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JOINT SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL COUNCIL: Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Capello, Council Members Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul
PLANNING COMMISSION: Avdoulos, Burke, Cassis, Gutman, Lynch, Meyer, Pehrson, Wrobel
ALSO PRESENT: Clay Pearson, City Manager
Pamela Antil, Assistant City Manager
Tom Schultz, City Attorney
Barbara McBeth, Deputy Director of Community Development
Steve Rumple, Director of Community Development
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
CM-07-08-261 Moved by Capello, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the agenda as presented.
CM-07-08-261A Moved by Pehrson, seconded by Gutman: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the agenda as presented.
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING:
1. To discuss and provide initial questions and thoughts regarding review of Master Plan for Land Use at select locations.
Mayor Landry said in order for a city to be able to zone and to have the power to say they could or couldnít build this in a specific location the law required that it must be done according to a plan. He said that plan was called a Master Plan and the law required that a city have a Master Plan, and if a city had a Master Plan they were allowed to zone. However, the law specifically stated that it had to be a current Master Plan. If there wasnít a current Master Plan, the zoning would be in danger. Someone could challenge the zoning and if there was no current Master Plan, one of the things that could be argued was that the zoning was based on a stale Master Plan. He said the statute specifically required that the Master Plan be reviewed, at least, every five years. If it wasnít reviewed, they would run the risk that the Master Plan was stale and the zoning was at risk. Mayor Landry said this evening they were doing their statutory duty by beginning the process of reviewing the Master Plan. The Master Plan was within the jurisdiction of the Planning Commission in the City of Novi, and they had the ultimate say over it. He said it was the opposite of the ordinances where Council would send them to the Planning Commission, ask them to review it and give Council their suggestions. When it comes to the Master Plan the Planning Commission would send it to Council for their suggestions, and then they ultimately make the call. He said they would open up discussions about looking at special sections of the City in our statutory duty to review the Master Plan.
Mr. Pearson said an hour had been allocated to this discussion and the staff would give an update to the joint meeting and the community. He said over the next four months they were looking forward to really getting into those special planning areas that had been identified for specific reasons that were manageable and necessary to take a look at. He said the staff would make a presentation so that the work that the Planning Commission, particularly, and the City Council, generally, and the citizens over the coming months would have a direct role in the process.
Mr. Rumple said they were reviewing three key areas of study in the Master Plan for Land Use. These include the southwest residential corners, the Novi/I-96 Interchange and the southwest corner of Twelve Mile and Wixom Roads. He said he would like to cover why the Planning Commission, as a designated policy group for the Master Plan, City Council and the staff in their supporting roles, and Novi citizens offering abundant public input were going forward with the review. The purpose of this meeting was to formally kick off the process that would be completed over the next four months. The Planning Commission had completed some background research and preparation, but had asked for this time to share an outline of the process to come, and the opportunities for formal input and participation. He said he would go over several global Master Plan for Land Use principles and guidelines known to the Planning Commission and Council, but would be reinforced tonight, publicly, so this would be a community process and vision going forward.
Mr. Rumple said he would ask Ms. McBeth and Mr. Spencer to give an overview of the Master Plan review process to date. This would be followed by an overview of the steps as they move forward, which would include a focused and detailed timeline for completion. After Ms. McBethís presentation he would offer a summary of the RFP for consulting planning assistance recently completed or if preferred, he would wait until the second part of tonightís Council meeting.
