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OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE Junior Girl Scout Troop 2318
Leader: Connie Gregory
Co-Leader: Mary Hocking
Members: Heather Gregory, Emily Hocking, Nadia Nafal, Kirsten Kempisty, Violetta Cortez, Lauren Wahrman
ROLL CALL: Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Capello, Council Members Gatt, Margolis-absent excused, Mutch, Nagy, Paul
ALSO PRESENT: Clay Pearson, City Manager
Pamela Antil, Assistant City Manager
Tom Schultz, City Attorney
Barbara McBeth, Director of Planning
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
CM-07-01-09 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the agenda as presented.
1. Recognition of Novi High School Menís Cross Country Academic State Champions 2006
Mayor Landry recognized the Novi High School Menís Cross Country Academic State Champions of 2006. Mayor Landry noted that what was being honored was an awesome achievement. These young men not only trained all year but also worked hard in the classroom, and to achieve on the sports field and the classroom was something worthy of special recognition. Mayor Landry said Noviís Cross Country Team was one of the best in the state and academically was the best in the state.
Coach Smith thanked Mayor Landry and Council. He said these young men were academic state champions and their combined grade point average was 3.967. To be eligible for the Academic All State award they had to be superior athletes on the field. They had to qualify for the state meet so there were hundreds and hundreds of teams who were not eligible for the award because the first qualification was they needed to run in the state meet. He said out of the 600 menís teams throughout the State of Michigan and 27 in Division One, these gentlemen were the tops in the land. He said they only lost one meet the entire season running against hundreds of cross country teams. Coach Smith said these athletes had continued the legacy of the Novi High Schoolís Menís Cross Country program by being in the top ten in the State of Michigan each and every year for the last nine years.
Mayor Landry presented academic athletes Michael Beard, Aaron Croad, Joshua Lumley, Kenny MacDonough, Alex Prasad, Scott Wagner, Michael Wheat, and Coach Smith with certificates of recognition. Coach Smith thanked the City of Novi and the parents of these fine young men, and said it was a real pleasure to have them come to him ready made and ready to run.
2. Proclamation honoring retirement of Jack Lewis, Deputy Director, Parks, Recreation & Forestry Ė 29 years of service
Mayor Landry presented Jack Lewis with a proclamation for his 29 years of service, dedication and commitment to the Novi community.
Mr. Lewis said he felt lucky to have worked in a job he loved for 29 years. The job had been fun, challenging and very rewarding. To have a chance to develop a new park or create a new program and see the end result was very rewarding. Mr. Lewis said it had been a great 29 years and thanked the people he had worked with over the years throughout the City. He said any success he or his department had was because of the dedication and hard work of all those employees. He noted he had worked with great maintenance people, clerical staff, recreation programmers and directors and thanked them all for their support throughout the years. Mr. Lewis thanked his wife, Susie, for supporting him and putting up with him when he had to work long week ends for softball tournaments, late night Council meetings, etc. He said he was excited about the new adventures he would have but part of him would be sad, and he would miss working with Mr. Pearson and Mr. Auler.
3. Novi Library replacement or expansion for November 2007 ballot consideration Ė Library Board
Larry Czekaj, Library Board member, stated they were present to provide a summary of their proposal. He hoped their proposal would culminate in a request from, and authorization of Council to proceed with the preparation of a ballot proposal for Councilís consideration and ultimate approval. He said they would like this to be on the November 2007 General Election ballot. Mr. Czekai introduced the Library Board members. He explained the board governed the library, approved the budget, etc. but they didnít have the ability to raise the money necessary for the library; so they must come before Council and make their case. Mr. Czekai noted the library had exceeded its capacity, and they were requesting a millage proposal on the November 6, 2007 ballot. He said they wanted to hire the necessary consultants for the purpose of renovating and expanding the existing library from 25,000 sq. ft. to 60,000 sq. ft., which would double the size of the existing facility. They were looking for bonding revenues for purposes of project costs, not operating costs, which would include technology, furniture and fixtures. Mr. Czekai said they hoped to pay for the facility, estimated between $13 and $16 million, with a bond proposal of $16 million over 20 years. The average cost to the Novi taxpayer for a home valued at $220,000 would be approximately $34.00 a year.
Mr. Czekai said the Library Board had gone through an extensive array of field studies from a ground roots perspective to professionals that could assist in what other communities were doing, what some of the national trends were, and what the expectations were for a library of communities similar to Novi. He said components of a library were population, growth, service growth, economic development and a part of the residentís quality of life.
Mr. Czekai explained the Strategic Planning Task Force was comprised of 23 volunteers, developed over a five year strategic plan, and the vision was to make learning exciting, inviting and to encourage a community of learners. He said the goal was to address the space needs. The Facility Planning Study Report began in 2003 and concluded with a report in 2004, which was part of Council packets. Public meetings were held every two weeks and the 1999 Needs Assessment document was updated and realigned to be consistent and current. The existing Library was completed in 1976, and the gentleman in the forefront was John Dostal who was now the present Chair of EDC for the City. He cited the statistics from 1976 to the present. Mr. Czekai said 800 people visit the library daily and over 25,000 people annually attend the various programs, from story hours, lectures, youth programs, homeowner association meetings, etc.
Mr. Czekai said the Facilities Planning conclusion was that there was an immediate need for 60,000 sq. ft. of building area. He noted, based upon projected long term goals, that the size of the library would not be sufficient to satisfy the Cityís needs when the City reached build out. Therefore, part of the recommendation and construction process would be to size the building structurally to accommodate further expansion later. He said, for example, they would anticipate going up a second floor so the initial foundation would be designed and built now to accommodate the need to expand the facility once again in the future.
Tracy Petrelik from Fanning Howey displayed the conceptual site context for the existing library inside the proposed expansion. The drawing also showed a proposed drive up/drop off plan for a book drop off. She said the scheme shown provided plenty of parking for the 60,000 sq. ft. scheme. They would look to develop the site farther in the future in the eventuality they might go to a larger scheme when the City became built out. She explained the different rooms for youth collection, adult collection, popular materials and a large program room. There would also be friends and cafť areas. She said they wanted to create something welcoming for the lobby giving an opportunity for Naming Rights if the City wanted to look into that. She said there was a casual reading area with plenty of room for seating. The bottom line was that the current facility was inadequate to serve the needs of the community. There were a lot of things the library wanted to provide for the community that the current size would not allow.
David Asger, Plante & Moran CRESA, explained the total costs included professional fees, technology, furnishings, and was based on work beginning in early 2008. The Library Board asked him to come in to look at their plans and help put some costs to the project. He said based on their review they concurred that a 60,000 sq. ft. facility would be a good step at this time, and that the total project costs would be about $16 million. He said when talking total project cost they were not only talking construction of the facility but also professional fees, furnishings, technology, and allocation for collection as well. He said that $16 million figure was based on projections of starting construction and project work in early 2008. He said if there were delays, etc. those costs could fluctuate beyond the $16 million.
Mr. Asger explained what impact a millage would have on the residents of Novi. He said they were looking at a millage of approximately 3/10ths of a mil, which was about $34 a year for the average homeowner with a home value of $220,000. He said about 50% of the homes in Novi were valued between $200,000 and $500,000, so the average impact would be somewhere between $26 and $76 per year. One of the important things to realize was that now was an opportune time because many of their clients were in a position where interest rates were extremely low. He said now the Municipal Bond rates were somewhere between 4 Ĺ% and 5 Ĺ%, and sometimes lower. He said the time was right with the low interest and preferential pricing from contractors. Mr. Asger suggested doing some market research and talk to the voters in the community to find out what kind of support there was.
Bev Papai explained the Novi community was ideal for a public library. Todayís population of 54,000 was slated to grow to 79,000 in the year 2030 by SEMCOG. She said Novi was a young community with lots of children and young families. Novi residents were highly educated and 34% of the adults 25 and over had at least one college degree, and the median household income was $72,355, and the average income was $97,000. Ms. Papai said from the recent Novi citizen survey the residents of Novi placed a high value on their quality of life. They expect high quality from both City services as well as the public schools. She said the public library was considered a quality of life issue, and last year the library circulated more than a half a million items. The survey found that 69% used the library or its services, and 49% considered themselves moderate users. Of the people who responded to the survey, 63% rated the quality of library service good to excellent. She was surprised that the collection and variety of materials was rated 18% excellent, 54% good, 23% fair and 7% poor. She said they were in a position at the Novi Public Library where the size of the collection was driven by the size of the building. Therefore, the collection was not as good as it should be. The shelves were so packed that staff would eventually be forced to remove books form the shelves to replace them with new books.
