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REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2005 AT 7:00 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS Ė NOVI CIVIC CENTER Ė 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor Pro Tem Capello called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL Mayor Landry, absent/excused, Mayor ProTem Capello, Council Members Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy and Paul
ALSO PRESENT: Clay Pearson, Assistant City Manager
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said there are two additions to the agenda. Mario Fundarski is applying for the Election Commission and will be interviewed at 9:00 P.M. Also, Lee BeGole is applying for the Board of Review and his interview is at 9:10 P.M.
CM-05-12-383 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the agenda as amended adding interviews for Mario
Fundarski at 9:00 P.M. for the Election Commission and Lee BeGole
at 9:10 P.M. for the Board of Review.
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING Ė To Interview candidates for appointment to Boards and Commissions.
7:00 Lowell Sprague Ė Planning Commission, ZBA - Absent
7:10 Gary Gudes Ė Historical Commission, Library Board
Mr. Gudes said he was interested in the Historical Commission and the Library Board, and has been attending Historical Commission meetings to see what goes on there since June. He noted he also attended the Friends of the Novi Library meetings. He commented that only 2 people showed up at the Library Board meeting and thought he could do better than that. He thought that since he had been using the Library for 50 years he knew what went on, what he thought should go on and thought he might be able to help.
Member Paul asked if he had a preference between the Library Board and the Historical Commission and Mr. Gudes said his preference would be the Historical Commission. Member Paul asked if there was something he would like to accomplish on the Historical Commission. Mr. Gudes replied he would like to get things going with the Fuerst Home because he thought it was neglected and that something should be done. He said it is valuable and thought it should be opened up to the public, get it worked on and allow people to use it, perhaps for meetings.
Member Margolis asked what his goal would be if he were on the Library Board. Mr. Gudes responded that because of the diversity in the City, he would like to see more done with the things that exist or could exist in the Library for diverse groups.
Member Gatt noted he spoke with Ruby and Iva Fuerst when they were alive. Member Gatt asked, in his opinion, what was the most important historical event to happen in the City of Novi in the last 30 years? Mr. Gudes responded Twelve Oaks. Member Gatt agreed and said it changed the course of our history.
Member Mutch said he was one of those residents who owned a house that would probably be considered an historic home. He asked what he could see the Historical Commission doing for historic homeowners to bring recognition to their homes, and make the community more aware of resources available to historic homes. Mr. Gudes thought they could make it known and get the homeowners together for the information. He didnít know there were that many historic homes and asked Member Mutch how many he thought there were. Member Mutch said there are probably 40 or 50 homes in the community that he thought could be historic because of their age, the character of the home and the role they played in the communityís history.
Member Mutch asked what role would the Commission play in making sure those resources are available down the road. Mr. Gudes agreed.
Member Nagy asked what he would do to make sure those 40 historic homes remain historic. Mr. Gudes said he would provide a place where historic home owners could go to get the information available on what they have to do to keep them historic. Also, we have to make these homes known to the community. He would guess that everyone who has a historical house would know it. Member Nagy stated she assumed, from the number of years he has lived in Novi, that he is retired and would have the time to serve on the Commission. Mr. Gudes said he would.
7:20 Linda Krieger Ė Zoning Board of Appeals
Ms. Krieger, 44920 Byrne Dr., stated she was present to re-apply for the ZBA and that she was currently an alternate. She noted Mr. Brennan has retired from the ZBA and she would like to seek his Chair. Ms. Krieger said the pros on the ZBA, being in Novi for as long as she has, she has seen what the community was and where itís growing to and trying to help not have to many signs get too big. She felt the use variances and non-use variances has been a good learning experience and appreciated the class that Tom Schultz, City Attorney, put together. She said Don Saven and the ZBA board members are an excellent team. She said some of the cons would be some of the issues that come up but we have Mr. Schmitt there to help prevent these issues from going to Circuit Court. She said a major issue that was just before the ZBA was the Twelve Oaks Mall where Nordstrom is going in. She said they needed some variances and they were able to work together to come to a happy conclusion.
Member Nagy asked if she felt, as a new member, she should be provided with more than the one seminar they all received. Ms. Krieger said yes, it would be nice to have updates on new information. Member Nagy said she thought Ms. Krieger had been to every meeting since she became an alternate and she said she has. Member Nagy said then she was very familiar with the ZBA, almost as if she were full time and Ms. Krieger responded yes.
