REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 1996 AT 7:30 P.M.

COUNCIL CHAMBER - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD

(810) 347-0475

 

Meeting called to order at 7:3l p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo

 

PRESENT: Members Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges,

Chairperson Lorenzo, Weddington

 

ABSENT: Member Vrettas (absent/excused)

 

ALSO PRESENT: Planning Consultant Brandon M. Rogers, Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Engineering Consultant David Bluhm, Landscape Architect Linda Lemke, Water Resources Specialist Sue Tepatti, Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson, City Forester Chris Pargoff, and Planning Aide Steve Cohen

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

 

 

PM-96-01-009 APPROVAL OF AGENDA AS AMENDED

 

Moved by Weddington, Seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve amended agenda adding Executive Session discussion to Matters for Discussion.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-96-01-009 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Weddington

No: None

 

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

 

Lynn Kocan stated that she is disappointed about the change in the meeting minutesí format. She has come to rely heavily on previous minutes for research purposes. The new format will require that the Commissioners be especially careful about approving minutes that have been summarized because comments may have been left out that they wanted included. She hopes that the Commissioners will do their homework; take notes, and read the minutes. Ms. Kocan adds that the Commissioners might not have had to read the minutes in the past because they were almost near verbatim and they could rely on the minutes to reflect almost exactly what was said. Chairperson Lorenzo commented that the minutes of the Lakewood Preserve Subdivision would be given to Council. She then stated that the minutes would address all the specific concerns of the Commissioners so when the Council reviewed that proposal, they would know exactly what was talked about at that meeting. Ms. Kocan wonders how much of that discussion information will be part of the minutes and how much of the discussion will be cut out. Ms. Kocan hopes that in the Cityís zeal to expedite things, they do not lose the credibility.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo closed the first Audience Participation and stated there will be another after the midpoint break and one at the end of the meeting.

 

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

Member Weddington referenced three letters she received opposing the Willowbrook Farms Subdivision. They are from: Warren S. Jocz, President, Willowbrook Community Association; Corinne Karinen; and Ann Oberts (letters attached).

 

 

CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVAL AND APPROVALS

 

 

1. APPROVAL OF THE OCTOBER 4, OCTOBER 18, AND NOVEMBER 1, 1995 REGULAR PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES

 

Chairperson Lorenzo noted the following correction to the minutes of October 4: Beginning on Page 33, the correct spelling of the engineering consultant is "Kolano."

 

 

PM-96-01-010 APPROVAL OF MINUTES AS AMENDED

 

Moved by Bonaventura, seconded by Weddington, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve October 4, October 18, and November 1, 1995 Regular Planning Commission Minutes as amended.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-96-01-010 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Weddington

No: None

 

 

PUBLIC HEARING

 

 

1. WILLOWBROOK FARM SUBDIVISION, SP 95-02C

Property located north of Ten Mile Road, between Meadowbrook Road and Haggerty Road for possible Revised Tentative Preliminary Plat recommendation to City Council.

 

George Norberg of Seiber, Keast & Associates began by reviewing the only change to the Ten Mile Road improvements on Plan C from Plan A, which was previously approved by the Planning Commission. The original plan showed a passing lane with decel/acceleration tapers which has changed as a result of the comments from the Cityís traffic consultant requesting a three-lane bypass in that section as opposed to strictly a passing lane. The applicant is asking approval for Plan C; Plan B is for background information only. The plan still has 31 lots, with the same lot layout. The applicant continues to request a variance on the 234ļ radius. Mr. Norberg noted that the utilities are the same and the project is at the point where wells may not be required if the moratorium is lifted near the end of 1996. The detention basins are located up front and will also act as sediment traps to help filter out some of the sediments prior to the discharge to the Bishop Creek. The drainage along the noted property lines will provide catch basins and will improve the poor drainage problem.

 

Traffic Engineer, John Crain of C & W Consultants, Rochester, Michigan, stated that they looked at widening Ten Mile Road to three lanes at the intersection and relocating the entrance into the subdivision into a "T" intersection with a boulevard approach on the new Willowbrook plan. Proposal A was a result of a meeting with the citizens to protect the integrity and the identity of the neighborhood and it required no improvements to Ten Mile Road. Ironically, it gave Singh Development one more lot in the subdivision. The 31-lot subdivision is anticipated to generate approximately 310 additional cars. There will be about 155 in and out each day with the majority of drivers using this intersection. In summary, Mr. Crain states that this is a very reasonable and safe design that will actually improve safety along Ten Mile Road by providing the extra lane. In addition, Mr. Crain reported that there was a question about the gravel road serving the subdivision. Mr. Jerome of the City said it is the Cityís responsibility and with proper maintenance, is assured that the road will handle any additional traffic generated by the subdivision.

 

Brandon Rogers in his report of January 8, 1996 recommends tentative preliminary plat approval subject to the following:

 

1. Secure lot split for Glendaís Market sidwells prior to final plat approval.

2. Show Location Map at the 800 scale.

3. Obtain approval of street and project names by Street Naming Committee.

 

David Bluhm reported that per the findings in Gary Streightís December 6, 1995 report that JCK recommends tentative preliminary plat approval subject to the following:

 

1. Construction of the intersection at Border Hill Road will be subject to the approval by the Cityís Traffic Consultant.

 

Rod Arroyo in his report of January 10, 1996 recommends tentative preliminary plat approval of SP95-02C subject to the resolution of the Brookside Drive "eyebrow" turning radius by City Council.

