REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 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, Hodges, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Chairperson Lorenzo
ALSO PRESENT: City Attorney Dennis Watson, Planning Consultant Brandon Rogers, Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Engineering Consultant Dave Bluhm, Staff Planner Greg Capote, and Planning Aide Steven Cohen
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Chairperson Lorenzo asked the Commission if there were any changes to the Agenda. Member Bonaventura stated that he would like to add three items under Matters for Discussion; (2) Discussion of Cluster Option (Removal of R-1); (3) Discussion in General about Trans-X Drive; and (4) Discussion of Planning Commission/City Council Meeting.
Member Hoadley would like to add under Matters for Discussion as Item (5) Discussion of the Reporting Procedures for Planning Consultants’ Recommendations so that he has the opportunity to state his comments for the record.
Mr. Cohen would like to add under Matters for Discussion as Item (6) Miscellaneous so that he can make some brief announcements.
Chairperson Lorenzo would like to add under Matters for Discussion as Item (7) Communications Towers.
Member Hoadley would like to add under Matters for Discussion as Item (8) Rod Arroyo’s Recommendation to change the Implementation Committee’s format. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that she will include Item 8, but is not certain whether or not there will be time to get to it.
Chairperson Lorenzo then entertained a motion to approve the Agenda as amended.
PM-96-04-073 TO APPROVE THE AGENDA AS AMENDED
Moved by Bonaventura, seconded by Weddington, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Agenda as amended.
Chairperson Lorenzo then asked all those in favor of approving the agenda as amended please signify by saying aye, those opposed, say no.
VOTE ON PM-96-04-073 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
Seeing no one, Chairperson Lorenzo closed the first Audience Participation and stated that there will be one after the midpoint break and another before adjournment.
Member Weddington stated that she has three letters. The first letter is anonymous and is in regards to the Novi-Montessori School. The writer is concerned that the site is not large enough for future growth. Member Weddington reported that the writer’s son attended the school for several months and that the parents were concerned with parking lot congestion, traffic tie-ups on Novi Road, and that the clutter that blocked the doorways may become a fire hazard. Member Weddington stated that the writer is suggesting that the Novi Montessori School consider another location for enlarging their operation.
Member Weddington stated that the second letter is from Lynn F. Kocan regarding the SoccerZone Public Hearing. Ms. Kocan stated that she supports the SoccerZone’s indoor arena, but she is concerned with the amount of traffic. Ms. Kocan agrees that the number of cars per hour projected in the packet appear to be accurate and offers some suggestions for handling the traffic Ms. Kocan suggested that the starting times be staggered to allow for more parking throughout the hours of operation rather than having peaks on the hour. She also suggested that access from the north should be from Twelve Mile Road to Meadowbrook, access to the east from Grand River, and access from the south from I-275 to Haggerty and to Grand River. Ms. Kocan stated that because another soccer arena is planned for the Brighton/Howell area, it is not anticipated that there will be as much traffic from the west. Ms. Kocan also suggested that a way to limit the amount of traffic traveling across Ten Mile Road through residential neighborhoods would be to lower the speed limit on Ten Mile and to encourage the traffic to travel on the main roads, especially Grand River.
The third letter is also from Lynn F. Kocan about the Implementation Committee’s review of zoning ordinances and industrial development. Ms. Kocan is concerned with the decibel levels in all areas of the city and she recommended that the ordinances as they now stand should be enforced. She further stated that the decibel levels for noise should be looked at throughout every zoning district, in addition to the specific types of activities that are permitted at different hours. Ms. Kocan believes that priority consideration should be given to ordinance enforcement, particularly for off hours.
1. Approval of the March 20, 1996 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes
Member Capello stated that he had called the Planning Department to advise that he was detained in Florida due to bad weather conditions. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that the minutes reflect that he is absent/excused. Mr. Cohen agreed and Member Capello stated that he must have misread them. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that the Chair would entertain a motion to approve the minutes if there are no corrections.
PM-96-04-074 TO APPROVE THE MARCH 20, 1996 REGULAR PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Moved by Bonaventura, seconded by Hoadley, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the March 20, 1996 Regular Planning Commission Minutes.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked all those in favor of approving the minutes for March 20, 1996 please signify by saying aye, those opposed say no; motion passes unanimously.
VOTE ON PM-96-04-074 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
Member Hoadley stated that there was an error in the minutes of the Administrative Liaison Committee meeting for March 13, 1996. Member Hoadley stated that he had made a motion that a committee meeting should be private unless the committee determined otherwise. Member Hoadley stated that the motion was seconded by Laura Lorenzo. Member Hoadley further reported that vote was correct as 2-1, but that Chairperson Lorenzo and he were in favor with Member Weddington opposed. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that she assumes it will be corrected. Mr. Cohen advised that a corrected copy was placed on the Council desk for the Commissioners.
1. ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.548 (CITY-INITIATED)
Property located at the southwest and southeast corners of Novi Road and Grand River Avenue for possible recommendation to City Council for rezoning from Town Center District (TC), General Business District (B-3), Light Industrial District (I-1), and General Industrial (I-2) to Town Center District (TC-1) or any other appropriate zoning district.
Brandon Rogers, advised that his letter dated April 5, 1996 states that he has reviewed the plans of the Town Center area to create uniform TC-1 zoning south of Grand River and to include some property on Trans-X south of the southeast quadrant. Mr. Rogers feels that by zoning the subject properties to TC-1 a more uniform and appropriate zoning pattern will occur that can implement the concept of Main Street and its extension west of Novi Road. Mr. Rogers advised that the properties in question are recommended on the Master Plan for commercial and that Trans-X is recommended for I-1. Mr. Rogers advised that if the rezoning is approved by City Council, he would recommend that the Planning Commission entertain an amendment to the Master Plan of Land Use to reflect this change.
Chairperson Lorenzo then opened the floor to the public.
Norman Hyman, 2290 First National Building, Detroit is representing George Keros who has a substantial portion of the property in the southwest quadrant of the intersection that is proposed for rezoning. Mr. Hyman stated that they were before the Commission approximately eight months ago and before the Council in September at which time the Council refused to rezone the property. Mr. Hyman stated that he passed the frontage along Novi Road heading south from Grand River and saw what he thought is an extremely unattractive current pattern of development and/or lack of development. Mr. Hyman advised that Mr. Keros has set about trying to do something in terms of assemblage and unified development at that corner. Mr. Hyman further advised that Mr. Keros has expended a considerable amount of time and money to assemble a number of parcels so that those parcels can be developed as one, instead of being developed separately. Mr. Hyman added that Mr. Keros has appeared before the Commission for site plan review and has received preliminary site plan approval. Mr. Keros has, at the request of the Commission, met with the Town Center Committee and made changes in his plan to conform the plan more to the ideas of what the Commission and the Town Center Committee have as to what the appearance of the Town Center development should look like. To Mr. Hyman, it seems that Mr. Keros has done everything that the City would envision in order to foster development consistent of its vision of Town Center with his development. Mr. Hyman added that the only thanks that Mr. Keros gets, is yet another recommendation to rezone his property. Mr. Hyman finds it hard to envision something that would be more unfair than what is being proposed today in view of what Mr. Keros has done by way of time and money expenditure and by what he proposes for his property, which is consistent with the Commission’s ideas. Mr. Hyman can only urge the Commission in terms of fairness and in terms of what is in the best interest for the City and Mr. Keros, not to recommend a down zoning of this property. Mr. Hyman stated that he explained last time that if the Commission does choose to rezone, Mr. Keros will not be grandfathered unless there is a grandfather provision included in the recommendation. Mr. Hyman further stated that even if the Commission does include a grandfather provision which will save site plans which have received the Commission’s preliminary approval, it is still unfair. Mr. Hyman explained that there are times when changes must be made to meet tenants needs. Mr. Hyman further explained that Mr. Keros’ plan has already been modified once because of a change in tenants and their demands. Mr. Hyman stated that if the existing plan is grandfathered, that does not necessarily mean, unless good language is drafted, that a revision to that site plan will be grandfathered. Mr. Hyman added that what the Commission is really doing is making it difficult for Mr. Keros to get his development off the ground and protect his investment. Mr. Hyman added that if the Commission is bound and determined to once again pass on a recommendation to the Council to rezone, he asks that they accompany their recommendation with a recommendation that site plans that have already received preliminary approval be administratively grandfathered.