Mr. Rumple advised that some reasons for review included the fact that the Master Plan for Land Use was a dynamic document on which nearly all land use decisions were based. It was a living, breathing document that after each formal submittal could not be shelved and forgotten about. He said the plan had several characteristics in nature. First, it was a physical plan. Although a reflection of social and economic values, the plan was fundamentally a guide to the physical development of the community. It translates values into a scheme that described how, why, when and where to build, re-build or preserve the community. Second, the plan was long range in nature covering a time period of greater than one year and usually five years or more. An effective plan would express current policies that would shape the future rather than showing a rigid image of the future itself. A good plan should be slightly utopian, it should challenge and inspire with a vision of what might be and should also guide them on how to get there. Third, the plan needed to be comprehensive. It covers the entire City geographically not merely one or two sections. It should also encompass all the functions that make a community work, such as transportation, housing, land use, utility systems and recreation. Finally, the plan was a guide for decision makers such as the Planning
Commission, City Council and staff. He said when the question was asked "can I build it there" the first reply was often "what does the Master Plan say". Mr. Rumple said the Master Plan had legal significance in the State of Michigan. He said zoning was regulations adopted by the community to carry out the vision of the plan. If the plan was the communityís roadmap, then the zoning ordinance was the vehicle used to drive to the destinations on that map. State statutes had long said that if communities were going to implement zoning regulations, they must be based on a plan. If plans were not periodically reviewed and/or updated, courts could find zoning regulations to be arbitrary and capricious. He said this finding would effectively state that communities had overstepped their regulatory boundaries afforded them under the law. The need to periodically review a community Master Plan had become so important that recent changes in State law effectively require a review, at a minimum, every five years and sooner if changes in the community warrant it. He said they were the benefactors of substantial growth and development, as Novi had experienced an increase in population of 43% from the decade of 1990 to 2000, with a total of 47,386 residents in the year 2000. Mr. Rumple said because of the rapid development and growth in Novi during the last few years a mid term census was conducted in May of 2006 revealing a total of 52,231 residents, which was an increase of 10.2% in the six years since the 2000 census. Since the adoption of the plan in December 2004 development activity in Novi had continued at a brisk pace, including developments such as Providence Hospital and the associated Medical Campus, high tech research and office developments such as the ITC headquarters, Ryder headquarters, the expansion of the research and development parks, and numerous reinvestments in regional and shopping centers in the City. The increased development pressure throughout the City had prompted them to proactively reassess the goals and objectives of the Master Plan and provide direction for future development within three identified study areas.
Ms. McBeth said in late spring this year the Planning Commission and the Master Plan and Zoning Committee decided to take formal action on the Master Plan review process in certain limited areas within the City. Among the areas discussed were the southwest quadrant resident corners, the Novi/I-96 Interchange and the southwest corner of Twelve Mile and Wixom Roads. The Community Development staff provided a briefing of the early work that staff and the Planning Commission had been developing for the review of the Master Plan to Council at the meeting of July 2nd. She said feedback for Council provided good direction to staff to insure that the focus of the study would be narrowed to only those intended areas. This would include ample opportunities for public input using outside expertise where it would be most appropriate and useful to the plan in an effort to utilize as many of the existing studies and plans as possible for the review of the Master Plan to date. The three study areas were selected for a number of reasons. In the 2004 Master Plan for Land Use, the southwest quadrant was identified as an important area for future review. For example, under the goals and objectives in the 2004 Master Plan, the very first goal dealt with the southwest quadrant and how to protect and enhance its residential characteristics. As indicated under the implementation strategies in the 2004 plan, one strategy said "initiate a study of existing development options, their relativity to existing residential land use, and their historical use within the community." Another said, "seek out additional development options that would optimize development without destroying the natural features". She said the planning staff had begun the analysis of the existing residential options offered for use in the Zoning Ordinance, and would be forwarding a study to the Planning Commission in the upcoming months. Ms. McBeth commented that magnifying the need for this analysis were five conceptual plans or rezoning proposals that were recently submitted in the southwest corridor that all came in within rapid succession, and all were inconsistent with the existing zoning and Master Plan.
The second study area was identified as the downtown west, which was around the Interchange of I-96 and Novi Road. The 2004 Master Plan for Land Use identified that as a designation for downtown west. It was simply defined as "the land use was designated for further study for the development of commercial, entertainment and cultural connection to the core of the shopping center". She said the timing was appropriate for the study of this area since there was a change in a discussion with the landowner along with the change in the entity that was controlling a large portion of land contained within the area. Also, at this time, they had increased confidence in the land uses proposed and approved for the downtown, or Main Street, area that was in the immediate area with the recent approvals of the Triangle/Main Street development. Other plans in the area included the Twelve Oaks expansion, the out lots in the Town Center, and the recent plans and the vision for the new owners at Twelve Mile Crossing at Fountain Walk. She said all of these were approved since the 2004 Master Plan for Land Use was approved. Additionally, they were recommending including the conference area on the north side of the Interchange as a zoning district that might need to be cleaned up in the near future.
Ms. McBeth said the third study area was in the northwest part of the community, which was the area south of Twelve Mile and west of Wixom Road. She said by definition and intent in the 2004 Master Plan for Land Use further discussion of this area was needed. She said timing for this study was appropriate with the interest for a new school and residential development that was expressed some time ago and now a formal plan submittal and review were currently underway.