Ms. Papai said in the last ten years voters had approved new/expanded libraries in Farmington Hills, Southfield, West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Township, Redford, Milford, Northville, Plymouth and Canton. The demographics of these libraries were similar to Noviís. The Novi Library had the least square footage per resident of any of the peer libraries. They need more space for books, other media and improved technology. She said the Novi Library was not ADA compliant; there wasnít adequate seating, and they needed improved program and meeting areas. The proposal was to build 60,000 sq. ft. for todayís population. She noted there was a childrenís program last week and children were turned away because there was not enough space to house them and their parents. There was inadequate parking on asphalt so some people were parking on the lawn. Ms. Papai said these problems would only get worse. Since 2001 the Library Board had done their homework and done it well through their Strategic Planning Task Force, their Facilities Planning Committee, working with Fanning Howey, soliciting Plant Moranís assistance regarding financial impact and the residential phone survey that expanded on the National Citizens Survey that the City conducted. A recent telephone survey said 71% of residents agreed the library should be expanded and 78% indicated they would support the proposed millage increase. These were preliminary results, and when they had the report from the telephone survey they would be happy to come back and share it with Council. She said her role in this process was to serve as a community relations person, to talk about the educational aspects of this proposal with the community. Therefore, toward that end, she would be meeting with groups and individuals, and developing the educational materials to share with the residents. She said they would like to arrange tours of the library so people could see the constrained conditions they had. In short, her role would be to tell the libraryís story.
Mr. Czekaj stated they were looking at the library as a recreation and exercise of a somewhat quieter kind, that being intellectual for the mind. He said the library had not grown since 1976. He said they believed it culminated with what they saw with the menís cross country team.
There were academics and athletics and the library proposed to be a part of both. He said they looked to supplement the high achievements of the Novi Public School System as the library facilities at the schools were not open on the weekends or all hours of the day. They believed they had identified a need and provided some solutions to address that need, and asked the Councils consideration. He said they were looking for City Councilís authorization to the Library Board to go forward, formulate and prepare a presentation for a ballot review from the Council so they could get it certified for placement on the November 6, 2007 General Election. Mr. Czekaj noted they understood there was a tough task ahead of them and a long road to go. However, they also believed they were prepared for the challenge, and were asking for a positive recommendation from Council.
Member Gatt asked if they planned to expand the hours of the library. Mr. Czekaj replied not yet, but they were attempting to track usage of the library on an hour by hour basis and to identify who was using the library and when. He said to the extent that there was a need to extend the hours he was sure it would be given every consideration. Member Gatt strongly urged them to study that. He asked about the cafť. Mr. Czekaj responded it had been detailed as conceptual and there had been discussions about it. He said the reason for that was that while the pictures shown to Council geared itself towards childrenís programs, but they envisioned a library that serviced the needs and desires of those very young and those very old. They were not trying to exclude anyone from the library. Some libraries were doing this and the idea was a concept, and he suggested they look at it as a social magnet. Member Gatt noted he liked that idea and urged him to pursue it. Member Gatt said in 1976 the library was built to serve the public for years to come; no one dreamed that 30 years would go by and they would be so grossly out of space. He said having said that they were now looking at a 60,000 sq. ft. building that would probably not be adequate at build out, and build out was 20 years plus. He asked if the board had given consideration to doing the whole 90,000 sq. ft. now. Mr. Czekaj said there had been considerable discussion in regard to that. He said given the dollars that would be involved and that they were looking for a 20 year millage proposal to be paid off in 20 years, and based upon SEMCOG with a build out around 2030 it would take them a little past the 20 years. The idea was they would do their part now to bring it up to size today, and they believed it would more than satisfy existing and expected future needs moving towards 2030. He said they didnít want to be perceived as over building, and after 2030 there would be another day for that discussion.
Member Paul thanked the Library for a great presentation and for all the written material. She thanked Library Director Brenda Lussier for her years of service, hard work and effort for Novi. She said her leadership had been exemplary to all of her staff because her staff was absolutely fantastic. Member Paul also commended her for her programs, because with the program facility she had, it was amazing what she had produced. Member Paul noted that Ms. Lussier had come up with many programs over and over again for many ages and for all people in the community. Member Paul noted that she liked the library location where it was. The high school students could walk to the library, they didnít have to be picked up or shuttled, and it was amazing how many different people were using the computers. She thought 60,000 sq. ft. was great for now because if they went to 90,000 sq. ft. she thought it would be difficult to get their proposal approved because of the economy. Member Paul was still concerned about that and hoped they would be successful. She also supported placing this on the ballot. She supported the facility servicing all individuals and not having a senior center component because it would raise the cost about $4 million. She thought that would hurt them in this economy, and wanted the seniors to be a part of the library not a separate component to it.
Member Paul expressed her concern regarding who would push the ballot proposal forward, and felt the visual aids, knowledge and research they had done would help them. She cited how the schools helped sell their proposal and said they actually had facilities residents could look at; people could go into the library or into the school building and see what it would look like and how it would serve them. This helped sell it because 70% of the population was visual and visual learners needed to have visual aids. She was very hopeful that would help them be successful as well as getting all the people in the library, the people they served, the different materials, Friends of the Library, the library and all interested people in the community. She wished them luck and thanked them for a great presentation.
Member Nagy thanked the Library Board and the library staff. She thought the presentation was excellent and concurred with Member Paul regarding visual aids. She commended the library Director Brenda Lussier and the staff for keeping up with new technology, introducing new programs, and doing an excellent job. She was pleased to see there would be ADA compliance, and liked the idea of a cafť. She said The Friends of the Novi Library had been instrumental in raising funds for the library. She asked if they would have a room. Mr. Czekaj said yes. She asked about their effort to get out the vote and asked if they would have signage to vote for the Library Bond. Mr. Czekaj stated they would have a PAC or do whatever they could legally do to get the necessary funds to purchase the signs and take it from there. She agreed with the 60,000 sq. ft. size and asked if they would be able to add a second story in 15 or 20 years. Mr. Czekaj answered yes; the conceptual design had the infrastructure in place to house and hold a second story, elevator shafts, etc. He said if the time came, they would go up rather than out. He said 60,000 sq. ft. would keep it on one floor, would allow maximum usage of the existing staff, and hopefully would render the need to add a lot of staff null and void at this time. Once they went to the second story they would be almost doubling staff and operating expenses. He said they planned to use the Walker Fund for an operating endowment fund. She asked if the Library Board had done anything else to raise funds. She knew it was too late to do the matching funds, and asked if there had been more fund raising. Mr. Czekaj responded they were always fund raising but they had not had a concerted well publicized campaign such as the Walker campaign. Member Nagy said she would like to see more about energy efficiency incorporated into the new building, as well as whatever new energy efficient building products were available. She commended everyone for the presentation and hoped the community would embrace their ideas.
Member Mutch said the possibility of the library moving out during the renovation to allow the renovation to move forward at a faster pace was discussed in the report, and he asked if the Library Board had come to any conclusions about that, and if so how would it impact their costs. Mr. Czekaj responded they had not come to a conclusion to physically remove all the collection to a rented facility and do a tenant build out in that rented facility to conduct normal library operations off site. He stated they had estimated the cost would be almost $900,000. They were still working on the cost benefit analysis regarding how much time would be saved in terms of time on construction, which would translate to dollars. He said they didnít have a good feel regarding it at this time.
Member Mutch asked what the timeline would be if the millage passed. Mr. Czekaj said the time line was indicated as Mr. Asger pointed out. The construction costs and the estimate included somewhat of a delay in the project because it was 2006 when this was started. He said Mr. Asgerís numbers, anticipating the construction to come in early in 2008, were good until about this time in 2008, which would be two or three
months after the November election. Mr. Czekaj said while they had not finalized their plans, what was under consideration, was to start finalizing construction documents, plans, and construction bids. If all worked out well, and clearly there would be spending money required, and it would be a balancing act to decide what they spend now on the if come that things donít go their way. However, they believed from a time and money standpoint they had to do something. He said they would like to be in a position come November 2007, if successful, that they would have a relatively short mobilization period so they could hit that 2008 construction start date that Plante Moran pointed out.