Joseph Evangelista, 46850 Grand River Avenue stated that he received a different notice from the plan that is posted in the lobby. Mr. Evangelista advised that one includes his property and one does not. Mr. Cohen stated that the City Clerk put the sign up and he would have to look at it. Mr. Evangelista advised that if it does not include his property, he has nothing to say.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Rogers to advise. Mr. Rogers stated that he has a copy of the legal notice that appeared in the Novi News and it includes the KMH property on the north side of Trans-X. Mr. Rogers further advised that he shows an enlarged version of the legal notice in his report. Mr. Rogers does not know what is in the lobby. Mr. Rogers reported that Mr. Evangelista has property abutting south of KMH and that was not included in the notice. Mr. Rogers stated that he can address that, but the legal notice only includes the KMH property. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that in other words, Mr. Evangelista’s property is not proposed to be impacted. Mr. Evangelista stated that it wasn’t clear to him whether or not his property was involved and added that he has no objections to the proposed rezoning, if his property is not being rezoned.
Steve Stone, 25806 Novi Road stated that he is confused. He further stated that as a novice, that he would like a little edification from the Commission as to what the value is of changing the property to TC-1 from B-3. Mr. Stone does not see it as a value to himself, but asks if it is a value to the community and what is the overall impact anticipated to his property? Mr. Stone advised that he has received a notice, but has not been informed about what his property is going to be used for and what the intended use of TC-1 is. Mr. Stone realizes that he is "late to the game," but this is the first notice that he has ever received. Mr. Stone has heard that the City wants to place a parking garage on his property and he would like to know the City’s intent is.
Chairperson Lorenzo advised Mr. Stone that the Commission will answer his questions.
Chairperson Lorenzo closed the Public Hearing and turn the matter over to the Commission for Discussion. Chairperson Lorenzo then asked Mr. Rogers to first answer Mr. Stone’s questions.
Mr. Rogers, generally speaking, stated that it is his opinion that the TC-1 District is a more flexible, creative, and beneficial district. Mr. Rogers further advised that both the TC-1 and TC Districts permit five story developments and identical types of land uses such as: commercial, office, residential, civic, restaurant, or entertainment. Mr. Rogers reported that a one story commercial unit in a TC-1 District is limited to 7,500 square feet, but it can be larger if there is a two, three, four, or five story building. Mr. Rogers asked the Commission to recall that a recent amendment by Council allowed certain second floor commercial to occur. Mr. Rogers further reported that in the TC-1 District, a fifty foot front yard setback is required but, it can be less if it’s measured from the center line of the road. In addition, Mr. Rogers stated that a TC-1 District requires ten foot wide side/rear yards and zero lot line setback. Mr. Rogers reported that unlike the TC District, a district like Main Street in the TC-1 District has various allowances for on street parking for credits toward parking requirements. In addition, Mr. Rogers advised that over hang awnings and signage is not permitted in a TC District, but is allowed in TC-1 to create a more urban environment. Mr. Rogers stated that the intent, south of Grand River on either side of Novi Road, is to create a Main Street scenario unlike the Novi Town Center. Mr. Rogers stated that it is the hope that Main Street under construction in the southeast quadrant today will someday feed through the southwest quadrant, come to Grand River and link into the drive past the Expo Center and Crescent Boulevard with a complete loop system around the downtown area. Mr. Rogers advised that these are the basic reasons and they were carefully drawn up to encourage innovation. Mr. Rogers added that an approval in both districts of a project of more than five acres has to go to City Council. Mr. Rogers advised that there are a number of TC-1 projects currently underway; Vic’s Market, the Sports Tavern, the Main Street to Novi Road, and Novi Pavilion Office Center that have complied with that ordinance and he thinks it fits.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked if that would also explain the benefits from rezoning from B-3 to TC-1. Mr. Rogers replied that it would because the B-3 zoning along Novi Road, with no criticism to the legitimate business uses, could permit uses of an open air nature like Franks Nursery, a fast food drive through, a gas station, or certain uses that may conflict with a pedestrian concept of Main Street. Mr. Rogers added that the B-3 zoning is really a spot zoning, which he believes is out of place and should be changed.
Chairperson Lorenzo opened the floor to the Commission for Discussion.
Member Bonaventura asked what the current zoning is for the property owner? Chairperson Lorenzo replied that she believes it is B-3. Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Rogers to expand on the benefits of B-3 in relation to the City and also what the differences between TC and B-3 are as far as what the property owner can do with his property. Member Bonaventura further asked what types of things will the owner be required to do in TC-1 that will not be required in B-3 and what amenities are required in TC-1 that are not required in B-3. Mr. Rogers replied that there are street amenities, landscaping, and signage which explains why amenities and the landscaping package are addressed in the preliminary site plan reviews. (end of tape). . . .Mr. Rogers reiterated that the B-3 District is the least regulated commercial district in the City and it permits uses of a drive-in open front use, outside sale and rental of automobiles or trailers, veterinarian establishments, and a Frank Nursery type of indoor/outdoor plant sales. Mr. Rogers added that this was also permitted in the TC-1 to accommodate Vic’s Market. Mr. Rogers advised that a B-3 District would allow a building at the rear of the property and have a large parking lot in front. Mr. Rogers further advised that the setbacks for greenspace are 10', whereas in a TC District, it is 20'. Mr. Rogers reported that there are a number of other dimensional changes in the ordinance, but the B-3 District is really General Business, whereas the TC-1 District is Town Center, a planned district.
Member Bonaventura asked when the Public Hearing Notice was sent? Mr. Cohen responded that it is a fifteen day notice. Member Bonaventura does not know what the owner is thinking about his property or what the City is thinking about his property. Member Bonaventura does know that the City has a plan for a Main Street, which is an urban design that would allow from a property owner standpoint, some positives as far as more of the land being more usable in TC-1 than in B-3. However, Member Bonaventura stated that at the same time, there are facade requirements that are different. Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Rogers if that was correct? Mr. Rogers responded that they would be a brick or masonry and with drive it combinations. Member Bonaventura stated there are also specific things like street lights and park benches that are packaged to create an urban environment.
