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REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI CITY COUNCIL
Mayor Csordas called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE -- Tiger Cub Den #5 Ė Pack 240; Leader: Kim Lau
ROLL CALL: Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry, Council Members Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy* (Absent/Excused) and Paul
ALSO PRESENT: Rick Helwig Ė City Manager
Craig Klaver Ė Chief Operating Officer
Clay Pearson Ė Assistant City Manager
Tom Schultz Ė City Attorney
Benny McCusker Ė Public Works Director
Kathy Smith-Roy Ė Finance Director
Barb McBeth Ė Planning Director
Rob Hayes Ė City Engineer
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Lorenzo added under Mayor and Council Issues, Item 1, "Cost of Legal Services for Routine Reviews and Letters"; Member Capello added Item 2, "Park Place Estates"; Member Gatt added Item 3, "Tsunami Disaster and Possible Cityís Participation in a Memorial"; Member Paul added Item 4, "Employee Conference Reimbursements and the Policy and Procedure for that; and Item 5, "MDEQ Permit for the Haggerty Regional Detention Basin".
CM-05-01-001 Moved by Capello, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Voice Vote on CM-05-01-001 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
INTERVIEWS FOR BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
Mayor Csordas stated that there would be interviews for Boards and Commissions, one each for Zoning Board of Appeals, Library Board and Historical Commission. There would be 10 minutes allocated for each applicant. Mayor Csordas asked each applicant for a brief overview of why they were applying for a board or commission; then each Council Member would ask one question.
Dr. Mav Sanghvi, who was applying for a reappointment to the Zoning Board of Appeals, stated that he had lived at his present Novi address for 29 and one-half years. He stated that he had been serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals and requested that Council allow him to continue to serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals. He had been involved in numerous community activities over the last 25 years, primarily related to Novi Rotary, to the School Board, to the Chamber of Commerce, Novi City Council for a period of time. He liked to volunteer and believed it was the duty of every citizen to get involved and give something to the community. He stated that he thought it was fair to say that he had lived up to the expectations of his parents and his heritage and his values; he would like to continue to do so.
Member Lorenzo asked Dr. Sanghvi, as a member of the ZBA, if he thought it was proper to consider as part of an application how long the applicant had either resided or had a business in town in addition to the merits of the case before the board.
Dr. Sanghvi answered that to him, the answer was yes because it gave the opportunity to know how well somebody was familiar with the standards and the values of the community and, to a certain degree, they were familiar with how City government worked. He stated that it was quite fair to ask, on those grounds, how long the applicant had been around there.
Member Lorenzo asked, with regard to the Singh application before the ZBA at the last meeting, why he voted the way he did and what he thought the disagreement at the ZBA level was over the application.
Dr. Sanghvi stated that he wanted to start with a comment and then would answer the question. He stated that as he saw it, a) the function of the ZBA was to try to uphold ordinances of the City; it was not his place as a member of the ZBA to rewrite the ordinances. After having said that, b) he also understood that he was serving on the ZBA at the pleasure of the Mayor and the City Council; he sometimes felt it was not his place to second guess the decisions of the City Council about certain matters which, for technical reasons came before the ZBA. He said that if City Council had already approved the matters, he thought as a member of the ZBA, he needed to bring a different perspective when he looked at an issue like that.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that he had served with Dr. Sanghvi on City Council and had watched him faithfully serve the residents of the City of Novi; he had no questions and wanted to thank him for continuing to step up to the plate to serve the citizens of Novi.
Member Capello agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Landryís comments; there was nothing he needed to ask, and he was pleased to see him come back again and hoped he would continue to do so.
Member Gatt stated that he had known Dr. Sanghvi for as long as he had been around the City of Novi; he was the most outstanding volunteer that anyone could ever ask for and had done more work for the City behind the scenes than any would ever know. He stated that Dr. Sanghviís desire to continue serving was commendable and he had his full support.
Member Paul asked Dr. Sanghvi what the most difficult issue was that he had to deal with on the ZBA and how he resolved that issue.
Dr. Sanghvi stated that there were a lot of issues that came up before the ZBA; the primary the issues were regarding signs or variances in new buildings that came up or renovations of the old buildings. He said that when dealing with construction that had not taken place and the ZBA had to consider giving variances for new construction, at that time some of the members had felt that maybe the builder should build within the specifications of the City ordinances and should not be asking for certain variances. He said that issue became a judgment call under those circumstances; to a certain degree, it became a value judgment also. He said that was where it got into a dilemma which way to do. He said he always felt that in anything he had done and when the situation was tough, go by the rule and use common sense.
Member Paul stated that if he felt on the ZBA, if he was appointed back to it, that he wanted to up stand the laws or wanted to use his common sense and it went against what her thoughts were, she hoped that he did that because his was a separate board from Council and she hoped that all of the board practiced that way.
Dr. Sanghvi stated that everyone had to use his own personal judgment; one of the essences of democracy was the right to dissent. He thought they should all appreciate it and respect it. He said that one could dissent without being disagreeable.
Mayor Csordas stated that, having served with Dr. Sanghvi on City Council briefly, he knew that he had the ability to dissent; that was good. He thanked him for reapplying for the position; he wished him well. He thanked him for all he had done for the community.
Laura Casey stated that she was applying for the Library Board. She said that she moved to Novi in May of 2000 and had been greatly impressed by the level of community involvement and the amount of pride that Novi residents took in the City. She said that community involvement had always been important to her, whether at the school level in career-related activities or in her local community. She had always believed that committed people working together could make a difference. She said that she considered applying for a position on the Library Board for several months now; she had a passion for reading and life-long learning that brought her into the Library every few weeks on average. She said that after reading about the Walker Grant, she took the opportunity to serve with the fundraising committee; her time spent on the committee and working with several of the Board members had reinforced her desire to serve at the Board level. She said her background was in marketing and most recently in project managing marketing programs. She said she would be able to bring to the Board the skills and experiences of nine years of marketing to help the Libraryís marketing efforts. Additionally, she had been well schooled in project management tactics, including strategic planning and the critical role in making all team members come together to come up with the same outcome. She said she would be able to leverage those skills on the Board as well. She said the City of Novi and the Novi Public Library had a bright future ahead; she would appreciate the opportunity to use her passion for marketing to support her passion for reading and help contribute to that future.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Ms. Casey what she believed to be the biggest challenge facing the Novi Library.
Ms. Casey answered that she thought it was obviously the need to expand either the current facilities or to find new facilities for the Library. She stated that having the Library that was most recently built in 1976, expanded in 1990, to serve a community at the time with approximately 23,000 residents when the community was now at 50,000 and projected to go to 79,000 by 2030, she thought the space needs of the Library, to meet the community needs, were critical.
Member Capello stated that she was the most prepared candidate he had seen since he had sat there; he said she did a swell job.
Member Gatt asked if Ms. Casey were appointed to the Board and had some discretion over the spending of the grant that Novi received, how she wanted to see it spent.
Ms. Casey answered that she thought the jury was still out in terms of what made the most sense for the Library, whether or not it was renovation or expansion into a new facility. She thought, once they saw the outcome of the Planning Committee within the Library Board, she would have a better answer to that question.
Member Paul stated that one of the things that could be improved upon was communication with the citizens of the fundraising drive Novi was trying to accomplish. She said she used the Library and she didnít even see a little car or grid system going up toward that $1-million Novi was trying to collect; she had no idea where Novi was at. She said she sat on a Board that had a lot of information passed between all the boards and commissions and what everyone was doing. She asked Ms. Casey, with her marketing talent, how did she like to communicate with the citizens to help Novi get the word out it needed the Library and that there was a second $1-million on the plate, and where we were at with that information.
Ms. Casey answered that she thought the Library, to date, had done a fairly good job at communicating, using the newsletter at its disposal, as well as having some space on the website. She thought what was critical moving forward was putting signage or some sort of display up in the Library so that the patrons not only saw the banner but saw a display and a way for themselves to get involved; they saw how much money had been raised to date and they saw some of the events and activities that the Board had been considering as their way to get excited about the fact that Novi did, indeed, have $1-million donated by the Walkers and the Library had the opportunity to get matching grants at another $1-million, should the community raise $1-million within the community. She stated that she had seen some fairly good articles in the newspaper recently; she thought Novi needed to continue those efforts in working with the local newspapers to help spread the word because it was an exciting opportunity to be able to build a library, and she wanted more people to be aware and to get involved with that.
Member Paul stated that one tool that could be used was the school district; they were very supportive; there were four school districts in the City. She thanked Ms. Casey for her efforts; she thought she would be a wonderful addition to the Library Board.
Member Lorenzo asked Ms. Casey what her individual goal or objective would be as a member of the Board.
Ms. Casey answered that her individual goal would be obviously to improve the communications that the Library could make with the citizens, both from a grant perspective, as well as some of the other opportunities that were available at the Library. There was a list of services that the Library provided on the website; she was not sure how many people in the local community were aware of those services, including delivery to the homebound and some of the senior programs that were going on. So she thought her primary goal, a passion of hers being in marketing, would be to help improve the communication both from the Library to the community, as well as in reverse, making sure that there were ample forums in the community to be able to provide feedback to the Library and staff.
Mayor Csordas stated that Ms. Casey was clearly confident, articulate and prepared; he would be sure to talk to the Chairperson of the Library Board, Terry Margolis, to see what she thought.
Maggie Pringlemeir was the third interviewee, reapplying for the Historical Commission. Ms. Pringlemeir failed to appear.
PRESENTATIONS -- None
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE Ė None
2. CITY MANAGER Ė None
3. DEPARTMENTAL Ė None
Mr. Schultz stated that after the last meeting where the motion was made, the actual motion was to have the Target wetland issue resolved, whether or not they needed a permit, and if so, to have applied for one by the second meeting in January. He sent out the letter, took the liberty of shaving a few days off that and put an indication in the letter that the City would consider them in default if they didnít apply by January 7th. He stated that he received a letter today from the attorney for Landon, indicating that their position was that they did not require an extension of the wetland permit through the MDEQ and a promise to give a letter to that effect by the end of the week, so they were of the opinion that they were in place to put the improvements in the plantings, which were really all that was left, in the time specified in the spring. He supposed it was possible that the letter the Council received from their expert would not have the appropriate peace of mind that Council needed before the second meeting in January; Secrestís suggestion would be to wait to see what that letter said; if it was as they said, an indication from the MDEQ that they were fine, the City could wait until the spring; if not, it could be brought back and discussed at the next Council meeting.
Member Lorenzo stated that it sounded fine, the only proviso would be that she would only feel comfortable hearing from the MDEQ; they needed a letter from the MDEQ saying that their permit was still valid and that they may go forward. She said if Council didnít receive that by the second meeting in January, she thought Council should proceed with asking the MDEQ whether that was the case or whether the City needed to file a new application. She said the City had been in those situations before where it waited for them to have information; she didnít want to get stuck. She mentioned at the last meeting that it took time to go through their process; if they didnít have a valid permit and they had to start from scratch, that would take a couple of months.
Member Lorenzo thought Council needed to keep proceeding; she didnít mind waiting until the next meeting to hear back from them. She said to please let them know that Council needed something from the MDEQ, not from their experts, because that was the only thing that mattered, something from the MDEQ. She said they couldnít go forward with the mitigation without that.
