REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 1996 AT 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBER - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Meeting called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo.
PRESENT: Members Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Markham, Vrettas,
Weddington, Chairperson Lorenzo
ALSO PRESENT: City Attorney Dennis Watson, Planning Consultant Brandon Rogers, Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Engineering Consultant Dave Bluhm, Director of Planning & Community Development Jim Wahl, Staff Planner Greg Capote, and Planning Aide Steven Cohen
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Bonaventura would like to add as Item 1, under Matters for Discussion, a Joint Meeting with City Council.
Member Hoadley would like to add as Item 2, under Matters for Discussion, Discussion of Out- of-Date Zoning Ordinances.
Chairperson Lorenzo would like to note that Item 1, Zoning Map Amendment 18.544, under Public Hearing has been postponed to the March 6, 1996 Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission.
PM-96-02-034 TO APPROVE AGENDA AS AMENDED
Motion by Weddington, seconded by Bonaventura, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Agenda and amend by adding under Matters for Discussion as Item 1, Joint Meeting with City Council and as Item 2, Discussion of Out-of-Date Zoning Ordinances.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-034 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
Al Paas, of DeRosier Architects stated he is appearing on behalf of the Society Hill project. There is an agenda item under Matters of Consideration regarding the PD-1 Option recommendation. Mr. Paas asked the Chair if his comments and presentation would be more appropriate at that time. Chairperson Lorenzo responded that it would and the presentation would be limited to five minutes.
Chairperson Lorenzo closed the Audience Participation stating that there would be a second after midpoint break and a third before adjournment.
CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVAL AND APPROVALS
Member Hoadley stated that the minutes were good, but late. Member Hoadley went on to state that one of the reasons that he agreed to reduced minutes was to get them on time.
Mr. Cohen responded by stating that the minutes are currently up-to-date and are coming before the Commission two or three at a time so that they are not so overwhelming. Mr. Cohen added that if the Commission would prefer to have them all at once, the Department would provide them.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated her concerns about motions that fail. Those who voted yes or no were specified, yet in other cases they were not.
Mr. Cohen stated that it was a clerical error.
Chairperson Lorenzo then stated that she thought that when the Planning Commission approved the shortened version it was with the proviso that the consultants’ letters would be attached. Mr. Cohen responded by stating that most of the information was summarized and the parts that were not, the letters were attached. Mr. Cohen did agree that the motion does state that all the letters should be attached and will do so in the future.
Member Hoadley asked that all letters received for the Planning Commission be included with the minutes. Mr. Cohen responded that they are attached.
PM-96-02-035 TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF DECEMBER 6 AND 20, 1995
Motion by Weddington, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the December 6 and 20, 1995 Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission as corrected.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-035 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
PM-96-02-036 TO APPROVE THE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT RESOLUTION AS SUBMITTED
Motion by Vrettas, seconded by Hoadley, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Capital Improvement Resolution as submitted.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-036 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
2. RAY ELECTRIC, SP 96-09
Property located north of Grand River Avenue, west of Meadowbrook Road for possible Special Land Use approval.
Matthew Quinn, attorney on behalf of Ray Electric, stated that Lee Mamola is also present to appear on behalf of Ray Electric. The de Steiger family, who is the owner, is also present to answer any questions. Mr. Quinn went on to state that the special land use approval is requested under the I-1 zoning. The de Steigers have a 38 year old store located in Roseville, the Troy store has been operating for 28 years, and the Sterling Heights store has been open for 16 years. Ray Electric is a wholesale distributor of electrical supplies and equipment for commercial, industrial, and residential lighting. Recently in Novi, Ray Electric supplied all of the lighting, electrical distribution, and wiring materials to the contractors for the Novi High School expansion. Mr. Quinn went on to say that they are basically involved in the wholesale of heavy electrical equipment to contractors and they want to take over the former Federal Express Building. It is approximately a 20,000 square foot building and the majority of its use will be for their wholesale activities. However, because their business also requires walk-in traffic, it requires a residential retail component to it and that is why the special land use is being requested. The applicant is looking for special land use approval that will allow as an ancillary use as in Ordinance 1903.7 which states "retail sales activities, when ancillary to an otherwise permitted electrical supply business, provided that the sales are predominantly to building contractors and the trades, may have a space for retail sale activity including any area which is accessible by ten percent of the total floor area of the business or 500 square feet, which ever is less." If special land use is granted, the applicant will appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals and ask for a variance from the 500 square feet. Mr. Quinn further stated that the applicants believe that in order for their business to be viable, they need at least 2,000 square feet for their hanging showroom area. The applicant’s store in Troy is 3,000 square feet. Mr. Quinn stated that if the Commission granted approval, the applicant would appreciate a positive recommendation to the ZBA to grant a variance.
Mr. Mamola stated that the building contains 22,000 square feet with approximately 2,000 square feet designated to office area. Normally, in these types of buildings the ratio of office to shop area is about 20% office and 80% shop. This building is a little bit of a white elephant because it isn’t typical for the light industrial marketplace. However, Mr. Mamola further added that the building lends itself to the electrical use. The front office can be used as offices and not be open to the public. Mr. Mamola pointed to the area planned to be open to the public which is about 1,970 square feet. He then pointed to a solid area which is the 500-foot limit and a diagonally co-shaded area is the balance of approximately 1,400 square feet. Mr. Mamola clarified one of Mr. Quinn’s statements about whether or not a builder would send a customer to this business by stating that the only builder who would do that is a builder who had an account with Ray’s which would be paid for through the purchase of a home and should not be confused with an over the counter type of display. Mr. Mamola then addressed land use and impact to the site by stating that Ray Electric is a light generator of traffic. There are occasional deliveries and pickups by contractors and suppliers that can be accommodated by the paved area in the back of the building. Mr. Mamola added that he was familiar with Ray Electric long before he was approached by them because he has reviewed submittals from commercial and industrial contractors who are building structures.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant, referred to his letter of February 8, 1996 and stated that this is a case where the building, footprint, green space setbacks, and parking lot are not changed. Mr. Rogers referred to a question raised in his report as to whether the proposed use is permitted in an I-1 District. He further stated that if it were merely a warehouse operation, the applicant would not be before the Commission because the property does not abut residential. However, to have successful retail sales activity, it is necessary to have more than 500 square feet for display area. Because the building is large, they can meet the 10% rule, but they exceed the 500 square foot maximum. In order to meet ordinance requirements, they must meet both standards. Mr. Rogers ends his report by stating his concerns about setting a precedent for other industrial uses in the I-1 and I-2 District which for the most part have been kept to a cap since the ordinance was amended to put the non-retail limitation in the ordinance. Mr. Rogers explained that this does not infer that Ray Electric would not be an asset to the City, but he would like to see entry limited to contractors and builders to take away the onus of a public retail store space and then have a 500 square foot area open to the public. Mr. Rogers reminded the Commission that if the applicant received special land use approval, they would still have to appear before the ZBA for a variance from the dimensional standard in the ordinance.