Member Hoadley asked which zoning would be more economically viable to an owner in terms of salability and development? Mr. Rogers replied that the TC-1 zoning provides more building floor space on a given parcel because he can credit his curb parking where it may abut a street permitting curb parking although Novi Road probably does not. Mr. Rogers further advised that it permits an owner to build practically to a zero lot line with the building right on the street face. Mr. Rogers reported that there is a maximum of 80'-85' to the center line on Novi Road and Grand River. Mr. Rogers then advised that on Main Street or any other street within the TC District, an owner can go right up to the right of way line of the street. Mr. Rogers stated that the opportunity to go beyond two stories to three stories in an inner city area is allowed in a TC-1 and is not allowed in a B-3. The 30' maximum height limitation in the B-3 will not allow a three story building because it is capped out at the top of the roof HVAC, so there really is not 30' in most cases.
Member Hoadley reiterated that the setback is 85' from the center line of Novi Road or Grand River. Member Hoadley asked what the current easement is? Mr. Arroyo replied that for the most part, the core of Grand River and Novi Road has 100' easement which would be 50' from the center line. Member Hoadley asked if will remain 100' when it is expanded five lanes? Mr. Arroyo replied that it already is five lanes at the intersection. Member Hoadley asked if it will be 100' where the owner’s property abuts it? Mr. Arroyo replied that he believes that it is already five lanes there and he does not know if it varies from where his property line is. Member Hoadley stated that they are talking about a 35' setback under TC-1 from the right of way. Mr. Rogers interjected, or 80' from the center line. Mr. Arroyo added that it is 80' from the center line and no greater than 137'. Member Hoadley then stated that the difference is 30'.
Member Hoadley asked what the current set back requirement is for B-3 from the right of way? Mr. Rogers replied that it is 30'. Member Hoadley stated that it is the same difference as far as the setback from the front road. Member Hoadley then stated that building in the back can occur right up to the lot line. Mr. Rogers added that the side setback also permits building up to the lot line. Member Hoadley asked what the setbacks are for the side and back in B-3? Mr. Rogers replied that it is 15' on the side and 20' in the rear. Member Hoadley stated that the owner would definitely increase the amount of usable land and would increase the property value. Mr. Rogers stated that he cannot speak to value, but it would increase the floor space. Member Hoadley asked if the two were relative? Member Hoadley added that if a 50,000 square foot building can be put on a lot as opposed to a 20,000 square foot, isn’t that a higher value? Mr. Rogers replied that it depends upon the use in the space, but if it is the same use, then yes, there would be more gross leasable floor area.
Member Hoadley asked what are the lease differences per square foot between a TC and a B-3 zoning? Mr. Rogers stated that he cannot answer that question because he does not know what the recent sales of specific properties are. Member Hoadley asked what the Town Center is currently getting per square foot? Mr. Rogers did not know and Chairperson Lorenzo interjected by stating that she is not certain that is relevant to this issue. Member Hoadley argued that it is relevant to the property owner. Chairperson Lorenzo replied that she understands that, but it may not be relevant to the Planning Commission’s review or action on this. Member Hoadley also understands, but the property owner has asked the question and he should be given as much of an answer as possible. Chairperson Lorenzo believes that the Commission has been trying to address his concerns as much as possible. Member Hoadley thinks the property owner is better off to have TC-1 from a pocket book standpoint, but would like to produce some evidence that would prove that theory. Member Hoadley suspects that the rental value per square foot is much higher in the TC types of uses than it would be in a B-3, but he cannot prove that. Member Hoadley suggested that such information should be provided to the property owner at a later time. Member Hoadley added that he personally believes that it is a good proposal.
Member Capello agrees with Member Hoadley in that the Commission will only make a recommendation and the property owner will have ample opportunity to compare the two ordinances before it goes to City Council or get assistance from the Planning Department. Member Capello further stated that although it is not a Public Hearing in front of City Council, the property owner would have the opportunity to speak during Audience Participation.
Member Bononi, as a Member of the Novi Historical Commission, asked Mr. Rogers about his letter of February 10, 1996 which refers to the Novi Cemetery area. Member Bononi stated that the Novi Historical Commission has a strong interest in the preservation of the cemetery and she is interested in knowing why the Novi Cemetery area, which is now zoned B-3 District, should also be rezoned? Member Bononi is concerned because in one city that she has lived, an entire cemetery was relocated and replaced with a strip mall. Member Bononi is concerned about any kind of zoning that would adversely influence anyone to think that a zone change could result in a more intense use. Member Bononi is asking for reassurance and for a reason why the cemetery is being rezoned at all from B-3, which is also a non-conforming use. Member Bononi asks that the cemetery be left exactly as it is forever. Mr. Rogers responded that it is one of the few uses that can be relocated among relocation programs and road widening programs. Mr. Rogers reiterated that the cemetery was B-3 and by changing it to TC-1, it makes for a more uniform zoning district boundary, supporting other TC-1 Districts to the north, east, and the northwest. Mr. Rogers advised that there is no intention to change the Master Plan designation from community park use. Mr. Rogers further advised that it is a historic site and it is very difficult to move cemetery grave sites without the approval of heirs. Mr. Rogers stated that by removing the B-3 from the cemetery site, it supports the recommendation to remove the B-3 on the east side of Novi Road so that its facing zoning is compatible. Mr. Rogers reiterated that the B-3 District is the least restrictive district and it might be also thought of as the most intensive district with regard to impact type uses; vehicular traffic or drive-ins, which would be inimicable in the Town Center area. Mr. Rogers went on to state that for uniformity, he and the Town Center Steering Committee recommended that the B-3 zoning in the Town Center area on both sides of Novi Road should be changed. Mr. Rogers reported that since they are considering TC-1 Districts nearby, they included the B-3 in the package. Mr. Rogers advised that it doesn’t raise the marketability of that property, because the property is not for sale and he does not foresee it ever being for sale.
Member Bononi still does not see the rationale in doing that other than just taking a geographic area and then including it in that periphery, which is fine. Member Bononi added that maybe a more positive thing to do is to at some point propose a specific zone that deals with those very precious sites and she will investigate that.
Member Vrettas asked what the specific impact IS to the Keros project? Mr. Rogers replied that although that is a legal question, he will comment and advised that the only project that has received preliminary site plan approval for which an exception would be made is Novi Grand. Mr. Rogers advised that the plan is well under way for final site plan review and reminded the Commission that the preliminary site plan has been recommended for approval. Mr. Rogers added that the river walk is in and there are windows on the west and north sides and now it is going forward for final site plan approval. Mr. Rogers explained that Mr. Hyman is concerned with the possibility of a tenant wanting to expand in the future. For example, Mr. Rogers stated that a tenant could not expand into a 20' rear yard setback in the TC District if the building is set off 20' from the rear property line. Mr. Rogers went on to state that if it is zoned TC-1, the tenant could put that extension back to the property line and gain 20' without a variance for a rear yard setback encroachment. Mr. Rogers respects Mr. Hyman’s legal acumen, but it is a permitted use whether it is zoned TC-1 or TC and every use he is proposing is permitted and is not a special land use. Mr. Rogers added that if it were zoned TC-1, the center could expand the side and rear yards to the lot lines, which cannot be done as it is zoned today. Mr. Rogers advised that the front yard parking is probably closer than they should be, meaning there is more parking than would normally be permitted, but they are not going to build a newer building addition into the parking lot because the parking is needed. Mr. Rogers stated that the architectural and landscape standards for the TC and TC-1 are the same. It is Mr. Rogers belief that if the river walk ever comes along and Main Street is extended along Grand River through the southwest quadrant, that if there was a need for street furniture, street lighting, a clock tower, or other amenity that the first person to step forward would be Mr. Keros to participate voluntarily. Mr. Rogers cannot perceive a hardship and he did hear Mr. Hyman say that if the Commission is recommending the rezoning again to Council, at least request legal counsel to include language to except those projects which have received preliminary site plan approval.