Member Mutch asked what the timeframe of the actual construction would be. Mr. Czekaj replied 12 to 18 months depending on whether they close or move the library. Member Mutch said they were probably looking at 2009 and Mr. Czekaj agreed. Member Mutch asked if there would be a senior center component either in addition to the library or as part of the library proposal. Mr. Czekaj said no, at this point they believed the facility to be a library. He said the library was more than books and PCís, and they would like to see a social component to that. He said toward that end they hoped to design the facility in such a manner that it would accommodate the young and the seniors in a lot of different activities, and probably barring things like aerobics and exercise classes, etc. However, they believed the seniors would not only have the ability and the time to use the facility but the facility would be constructed in such a way that they would feel very comfortable there. The seniors could share it when others were using it. They realized they couldnít be all things to all people but believed they had a plan to meet a happy medium. So, it wonít be a senior center in the traditional sense but it would have a senior component. Member Mutch asked, in terms of the design, if there had been any discussion about designing the facility so that at some point down the road they could add on a separate senior center component. Mr. Czekaj said they were open to that but their focus was on getting a library up. However, if it made sense to build the facility to accommodate an expansion out the side, as a Library Board member, he felt he could speak on behalf of the board that they would be receptive to that as well. Member Mutch asked if they had concerns about the constraints of the site with having to fit in not only the building footprint but any parking, and as they grew outward they would use up the green space around the building. Mr. Czekaj said they had no issue about looking at that; however, their main charge and focus would be what was good for the library. He said parking would be an issue and if there was any discussion such as that, they would have to buttress that with the idea that they wanted to go to 90,000 sq. ft. or some Library Board and City Council might want to go to 90,000 sq. ft. in the future. He said there would be some real constraints on that kind of a concept. He reiterated that their focus was the Library first. He said their plan might not get a senior center, but they could certainly feel comfortable that seniors would be welcome in the facility.
Member Mutch said at the beginning of the presentation the question was asked "where do we go from here". He thought one of the problems last year, in addition to the timing of when the board came forward, was what they wanted Council to do. While this was not an agenda item for action, he thought they were looking for some sign from Council that they could start taking the necessary steps to put together a proposal. Then, in the near future, they would bring their actual ballot proposal. He thought they were asking for authorization to do all the leg work in terms of the legal, bond attorneys, etc. that would help them develop those numbers. They needed to get to the point that they could ask Council to take formal action. Member Mutch asked if that was accurate and what they were looking for this evening. Mr. Czekaj said yes, and they understood that in order to be on the November General Election ballot they would have to have the ballot proposal language certified by August. He said that would require them to have something before Council in June or July. Mr. Czekaj said their presentation was geared to seek Councilís support for what they needed to return to Council for purposes of achieving the November 2007 ballot proposal.
Member Mutch thought if they needed formal action from Council, it should be happening sooner rather than later. He said the more time Council could give them as a board, campaign committee, staff, volunteers and supporters to educate the voters on the specifics of what the proposal would be about the better. Member Mutch said they needed time to raise money, and to line up the groups and supporters to do all those things. He said personally, he would be expressing his support to move forward and would expect in short order they would return to Council with a formal request to make that happen, if needed before they could begin. Member Mutch said this was a two step process, which was to request permission to do it, do the work and then come back with a formal ballot proposal. If that was not how the process would happen some clarification would be appreciated but personally, as a Council member, he was willing to let them move forward. He didnít want to see them come back in August with a ballot proposal if they could do it a lot sooner. Mr. Czekaj said if it would be appropriate to make such a request from the podium tonight, they would love to do that. He suggested asking the City Attorney if it was appropriate. Member Mutch noted he served on the Library Board in the late 1990ís and even at that time the current facility was undersized. He said it was an eye opener when they received the first report from their library consultant who said the current facility was undersized. The consultant explained if the facility was built today to fit everything that was crammed into the library, it would be almost twice the size. Member Mutch said it was well past time then and should have been going on 15 years ago. He said he would support moving this forward. However, one of the things he would emphasize was that he knew it was easy to make analogies talking about the pizza, cable bill, etc. but urged them to be careful because sometimes it minimized the value of what they were offering. He thought to sell this proposal in todayís economy with economic challenges, such as Pfizer closing down their facility in Ann Arbor in the next 1Ĺ years and thousands of people, possibly Novi residents, would be out of work looking for new jobs and opportunities. He thought they needed to emphasize the reasonable costs of this and the value people would get from the library. He thought they needed to talk about the library as an investment in the community. He said it was not just that they could go to the library and get a book without paying $20 at Borders for it. He said they would be investing in services, programs, and facilities that would benefit the entire community. He said obviously with 800 people using the library daily, those were the people who would personally benefit from those services. However, he thought even for people who do not use the library it was an important investment. Member Mutch said there had been a lot of talk about the senior component and services to seniors. He said he saw library patrons everyday from young children through all ages to seniors, and a lot of the services seniors wanted from a library were the same services everybody else wanted. They want books, magazine, CDís, DVDís and Internet access. He said some of the biggest computer users are seniors. Seniors also grew up with library services as a traditional part of their community experience, and they expected to have the whole range of library services.
Member Mutch said they should recognize that senior citizens would be some of their biggest supporters, and would obviously have concerns about costs because of their fixed incomes.
However, he felt they recognized the value of library services to the community, and in some ways more than other resident groups. He said he had been supportive all along and would continue to support doing whatever they could at the library because the need was obvious. He said this was the time to move forward on it.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if Council could take action if they wanted to move forward at this time. Mr. Schultz stated it was not a typical thing to do under presentations but it was permitted. Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if they had discussed bond counsel. Mr. Czekaj said conceptually yes, they had talked about Miller Canfield and Bendzinski as the financial advisor. Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if the board was comfortable with that. He thought the board was but they were seeking input from Council on that issue as well. Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked Mr. Schultz if they just needed to authorize proceeding with the preparation of the resolution or do they have to retain bond counsel and financial advisor. If so, do they need to name them or could they come back to Council with additional information. Mr. Schultz said the determination of who to use was Councils. He said regarding what they needed to do tonight would depend on what they would like to do. If Council thought they had enough information from the last couple of rounds to identify bond counsel, he thought they should do that as they prepare the ballot question and would need the assistance of the financial consultant. Mr. Schultz said in order to prepare the language they would have to identify those people. If they wanted to do it tonight, that would be fine, and if they wanted to direct staff to present Council with their choices at a subsequent meeting that would be fine too.
CM-07-01-110 Moved by Capello, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To authorize the Library Board to proceed with the preparation of the resolution, placement of the bond issue on the 2007 General Election Ballot in the amount of $16 million, and to retain Miller Canfield as bond counsel and the Bendzinski firm as the financial advisor.
Mayor Landry asked if the motion needed to approve the Library Board with counsel formulating ballot language and bringing it back to Council for final approval. Mr. Schultz replied all the motion needed to do was authorize the services of Miller Canfield and Bendzinski to prepare ballot language and material and come back to City Council. He said that would be enough for this first step. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said that was his intent.
Mr. Pearson said for clarification, he envisioned they would solicit proposals from those two firms to provide that service and put them on a Council Consent Agenda after discussing it with the Library staff. He said agreement would be needed between those two firms.
Mr. Schultz said as he understood the motion it was not Councilís intent to solicit bids. These are professional services, and Council was permitted to identify who they wanted to speak with first.
Mayor Landry read a letter into the record from Member Margolis.
"To the City Council, Library Board and City residents.
I apologize for not being present for the Library Boards presentation to City Council this evening. Unfortunately, I was scheduled to be out of town this week over two months ago. I did, however, want to be sure to express my support for the proposal to place the Library Bond issue on the November ballot. Since much of the planning for the new facility took place during my tenure on the Library Board, and I served on both the Strategic Planning Task Force and the Facilities Planning Task Force, I am very familiar with the background on this issue.
The plan you are proposing is well thought out and was developed with a wide range of community input. Due to space constraints the Novi Public Library does not fully meet the needs of our community, and I believe it is now time for the community to have the opportunity to vote on a well thought out reasonable proposal to build a library that Novi can be proud of for years to come.
I would also like to draw attention to the work that the Library Board has done to ensure the future operation of the library. When bond issues are placed on the ballot the question often arises as to the effect of the larger facility on operating costs. This board took a proactive step on this issue. They studied, with the help of financial professionals, the effect of a larger facility on operating dollars, and rather than ignore the issue or ask for an increase in operating millage they have developed and implemented a plan to use the endowment created by the Walker Fund to ensure that operating costs are covered well into the future. This proposal is a limited term bond for building costs only. As both contributors to the Walker Fund and as Novi taxpayers, my husband and I are pleased that our money is being used in such a thoughtful and fiscally responsible way. As many know when the library came to the Council last year I was not in favor of placing this issue on the ballot in November 2006. I have always thought that the library may have only one chance to pass a ballot proposal and I did not want to see it defeated. I was concerned at that time about the libraryís ability to build the type of relationships in the community that I believe are critical to the success of any election campaign.