Member Mutch asked in her experience on the ZBA, what issue she saw coming forward time and again that she believed Council could address so that it didnít constantly require variances. Ms. Krieger said one thatís been taken care of, is the banks, their loading zone, and their need to provide that area. The ordinance is being changed so that they donít have to worry about that because the only issue they would have is loading and unloading with their security truck. Member Mutch asked if there were any other issues that havenít been addressed that would fall into that same kind of category. Ms. Krieger said there are some sign ordinances, but Mr. Schmitt has kept the ZBA posted. She hasnít had any brought to her attention for something that would be to Council but she would work to get that forwarded.
Member Gatt commented that Ms. Krieger was one of the most dedicated, hard working individuals to come before the board. He said she attends all the Council meetings and on her application she said "it is wonderful to serve the City of Novi and work for win win situations. Novi is my home and there is no place like home". Member Gatt said that says it all. He thanked her for coming out and said she had his support.
Member Margolis said she had served with Ms. Krieger on a board and appreciated that she was always working to educate herself and obviously she had done that on the ZBA. Member Margolis asked as a member of the ZBA what goal she would like to accomplish in her term. Ms. Krieger said she would like more knowledge for herself and the board about the ordinances. There are so many and they are being reviewed to adapt to whatís out there.
Member Paul said she appreciated all her volunteer work, her attendance at the meetings, and always being aware of what is happening. Member Paul said Council has some concerns about signs ordinance issues that come before the ZBA. She said Council is looking to identify some of the frequent problems that are addressed on the ZBA, as well as in the community so the ordinance can be made the best it can be. Member Paul said she wants businesses to flourish but she didnít want it to look like a Woodward Avenue or Orchard Lake Road. She felt these roads were very unattractive. Our sign ordinance has some very specific guidelines and asked what ideas and recommendation she could share with Council so they could understand some of the issues she frequently saw. Ms. Krieger said they want the most signs they can get but she would agree she does not want Novi to look like Las Vegas. She said, for example, Grand River in Novi most of the signs are ground signs and then as you hit strip malls the signs are on the buildings because it is hard to see them when they are farther away. She has thought about consistency and would like to know what the Council would like Novi to look like.
7:30 Sheryl Khoury Ė Library Board
Ms. Khoury said she has a history with libraries. She was elected to the Plymouth District Library in 1988 while living in Plymouth. She said she has lived in Novi for 7 years. Once she was on the Library Board in Plymouth she felt she didnít know what the job was. So, since she was a teacher and needed to get a Masterís Degree, she decided to go the U of M, School of Library and she got her degree there. Once on the Library board, their concern was to increase size of library or build a new library. They polled citizens to see if they would support a new Library, and when it came to the bond election she gave a speech and since the election passed by only 51% she thought was helpful. Ms. Khoury said the question Member Gatt asked about Novi and the most important things was interesting. She agreed Twelve Oaks was important but thought the second most important was the Civic Center complex, as well as the Emagine because they draw people in. Number three should be a new a new library.
Member Mutch said some residents from the north end of the City feel they donít get the same level of Library services as residents who live south I-96. Ms. Khoury asked why they feel that way. Member Mutch thought it was because of the difficulty of getting down to the library. He asked how she would address the need for Library services in the north end of the City. Ms. Khoury responded that was a difficult problem. She said when they were deciding on a new Library some people in the Plymouth and Plymouth Township area, because we are a District Library, wanted to have a more central location for them, and it often comes down to what land is available. She said one reason for not leaving here was because of the high school, and the City complex being nearby. However, she would go into it with an open mind and listen to what the voters had to say.
Member Gatt commented that he concurred with her assessment of the need for a new library, and she had his support.
Member Margolis thanked Ms. Khoury for coming forward and said she had a wonderful background in libraries, and to go back and get a degree as a member of a board is impressive. She asked about the private fund raising drive for the Library and asked Ms. Khoury to talk about what she saw as responsibilities for fund raising drives between volunteers, boards and staff. Ms. Khoury thought those three entities are good to tap for fundraising. She understood the fund raising money has slowed down, and said something should be done to kick start that.
Member Paul asked her if, when she was in Plymouth, there was a traveling bookmobile to help alleviate the land issue and get to other areas of the community. Ms. Khoury said no, but that is an excellent idea. Since 50% of library books are checked out for children it might be a good idea to go to a different elementary school one day every three weeks because thatís how long the books are out, and publicize it for preschoolers as well. Being publicized within the schools would also help. Member Paul said each school has their own library. However, the senior complexes, Fox Run and Meadowbrook Commons, which has a small library, somehow get books through our Library and then return them. Member Paul said she didnít know the ins and outs of this arrangement and Ms. Khoury said that would be good to check. Member Paul agreed, and said it might also help out on the north end. A lot of people on the north end feel left out because they are on13 or 14 Mile and the Libraryís central location is here.