Mr. Watson asked if the current approved site plan would be approvable if it came in under TC-1 zoning? Mr. Rogers replied that he thinks that some of the parking is in excess because parking cannot be extended more than 136' from the center line. Mr. Watson wants to know if the current site plan can meet all of the requirements of the TC-1 District? Mr. Rogers replied that the only possible deficiency would be that they couldn’t have the larger parking lot on Novi Road because there is a limit on how much parking is allowed in front of a building facing Novi Road or Grand River. Mr. Rogers is not certain because they may have qualified and other than that, they would meet the ordinance. Mr. Watson stated that at least in one respect, they would not. Mr. Rogers stated that 137' as measured from the center line of Novi Road would be the extent of how much depth of parking is allowed. Mr. Rogers does not have the site plan, because it was not before the Commission tonight but recalled that if the applicant went back 150' from the center line of Novi Road, then that would not be allowed with a notable project coming in. Mr. Watson stated that the reason that he asked the question is because the last time this was before the Planning Commission, the impression that he got, that he believes was a common impression, was that the site plan that they had was one that met the existing zoning, but could not meet the zoning if it were rezoned and is what engendered all of this discussion. Mr. Rogers replied that the reason that comment came through was because they were proposing an anchor store, possibly Staples, at approximately 20,000 square feet. Mr. Rogers reported that there is no longer an anchor store proposed and they do not have a store unit of 20,000 square feet. Mr. Rogers thinks that’s where he probably said that it would not be permitted.
Mr. Watson assumes that the applicant has great concern because he feels that the plan that he is preceding with at the time is a plan that couldn’t meet the TC-1. Mr. Hyman replied that there is a limit of 7,500 square feet in TC-1. He added that the first floor retail space for the approved site plan is 25,000 square feet and it is a serious problem. Mr. Hyman stated that even with respect to the extension that Mr. Rogers referred to, they do not contemplate an extension. Mr. Hyman is primarily concerned with a change in footprint and facade treatment to accommodate a new user. Mr. Hyman stated that they would have to come before the Commission, unless they received administrative approval for some kind of a change that the staff deemed insubstantial. Mr. Hyman further stated that if they have to come before the Commission again with a non-conforming use, there would be no grandfather rights to make what are relatively small changes in the footprint because that building would be non-conforming under TC-1.
Member Vrettas is tying this conversation to the last meetings conversation about consultants’ recommendations. Member Vrettas added that he and Member Hoadley also had a conversation between the last meeting and tonight about that issue. Member Vrettas advised that he came to the realization that what they’re talking about is how some of the jobs of the consultants is done. Member Vrettas stated that he had an idea . . . . Chairperson Lorenzo interjected by asking if Member Vrettas’ comments have any pertinence to this issue. Member Vrettas responded that he is building some groundwork for what he is about to say and he thinks that it is important that the Commission hear it. Member Vrettas asked the Commission to have some respect for the fact that he knows what he is doing and he is trying to be very relevant. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that she will allow it, but she would appreciate it if he would keep to the point. Member Vrettas replied that he cannot get to the point without a very strong foundation. Member Vrettas advised that he presented the concept of being a good neighbor at the last meeting and he appreciated the support of the other Commissioners. Member Vrettas stated that being a good neighbor runs two ways and it applies to the City as well. Member Vrettas has a real problem if someone is discussing property in preliminary stages and the property owner is not involved in the conversation. Member Vrettas reminded the Commission that there is a property owner with a B-3 property who did not know about a conversation regarding his property until he got a Public Hearing notice. Member Vrettas argued that this is not being a good neighbor and it is not being a good neighbor changing the rules for another of "our parishioners, or township people, or citizens," or what he likes to call "our bosses." Member Vrettas has a problem with not being a good neighbor in return and he feels that anyone who votes for this recommendation is saying that we’re above being good neighbors (i.e., Commission). Therefore, Member Vrettas will not support the rezoning because of that. Member Vrettas stated that it is the responsibility of the consultant’s and everybody working in the initial phases of any kind of change to talk to the people who own the land. Member Vrettas further stated that for some of the property owners it is the difference between economic survival and hardship. Member Vrettas believes that they have a right in the initial process to say, "but understand my position" so that the consultants take their feelings into consideration. Member Vrettas wants to see the area turned into a uniform town center, but not over the bodies of the people of the community. Member Vrettas further stated that when there is someone like Mr. Keros who has bent over backwards and has been a good neighbor, it is not being a good neighbor or is it being fair in return when the Commission pulls a "switch on him like this." (End of tape)
Member Hoadley stated that he would like to make a motion under zoning map amendment 18.548, and make a positive recommendation to City Council to rezone those three districts to TC-1 with a grandfather clause to protect Mr. Keros’ interest for his particular project that has already had preapproval.
Chairperson Lorenzo restated the motion to send a positive recommendation to City Council for Zoning Map Amendment 18.548 with the inclusion of a grandfathering clause for all projects that have received preliminary site plan approval. Chairperson Lorenzo asked Member Hoadley if the motion she has restated is correct? Member Hoadley replied that she was correct.
Mr. Capello stated that he would second after Mr. Watson commented on the motion. Mr. Watson replied that he has no comment to add after the motion was restated.
PM-96-04-074 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.548 WITH THE INCLUSION OF A GRANDFATHERING CLAUSE FOR ALL PROJECTS THAT HAVE RECEIVED PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL
Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Capello, CARRIED (8-1): To send a positive recommendation to City Council for Zoning Map Amendment 18.548 with the inclusion of a grandfathering clause for all projects that have received preliminary site plan approval.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that it has been moved and seconded and asked if there is discussion on the motion.
Member Hodges stated that her discussion was changed with the motion because she wanted to grandfather in the preliminary site plans that had been approved in a blanket approval because she does not believe in doing site specific motions unless it has come to that stage in the process. Member Hodges agrees with Member Hoadley and takes offense because she does not consider herself to be a bad neighbor. Member Hodges added that it may be a title that Member Vrettas chooses to give himself and he is welcome to it.
Member Weddington asked if the proposed rezoning is identical to what was considered last year? Mr. Rogers replied that it is, with the exception of the expansion down to Trans-X to include the KMH property. Member Weddington then stated that there are some different parcels. Mr. Rogers added that those parcels are included on the notice map and are currently zoned I-2 and I-1 District. Member Weddington stated that she was confused and her concern is that someone is just hearing about this for the first time. She thought this was identical and that the Commission has been talking about this for what seems like years now. Mr. Rogers does not believe there is any comment from KMH, but a potential new owner of KMH property is in support of this petition.
Member Bonaventura does not believe that Member Vrettas was talking about the Planning Commission. He believes Member Vrettas was commenting on the process. Because it is a city initiated rezoning, Member Bonaventura believes that someone who owns property in this area could not be informed. Member Bonaventura believes that one of the reasons might be because of the fifteen day public hearing notice in the newspaper. Member Bonaventura asked what the minimum notification is for a person who owns property? Mr. Cohen responded that people in the surrounding area are notified fifteen days in advance and that the actual notice is put in the newspaper the week before. Member Bonaventura asked what the minimum number of days is? Mr. Cohen replied that the minimum is fifteen and the maximum is thirty.