Rod Arroyo stated that his office did not specifically review the application, but would like to point out that he received a phone call from Commissioner Bononi requesting trip generation for this project. Mr. Arroyo went on to state that she specifically asked for a comparison between a warehouse with a small retail component and two other uses that might be permitted in the District (e.g. drive-in bank). She then asked Mr. Arroyo to look at a comparison between a fast food restaurant. Mr. Arroyo distributed a one page hand out that provided a comparison of p.m. peak hour trips and twenty-four hour trips for those various land uses. Mr. Arroyo pointed out that these are generalized uses and comparisons. The hand out compares 19,700 square feet of warehouse plus 500 square feet of specialty retail generating roughly 120 trips during an average weekday; a fast food restaurant would generate approximately 1,900 trips on an average weekday; a drive in bank would generate just less than 1,000 trips on an average weekday.
Chairperson Lorenzo opened the floor for the public for comments. Seeing no one, Chairperson Lorenzo turned the matter over to the Commission for discussion.
Member Hoadley favors granting approval subject to ZBA approval. However, at the same time, Member Hoadley would like to see the ordinance remanded back to the Ordinance Review Committee because its limitations are unrealistic.
PM-96-02-037 TO APPROVE SPECIAL LAND USE FOR RAY ELECTRIC, SP 96-09
Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve special land use for Ray Electric, SP 96-09 subject to ZBA review and approval and referral of the matter of the 500 square foot limitation in the ordinance to the Implementation Committee.
Member Weddington asked Mr. Rogers if there are other districts where this type of use could be accommodated. Mr. Rogers replied by stating that since the primary use is wholesaling and warehousing, they may be accommodated in a commercial district with the retail in the front and storage in the back. Mr. Rogers then stated that the City could end up with a lot of businesses on Grand River with the storage warehouse function in the back. Furthermore, a lot of work went into the amendment to try to allow certain retail activities relating to building components, but still not open it up to a retail store. Mr. Rogers reiterated his concerns about preserving the industrial districts for industry and the residential for residential and that the ordinance will take some study.
Member Weddington recalls problems with similar types who opened their doors for public sales in the industrial parks and thought that this was the reason for the restriction. Mr. Rogers responded by siting Cort Furniture Rental as an example. The building has the retail in the front, but the bulk of the building is used for warehouse, wholesaling, and refinishing which could possibly be considered as an I-1 use. Mr. Rogers recalls concluding that it was primarily retail and now appears to be retail and that is how Ray Electric could have been considered.
Member Weddington asked Mr. Rogers if he agreed with the parking calculations on Mr. Mamola’s prints. Mr. Rogers responded that he did.
Member Weddington asked the petitioner if a walk-in customer could purchase lighting fixtures? Mr. Quinn responded yes, but estimated that it will be less than 6% of their gross income.
Member Weddington’s concern is the same as was expressed by Commissioner Hoadley in that the 500-foot cap does seem to be too small, but she does not know what is appropriate. Her other concern is that if she were on the ZBA, she would have difficulty approving a request for a variance because no hardship has been demonstrated and the petitioner is purchasing the building or entering into a lease knowing what the limitations are.
Member Bonaventura believes the ordinance does not need to be amended. He further stated that the Planning Commission has the discretion and the ZBA has the ability to follow through on concerns like this. Member Bonaventura then asked if the ordinance applies to industrial uses in the interior of a park Mr. Rogers responded that it does but there are other sections in the ordinance that permit industrial office sales in an I-1 District (e.g. Production Tool). Member Bonaventura then asked if part of the intent of the ordinance is to limit retail sales so that people are not encouraged to travel to parks for their shopping. Mr. Rogers responded that he never thought of that. Member Bonaventura stated he believed that the purpose of the limitation is to keep these types of buildings for their intended use. Member Bonaventura further stated that he will support the motion because it is a good use and the building is not located on a major road. Furthermore, Member Bonaventura finds no fault with the motion as it is. Member Bonaventura then responded to Mr. Quinn’s suggestion that the Commission make a positive recommendation to the ZBA by stating that it is not the Commission’s policy to make recommendations like that because they are an independent body.
Member Hoadley reiterated his reasoning for remanding the ordinance to the Implementation Committee.
Member Capello stated that he has a problem with the language in subsection 7 (i.e., electrical supplies, plumbing supplies, furnaces, lawn maintenance equipment, doors, windows, and wall siding) and asked if retail sales are allowed in a retail showroom, how can these items be displayed in a 500 square foot area? Member Capello further agreed with Member Bonaventura and Mr. Rogers that this may apply in the interiors of industrial parks, but to put this limitation on these types of retail sales activities doesn’t make sense.
Member Bononi stated that the uniqueness of the proposed use has to do with the inherent nature of the business proposed. Furthermore, this project would not probably have been looked at in that way fifteen years ago. Member Bononi further added that she had personally been involved in a similar transaction with her own builder. She also agrees that 500 square feet is not enough room to give a customer enough choices. Member Bononi’s additional concern is what reasonable alternatives would the applicant have in trying to find a location since it doesn’t make sense to acquire commercial or retail space, when warehousing space is needed.
Member Weddington asked if Mr. Watson shared Mr. Rogers’ concern about setting a precedent.
Mr. Watson responded by stating that he doesn’t because the applicant hasn’t demonstrated a hardship.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-037 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
3. DETROIT CELLULAR TELEPHONE, SP 96-02
Property located north of Grand River Avenue, west of Haggerty Road for possible Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan recommendation to City Council and Woodland Permit approval.
Larry Rich, attorney representing CellularOne, stated he is here tonight seeking approval of a 115' cellular telephone monopoly and an 11'3"x7' unmanned computerized equipment structure used in the transmission and receipt of cellular telephone service. The site would be a leased portion of American Storage Partners, Ltd. and the zoning is I-1. The approval is being sought under Section 2508.2 of the zoning ordinance which states that "radio and television towers, public utility, microwave towers, television transmitting towers and their attendant facilities shall be permitted in the I-1 and I-2 Districts provided that communication towers are located centrally on a contiguous parcel of not less than one times the height of the tower measured from the base of the tower to all points on this property line." This will require that all the side yard, rear and front yard setbacks are equivalent to the height of the tower. In this particular instance, the requirements are met on three sides. However, on the south property line there is only a 45' setback and the applicant is prepared to ask the ZBA for a variance. Mr. Rich also stated that Mr. Stan Wojciechowski, an engineer with CellularOne, is present to answer technical questions and Grant Ward, who is the surveyor and preparer of the site plan presented, is also present. Mr. Rich then gave an overview as to what their site selection process is and how they locate monopoles and towers throughout the metropolitan Detroit area by stating that they are mandated by the FCC to provide the best service that they can which ultimately impacts two areas of their service. The first is the coverage that they can provide to users and the other is the capacity. Mr. Rich stated that they do research based upon customer feedback and engineering studies of where there may be a need of increasing capacity or coverage to provide the best service. Then an area that is least impacted is located and within the area, they try to locate a property owner with hope of leasing a portion of their land. In Mr. Rich’s estimation, he feels they have found such a site.