Member Nagy commented they didnít have the total funds to build a library, so they were having fundraising. She assumed the Library Board would put this on next yearís ballot. She thought the Library Board was really zeroing in on fundraising. She asked if she had been involved with fundraising activities. Ms. Khoury said she had not. Member Nagy asked what her opinion was as to how much more time the library could stay in the current size.building as we grow. Ms. Khoury said when she came to Novi 8 years ago; it was clearly undersized even then. Member Nagy asked if they were in dire circumstances. Ms. Khoury said yes, but she is in the library all the time and never notices the strain. They do a wonderful job and have excellent programs.
7:40 Gerald Bauer Ė Zoning Board of Appeals
Mr. Bauer said Linda Krieger has been with the ZBA for a few months and has done very well. Mr. Bauer said he has been on the ZBA for almost 30 years and 20 of those as an officer. He commented he has been to many conferences and workshops. He was president of the Mutual Insurance Agency and a member of the first Novi Beautification Advisory Commission back in 1974. He was Chairman of Village Oaks Architectural Control Committee and a member of the Friends of the Novi Library. He stated he wished to give something back to the City and felt he had a lot to give being on the ZBA. He noted that since he has always dealt with the public he seemed to fit right in.
Member Margolis thanked Mr. Bauer for his long service to the City. She asked what the Council could do to improve communication between the ZBA and the Council to be sure they are moving forward and working together. Mr. Bauer said not long ago the Boards would meeting one evening with the Council, and he liked that because they seemed to get things done. Right now the ZBA does put through things to Don Saven, where there might be a quirk in the manual that can be corrected, and it has been done in the past.
Member Gatt said he had no questions. Mr. Bauer has been on that board for 29 years and has seen it all and has been involved since Novi was farmland to the metropolis it is today. Member Gatt said Mr. Bauer has been involved every step of the way and he has his full support to continue. He thanked Mr. Bauer for his service.
Member Mutch echoed Member Gattís comments and thanked Mr. Bauer for his service. He said it is amazing to him to read such a record of service to the community and to have that knowledge and history that he brings to the board. He asked if there were any variances he saw coming up again and again that we, at the City Council level, could resolve through a change in the zoning ordinance that would alleviate applicants from having to appear before the ZBA. Mr. Bauer said no, that is what our board is for, and he didnít think they could change the direction of the manual to change that.
Member Nagy echoed previous members and said she appreciated all that he and his wife have done for Novi. She asked if there had ever been a variance for a sign that he had given that he regretted. Mr. Bauer said yes, on Haggerty towards Eight Mile Road of the shopping center. Member Nagy thanked Mr. Bauer and said he had her support.
Member Paul thanked Mr. Bauer and said from the Village Oaks Architectural Board all the way up to the Zoning Board of Appeals is amazing. She said not everyone has his dedication and she appreciated it. Member Paul asked what the most difficult situation he had on the ZBA, and how did he handle it. Mr. Bauer said it would be the lots north around the lake. The lots are very small and if we could only give them what is required in the zoning ordinance they would have a 15 foot wide house. These people struggle to come up with a lovely home. They will tear down the old and put up a lovely new home. He said they try very hard to keep away from the sides as much as they can and sometimes people have almost cried because they couldnít get another foot on this side or that side. He said that is a real problem.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if there was something with the ordinance that should be amended to provide for the uniqueness of the size of the lots, and the types of homes that are going up around Walled Lake. Mr. Bauer said he didnít think that was possible. They have got the 15, or 10 or maximum of 25 feet side yards in the R-1, and he thought that was what the ZBA was for. Mr. Bauer said they give the variances when they can, and they donít just wholesale them out. He didnít think they could change the ordinance, because if they did then they would have to change it elsewhere where they are putting up a million dollar home.
7:50 John Foley Ė Zoning Board of Appeals
Mr. Foley said he applied for the ZBA, has been a resident for 14 years, and went to school night and earned a Bachelorís degree. He took a couple of years off and felt that now was a good time to be involved in the City. Mr. Foley said he follows City Council, Planning and zoning from time to time. He liked the ZBA as they seem to come to a consensus between the petitioner and the Board. Itís a give and take situation, and typically a pretty fair board.