Chairperson Lorenzo interjected by stating that a property owner has at least fifteen days prior to the Public Hearing of inquiring about the potential rezoning.
Member Bonaventura thanked Mr. Capello in that the motion is a recommendation that will be going to Council and giving the property owners even more time.
Member Bonaventura asked if he is mistaken about the rezoning from I-1 to TC-1 on Trans-X Drive and questioned if this item was brought before the Commission to be considered as a conceptual for senior citizen housing in the past? Mr. Rogers replied that was about the property to the south of this, the Evangelista parcel. Chairperson Lorenzo interjected that it was about the adjacent property. Mr. Rogers referred to the letter’s I-1 on the map and that it was that property that abuts TC-1 also. Member Bonaventura remembers during that conversation that the Commission had concerns about a company named TemperForm because he believes there are documented complaints about odors.
Chairperson Lorenzo interjected by stating that she believes he is getting away from the issue. Member Bonaventura disagreed because it was a concern at that time when the Commission was discussing rezoning that general area from I-1 to TC or TC-1. Member Bonaventura further believes that someone requested that it be looked into and before he gives a recommendation to rezone the area along side Trans-X, from industrial to Town Center zoning, he would like to be certain that the request has been addressed. Member Bonaventura asked the Commission if anyone remembers a request about investigating the odor. Mr. Cohen replied that he believes that there was a preliminary cost study done by JCK and it was very expensive. Mr. Cohen is uncertain where it went from there. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that it is her recollection that the study was in response to the potential senior citizen housing going on the Evangelista property and asked what does that have to do with the current rezoning before the Commission which does not include the Evangelista property? Member Bonaventura replied that the Evangelista property is zoned I-1 and asked if it has been proposed to be rezoned TC? Mr. Rogers replied that it was one of the uses.
Member Bonaventura said that if Chairperson Lorenzo does not see the connection, he apologizes. Chairperson Lorenzo replied that she does not see the connection for the current rezoning. Member Bonaventura advised that the property is less than a hundred feet away from this property and it is in the same general area. Member Bonaventura further advised that there were concerns about an industrial piece of property being noxious. Chairperson Lorenzo and Mr. Cohen stated "to residential." Member Bonaventura replied that was correct and he is questioning whether or not the I-1 should be rezoned to TC-1. Member Bonaventura is questioning that because he wonders if the City wants the Main Street area open and exposed, in his mind, to an industrial area. Member Bonaventura then asked if the City would want the industrial area kept industrial on Trans-X Drive, whose rear would face the Main Street area and would act as a buffer and barrier to the light industrial. Mr. Rogers replied by stating that the KMH property will very likely be associated with commercial development along Main Street and may be used for off street parking. Mr. Rogers further stated that the transition line has to be some place and he thinks that 85% of the present zoning pattern on KMH is I-2, abutting Town Center which could bring in open storage or heavy industrial. Mr. Rogers thinks this zoning would be unsuitable next to pedestrian retail, housing, civic, and historical uses in the Town Center area. Mr. Rogers feels that the KMH property, which is an irregular boundary, is an eminently good transition. Mr. Rogers stated that it leaves properties on both sides of Trans-X for industrial development. Mr. Rogers advised that more property could be zoned to TC-1 in the future on Trans-X, but that is not what is currently before the Commission.
Member Bonaventura asked if Mr. Rogers then believed that it is a good transition and that the parking will be needed for Main Street anyway? Mr. Rogers agreed.
Member Vrettas thanked Member Bonaventura for recognizing that he was criticizing the process versus the Commission. In addition, Member Vrettas commended the Commissioner’s who made a motion that included the grandfather clause and thereby validating his belief that they do believe in the concept of good neighbors. Member Vrettas believes that they are trying to be good neighbors and he never aimed it at the Commission.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that if there is no further discussion she will restate the motion which once again is to send a positive recommendation to City Council for Zoning Map Amendment 18.548 with the inclusion of a grandfathering clause for all projects that have received preliminary site plan approval. Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Cohen to call the roll.
VOTE ON PM-96-04-074 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
2. SOCCERZONE, INC., SP 96-11C
Property located north of Grand River Avenue, for possible Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan approvals.
Morris Stein, Keystone Design Group - Lansing, Michigan introduced himself as the architect for the project. Mr. Stein also introduced Jim Clark as a partner in SoccerZone
and stated that he is also available to answer any questions. Mr. Stein described SoccerZone as a company who is headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan with facilities in Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Grand Rapids. SoccerZone is currently looking at Novi to expand its operation.
Mr. Stein stated that the facility will include four indoor soccer fields similar to what is seen at a hockey rink. He further stated that the side skirt boards are a round plastic netting and the field is smaller than what would be outdoors. Mr. Stein further advised that the facility has the necessary amenities such as offices, toilets, and a small concession stand to service the participants. Mr. Stein further advised that the hours of operation are from 5:00 P.M. until 11:00 P.M. during the week and all day Saturday and Sunday. Soccer leagues begin from early October and end at about this time of the year, with a break before the outdoor soccer season begins. Mr. Stein reported that they operate approximately six months a year with soccer and that they are in the process of developing a field surface that may be converted for an in-line skating activity for the summer. Mr. Stein is not certain at this point how extensive this may be.
Mr. Stein pointed to an early site plan submission and stated that the property is on the northwest corner of Grand River and Meadowbrook Road. He then pointed to a back piece and stated that the front portion is part of a consent judgment that decree for a commercial center. He also stated that there are two existing light industrial buildings to the east, with a third site for light industrial. Mr. Stein advised that the property to the north and to the west is also zoned light industrial. Mr. Stein reported that the property is zoned NCC, but is master planned as light industrial. Mr. Stein also advised that per the consent judgement the commercial portion was to be used for light industrial, but SoccerZone has a purchase agreement to purchase the property. Mr. Stein advised that the consent decree requires three exits from the property. Mr. Stein advised that at the time that SoccerZone negotiated the option to purchase, it was the intent of the property owners to amend the consent judgement. Mr. Stein advised that at that time, they were allowing SoccerZone an exit drive to Grand River and a drive out which exists now to Meadowbrook. Mr. Stein stated that after they got well into the project, the owners determined that it would be best not to amend the consent judgement and to leave the site plan as originally approved. Mr. Stein then advised that they therefore could not change it by adding an additional drive (he pointed to plan). Mr. Stein advised that they are going to utilize the approved main entry drive to the commercial development coming in and a second exit (he pointed to the plan). Mr. Stein added that they originally proposed a third drive from (he pointed to the plan) which came around and tied back in (he again pointed to the plan). Mr. Stein stated that the question is whether it really constituted a third drive because it did not go to Grand River or to Meadowbrook and subsequently, it was deleted. Mr. Stein stated that they also propose to use a drive that is partially existing along the south side of the former Federal Express property that is part of the original consent judgement. Mr. Stein then noted that Mr. Rogers advised them that it would be detrimental and encouraged them to try to incorporate that into their project. Mr. Stein advised that SoccerZone was fortunate to be able to negotiate with the owners of Grand Meadowbrook and in effect took over that parcel and gave them another one (he pointed to the plan). Mr. Stein believes that this has helped their project because it has reduced the walking distance for parking and that it has also allowed them to achieve more parking (he pointed to the plan).