Mr. Rogers referred to his report of February 12, 1996 and agreed with Mr. Rich’s description of the project, the site, and the deficient setback. Mr. Rogers further stated that there would be no traffic impact on existing thoroughfares and no utility services other than electric power and telephone. Mr. Rogers then stated that there would be impact on natural landscape features on the site and Ms. Lemke is here to address the revised permit application which was originally established and reviewed when American Self-Storage was established about ten years ago. Mr. Rogers did not recommend special land use because of a deficiency in setback and furthermore, it is his opinion that there are other sites in the immediate area that are available that could meet the setback requirements. Mr. Rogers further stated that on the matter of the preliminary site plan application, all data are provided. Mr. Rogers suggested that the ordinance for cellular towers be revisited so that consideration can be given to a lesser setback for a fall zone. Mr. Rogers reminded the Commission that the towers will not fall over like a pencil, but will collapse in units. Mr. Rogers added that co-location towers should also be investigated and is a requirement in the city of Troy where the applicant must demonstrate that there is no opportunity to have piggybacking. Mr. Rogers then stated that a major problem is that, up until now, the FCC when granting their grids for Detroit Cellular and Ameritech would only allow two suppliers in any metro area and the grids were not the same. Therefore, it is very difficult to co-locate and still serve their area. If a positive recommendation is given, it would have to be contingent on a variance by the ZBA.
David Bluhm stated that JCK has also reviewed the site plan and he has no comments to make.
Rod Arroyo stated that he is recommending approval subject to a minor change on the location map.
Linda Lemke stated that Mr. Rogers was correct in his statement that this was one of the earliest woodland reviews that they did for the City of Novi. She further stated that the tree area on Mr. Ward’s plan is a small pocket that was part of the approved preservation plan. This was established before preservation easements were put on woodlands and before inspection. Ms. Lemke emphasized that this was an area that was to be left in its natural state. Ms. Lemke then stated that the proposed tower would remove one tree that is dead and one that is declining. The remaining trees would be preserved and they do have fencing shown on the plan. Ms. Lemke remarked that there is no under story in the area as most of it is lawn and there would be no replacement trees required since the trees are either dying or declining. Ms. Lemke’s primary concern is that by approving the location in an area previously regulated, that it would set a precedent to intrude into another saved woodlands area that have not had preservation easements placed on them. But Ms. Lemke added that the site is very small (100'x50'). In conclusion, Ms. Lemke recommends approval with her concerns about setting a precedent and the following conditions: 1) Payment of a performance bond to be determined at time of final site plan review; 2) no construction, including clearing and grubbing can begin until the fencing has been approved by the City; 3) an environmental preconstruction meeting is held; 4) preservation signage is erected as directed by the City; 5) review of the final engineering plans for woodland impact occurs by her office; and 6) two minor items as listed in her letter are added to the final engineering plan.
Chairperson Lorenzo notes in Mr. Pargoff’s absence that there is a letter in the packet from him indicating that "this office has reviewed the woodlands permit application for Detroit Cellular Company Antenna Installation and concurs with the finding and conditions of planning consultant Linda Lemke as stated in her letter of January 25, 1996."
Chairperson Lorenzo would also like to note for the record that she also has a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi Fire Department which states, "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."
Chairperson Lorenzo opened the floor for public comment. Seeing no one, she closed the Public Hearing and turned the matter over to the Commission for discussion.
Mr. Rogers pointed out that there is a 45 acre, I-1 parcel vacant immediately north of American Self-Storage, south of the mobile home park on the west side of Haggerty. Mr. Rogers asked the applicant why this was not a selected site. Mr. Rich responded that he approached the owner several times and he has shown no interest in their project.
Member Hoadley does not support the motion. Member Hoadley recommended that the ordinance be sent back to the Implementation Committee for further review. The ordinance should be amended so that applicants will be required to coexist on towers because the towers are intrusive and unsightly.
PM-96-02-038 TO SEND A NEGATIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR SPECIAL LAND USE AND PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL FOR DETROIT CELLULAR TELEPHONE,
Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a negative recommendation to City Council for Special land Use and Preliminary Site Plan approval for Detroit Cellular Telephone, SP 96-02.
Member Weddington asked the applicant if there is any possibility to co-locate their tower with Ameritech? Mr. Rich responded by stating that Mr. Rogers explanation of the grid system was accurate and where possible, they do attempt to co-locate with them. However, the grid systems that are set up are completely different and he is certain that this system has been explained to the Commission at previous meetings. Mr. Rich added that when future companies become licensed, they will cooperate with them to co-locate on their tower.
Member Vrettas believes that the cellular companies need incentive to work together on this issue. Member Vrettas also has issue with the variance requested and believes that an exception should not be made without a need. Member Vrettas then stated that he is concerned about the erection of a tower near protected woodlands. In conclusion, Member Vrettas supports the motion.
Member Hoadley asked the applicant to explain how they address an ordinance that requires them to investigate co-location. Mr. Rich responded that the city will not have cellular service available and in turn, they get a lot of complaints from cellular users who drive through that area and lose their calls. In cities like Troy, when demonstration has to be made, they are able to provide scientific limitations that prohibit them from co-locating and that it is not a matter of a lack of cooperation between competitors.
Member Hoadley recommends that all the providers appear before the FCC and change the incompatible grids. Member Hoadley then reiterated his previous concerns.
Mr. Rich brought to the Commission’s attention that a recent telecommunications bill signed by the President was passed approximately ten days ago and addresses many of these issues. He further stated that he has a copy of it for review. Mr. Rich believed the wave in governmental regulation from the FCC is to enhance the availability and service of these types of devices.
Member Bonaventura asked the applicant if Sprint and AT&T become cellular providers and a new grid is established, is the starting point of the grid the first tower? Mr. Rich responded that it would be a starting point and where it is started is hard to adjust. In the future, Mr. Rich said, they hope to be able to start at any point. Secondly, Member Bonaventura stated that although analog is currently being used does digital work with towers. Mr. Rich replied yes and once digital becomes available it will reduce the towers. Member Bonaventura then asked if Mr. Rich knew what the time frame is for digital. Mr. Rich responded that it would be at least two years. Member Bonaventura stated that is probably the reason for leasing sites. Mr. Rich added that it is generally a small parcel of land that can’t be split for sale.