Since the last presentation to the Council there have been positive changes made and the Library Board has worked to increase the community support through collaboration and cooperation with the City and other entities. They have begun working on building relationships in the community and have developed a plan to enhance community support. While, because I am not present I cannot vote on this proposal tonight, please note that the Library Board has my wholehearted support for this initiative. I would be happy to work with you to pass the proposal and I will certainly be voting yes next November if the Council places the proposal on the ballot."
Mayor Landry stated he was wholeheartedly in support of placing this on the ballot and building a new library. He hoped the bond passed because he thought it was necessary.
Mayor Landry thought the Library Board did a wonderful job of presenting this. He commended the Library Board on their openness. When the City approached the Library Board about looking into the possibility of the library having a specific senior component, they unanimously agreed to explore that. Unfortunately, the necessary majority of Council could not be mustered to do so. However, he didnít want any resident to think that this Library Board in any way was opposed to that. He said he would hate for any resident to think that this proposed library did not have a specific senior component because the board didnít support it. He said they did support looking into it, which was all Council asked. Mayor Landry said the Library Board had always been supportive of the seniors using the library and a senior component.
Roll call vote on CM-07-01-110 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry
Mayors Pro Tem Capello said he was looking forward to seeing which governmental entitywould be responsible for construction or overseeing construction, and who would be the general contractor, construction manager, and architect representative. He said in Mr. Schultzís memo he had made reference to a couple different entities, and he didnít want to see a lot of overlapping of services or for it to be bogged down. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said they didnít have to come back to Council unless they wanted to. He asked that they send a memo to Mr. Pearson for Council packets as he would be interested to see the structure they were putting together. Mr. Czekaj said they would have something and would be happy to share it with Council once they knew what it would be.
Member Nagy realized there were many boards prior to this board and she wanted to thank all those past board members for their efforts. She saw past members Ms. Krieger, Member Mutch, Kathy Mutch and Mr. Chambers and said they had done a great job and thanked them. She said if they presented it to the residents the way it was presented to Council, she felt they would be as positive about it as Council was. Mr. Czekaj thanked her for acknowledging those who came before them because they had done a lot along with the Friends of Novi and many other people.
4. Parks Naming Rights Ė Jay Dooley, Parks Commissioner
Mr. Dooley, Chairperson of the Novi Naming Rights Committee, said he was asked to sit on that committee in November of 2006, and was present to tell Council about today and the future of Novi Naming Rights. Mr. Dooley believed there was a three step process to make this project work. The first step was talking about the project and he felt the Parks Foundation had done a good job talking about the project to date. The second step was implementing the project and the third step was executing the project. Mr. Dooley said they were in the implementation stage of the Novi Naming Rights project. He said he had asked the board members of the Novi Parks Foundation to be the Chairperson of a small committee of three members of the board. He was proposing they do the implementing, and that meant crafting a detail, crafting a presentation with key and salient bullet points outlining what the Parks Foundation was trying to do with the Naming Rights. He said it was a very worthwhile project and effort, but from this point forward everything needed to be consistent. They were then planning to go to the businesses they had communicated with consistently in this implementation stage. Mr. Dooley said as they moved forward the execution of the project was getting these local businesses in Novi and surrounding areas to be a part of the Naming Rights. He didnít have a presentation but pledged to each Council member that in subsequent meetings when he stood in front of them he would be the person they could come to and talk with individually, and he would be more than happy to tell them about subsequent execution of this plan. He said he was present to talk about Naming Rights only from the Parks Foundation. Mr. Dooley explained that communication was important and he planned to present quarterly updates to the City Council.
Member Nagy said one of her concerns was with regard to the Naming Rights as approved by Council in 2005, and that Council was told the $100,000 would be paid by 2006. She was curious as to what was happening. She appreciated the three steps that would be implemented, and thought it was a good business plan because that was what Naming Rights were really about. Member Nagy looked forward to quarterly reports, if possible. Mr. Dooley thanked Member Nagy for her flexibility. He noted he was a big believer in communication and believed he had to do a very good job with the City Council as well as the citizens of Novi to really start to implement what the Naming Rights project was all about. Mr. Dooley offered to meet with any member of Council individually, and if they would like him to present monthly updates before Council he was willing to do so. He was also willing to do quarterly updates. Member Nagy thought quarterly would suffice. She thought because of his presentation and his demeanor he would be very successful with Noviís business people. She wished him and the Parks Foundation luck, and said she appreciated the Parks Foundation and its efforts to help Novi and the Parks and Recreation program.
Member Mutch asked Mr. Dooley to touch on, for residents who were not familiar with the details of the Naming Rights program, what kind of Naming Rights opportunities he was currently working on that Council could expect to see in the near future. Mr. Dooley said there was a local business that would be on the Consent Agenda next week that had agreed to be a part of the Naming Rights. He showed Council a brochure and said this stands for so much. He looked at the symbol "Get in the Game, You Name It" and it was a beautiful symbol. Mr. Dooley said Naming Rights meant giving something back to the community. There were many different venues in Novi that a local business could take advantage of to actually put their Naming Rights as a representation that they are giving something back to the community by being a member of the Parks Foundation and the Naming Rights. Member Mutch said he was hoping Mr. Dooley could offer a couple of specific examples in terms of what kind of things they would be looking at that were going to be named in terms of when they would see these come to fruition. Mr. Dooley said there were many local venues in Novi. Naming Rights could be a part of the Community Sports Center, the various playgrounds, Power Park and the ball fields where a local business could take advantage of having signage for Naming Rights. He said also park benches and various items that people use every day in this City. Mr. Dooley said the local businesses would have the opportunity to have Naming Rights front and center at that particular venue. Member Mutch thanked him for coming forward. He said the focus now was on "big ticket" kinds of opportunities. He wanted to get the program going and do a couple of those highly visible Naming Rights opportunities to help get the ball rolling and make people aware and interested in this program. Member Mutch hoped that long term they didnít lose site that there was a whole group of donors who fall into that mid-level range such as a memorial for someone who had passed away or a smaller business, park bench some of those smaller facilities that they might see. He said they obviously wouldnít be naming a ball field or a facility. He thought there was a whole range of people who would be willing to donate towards that Naming Rights opportunity if it was available. Mr. Dooley asked Member Mutch to call him and he would get him started on that.
Member Paul thanked Mr. Dooley, who she knew personally as her daughterís soccer coach for many years. She said he was on the Parks Foundation and Naming Rights, and served on the Parks and Recreation Commission. She wanted the community to know there were so many opportunities to volunteer, and he was one volunteer who was rather new to Novi and volunteering for a commission. She said as a coach he had been there tried and true with all the parent concerns. She said she was looking forward to all the things he would be doing as well as his Board and Commission, and the Foundation. Member Paul shared that she went to a park recently in Northville where there was a pacifier tree, which was for the really little kids. She said the kids have a pacifier they actually put on the tree and the Moms from the daycare donated the tree. She said there were other trees or benches that were donated to the parks in memory of a loved one.
Mayor Landry thanked Mr. Dooley and said they would look forward to reports from the Parks Naming Rights.
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE - None
2. CITY MANAGER
Mr. Pearson noted people were looking forward to Mayor Landryís State of the City address at Rock Financial Showplace on Thursday, January 25, 2007 at noon. He said the City was hosting this presentation and there would be a lunch so reservations were required and the cost was $20.00 to cover the Cityís cost. There would be a repeat performance of the State of the City address by Mayor Landry at 9:00 am Saturday, January 27th at the Civic Center, along with the annual Homeowners Leadership Breakfast. The various City departments would also have tables set up with information about their department.
3. DEPARTMENTAL - None
4. ATTORNEY - None
Rick Watkins, 24738 Christina Lane, 29 year resident and secretary of Cedar Springs Estates Homeowners Association 1 & 2. He noted he was present to represent his homeowners association regarding Matters for Council Action Part I, Item 2, which was a TCO for a three-way Stop Sign at Christina Lane and Concord Drive or one-way Stop Sign on eastbound Concord Drive, and was seeking Councilís support regarding this. He said the purpose for the three-way stop was to reduce a speeding issue that had existed for 26 years. He noticed on the agenda that a one-way Stop Sign was an option, and felt that it should have gone up before now.