Ms. McBeth said she wanted to remind the Joint Committee that a resolution had been passed by the Planning Commission that was also included in their packets. The Planning Commission passed the resolution on June 13, 2007 confirming the resolution of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to reopen the Master Plan for review at this time.
She said regarding data gathering by staff, Project Manager Mark Spencer had been collecting relevant information regarding zoning, existing land uses, historical land uses and historical zoning for the areas of study. He had been working with the Master Plan and Zoning Committee presenting numerous maps and graphics for review. Along with the regular work with the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, which was to provide early review and input of any rezoning requests that came in, the Committee had increased the meeting frequency and scheduled two meetings a month for most of the past summer and were anticipating two meetings a month in the upcoming months as well to review this plan. Ms. McBeth said the meetings were open to the public and had noticed that the public had attended several of the meetings and provided some input to staff and the Committee. However, it was the intent of staff to hold several public input sessions over the upcoming months to collect comments and recommendations from the residents, the business community and other interested community members.
Ms. McBeth said regarding the RFP for an outside consultant, the members of the Community Development Department and the Finance Department staff had already written the RFP and posted it on the Bid Net service. They had received and evaluated responses and they were set up for consideration by Council this evening. She said based on that input from Council at the briefing session held in July staff prepared the RFP with certain aspects for review of the Master Plan for Land Use keeping the focus narrow and relying on consultants where the most impact could be collected insuring there would be meaningful public input. The recommended consultant proposal would be discussed later in this or the 8:00 P.M. meeting.
Mr. Spencer said the Master Plan and Zoning Committee had begun their research into the background materials for reviewing the Master Plan. He said included were a series of maps, and he would review a series of the maps, which had been included in packets. Mr. Spencer showed the maps on the overhead. The first was the general study area presented by Ms. McBeth earlier. The next was a location map. He said with most projects that the Planning Department worked with and presented they would begin with a location map. This map used an air photo as a base and depicted the project area, parcel boundaries, neighboring land uses and municipal boundaries. The example used tonight was the Twelve Mile/Napier Road area or Special Project Area 2.
He showed the Water Shed Wetlands Map that primarily depicted potential wetlands, which might be areas that were hard to develop and worth preserving. The green area showed that the Special Project Area 2 was located in the Huron River Water Shed.
The next map was the Woodlands and Natural Features Map that showed regulated woodlands, which were woodlands regulated by the Cityís Woodland Ordinance. It also showed priority natural features habitat areas. He said both areas might be worthy of preserving.
Mr. Spencer showed a set of maps that were photocopy maps and were copies of previous plans, and were used to give a historical perspective. Again, this was Special Project Area 2, and they had a series of these maps that they distributed. They included copies of the 1967, 1980, 1988, 1990 and 1993 Master Plans. He noted the Joint Committee did not receive a copy of the 1967 Master Plan in this area. It did show the area for residential uses for the Special Project Area.
Mr. Spencer said the Master Plan and Zoning Committee had discussed the changes for each of these areas that occurred over these time periods. In 1999 the City used GIS to produce the Master Plan maps and these maps used color and were easier to view and edit. The current future Land Use map was adopted in 2004 and included the Master Plans for the neighboring communities so the Committee could review neighboring land uses at the same time. The neighboring land uses were important in their considerations because they didnít want to have things that were incompatible with those neighboring land uses.
Mr. Spencer said there was a Zoning map so they could see the zoning in the project areas, and the zoning of the neighboring communities.
An additional set of maps was distributed that depicted utility and road attributes. These maps showed water and utility lines, speed limits, thoroughfare map, road jurisdiction and right-of-ways, and pavement types. He said all of the maps were used along with the Cityís GIS system to review the background of these parcels that were in the study areas. The GIS system enabled them to zoom in on particular properties, look at who the owners were, where the natural features were, water courses, etc., which was a lot more data than they were able to present on the paper maps this evening.