Member Markham asked the petitioner how many other towers are currently erected in Novi? Mr. Rich believes that there are four.
Member Capello asked if the applicant has an immediate problem servicing the area or are they anticipating future problems. Mr. Rich responded that there is an immediate capacity problem.
Member Capello asked if the problems were at certain times or continuous. Mr. Rich stated that his information is received from what they call "bouncing busy hour," 4:00 p.m. through 7:00 p.m. time frame and heaviest peaks of traffic and during that specific time there is a blockage.
Member Capello asked if they will have immediate problems with their customers if their request is denied by City Council until the issue is resolved through ordinance review. Mr. Rich replied that they have those problems now.
Mr. Watson reminded the Commission that there is a deficiency in this request that the last request did not have and that is the setback requirement. The prior application complied with all ordinance requirements. Mr. Rich responded that they are willing to address that with the ZBA.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Rogers that he seemed to indicate that he believed that the present setback requirements might be accepted. Mr. Rogers replied that it is worthy of study. There is a fall zone, a percentage of the height of a tower that is used in other communities. Chairperson Lorenzo asked if that was the main purpose of the setback requirement. Mr. Rogers replied that it was for falling on somebody’s private property. Mr. Rogers further stated, other communities, like Dearborn Heights require 150% setback. Mr. Rogers added however, that Milford Township has a 40% fall zone and co-location. Mr. Rogers thinks that the industry will agree that 40% is a good number because the towers collapse in parts. However, that percentage is not in our ordinance and all approvals to date have been determined with 100% setback.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked if this tower would meet the 40%. Member Vrettas responded that it would not meet the 40% requirement.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-038 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Hodges
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that Mr. Watson suggested that the Woodland Permit matter be tabled until City Council acts on this matter.
Mr. Rich asked if it would require a reappearance at the Planning Commission? Chairperson Lorenzo responded that it would. Mr. Rich then asked if the permit could be approved at this meeting. Mr. Watson replied that if the Commission was inclined to approve woodlands permit it could, but seems premature at this point.
Mr. Rogers asked if any action was going to be recommended on the preliminary site plan to the Council. Chairperson Lorenzo responded that it was done with this motion.
PM-96-02-039 TO POSTPONE WOODLAND PERMIT APPROVAL FOR DETROIT CELLULAR TELEPHONE, SP 96-02
Moved by Capello, seconded by Weddington, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone Woodland Permit approval for Detroit Cellular Telephone, SP 96-02.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-039 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Hodges
PM-96-02-040 TO POSTPONE ITEM 1, UNDER PUBLIC HEARINGS, ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.544 UNTIL MARCH 6, 1996 DUE TO UNTIMELY NOTIFICATION OF RESIDENTS
Moved by Weddington, seconded by Hodges, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone Item 1, under Public Hearings, Zoning Map Amendment 18.544 until March 6, 1996 due to untimely notification of residents.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-040 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Hodges
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. ARBOR DRUG WAREHOUSE ADDITION, SP 95-25 D&E
Property located on GenMar Drive, west of Novi Road for possible Final Site Plan approval.
Matt Ray, stated that he is the architect for Arbor Drug Stores, Inc. Mr. Ray then stated that they have made substantial improvements to the landscaping, especially the berm on the property’s west side. Mr. Ray added that there have also been improvements made to the mitigated wetlands area, buffer zone area, and the outfall area and that they have received the recommendations of the City’s consultants for approval. Mr. Ray respectfully requests the Commission’s approval.
Brandon Rogers stated that the plan was asked to come back before the Planning Commission for final site plan approval. The plan is an addition of 231,200 square feet to an existing warehouse building of about 250,000 square feet. The plan complies with the previously approved preliminary site plan and the ZBA has approved the slight 1'3" increase in height to conform with the existing building and the internal transfer of materials. The facade matches the existing warehouse structure which on the original structure required a waiver. Section 2520.6, Paragraph 6 allows that an addition to an existing building can use similar materials providing there is architectural integrity and roof line design compatible with the existing building. Mr. Rogers recommends final site plan approval.
Linda Lemke stated that her office has spent a lot of time with the project’s architect and has also visited the site to rework the plan. The plan now meets all of their requirements and she recommends approval.
David Bluhm has also reviewed the detailed engineering plan and is recommending approval with the condition that the applicant provide an easement for a small amount of storm drainage along the eastern edge of the existing building prior to their final sign off.
Rod Arroyo recommends approval.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Arroyo if he reviewed the Planning Commissioners’ recommendations that were made at the last meeting. Mr. Arroyo responded that he had. The request was that correspondence be sent to Mr. Nowicki regarding concerns about ingress/egress at the GenMar Drive and Novi Road intersection and that it is factored into the consideration of the design of Novi Road. Mr. Arroyo added that he and Mr. Cohen forwarded correspondence.
Dave Bluhm, from JCK for Sue Tepatti, addressed wetland impacts by stating that all the storm waters from building and parking areas are being discharged into storm sewers which will be outletted through two pipes that are adjacent to each other into a meandering swale. He further stated that the meandering swale is going to be used in conjunction with oil and gas separators in the outlet structures to help control sediment, oil, and gas. In addition, the swales will help provide water quality devices. The roof area of the proposed building will be discharged to the mitigation areas in the extreme northern corner of the site. The mitigation area will be constructed and planted and will discharge into the creek. Mr. Bluhm stated that the permit is expected to be issued and they are recommending approval.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated for the record that in a letter received from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi Fire Department which states that, "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."
Chairperson Lorenzo then turned the matter over to the Commission for discussion.
PM-096-02-041 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION FOR FINAL SITE PLAN APPROVAL FOR ARBOR DRUG WAREHOUSE ADDITION, SP 95-25 D&E
Moved by Weddington, seconded by Capello, CARRIED (8-1): To send a positive recommendation for final site plan approval for Arbor Drug Warehouse addition, SP 95-25 D&E.
Member Bononi asked Mr. Bluhm if he was satisfied that the erosion control proposal adequately addressed Section 2948. Member Bononi’s major concern is about the outlet structure into the stream as well as everything that has to be put in place with regard to the erosion and the sedimentation control plan. Secondly, she asked if the applicant has presented a monitoring proposal for the mitigated wetlands area. She is concerned about the time limit and who will do the reporting and inspection. Mr. Bluhm responded that the soil erosion plan has been approved per the soil erosion permit requirements. Mr. Bluhm believes that there is a report that the wetland consultant has completed on monitoring.