Patrick Brunett, was present speaking on behalf of the Friends of the Novi Library and was speaking in support of the library issue. He said the Friends of Novi had been in existence for about 46 years. In 1960 the Friends were instrumental in getting the first library on Novi Road established. He said they repaired and painted the building, knocked on doors to raise money for books, and then staffed the library for the first few years until there was a millage for a staff. Mr. Brunett said in 1974 when the Ten Mile Road library was built the Friends again, on a voluntary basis, helped with the fundraising and helped move from the old library to the new library. He said they stayed over the years in their mission which was to support library
facilities sufficient for the citizens of Novi. Friends of the Library had grown over the years and in the last five years they had grown from 40 members to over 300 and were still growing. They presently conduct or support about 20 separate activities on behalf of the library, work closely with the Library Board, attend their meetings and the Friends of Novi meetings. He said they were also on a couple of the working committees for the Library Board, and they had participated on the Strategic Planning Committee and the Facilities Planning Committee. Mr. Brunett said those efforts confirmed earlier studies that said a library of sufficient size in the locality it was in was needed. They had assisted in publicity with the Walker Fund and gave almost $30,000 as a contribution to that fund, which was matched. He said they felt very much a part of the library and what was to come as the library was expanded. He said they were disappointed that deadlines were missed in the past to start this project but saw in the current board the commitment, skills and knowledge to carry the library construction project to a successful conclusion. He said the board could not do it alone. He knew from experience from 2001 when the last election took place Councilís support and approval was essential. He said Councilís support and partnership in this project would be crucial to their success. He said Council had already exhibited that this would be a City project as well as a library project by Councilís action tonight in approving the Library Board going ahead with their actions leading to a ballot proposal. He said they would be concerned about who the bond counsel was, who the construction manager was, and further the 800 daily library patrons translated into over a quarter of a million people a year. He said they came tonight requesting three actions and Council had already taken one. Mr. Brunett said they were asking the Council to further signal to the public their support for this project by adopting the Library goal as the Council goal in the budget documents, capitol improvements program, or wherever it was possible. He requested they highlight the library as a priority among all the goals they had before them. Mr. Brunett asked that they continue the enthusiastic support shown tonight in advocating for this project in the many contacts Council had with the public. He addressed Mayor Landry and said they thought his State of the City address on Thursday was the perfect opportunity to highlight the needs of the library and his support in moving this forward.
Mr. Brunett said the Friends would continue to work with the Library Board and support the project, and participate in the library meetings and committees. He said they were committed to supporting the millage campaign in any way they could. They were looking forward to working with the Library Board and Council in this important project.
Patti Barr, 41614 Kenilworth Lane, 20 year resident, President of the Novi Lions Club and was present representing the Novi Lions. She said they were present because of their concerns with amendments to the Ordinance in Chapter 26 Peddlers and Solicitors. This would be addressed by Council tonight under Matters for Council Action Part I, Item 4. She said they collected 50% of their budget in April during White Cane week and in Novemberís Candy Cane Days. She said the amendment would limit them to one time per year and they were requesting two. Ms. Barr said the amendment limit was for 5 days and they preferred two weekends with the option of working the week days in between. They were concerned about the two intersection restriction as they were all volunteers and if they had an abundance of volunteers they wanted to be able to put them to work. Ms. Barr said they were also concerned with how they could display on their person an 81/2" by 11" permit. She said they werenít against it but were concerned about the reflective vest as they didnít work at dusk or dawn. She said the vests would cover their ID and for the visual effect they liked to wear their bright blue jackets that say Novi Lions, and they also have bright yellow aprons with the Lions emblem. She said they were very clearly identified and were concerned the vest would stop that. The amendment also said they could be ordered to leave by a public official employee or police officer, and they requested that it be a police officer because they would be very clearly identifiable. Ms. Barr said they would also like to see one organization on the street at a time, and if possible limit it to local organizations. She said they gave away 100% of their funds to the visually impaired and to the community, as well as provided eye glasses and exams to local residents. They had also furnished a room at the police station and annually granted scholarships to Novi High School seniors. They had donated multiple materials to the library including an early literacy program to help children with visual impairment read. She said they want to cooperate with the City and would be willing and happy to meet with anyone to elaborate on their needs.
J.R. Atiyeh, Chairman of the Greater Novi Chamber of Commerce, was present representing the Chamber regarding the helistop being requested by the ITC Corporation. Mr. Atiyeh said they would like to see that approved because it was a great company. He said they checked them out and they felt it was a company that this community should definitely welcome. He said the development they want to put in was fabulous. Also, he understood the need for the Peddlers and Solicitors Ordinance but hoped Council would address Ms. Barrís concerns because he felt they had some very valid points. Mr. Atiyeh said they were also interested in seeing an addition or amendment to the budget for an Economic Development Manager for obvious reasons.
Adam Valentine, senior at Novi High School and member of the soccer and wrestling teams as well as a representative of Student Council. He felt like he stood for students and athletes alike and was glad to see that the Council was in support of the new library as he wished he could have used such a facility when he was a freshman or sophomore. He thought the library would help the education of all students and would also help the transition from high school to college. Mr. Valentine said he went to many libraries, such as the Wixom and Northville libraries, when he was looking for work. He said those were outstanding libraries and were almost brand new, and were not only places that he wanted to work but places he wanted to be at. He said they were libraries that he wanted to learn and bring his books, friends, classmates and peers to study with and he saw the new Novi Library as such a place. He said he might not represent every student when saying it was a place he wanted to learn and continue his education. However, it was definitely a place where more students could be brought in and some might grow an excitement for learning and continuing passion for school like he has.
Gary Gudes, member of the Friends of Novi, Library Board, member of the Historical Commission, and a 30 year resident. Mr. Gudes said he was in support of the library and they prided themselves on the schools and library, and a lot of people want to move to Novi for the schools. He said we all pride ourselves on being a first class City and a first class City needed a first class library.
Kamal Yechoor, 25518 Dogwood Lane, senior at Novi High School and student representative to the Library Board was present to speak as a youth concerned about our City, and a member of the student population. He thanked Council for their efforts and help to support a new library as he thought it was very important for the City and for the students. He felt it was very important for students to have a library to go to after school with their friends, work on group projects, chill out, do homework and study together. He said the current library didnít provide a friendly environment for them to do that. Mr. Yechoor said around 3 or 4 pm on a week day 10 to 15 students are on the floor because there was not enough desk space or tables to accommodate them. Many times the computers were unavailable due to the high traffic they get, sometimes an open computer could not be found that could be used for longer than an hour to do a project and they would be forced to go to each others homes or other libraries. He was glad that Council made the decision to support the new library.
David Staudt, 23715 Nilan, was present representing the Economic Development Corporation and the EDC voted unanimously at a past meeting to support the Library Bond issue. They also support strongly the authorization of the budget amendment which included the EDC Manager position. Finally, they also supported the request of ITC this evening.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS AND APPROVALS (See items A-J)
CM-07-01-09 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the Consent Agenda as presented.
Roll call vote on CM-07-01-011 Yeas: Gatt, Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello
A Approve Minutes of:
B. Approval to award a contract to Selectron Technologies Professional Services to install an Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS), a sole source company, to be used for the 24 hour inspection service for the Building Department in the amount of $67,483.
C. Approval of renewal of Pawnbroker and Precious Items Dealer Licenses requested by Weinstein Jewelers, 42400 Grand River Avenue, Suite 104.
D. Acceptance of Beck North Corporate Park Phase II Water Main and Sanitary Sewer as public utilities.
E. Resolution for Changing MERS Benefits for the General Teamster Division 11, pursuant to the recently adopted contract.
F. Approval of secondary emergency water connection to Country Cousins Mobile Home Park with the City of Farmington Hills.
G. Acceptance of Summerlin of Novi condominium site water main and sanitary sewer as public utilities.
H. Acceptance of two Conservation Easements for Tuscany Reserve, located on the north side of Eight Mile Road between Garfield Road and Beck Road.
I. Approval of Affidavit for Interest in Real Property to revise the exhibit recorded with the Pump Station Easement for the Country Place Sanitary Sewer Pump Station (parcel 50-22-35-400-005).
J. Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 737
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part I
1. Consideration of the requests of Joe Bennett of ITC Transmission Company for the following:
a) A helistop location proposed on the campus of the ITC Transmission Company Headquarters, associated with Site Plan 06-61,
b) A waiver of the Section 15-21(g) of the Fire Prevention Code, in the Code of Ordinances to allow the use of access control gates.
The subject property is located on 83.63 acres in Section 13, south of Twelve Mile between Haggerty Road and the M-5 Connector, in the OST, Planned Office Service Technology District.