Mr. Stein advised that there is a 50' setback that is not required. Mr. Stein added that because of the size of the building and because it is an assembly type building that under the building code, a 50' setback is needed from all the property lines in order to achieve an unloaded area for this type of facility.
Mr. Stein stated that their site plan is with the access drive coming in (he pointed to the plan) and access from Meadowbrook accessing the property (he pointed to the plan) and an access drive coming in (he pointed to the plan). Mr. Stein reported that their parking ratio is based on the code and on practical experience. Mr. Stein advised that they are providing the same amount of parking per field that is currently at the other facilities and they have never had a parking problem. Mr. Stein advised that the other facilities are single entry facilities and there is no place for off site parking. Mr. Stein advised that they had a traffic study done and to minimize the traffic impact it was determined that two drives would be adequate to service the facility. Mr. Stein stated that because league play is an hour at a time, they purposely stagger game starts; two fields start on the even hour and two fields start on the half hour. Mr. Stein added that there are children’s leagues through an over forty league. Mr. Stein advised that the children’s leagues are primarily on Saturday and those are generally the times when there are more spectators.
Mr. Stein stated that they have worked hard to adjust to conditions that SoccerZone as such, does not have control over. Mr. Stein advised that they are under a tight deadline and need to open by the Fall of 1996 and if that is missed, it is like a retail business missing an entire season. Mr. Stein noted that there is a letter in the packet requesting: (1) The reviewers and staff be allowed to handle the final site plan approval, (2) early grading permit, and (3) early foundation start. Mr. Stein advised that the building plans are essentially complete and they are prepared to begin the final site plan approval process as quickly as possible and move onto final review of the building plans.
Mr. Stein also advised that there was confusion about three issues and he has a letter signed addressing those issues. Mr. Stein advised that their plan indicated that they were tieing their utilities to utilities provided by others. Mr. Stein reported that two are going jointly together. SoccerZone stated in effect, that they are installing all of the utilities from connection to the site and are installing all of the roads so that there is no question who is doing that. Mr. Stein advised that the second issue was raised by JCK regarding the possible adequacy of two existing 54" culverts that travel through Meadowbrook and east to the retention ponds. Mr. Stein believes that given a preliminary look, he does not think that there is any problem with handling the SoccerZone water and that there will probably not be a problem until the entire center is developed. Mr. Stein does agree that it should be looked at now and if for some reason any modification is required because of SoccerZone, they will take responsibility for it. The third item was not on the plan and Mr. Stein advised that he has spoken with Mr. Bluhm about the addition of oil separators for the storm water before it leaves the site. Mr. Stein advised that this is something that is normally reviewed at final, but to clarify it, they added it to the letter to inform the Commission that they will install them.
Mr. Stein reported that the only item that he has not addressed is the facade. Mr. Stein advised that the consent judgement states that the facade must be approved by City Council. Mr. Stein further advised that they agree to follow City Council’s request that the block be removed from the front and replaced with brick. Mr. Stein also advised that City Council essentially approved their colors, but referenced that the brick color and so forth, would be handled by staff and reviewers during the final approval stage.
In conclusion, Mr. Stein stated that the only other recent issue that SoccerZone feels in the middle of is the question of where the drive comes in that serves Ray Electric on an easement basis. Mr. Stein advised that the drive will serve as a main entry drive to SoccerZone and the commercial development there. Mr. Stein further advised that there has been some discussion about the adequacy of that and he thinks that the owner has been working on a possible solution. Mr. Stein then asked Mr. Norberg, from Seiber Keast to discuss that issue.
George Norberg, of Seiber Keast & Associates began by confirming some of Mr. Stein’s comments about the utilities. Mr. Norberg reported that the site for Meadowbrook Run was approved as part of the consent judgement and the construction plans are complete. Mr. Norberg stated that they anticipate approximately two weeks to get the renewal of the utilities and they will be using their plans to construct that. Mr. Norberg added that the location of the driveway (he pointed to the plan) is exactly as it is shown on the consent judgement. Mr. Norberg advised that the driveway that is in question is also shown exactly as was shown on the consent judgement. Mr. Norberg advised that when the plan was submitted, they received some reviews regarding the effect of that driveway on the existing parking within what is now Ray Electric. Mr. Norberg stated that the concern was with the conflicting traffic backing up into the entrance because of the close proximity to the parking and this driveway. (End of tape) Mr. Norberg advised that the driveway was never meant to be a main driveway and further stated that with that in mind, he had the opportunity to review Rod Arroyo’s letter and he has prepared an alternative plan. Mr. Norberg reported that the driveway as it now exists, parallels the property line and travels straight up. Mr. Norberg advised that this is where the problem occurs with the traffic backing up into the oncoming traffic (he pointed to his proposed alternate plan). Mr. Norberg stated that the Grand Meadowbrook Development Company asked Seiber Keast to prepare an alternate design through the consent judgement property which would be this design (he pointed to his plan). Mr. Norberg advised that the plan provides 22' from the rear of the parking spaces to an island that would separate the traffic (he pointed to his plan), from the cars backing up through this section. Mr. Norberg further advised that this would create a loss of approximately twenty spaces on the Grand Meadowbrook Development property, which they have no objections to and they feel that there is more parking than they need for the types of uses that they are looking at.
Mr. Norberg stated that the concern becomes a matter of timing, because this type of a change will require an amendment to the consent agreement. Mr. Norberg advised that while they have no objection to making this change and if that is the only change that is made to the consent agreement, then there would be no objections and would gladly make the corrections to the plans. Mr. Norberg then read a letter received from the Grand Meadowbrook Development Company to the Planning Commission regarding SoccerZone’s Preliminary Site Plan and Special Land Use Approval; "Upon approval of the special land use and preliminary site plan on the SoccerZone, we will provide the alternate and expanded route of the entrance drive off of Meadowbrook Road as part of the third access to service SoccerZone by expanding a portion of the driveway that parallels the Federal Express Building (now known as Ray Electric) to the south by approximately 18 feet. This will be done subject to the expeditious cooperation of the City of Novi City Council in amending the existing consent agreement to allow such expansion of the drive without further amendment to the consent agreement. This commitment is consistent with the April 12, 1996 letter to the City of Novi Planning Commission which was delivered in your packets. We are prepared upon your SoccerZone approval and assurance by the Novi City Council for expeditious cooperation in this matter to deliver engineering drawings and a formal consent agreement amendment consistent with the provisions of this writing." Mr. Norberg advised that the letter is signed by one of the partners. Mr. Norberg reiterated that the timing is critical on this project and because working through a consent agreement can be lengthy, Grand Meadowbrook Development Company is willing to provide that change provided that’s the only change and that they can do it quickly enough to keep the project. Mr. Norberg advised that Mr. de Steiger from Ray Electric is present and he would like to address the driveway changes on the plan since he is directly impacted.
Mr. de Steiger asked if he could review to most recent plan first.
Mr. Stein stated that SoccerZone’s major concern is that the legal complications surrounding the consent agreement may hold the project up. Mr. Stein believes that all of the parties involved are committed to having the plan approved prior to SoccerZone opening in the Fall.
Chairperson Lorenzo advised that a break is normally taken at this time and asked if the Commission would like to break for ten minutes to allow Mr. de Steiger to review the drawing and then come back and resume.