 

Sue Tepatti of JCK and Associates, reported that they have reviewed the wetland permit for conformance with the City of Novi Wetland and Watercourse Protection Ordinance and Setback Requirements (buffer). Ms. Tepatti further stated that although there are no wetlands within the project, Bishop Creek is located west of the project and the current plan proposes that the detention basins discharge restricted flows into the creek through an existing culvert. The project will require a City administrative wetland permit and it is considered a minor use. Ms. Tepatti further stated that approval recommendation is expected upon the decision of the DNR for the wetland permit.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo noted for the record a letter dated January 5, 1996 from Captain Daniel W. Roy, City of Novi Fire Department, which states "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."

 

 

PUBLIC HEARING DISCUSSION

 

The following homeowners strongly expressed their opposition to the Willowbrook Farm Subdivision citing safety and traffic as major concerns:

 

 

John Beach, 41168 Hollydale, representing Willowbrook Association, reminded the Commission that this is the eighth time that this project has come before the City. In 1990, it was denied because of traffic and safety problems; in 1992, the Planning Commission told the developer that there was too much conflict with the existing neighbors; then again in 1992, the Council voted to deny the plan. In February of 1995, the Planning Commission initially defeated a proposal because of neighborhood concerns; in April of 1995, the Planning Commission defeated but sent it to the Council with recommendations; in May of 1995, the Council tabled the question so that certain concerns could be discussed. Some of the concerns were the safety and welfare of the community, maintaining the identity of Border Hill, waiting until the farm to the east was possibly developed, the legal question regarding the use of an existing lot from the Willowbrook subdivision, the destruction of the quality of life of the people along the Border Hill and Joseph Street, the substandard street radius because the developer had a self-imposed hardship because he had purchased a land locked parcel, and the reduction of home values along Border Hill and Mill Street. On August 7, the Council rejected this plan. The same concerns existed at that time as at the May Council meeting. The concerns of the Council regarding the legality of an existing lot for other than a single family use was one of the main concerns and was referred to earlier tonight in Mr. Joczís letter. The July 7 letter from Singh to the Planning Clerk states that per the request of Council, Singh had met with the residents several times, when in fact only two meetings took place. There was a meeting in August to review Proposal B. Proposal B was then presented again during the meeting on November 27. Proposal C was never brought to the homeowners attention. It was discovered when the packet was reviewed at the library just before coming before the Planning Commission. It is difficult to believe that the City would allow the same plan to come before the Commission again. Mr. Beach asks why tax dollars are wasted on something that has already been nicknamed "a dead horse?" The passing lane was discussed last August by Council and by Mr. Arroyo and in essence, it is the same plan. At that meeting, Council Member Crawford stated that it was unacceptable to make the Border Hill residents second class citizens by t-ing into a brand new city street. The impact of the plan does not stop just at Border Hill, Brenda Lane, or Joseph Street, but also impacts the surrounding streets. Ripple Creek is located approximately 120 feet due southeast from Border Hill. There is additional traffic, yet there was no conversation regarding traffic impacts. For instance, currently there is a traffic conflict at the Ripple Creek and Border Hill intersection. The additional cars added by the proposed 31 homes and the future homes on the northern stub street, will cause future long term traffic problems. In the general meeting held in September, the Association voted to defend the rights of the Willowbrook Community Association and its members on Border Hill and Mill Stream. The Association voted to oppose the plan for Willowbrook Farms and any use of Border Hill. The Association also voted to oppose the use of the lot other than what is stated in their current restrictions. Mr. Beach then asked that the Planning Commission take a thorough look at an issue that has been defeated by them before.

 

 

Vicki Watkins, 24455 Mill Stream; stated that she would like to address the new Commission members. Ms. Watkins then reminded the current members that she has appeared before them the last eight times. Ms. Watkins is concerned that the only exit onto Ten Mile Road is from Border Hill and Mill Stream. She added that if a new subdivision is put in and uses Border Hill as an exit to Ten Mile, it then will force the current residents to compete with the new residents for that exit. The additional traffic also raises additional safety concerns. She also noted that none of the plans were approved during the meetings at the Spirit of Christ Church. Ms. Watkins has asked the developer to provide an alternate street other than Border Hill and the developer responded that it was not possible.

 

 

Ann Oberts, 24463 Mill Stream; reminded the Commission that her letter has already been read and added that she would like to encourage the Commission to protect the balance of the growth in Novi and the citizens privacy by considering the aesthetic values.

 

 

Roger Bowman, 40620 Brenda Lane; directed his comments to the traffic engineerís reports which state that the Joseph Drive and Brenda Lane are adequate gravel roads and can handle additional traffic loads. He asked that before that opinion is taken on face value, that the Commissioners drive down those roads first. He believes that the Commissioners will then have second thoughts. Mr. Bowman also wanted to reiterate the safety factors involved with the children on Brenda and Joseph Streets.

 

 

Glen Noe, Joseph Drive; concurred with the other speakers in regards to the public safety risks.

 

 

Joyce Stickley, Joseph Drive, stated that Joseph Drive exits onto Grand River across from a commercial complex. She further stated that the driveways from Joseph to her driveway is approximately one car length away. She then advised that there have been several accidents there already and if more traffic is encouraged to travel that route, there is a greater chance of more accidents. She also asked what lots will the retention pond back up to? Ms. Stickley would also like to stress the safety risks but added, that the residents do not want to install sidewalks or paved roads. The residents would just like to be left alone. Ms. Stickley suggested that they use other entrances, Camborn or Brenda, then there would be three exits.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo closed the Public Hearing and turned the matter over to the Commission for discussion.