Joe Bennett of ITC was on the team to build their new headquarters in Novi. He said ITC was currently located in Novi on Orchard Hill Place. He said they had been in Novi for four years and had enjoyed being a part of the Novi community and would like to stay. Mr. Bennett said they are a very rapidly growing electric utility, which began four years ago with 38 employees and there were now 230 employees and many more contractors who supported the ITC operation 100%. He said the employee count was much higher than 230 when all the contractors were included. In October of 2006 they purchased Michigan Electric Transmission Co., which was an electric utility on the west side of the state, and a part of the reason for their rapid growth. It also meant they owned and controlled the majority of the transmission system in lower Michigan. He said they had recently entered into an agreement to acquire the transmission assets of Interstate Power and Light Co., which would give them facilities in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota and would certainly add to the employees housed in Novi. Mr. Bennett said their business was in operating, maintaining, and investing in high voltage transmission systems. The high voltage transmission system was the method used to move the bulk power over long distances at large voltages basically from the generation to the distribution utilities. He said they do not own generation or distribution utilities used to service residential customers as those are still the typical Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison. He said they were the middleman in between those large transmission lines on the metal structures or very large poles and they were typically theirs. They also owned a number of sub-stations like the one on the site that they were proposing in Novi. He said to ensure that power was available to customers it was important that the transmission assets stay in operation at all times. However, if they fail for any reason they should be brought back into service very quickly. The employees that would be working out of this location would be the ones responsible for ensuring the integrity and reliability of these transmission assets on a daily basis. He said because of the critical nature of the work the employees do they needed to ensure that the building and the site remained secure at all times, which was why they were asking for Councilís consideration on the waiver of the access control gates.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said good reasons were given for the helistop and for the reasons set forth in the packet, and the administrative and consultant review letters, he found that the requirements of Section 2508.6 of the ordinance had been met.
CM-07-01-012 Moved by Capello, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the helistop located at the ITC Transmission Campus pursuant to SP 06-61.
Member Paul said she was thrilled that were coming forward. She said businesses like this were exactly what all of their Council goals were supportive of. She said they welcomed them and that the building was beautiful. However, she needed to ask why the traffic review would not recommend approval for the plan.
Ms. McBeth said there were a couple of bits of information that the staff was looking for in terms of the access control gates, and she thought that was what Member Paul was referencing. Member Paul asked if that had all been taken care of and Ms. McBeth said yes, it was specifically related to the site plan and the Planning Commission did approve the site plan at their December 13th meeting. She said they were currently addressing the issues with the final site plan. Member Paul asked if they had to have anything about Councilís approval allowing the building to be 115 feet. Ms. McBeth said not in this case because the Planning Commission was able to approve the site plan. The City Council was asked tonight to review the helistop and the access control gates. Member Paul said she would completely support it and would vote yes on the motion.
Member Mutch said in the minutes of the Planning Commission there were a number of residents who lived in the adjacent Country Cousins Mobile Home Park who expressed concerns about noise from over flight. He said Mr. Bennett had indicated there would no more than one flight a day coming into the facility, and asked if that was accurate. Mr. Bennett said thatís pure speculation but in his opinion that was on the high side. He said the helicopter would be used mainly for their CEO to take people on tours of their lines, and it might be used occasionally for an emergency situation where they needed to get employees to and from the site. He said the usage would be minimal. Mr. Bennett thought the other issue they had was that the FAA regulations required unimpeded access at 90% so they would have to fly in in the opposite direction of the mobile home park. Member Mutch said then they expected to fly in over the interchange into the facility, and Mr. Bennett agreed. Member Mutch questioned the adjacency to the transmission lines and the towers. He said whoever was flying the helicopter would have to be very skilled to fly into a small spot. However, he wanted to know if there were any FAA requirements to do lighting, strobe lighting or red flashing lighting on their towers because of the proximity of that landing location. Mr. Bennett said since the flight path doesnít take it over that path he didnít think they would need to.
Tim Melvin, architect, said there would be lighting around the helistop itself and a windsock in the area, but other than that there were no other specific lighting requirements. Member Mutch said there was a tower in Northville that they had to put a strobe light on and it could be seen all the way to Novi and obviously that would be of concern for adjacent residential. However, it sounded like there would be no requirements for something like that. Mr. Melvin said they were in the process of submitting to the FAA, and unfortunately the gentleman they had been working with just retired so they are waiting for a replacement to be made and then they would review the package. He said they would find out at that point, if they require any additional lighting. He said on the plans submitted to Planning showed all the ground lighting, and there was no building lighting at this time. Member Mutch addressed staff through administration and said he was assuming that approval would be subject to any FAA requirements.
Mr. Pearson said the FAA would implement their own standards. Member Mutch said that was fine. He thought the applicant had addressed all the concerns the residents expressed, and he looked forward to seeing the new facility moving forward.
Member Nagy thought they had done a wonderful job and had been very sensitive to the wetlands in the area. She said she appreciated their explanation of the helicopter flight pattern, and thought this was a beautiful building, and she would support the motion.
Roll call vote on CM-07-01-012 Yeas: Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he had reviewed the packet and found that in the consultant and administrative review letters there was sufficient grounds to grant a waiver of Section 15-21( g) of the Fire Prevention Code to allow the use of access control gates shown on the site plan and this motion would be subject to the additional information that the City had asked the applicant to provide relative to those gates.
CM-07-01-013 Moved by Capello, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To grant a waiver of Section 15-21( g) of the Fire Prevention Code to allow the use of access control gates shown on the site plan. This motion would be subject to the additional information that the City had asked the applicant to provide relative to those gates.
Member Mutch said the Fire and Police Department letters requested additional information, and he assumed approval would be subject to that. He asked if the access for police and fire would also accommodate EMS. Mr. Bennett said they met with the Fire and Police Departments today and addressed their concerns and obviously they would have to incorporate into their plans exactly what they wanted to see and they wanted to see Knox Boxes so they could get in. He said they would also have a 24 hour guard staff that would open up the gates and be ready for emergency response vehicles but in the event that they could not obtain entry the Fire Department would have Knox Boxes to get in. He said that didnít address his concern with the EMS but he said there would be staff there to allow them in. If the Fire Department arrived first they would already be in and the gates would remain open and the gates would not be locked behind them. Member Mutch said he would be looking to the Fire Chief to coordinate that to make sure everyone was on the same page.
Fire Chief Smith said at 2 PM today they had met on the site plan and approved the equipment they would use for the gates, and also approved the operations that would take place under emergency conditions. He said they had not only one backup plan but had a second and third backup plan to allow access for emergency vehicles for the site. Chief Smith said based on the meeting today they proposed that the Fire Department would leave personnel at the gate after they went through to ensure that Community EMS would have access to the site.
Member Nagy asked Deputy Chief Lindberg if he was in concurrence. Deputy Chief Lindberg responded he was. She said she would support the motion.
Roll call vote on CM-07-01-013 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Mutch
2. Approval of Traffic Control Order 07-01 for the installation of a three-way Stop Sign at Christina Lane and Concord Drive as requested by the Cedarspring Estates I & II Board of Directors, or a one-way Stop Sign on eastbound Concord Drive as recommended by OHMís traffic analysis.
CM-07-01-014 Moved by Paul, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve a three-way Stop Sign at Christina Lane and Concord Drive.
Member Mutch said he would support the request of the homeowners association but thought from an engineering standpoint that as a City they needed to start looking at traffic calming alternatives. He said Christina Lane was a perfect example and obviously a street designed to function as more of a thoroughfare rather than a residential road. Member Mutch was not sure a stop sign at that location would have the desired effect of slowing down traffic. He thought in locations like this they would need something more substantial and down the road that was something they should look at. However, for the immediate proposal he would support it. He said they needed more tools in their toolbox to address some of these traffic issues as this was the second one in a couple meetings, and he was sure more would come forward in the future.
Roll call vote on CM-07-01-014 Yeas: Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Mutch, Nagy
3. Consideration of request from Benedettos Steakhouse, LLC to transfer ownership of 2006 B-Hotel licensed business with dance-entertainment permit, located at 27000 Sheraton, Novi, MI 48377, Oakland County, from Novi Hotel Fund Limited Partnership (an Oklahoma Limited Partnership); Ira S. Auslander, successor receiver to Benedettos Steakhouse, LLC (step 2).
CM-07-01- Moved by Nagy, seconded by, MOTION DIED FOR LACK OF SECOND
To approve request from Benedettos Steakhouse, LLC to transfer ownership of 2006 B-Hotel licensed business with dance-entertainment permit, located at 27000 Sheraton, Novi, MI 48377, Oakland County, from Novi Hotel Fund Limited Partnership (an Oklahoma Limited Partnership); Ira S. Auslander, successor receiver to Benedettos Steakhouse, LLC (step 2).