Mr. Schultz stated that was understood; that was the message that he gave to the attorney for Landon before he came here tonight.
Mav Sanghvi stated that he was there speaking as a private citizen of Novi and as a taxpayer of Novi. He said that he was there to make three pleas. He said, as Council knew, December 26, 2004, brought the worst human tragedy caused by a natural disaster. He stated that the tragedy gave the City an unprecedented opportunity to make monumental difference in the lives of a multitude of people affected by the Tsunami in 11 different countries. He said that all of the people affected, just like us, were residents of this planet, Earth; there were urgent and long-term needs.
Dr. Sanghvi stated that his humble suggestions were: 1) that the City declare January 11-25 as a Tsunami Disaster Relief Period in the City of Novi; 2) that Council would consider passing a resolution declaring Noviís sympathy towards the victims of the disaster and to urge all the residents and the businesses to open their hearts and wallets to help those unfortunate human beings. 3) that Council consider setting the ball rolling by announcing a donation, for the sake of naming a number, $25,000 from the contingency fund. He said that Novi Rotary was in the process of raising funds for Tsunami relief and would receive tax deductible donations. He said that if Novi could raise sufficient funds, they would like to build a school or hospital as a gift to people of Srilanka or Indonesia from the people of Novi, demonstrating people helping people; but most of all, demonstrating the compassion of our hearts and the belief that Mankind was one.
Mayor Csordas thanked Dr. Sanghvi; he stated that he could respond to that as far as a proclamation or declaration supporting the people in that tragedy. He asked Mr. Helwig to work up one of those, and if he wanted to have a time period set for people to focus on that issue. However, he respectfully, would not be in favor of the third request; he hoped Dr. Sanghvi understood, of spending $25,000 of taxpayersí dollars from the contingency fund. He stated that maybe City Council would feel differently; he said they would see what happened on that.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Lorenzo removed Item I, Warrant No. 688.
CM-05-01-002 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Capello: To approve the Consent Agenda as amended.
Voice Call Vote on CM-05-01-002 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
CONSENT AGENDA: (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerkís Office)
A. Approve Minutes of:
1. December 20, 2004, Regular meeting
B. Enter Executive Session immediately following the regular meeting of January 10, 2005 in the Council Annex for the purpose of discussing pending litigation.
C. Approval of resolution to establish investment account for retiree health care benefits with MERS and to add MERS to the Cityís investment policy.
D. Approval of resolution to authorize the purchase of additional service credit by three employees.
E. Approval of resolution transmitting Proof of Authority to Oakland County that the City of Novi intends to submit a grant application for a new optical scan voting system.
F. Approval to award bid for the DPW HVAC replacement system and upgrade to Detroit Temperature Engineers, the low bidder, in the amount of $18,450.
G. Approval of one-year Renewal of Nordstrom-Samson & Associates for 2005 Building Review and Architectural FaÁade Consulting Services and adoption of associated review fees and charges effective March 1, 2005 (recommended by the Consultant Review Committee).
H. Approval of one-year Renewal of agreement with Environmental Consulting and Technology, Inc. for Environmental Review Services and adoption of associated review fees and charges effective March 1, 2005 (recommended by the Consultant Review Committee).
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė PART I
1. Consideration of the request of Singh Development for Legacy Parc for approval of a modified Final RUD Plan, modified RUD Agreement and modified Preliminary Site Plan for the clubhouse and associated recreation areas only. The property is located in Section 30, south of Ten Mile Road, west of Wixom Road in the R-1, One Family Residential District with a development agreement. The applicant proposes modification of the clubhouse recreation areas only, in order to meet the requirements of the zoning ordinance and eliminate the need for variance relief from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Mr. Kahm stated that he was before Council on December 20, 2004, for the Site Plan approval of that project; Council approved the Site Plan that evening but requested that Singh appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals to request some variances on setbacks required for some of the amenity spaces, most particularly, the tennis courts and the basketball court that they proposed around the clubhouse. He stated that Singh appeared before the Zoning Board of Appeals last week, and the ZBA decided not to grant the variances that they requested. He stated that he was back before Council with the same Plan he presented on December 20th, which would be the Plan without the necessity of the setback variance requirements. He requested that Council to consider approval of that Plan so Singh could finalize its Site Plan this evening and finalize the amended RUD agreement, which would reflect the revised Site Plan.
Mr. Kahm stated that in their letter, Singh suggested that, with the cooperation assistance with the Administration, pursue an amendment to the current text of the RUD ordinance which would in the future allow Council to grant waivers of that kind if it so chose. He stated that Singh would commit to return to Council, if that text was amended, with the Plan, the one that Council preferred last time, for Council consideration, if and when that text might be amended. He said that this evening Singh was requesting, since it didnít have any other options, Council approval of the Plan which was in Council packets, which did not require any setback variances.
Mayor Csordas stated that with the Plan that Singh proposed, it was in compliance and there were no variances required.
Mr. Kahm answered that was correct.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that he was disappointed that the ZBA did not grant Singh the variances; respectfully it was their option. He said they had their reasons, and he respected the ZBA as a board; he personally disagreed. He thought, as the Council stated last week, it would prefer to see active recreation areas in subdivisions like that; he thought it lessened the burden on community active recreation areas. He thought it was healthier for the community as a whole; however, he respected the decision of the ZBA. He said, with that in mind, he would encourage Singh to pursue an amendment to the RUD ordinance; he would personally like to see that amendment so that this body could make such decisions.
CM-05-01-003 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; MOTION CARRIED: To approve the request of Singh Development for Legacy Parc for approval of a modified Final RUD Plan, modified RUD Agreement and modified Preliminary Site Plan for the clubhouse and associated recreation areas only. The property is located in Section 30, south of Ten Mile Road, west of Wixom Road in the R-1, One Family Residential District with a development agreement. The applicant proposes modification of the clubhouse recreation areas only, in order to meet the requirements of the zoning ordinance and eliminate the need for variance relief from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Member Lorenzo agreed with the previous speaker; she would like to see the pursuance of the amendment to the RUD. She stated that she didnít see it as anything different than the discretion the Council had with the development agreement, really, so she would be supportive of that as well.
Member Capello stated that he foresaw the problem going to the ZBA because their ability to grant such variances were much more limited than Council could have if it amended the ordinance. He said that in the discussions, he thought that Council had directed Mr. Schultz at the last time Singh was in front of it to begin looking at amending our RUD ordinance to give Council that authority, as opposed to having to go to the ZBA.
Mr. Schultz answered that Secrest had been authorized to look at the RUD ordinance and make some proposed amendments; frankly, in light of more pressing needs and cost issues, it was not on the front burner.
Member Capello said that he wanted to make sure that Council had already directed Secrest; it would not be up to Singh to get the ball rolling. He said that, just as a technical matter, from the minutes that he looked at the ZBA, the ZBA did not deny the variance.
Mr. Kahm stated that was true.
Member Capello said that perhaps what Council needed to do would be to make a motion to reconsider the last decision. He said basically they were still in limbo on Councilís first decision because the variance had not been denied by the ZBA.
Mr. Schultz answered that they did look at that question; he thought the motion that was on the floor was appropriate. He said the first motion was subject to grant of an approval by the ZBA, which was not forthcoming. He thought the record would be clear; this was a different agreement and a different plan, so separate approval.
Member Capello asked what happened with the first motion that was made; he understood they would be on the ZBA agenda. He asked if both motions could go forward in the event that ZBA did grant their variance at the February meeting, then at least for them the issue was resolved.
Mr. Schultz stated that he didnít believe they ought to or would go forward at the next ZBA meeting; he thought this was their approval until the ordinance was amended.
Member Capello stated that the previous decision made a few weeks ago essentially died.
Mr. Schultz answered that it was a condition that did not get met.
Member Gatt asked if Singh still owned the golf course.
Mr. Kahm answered that technically they wouldnít own it for about two weeks, but they would in two weeks. That was the reason he needed the Site Plan approval.
Member Paul stated that on the first Plan that Council was looking for, the active park land, Council had not been able to meet that. Member Paul asked Ms. McBeth, Planning Director, if two lots were excluded, Lot 5 and Lot 198, could Council have the active park land eliminating those two lots, without having a ZBA variance that would be needed.
Ms. McBeth answered that without looking at the Plan in great detail at the moment, it was likely that some variation to the plan itself would allow approval of the Plan without the 80-foot setback requirement without the waiver of that. She said the Plan could be modified, possibly by eliminating lots, and still meet the ordinance requirements.
Member Paul asked if there were very many areas in that Plan that they were looking at right now that had R-1 qualifications to it.
Ms. McBeth answered yes; many of the areas had the R-1 qualifications.
Member Paul asked what the ratio was approximately.
Ms. McBeth answered that it was greater than 90 percent.
Member Paul asked, 90 percent of R-1.
Ms. McBeth answered that it was less than 10 percent of R-1 standards.
Member Paul stated that when Council did Island Lakes, she knew that there were a lot of R-2 and R-1 capacities to that Plan. She asked if it was less than 10 percent for Island Lakes, or was there more R-1 in that area.
Ms. McBeth answered that she thought with the Island Lakes, some of the lots were meeting the RA standards and some were meeting the R-1 standards in a greater percentage than that Plan.
Member Paul asked if there were any RA capacity in that Site Plan.
Ms. McBeth answered not as it was currently designed, no.
Member Paul stated that she really liked the active park lands, and she agreed with Member Capello, Mayor Pro Tem Landry and Member Lorenzo that Council had a very good Plan and active park land was the way Council was looking at that; she wanted to eliminate Lot 5 and Lot 198 and keep the active park land and see if Council really had to go to the ZBA at all. She said it was her understanding that they would not have to go to the ZBA; they would have the active park land, and would still be within the RUD agreement. She said as the motion was, she would not be supporting it. She thought that Council had been more than fair to the applicant by going from RA, which meant one house per acre, to R-2 almost completely in that Plan, more than 90 percent. She said in all fairness to other developers, Council required, with the RUD, a little bit more variation within the lot size to meet RUD requirements. She said Council had already passed that; it was asking for more active park land and she thought Council could meet that, so she thought eliminating two lots was not too much to ask in that situation. She would like to see if they could actually look at that, as this Council. She said if anyone was interested, she would like to see the active park land with the first Plan Council approved eliminating Lot 5 and Lot 198, so that the City could have the active park land for the community.
Member Capello asked Mr. Kahm if it would affect just Lot 5 and Lot 198, or would it affect 201 and 200 also. He said from his memory, it seemed like the lots across the road were within the setback also.
Mr. Kahm stated that the setback was from the right-of-way of the adjacent roadways, frankly, they hadnít looked at that. He said he would respectfully remind everyone that the RUD that was approved last year had none of those amenities at all; Singh voluntarily added all of that stuff. He said, yes, they readjusted the lot configurations and the roadways in order to accommodate this, but he asked Council to remember, compared to the Plan that was approved a year ago, that Plan added all of the amenities; Singh had asked for nothing in return. In addition, they added a third connection to the trail way as of the December 20th meeting, to make the project more resident-friendly and to provide more active recreation opportunities to the residents. He said they had tried to go the extra mile.