Ms. McBeth gave an overview of the RFP process and said they expected there would be public input sessions, at least one for each of the three study areas. A Needs Analysis was requested as part of the RFP for outside assistance and a detailed description of the proposal was included in that recommended proposal for Councilís consideration. Further review of the studies would be conducted using information collected by the staff as well as the additional input received from the public and the Needs Analysis. She said a number of other factors would be taken into consideration as well. Then, they would expect that the draft reports would be prepared from the City consultants and staff, public hearings would be provided if there were any draft changes. She said the Planning Commission would make a recommendation and the Council would approve sending out any draft changes to surrounding communities and other agencies. Ms. McBeth noted that State law required 55 to 75 days for review by the surrounding agencies. She said a public hearing was also required for utilities. She said they would receive responses from the County Planning Department and other agencies and then, finally, the adoption of the Master Plan. At this time, they estimated that with the assistance of the outside consultant in the timeframe that was provided, and any changes to the plan could be adopted as early as spring 2008. She said there would be a number of additional steps but this was just meant to be an overview of the process.
Chairman Cassis said as a result of numerous petitions for rezoning, the Master Plan and Zoning Committee had started the process of looking at three sectors in the City. He said with the help of planners and consultants they were in the process of gathering facts about the character of those sectors. He thought the community was fortunate to have assembled a number of Commissioners who were experienced, perceptive, dedicated and committed professionals, and mindful of their mission, they would perform their duties in a deliberate and objective manner. He said their deliberation would be public, they would seek community input by holding public hearings, and they pledged to uphold the trust that the Fathers of this City had entrusted to us. Chairman Cassis said uppermost in their minds would be to build a community that would stand the test of time.
Mayor Landry commented he wanted to discuss the public input sessions. He wanted to know how the public would be involved and have the opportunity to have direct input into the review.
Mr. Rumple responded that every meeting conducted either at the Master Plan and Zoning Committee or the Planning Commission and Council were open to the public. One of the criteria for selection for a consultant process included directly contacting, in person interviews, with up to 20 stakeholders. They would be holding three visioning fairs for public input where the public would be invited in, and information and staff would be available to answer questions, and the public would have the opportunity to speak. He said there would be a sampling process of various households including up to 300 residents, there would also be an opportunity over the Internet for individuals and residents to convey their wants, needs, and desires. Certainly, everyday, the Community Development Department would be open to input through e-mail, telephone, fax or meetings could be scheduled with the staff, and letters could be written, if they were out of town. He said this was truly a compilation of staff, Commission, Council and above and beyond anything else, the residents. It would be a document of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Chairman Cassis wanted to assure the Council and all the people of Novi that they had no preset concepts or agendas into these deliberations. He said they would be conducted publicly, they would hear input and he was hoping there would be some outside consultant, if possible, and they would look at those sectors objectively and properly. He said he had been in the community for over 30 years and had seen the development of this community, and what the forefathers had told them through the years; they would abide by those concepts and all of those legacies that were entrusted to them.
Member Nagy commented she was looking at the southwest quadrant and said Singh Development came before Council with a project at Ten Mile between Wixom and Napier. The project was a mixed use of about 700 houses, a strip mall and a three story assisted living. She asked if that was a concept plan or had that gone forward to the Planning Commission. Ms. McBeth said Singh brought in a concept plan only to discuss at that time. As of early this afternoon they had not received a plan but as of late this afternoon a plan had been officially submitted to the department for processing and review. She said she had not had a chance to look at it yet, but it had been submitted for review.
Member Nagy said if the Master Plan and Zoning Committee was in the process of setting this quadrant what would happen to the Singh plan. Mr. Schultz said unless the applicant had the desire to hold off and see what the Master Plan process resulted in, they intended to process it in the normal course and bring it forward. Member Nagy said then it would go through the Planning Commission and they would review and vote on it. Mr. Schultz said he had not seen the plan but assumed it was an amendment to the existing RUD agreement so it would be the full Planning Commission/Council process. It would involve a number of public hearings and he assumed it would still include the transfer of some City owned property. Member Nagy said correct, but it would include public hearings and Mr. Schultz responded absolutely.
Mr. Pearson said for plans such as that certainly the process that had already begun would be a consideration of any plan that was considered. Also, something was submitted today and this process had been ongoing, had a full head of steam and if there was a push to have a deliberation or a decision on any plan, it would be within the prerogative of the reviewing body to say the Master Plan for Land Use was being reviewed, that process had started and take it as part of their consideration. He said they could introduce the topic that the Master Plan was being updated right now.