Ira Auslander, successor receiver for Benedettos Steakhouse, was present along with petitioner Frank Asmar. Mr. Auslander said Friday evening they received two reports, one from the City Fire Department and one from the Novi Police Department indicating that there were concerns with the transfer of the license to Mr. Asmar. He said they were concerned with that, and they were facing a lot of restraints trying to get the license transferred, get the sale through and to complete the transfer of ownership on the hotel. He said obviously it was an important issue to the City, being a 220 room hotel, and was something they wanted to get completed. Mr. Auslander said he had not talked with the Fire Department but had talked with Mr. Asmar. He said their concern was to bring the fire alarm system up to code, plans were submitted but were apparently rejected. He said there had been meetings with the Fire Department but he didnít know how far along with that they were. He said the only thing the Police Department seemed to indicate was several fines were levied over Mr. Asmar over a 30 year period under prior licenses all related to serving minors. He said none of those were Mr. Asmar personally. He said unfortunately these things occur when running an establishment that served alcohol and had employees.
Member Gatt said unfortunately these things occur; seven liquor control violations in a short period of time. He stated he could not support a liquor license transfer based on the Police Departments investigation and their finding of these seven different violations. Member Gatt said they donít just occur in most of the establishments in the City, and certainly when they do occur they donít occur to that extent. Mr. Auslander said there were six and that was not something they were proud of, and they were over a period of 30 years and involved several different establishments. Member Gatt said the Police Department also said "the applicants inability to provide a comprehensive list of previously owned liquor establishments." Member Gatt said based on that he could not support this transfer.
Member Paul said she was in concurrence with Member Gatt.
Member Mutch said some of these violations did go back twenty years. He recognized that when there are multiple businesses that from their perspective they wanted Council to understand that a lot of traffic had gone through these locations. He said some of them go back to 1986, and there might be some consideration for that. However, Member Mutch said from his perspective, he had three big problems with this request. He said one was a fairly current violation in Novi for a sale to a minor, which made this a huge concern. He said some of these liquor license violations might be considered minimal kinds of things or technical violations. However, this was a serious violation. He said another problem that they, as a Council, would have with a request like this was the lack of information. He said when an applicant was unable to provide a complete record for the Police Department to review; there could be 100 violations out there. He said maybe this was the extent of it but Council didnít know that, and without any other documentation to substantiate that it put Council in a position where they had no choice but to come to this conclusion. He said obviously the Fire Department issue was one that had to be addressed, and he viewed the Fire Department as an issue that could probably be resolved in short order. He felt that they had put Council in a position where they had no choice on this without any other information he thought they had to come to a decision to deny the request.
Mr. Auslander said he was first made aware of this around 4 PM on Friday. He said he talked with Detective Boody today, and they couldnít provide the information needed today but probably would before the end of the week. He indicated that the last violation that was shown was under his watch and not under Mr. Asmarís. He said it didnít occur under his license because Mr. Auslander was holding the license as the receiver of the establishment. It was not something that he did, and Mr. Auslander didnít want that to reflect poorly on Mr. Asmar. He said he could understand the concerns of the Council and the Fire and Police Departments. However, he would ask Council to consider tabling this and giving them the opportunity to meet with the Police Department and address their concerns regarding the violations. He said they would get a complete report from the LCC, and the LCC had given preliminary approval in light of all of these things. The only thing pending now was the City of Noviís approval.
Mr. Pearson said the comment about finding out the information was a theme throughout the investigation. He said that was not a new request throughout the Police Department once the application was received. He said as far as the State was concerned his understanding was they would rely upon the Cityís review of this. He said they were really looking at the Council as this was their transfer request before this body. The State is a different kind of review and he didnít think that would fare with this review of the Police Department.
Member Mutch asked Deputy Chief Lindberg considering the information he had today and letís say Council tabled this action, and the applicant provided the additional information and there were no additional violations, would he be comfortable giving a positive recommendation.
Deputy Chief Lindberg said he would have to see the end result but his suspicion would be no. Member Mutch said he wanted to give everyone a fair shot but if the record is what it is then he would vote to deny this. He didnít want the applicant to waste his time, and said obviously they needed to work out an alternative plan that addressed all the concerns that have been expressed. He could not support this with the negative recommendations and the information Council had.
Member Nagy said initially she spoke too soon and she apologized. She said she would like to be fair but would like to see additional information. However, when the Deputy Police Chief answered the way he did she didnít think she would support a postponement. She said she had to rely on not only what was in the document but also the Deputy Chief who was very thorough and good at his job. She said if there was a motion to postpone she would not support it.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said it looked like all of the liquor violations had to do with running a party store and not a restaurant. He thought running a party store and running a restaurant were two different types of businesses. His concern was that a party store would have less employees to manage and monitor and they still had this many violations. The hotel would have a lot of different waitresses and bartenders, which would be a whole different scope of management. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said looking at their history, he didnít know if they could manage and supervise that many people and not sell to minors. He stated he could not approve this license for them tonight, and for him to approve a license he would have to see some proof of education and training that Mr. Asmar had gone through so he could train his employees on how to check ID and not serve minors.
CM-07-01-015 Moved by Paul, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To deny request from Benedettos Steakhouse, LLC to transfer Ownership of 2006 B-Hotel licensed business with dance-entertainment permit, located at 27000 Sheraton, Novi, MI 48377,
Oakland County, from Novi Hotel Fund Limited Partnership (an Oklahoma Limitied Partnership); Ira S. Auslander, successor receiver to Benedettos Steakhouse, LLC for reason that there are seven documented violations, the applicants inability to provide a comprehensive list of previously owned liquor establishments, the negative law enforcement recommendation, and the lack of support from the Fire Department.
Mr. Schultz requested that the maker of the motion consider adding a couple of references from the ordinance. One is just generally the negative law enforcement recommendation, and the Fire Departmentís recommendation.
Mayor Landry asked Mr. Auslander if he was the receiver, and he said he was. Mayor Landry said that was his role and he was selling this business as the receiver and trying to find a purchaser. Mr. Auslander said he was correct.
Roll call vote on CM-07-01-015 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Mutch, Nagy, Paul
4. Consideration of Ordinance 07-40.06, an ordinance to amend the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 26, "Peddlers, Solicitors and Transient Merchants" in order to clarify the provisions relating to non-commercial solicitations and the standards for granting a permit for such solicitation. First Reading
CM-07-01-016 Moved by Capello, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve Ordinance 07-40.06, an ordinance to amend the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 26, "Peddlers, Solicitors and Transient Merchants" in order to clarify the provisions relating to non-commercial solicitations and the standards for granting a permit for such solicitation, First Reading, with a directive to the City Attorney to take into account the comments of the Lions Club.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello added to the motion a directive to the City Attorney to take into account the comments of the Lions Club, a local organization. He thought they needed more than what Council had provided for in this ordinance, etc.
Member Paul said one of the Lions Clubs members brought this forward because when they were at the Novi and Grand River intersection there was another organization at Twelve Mile and Novi Road, and that was their concern. She didnít think that had happened in the past. She asked Clerk Cornelius for information regarding this, and the information she got back was they were looking into it and werenít sure they would have any solicitation. She was glad they were not going to do that because she knew it was a concern in other cities that they have granted no solicitation in the right-of-way because of safety concerns. She asked Mr. Schultz if they had someone who didnít want to wear the vest, didnít solicit in the evening, but had other bright clothes would he have a problem with their visibility. Mr. Schultz said they would find language to address this if they had a particular regular uniform they wouldnít need a safety vest. She requested that the ordinance say if they were going to work at dusk, in the evening or night time they would be required to wear the vest. She said a big concern was they wanted two weekends and the ability to work through the week, and she didnít see a problem with that as long as they werenít going the full 90 days. She said with the two weekends and the flexibility of working throughout the week in between them didnít seem like a difficult solution. She asked if there would be any problems with that.
Mr. Schultz said different ordinances they looked at were all over the board in terms of timing. He said they took a conservative kind of approach to put in front of Council, and it would be purely a policy decision whether or not they wanted to increase the number of days. Member Paul said she was a little more concerned about the age limitation. She said it talked about a minor under Section 22.2, The Permit License Required, and said "a minor soliciting or peddling under a groupís minor permit or license shall display in plain view a copy of such permit or license." She asked if he was saying a minor as a child. Mr. Schultz said they didnít change any of the sections relating to minors but it would apply to anyone under the age of 18. Member Paul said it concerned her to have a minor in the middle of Novi Road. She asked if anyone else had a concern about the age of the minors, and if adults should be present during that time. She would hate to see someone very young, such as a Brownie Troop at age 10 out in the middle of Grand River and Novi Road. Member Paul said when Council was looking at Section 26.910 regarding hours of operation, which was no peddling between 9 PM and 9 AM.
She said in winter hours it was dark then and asked Council if they were concerned about the winter timeframe. She said evening in the summer hours didnít seem to be a concern because there was much more visibility. She asked Mr. Schultz to look at the timeframe of the evening hours.