Member Gatt thanked Mr. Foley for his interest. He said Mr. Foley indicated that he followed the ZBA for a while, and he was aware his decision can only be overturned by the court, and that canít be done by City Council. Member Gatt asked what his opinion was on granting variances to our ordinances. He asked what would prompt him to grant a variance. Mr. Foley responded that there are different kinds of hardship. There is the practical difficulty and true hardship. He thought it was consistency. If there is a true hardship it is a judgment call between all the board members. Mr. Foley said each case has to be studied under its own merits.
Member Mutch thanked Mr. Foley for coming. He asked if there were any particular issues that come up over and again that Council could address so that the ZBA didnít have to. Mr. Foley said none that he could think of. He said there are a lot of sign ordinances and ordinances for additions and whatnot, and that is what the board is there for.
Member Nagy asked if he had seen a decision that he disagreed with on the ZBA. Mr. Foley said no, he couldnít say there had been anything that he totally disagreed with. He said there was nothing that stood out as being a wrong decision. He said it is all jus everybodyís opinion. Member Nagy said they are ordinances. Member Foley said they are ordinances but if someoneís claiming a hardship, itís a judgment call whether it is a hardship or not.
Member Paul said it is not an issue that he has not served on a board, and itís always nice to have new people come forward and she appreciated that. She asked in his experience at work, what was a difficult situation for him and how did he handle it. Mr. Foley said it is usually consensus building when there is a problem. He works in engineering where there are a lot of different solutions to a problem, and it is getting consensus thatís difficult, having everyone on the same page and moving on from there.
Member Margolis asked what qualities he would bring to the ZBA that someone else might not be able to. Mr. Foley said he couldnít think of anything because he was no more special than anyone else. Mr. Foley said he was just looking to get involved.
8:00 Deborah Marine Ė Housing & Community Development Advisory Committee, ZBA
Deborah Marine stated she moved to Novi from New York. She works as compliance and privacy officer at Health Alliance Plan in Detroit and Southfield, and recently purchased her first home in Novi, and felt a commitment to the community. She wanted to get involved and contribute to the community that she enjoyed for 3 Ĺ years.
Member Paul stated she was encouraged to have quality people like her coming forward. She asked what her Board preference would be. Ms. Marine replied she is more interested in becoming involved than in any particular issue. She found all aspects of government and management of a City fascinating. However, she said she has a particular interest in how a City grows and making sure that it grows in a way that is conducive to business and a high quality of living. She said she would be willing to serve in any capacity where she could be of help.
Member Margolis asked what she would bring to any board or commission that would be beneficial to the city. Ms. Marine said her experience as a compliance officer and as an attorney, her specialty is regulations, and she has a knack for reading, understanding, and translating them. She said she also has a passion and commitment for service that she thought was also valuable.
Member Gatt thanked her for coming out. He said on her application she put down Detroit Zoo volunteer and asked her to tell him about that. Ms. Marine said with the Detroit Zoo she is a docent, which means educator. She said she interprets the animal
Exhibits for visitors to the zoo, particularly focused on the aviary because she loves birds. She has been doing that since moving to Michigan, and while in New York she was a wildlife rehabilitator at the SPCA. She said she missed that connection to animals and the zoo was the closest she could get in this area. She was nominated for Leadership Oakland by her employer for her 2004 presentation to the Leadership Oakland class on Medicare. She noted they met with the commissioners at Oakland County and that spurred her motivation to get involved.
Member Mutch asked what it was about Novi that attracted her to move here and call it home, and what is her role to ensure that character will be around moving into the future. Ms. Marine said her sister lives in Farmington Hills so she was already predisposed to the west of the City. However, she did live in the eastern part of the City for a while. She commented that she loved this area, the hills, lakes and wild strips along the roads. She liked seeing the snowy egret in the wild sections of the City. Her role on the ZBA or HCD would be to balance the community needs with the need to have open and green space.
Member Nagy said she and Ms. Marine were neighbors and lived across from each other. Member Nagy stated she liked a lot of her answers, and felt that she had an interesting and extensive background, and that she shared some of the same interests with her. Member Nagy was quite impressed with her answers.
8:10 Brian Larson Ė Election Commission
Mr. Larson said he has lived in Novi for 23 years, and has owned a business on Main Street for 6 years, and wanted to do something to give back to the City.
Member Nagy said she appreciated his interest and thought he would be excellent in this position. She commented she would like to see his input on economic development. She said he had her support.