 

 

DISCUSSION

 

Member Bonaventura questioned Mr. Watson about a letter dated May 31 addressed to the City Council. Mr. Watson stated that the suggestion made in the letter was that the issue will go to court for a judge to rule on the question that was raised regarding a restrictive covenant. The particular issue concerns restrictive covenants that apply to that entire subdivision stating that no structures are to be built on lots other than single family homes. Mr. Watson further stated that the question is whether putting a street to provide access for the new subdivision would violate that covenant. There are cases that suggest that kind of access could be done without violating covenants. The catch is that there is nothing to prevent later action challenging that. The concern is that the subdivision would be developed, the road would be dedicated, the City would accept the road, and then an action would be brought and the City would have to defend that lawsuit and resolve the issue. Thatís the reason the "declarity action" was suggested.

 

Mr. Watson continued by stating that since that letter was written, the applicant came back with another suggestion and that was to provide the City with a title insurance policy that would hold the City harmless from damages sustained by a violation of any of the covenants. That possibility was reviewed and it was indicated that it is acceptable provided that the effective date of the policy is after the time of actual construction of the street. The reason for that is that the wording of these policies refers to "present violation of restrictive covenants" so if this plan is to be approved, the street must be built and then be provided a policy with that language.

 

Member Bonaventura asked Brandon Rogers about the density. Mr. Rogers replied that they are not exceeding the allowable density. If itís more than 3.3, then they would be in violation of the Ordinance. The maximum they can get on this property is in the vicinity of 2.35 dwelling units per acre.

 

Member Bonaventura stated that the applicant is using all of the area that they possibly can for the lots and the applicant meets ordinance standards which say they can put twelve more lots on the property. Member Bonaventura further stated if that is the case, then the Cityís density standards need to be reviewed. Member Bonaventura also stated that the removal of an existing subdivisionís entrance makes him think that if we allow this, then what subdivision is safe? What subdivision with one empty lot can be blind sided with another access from adjoining properties? This shows absolutely no respect at all for the existing residents of that subdivision. Member Bonaventura then asked Rod Arroyo about a "sight distance" problem that might occur if they add a left turn lane on Ten Mile. Mr. Arroyo reported that when a center turn lane is put in, opposing traffic is more visible.

 

Member Bonaventura asked about the distance regarding separation of driveways. Mr. Arroyo replied that the proposed plan does not conflict with any standards the City or Road Commission has in terms of separation.

 

Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Rogers about Lot 16 which backs up to the new Glendaís Market. Mr. Rogers reported that Glendaís is obliged to put in a six-foot high berm that will occupy about 38 feet at the base along the north edge of this subdivision; the screening, the landscaping, the berming, the irrigation of the berm, will be on Glendaís property which should provide the adequate transition and buffering.

 

Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Watson about his comment last year on this subject stating that "the planning commissionerís role in a tentative preliminary plat stage was that the Commission was to review it, determine if it complies with the zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations, and the Master Plan, and any other ordinances and resolutions." Mr. Watson further stated language taken from of the Subdivision Ordinance -- "make one of the following recommendations to the City Council: tentative approval of the preliminary plat; disapproval of the preliminary plat with reasons for the disapproval recorded in the minutes; and an unofficial copy sent to the subdivider and also sent onto the City Council; or a provisional approval condition upon specified conditions which will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting."

 

Member Bonaventura stated he is concerned about the safety issue and the Commission has a charge to make sure the Ordinance is followed. Member Bonaventura also stated that when the applicant appeared before the Commission at a previous meeting, he was asked to present a plan that would meet the Ordinances. Member Bonaventura stated that the problem with this plan is that it is premature and when there is a plan presented that does not impose on two groups of existing residences, thatís the time to come before the Commission.

 

Member Bononi stated her concerns regarding stormwater runoff and whether or not there is a designated flood hazard boundary anywhere near the creek. The applicant stated it is confined within the banks of the creek and Dave Bluhm reported that they checked the proposed development area and there is no FEMA flood plain on this project; the creek is outside of the limits of the project.

Member Bononi asked what is the elevation of the high water mark of the creek during a ten-year flood event? The applicant replied that it was at least one foot below the street elevation. Dave Bluhm reported that JCK requires that the 100-year storm be confined to the detention basins, the drainage structures, or public roads, and that it be kept out of building envelopes (finished grades). Anything above a ten-year storm is not being detained and the road is determined to be an acceptable conveyance location for the 100-year storm. The applicant reported that will be directly in conformance with the Cityís Design and Construction Standards as well as the Cityís Master Plan.

 

Member Bononiís next concern was in reference to the offsite 1.2 acre drainage area. The applicant stated that when they looked at the preliminary plans, they determined how much offsite drainage would be flowing onto the property and that is added to the location map to give a general description of the type of drainage that they will be taking onto the property.

 

Member Bononi asked if this proposal were to approved, what type of construction phasing and what erosion and sedimentation controls are being considered? The applicant stated that they go through an extensive review process with the City for soil erosion control devices and at the preliminary stage, they do not know the answer to the exact soil erosion devices that would be used.

 

Member Bononi asked what is intended for the 5,395 square foot area at the entrance. The applicant stated that it will be landscaped and it will not be a play area. The applicant also stated that there will be sidewalks on both sides of the boulevard entrance.