Member Bononi then asked if it could be made a condition of approval. Mr. Bluhm replied that the mitigation monitoring plan has been reviewed by JCK and they would agree with it.
Member Bononi then asked if it was for a five year period. Chairperson Lorenzo interjected that after reading the material, it seemed to be open-ended at this point.
Member Hoadley stated that the previous motion included gas and oil separators. Member Hoadley went on to state JCK does not comment on them and he understood that it was supposed to be on the plan and it is not. Mr. Bluhm replied that they are on the plan at the outlet structures for the storm sewers. Member Hoadley further stated that they are supposed to be between the retention basin and outlets. Mr. Bluhm responded that there is no detention on sight and that they are being placed at the outlet structures for the developed storm water outfalls. Member Hoadley asked if they will intercept the water prior to it getting into the wetlands. Mr. Bluhm stated that was correct. Member Hoadley asked the consultants to comment directly on those kinds of conditions so that they will become part of the minutes for final site plan approval.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-041 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Hodges
Chairperson Lorenzo announces that the Commission will take a brief recess.
Joseph Galvin, 150 W. Jefferson, Detroit, stated that he represents the Solomon Group and would like to comment on the PD-1 Option. Mr. Galvin then referred to the subcommittee notes in which there was no consensus as to what action should be taken in regards to this matter. Mr. Galvin asked the Commission to refer to the packet material from the Solomon Group which summarizes their suggestions for Commission action. Mr. Galvin then stated that the Group would like the Commission to take the final version of the McKenna & Associates compromise and recommend to the City Council that it amend the PD-1 Option to conform with that compromise so that their project can progress. Mr. Galvin added that rules should not be modified for projects that are already underway. Mr. Galvin suggests that the Commission consider the implications and act with a historical perspective as a principal of fairness. Mr. Galvin recognizes the need to accomplish the environmental goals, but respectfully requests that the McKenna version be recommended.
Bruce Fowler, planner for McKenna & Associates, briefly reviewed the McKenna report dated January 31, 1996. Mr. Fowler stated that the report is a result of the charge given by the Master Plan & Zoning Committee to work with Mr. Andrew Mutch to incorporate some of his ideas with the Solomon Group for making the PD-1 Option a more workable provision in the zoning ordinance. Some recommendations:
- Create an attractive urban environment that preserves natural environmental features.
- Require an applicant to submit with a proposed plan a parallel plan without the PD-1 Option.
- Housing for the elderly with provisions to add more height (10 stories). If the building became regular housing, enough land would have to be set aside to provide additional parking.
- Exterior measurement of building height in a situation where terrain is sloping.
- Wetlands should not be considered for site density calculations.
- The additional setbacks for each additional foot above two stories are five feet.
- Delete parking requirements for elderly housing.
- Minimum side area of 20 acres; new development adjoining a developed 20 acre site under PD-1 would not have to comply with the 20 acres.
In summary, Mr. Fowler believes the provisions would greatly improve the ordinance to the benefit of the City.
Al Paas, DeRosier Architects stated he also represents the Solomon Group. Mr. Paas went on to state that he would like to bring the Commission up-to-date about what is currently being proposed for this specific site as it is a major component of what is currently master planned for PD-1. Society Hill is a 37-acre parcel with extensive wetlands and woodlands. As a result of consultants’ reviews and conversations, modifications have been made. The new plan now proposes 289 units, which equals about 8½ units per acre. The major change was to respond to the concerns of the city relative to the preservation of natural resources. Mr. Paas then pointed specifically to the areas that will be preserved.
Alan Green, 1577 North Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills appeared on behalf of the Highland Companies and are involved in the development of a parcel of land which a portion has been master planned for PD-1. Mr. Green stated that they have been working on a site plan for approximately one year that would fit within a PD-1 Option and were planning to appear before the Commission for rezoning. Mr. Green stated that he has a different perspective on this issue and cautions that it seems that the efforts are being made toward trying to tailor the ordinance for a particular project. Mr. Green went to state that he views the PD-1 Option as a fairly sophisticated, flexible zoning tool in that it combines zoning and the site plan approval process. Mr. Green then asked the Commission what is trying to be accomplished and why is this no longer an appropriate tool? Mr. Green then asked why should they throw something away that took a lot of effort to develop?
Andrew Mutch, 24541 Hampton Ct., reminded the Commission how important this issue has been to him. Mr. Mutch believes that the PD-1 no longer serves the purpose that it once had. Mr. Mutch also stated that he agrees with Mr. Green, but the projects that the PD-1 is encouraging is not what the City wants as they are environmentally insensitive and the high density is beyond what is normal in this Community. Mr. Mutch added that he has not seen anything brought forward since last October that can justify the PD-1 other than make the developer’s project easier. Mr. Mutch then stated that the Solomon and Highland projects are borderline RM-1 and they are looking for the loopholes in the PD-1 to get the projects to work. Mr. Mutch is asking the Commission to delete the PD-1 Option.
Chairperson Lorenzo closed the Audience Participation and then stated that she would like to make it clear that to the best of her knowledge, neither the Planning Commission nor the Master Plan and Zoning Committee requested the Solomon Group or McKenna to incorporate any of Mr. Mutch’s suggestions into any type of a proposal. Chairperson Lorenzo went on to state that it is no disrespect to Mr. Mutch, but he is not a member of the Planning Commission or the Committee.
Member Vrettas stated that the request came from him.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
2. MASTER PLAN & ZONING COMMITTEE - PD-1 OPTION RECOMMENDATION
Report back to Planning Commission regarding following December 20, 1995 assignments:
- Direct the Master Plan & Zoning Committee to conduct further review of the PD-1 Option (density, trip generation, preservation of natural resources, etc.) and to come back to the Planning Commission by February 21, 1996 with a written report.
- Further instruct the Master Plan & Zoning Committee to review and research alternatives to the PD-1 Option. The Master Plan & Zoning Committee will also offer ordinance revisions to the existing PD-1 Option in their February 21, 1996-report to the Planning Commission.