Member Mutch clarified it is the Election Commission. Member Mutch asked what he thought could be done on the Commission to encourage voter turnout, especially local elections. Mr. Larson said he was amazed at how low the turnout was. He wasnít sure how to get the voters out there, but whatever it took he would be interested in doing his part.
Member Gatt thanked Mr. Larson for coming out and said they were all aware of his contribution for the City and appreciated them.
Member Margolis said she hoped the community knew how much he and his wife gave back to the community already and how much that is appreciated. She said he had her support.
Member Paul said she appreciated his coming forward. She said for people at home who donít know Mr. and Mrs. Larson give back a percentage of their sales every year to all the elementary schools. They really have done an outstanding job and they are still open on Main Street, which says a lot for his business and his practice. Member Paul asked what he would like to do on this commission. Mr. Larson said, again, being brand new to this he would do whatever was asked of him and whatever City Council thought was necessary. He thought the biggest problem was the lack of turnout and how few actually people show up to vote. Something has to change and he is willing to do whatever it took.
8:20 Jerry Ross Ė Housing and Community Development Advisory Committee
Mr. Ross was not present yet as the Council was ahead of time.
8:30 Justin Fischer Ė Zoning Board of Appeals
Mr. Fischer spoke at 7:54 p.m. stating he had been on the ZBA for almost 2 years beginning as alternate, and then appointed to a full time position and is currently serving as Chair.
Member Margolis asked what he would hope to accomplish in a new term. Mr. Fischer said he sees turnover as a challenge. He enjoyed working with Ms. Krieger and looked forward to getting new people on the board and showing them the ropes. He said they need people who will be on the board, stay on the board and show up to every meeting, and he thought he could encourage that type of participation.
Member Gatt asked what he thought was the most pressing issue facing the ZBA today. Mr. Fischer said turnover was one. Also, sign ordinances, and he felt they had to work with Council on the sign ordinances. We are looking at Grand River developing all the way from Haggerty west to Wixom Road. We see those sign every single meeting and he would like to work with Council and accomplish an ordinance that lives within the means of all of our City residents business and residence that we can all live with.
Member Mutch said Mr. Fischer was in a unique position having served as the Chair of the ZBA and asked what Council could do to ensure that he could do the best job possible representing and taking care of these difficult zoning decisions. Mr. Fischer said number one is training, no doubt. He said in the two years he served one training session took place. They need formal training with City attorneys because the next step after ZBA is the Circuit Court and they donít want that to happen. Secondly, communication is an issue. He thought perhaps a sub-committee could be formed or a representative could be on the Ordinance Review Committee. He suggested talking with the City Attorney, looking into the Charter, etc. because they need communication back and forth.
Member Nagy said she had watched the meetings and appreciated his time and efforts on the ZBA. She thought he gave excellent answers to Member Mutchís questions, wished him luck, and said he had her support.
Member Paul asked what his thoughts were on the sign ordinance and what could be done. Mr. Fischer said everyone agreed that many members donít want an Orchard lake Road. The problem is that in the Grand River/Novi Road area they have had Second City come before them because they were originally only allowed a small sign. Many others in that area came before them including Better Health, Golf, Gus OíConnorís. There is a fine line and we need to work together to see what can be done. He didnít want it to get extravagant, but obviously there is a problem with the ordinance now. Member Paul thought his idea of having representatives from the ZBA or a sub-committee go towards the Ordinance Review Board, which is a sub-committee of Council, to share ideas is excellent. Member Paul wanted to have a fair representation of the ZBA because of what they see, as well as fair to the businesses in trying to keep their doors open. She appreciated how fair he was to businesses and his communication with Council.
8:40 Ram Ramachandran Ė HCD, Board of Review and Election Commission
Mr. Ramachandran said he has been a resident for 15 years, is married with two children, has a Masterís Degree in computer science, IT, and is interested in knowing what is going on around him. He was interested in volunteering to find out how the government works.
Member Gatt asked which board would be his first choice and why. Mr. Ramachandran thought the Housing and Community Development was the most appropriate for him, because had read the descriptions of responsibilities of each of the. Since applying he found out he would have to dedicate a whole week in March for the Board of Review, and he didnít think that was possible because of work commitments. The Board of Elections appeared to be involved in finding precinct inspectors for the election. He felt the HCD was more challenging and interesting and that is primarily the reason for his selection of it.