 

Member Bononi asked if there is another reason why the 230-foot radius eyebrow canít be constructed in the cul-de-sac? The applicant stated it can be constructed but there is a loss of property or lots when a site has to be narrowed.

 

Member Bononi stated concern for the turning requirement not only for fire trucks but also moving vans. The applicant stated that a moving van would be able to make that turn and the fire marshal approved the design.

 

Member Bononi asked if all the construction proposed for the entrance is within the existing right-of-way of Ten Mile Road and what the status is of the already mentioned small parcel owned by the church to the west? The applicant reported that Singh Development owns that property.

 

Member Bononi then stated that, all of the construction proposed for the improvement of the entrance is within the Ten Mile Road right-of-way. The applicant reported that the improvements at this intersection will benefit all motorists; Ten Mile, existing subdivision owners, and new subdivision owners.

 

Member Weddington stated that she had opposed this plan the last time it was before the Commission. There are some improvements but, she added that she does not see major changes that address her basic concerns or the concerns of the people who spoke tonight. Member Weddington is especially concerned about the safety issue. If anything is done, even if it meets all the technical requirements of all of the Ordinances, it would still place adverse impact on the existing neighbors.

Member Weddington would like to see a better access to Ten Mile and an attempt made to get more direct access to Grand River.

 

 

PM-96-01-011 TO SEND A NEGATIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR REVISED TENTATIVE PRELIMINARY PLAT RECOMMENDATION FOR WILLOWBROOK FARMS SUBDIVISION, SP 95-02C

 

Moved by Weddington, seconded by Hodges, CARRIED (6-1): To send a negative recommendation to City Council for revised tentative preliminary plat recommendation for Willowbrook Farms Subdivision, SP95-02C.

 

 

DISCUSSION

 

Member Capello asked if the Ordinance required the applicant to add a center turn lane on the presented plan? Mr. Arroyo stated that the Design and Construction Standards call for either a passing lane or center turn lane. The option is that if thatís not constructed, left turns might be prohibited at the driveway. If they chose not to construct any improvements, then one alternative to address the public safety concern might be to prohibit all left turns into the project.

 

Member Capello asked if the developer would be required to put a left turn lane in the proposal that was not presented tonight which includes a "T" into Border Hill. Mr. Arroyo replied that the configuration which brings the Design and Construction Standards into play and the fact that they have to make some improvements to Ten Mile Road is that their property actually intersects with Ten Mile Road and there is an intersection there. If they went with the "T" design that enters into Border Hill in the "for information only" plan and the Border Hill/Ten Mile intersection remains as it is today, they donít have any impact on that intersection from a physical standpoint. Therefore, the City and the Road Commission would not be in a position where improvements such as deceleration lanes, passing lanes, or center turn lanes could be required.

 

Member Capello stated he made a motion on the original plan to send a positive recommendation to City Council that included a requirement that Border Hill not be disrupted to protect the residents and yet the same plan is back again this evening.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated that the developer is obviously in a catch-22 position. The plan that Member Capello stated he liked, was one that Mr. Arroyo could not support and approve from a traffic standpoint. If our traffic consultant cannot support it and give a positive recommendation to a plan, how can it even make it to this body much less City Council?

Member Capello stated that the developer could voluntarily put in the deceleration lanes and the center left turn lane and at least resolve some of the traffic problems on Ten Mile Road.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated that her interpretation is that itís more than just the Ten Mile Road improvements; itís the approach in and out of the subdivision. Mr. Arroyo agreed the improvements to Ten Mile are an improvement; however, the boulevard still provides some additional benefits.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked, apart from the Ten Mile Road improvements, if Mr. Arroyo cannot support or recommend the "T" approach from Plan B? Mr. Arroyo replied the option has not been presented for consideration. He would want time to look it over and see what impact that would have. He further added that it is certainly better than not having any improvements to Ten Mile at all.

 

Member Hoadley stated that he is going to vote to support a negative recommendation. The only way he could support this would be to have a break away fence that would eliminate all traffic on Brenda Road.

 

Mr. Arroyo clarified his answer to Member Bonaventura about the "eyebrow" in the 230-foot center line radius. He mentioned that the roadway itself has to meet the 230-foot center line standard. What he didnít point out and what should also be included as part of that is that the eyebrow itself, although it generally is close to what would be acceptable, it is still slightly under what the eyebrow radius standard is which would be 65 feet and they have 53 feet so that would have to be adjusted as well or else a waiver would be necessary to go along with the 230-foot.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated she cannot support the motion that is on the floor. She has reviewed this matter very carefully. The letter from the City Attorney dated October 20, 1995 to the City Council seems to indicate that the City does have the authority to deny plat approval when the street layout plan does not provide safe traffic circulation in relation to access streets or otherwise fails to prevent congestion or impairment of traffic resulting from access to and from the site. Looking at the present conditions of that access to Ten Mile Road and at the boulevard approach and the Ten Mile Road improvements that this development is proposing to make, it is clear to her, in addition to the comments made by the Cityís traffic consultant, that these improvements and the boulevard approach will not only benefit those using Ten Mile but will benefit the subdivision residents going in and out of that subdivision. Chairperson Lorenzo sees this as improving the traffic and safety flow of Ten Mile and of the current subdivision streets. Chairperson Lorenzo further stated that she understands and sympathizes with the residents in terms of the intrusion and disruption that the additional traffic causes, but this is not an uncommon situation. Itís common in this City and under certain circumstances, itís impractical and sometimes not feasible to do it any other way. In addition, Chairperson Lorenzo shares the concern about the Brenda and Joseph access. Chairperson Lorenzo thinks it would be possible to send a recommendation to Council even though itís in opposition to what the Fire Department warrants. If there was a problem with the radius of the "eyebrow," obviously there must be an option to send a recommendation to Council to abide by the construction standards and comply with that standard. The Commission canít require Singh to purchase property from either Mr. Earl or any other property owner. Chairperson Lorenzo believes that what they are proposing is going to make this safer and a better flow for traffic on Ten Mile and for the subdivision. Therefore, Chairperson Lorenzo looks at this as a matter of good planning and practicality and, on that basis, canít support a negative recommendation.