Mr. de Steiger interjected and stated that although he is satisfied with the drawing, he has two comments. Mr. de Steiger stated that there has been a tremendous amount of pressure over the last two weeks in trying to resolve this issue because of SoccerZone’s deadline. Mr. de Steiger added that he supports SoccerZone 100% and he is agreeable to SoccerZone’s proposal. Mr. de Steiger and his wife drove to Lansing over the weekend to look at SoccerZone’s facility during their year end tournament. Mr. de Steiger said that by what he could see, it looked like a wonderful asset for the community and he would like to see something like it in his own community of Rochester Hills. Mr. de Steiger further stated that he does not believe that SoccerZone would have any impact on their traffic.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked if the Commission would like to break and advised that the consensus of the Commission is to break.
Chairperson Lorenzo brought the meeting back to order and stated that before they proceed with SoccerZone, she will open the floor for Audience Participation.
Jeffrey Bowdell, (Abbey Hills) began by stating that he has spoken with Mr. Bluhm and Mr. Cousineau about the mitigation area on the northeast corner of the site. Mr. Bowdell advised that the mitigation area is showing a water level of approximately 65 on the print. Mr. Bowdell further advised that on the east side of the mitigation area, the contour lines go up 67, 68, 69 and that’s the way it exists . . . .
Member Bonaventura asked the Chair if Mr. Bowdell could speak before Abbey Hills so that the prints are in front of the Commission. Chairperson Lorenzo replied that she is going to write down the principal information and then the Commission will be able to respond to it.
Member Hoadley stated that he would prefer to have Mr. Bowdell speak at that time. Chairperson Lorenzo asked if that was a consensus of the Commission and the Commission agreed.
Debbie Bundoff, 12 Mile & Novi Road stated that she had no intention of speaking other than the fact of what just happened made her come up to speak. Ms. Bundoff was disturbed that the Public Hearing was interrupted to have information given about another item and asked if the Commission was finished with the Public Hearing? Chairperson Lorenzo replied that the Public Hearing had not yet started and that the Commission was only at the portion of the applicant’s presentation and the Public Hearing for SoccerZone had not yet begun. Chairperson Lorenzo advised that the applicant gave his presentation and then decided to break because a break is usually taken at 9:00 p.m.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked if anyone else would like to participate during Audience Participation and seeing no one, she closed Audience Participation and continued with the consultants’ reports for SoccerZone."
PUBLIC HEARINGS (cont.)
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated that he has two reports. Mr. Rogers stated that his major reported is dated April 10, 1996 and he has a follow up report dated April 12, 1996. Mr. Rogers advised that there are a number of issues with the project; one is a consent judgement based upon a plan that Mr. Rogers reviewed ten years ago called Meadowbrook Run Shopping Center. Mr. Rogers further advised that it ended up being a consent judgement in 1990 and he has gone through the pertinent design conditions in the consent judgement in page one of his report. Mr. Rogers advised that the second issue is the special land use requirement. Mr. Rogers reported that the consent judgement states that uses in an I-1 type district are permitted on the north 7.7 acres and the review and processing of those plans would be done for getting the consent judgement just using the I-1 standards for special land use, permitted uses, setbacks, and the various design standards. Mr. Rogers stated that is what he did on page two and finds that the conditions for special land use for this use are complied with. Mr. Rogers added that the general standards are referenced on page two with input from the traffic and engineering consultants before final concurrence on special land use is made. Mr. Rogers has looked at the woodlands ordinance and there is no impact.
Mr. Rogers advised that the preliminary site plan was reviewed under the I-1 District on page three, all application data are provided, and that the 90,000 square foot structure meets I-1 standards. Mr. Rogers advised that the ordinance is not specific about off street parking for indoor soccer fields. Therefore, Mr. Rogers has used input from the applicant on his other facilities and standards out of the ordinance for stadiums, sports areas, or similar places of outdoor assembly. Mr. Rogers has provided for overlap of teams waiting to play and teams still playing. Mr. Rogers believes that the applicant has provided more than adequate off street parking for this use and this information is provided in his report. Mr. Rogers further advised that greenspace buffer is provided around the site, except for the south property line where the common access drive for part of that border prevents that area being set off from the required 10' from the property line.
Mr. Rogers reported that the landscape plan would be reviewed at the time of final site plan submittal and would address the dumpster screening, island plantings, irrigation, plant species, and so forth. Mr. Rogers stated that there is a 5' ground monument sign located off the premises near Meadowbrook Road on the plan and it would require approval from the underlying landowner. Mr. Rogers also included his recommendation about the concept facade plans on page four of his report and it was agreed that the fractured block on the front elevation (facing Grand River) would be a face brick of a compatible color. Mr. Rogers also stated that the color of the roof material may also be reviewed. Mr. Rogers reported that it was Council’s obligation to review the conceptual plans because of the consent judgement and it was his opinion that they review it as soon as possible. However, Mr. Rogers further advised that the Council’s approval of the site plan made it clear that final site plan approval and the approval of the facade plan was a prerogative of the Planning Commission.
In conclusion, Mr. Rogers recommends preliminary site plan approval subject to special land use approval being granted by the Planning Commission and the provision of three recorded irrevocable easements of access as proposed on the preliminary site plan. Mr. Rogers advised that he is familiar with the issue about Ray Electric and he has met with all parties and recommended some alternatives to a dilemma about conflict of traffic with Ray Electric’s parking lot. Mr. Rogers further believes that Mr. de Steiger felt that if all the use of the easement drive on his property would be limited just to SoccerZone traffic, he would not mind it being used as it is shown on the easement documents as it is shown today. Mr. Rogers also stated that Mr. de Steiger was concerned about the tie in of shared parking from the commercial development and that is why the alternate plan of bending the road down to the south is important to him. Mr. Rogers suggested the following alternatives: (1) Leave the site plan as is and do not provide a realignment of the road pass with Ray Electric. (2) Leave the site plan as is, but require prior to final approval a revised alignment of the driveway; either moving the curb cut southerly on Meadowbrook Road or curving down as the current plan shows. (3) Do not bend the 30‘ roadway easement; introduce angle parking on the south side of Ray Electric’s building. The owner of Ray Electric rejected this plan. (4) Seek another location for the third access driveway. (5) Return to Council and all parties agreeing that only two driveways are needed to come into SoccerZone. Mr. Rogers advised that the other SoccerZone facilities have only one driveway. Mr. Rogers also advised that alternative 5 was not included in his report.