Member Hoadley began by discussing the history of the PD-1 Option. Member Hoadley stated that the investigation began last June and that even by their second meeting, they did not know about the projects. He further added that the Committee did not request Solomon Group to participate with Mr. Mutch. Member Hoadley agreed with Mr. Mutch’s position and added by stating that he would like to read the following into the record, "pursuant to the authority conferred by the Public Acts of the State of Michigan in such case made and provided and for the purpose of promoting and protecting the public health, safety, peace, morals, comfort, convenience, and general welfare of its inhabitants of the City of Novi by protecting and conserving the character and social and economic stability of the residential, commercial, industrial, and other use areas by securing the most appropriate use of land preventing overcrowding of the land and undo congestion of population (emphasized), providing adequate light, air, and reasonable access and facilitating adequate and economical provision of transportation (emphasized), border, sewers, schools, recreation, other public requirements, and by other means all in accordance with a comprehensive plan now therefore." Member Hoadley stated that it was the Planning Commission’s charge to uphold the preamble. Member Hoadley believes that the PD-1 Option was put into effect to encourage high density development in the Community. However, Novi does not have a problem attracting development at this time. The PD-1 Option did not originally take into consideration any kind of sensitivity for the environment. Member Hoadley originally motioned for the elimination of the PD-1 Option. However, it was remanded back to see if there were any other alternatives. Member Hoadley then stated that he and Member Bononi created alternatives which are in the packet. Member Hoadley suggests that the PD-1 should be modified with a sunset to eliminate it altogether. In addition, he would like to give the Implementation Committee the chance to review the RM-1 Ordinance and modify it. Member Hoadley went on to say that as an immediate recommendation to the Planning Commission that the PD-1 be changed with a sunset clause to include the preservation of sensitive lands. Specifically, Member Hoadley would like to take the emphasis off the density and emphasize preserving the natural resources and design it similar to R-1 with a cluster option. In addition, he states that revisions should be made to the RM-1 closely adhering to Member Bononi’s recommendations. One of the main conditions would be that the land should include a certain percentage of wetlands, not including regulated wetlands. Member Hoadley further stated that this was the consensus of two out of three Committee Members. Member Hoadley then sited several high density areas. In summary, Member Hoadley’s recommendation is to revise the PD-1, place a six-month moratorium sunset on it, and then delete it.
Member Hodges agrees with Mr. Green and Mr. Mutch and the appropriateness of the zoning ordinance at this time. Member Hodges further stated that after her review of the directive from City Council that the Commission should provide a recommendation, Members Hoadley and Bononi have come forth with excellent recommendations.
PM-96-02-042 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO THE CITY COUNCIL TO ELIMINATE THE PD-1 OPTION FROM THE ZONING ORDINANCE AND AMEND THE RM-1 ZONING DISTRICT PROVISIONS TO INCLUDE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SIMILAR TO THOSE PROVIDED FOR SINGLE FAMILY ZONING CLASSIFICATION
Motion by Hodges, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED (7-2): To send a positive recommendation to City Council eliminating the PD-1 Option from the zoning ordinance and amend the RM-1 zoning district provisions to include environmental protection similar to those provided for single family zoning classification.
Member Capello stated that it is premature to delete the PD-1 Option and that there are several other alternatives which he presented to the subcommittee. Member Capello stated that one reason it is premature is because the Master Plan is currently being reviewed and certain zoning areas may be changed. He added that the PD-1 may have a use in some of the changes even though there is not much RM property left. Furthermore, the PD-1 Option may still be useful theoretically in that it still may entice developers to present projects that are acceptable by the City. The PD-1 Option encourages affordable senior citizen housing, affordable housing in itself, or development with office or low impact retail on the lower floor with housing on the upper floor. Member Capello agrees that the preservation option should be incorporated in the PD-1 Option. The only purpose the deletion of the PD-1 Option would serve is that it would terminate two projects that are currently coming before the Commission. The PD-1 Option gives the Commission more flexibility to work with these specific developers and encourage a desirable project. In summary, Member Capello feels this action is preferable to what an RM-1 zoning could offer.
Member Vrettas asked Mr. Watson if a six-month window would give the affected developers the opportunity to take advantage of the PD-1 Option? Mr. Watson responded by stating that the alternative that was chosen was not the six month option and reminded Member Vrettas that the motion was to eliminate the PD-1 and modify the RM-1 zoning provisions to provide the types of environmental preservation incentives.
Member Vrettas then stated that since this project will come before the Commission at the next meeting, by the time the PD-1 Option change has become effective, won’t they already have gotten into the pipeline and not be affected. Mr. Watson cannot answer at what point will projects have a vested right without looking at the specifics of what they have done so far and what they will be doing.
Member Vrettas philosophically addressed the density issue as it relates to Novi by asking if the density in Novi has reached the point where the Commission should not encourage further development.
Member Hodges objects to Member Capello’s statement that the only purpose for deletion is to stop the two plans. She further stated that she does not view this issue as a site specific option unless she supported no change in the PD-1 which would then accommodate current projects.
Chairperson Lorenzo concurs with Member Hodges objections. She further added that the evaluation of the PD-1 Option is not a reaction to any possible application. In addition, the issue came before the Commission in June of 1995 and Chairperson Lorenzo noted that Mr. Galvin’s application was not submitted until September of 1995. For the record, Chairperson Lorenzo stated that this issue has nothing to do with any application that may come before the Commission and is strictly a land use issue.
Member Bonaventura stated that Member Capello’s comments are accurate in that this change directly affects certain projects. Member Bonaventura then reminded the Commission that four current Commissioners were involved in developing the Master Plan less than three years ago. In addition, although Member Bonaventura agrees and sympathizes with the other members who are concerned about density, he also agrees with Member Capello that the issue has also become a matter of fairness and that the Commission is moving too quickly.
Member Hoadley stated that he will not support the motion for the same reasons that Members Capello and Bonaventura object to it, in addition to the alternative he spoke of earlier. In summary, Member Hoadley reiterates that he would like to see the PD-1 Option deleted, but also take the current developers concerns into consideration.
Member Bononi felt that the assignment was difficult and that the members of the subcommittee did not take it lightly. In addition, it had also been difficult to examine the PD-1 Option without considering anything else. Member Bononi further stated that there had been a lot of input from many professional and philosophical angles. Despite the input, Member Bononi felt that the Committee was successful in their assignment. Member Bononi said that the Committee did consider the status of the affected applications and how they would be affected by their decision. In addition, when considering the time frame of the proposal as to how to develop the land, Member Bononi did not see any type of limitation on the applicant’s availability or opportunity to file an application at any time until the ordinance is revised. Member Bononi further advised the Commission that other alternatives besides deletion were looked at. The greatest concern of the Committee was that there was no additional assurance about the sensitivity of existing wetlands and woodlands beyond the existing ordinances. Member Bononi thought that it would be advisable to look at how multiple family zones are affected by sensitive areas. Member Bononi further stated to defer an application is not acceptable and feels that the current application would fit in. In summary, Member Bononi stated that the cleanest way that the density and environmental issues can be addressed is by amending the multiple family zones in the ordinance with preservation options.
Chairperson Lorenzo commended the Committee for their hard work on a difficult assignment and the Department staff for the well-documented booklet included in the packet. Chairperson Lorenzo then asked Mr. Fowler or Mr. Galvin what the PD-1 Option can do for Novi? She further asked if reducing the number of units to 289 would require the removal of at least one and possibly two buildings from the site under RM-1 zoning without the PD-1 Option?