 

Member Bonaventura noted that the two letters from Fried, Watson and Bugbee were received from a resident and were very helpful. Member Bonaventura asked why the Planning Commission did not receive the information in their packet.

 

Dennis Watson noted that the requirement for secondary access or stub streets is contained within the subdivision regulations and variances from those regulations are permitted. They are decided and determined upon by City Council.

 

Mr. Rogers noted that there is a requirement that a dead end street cannot exceed 800 feet and this would greatly exceed that unless there was an exit at Brenda. The only other alternative would be to cut through Mr. Earlís property and possibly that would be close to 800 feet from his stub up to the end which would require another variance.

 

Member Hoadley stated that if he could be absolutely reassured that the road would not be open to the public, he would support it.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated that the Planning Commission is in the position of recommending that to Council; it is the Councilís authority to either require that secondary access or allow it not to be there.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo responded to the audience question regarding the retention pond. The lots that are adjacent to that retention pond are Lots 66, 67, and 68.

 

Mr. Bluhm stated that the audience participant may be talking about the offsite drainage. Thatís not a detention area that will hold water or hold water for detention purposes. Theyíre picking up existing offsite runoff from the undeveloped land; not a detention basin.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-96-01-011 - MOTION CARRIED

 

Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Weddington

No: Lorenzo

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

 

Andrew Mutch, 24541 Hampton Court, Novi; addressed the Commission regarding the proposed rezoning in Commerce Township, Section 36. The Commissioners received a copy of a letter sent to the Commerce Township Board from the Oakland County Zoning Coordinating Committee and the rezoning was denied (4-0). A copy of the letter is attached. The Countyís recommendation to the township is only advisory and not binding. At the January 9, 1996 Township Board meeting, this rezoning action was introduced and placed on the February 13, 1996 agenda for action. At the January 9 Novi Commission meeting Mr. Mutch raised his concerns about the impact of the rezoning. Mr. Mutch is asking the Planning Commission, between now and February 13, to make a recommendation or send comments to Commerce Township regarding this proposed rezoning and its impact on the City of Novi and our zoning and Master Plan. Mr. Mutch would like to see this Planning Commission evaluate the proposed rezoning and the potential traffic impacts, land use impacts, environmental impacts; possibly review by the consultants and send something to the township expressing any concerns the Commissioners may have or their position on this matter. Now that it is in the public forum, and other jurisdictions are also involved, it would be appropriate to make some comments.

 

 

PM-96-01-012 TO MOVE MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION, 1. TWELVE OAKS MALL - INTERIOR RENOVATIONS REPORT, BEFORE DISCUSSION ON CRESCENT OAKS CONTINUUM OF CARE FACILITY

 

Moved by Capello, seconded by Bonaventura, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To move Matters for Discussion, 1. Twelve Oaks Mall - Interior Renovations Report, before discussion on Crescent Oaks Continuum of Care Facility.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-96-01-012 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

 

Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Weddington

No: None

 

 

MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION

 

1. TWELVE OAKS MALL - INTERIOR RENOVATIONS REPORT

Scott McCarthy, Taubman Company (owners of Twelve Oaks), Phil Morosco, 12 Oaks Manager, and Ron Lock, Taubman Company Planning and Design Department, briefed the Planning Commissioners on remodeling and refurbishment that will be going on at the shopping center.

 

 

PUBLIC HEARING

 

 

2. CRESCENT OAKS CONTINUUM OF CARE FACILITY, SP 93-30D

Property located south of Twelve Mile Road, between Twelve Oaks Mall and Meadowbrook Road for possible Revised PD-1 Option, Revised Preliminary Site Plan, Revised Phasing Plan, and Revised Wetland Permit recommendation to City Council and Revised Woodland Permit approval.

 

Mike Kahm, Singh Development Co. recapped the changes made on the new site plan. In April, 1994 Singh received site plan approval along with a rezoning of this property to RM-1 with a PD-1 Option as a mechanism in the ordinance to allow for the development of senior citizen housing which was unique in its design features. The City at one time had a SCH Ordinance which was specific to senior housing, but was abandoned for various reasons. Singh then sought another vehicle within the ordinance to allow them to build a facility that would have been allowed under that ordinance if it was still in effect. The RM-1 with a PD-1 Option was the only way to do that. Since that time, Singh has been going through what they call "design development" and have received two, six month extensions to that particular site plan from the City Council because itís a PD-1 Option; the second extension expires in April of this year. The original site plan included approximately twenty acres; this plan includes only thirteen and one-half acres (the six and one-half acre loss was acreage to the east of the property). For a variety of reasons that particular piece of property was not continued within their ultimate purchase agreement with the Taubman Company, from both perspectives. The both agreed that portion of the property wasnít viable any longer.