Member Mutch asked what qualities attracted him to come to Novi and what could he do, in his involvement with the City, to maintain those qualities. Mr. Ramachandran said he came to Detroit from California. He didnít know much about the suburbs, but he heard good things about the Novi school district, and that was why he moved to Novi. He understood that Novi is smaller than other surrounding cities, but the mixture of people in Novi in terms of ethnicity, looks very different from when he moved15 years ago. He felt that there was something different going on here than in other places. He is generally interested in what is happening in the City government and decided to apply.
Member Nagy commented Mr. Ramachandranís preference is the HCD Commission and asked what his second choice would be. He replied he could work on any other board or commission, except the Board of Review because of the time constraints.
Member Paul asked him to share a difficult experience and how he handled it. Mr. Ramachandran said from the work point of view, there was a lot of excitement in IT from 1997 to 2000. After that there has been a tremendous change, and he has been watching many people being laid off and losing jobs. The Michigan economy is being talked about even by people outside the State, and he is concerned about those things. He is concerned about the affect on the community, and he is looking at how things can be done differently.
Member Margolis asked him what experience or skills he would bring to a City board or commission that someone else couldnít. Mr. Ramachandran said fortunately during the last 20 years he has been in management, planning business and activities. He said predominantly he has been working with customers to see what the problem is and helping to solve the problem. He said good and bad things happen with customers and these are the things he has his strength in. He said currently he owns a small business, and is excited about contributing, planning activities, and looking forward to the things of the future and how to solve problems. He said that is his strength.
8:50 Michael J. Lynch Ė Planning Commission
Mr. Lynch stated he has been a resident for the past 3 years, and retired in 2004. He is active in the homeowners association, which is new, and is now the President. Mr. Lynch commented he has had the opportunity to work with City staff, and has been very pleased with his dealings with Clay Pearson, Barb McBeth, and the planning staff. The homeowners association is becoming stable, so he has been looking for areas to donate his services now that he has plenty of time. He said the Planning Commission seemed to be the logical choice as he has some experience in the area. Mr. Lynch said he has a lot of time, and would work hard.
Member Nagy said she liked the fact that he has a lot of time. She asked what he saw as challenges for Novi in the next 10 to 15 years with regard to planning. Mr. Lynch said Novi is in a unique area, and with everything migrating west Novi is in a good position. He said as the migration continues, there will be a great deal of growth in our area.
Member Nagy said she meant in terms of the balance between business, Light Industrial, Office Service Technology, Residential and how he saw that balance. Mr. Lynch said in his opening he should have mentioned he has no political aspirations and he was not pro or con on development. He commented that from what heís seen in the 3 years he has been here, he knows there is room for development, there is a railhead, I-96 corridor, etc. He said he doesnít have the facts to base his answer on.
Member Nagy noted he was very observant and thanked him for interviewing.
Member Mutch said at 10 & Napier and 10 & Wixom, there is vacant land at those corners and asked Mr. Lynch what he saw as good planning for those two corners. Mr. Lynch responded he would have to see the density with residential on both sides of 10 Mile. He thought if the infrastructure was present, residential could go there.
Member Mutch asked, as a resident of that area, what his preference would be for those corners. Mr. Lynch said he doesnít have a preference currently, as he would need to understand what the benefits and consequences are before he could make any kind of a judgment. If it makes sense to have commercial there, then fine, and if the City and homeowners benefit thatís fine too. If it doesnít then it should remain what it is.
Member Mutch said Mr. Lynch was open minded about opportunities in Novi. He didnít jump to conclusions without having all the information before him.
Member Gatt asked if he would be interested in any other boards? Mr. Lynch said he looked at the different boards and the Planning Commission seemed the most interesting, and the area he thought he could help the most. He didnít think he had the background or interest for any other board or commission. Member Gatt said he thought the Commission needed someone like Mr. Lynch who is honest, sincere and perhaps have a different point of view.
Member Margolis said he commented that his skills and background were most suited to the Planning Commission. She asked which of those skills, background and education would most be suited for the Planning Commission. Mr. Lynch said it appeared to him that the primary role was getting to a win-win-win solution with homeowners, developers and City. If you canít find a solution where everyone wins then you lose. He said he had found, in his career and working overseas, unless you can come up with a proposal to have homeowners, developers and the City all win, whatever you decide just wonít work. There will always be a loser and thatís not good.