Member Nagy said because of the number of phone calls and e-mails she had received she wanted to know and the public wanted to know and understand exactly what was going on in that area. She said because the studies of the quadrant coming along now and the majority of Council already approved that plan for Singh Development. She knew residents were questioning the number of houses, etc. that the plan had. She asked if they were saying that unless the Planning Commission somehow decided they were still in the process of reviewing that quadrant would they have the ability to change the concept.
Mayor Landry stated Council never approved commercial on Ten Mile. He said that was a concept plan, they pulled the flag up the flag pole to see what the thoughts were, but nothing official had been decided. Member Nagy said they wanted to know what that entailed and what it meant because a lot of people were under the understanding that the plan was a bonafide plan.
Mr. Schultz said it was brought forward on the presentation part of the Council agenda primarily because of the proposal as part of the amendment that the City exchange some land with Singh. He thought Singh was looking for Councilís reaction as to whether there was any interest in that. He thought Council expressed an interest but he didnít know whether there was a formal vote or not, but certainly there was no approved concept plan under the RUD amendment process. While Singh might have gotten a comfort level it was entirely up to them as to whether or not proceed and submit a formal application. He said they had not proposed, as part of this process, that there be some sort of moratorium on development in any of these areas. He said the plan, as adopted in 2004, specifically said that as to more than three areas they would continue to study these. The Planning Commission and the Master Plan Committee in particular, was presented with a half a dozen or so options as to which areas designated for study they should look at now. He said they took a little bit of a breather after the plan but were now implementing the goals to review these areas, and goal number one was the southwest quadrant, and what they were going to do to reasonably keep it the way it was now.
Member Nagy commented she understood what the purpose of the study was but wanted to make sure that the people that were attending and had concerns about that area still had the ability to give their input as this process moved forward with this particular area. Mr. Schultz said they would have that opportunity both at the Master Plan level through a number of public meetings and a public hearing, and if the plan proceeds at a zoning decision level.
Commissioner Pehrson said relative to outside the commentary from the citizens or the Planning Commission, what other benchmarking data would the consultant bring forward when they look at the plans for these three specific areas.
Ms. McBeth said there was a very detailed description of the Needs Analysis that would be prepared by an outside consultant, an expert in the field, who would look at a number of different factors in Novi and surrounding areas. The current supply of retail, for example, in the City of Novi and surrounding areas and sort of an analysis of whether additional retail areas might be needed or not, if they were needed in this particular quadrant or if they were sufficient within a reasonable distance. She said they were excited to see the group proposed for this, which were the Chesapeake Group out of Baltimore, Maryland. They had assisted with the same team that made the proposal they were recommending on the study in Troy, the Big Beaver Road, which was a nice study, as well as other communities in Michigan. They were familiar with the local area, market analysis and she thought they would provide a good study.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said during the Council meeting that would start at 8:00 P.M. there was an item on the agenda in regard to allocating funds. He said that was what Ms. McBeth was talking about, correct. Ms. McBeth said yes. He said all they intended to do if it passed was to allocate the monies so they could hire Mr. Arroyoís firm to assist our Planning Department and Mr. Rumple to undertake this investigation. She agreed. He said other than that there would be no decision made by Council this evening in regard to the Master Plan or any changes whatsoever. Ms. McBeth said that was correct.
Commissioner Lynch said to follow up on Member Nagyís point, his understanding of the process it would go Master Plan and Zoning Committee, public would get input, and then once it went past the Master Plan and Zoning Committee it would go to the Planning Commission and it would get public input, and finally it would go to City Council and once again the public would have input. He said Mr. Rumple mentioned that residents could send letters to the City of Novi and asked for an address and who they would send the letter to. Mr. Rumple recommended they send their letters to him, the Community Development Director, and they could find him on the web site, and they could send it to him at the City of Novi, and he would get it to the appropriate places.
Member Mutch commented that specifically he wanted to see from studies done by the consultants that they look at a broad enough view of each of the specific study areas such that they really understood what the impacts would be of any potential changes to the Master Plan. He didnít want to be so narrowly focused that they consider changing the land use on a particular parcel of property, or in discussion of a particular project, and not be cognizant of the impact on the surrounding properties. He thought one of the challenges they faced now was that they had specific proposals coming forward, and he knew having sat on the Planning Commission and having worked on a Master Plan they tend to get dragged into that specific project and that tended to expend a lot of energy. The message he wanted to give the consultants was not to get caught up in what a specific proposal was discussing, look at what the best land use was for that area and be aware of how that was impacting the surrounding properties.