Mayor Csordas stated that he would support the motion in its original form.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-01-003 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo
2. Consideration of the requests of Ivanhoe Huntley regarding property located on the north side of Twelve Mile Road between Novi and Meadowbrook Roads. The subject property is approximately 9.72 acres. The requests have been submitted in conjunction with one another.
a. Zoning Map Amendment 18.633 Ė Request to rezone subject property from RA (Residential Acreage) and OS-1 (Office Service) to RM-1 (Low- Density Multiple Family Residential).
b. Wellington Ridge Planned Rezoning Overlay, SP 04-33. The applicant is proposing 64 residential units in eight buildings under the requested RM-1 zoning Classification.
Brad Strader, managing partner of the Royal Oak office of Elisell Planning, Inc., representing Ivanhoe-Huntley this evening, stated that he wanted to give some background. He said there were also representatives of Ivanhoe-Huntley, Paul Knuth, Director of Development, Gary Shapiro and Counsel Alan Green.
Mr. Strader stated that the Planning Commission was very familiar with Ivanhoe-Huntley, and maybe City Council was also, but he wanted to point out a couple of things. He said that Ivanhoe-Huntley had been doing development in the area for about 60 years; it was one of the top five builders in Michigan and one of the top 250 nationally, although it had not constructed a project in the City of Novi to date. He said that Ivanhoe-Huntley was also a three-time award winner of the Michigan Society of Planning (now known as Michigan Association of Planners) Developers Award; they give out awards to a developer for exceptional projects. He said it was also one of the reasons that his firm worked for communities; they did training seminars for Michigan Municipal League Ė some ZBA members had gone to their training seminars and Planning Commission members. He said that Ivanhoe-Huntley was their client number three when they started in business seven years ago: City of Farmington, Northville Township and Ivanhoe-Huntley. He said that one of the reasons was that they liked being associated with a development company that did high quality projects that won awards and was environmentally conscientious. He was proud to be there representing them.
Mr. Strader stated that there was a lot of history on the project, going back two years. He said they started out two years ago when Ivanhoe-Huntley took out an option on the parcel and spent three or four months trying to look at what was the best development alternative, looking at office, residential or a mixture of uses. He said it submitted in April 2003 an application to the Planning Commission for RM-1 zoning for multiple family, at that time envisioning a development of about 120 units on the parcel. He said they went through a process where they realized that the density needed to come down; they revised the density down to 94. In November, 2003, they went to the Master Plan and Zoning Subcommittee; they had a real good meeting with them, but it was a unique and tricky parcel in the City. He said they couldnít come to a recommendation for the Planning Commission; so they went forward to the Planning Commission with RM-1 zoning request with 94 units.
Mr. Strader stated that in summary, the Planning Commission felt the density was too high; they werenít convinced that it was the right land use. He thought a couple of them felt that, while it was a good development company, good land use, the City did not have a way to tie the rezoning to everything they were representing; there was no way to have a development agreement. After Planning Commission Public Hearing, they recommended to Council denial of RM-1 zoning, but before it moved forward, Ivanhoe-Huntley withdrew and the staff, the night of the public hearing, said that they were working on a new option, the PRO that would allow Ivanhoe-Huntley to tie the development and all of the amenities it was talking about to RM-1 zoning, but they would have to wait until they were ready with it. He said they waited until August of last year until it was in effect and ready to go; they resubmitted a site plan with now 64 units with a different type of development, addressing many of the questions and concerns that Planning Commission and staff had; they came back with a new submittal.
Mr. Strader stated that when they went to Planning Commission, they felt they had good discussion and felt they were about to get a recommendation for approval, but there were a couple items that the Planning Commission wanted resolved by either Ivanhoe-Huntley or Mr. Schultz. Ivanhoe-Huntley went back and, by split vote, the Planning Commission recommended denial.
Mr. Strader got the feeling that, again this was a tricky parcel, and they really felt that Council would have to make the decision on that. The Master Plan, for example, which helped guide the Planning Commission, showed the parcel for cemetery, so certainly that was not giving Council and the Planning Commission good direction on what the use should be because there was no intent for it to be developed as cemetery.
Mr. Strader said the graphic showed the site; it was about 10 acres in size, the front three acres was zoned for office and the remainder was zone for large-lot single family homes. On the north side of Twelve Mile to the south was Twelve Oaks Mall; to the west in the frontage were a couple of small office buildings. He said they were surrounded on most of the western property and north property line by the Oakland Hills Memorial Cemetery and to the east was the Michigan Tollgate Farm, which was undeveloped. So most of their border was zoned residential; in fact, the Planning Commission asked what the best use next to a cemetery was. Mr. Strader said that his father was a pastor and he lived next to cemeteries while growing up, and often residential was usually the most common use in your zoning ordinance; cemeteries were allowed in the residential district, not in the office district. He thought the Cityís own policies said the most compatible use next to a cemetery was residential. He said they were also next office and next to commercial; the big unknown, the Tollgate Farm, if it were ever to develop. Mr. Strader said that his understanding that most of the discussion the City had was that it would be a good residential location in the future.
The copy of the plan, it may not be in Councilís packet, first presented to the Planning Commission with the 94 units. He said they agreed that it was packed too tight; it didnít do much to preserve the wood lot on the eastern property line and didnít do much to buffer from Tollgate and give the City any flexibility in the future. So based on a lot of direction of site plans, they came back with the revised proposal which was the 64 units. They moved the development away from the eastern property line to the top of the drawing there, which was Tollgate, to preserve the woodlands. They did a woodland inventory; it also gave more flexibility. There was a deep buffer there that gave Council flexibility in the future for making a decision on Tollgate Farms. To do that, they had asked for the modification to your lot under the PRO to reduce their setback on the west side next to the cemetery were they were not going to have any complaints from neighbors that they were encroaching too closely.
Mr. Strader stated that the setbacks were met; they had just clustered things on the most developable part of the site to preserve the wood lot. He said they had also kept development away from Twelve Mile Road and provided deeper setback; they had located a detention pond there to provide better views from the Twelve Mile Road corridor.
Mr. Strader showed an illustration of what the unit types would be; again, it was much less dense, more interesting type of architecture than first proposed. It was an eight-unit building; one of the benefits of that type of building. He showed them a photo of one place where they had been built in the City of Livonia where Ivanhoe had built them. He said that he worked primarily for communities and thought the interesting thing was that people were asking for ranches now; there was a surplus of certain types of multiple family but as the population aged, ranch units were not available. He said that there were two-story, one and one-half story and ranch units at the ends; he thought they could really have a wide variety of tenant types, looking more at empty nesters and low impact. Council had expressed concern in the Master Plan on typical multiple family, but those were going to be lower impact multiple family, a lot of empty nesters, and because of the ranch units, they thought really targeted toward active, independent seniors.
Mr. Strader stated that in discussions with the Planning Commission and the subcommittee and the staff, they looked at what the options they had in looking at the Master Plan and zoning. He said the first conclusion they came to was that the site was too small for mixed use development. He said with all the myriad of uses around them, they really couldnít develop under the current zoning; they couldnít have single family in the back and office in the front. He said it was too small of a parcel, too isolated. It was a deep and narrow parcel, tricky to develop, next to a cemetery and the unknown of Tollgate Farms. He said when they laid out an office development, looking at negative environmental impacts in terms of on the woodlands, traffic, and all the other factors, they felt office wasnít appropriate. He thought more appropriately, the City spent a lot of time promoting office and OST in its policies. The City had redeveloped and rezoned properties for office, and those areas were much more appropriate than that one for office; they didnít feel that they were at a competitive advantage against all the other office locations in the City. He said if they were to market the site for office, they would get more of the secondary type office uses or maybe some of those uses that really didnít provide tax bases that were already allowed in the office districts, such as churches and some recreational facilities.
Mr. Strader stated that they didnít think the site could be used for split development; he thought the Planning Commission agreed with them on that. It was not appropriate nor the best location for office. He said the office market wasnít real strong now.
Mr. Strader stated that they thought it was a good site for this type of high quality, low density owner-occupied condominium project. It was compatible to the cemetery, as stated in the Cityís documented zoning policies in the zoning ordinance. He said it provided maximum flexibility for the Tollgate property to the east because this type of development was a good transitional use to office, to single family, to multiple family, or mixed uses. The site plan that Council could tie to our zoning was preserved; again, that woodlot along the eastern property line, to help Council make good, free decisions on Tollgate in the future without feeling that any decision Council made here would set a precedent for that.
Mr. Strader stated that they heard at the subcommittee meeting that the general City policy in that segment north of Twelve Mile was residential, south of Twelve Mile was nonresidential. He stated that they were on the north side, although they faced a lot of nonresidential development.
Mr. Strader stated that housing generated between one-third and 50 percent of the traffic of office development, if it were to occur on the site, depending if you looked at AM Peak Hour or PM Peak Hour. He said that traffic in that part of the City was important; they were generating very little traffic, but it was less than would be permitted under office. He stated that when Ivanhoe-Huntley did its research, and again changing through that process it was to their advantage, too, coming up with a better type of product or housing development for the site, realizing they needed to gear up more to seniors and have a diversity of units, they thought it catered to the changing demographics in the City and provided something unique that was not available elsewhere in the City.
Mr. Strader stated that part of the test for Council under the PRO processes to make a determination that that option offered benefits to the City under the PRO. He said they thought a lot of the issues of Planning Commission initially had had been addressed. He said the PRO allowed Council to tie the site plan, the density, the architecture and the concepts in agreement through development agreement but tie the site plan and the zoning together; so there would be two actions: the zoning and the PRO that went in tandem. He pointed out that they had been working with the City and staff for two years; he thought they had demonstrated their ability to refine things, so they were hoping to get Council approval tonight and they would come back with site plan and continue to improve and refine the site plan as it went through the process.
Mr. Strader stated in conclusion that they believed the Wellington Ridge project with 64 high-quality owner-occupied attached condominium units would provide a unique type of residential project in the City that was very compatible to the site, compatible with the surrounding land uses, consistent with the Cityís Master Plan, recognizing that for the site, specifically the cemetery designation they didnít meet, but when you looked a the plan collectively, with goals and objectives and the other recommendations north or Twelve Mile Road, they believed they were consistent with those. He said they thought through the site design they had done a lot of things to preserve on their site, in particular, the key features on the site, especially the woodlot.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that he looked at this closely and he was not in support of that with respect to the rezoning; it was not consistent with the Master Plan. He said the front was Master Planned office, the rear of the site was Master Planned quasi-public use; the residential zoning in that location would be out of character with the surrounding land uses. He said in particular, the planned rezoning overlay, multiple family would be sort of an island unto itself among the relatively open field on the north side of Twelve Mile Road.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry didnít think the applicant had demonstrated the requirements of Section 3402.D.2 of the PRO ordinance. He said if you ticked them off, they were requesting a variance from the 45 degree orientation of the building; they were requesting a variance for the distance between the buildings; they were requesting a variance for the cul-de-sac length; they were requesting a variance for the parking design; and they were requesting a variance for the setback.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that Council had seen letters from the Fire Department that it didnít support that particular design. He said Ivanhoe-Huntley certainly built quality projects, but he thought it was too much to put on that parcel of property. He didnít think along Twelve Mile Road the City should have multiple developments.
CM-05-01-004 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; MOTION CARRIED: Item b. To deny the recommended rezoning, because it was inconsistent with the Master Plan, would be out of character with surrounding land uses, and failed to demonstrate the requirements of Section 3402.D.2 of the PRO ordinance.