 

Mr. Kahm continued by stating that the other change made in the assistant living facility is that it is a two-story element. The one story element includes one hundred and ten assisted living units. Its partner in this site plan is a T-shape or cross shape building which is still the same as the previous plan. There are 121, two bedroom independent apartments for more independent elderly, but there are also services for those who still need some help in daily living for meals, housekeeping, laundry, and similar kinds of assistance. Connecting those two elements is what is called a Central Service Club. The main entry to the facility is patterned after the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, the theme has a portico and a balcony (viewing level) above the entry.

 

Essentially, that is the difference between the first site plan and the current site plan. Aside from some of the technical matters that the consultants had reviewed, all of the ingredients of the original site plan are included in this one. The last site plan did receive approval of four variances and those are: (1) waiver of the forty-five-degree angle requirement because of the unique configuration of this property; (2) the building length because of the unique connection of the entire facility we exceed the building length provisions within the RM-1 Ordinance which didnít contemplate this type of building; (3) the setback from Crescent Lake to the building, thereís a special provision in the PD-1 Option; and (4) the frontage on a nonpublic or private road because we front on the ring road around Twelve Oaks Mall and thatís a private road.

 

George Norberg, Seiber, Keast & Assoc., stated that with the elimination of patio homes, the actual internal utilities have stayed relatively the same and that theyíre making a water connection at the existing water system in Woodland Medical. There is an existing sanitary sewer that is very close to the building. This is one of the reasons why the building is positioned as it is and another reason why this variance is being requested. The sanitary sewer parallels the storm sewer system and the sanitary sewer connection will probably be at this point and brought through the building. The storm sewer is an existing thirty-six inch sewer which services most of Woodland Medical, as well as part of Twelve Mile Road. It currently discharges water at this location and will connect to that in a limited area. The rest of the storm water for the site discharges into a sediment basin which is located adjacent to the proposed wetland mitigation area which overflows into the wetland mitigation area and then from that point overflows into the existing pond. There is no specific storm water detention on site for this particular project, although it does have two large mitigation areas. The lake was designed to accommodate for those flows and it is believed to be part of the Cityís Storm Water Management Master Plan. The proposed wetland fill areas include this wetland, located in the area where the buildings are. A wall is being constructed parallel with the roads in order to limit the amount of fill that weíre going to be placing in those wetlands. The actual wetland fill is 1.18 acres and the mitigation is 1.77 acres, which is a 1-5 ratio.

 

As a result of the several meetings the developer has had with the fire marshal, there are sidewalks added that meets the courtyards per the fire marshalís request for access to this entire area.

 

Brandon Rogers reviewed his report of December 29, 1995 and recommended approval of the PD-1 Option and the revised preliminary site plan subject to the following:

 

1. Review by Planning Commission of building orientation to adjacent property lines where 45 degree minimum orientation is not achieved.

2. Review by ZBA of lack of frontage on a public ROW.

3. Deficient building and parking lot setbacks at southeast corner of the Independent Living Facility Building unit from Crescent Lake.

4. Excessive length of Independent Living Facility/Home for the Aged Building.

 

Note: ZBA previously addressed last three issues at its May 3, 1994 meeting (Case Nos. 94-28A, B and C and 94-043) when the preliminary site plan was first reviewed and approved the requested variances. Since that time the revised plan has increased length of the building to 653' from an original plan of 584'.

 

David Bluhm reviewed his letter of January 10, 1996 and stated that the plan demonstrates engineering feasibility. In addition to comments in that letter, there are two other concerns that will have to be addressed at the final, they are:

 

1. The two utilities that encircle the northern edge of the site contain easements with the utilities centered in a twenty-foot easement. This places additional restrictions on what can be do with the buildings because the buildings need to be kept outside of the easements, as well as the utilities in that location.

2. There are concerns about storm water discharging into the storm sewer that encircles the site and then outlets into the ditch on the west side. Mr. Norberg has advised that they will work to minimize the outflow. Deep sumps will catch any sediment that would be deposited into the roadways and in the structures and keep that sediment from going into the lakes. As mentioned, there is a sediment basin collecting the drainage from the south end of the site.

 

Rod Arroyo reviewed his letter of January 11, 1996 and recommended approval subject to the following:

 

1. Applicant notes that a variance was granted by the ZBA for access to a private road system (public road access required). City Attorney should comment if this new plan would require a "renewal" of this variance.

 

Linda Lemke reviewed her letter of January 10, 1996 and recommended approval for a Woodlands Permit with the following conditions:

 

1. Payment of a Performance Bond of either cash or Letter of Credit with the amount to be determined at the time of Final Site Plan Review as determined by City Forester.

2. No construction including clearing or grubbing can begin until the protective fencing has been approved by the City.

3. Preservation signage is erected as directed by the City.

4. Review of Final Engineering Plans for woodland impact by her office.

 

Sue Tepatti reviewed her letter of January 8, 1996 and recommended approval of the revised wetland permit contingent upon the following:

 

1. The DNR permit will be revised to reflect the additional fill along the southern roadway. The notation on the plan stating that wetland B is not DNR regulated will be omitted. The latest DNR correspondence indicated that this wetland may be regulated if the open water area exceeds one acre in size. The applicant should request that the DNR permit be extended as it expires December 31, 1995.

2. Efforts will be made during future reviews to enlarge the sedimentation basin or incorporate it with the mitigation area. It is shown as quite small currently.