Member Mutch said he wanted to see a study that did an adequate analysis of infrastructure and roads, and look at what they really had capacity support. He said he knew on the west side of the City they have had challenges in terms of providing water and sewer to everybody at the levels they wanted to provide it. He didnít want to see them get into a situation where they were overextending because of development choices they were making. He also wanted to see a study that looked broadly enough at the commercial development that it was looking at not only within Novi and the commercial development that existed here, but also looking at surrounding communities, specifically Lyon Township and Wixom. He said for example, Lyon Township just recently approved commercial development at Ten Mile and Johns Roads, which was a half mile west of Napier Road, and specifically decided not to put commercial development at Ten Mile and Napier for that reason. He said that was a consideration that needed to be a part of the planning process. Likewise, they needed to look at how much commercial development Wixom was allowing in the Grand River corridor, and how much available commercial property the City already had in the Grand River corridor when talking about whether they wanted to consider additional commercial in the City.
Member Mutch said, in his view, the current Master Plan, which had focused commercial development along the Grand River corridor was the one that made sense. He appreciated the opportunity to look at these areas because he thought they needed to be reviewed but he thought if it was to be changed, they would need to justify the change.
Member Mutch said in terms of the environmental features on the west side of the City, in reviewing the RFP he didnít get a strong feeling that was a strong component of the study. So when this was discussed later tonight, he would be looking for some clarification on that in terms of the RFP that was produced and the proposal that was brought forward. He thought when looking at locations like Ten Mile and Napier Roads on the northeast corner there was quite a bit of woodlands and wetlands in that area. He said that also needed to be a part of the planning process. He thought a critical component of this process would be public input. The fact that this many people made the effort to come out this early in the process should send a message to Council and the Planning Commission that a lot of people care about what was going on in their neighborhood, and had concerns about what might come forward. He thought Council had been hearing that through e-mails and letters, and he expected they would hear some of those comments tonight. He said public input had to be a critical part of this process. He heard discussion about having one formal public input session for each area, and his suggestion would be to have public input at the front end in terms of hearing from residents what their vision of this part town would be. Then develop proposals and go back to the residents and get their input about the proposals that had been developed and whether those match what they would like to see. If they come forward with a plan at the end of this process that didnít fully incorporate the publicís vision they would not have public support for it. Member Mutch said he didnít see projects or development moving forward in that area without running into a lot of public opposition.
He said regarding keeping the public informed, the City had a great web site and they had really been leveraging that to bring information out to the residents. He said he would be looking for something on the web site that was specifically dedicated to this Master Planning process that would provide links to meeting minutes, notices of upcoming meetings, feedback tools discussed and all the maps that they had been discussing. Member Mutch thought the more information the people had, the more informed they were, and the more involved they were in the process the better the final outcome would be. He said those kinds of suggestions incorporated into the process would get them where they want to be when they get to a final proposal in the spring of 2008.
Chairman Cassis said he appreciated Member Mutchís remarks. He said they were present to get the sense of Council and to see what their ideas were. However, he wanted to assure them that already three or four petitions had come before the Master Plan and Zoning Commission. He said based on existing Zoning Ordinances those people were told no, so already they had demonstrated that they were steadfast. Also, his colleagues, on the Planning Commission, were people of this City and were neighbors, and they care for this community. He assured Council and the audience that they would be deliberate. He said they had been through the referendums of the past, and had heard the people and what they wanted and what their wishes were. He said they would be in that kind of a spirit and would pursue this process. He said if he had anything to do with it they would conduct it in a very professional and good manner befitting of this community and the kind of great community it was.
Commissioner Wrobel thanked the community for coming out for this and asked that they continue to come out when they have the Master Planning and Zoning Committee. He said they wanted to know what the community thought and wanted to do what was best for the City, the residents and for the growth of the City. He said the meetings would be posted on the web site and in the local newspaper, so please stay active and come out as they wanted to hear what they had to say.
John Kuenzel, 23819 Heartwood, representing Echo Valley Estates Subdivision was present. Mr. Kuenzel said they were present because Singh Development and land speculators, Aspen Group and others want high density zoning and commercial zoning in the southwest quadrant. He said it had been stated that Singh Development couldnít make a profit on their purchase of
Links of Novi unless they could get zoning changes for high density residential coupled with commercial zoning. He said others had said that Aspen Group, the land speculators who bought the farm at Ten Mile and Beck Roads needed to make more money on their purchase than they could as currently zoned. It was claimed that no one would buy the houses on any of these properties if they were developed as currently zoned. He said it was clear that land speculators and developers were having cash flow problems right now, and they were asking the City to help them out. At least 40 to 50 homeowners in the City were having cash flow problems as well as their homes were in foreclosure. He said few houses were selling any where right now.