Member Lorenzo agreed with the previous speaker. To her, it was primarily a land use issue. She stated that if Ivanhoe-Huntley was developing it according to what the land was zoned for; she wouldnít have a problem with it. Council just recently received the Cityís fiscal impact analysis; there was no doubt about it that if this community was going to continue to provide the level and delivery of services to our citizens and that the citizens deserved and expected in the years to come, particularly without any tax increases or bonds or anything of that nature, that Council would have to step up the amount of nonresidential use that we had in the City in order to have a more balanced and stable tax base to support it. She would not be supporting any additional population it he City of Novi; she wanted to see more nonresidential uses, whether that was office or OST, whether that was a recreational area, such as a soccer zone or something of that nature, that provided for citizens but also did not use the extensive services as obviously the population did and provided more of a tax base. She said those were the things she would be looking for, not only from Ivanhoe-Huntleyís parcel but in parcels to come.
Member Lorenzo thought, to be honest, that Tollgate should be rezoned to OST use for the future. She said that was not to say that she wouldnít love to see it preserved for all eternity, but if that was not going to happen, then she would like to see it for the highest and best use for the City of Novi, so it didnít have to burden its existing and future residents with higher taxes or less services than they demanded and deserved.
Member Lorenzo said for every 1,000 people that they had in the City of Novi, there should be one additional police officer. She said that just spoke to the police department; it didnít speak to the demands on fire or to the demands on how the City had to manage and maintain the roads. She said Council had numbers of requests coming in from private condominium owners wanting the City to take control of their private roads so that the City could maintain them. She said the preference of the Council had been to accept those roads, as long as they had been in City standards and in repair when they were accepted. She said that meant that the City would take on more of a burden, so the more residential streets it had, the more population it had; it would be more of a burden for the City to keep up. She would not be supporting any additional population in the City of Novi, because all that would mean would be less City services or more taxes.
Mr. Schultz wanted to clarify the posture of the motion; there were two issues. This was a new ordinance, and it was really the first time that it had come through. He said it came through in an odd way because there was initially a rezoning request and then a second request to use the PRO ordinance. Mr. Schultz said as he understood Mayor Pro Tem Landryís motion, which was entirely appropriate, he thought it related to the PRO request. He said they set that up so there would be a second and subsequent motion on just the rezoning without the PRO. He wanted to clarify for the record what those comments were going to be in relation to this motion were on the PRO, and have a second motion on the rezoning, if that was Councilís wish.
Mayor Csordas said that he appreciated that input; he kind of assumed another way around, even though he saw an Item a. and an Item b. He said if Mr. Schultz thought that was appropriate.
Mr. Schultz stated that he thought it would help the record for anybody reviewing it to find out exactly what the action of the Council was; he thought Mayor Pro Tem Landry did frame his motion in the context of the PRO.
Mayor Csordas stated that the motion then pertained to Item b.
Mr. Schultz answered that was correct.
Member Capello stated that it was a unique piece of land, not because the land itself was unique, but because of the surrounding uses. There was Tollgate to the east, one of a kind in the area; there was a major cemetery to the west; south of that was a regional mall. He remembered looking at that years ago, and he had difficulty figuring out what to do with it. He had always thought that Ivanhoe-Huntley would come to Council with something with office in the front and do something in the back. He said across the street Singh had come to Council with a unique use that was retail on the first floor, residential on the second and third floors; it was a combined commercial and residential use and it was something that Council was looking at up and down the Cityís Main Street in its Gateway District. He said, given that, he couldnít give any more direction.
Member Gatt stated that he would support the motion to deny; he thought Ivanhoe-Huntley, like Member Capello stated, had a very unique piece of property. However, there were too many variances requested; he would not feel comfortable that the staff had not recommended them. He agreed with Member Lorenzo that City staff was taxed as it was in removing snow and providing services; it was just not an appropriate use for that piece of land.
Member Paul stated that she would be supporting Mayor Pro Tem Landryís motion for several reasons. She thought that the City should keep that as office service technology; she agreed with a previous speaker talking about Tollgate. She really wanted to see more office service technology come into our area. She said that after the Council had the fiscal analysis prepared for it, there was a very clear presentation that the City needed a bigger tax base to offset the residential, to increase density in that area where an office service technology zoning would not increase population to that effect. The City would have some offices; it would bring in people in a small time frame and they would be leaving; they would be using very little fire and police services; they used the infrastructure for a short period of time, and they would not use the school infrastructure. She said, therefore, to increase the Cityís density would be very difficult to increase it to the highest, maximum use of RM-1. So for that reason, she would be supporting the motion and hoped that the City could continue the look through all of Councilís proposals and rezonings.
Mayor Csordas stated that Council did want to be flexible to businesses that were coming, but the variances on that particular project really were quite numerous. He did want to point out that the staff and consultants all recommended denial to actually both requests.
Mr. Strader stated that it was not zoned OST; it was zoned large lots, single family in the rear and office in the front; he was very appreciative of looking for fiscal impact. He said large lot single family was on the bottom of the list, along with mobile home parks, in terms of being a fiscal contributor, but attached condominiums, especially geared toward empty nesters. It was a little more complex than to say all residential was negative, because they did fiscal impact analysis for their client communities. Empty nester-type condominiums could actually be on the plus side, instead of the negative; it was more of a financial gain than a large lot single family under the City RA zoning because there were private roads, less traffic than the office; you had to think about all the traffic with office and all of the millions spent on infrastructure improvements for office, so office wasnít automatically a plus and residential wasnít automatically a minus. He said in terms of that being an island, it would be an island no matter what went on there, because basically it was a peninsula and it penetrated into the site, but if there was any island there, it would be zoning for office because the predominant land use was planned and zoned for office on the north side of Twelve Mile. He said the only nonresidential was the office in the front that had now been vacant for several years in their parcel, then the small office buildings to the west. Mr. Strader said everything else on the north side was residential, so if there was an island or spot zone, in his opinion, it would be the office as the spot zone or island, not the residential.
Mr. Strader stated that they looked at modifications; he thought the one thing about that parcel that was unique to the parcel, not the surrounding land uses, was it was deep and narrow. He said if you were coming in with a traditional development and probably with office or anything else, when you looked at office options, you would need to go to the ZBA or go to Council with a PRO because there was a practical difficulty. He said the test of a variance wasnít that you had too many, it was if there was a reason that the zoning didnít apply to the site. He thought that whatever the test would be, they could show you couldnít get as good a development or preserve the woodlands without giving either variances or some type of modification, whether it was going to be office or residential.
Mayor Csordas stated that his points were well taken. He said there was no question it was a difficult piece of land to work with; he had a tendency to agree that owner-occupied condominiums were low service, fairly high revenue to the City. He understood his concern and appreciated that.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that he wanted to clear the record up; he thought the applicant was correct in pointing out that he may have articulated that the front of the property was zoned OST, it was zoned OS-1. He didnít want the record to reflect that somehow he was under the misunderstanding that it was OST; it was zoned office service. He said for that reason, he thought that the recommendation was inconsistent with the zoning and the Master Plan.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-01-004 Yeas: Landry, Gatt, Lorenzo,
Paul, Csordas Nays: Capello
CM-05-01-005 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry, MOTION CARRIED: Item a. To deny on the basis that the plan was not consistent with the goals and objectives of the Master Plan, and the proposed use was not consistent with the surrounding zoning and uses, and this includes comments made by the Planning Department in their letter of October 17, 2003.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked the maker of the motion to also accept the comments made by the Planning Department in their letter of October 17, 2003.
Member Lorenzo answered absolutely, with all the comments of the Planning Department.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-01-005 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Paul,
Csordas, Landry Nays: Capello
3. Approval of contract for dredging and removal of material from Meadowbrook Lake to the lowest responsive bidder, Acme Contracting, Ltd. of Plymouth, Michigan, in the amount of $975,532.00.
CM-05-01-006 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve contract for dredging and removal of material from Meadowbrook Lake to the lowest responsive bidder, Acme Contracting, Ltd. of Plymouth, Michigan, in the amount of $975,532.00.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig who owned the lake.
Mr. Helwig answered that he wanted to make sure his didnít misspeak in terms of the ownership of the lake; Administration had to seek approval from the homeowners association to do that project.
Mr. Schultz answered that the plat for the property actually called that out as an easement and did give the control over it to the homeowners association, but it was also part of a water course and there might be an easement in general in terms of common maintenance. He thought they solved the issue by just acknowledging that the safest thing to do was to get the approval of the homeowners association underneath their bylaws and the documents recorded.
Mayor Csordas stated that they thought they were doing a disservice to the taxpayers of the City.
Mr. Helwig answered no; it was critical for the proper water course flow in our community.
Member Capello asked if that was a regional basin, because he knew that the City was trying to emphasize upon other homeowner associations that it was their responsibility to maintain the storm water retention ponds within the confines of their physical subdivisions or condominium projects. He said he didnít want to treat Meadowbrook Lakes different than Council was telling everybody else. He thought Park Place was a prime example; the City was trying to get the homeowners association to sign the maintenance agreement that they would take care of their own storm water and yet weíre taking care of the storm water maintenance at Meadowbrook Lakes. He thought there was a difference; he just wanted Administration to tell him that there was.
Mr. Schultz answered that from reviewing the documents when the project came up, the bylaws, the plat, they all recognized that there was an easement through that to use that lake for essentially that reason or at least much larger scale than just the development that was described in the plat. It really functioned as part of what the City needed for the overall movement of water through the area.
Member Capello asked if water moved from the other side of Meadowbrook Road into Meadowbrook Lake or from Meadowbrook Lake across Meadowbrook Road into that wetland area by Village Oaks.
Mr. Klaver stated that it crossed the road from east to west; it came through Bishop Creek and also through Village Oaks.
Member Capello stated that it was very different than most internal storm water retention ponds.
Mr. Klaver answered yes.
Member Paul stated that the City had to dredge the area before and it was almost $1-million; she would like to have a little bit of clarification of where that soil erosion was coming from that the City had to repeatedly do that and what we could do to prevent spending $1-million every few years. She knew it was longer than that; she asked when the last time the City dredged Meadowbrook Lake.
Mr. Helwig answered that he wanted to say 15 years ago. He stated that it had been discussed extensively by City Councils by their multi-year capital improvement program, and the upstream river bank stabilization efforts that had also been funded with grant assistance were aimed at reducing the torrential flow of sediment into the northern portion of that lake. He said it was hoped with continued emphasis on the upstream improvements that the need to do that would be minimized; he wanted to say it would be erased, but would not be as frequent as every 15 years. He said Administration had reported on that in the past that it was not just looking at the lake and coming back and dredging the lake, but also trying to do the necessary upstream improvements so that someday it may not be necessary at all.
Member Paul stated that they did some upstream changes along Bishop Creek to the South of Ten Mile; they put boulders on that area and it was nicely enhanced. She asked if it was fed from Commerce through Haverhill; was that the same stream.
Mr. Helwig answered that the map didnít go out far enough for that; he thought the answer was no. Administration could get her a further tributary map.