3. The location of the protective fencing will be revised during future reviews. It will be shown on the 25-foot setback or in close proximity to the retaining wall in order to preserve as much of the sensitive lands as possible. At the same time, the line type depicting the wetland edge should be altered to be more obvious. Currently, it can be confused with what is apparently the edge of the water. This should be clarified on future submittals.

 

Chris Pargoff, City Forester stated that in his letter of January 11, 1996, that his office concurs with Linda Lemkeís recommendations.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo noted receipt of a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi Fire Department dated December 26, 1995 which states, "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended with the following: 1. A fire hydrant is required to be within approximately one hundred feet of the stand pipe connection off of the north drive."

 

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

 

Andrew Mutch, 24541 Hampton Court, noted that he previously expressed concerns about the PD-1 Option as a future land use and with regard to other projects and the potential impacts of those projects. Crescent Oaks is a unique project to the City and in terms of the environmental and traffic impacts, it doesnít raise the same concerns that some other locations would. Mr. Mutch further states that if this project is looked at in terms of the infrastructure in this location and its location around the Regional Center, it may be the only appropriate place in the City for this type of development if there is going to be PD-1 development. However, Mr. Mutch is concerned with the setback from the lake and the intent of that provision in the Ordinance as it a reduction from the RM-1 standard which is 150 feet. The intent of the setback is to provide green space or open space along the lake and Mr. Mutch would like the applicant to meet the intent of that standard.

 

 

DISCUSSION

 

Member Hoadley stated that he takes exception to an economic and social potential study that begins by saying that in general, elderly housing puts minimal demand on city infrastructure and this development will be no exception to the rule. He explained that he has researched this subject and sited Novi Village with 115 units as project similar to Crescent Oaks. In 1995, EMS had 99 runs to Novi Village. Crescent Oaks is proposing two times the number of units which will not only impact EMSí ability to respond and but will also create additional staffing problems. Therefore, Member Hoadley contends that there is an adverse impact to the infrastructure.

 

Member Hoadley then commented on the congested traffic situation at Twelve Oaks during the holidays. Member Hoadley remarked that the elderly have frequent medical emergencies and there is a need for road access to Twelve Mile Road for emergency vehicles. Member Hoadley then raised his concerns about a provision to prevent shoppers from parking in the projects lot. Furthermore, Member Hoadley states that although shopping is nearby, how will the seniors travel to the mall? In addition, Member Hoadley would like a third lane (deceleration) added if the plan is approved.

 

Member Hoadley asked the petitioner to define "limited assisted living." Mike Kahm responded that they will provide things such as: three meals a day, laundry, housekeeping, assistance in dressing or bathing (if needed), and reminders to take medication.

 

Member Hoadley asked if someone confined to a wheelchair could be included and could they live on the second floor? Mr. Kahm replied "yes."

 

Member Hoadley wanted to know how many elevators are planned. Mr. Kahm replied that there will be three elevators and one will be located central to both facilities.

 

Mr. Kahm noted that tenants in wheelchairs are typically confined to the first floor. In addition, the building will be staffed 24 hours a day. Mr. Kahm added that the construction of the building is guided by the Michigan Department of Public Health Standards for Health Facilities. Furthermore, because this is technically called a "home for the aged", state licensing will be required. The licensing procedure has several requirements for construction and operation. One of the state fire marshalís requirements is that it be constructed with all metal. It will also be a fully sprinkled fire suppressed building and the chance of a fire spreading is almost zero.

 

Member Hoadley asked what would happen if a second floor tenant became wheelchair bound and a first floor apartments is not available. Mr. Kahm reiterated that they are staffed twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year with aides on every floor. Mr. Kahm added that there are eight stations strategically located throughout the floors and the staff is able to see all the rooms on each floor so that there is help for anyone at any time.

 

Member Hoadley asked if an emergency backup electrical system was planned. Mr. Kahm replied that they havenít gotten to that level, but if the state requires a back up system, they will provide it.

 

Member Hoadley asked how a person who has difficulty walking down stairs is evacuated from this type of structure in an emergency situation . Member Hoadley then reiterated that his biggest concern is emergency vehicle traffic, especially during the holiday season. Mr. Kahm replied that they have considered hiring their own security guard during those peak times to screen people who enter the site to make sure that they are legitimate visitors or delivery people and not just trying to use the parking lots.

 

Member Hoadley asked the developer to address his concerns about providing a right-hand turn lane onto the ring road at the main entrance to the intersection. Mr. Kahm replied that they are restricted on what they can or cannot do on the ring road by the Taubman Companyís provisions. They would be more than happy to work with them on the center turn lane and restriping in order to accommodate the facility.

 

Member Hoadley restated his question about how the seniors could walk from the facility to the mall. Mr. Kahm stated that they would discourage them and would provide van service to the mall.

 

Member Hoadley commented that this location is not going to be user friendly to its tenants. Mr. Kahm replied that if it is compared to any other location, he believes it is superior to any other location in Novi. Although Mr. Kahm agrees that the concerns are legitimate, if it is agreed that this kind of housing need is important to the community, then there are tradeoffs to provide those kinds of services.

 

Member Hodges asked if the vans would take the residents to Vicís and similar places. Mr. Kahm replied that they would be taken to the mall, doctorsí appointments, the movies, different programs that are offered to those who wish to participate, and day excursions to different places. Member Hodges asked if the residents living in the independent living facility would have first acceptance at the aged building. Mr. Kahm replied "yes."