Mr. Kuenzel said letís look at the probable results of the remedy requested by the land speculators and developers if the City allowed high density residential and commercial zoning in the southwest quadrant. First, 20 current homeowners who have homes directly adjacent to the lands proposed for commercialization would immediately have their properties devalued. He said privacy walls. Plantings and berms would not eliminate the lights, noises, smells, traffic and congestion of commercial areas. Second, everyone who lived in the area would have their quality of life diminished as traffic, noise and lights would impinge on them all. He said they moved to Novi to enjoy quiet, spacious suburban living, and not urbanization. Thereís already too much commercialization in Novi and there didnít need to be a shopping center at every mile. Third, established businesses around the City would have even more competition for the dollars of residents. Fourth, the number of vacant commercial buildings that currently dot the City would increase. Fifth, the City would be reneging on a commitment it had made for decades to the homeowners of the southwest quadrant to preserve the single family residential qualities of the area. Sixth, the land speculators and developers involved would make lot of money.
Mr. Kuenzel asked what would happen if the land speculators and developers do not prevail in their requests for high density residential zoning and commercial zoning in the southwest quadrant.
First, homeowners would not endure economic loss due to actions of the City. Second, the southwest quadrant of the City would continue to be a peaceful, spacious, quiet residential area enjoyed by those who live and visit there. Third, Singh would suffer no loss. They bought a golf course zoned for single family residential. They would still own a golf course, which was zoned for single family residential.
Aspen Group would suffer no loss. They bought an old farm which was zoned single family residential. They would still own an old farm which was zoned for single family residential. The land speculators and developers would simply not be guaranteed profits at the expense of current residents.
He said they strongly urge the Council and the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to honor their commitment to residents and not change the Master Plan for Land Use for the southwest quadrant of the City of Novi.
Carol Crawford, 22135 Beck Road, agreed with everything Mr. Kuenzel said. She said they were very concerned and they would be at all the meetings, and would give input. Ms. Crawford said they hoped their input would be listened to because the Ten Mile and Beck Roads corner had been around the mill a few times. She said they had been in court once and
had a referendum regarding it and in both cases it was shown that it was not the best place for commercial. She said they were always worried about traffic on Beck Road, and were just getting the corner fixed and saw that it was on the agenda tonight. She said to add another commercial to that corner would simply defeat the purpose of the corner, and she wondered if Ten Mile Road could be widened. She asked if Ten Mile Road was a County road and if it was she was pretty sure the County wouldnít widen it for all of this stuff that was coming along.
Dr. Larry Michaels, 25860 Shoreline Dr, President of Island Lake Vineyards Homeowners Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the Master Community Association was present. He said the comments about the Master Plan being a vision for the future of the community seemed to him that the vision was very easily distorted every time proposals come in from developers that want to do something that was not consistent with the existing Master Plan. He said now the Master Plan was going to be reviewed and they were going to consider modifying it in order to accommodate these specific development proposals. He said that was not a vision; it was accommodating businesses and developers that had a financial interest as their benefit from the community. He said everyone he spoke to in their subdivision said they purchased in their area because of the residential quality neighborhood that they wanted to live in. They had already experienced increased in traffic and increases in other activities directly in their area and didnít want to see additional commercial development and higher density housing in the immediate vicinity of the homes that they had spent a lot of money for. He said his indication, from the information he had received, was that the Island Lake community was responsible for almost 20% of the tax revenues to the City of Novi. If thatís true, they really have a very big stake in maintaining the quality of the community that they purchased into. He said they would really like to see the community be a place where people wanted to move into and that was not distorted or corrupted every time some developer came in and wanted to make a new proposal.
Tom Parrish, 24311 Lynwood, was present representing the Greenwood Oaks Subdivision Phase I and II. He said they had opposed changes to the Master Plan and would continue to do so.
There being no further business before the Council, the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 P.M.
David Landry, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
_________________________________ Date approved: September 10, 2007
Transcribed by Charlene Mc Lean