Member Paul stated that she would be supporting that, but she would like to get some real clear clarification of where it was coming from upstream; she said they had problems with their water flow going into a neighboring community where they had to pay some money out to rectify that situation. She knew the City had problems though Haverhill and through Commerce; she wanted to make sure that the City wasnít taking someone elseís soil and not going to have to keep paying for that on our own because it was a very costly item and she didnít want to have the taxpayers keep assuming the responsibility from possibly not just our community.
Member Paul asked if Council could have something firm in writing with the contract that if it went past the May 20, 2005, completion date, that something went back to the City. She felt that often the Cityís projects went longer than it anticipated and it could be difficult for residents; often there were tractors going back and forth between two peopleís homes on our easement. She said it was a nuisance and a lot of inconvenience with noise; she wanted to make sure that May 20th was the deadline for those people.
Mr. Helwig asked Mr. Hayes to comment on that because the City still needed to get permit approval starting on those to go off through MDEQ.
Mr. Hayes answered that the City was still waiting for final permit approval from MDEQ; it has been assigned to their field staff. He said the project was undergoing a technical review right now. He said that was the one remaining hurdle that needed to be overcome; upon approval of that contract, theyíll issue a notice to proceed and that would start the clock ticking, as far as the contract time, that was why May 20th was projected out as being the completion date.
Member Paul asked Mr. Hayes to report back to Council if it was going to be very much longer than that, so that some of the neighbors in that area could be informed.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-01-006 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Paul,
Csordas, Landry, Capello
4. Approval of the 2004 Ė 2005 Winter Maintenance Agreement (Second Revision) with the Road Commission for Oakland County for snow and ice removal operations to include a portion of Beck Road from Grand River Avenue to Twelve Mile Road.
Mr. Helwig stated to clarify, City Council had approved a first amendment this year that authorized the City to do Twelve Mile Road in our community; He stated that it making a great difference, just looking at the two storms last week. He stated that it had become obvious to Mr. McCusker that the City crews were now at the western end of Twelve Mile and the western end of Grand River and the four-tenths of a mile of Beck Road the City was on, regardless; it made sense for better service for the community to add that. He stated that the Road Commission was in agreement with that.
Mayor Csordas stated that it would be a shame to go down that road and pick up the plow and then drop it about a quarter of a mile later.
CM-05-01-007 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the 2004 Ė 2005 Winter Maintenance Agreement (Second Revision) with the Road Commission for Oakland County for snow and ice removal operations to include a portion of Beck Road from Grand River Avenue to Twelve Mile Road.
Member Capello stated that he noticed that there was snow piled up on each side of the Grand River bridge; he asked if the County was doing anything to repair that spray system that it had implemented, or had it just given up on it.
Mr. McCusker answered that they were still having problems with the material they were using in the spray system; it kept clogging the heads. He said they used a brine out of their own wells and the sediment in the brine was 10 times more allowable for the system than it was required for the system and it plugged it up. So the City had been basically using salt.
Member Capello asked if that was the problem last year.
Mr. McCusker answered yes.
Member Capello asked if they had done anything since last year to repair it this year.
Mr. McCusker answered that they repaired it and then put their own brine back in it.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-01-007 Yeas: Lorenzo, Paul, Csordas,
Landry, Capello, Gatt
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė None
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė PART II
5. Approval of Ordinance No. 05-149.08, an Ordinance to amend Chapter 3, Article 1 of the City of Novi Code of Ordinance to adopt recent amendments to the Michigan Liquor Control Code regarding the purchase, possession or consumption of alcoholic liquor by minors. First Reading
CM-05-01-008 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Ordinance No. 05-149.08, an Ordinance to amend Chapter 3, Article 1 of the City of Novi Code of Ordinance to adopt recent amendments to the Michigan Liquor Control Code regarding the purchase, possession or consumption of alcoholic liquor by minors. First Reading
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-01-008 Yeas: Paul, Csordas, Landry,
Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo
6. Approval of resolution to amend the purchasing policy to increase the formal bid limits from $5,000 to $15,000; to increase the limit for items to be included on the City Council agenda from $3,000 to $15,000; and to increase the capital outlay limit from $1,000 to $5,000 (current limits established 1989).
CM-05-01-009 Moved by Capello, seconded by Landry; MOTION CARRIED: To approve the resolution to amend the purchasing policy to increase the formal bid limits from $5,000 to $15,000; to increase the limit for items to be included on the City Council agenda from $3,000 to $15,000; and to increase the capital outlay limit from $1,000 to $5,000 (current limits established 1989).
Mr. Helwig stated that Kathy Smith-Roy, Finance Director, had been petitioning Administrationís office for three years to do that; he said that in many communities the dollar amount was specified in a charter and in that charter there was an automatic formation every 10 years of a charter review commission. He stated that it was normally, in his experience, one of those items where the numbers changed to reflect the growth of the community, inflation, what have you, so that there was no loss of competition. He stated that competition was required in every rung of those dollar thresholds; he said that the amount of paperwork to support purchasing, not just in the Cityís General Fund but in all funds, was extraordinary.
Mr. Helwig said the City had basically a two-person purchasing office; then it had a finance department that was lean, to say the least, and encumbered with some archaic systems and support. He said he had relented and pledged that at the beginning of this year, Administration would bring that to Council because sometimes it could be perceived, he didnít think there was any intent and Kathy was very diligent with her survey information, as staff trying to pull something away from City Council oversight and he had always been sensitive to that. He said the dollar amounts were now very unrealistically low for those thresholds and Administration had tried to compromise with what the state of the art was and bring that to Councilís attention tonight. Mr. Helwig asked Ms. Smith-Roy to state the case even stronger.
Mayor Csordas stated that, first of all, there was no perception on his part of Ms. Smith-Royís department trying to wrestle any control away from City Council; he thought it was a sound business decision.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that they were trying to be cost effective with the resources that they had, and the bid process, in particular, was very costly for them to go through that process. She said they did a survey at the request of Member Lorenzo; the average cost was between $900 and $2,500 to run through a bid process that was not related to construction, because construction brought another element of cost associated with it in terms of running copies and processing the paperwork associated with the bid specifications. She said they felt it was the most cost effective means for them to operate their department.
Mayor Csordas stated that on the motion sheet it was noted that if an item was not in the budget, it would still require City Council approval, even if it was less than the $15,000 figure.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that was correct. She stated that there was one other item; she said it might be that it would need to come back a second time in the form of a change in the ordinance, so it would be deemed a first reading. She said she would leave that to the City Attorneyís office; she just wanted to bring that to Council attention. She said they didnít have an issue with that; they didnít mean to present it incorrectly. She said that was how they did the last change.
Mr. Schultz stated that they could certainly address that; they had the discussion and if it turned out that it made more sense to bring it back as an ordinance amendment, that would certainly count as first reading.
Mr. Helwig stated that he was sold that a City Council could speak through ordinance and resolutions and that it fit a policy resolution. He thought Mr. Schultz just wanted to make sure that everything was being done properly here in Novi, in terms of what the past history had been. He had seen it appear in the Cityís ordinance documents, and history had shown that City Council converted it over to resolutions. He said, depending on what Council action was tonight, they might need to come back for a second reading in two weeks just to be 100 percent certain in compliance with the City Attorney. He was confident with the way it was presented here but wanted to state that possibility.
Member Lorenzo asked what the alternative to going out formally for bids was.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that the alternative mechanism, according to our current purchasing policy, would require the Administration to get a minimum of three written quotations.
Member Lorenzo asked what criteria would be used in deciding which vendor would be the chosen vendor.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered the same process that Administration went through during the bid process; it would be the lowest qualified bidder, unless there were some other unique circumstances relating to the bid.
Member Lorenzo asked if that was typically what the Administration or departments did, because obviously Council had the discretion not to take the lowest bid. She asked if that discretion would be to whoever was making that decision as well.
Mr. Schultz answered that he believed that would be the case.
Member Lorenzo stated that it was the lowest bidder, but it might not be the lowest bidder depending on what the individual department thought.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that it was true today, for purchases of a lower amount.
Member Lorenzo asked who would be doing the review and decision making on the vendor.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that the purchasing director would be doing that in coordination with the department head and, if necessary, they would involve the City Managerís office.
Member Lorenzo stated there might be one, two or three individuals involved with that.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered yes.
Member Lorenzo stated that whether it was intentional or unintentional, she saw that as taking some authority away from City Council. She stated not only authority, but accountability, because the Council had the accountability to the taxpayers and the citizens in terms of who it chose to give the work to and how much money it spent. She said it also brought what was now a very public process and turned it into a backroom process. In other words, when it came to Council at the table or whether sometimes it was on a Consent Agenda, it was still on an agenda which was out there in the public, which was on cable. She said that the public and the taxpayers knew that Council was going out for bid or vending, going to a vendor to purchase something, whether it was a service or a good. She said now they wouldnít know; now Council wouldnít even know, if it was all being done behind closed doors. She had a big concern with that, not that it was intentional, but it wound up being the bottom line.
Member Lorenzo stated that additionally, $3,000 and higher was a significant amount of money to her. She said she took that responsibility seriously and she transferred that seriousness over to the City when she looked at the stewardship of City funds. She said it might not seem like a lot of money to people that were taking in and utilizing millions of dollars, but to her that $3,000 was still significant.
Member Lorenzo stated that the fact that Council would not see or review the quotes, and the fact that it basically removed the Council and public scrutiny of how the City spent was a big concern.
Member Lorenzo stated that secondly the process also might create or allow for an environment of favoritism, because when you get a couple of quotes, again it wasnít being done in the publicís eye, weíre not reviewing it as a body, she thought it could become very easy to become very familiar and comfortable with one or two vendors and, since you have the discretion not necessarily to go with the lowest bidder, to perhaps keep giving the business to the same vendor because you were familiar with the and comfortable with them. Again, that would be behind the scenes and not in the public eye; she had a big concern about that. For those reasons, she said she would not be able to support the increase in the dollar amount or particularly taking that out of the Councilís hands. She said she might be able to go with the quotes, not utilizing that for the public for actual going out to bid, but she would still believe that the Council should be reviewing and choosing the vendors for this purpose.
Member Lorenzo said the only thing she would support would be the last item addressed; for capitalization. She asked Ms. Smith-Roy to explain that for the public who may be watching.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that the current capitalization policy was a $1,000-item would be considered a capital item, and under the new GASB 34 rules, Administration had to depreciate those items. Therefore, $1,000 did seem to be a large amount of money, but it really wasnít when you looked at the types of things the City purchased. For example, a computer would be depreciated over a period of time; Administration would like to increase that to $5,000 to help reduce the costs of tracking those assets and depreciating them over a period of time. Again, Administration was looking to be cost-effective at what they were doing.
Member Lorenzo stated that it made a lot of sense to her. She stated that she read Ms. Smith-Royís memo and in terms of making better use of the Council and staffís time, to her, reviewing budgetary items was never a waste of time; that was what she had been elected to do, in part, for the taxpayers. To her, it was never a waste of time or a waste of staffís time to do something that was so important in the community, to scrutinize the spending of tax dollars. For those reasons, she could not support that, and if it did get supported, then during budget time she would have to scrutinize the budget even closer in terms of those funds, because she would not be supporting any amounts that the policy would be able to go through on. She wanted to make that very clear this evening.