 

Member Hodges asked if they would allow someone in a wheel chair into the independent section. Mr. Kahm replied that if they can take care of themselves, they could live in the independent section. Mr. Kahm continued by stating that there is a project similar to this in Rochester Hills with 120 units called "congregate care" which are independent apartments with optional services. At the most, 25% of those people have cars and of that 25%, half of them leave the cars parked there nine months out of the year, and virtually no one residing in the assisted living facility will drive.

 

Member Hodges shares some of the EMS concerns that Mr. Hoadley stated earlier, but also sees that the City offers the opportunity for EMS to grow. They do charge for the services, so the system itself can grow to accommodate the needs of the people. The road system and traffic are a concern, but to penalize the opportunity for six weeks out of the year, Member Hodges canít justify doing that. Member Hodges noted her concern about safety, as this will be a rather secluded development and asked whether or not they would have their own separate on-site security.

 

Mr. Kahm replied that the mall has a security system and as a member of the mall community, they have a cooperative agreement for a variety of services, including the road system. The building is 100% secure. All visitors entering the building must first buzz the main desk, identify yourself and whom you are visiting. A register is then kept of visitors who also have to sign in and sign out. The security is tight and you cannot enter the building without having some reason to be there.

 

Member Hodges stated that she could support this plan, simply because she has seen it work.

 

Member Bononi expressed concern as to why such an extreme variance on building length is being sought and if the proposed outdoor area is covered. Mr. Kahm replied that the outdoor area is more of an open patio area adjacent to the dining area and it will be landscaped and have benches. There is also an enclosed courtyard which the dining area will look out on. That area is also available for people to go out and sit in a completely secure environment. There will also be sitting areas closer to the water, with a deck or veranda for residents to sit, have lunch, and take advantage of the scenic view of the site. There are a variety of places residents can enjoy the outdoors in a secured environment.

 

Member Bononi asked that since the property is private, would the City would have recourse to regulate the speed limit. Mr. Arroyo stated that when a situation warrants it, certain signage can be required and that there is a provision whereby a private development can request that the City erect traffic control signs via traffic control orders. The developer can then pay the City back for the cost. If there are problems with accidents on a particular property, Mr. Arroyo doesnít believe that there is anything the City can do to address that. However, Mr. Arroyo added that he could review any signage information in more detail when it gets to the final site plan based upon the Commissionís request.

 

Member Hoadley stated that his concerns would be reduced regarding EMS if another access out to Twelve Mile Road was provided. Mr. Kahm reiterated that the problem is that they donít own the property nor was the property available for them to purchase.

 

Member Hoadley asked if an easement for an access has been discussed with the other developer? Mr. Kahm stated that they would be more than happy to cooperate in constructing a permanent vehicular connection between sites to facilitate emergency vehicle access to both properties.

 

Member Hoadley asked if they would be willing to put a stub in now. Mr. Kahm replied that it could be made as a condition for final site plans so that the plan can proceed now.

 

Member Hoadley asked about security for people who might have dementia. Mr. Kahm replied that there is an isolated wing with a separate aide station on the first floor of the assisted living just for dementia patients and it is totally secured with alarmed doors.

 

Member Hoadley asked if a deceleration lane could be added so that an elderly person could make a right hand turn without going out into the regular traffic flow. Mr. Kahm stated that the demand for that, given the extraordinarily low traffic demand of this project, is really not there.

 

 

PM-96-01-013 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR A REVISED PD-1 OPTION, REVISED PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN, REVISED PHASING PLAN, REVISED WETLAND PERMITS, SUBJECT TO CONSULTANTSí RECOMMENDATIONS AND PLANNING RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STUB STREET ACCESS TO TWELVE MILE ROAD FOR CRESCENT OAKS CONTINUUM OF CARE FACILITY, SP 93-30D

 

Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Capello, CARRIED (6-1): To send a positive recommendation to City Council for Revised PD-1 Option, Revised Preliminary Site Plan, Revised Phasing Plan, Revised Wetland Permits subject to consultantsí recommendations and Planning Commission recommendations for stub street access to Twelve Mile Road for Crescent Oaks Continuum of Care Facility, SP 93-30D.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-96-01-13 MOTION CARRIED

 

Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Weddington

No.: Bonaventura

 

 

 

PM-96-01-014 TO APPROVE REVISED WOODLAND PERMIT FOR CRESCENT OAKS CONTINUUM OF CARE FACILITY, SP 93-30D

 

Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Capello: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Revised Woodland Permit for Crescent Oaks Continuum of Care Facility, SP 93-30D.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-96-01-014 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Weddington

No: None

 

 

 

 

PM-96-01-015 MOTION TO APPROVE A FORTY-FIVE-DEGREE ANGLE VARIANCE FOR CRESCENT OAKS CONTINUUM OF CARE FACILITY, SP 93-30D

 

Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Hodges, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve a forty-five-degree angle variance for Crescent Oaks Continuum of Care Facility, SP 93-30D.

 

VOTE ON PM-96-01-015 - CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Weddington

No: None

 

 

MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION

 

1. Jim Wahl requested this item be deleted from the agenda.

 

 

PM-96- 01-016 MOTION TO ADJOURN THE REGULAR PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING AT 11:30 P.M.

 

Moved by Bonaventura, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Planning Commission Meeting at 11:30 p.m.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-96-01-016 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Weddington

No: None

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steven Cohen, Planning Aide

Transcribed by Christine Gehler

February 2, 1996

Corrections assisted by Barbara Holmes

February 21, 1996

 

Date Approved: March 6, 1996