Member Nagy didnít think she read anywhere in the ordinance that would allow a minor to go out onto Grand River and Novi Rd. She wanted to take into consideration basically what the Lions Club group said. She thought they served a great purpose and did so much for Novi that she didnít want them to be hindered whatsoever. Member Nagy suggested Mr. Schultz sit down with one of the members of the Lions Club to discuss something that might have been missed during their presentation. She said one of the things in this ordinance was "no peddler or solicitor shall enter into property which has posted a no solicitation sign, or its equivalent." She said they had that in her condo complex and every time she asked them to remove themselves from her property they always told her they got permission from the City of Novi. She said she would like to get that information out there more often because many times solicitors were unseemly people. She would support the first reading and would like to incorporate into the ordinance all things that would benefit local charitable organizations.
Member Gatt said after what Member Nagy just said he would like to see this focused on local organizations only, if thatís legal.
Mayor Landry said he had some suggestions for Section 26-3 to take into consideration the Lions Club concerns. Sub paragraph 2, which begins "A permit for non-commercial solicitation", go five lines down to "including a street corner or intersection, shall be valid for a period of five (5) days", he suggested making that "ten (10) days" and that would allow them two weekends. If they got the permit on Thursday or Friday it would allow them the two weekends. Then continuing, "for each applicant, with no more than two permits being issued for any one calendar year." He said this would give the Lions Club two such permits per year and two weekends per time. Mr. Schultz said the intention was not five consecutive days it was five days total out of the year, and asked if two weekends was sufficient. Mayor Landry replied he was looking to allow them two weekends. He said he had talked to a member of the Lions Club during Mayorís hours and his concern was they would like to stick to the weekends but if it rained and was White Cane Week there might be someone out there on Monday. He said they donít want to do week days but would if they had to. Mayor Landry said he was looking for two times a year, ten consecutive days each time and no more than twice a year. He would also be looking for three separate street corners instead of two.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he liked Member Gattís idea of limiting it to just local organizations and local people, particularly for Sec. 26-2B where it stated minors didnít need a permit. He said kids had come to the door to sell him religious childrenís books, and when he asked what religion they were they werenít quite sure. He said by limiting it to religion and education he knew what they were trying to do but it just wasnít doing it. So if it could be limited to local, particularly the minor with no permit, he thought they could do that and he would be very much in favor of that. Mr. Schultz said once they started talking about who could solicit First Amendment issues come up, but he would be happy to look into it. He commented whatever they came back with, whether it was generally or related to minors they would address that issue.
Member Mutch thought a lot of the suggestions were good, understood the concerns expressed by the Lions Club, and thought they had some valid concerns. He thought some of the past discussion with this fell into conflict between groups wanting to be on the same intersection at the same time. He wasnít sure they understood the full scope of the problem, and he didnít want to make changes that addressed the concerns of one group and not the other groups. Member Mutch stated he wanted to see a solution that addressed those concerns but wanted Council to be mindful that there were other groups in the City who would want the same kind of opportunities. They, also, had to be mindful that in an attempt to address the Lions they werenít opening any situations where groups that were not from the City would be able to take advantage of a more liberal ordinance and create a situation that they were not looking to have. He asked Mr. Schultz to try to balance those concerns. Member Mutch asked any groups that had concerns to bring them forward between now and the next time Council addressed them so they could try to incorporate them into the ordinance. He thought the information the Lions provided was helpful but he didnít want to leave anyone out before this had the final stamp of approval.
Member Nagy appreciated the thoughts of Member Mutch. She thought one of the reasons they were talking about the Lions was because they were the only ones that came forward. She didnít think she had ever witnessed competing groups in Novi at an intersection. She noted she didnít see a lot of solicitation on the street, but did see it in residential areas. Member Nagy wanted to be sure they werenít violating anyoneís constitutional rights, and she didnít think they were favoring the Lions since they were the only group to come before Council.
Roll call vote on CM-07-01-016 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė None
Council recessed at 9:51 PM
Council reconvened at 9:59 PM
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part II
5. Approval of Emergency Medical Services Contract with Community EMS for 5-year renewal for services through 2012.
CM-07-01-017 Moved by Paul, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
` To approve Emergency Medical Services Contract with Community EMS for 5 year renewal for services through 2012.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said the old contract had a provision that Council could cancel in 90 days, and he wanted to be sure that was in the new contract too.
Roll call vote on CM-07-01-017 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry
6. Approval of Resolution authorizing participation in the Road Commission for Oakland Countyís 2007 Tri-Party Program for Road Improvements dedicating Noviís 2007 allotment of Tri-Party funds to the Novi Road Link project between Ten Mile Road and Grand River Avenue.
CM-07-01-018 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve Resolution authorizing participation in the Road Commission for Oakland Countyís 2007 Tri-Party Program for Road Improvements dedicating Noviís 2007 allotment of Tri-Party funds to the Novi Road Link project between Ten Mile Road and Grand River Avenue.
Member Paul asked how quickly this would happen. Mr. Pearson said 2007 land acquisition, thereís another meeting at the Road Commission next week, and they were looking at a 2008 construction and it would take the better part of 2008. He said on Novi Road, the link where the CSX tracks were, would be closed for 2008. Member Paul said if Council was going to look at a year and a half to two years from now to do Novi Road, she felt they really needed to look at Beck. She said if they were going to flip traffic they really needed to pay attention to those intersections. This had been talked about in the goal setting sessions, and she hoped they could bring Council some very strong plans for this budget season so they could move forward on that project. Member Paul said they had to get that in tow before they closed Novi Road or it would be even worse.
Roll call vote on CM-07-01-018 Yeas: Gatt, Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello
7. Approval of the Department of Homeland Security "SAFER" Grant for Paid-On-Call Recruitment and Training in the amount of $101,715 to be used over five (5) years.
CM-07-01-019 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the Department of Homeland Security "SAFER" Grant for Paid-On-Call Recruitment and Training in the amount of $101,715 to be used over five (5) years.
Roll call vote on CM-07-01-019 Yeas: Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt
8. Approval of Consultant Review Committeeís recommendation to grant a one-year extension and fee increase with Orchard, Hiltz, McCliment, Inc. for traffic engineering consulting services through January 31, 2008.
CM-07-01-018 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve Consultant Review Committeeís recommendation to grant a one-year extension and fee increase with Orchard, Hiltz, McCliment, Inc. for traffic engineering consulting services through January 31, 2008.
Roll call vote on CM-07-011-018 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Mutch
9. Approval of resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2007-05 (including Economic Development Manager).
CM-07-01-019 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2007-05 (including Economic Development Manager).
Member Paul said this was an Economic Development person they were approving and she wanted to comment that they were using one of the Building Departmentís attritions to pay for the rest of the salary. She asked if that was correct. Mr. Pearson said the Economic Development Manager position was separate, and they would be using money that had been set aside in the contingency. Itís different than Building Department operations. Member Paul said there was an explanation about attrition through the Building Department that there would be the same amount of employees. Mr. Pearson said that would be the Community Development Director position, which they would also recruit for to replace Don Saven. She asked what and when their plan was to hire someone and what type of degree they would look for. Mr. Pearson said after this allocation they would start finalizing this. He said they had started working on the position profiles, they would start recruiting immediately, and the qualifications would be a minimum of a Bachelors Degree, or International Economic Development Certification would be preferred. Mr. Pearson said obviously this position would be about representing the City so certain marketing, public relations skills, knowledge of planning issues, the balance of those, and local development contacts would be a positive.
Member Mutch said the amount being approved for this position was $48,156 and was less than they budgeted. Member Mutch thought about $60,000 had been budgeted for this position. Mr. Pearson said correct, depending on when they do it in the year, and he was estimating that. Member Mutch said when this was discussed at budget time he was concerned about the Cityís ability to pay for the position out of the budget that was approved. However, having said that, he was strongly supportive of adding this position because for the last 6 or 7 years they hadnít had a dedicated Economic Development person in place. He said there had been quite a bit of activity but he thought for Economic Development and business retention they needed to have a person in place. He said this person needed to be visible and accountable for those activities, and he would expect that if the right person was brought in, they would see an immediate impact from that position. Member Mutch was looking forward to having someone in place who would be taking on those activities. He thought this was probably one of the most important Economic Development activities Council could approve to move things forward in the City.
Roll call vote on CM-07-01-019 Yeas: Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Mutch, Nagy
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES - None
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė None
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 P.M.
David Landry, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
_________________________________ Date approved: February 5, 2007
Transcribed by Charlene Mc Lean