Member Paul stated that she looked at that as really three motions, and how it had been put in a motion tonight, all three items on this would be approved. She said the only one that she would be in favor of was capital outlay limit. She wanted to know if even $5,000 was too little of an amount; she was looking to see if possibly Administration needed a little bit higher amount because when youíre just depreciating items, there were so many items in the City that $5,000 was a very small amount for the purchasing that it actually had. She asked if $5,000 was a number that Ms. Smith-Roy was comfortable with.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that it was the number they were recommending; the reason was because they still wanted to be able to monitor the budget and the budget process. She said their concern would be if they went larger than $5,000, putting those types of items through the supply category might cause the budget numbers to skew greatly from one year to the next and cause more confusion rather than being helpful. She said they were trying to balance what was looked at on an itemized basis and how they could be cost effective on the reporting basis.
Member Paul stated that she appreciated that comment; she could support that item. She stated that she had a very difficult time after the budget that they went through, $5,000, $3,000; they were just picking at all parts of this whole budget and Council came up with small amounts that they moved and juggled. She really felt that it was her responsibility also, as an elected official. She stated that the first two portions of that, she would not be able to support for the reasons that were stated. She stated that one example of that was, she was in an office looking at a brand new flat-screen computer shortly after she was elected, and she asked in your department when that went through; they said it didnít because it came under $3,000, so Council didnít have to see that item. Her concern was if we replace a computer here and a computer there and didnít look at a large sum, we donít get a better deal in the process. She said she didnít think someone was trying to sneak new computers through; her thought was they were buying them one at a time so they didnít have the bargaining power of purchasing 10 or a departmentís amount of computers that were needed. She wanted to have the ability to have bargaining power in numbers and purchase a larger sum to get a better purchase agreement; so she wouldnít be in favor or the motion if it sat with all three items as one.
Mayor Csordas asked Ms. Smith-Roy, in the example Member Paul gave, were the computers in the budget.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that because it was a screen, a monitor; it actually was below even the purchase order limit, so it was a supply category. Ms. Smith-Roy stated that they absolutely were not tied to the amount that they brought back to Council; of the three items, that was the least of their concerns right now. She said their concerns first and foremost were the bid amount and then second, the capital. She said Administration certainly would have no problem with whatever amount was determined as a policy decision by Council for what came back to Council.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that he respectfully disagreed with the two previous speakers; they were certainly not incorrect. He said if Council chose to absolutely look at every single item of expenditure and if there was a belief that that was the role of Council, then that was appropriate. Personally, he didnít think City Council should or could look at every single expenditure of the City; he didnít think that it was Councilís role, to look at every single nickel and every single dime. He said the last time the amounts were set was 1989; that was 16 years ago. He said looking at the survey that Ms. Smith-Roy had presented, in the City of Rochester they could spend up to $25,000 without Council approval, assuming it was in the budget, so City Council did look at all of those at budget time. He said that Ms. Smith-Roy was suggesting that Council raise the limit to $15,000; Rochesterís was $25,000, as was the bid. Livoniaís was $15,000; some of the other cities, Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights and Troy was $10,000. He thought it was a matter of realism, reality; he didnít think that this Council should look at every single expenditure, other than at budget time. He also thought it was a matter of faith, a matter of trust and confidence that Council had in the Administration; that Council wasnít looking over their shoulder every single minute of the day. As the City Manager mentioned, those matters were usually periodically reviewed; this hadnít been periodically reviewed for 16 years. The way he looked at this, he didnít think Council had to look at expenditures every meeting. He thought if Council looked at them annually and if Council gave some leeway to the Administration, then Council could take its time and efforts toward the bigger picture, so he could support the motion.
Member Gatt stated that he supported the previous speaker; he said maybe it was a matter of philosophy. He didnít believe that City Council should oversee every nickel and every dime; he thought that was what they held Mr. Helwig, Mr. Klaver, and Mr. Pearson accountable for. He asked Ms. Smith-Roy what kind of money the City would save if that was passed.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that she really couldnít say, specifically. She stated that the types of things that they would save money, for example, were on were on advertising bids, the staff time in preparing those. She couldnít give an exact dollar amount. She stated that she knew there were more and more items that were being required to be bid because of the thresholds, because of the dollar amounts above, so Administration kept getting more to bid because the purchasing power didnít buy what it used to buy. She said they were trying to help offset any additional staffing needs and so forth, as well.
Member Gatt stated that if the motion was passed tonight as written, the City would realize a cost savings.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered yes.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-01-009 Yeas: Csordas, Landry,
Nays: Lorenzo, Paul
7. Approval of resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2005-06.
Mayor Csordas stated that he believed that it addressed three items,, which included the Finance Department converting a temporary full-time position to a permanent full-time position; converting a part-time position to a full-time position in the Building Department, using building fee revenue to offset the costs; and a third would be replacement of a heating and cooling system for the DPW; and the Singh Trail permit and review services; he needed clarity on the final one.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that the City entered into an agreement for the development of the trail and the review services were at the Cityís cost, pursuant to that agreement. She stated that they needed a budget amendment in the Parks and Recreation Fund to help offset those costs.
Mayor Csordas asked what review services.
Mr. Pearson answered that it was Dr. Tiltonís office time; this was what the City was overseeing in its role in helping to direct alignment, the permitting was the Cityís responsibility. He said that part of it was that the City wanted to have the oversight and also, as a public body, could get through the DEQ process faster and more efficiently.
Member Lorenzo asked if the Building Department item was still in the budget amendment.
Mr. Helwig answered yes; he stated that Administration had been authorized for several years now, three of the those clerk-typist positions, two of which had been full-time and the third one was not. He said that it come to Administrationís attention, Mr. Saven was ill today so he couldnít be here tonight, but the workload was such that he really needed to have that position full-time, rather than 20-some hours a week, 40 hours a week. He said it had been authorized; it had been going on so many years that Ms. Smith-Roy had been budgeting the part-time expenditure, so it needed to come to Council, even though it was authorized in our table of organization for approval of those funds.
Member Lorenzo asked if it was authorized for part-time or for full-time.
Mr. Helwig stated that it had been authorized for full-time; there were three authorized for full-time.
Member Lorenzo stated that there were three authorized for full-time and that was what Council would be achieving in doing that.
Mr. Helwig answered that was what Administration would achieve by converting the part-time to a full-time.
Member Lorenzo asked if it had been authorized all along, why had they been doing it part-time, then.
Mr. Helwig answered that he thought there was an illness; there was someone that they were continuing in a part-time role because she was very outstanding and there was a health issue that came along and it behooved everyone for continuityís sake, performance and so forth, to keep it at a part-time position.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox, Human Resources Director, answered that Mr. Helwig was correct; there was an employee who actually currently still worked there that came down with an illness and, because of the Americans with Disabilities, the City had to keep that person on, which it wanted to do also, so that was how it all came on. She said now that person was not working 40 hours anymore; they were working 20 to 24 hours.
Member Lorenzo asked if that was part-time.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox answered they were part-time, but that was the position that Administration was talking about.
Member Lorenzo asked if the City was making that a full-time position.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox stated that was correct; in the budget, it was budgeted as full-time.
Member Lorenzo stated that the person was only working part-time.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox answered that was correct.
Mr. Helwig stated that would change if Council gave the funds.
Member Lorenzo asked if that person was physically able to work full-time.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox answered that person would not; that person would continue to work 24 hours a week, but it would allow Administration the three positions that were authorized in the budget.
Member Lorenzo stated that the City would then have three full-time and one part-time.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox answered that was correct; that person would continue to be part-time.
Member Lorenzo stated that it was getting a little confusing; three full-time positions were authorized.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox answered that was correct.
Member Lorenzo asked how many part-time positions were authorized at the time.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox answered that she believed the City actually had three; the City had two right now.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that it actually was not budgeted as full-time; a position was added to the budget under clerk/typist because it was a union position and there were union issues and ADA issues surrounding the position, so Administration never really budgeted for the money for a full-time position. Administration was trying to help accommodate the department so it would get back to full strength and that the union wouldnít question Administration having so many part-time staff in that department. She said it was a little bit complicated.
Member Lorenzo stated that it seemed to be; she stated that she was really not comfortable with those types of requests coming forward mid-year. She stated that they seemed to be like budget issues which came to Council once a year when they decided how many employees, full-time and part-time that the City would have. She also had a concern that there wasnít a written explanation, as with Ms. Smith-Roy; Ms. Smith-Roy was good enough to provide a thorough, written explanation as to her request. She stated that there was no written explanation from the Building Department; she would not be able to even consider that until she saw something in writing explaining all the convoluted, complicated stuff.
Member Lorenzo stated that when it came to Ms. Smith-Royís department, she indicated that the City Manager offered to bring someone in temporary/full-time; she asked what that meant.
Mr. Helwig answered that temporary full-time was like permanent part-time, only without benefits and so forth. He said it was part of the personnel jargon.
Member Lorenzo stated that there were no benefits but they were working full-time.
Mr. Helwig answered that was correct.
Member Lorenzo stated that now Administration wanted to make it an official full-time position.
Mr. Helwig answered that was correct, because the City was having excessive turnover. He wished there were a way to convey how much like a township the City was still operating, be it starting with the warrant system, which some seemed to love but it was as out of date as a stagecoach for running a city. He said that when it came to personnel, Council was looking at a finance director whom he saw more and more at the end of a rope; he saw a chief building official, who was out ill today, more and more at the end of his rope. He stated that the Table of organization was sacred to him; he had talked with her about it many times. When he reviewed the request, he asked how many full-time were authorized, three; how many were on board, two. He supported it. He said Administration was seeking, and it was self-supporting from fees, it didnít even pertain to the General Fund.
Mr. Helwig stated that he was concerned about where the City was gravitating in discussions about the financial stewardship of the community, which had been outstanding since Ms. Smith-Roy and he had teamed up. He was a former finance director; Administration must pass audit on every dollar the City spent. The City had tripled the rainy day fund, largely at staffís initiative. He said she could talk about combing through the budget, but largely, at staffís initiative, they had tripled the rainy day funds, and downsized the administrative components of the organization. He was just concerned, because they were getting ready to go into goal setting; they had just initiated a fiscal analysis; they were trying to give Council the tools for this community to grow up and function like the major city it was becoming very fast. He was just concerned that too often we pull the trigger, "I canít support that director," when, in fact, they are about on their knees on weekends trying to operate this City in accordance with Councilís expectations.
Member Lorenzo stated that the only thing that she saw herself doing this evening as a Council member wanted written explanations and documentation as to requests for personnel; she didnít think that was asking for anything that Council shouldnít have. She thought that it was odd that it was coming at mid-year. Obviously, the Finance Department had a lot of responsibility; it had a lot of responsibility back in May and in July and Council didnít hear anything about any extra positions; now Council was hearing about extra positions. She said her concern here was that it was being done out of the context of the budget. There would be a lot of departments competing for extra positions in a couple of months. She said that was one of her concerns that Council started hearing requests out of sequence, because then you donít get the big picture and the full picture; youíre only getting a small piece of the pie here. It could seem, even to other departments, that one was vying against the other and perhaps Council or Administration might be showing favoritism over one or the other because it was doing something mid-year, as opposed to at budget time. She said the lack of an explanation about the Building Department concerned her; if it was so important and there was so much to do, she wanted a specific explanation as to what was going on.
Member Lorenzo also stated that the memo talked about off-setting the cost; she wanted to know if the costs were off-set or was it total reimbursement.