Member Paul asked if he had had a very difficult situation in his work life or in his homeowners association, how he would handle it. Mr. Lynch said regarding his work life, he had a $350 million budget with Japan, England, Germany, Sweden and North America all fighting for a piece of it. He said how are you going to divvy that up and make sure that the product portfolio you put forward satisfies everybody. This goes back to the win win win. If you base all your decisions on a win/lose situation typically it doesnít last. He said in his position he could force things through but it would be short lived. Regarding the homeowners association, the City, Mr. Pearson and the staff have been just wonderful. He said with a large development in that area they have worked together to overcome some challenges. One specifically had to do with docks and the mooring of boats and the original plan may not have considered everything; but we worked together and solved that one. His experience with the homeowners association has been fun.
9:00 Mario Fundarski - Election Commission, Historical Commission
Mr. Fundarski, 43185 Citation, stated he would like to be on the Election Commission because he believed Novi is the best City to live in in the entire world. Mr. Fundarski said the Election Commission is extremely important because Americans donít take their political responsibilities very seriously. He said an 11% turnout for school elections and 17% for City Council elections is unacceptable. Mr. Fundarski stated this City needs an elected City Clerk, because the City Clerk under the present Charter is appointed by the Mayor and City Council. He thought Councils intentions were good. However, he came from a City where the City Clerk was elected, and the turnout was good and maybe a little higher. He said the main purpose of anyone sitting on the Election Committee should be to get our citizens educated and involved in coming out for elections. The way you get citizens involved is to hold forums on issues, and invite members of all major and minor political parties, get new residents registered, and encourage people to become candidates. He congratulated Member Paul on creating the Youth Council. He said he knew what it was to campaign after being a candidate for the U.S. Congress three times and in this district, receiving 31% of the vote. He said he is also an elected fifth precinct delegate, and didnít believe any of the other candidates had ever been elected. Being a part of the Election Commission is to be proactive someone who wants to do the best for our City and make it the best City in the world to live. There is no other place he wants to live other than the City of Novi.
Member Mutch asked him what the benefits would be that accrued to the residents being able to vote on the City Clerk position, and why would it be better to have an elected City Clerk versus an appointed City Clerk. Mr. Fundarski responded that the elected City Clerk would be more representative and more effective in getting voter registration and participation. An elected City Clerk would be more independent, and could do things like holding forums about issues. He said we are projecting a 30,000 increase in population and we need to make sure that all of the new residents are registered and wanting to become involved in the government. We need to get the involvement of people in the entire City because a lot of people donít come to any of the boards until there is a problem. He felt the school board and City Council was more important than the Presidential elections. Member Mutch thought it necessary to look at the situation that occurred in Detroit where there was an elected City Clerk and some of the problems that they encountered before weíd head off into that direction in this community.
Member Gatt noted he disagreed with Mr. Fundarski regarding an elected
City Clerk. He stated he thought Novi had the best City Clerk in the whole
world. He said we couldnít get better than what we have and he didnít want
to change it at all. Member
Member Margolis appreciates his comments and didnít have any questions.
Member Paul thanked him for his nice comments and stated that everyone worked hard on the Youth Council. She said she appreciated his energy and his good ideas. She asked Mr. Fundarski how he dealt with a difficult situation in his life, how did he identify that situation and how did he handle it. Mr. Fundarski responded the most difficult situation in his life was being falsely charged, arrested and put in jail the day before
Thanksgiving on November 22, 1999. The newspapers put it all over the media and Mr. Scott Olson on the Novi news network has the articles written about him and none of them were true. Mr. Fundarski said he was charged with stalking, but never charged with threatening anyone. He said he had never threatened anyone in his life. However, the news media wrote it up that he had threatened to kill Vladimir Konstantinov, which was ludicrous. He said he spent 19 months waiting to get to a trial by jury in a Clinton Township Court, and the jury found him not guilty of the stalking charge. It was politically motivated by former Congressman, David Bonior, who he ran against, and they took advantage of it to hurt his political character. He said that was the most difficult situation he faced other than the death of his wife.
Member Nagy said she appreciated him coming out for the interview and that she thought he was a man with a lot of ideas. She thought he had done a good job in presenting himself and answering questions, therefore, didnít have any questions for him.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello advised that a vote would not be taken tonight. Councilís decisions would be made at a future Council meeting, and anyone interested could check with the City Clerk to find out when these appointments would be made.
Council recessed at 8:30 p.m.
Council reconvened at 8:42 p.m.
9:10 Lee BeGole
Mr. BeGole forfeited his three minutes.