Mr. Galvin responded by stating yes and that it would probably involve the removal of more buildings. He further stated that without the PD-1 Option, the height is lost.
Chairperson Lorenzo then stated that currently there are eleven buildings on the site regardless of the height of the buildings. Chairperson Lorenzo then asked if possibly one, two, or maybe three buildings would be removed under RM-1 zoning because the density would not be allowed.
Mr. Sasson responded that the concept of the apartment project may have to change. Although, there still may be eleven buildings because of the similar envelopes, it will not be affordable to build a luxury project under the RM-1 zoning because the height and the number unit options will not be available.
Chairperson Lorenzo then stated that in a worse case scenario which would require the removal of the wetlands from the site, there are 10.39 acres zoned RM-1 and 23.69 acres zoned RA. Chairperson Lorenzo further stated that if she used Mr. Rogers calculations and multiplied 23.69 by 7.3 it would equal 173 units per acre and then if she multiplied 10.39 acres by 7.9, it is roughly 82 units per acre with a total of 255 units per acre. This total is assuming that the City would allow the destruction of all the woodlands which of course, would not be allowable. Chairperson Lorenzo then stated that her point is that the maximum number of units is 255 and 289 units are planned. Chairperson Lorenzo added it would actually be less than 255 because this scenario assumes that all of the woodlands would be destroyed.
Mr. Sasson replied by stating that under RM-1 that they would end up with approximately 250-260 units. Mr. Sasson realizes what can actually be done on the site is different from what is calculated. Mr. Sasson adds that by downsizing the project that they cannot afford garages or the other luxury items and will instead put in parking lots which will disturb the woodlands even more even though there are fewer units. Mr. Sasson then described his success and the experience he obtained from his other projects.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked for the Commission’s indulgence as she recanted the history from her own perspective. She then went on to state that in the City Council minutes of November 20, 1995, on Pages 65 and 66, Mr. Rogers stated that the 1980 Master Plan recommended PD-1 areas. Mr. Rogers further stated that the PD-1 Ordinance was adopted between the Summer and Fall of 1984 and that the 1988 Master Plan studied and reconfigured the PD-1 areas. Chairperson Lorenzo further stated that while the PD-1 was carried forward in the 1993 Master Plan, it is her contention that the wisdom of PD-1 was not specifically reevaluated or reaffirmed at that time. In addition, the PD-1 was one part of an overall Master Plan in 1993 and the lack of specific study and reevaluation was, in Chairperson Lorenzo’s opinion, an oversight. At that time, the Planning Commission was preoccupied with the review of an overall Master Plan and the specific study of large lot planning for the west side of Novi. Chairperson Lorenzo added that this is a reasonable explanation as to why the PD-1 was included in the 1993 Master Plan and why it is now reasonable and appropriate to reevaluate it in 1995-96. Chairperson Lorenzo stated earlier that it was brought to the Commission’s attention by the City Council in June of 1995. Since that time, the Commission has found merit in reevaluating its wisdom. Chairperson Lorenzo reiterated that she nor the Commission had knowledge of any potential PD-1 applications and therefore, it is not a reaction to specific applications. Chairperson Lorenzo added that she has heard no compelling or relevant reasons that justify maintaining the PD-1 Option which permits density of up to five times higher than is allowable under R-4 zoning, allows three to five story buildings, and generally requires expansive parking lots. In addition, Chairperson Lorenzo reminded the Commission that this is a land use issue and is not site specific and this type of option would not provide a buffer for single family homes. Furthermore, Chairperson Lorenzo stated that it burdens the City of Novi with higher density, higher buildings, increases in traffic congestion, and possibly a greater loss of natural resources in an otherwise lower rise, lower density area. Chairperson Lorenzo then asked if it is fundamentally fair that the City of Novi should accept the many burdens of PD-1 without any positive benefits or return? In summary, Chairperson Lorenzo supports the motion because she finds that the PD-1 Option does not reflect the current values and concerns of the Community and overall is not in the best interest of the health, safety, welfare, and convenience of the citizens.
Member Hoadley stated that he now supports the motion based upon Member Bononi’s remarks.
Member Capello asked Mr. Green to comment on why he feels the PD-1 Option should be retained. Mr. Green replied by stating that their particular project does not share the environmental sensitivity of the other project. Mr. Green went on to state that he views the PD-1 Option with a different perspective. He feels that the PD-1 is an intermediate tool between low density multiple and the high density multiple. He further stated that it was designed for a few areas where a variety of multiple may be appropriate without zoning it to the higher density high rise multiple. The PD-1 allows flexibility, yet still requires that certain standards be maintained.
Member Bonaventura asked if the Master Plan is used as a guide, is there one specific, small area that has the PD-1 Option? Chairperson Lorenzo clarified the issue by stating that the discussion is on the PD-1 Ordinance. If the Commission chose, the ordinance could be placed anywhere within the City and that is the issue.
Member Bonaventura then stated that if the Master Plan is used as a guide, then the Master Plan stipulates only one area. Mr. Rogers responded that there are two other areas. One is the Enclave Condominium and the other is Continuum Care Facility, in addition to Section 10.
Member Bonaventura then stated that he is looking at the ordinance from the perspective of the Master Plan and what was viewed as desirable areas for the option. Member Bonaventura assumed that if a plan is presented with this option that the Commission will refer to the Master Plan and its directives about using the option. Member Bonaventura stated that he is bringing this matter up because of the thought that went into the Master Plan about the general region of where PD-1 areas are. Member Bonaventura sees the option as a flexible tool, but reminds the Commission that it is only an option and therefore, it would be premature to delete it.
Mr. Green interjected by directing Member Bonaventura’s attention specifically to Section 2406.1 and that the options will be considered only within those areas which are specifically designated for their application on the City’s Master Plan for Land Use. Furthermore, if someone wants to get a PD-1 Option in an area that is not designated on the Master Plan, they must first convince the City to amend its Master Plan.
Member Bonaventura responded by stating that is what he basically means. Member Bonaventura further stated that he does not agree with high density and reiterates his earlier remarks.
Member Markham asked if the motion were approved, would the preservation option for multi-family zones in the packet be incorporated in the RM-1 Ordinance and if the changes would accommodate some of the restrictions that are currently in effect making it more flexible like the PD-1 Option? Chairperson Lorenzo responded by stating that in terms of the motion that it is not specifically what is included, but rather it’s the concept of amending the RM-1 to reflect environmental protections but not specifically anything that has been included. Chairperson Lorenzo imagined that there could either be another motion to refer the matter of amending the RM-1 to the Implementation Committee or wait for the City Council to take action on the matter. They could then refer the matter to the Implementation Committee. Chairperson Lorenzo further stated that it will be studied further and will not be incorporated immediately and that it is currently just a concept.