Mr. Helwig stated that the Building Department was 100 percent self-supporting.
Member Lorenzo stated that the position was not coming out of General Fund money; it was coming out of permit fees.
Mr. Helwig answered that it was coming out of permit fees 100 percent, which he had never seen anywhere he had worked. It was extraordinary.
Member Lorenzo stated that she didnít deny that Ms. Smith-Roy needed the help in her department; her concern was that it was out of process.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Schultz if an administrative fee could be added to cover the costs for the financial guarantees that Ms. Smith-Roy identified as taking so much of her departmentís time.
Mr. Schultz answered that he thought Council could look at an ordinance amendment that would have to probably come in the context of a couple of different ordinances and would have to be, if Council were to consider that, some ability to relate whatever that administrative fee was to the costs that were actually being borne. He said that was a large question that he would be happy to sit down and think about with the Managerís Office and the Finance Directorís office. He said if it was a cost and it was identifiable as general proposition, it would be permitted to be a fee; the question then became how many fees did the City have and what was the total burden on somebody who was seeking to do something.
Member Lorenzo stated that the concern she had was if the City was spending $25,000 or if there was $7,000 that was not covered to make the position permanent and paying benefits, and there was the process of financial guarantees, then she believed the City needed to be reimbursed. She said if the City had to add a position or make a position a full-fledged position, then the City should be able to tack that on in order to administer the process.
Mr. Schultz stated that he would add to that, he didnít disagree at all, it was a very hot topic now; he was sure Ms. Smith-Roy would agree. He said the whole concept of fee versus tax; the idea of shouldering more burden off the typical way cities were funded onto pay as you go kind of fees. He said they were issues that the courts were looking at and Citizens for Tax Justice; it was a broad question, and it would take some time to think about if Council directed them to look at.
Member Lorenzo stated that it would have been nice to have some of that type of question answered by the time the request came forward, but obviously it hadnít been.
Mayor Csordas stated that the City needed to avoid a temporary full-time employee as much as it could because they didnít get benefits; the City didnít want to be accused of discriminating. He said a temporary full-time position was a little dangerous.
Member Capello stated that he thought when developers posted their financial guarantee when they got ready to start construction, that there was an administrative fee attached as part of the fee structure.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that the administrative fees were attached only to inspection type fees; they were not attached to the financial guarantee portion; in lieu of that, the City had retained the interest on financial guarantees from the cash guarantees in the General Fund. She stated that the interest varied with the interest rates in the market from one period to the next; she said it had to be kept in mind that a good portion of the Cityís financial guarantees, about three-quarters of them, were in the form of letter of credit, so no interest was earned on those particular guarantees. However, for the developer or companies posting them, the cost to them was probably far greater than it was for those posting cash because there were fees associated with those letters of credit.
Member Capello stated that he believed that Council budgeted the monies for the positions that she was asking for and budgeted the money for the Building Department; he knew she was overworked and he knew poor Don Savenís staff was well overworked. He asked if the City really needed heat and air conditioning in the DPW Building, or could that be avoided. He stated that the $1,500 for the Singh Trail was something that Council committed to and he thought they had to pay. He said given the fact that Council budgeted for most of that and the other two items were necessary, he would move to approve all of the items in Budget Amendment #2005-06.
CM-05-01-010 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; MOTION CARRIED: To approve the resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2005-06, as amended, to exclude converting a part-time position to a full-time position in the Building Department.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that it had been said that the Council was adding three extra positions; as he understood it, those positions had already been approved; if you looked at the official personnel chart, those positions were there.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that they were two additional full-time positions; they were not included in the budget originally. She said both of them had been included as part-time positions, so a portion of those had been included; it was the benefits and the other part-time portion that was not in.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that if the Administration had made a conscious decision in personnel matters, taking into consideration union and ADA, it was to be commended. He said that was exactly the kind of trust that Council placed in Administration, and if Administration was now coming back to Council saying those issues had been resolved and it wanted to put a permanent resolution to that, he thought they were to be commended. He could support the motion.
Member Paul appreciated everyoneís comments and agreed about the ADA compliance and the personnel comments; she had a problem with the personnel services in the Building Department. She stated that she didnít have a problem in the Finance Department, because that person was actually functioning at full-time capacity. She understood that the building personnel was functioning at the full-time capacity, but it was still increasing it to a full-time position, and Council was adding $23,900. She said that through many discussions Council had about insurance, retiree benefits, and all of those things that had been something she had brought forward, as well as several other people at the table, mainly the Mayor, she had a concern about adding more people to that. She wanted an explanation of what that would entail; what the person would be doing in the Building Department that they would have to go full-time. She stated that she believed that there was probably a need; she thought that probably a lot of the City departments were in need and functioning sometimes on a shoestring, but she could not completely support not knowing what the person was going to do and having a cost analysis of the health care benefits and all of those items. She could support everything else in the budget amendment tonight, except that item. If Council wanted to exclude that and have that pass this evening, she could support that; if not, she wouldnít be supporting the budget amendment.
Mayor Csordas asked if that was a request for a friendly amendment.
Member Paul answered yes.
Mr. Helwig stated that it was so important, and it required five votes; he didnít want anyone voting on it if they felt they didnít have everything they needed. He was relying on Mr. Saven to be here tonight; so, if that item could be deleted from the budget amendment and bring it to Council in two weeks, and in the meantime he could compile the history of that and the fact that the three full-time positions had been authorized, they hadnít been utilizing it. He trusted in two weeks that Council could move ahead.
Member Capello stated that he would accept that.
Mayor Csordas asked if the seconder accept that.
Member Gatt answered that he did accept that.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-01-010 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt,
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION
I. Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 688.
Member Lorenzo stated that she actually had a question to the Administration more than about the item. She did find out about the item; it was a check with regard to insurance reimbursement of $10,000. She said that Ms. Gronlund-Fox called her today and informed her that it was for a slip and fall for some cracked cement; her question was why no one knew of the cracked cement and did something about it before someone slipped and fell and cost the City $10,000.
Mr. Helwig asked Ms. Gronlund-Fox to respond.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox stated that she couldnít respond to why no one knew about it before it happened. She stated that she herself did not know about it before it happened.
Member Lorenzo stated that it could be answered in the packet; it was a slip and fall; Ms. Gronlund-Fox mentioned that it was cracked concrete on the way to the building here. She said her concern was, not only in that instance but in future, that out of all the people that went in and out of the building, that if there was cracked concrete there, someone should be observant to notice it and someone should be on top of it right away.
Mr. Helwig stated that the City had eliminated significant concrete out there and planned to eliminate more.
CM-05-01-011 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 688.
Voice Vote on CM-05-01-011 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Cost of Legal Services for Routine Reviews and Letters Ė Member Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo stated that the routine letters she was referring to were received in the most recent packet. She said historically, Ms. Kudla had been handling a lot of the routine letters that came forward for utility review and acceptance, master deeds, etc. She said Mr. Schultzí name was on SAD 165, Pioneer Meadows 162 and 163, and Maybury Sanitary Sewer Offsite Phase IA; her question was why.
Mr. Schultz stated that they were two very different issues; Beth Kudla handled the reviews of the heavy documentation relating to acceptance of utilities and streets. He said they were all happy to have her do that. The three letters that came through with his name on them were contract reviews and the acceptance documents for public projects, not developer projects where theyíre giving the City utilities. Those were the payment documents; the payment documents for Council that had to do with whether or not the bonds and insurances were in place for a public project; a different issue than what Ms. Kudla was handling.
Member Lorenzo asked if Ms. Kudla was not qualified to handle those.
Mr. Schultz answered that she probably could handle those.
Member Lorenzo stated that her concern was cost. Her concern was that on the routine items, in order to be more efficient with the costs to the City, she would appreciate it if one of the other associates could handle the routine letters that they do for less cost than Mr. Schultz. She stated that he was well qualified to do that, but she didnít think that the City necessarily needed such qualifications to handle those.
Mr. Schultz stated that he understood the sentiment, but they were a different class and were far less describable as routine than the typical documentation; but it was a fair comment and they would continue to review their processes in house.
2. Park Place Estates Ė Member Capello
Member Capello stated that toward the end of last winter, the residents of Park Place Estates came to the City and had an issue with regard to plowing the snow. He said the developer of Park Place Estates was not the builder and, therefore, was just selling lots; he thought that probably a majority of the lots were sold to homeowners, as opposed to being sold to builders. He said the subdivision was almost ready to be submitted to the City for acceptance. He thought that Council, if he remembered right, was to decide at the end of last year that the City would go ahead and continue to plow Park Place for the benefit of our residents, assuming that by this winter the City would have accepted the streets and the City would have been plowing Park Place.
Member Capello believed that the paperwork was with the City awaiting it to be put on the agenda for City Council to accept the streets, sewers and utilities; there was an outstanding issue that the developer had already turned over control of the association to the homeowners, so the City was looking to the homeowners to sign the storm maintenance agreement. He stated that was what Council talked about a little bit earlier with Meadowbrook Estates, and it made sense that the City needed them to sign it, since they now had control over the association. He stated that now they were still in that quandary where they had taxpayers living in there, the association had control of the subdivision, and Council was in a position where it asked who was responsible for the snow plowing. He thought that from what Mr. Pearson, Assistant City Manager, explained to him, Administration was looking at bringing the acceptance to City Council at the first meeting in February.
Mr. Helwig stated that maybe because Member Capello had been beating the drum, today the attorney for the association, Mr. Quinn, said that they now would be in a position to sign the storm water maintenance agreement that Administration needed before it could bring the acceptance of streets forward to Council. He stated why it had languished until today, after three snowstorms, which had put Mr. McCusker on the spot; heís had calls from citizens and Councilís had calls from citizens wondering why their streets werenít being done; theyíre told the streets hadnít been accepted yet and the petition was not complete; it was pitting citizen against citizen. He said Mr. McCusker did plow once, under the policy Council had established, because he felt there was a hazard associated with one of the three storms; they would be billed for that, about $500 a storm.
Mr. Helwig stated that they needed to get the matter resolved very quickly, but they needed everyoneís cooperation to do it. He said the developer was out of it now, as he understood; it was now the association, and based on the representation today, he would hope Administration could have it before Council before even the next meeting.
Member Capello stated that he didnít think there was any fault; he thought that paperwork was moving forward. He knew Island Lake was in front of Council in November/December and Council discussed getting Island Lake behind it and moving on to Park Place. He said it was moving forward and wouldnít languish like several of the others, but Council needed to decide what the City was doing from now until that meeting in February in regard to snow plowing. He stated that as a Council, he would like to say, given the condition of the streets and that they were ready for acceptance subject to Council approval, that the City should go ahead and plow the streets like it did last year for the benefit of its residents.
CM-05-01-012 Moved by Capello; MOTION FAILED FOR LACK OF A SECOND: To plow the streets for Park Place Estates, like it did last year, until Councilís first meeting in February, when acceptance of the streets and utilities will come before it.
Member Lorenzo stated that they would be billed for it.
Member Capello stated that was not his motion.
Member Gatt asked to make an inquiry: He asked if the City had only plowed it once before.
Mr. Helwig answered that it was once this winter.
Member Gatt asked if the City was billing them for it.