Member Gatt said he would not ask Chief BeGole any questions because in his opinion he is Novi. Member Gatt said Chief BeGole was here before Novi was Novi, and he was here before anybody else in this room every heard of Novi. Member Gatt said he respected and admired Chief BeGole and thought he was the best of the best. He said whatever he applied for and whatever he wanted he would have his total support. Member Gatt said he is a stalwart on the committee he is applying for and people talk and rave about him that he is fair, honest and experienced. Member Gatt said Chief BeGole is an attorney and brings experience and history to the City and to the commission. He said he is living history in Novi and wanted him to know how much he respected him and enjoyed working for him. He said without his help he wouldnít be sitting here today. Member Gatt said thank you.
Member Paul said she appreciated his interviewing and all of the things Member Gatt said are true. She asked on the Board of Review or in any of his careers, what was a difficult situation he had and how did he handle it.
Mr. BeGole said there had been many and it is hard to recall a particular one. However, back in the township days, he lived at the fire hall and he got a call there was fire in the big barn that is now known as Tollgate Farms. He said he responded with their 1929 Reo Fire Engine and it was a real good spontaneous combustion fire in June. He said when they arrived; they called all the surrounding towns to help. He said the fire was really going and they were there until 8:00 P.M. They pumped out of a stream and had a lot of cooperation from the surrounding departments. The lady living there asked them to forget the barn and save the house. He noted the fire was put out and the barn was saved. Mr. BeGole said he was the company commander of the Michigan National Guard unit, and when he got done he left for the drill night. He received a call to go immediately to Pontiac General Hospital because the fire truck was t-boned on 15 Mile and Maple Road. Our Township Treasurer, Russ Woodworth was killed, the Fire Chief was badly injured and he was never able to fight a fire again and Frasier Staman was in bad shape but kept asking Mr. BeGole to get him out of there. So, he listened to that long enough and got a white coat and a wheelchair and got him out of there, but of course the ambulance had to bring him back the next day. Mr. BeGole said he has never forgotten the day of that fire and how stupid he was to wheel a badly injured patient out of a hospital. He said that is what he remembers tonight and tomorrow it will be another story.
Member Margolis said she appreciated his service to the City over all these years, and he had her support.
Member Mutch said there is nothing more he could say about the role that Mr. BeGole played in this City, it is impressive and well documented. He asked if he saw any problems, because he is so busy, with the Board of Review commitment and the time involved with that. Mr. BeGole said no, because he enjoyed it and we have a great Assessing Department and they are all very capable people. The other Board Members are 100% qualified and he enjoys coming. We do our best to take care of the people who come before the Board, and he didnít think there had been any complaints.
Member Nagy said Mr. BeGole is an icon in Novi, and she is fully aware of all the things he had done so there really isnít any question from her. She appreciated everything heís done and looked forward to more one on one stories. She said Mr. BeGole had her support.
Moira Robinson, 41306 Llewelyn, Chairperson for the Beautification, passed out documents that had highlighted items that the Beautification has met and discussed. She said they have highlighted some items that they wanted Council to know that they are here, willing to support, help facilitate and collaborate with, about or on with the City. The papers she distributed describe some of the efforts of the commission. There are nine members of the committee. They have 3 vacancies and some others have terms expiring in March. She is asking Council to help them actively recruit quality members for their commission so they can implement and maintain more programs that would help beautify the City of Novi. She said they do maintain an active membership with the Beautification Council of South East Michigan. They need people to help implement their programs.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello suggested they could meet with City Council, and asked her to decide on dates they are available for a joint meeting with Council, and give them to the City Clerk.
Kathy Mutch, 24541 Hampton Court, said the idea comes up repeatedly that Council find some time during the year, ideally during budget discussion, at either beginning or end of the fiscal year, that Council meet with each of these boards and commissions. So that these people who volunteer their time and bring all of these ideas have the opportunity to share them Council. There are things going on in the committees that the Council only sees a sliver of. She suggested giving a limited amount of time and to do it in this setting so everyone in the City will see what they are doing. It will serve some of the points that Moira Robinson.
Member Mutch said she wanted Council to know that Mr.Gudes has been attending every meeting, volunteered at events and has managed to find some outside volunteers to help them. He has also brought artifacts, etc,to the Historical Commission. She said she knew he would still be there but thought it would be great if he had a vote.
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 8:57 P.M.
Kim Capello, Mayor Pro Tem Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
_______________________________ Date approved: December 19, 2005
Transcribed by Charlene Mc Lean