Member Markham then asked if the concept addresses the flexibility issues? Chairperson Lorenzo stated that it will have more of a return for the City and adds that if the density were exceeded as currently allowed in RM-1, the developer would have to provide a certain percentage of preservation to do what is similar in the R1-3 single family preservation option.
Member Bononi added that in a quantitative way the second paragraph refers to caps and considerations for the determination of density. It gives the freedom to look at the ordinance amendment in its entirety and determine the kinds of allowances that will be allowed to those who have the trade off considerations of environmentally sensitive areas and should perhaps be a matter for the Implementation Committee and City Attorney to consider.
Member Hoadley stated that if the motion is approved, it will not preclude the current projects from bringing in their plans under the current zoning and PD-1 Option if they don’t delay. Chairperson Lorenzo believes that is correct, but reminded Member Hoadley that this has no bearing on this issue.
Mr. Watson added that whether or not the developer comes in with an application depends upon City Council action. If the PD-1 is deleted by the time the application comes before the Commission, the ordinance would be in effect and there would not be a PD-1 for the Commission to consider it under. If the Council literally follows the motion, then it depends upon what the RM-1 revisions are. It then may or may not be possible that the application would comply with the adopted criteria. In summary, Mr. Watson stated that the outcome of a particular application cannot be evaluated based upon whether or not the motion is adopted.
Member Hoadley asked how alternative one would affect this specific project. Mr. Watson responded that impact is also unknown because it calls for specific environmental protections.
Member Hoadley interjected that the sunset would start after it was modified and adopted by City Council.
Mr. Watson replied that the sunset isn’t the pertinent part, but the important part is the modifications.
Member Hoadley asked if the time frame would allow the applicants the time to come in under the original ordinance. Mr. Watson responded that alternative one recommends that the PD-1 Option provision be modified to provide certain environmental protections and that the PD-1 subsequently be sunsetted. Furthermore, the issue of when a plan comes is dependent upon what the modified provisions to the PD-1 are. The sunsetting afterward would simply pertain to applications that might come in during the six-month period.
As Member Hoadley understands it, if the applicant’s timing is under the old option and before the modification and the Council’s decision, they would qualify for the PD-1 Option as it currently stands. Mr. Watson responded that the Council has asked for a recommendation and that the Commission should make that recommendation without considering the timing.
Chairperson Lorenzo interjected that timing is not a consideration for this issue.
Mr. Watson responded to an earlier comment made by Member Bonaventura which suggested that the Chair’s comments would be appreciated by the City Attorney, implying that somehow the comments were made for his benefit. Mr. Watson went on to state that he would like all the Commissioners to understand that their comments are not appreciated unless they are honest, forthright comments that accurately reflect the opinions and beliefs that they hold. He further added that he has a problem with comments that are made for any other reason.
Chairperson Lorenzo clearly stated that her comments were not for anyone’s benefit.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-042 MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo
No: Bonaventura, Capello
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. JOINT MEETING WITH CITY COUNCIL
Member Bonaventura stated that a motion was made at the last Commission meeting to have a meeting February 28, 1996 with City Council. Member Bonaventura then asked Mr. Wahl what the status was for that meeting. Mr. Wahl responded that he believed the Commission had been notified that City Council was expecting to have a goal session that night and although it was ultimately canceled, he was unable to schedule a joint meeting. Member Bonaventura then asked if the meeting was supposed to be on their agenda for that Monday night. Mr. Wahl replied that it was on the draft agenda as a proposal, but Council was looking for an open date for their second goal session and had looked at February 28 and pulled the request from the agenda and the Planning Commission has not met since then. Mr. Wahl went on to state that the Council wanted to complete the work from their goal session in order to be prepared for a joint meeting with the Planning Commission because there were so many planning items on the agenda.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Wahl when City Council starts their budget process. Mr. Wahl believed it began in April and Mr. Wahl does not know when the goal session is planned. Member Bonaventura reminded the Commission that it was approximately a year ago when the Mayor sent a letter to the Commission that the Council would be happy to meet with the Commission after the budget sessions. Member Bonaventura stated it is now a year later and the budget sessions are coming up and there are many things that can be talked about at a joint meeting. Member Bonaventura would like to meet in March, before the budget sessions begin and even ask the Council to meet with the Commission instead of being invited by the Council. Member Bonaventura then asked Mr. Wahl to inquire when the goal session is planned and if it is linked to meeting with the Commission.
Mr. Wahl reiterated that because a major portion of the items are planning related, that it would be helpful for the Council to finish before they meet with the Commission.
Member Bonaventura then asked if the whole Council made this decision. Mr. Wahl replied that it wasn’t a motion, but conversation among Council members. Member Bonaventura then stated that he still has hope for a joint meeting. Mr. Wahl stated that he brought the matter to Council’s attention. He believed that Council thought it would be helpful to have a joint meeting and it is on their agenda. Mr. Wahl also reported that an effort is being made to streamline the budget process from having ten to twelve individualized departmental presentations to three or four which could provide more dates.
Member Bonaventura asked that perhaps Council and the Commission might consider having a less formal joint meeting and more of a work session.
Member Hoadley supports an informal joint meeting with a topic specific agenda. Member Hoadley has discussed the matter with several Council Members who also agree.
To clarify the process for the benefit of new members Mr. Wahl stated, in the past recommendations have been submitted from different members but the agenda structure is ultimately determined by the Mayor and the Chair. He further stated that if one of the Commissioners’ items does not appear on the agenda, it is because there has to be some paring down and consensus between the two bodies. In the past, the preference has been for action items and not discussion about generalized topics.
2. DISCUSSION OF OUT-OF-DATE ZONING ORDINANCES
Member Hoadley stated that it has been brought to his attention that many ordinances are ineffective as they are currently written and the ordinance on tonight’s agenda is a good reason to begin to start looking more closely at them. Member Hoadley then encouraged the public and the business community to come forward to identify problem areas so that the debate can begin. In addition, he recommended that the city’s consultants review them.
Chairperson Lorenzo interjected by commenting that the process has begun. She further stated that OS-3 is one, I-1 abutting residential is another. Chairperson Lorenzo stated when specific problems with an ordinance arise, it has been the Commissions’ policy to recommend it to the Implementation Committee. Member Hoadley replied that is why he is encouraging the business community to come forward.
Mr. Green reiterated that he believed that a specific project was not considered for the PD-1 Option recommendation by the Master Plan & Zoning Committee.
PM-96-02-043 TO ADJOURN THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION AT 11:15 P.M.
Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Weddington, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Novi Planning Commission at 11:15 p.m.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-043 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Capello, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo
Transcribed by Barbara Holmes
March 4, 1996
Date Approved: March 20, 1996