Mr. Helwig answered that the City was billing them for it, under Council policy. He stated that the only reason the City plowed was, in his judgment, he felt it was hazardous.
Mayor Csordas asked who the City was billing.
Mr. Helwig answered they were billing the association.
Mayor Csordas asked who was paying it.
Mr. Helwig stated that the bill would be made out to the association. He said it was life in 2005 in our community; the City still had significant neighborhoods coming on line, and he felt badly for the residents. He said under this Administration, they had concentrated on enhancing its self-sufficiency in snow plowing and deicing and that was the last remaining neighborhood that was in that circumstance. Remember last year that Cheltenham was the other one that brought this to fruition, and Council labored over that to try to reach a successful resolution. He said essentially, Council grandfathered people until this snow season; for whatever reason, it didnít get done in Park Place. He stated that maybe even on January 24th Administration could have it before Council.
Mayor Csordas stated that it was not the fault of the City Administration.
Mr. Helwig stated that he did not feel that way. He said there were partners out there who were developing neighborhoods and they needed to fulfill their responsibilities, and Administration was at the ready to fulfill theirs.
Member Gatt stated that it was not the fault of the Administration for sure; neither was it the fault of the homeowners, who were paying taxes, just like everybody here. He said somewhere there was someone in the middle that caused the breakdown in communication, or whatever. He stated he would have a difficult time supporting plowing for free now that the City had charged them already; he couldnít see the logic there.
Mayor Csordas stated that they had the phrase of de facto acceptance, of course; it seemed to him that when the issue was brought up last year, the direction from Council was to go ahead and do that thing one time and then the City was done.
Mr. Helwig stated that the City was done, unless the Public Works Director deemed the situation a hazardous situation. He said the City had hit one of those.
Mayor Csordas stated that he wouldnít be opposed to doing it and billing them, but he knew that wasnít the motion.
Member Paul asked Administration if the City could possibly bring this forward on the earlier meeting on January to come to a closure for that as soon as possible. She said Council had accepted many roads de facto; she didnít want to see anyone in a hazardous situation. She stated that between now and January 24th, if the City had to plow those roads, she still thought the City had to follow what it had already started this year and charge them. Hopefully, instead of extending it to the February meeting, they could move it to the January meeting and move it along.
CM-05-01-013 Moved by Paul, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To discuss acceptance of the roads and utilities of Park Place Estates on the January 24th agenda, and if the roads were deemed to be hazardous with snow by the Department of Public Works Director, they would be plowed and the association would be billed.
Member Capello asked, in the meantime, if the motion passed, if the residents were on their own to plow their own snow.
Mr. Helwig stated unless deemed hazardous.
Member Lorenzo stated if they were hazardous, the City would plow them and they would be charged at that time, and continue what the City had already started this year.
Mr. Helwig stated that hazardous was not 3-4 inches, although the City received calls.
Member Capello stated that when the residents called, Administration would tell them that the City was not plowing their snow.
Mr. Helwig stated that it was Mr. McCuskerís call.
Member Capello stated that it was Council decision; that was why he wanted to bring it up because Administration would follow Councilís directive. He stated that he didnít think that that was right; they were paying their taxes and it was not their fault that their roads had not yet been accepted. He thought Council should do what cities did and plow their snow for them.
Mr. Helwig stated that Administration wanted to get this on the 24th; he said there ought to be a way, if it was so important and it was, to have it ready for Council consideration on the 24th.
Mayor Csordas stated that, as he understood it, if Mr. McCusker deemed some snowfall hazardous, then he would have his team plow it and then charge appropriately. That seemed reasonable.
Member Capello asked Mr. Schultz what the City would do if they didnít pay it.
Mr. Schultz answered that right now the City didnít have any mechanism to lien if the association didnít pay; it would probably be a district court action against the association.
Member Capello stated that he didnít think the City should get itself in that position, but he wouldnít belabor it.
Mr. Helwig stated that he would trust that someone would make it whole for $500.
Roll Call Vote on CM-05-01-013 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo,
Paul, Csordas, Landry
3. Tsunami Disaster Ė Member Gatt
Member Gatt stated that to put things in perspective, those who had lived in Michigan for a long time, 30 years ago this November, a ship went down in Lake Superior suddenly and without warning and killed 26 or 27 sailors, and today 30 years later we sing songs about that catastrophe. It was a legend; people visit the site of White Fish Point where the ship went down, yet two weeks ago 150,000 were killed almost instantly in a disaster that this world had never seen before. He stated that Dr. Sanghvi came before Council earlier today with three suggestions, two of which Council already accepted. He wouldnít belabor that point; Council would declare it the Tsunami Disaster Relief Period and Council would consider passing a resolution declaring our sympathy towards the victims of the disaster and urge all the residents and business owners to open their hearts and wallets to help those unfortunate human beings. He stated that we couldnít help the dead, but we could help the living in that devastated region, thousands of miles of shore that was gone.
Member Gatt stated that the third suggestion which had already been met with some comment was that the City consider setting the ball rolling by donating some money from its General Fund. He knew that money was a tough issue up here; he said Council had just debated for the last couple of hours about a few thousand dollars here and a few thousand dollars there. He said that Council needed to put things in perspective; 150,000 people were killed in a matter of minutes and what was left behind was a devastated part of the world that certainly affected us all. He stated that he would not make a motion tonight to donate money on the Cityís behalf, but he would like the elected representatives of the City to at least consider, either amongst themselves or something that they could bring back at the next meeting.
He would announce now that after Mike Kahm from Singh Development was done speaking, Mr. Kahm told him that Singh Development would sponsor a golf outing this summer and dedicate all the proceeds to the Tsunami relief; he would ask Dr. Sanghvi to contact Mr. Kahm tomorrow to work out details.
Member Gatt thought that the 50,000 residents of the City collectively would like to do something; they had elected Council to represent them, and it was something that Council should consider in some economic fashion. He said we owe it to our fellow human beings to do something, and we were very blessed to live in a city that was so economically well off. He thought that Dr. Sanghviís idea of building something in that part of the world dedicated from the citizens of Novi, Michigan, would do more than anybody in this room or television land could even imagine.
Member Paul stated that she agreed with all the comments, although $25,000 was a lot of money from the Cityís budget; she stated that they were talking about a Building Department amount that was less than that. She wouldnít be able to support taking $25,000 out of the General Fund, but she would be willing to give up her large pay for the month of January ($15 per meeting X 3 meetings in January = $45). She could see that being a start from her small half, plus possibly some private funds from her home to give to the Rotary; she thought that would be a start as leadership from this group that they could possibly offer. She said it was a small stipend, but it was one that she would be happy to donate to people that were in definite need more than she was. She stated that was just a suggestion; she didnít know how to do that through the Finance Department but maybe Ms. Smith-Roy could help.
4. Employee Conference Reimbursements Ė Member Paul
Member Paul stated that in the past budget amendment, Council had an area where the City paid for a portion of someone in Administration to go to a conference, but there was a stipend that was not paid for. She asked if someone went to a conference and had to pay a portion themselves, how they reimbursed the City.
Mr. Helwig stated that he thought he knew the case she was referring to. He stated that for the last couple of years, Administration had been seeking Council approval of itemized conferences, training for certification, what have you, as a way to tighten all that up. He stated that there was a school of thought that said directors ought to be allocated an amount of money, based now on a couple of yearsí history, and that they could allocate that throughout the year based on the needs as they arose. He said in that instance, the need arose and it wasnít included on the list. He said Council authorized the registration fees and maybe the airfare and then did not authorize the remainder, so the employee had to pick that up, and there was no reimbursement to the employee then. He said the employee had to shoulder that portion that was not authorized by Council; it was during the fiscal year type of travel/conference expenditure.
Mr. Helwig stated that Council had one tonight on that amendment dealing with our IT director who needed certain training that was not foreseen when the budget was put together; weíre halfway though the budget period and it was now being offered and Council authorized that tonight. He said that was the type of situation, and his was going to be covered; in the other instance, just a part of it was covered.
Member Paul asked if there was ever a situation were someone would have partial payment that they would have to give back to the City, and how would that be followed through.
Mr. Helwig answered not that he envisioned; in other words, they were authorized to participate and the relevant costs were estimated in advance and then they submit their payment voucher to tally up. He said if for some reason they receive an advance and then donít end up using all of that, then they must account for every dollar expended; they would have to refund something that was given as an advance, then.
Member Paul asked if there was ever a situation where an employee went to a conference and put the payment through under the warrants and it was not really ever approved through Council.
Mr. Helwig stated that any payment went to Council under the warrant system.
Member Paul asked if someone wanted to go to a conference and Council was having a problem having that on the agenda or for whatever reason they go to the conference because of late notice, and then it went through on the warrants and they had already gone.
Mr. Helwig answered that he didnít think so. He stated that Administration wasnít doing that much traveling or conferencing anymore.
Member Paul stated that Administrationís policy and procedure would be that they went through the Manager, he would ask that it be budgeted before they went to the conference.
5. MDEQ Permit for the Haggerty Detention Basin Ė Member Paul
Member Paul had one question: When she looked at the MDEQ permit, it said "original green copy to be posted on site at all times". She asked which engineering firm was making sure the City had no more violations with the MDEQ. She asked if Jack Anglin, Civil Contractors, was following the process or was it the Cityís in-house engineers.
Mr. Helwig asked Mr. Hayes, City Engineer, to answer that.
Mr. Hayes answered that the engineering consultant for construction phase services on that project was JCK and Associates; he stated that in concert with his department, they would ensure that everything was in compliance.
Member Paul just had wanted some clarification; the reason she asked was that the City had a violation on South Lake. She said it was her understanding that every day it was $900,000 for a violation with the MDEQ, was that correct, for soil erosion.
Mr. Hayes answered that he did not know.
Member Paul stated that was her understanding.
Mr. Helwig stated that the City had not been hit with that.
Member Paul answered that she understood that, but when she talked to someone at the MDEQ that was something they stated. When she heard that amount per day, $900,000, she wanted to make sure the City was following that in-house.
Doug Netschke of Park Place Subdivision stated that he appreciated Councilís discussion about that. He wanted to add a little comment to that. He was passing out a letter initiated over the weekend; youíll probably be getting more of those because they were put in the mailboxes of everybody in the sub. He stated that from their perspective in the subdivision, they didnít understand all the nuances of acceptance and non-acceptance; most of the people he spoke to simply said that if they paid for the snow removal in their taxes, it ought to be done.
Mr. Netschke said on further investigation of this matter, he found that it was accepted at least with respect to the curbs and the roadway quite some time ago and that the only matter really open now was the storm water issue that had nothing to do with snow removal. He understood that there was liability on the Cityís part, but there was one day in the last snowstorm where there were four cars simultaneously stuck in the snow. He said one poor guy couldnít figure out where the road was and drove off into the mud. He said they would just ask that there be a little more consideration of the actual events out there when Council talked about having an emergency snowstorm and a non-emergency snowstorm; that could get to be quite a phone calling campaign as to whether it rose to that level or not.
Mr. Netschke thanked Council for its action, but he wanted it to know that from their perspective they didnít understand all the little nuances here; they just wanted to know why their snow got to be so deep during snow events.
There being no further business to come before Council, Mayor Csordas adjourned the meeting to Executive Session at 9:37 p.m.
Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Sue Troutman
Date approved: January 24, 2005