capello asked if the City can look to the bond if there are any serious problems about performance or other concerns.
Ms. McClain noted that this was correct.
Member Nagy said she was not trying to put anyone on the defensive, but there are residents who have called a number of times. She is looking for money to come back to the City, but she is also looking to make sure that the contractor never bids on anything again. What had upset her the most as a Council member was the additional money required above the lump-sum bid, as well as using stormceptors instead of vortechnics.
5. Landscape Contract – Member Nagy
Member Nagy said she was concerned about the landscape contract for medians and such. She does not know who the current contractor is, but last year’s contractor was very good. Her homeowner’s association, as well as several other people within the area that she lives in, have contacted the City. The current contractor cuts the grass but misses strips, there have been dandelions all over the place, the contractor does not edge the grass, and unlike last year’s contractor, the current one has not cut circles around trees and mulched them. The City is not getting what it is paying for, and she would not like to see the contractor working for the City. It is ridiculous that the City has to tell the contractor what its job is. She feels that last year’s contractor does a much nicer job, even if they are a bit more expensive.
Mayor Csordas noted that during the meeting break, Kathy Mutch had provided him with a letter that seemed to outline a very nice opportunity for the City, similar to the deal where the City had the barns painted very inexpensively. Lee Mamola had sent a letter regarding the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Architecture Design Studio project. That school needs to assign this project by June 16th. There would be 17 third to fifth-year level students that would visit Fuerst Farm. Those students would evaluate the barn, evaluate it, look at the surrounding property, and examine potential uses for the structure. The City won’t do anything with the barn, but the experience would be in the public interest. There would be no cost to the City, and the students might provide an interesting reuse possibility for the barn. He asked Mr. Helwig to take a look at the letter and follow up on it.
Member Paul said that Planning Commissioner Avdoulos had given a presentation to the Planning Commission regarding the reuse of barn structures. This presentation was given regarding the reuse of the Toll Brothers’ site barn. She suggested that Commissioner Avdoulos, an architect, might be able to provide information to Council about the Fuerst Farm barn. She asked that the students provide information to Council on how sturdy the barn structure is, and what types of repairs might be needed to make the building safer.
Wayne Hogan asked that the City put speakers in the lobby outside of Council Chambers. There are many people who have conversations in the back of the room that are afraid they will miss something if they step out of the room to hold their conversations, and there are people who must run in and out of the door to hear Council’s conversation.
There being no further business to come before Council, Mayor Csordas adjourned the meeting at 10:38 p.m.
Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Steve King
Date approved: June 21, 2004