Dave Bluhm, of JCK stated that although there is no problem with the alignment in the proposed plan for the alternate approach, there are a couple of concerns. Mr. Bluhm advised that if the storm sewer for underneath the alternate approach is constructed, special treatment of the trench for that sewer would have to be constructed with the sewer and addressed at final. Mr. Bluhm further stated that after a meeting, they scaled off some of the dimensions from the edge of the existing Ray Electric parking and it appears that if it is constructed as it is shown on the plan, there is a good separation between the edge of the parking and the edge of the access route to allow the cars to back in and out. Mr. Bluhm stated that the existing water main on the east side of the proposed site between Ray Electric and SoccerZone will be tapped into and extended around the south side of the proposed building and loop around the west side to connect with water main along the north edge of the site. Mr. Bluhm reported that this should also provide a loop connection for more accurate fire and domestic flows through the building. Mr. Bluhm added that the applicant is also proposing a stub to the south to hook into the Meadowbrook Runs water main system as it is proposed with the consent judgement. In respect to the sanitary sewer, Mr. Bluhm reported that the applicant is extending sewer from Meadowbrook Road and the location as it crosses the Meadowbrook Run property. Mr. Bluhm added that it is consistent with the consent judgement and it will also be able to service the development. Mr. Bluhm further added that the storm sewers are being proposed on site to collect the storm waters. Mr. Bluhm reported that they will be sized for the developed flows, they will collect the storm water, and then be directed to the southeast corner of the site. Mr. Bluhm further reported that they will then be conveyed through storm sewers that were to be constructed by others, but it is now clear that the applicant will have to construct them. Mr. Bluhm added that the storm sewers will be sized for developed flows and no detention is proposed on the site. Mr. Bluhm reported that the outlet for the storm sewers will be in the large ditch at the front of Ray Electric’s building which conveys to Bishop Creek. Mr. Bluhm further reported that the culverts cross Meadowbrook and are sized for developed flows for the entire watershed area that these developments are a part of. Mr. Bluhm then advised that the storm water is then detained in the regional basin just east of Meadowbrook Road. Mr. Bluhm advised that the storm sewer that is shown on the Meadowbrook Run property is almost in the location of the driveway which takes the storm water from the proposed development and from Meadowbrook Run and it will then have to be sized for both of those developments. Mr. Bluhm believes that the applicant intends to do that and it will be reviewed at the time of final. Mr. Bluhm added that the easements for ingress/egress will have to be provided for all of the access points and there will be a requirement for easements for the offsite utilities which will be reviewed in detail at final. Mr. Bluhm further stated that they will be looking at the capacities of the culverts under Meadowbrook Road and although they were sized for developed flows for the watershed, the watershed is very undeveloped. Mr. Bluhm believes that the culverts are sized well in excess of what is necessary with today’s development. Mr. Bluhm concluded by stating that the plan demonstrates engineering feasibility and they are recommending approval.
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant, stated that they have reviewed the preliminary site plan, in addition to the required traffic study per the ordinance that was submitted by the applicant’s traffic consultant. Mr. Arroyo advised that access is proposed from three locations as required per the consent judgement. Mr. Arroyo stated that one is coming from Grand River and the two that are proposed from Meadowbrook Road, are through existing driveways which currently serve an existing series of industrial buildings. Mr. Arroyo advised that the Grand River drive is consistent with the plan that is approved for the Meadowbrook Run/Grand Meadowbrook project. Mr. Arroyo stated that there are attachments in the packet related to the consent judgement that specifically show the driveways that were approved. Mr. Arroyo also stated that at the time, there were some improvements done to Meadowbrook Road in terms of turn lanes and there are some turn lanes not yet built at the driveways, but will be once the driveways go in. Mr. Arroyo believes that the key issue in terms of access is about the southerly access on Meadowbrook Road. Mr. Arroyo advised that SoccerZone, the proposed retail development, and the Ray Electric development are all working toward a solution to present to the Planning Commission that would improve circulation and make it functional for all the different uses that will be using that one driveway. Mr. Arroyo stated that the proposal which he has just seen for the first time tonight, shifts the access to the south and appears to be a workable plan, but it would need fine tuning before final site plan approval. Mr. Arroyo advised that it accomplishes what it intends to and what he has talked previously to the applicant about. Mr. Arroyo further reported that it provides the Ray Electric site with a parking area and ingress/egress to their parking spaces that is totally separated from the easement area which serves the commercial development and SoccerZone facility. Mr. Arroyo reported that it would involve the loss of some parking spaces on Meadowbrook Run, but those are some of the farther spaces away from the building. (End of tape) Mr. Arroyo stated that there was an access point previously proposed on the east side of Meadowbrook for the Nantucket Cove Restaurant which has since expired, so the driveway location is no longer something that needs to be considered as a part of this project. Mr. Arroyo further stated that the driveway that serves the Ray Electric site, is approximately 200' away from the proposed Nantucket Cove development. Mr. Arroyo advised there was some discussion about shifting that driveway and how it might relate to Nantucket Cove, but that is no longer an issue.
Mr. Arroyo reported that he has provided the Commission with a summary of the traffic study and stated that SoccerZone development is proposed to generate approximately 127 p.m. peak hour trips based on the trip generation data that is provided from two surveys of existing facilities. Mr. Arroyo further advised that a Royal Oak site revealed a potential trip generation for the Novi facility of 150. Mr. Arroyo further advised that as indicated by the applicant, they generally open at 4:00 p.m. and although most of their business is early evening, some will coincide with the p.m. peak hour. Mr. Arroyo advised that as part of the traffic study, the applicant was required to look at the intersection of Meadowbrook and Grand River. Mr. Arroyo reported that the intersection is currently operating at level of service D or better during the peak hour with the exception of the northbound left turn movement from Meadowbrook to westbound Grand River, which is level of service F. Mr. Arroyo stated that when the SoccerZone traffic is added to the total of the westbound through movement, the level of service will drop to E and the northbound left will remain at F. Mr. Arroyo further advised that when additional traffic from the commercial development and the Nantucket Cove, which was still a viable project when the traffic study was done, is added, there are additional approaches that go to level of service F. Mr. Arroyo stated that one of the things that the traffic study revealed is that the signal timing at the Grand River/Meadowbrook intersection actually gives more green time to Meadowbrook than it does to Grand River even though there’s more traffic on Grand River. Mr. Arroyo stated that he has advised Mr. Nowicki in DPS that the signal timing should be reviewed by the Road Commission since they have control over it. The applicant’s traffic consultant then took a look at the intersection assuming a more reasonable signal timing and reevaluated it with the additional traffic. Mr. Arroyo stated that they reported that with the addition of left turn signal phases, the intersection can be improved overall to a level of service D, which is acceptable. Mr. Arroyo reminded the Commission that the levels of service range from A through F, with E and F generally considered unacceptable. The level of service D for this intersection was achieved with the change in timing, change in phasing, and adding the left turn signal phases. This also includes the SoccerZone traffic and the commercial traffic that is approved in terms of the consent judgement.
Mr. Arroyo also reported that the applicant was asked to compare SoccerZone trip generation to other uses that might be permitted in the I-1 District. Mr. Arroyo asked the Commission to refer to the table in Item 5, D of his recommendation letter.
Mr. Arroyo advised that the applicant was requested to change: (1) The outside radius at the 90º turn near the northeast corner of the building to meet the fire department standards. (2) Recommended that they delete six parking spaces to improve the definition of some internal intersections and site distance within the site.
Mr. Arroyo explained that there are some alternatives to deal with the access issues and he has identified some in his letter. Mr. Arroyo advised that one item that they like about the most recent proposal is the access shift to the south because it addresses the commercial development site plan and access, it addresses Ray Electric, and it addresses SoccerZone. Mr. Arroyo believes that the plan provides a comprehensive solution to addressing all of those concerns and therefore, recommends approval of the preliminary site plan subject to the comments in his letter.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated for the record that she has two letters from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi Fire Department. Chairperson Lorenzo advised that the first letter is dated April 10, 1996 and recommends approval. Chairperson Lorenzo further advised that the second letter received tonight and dated April 16, 1996 addresses the concern of accessibility to the proposed SoccerZone project by stating that the Meadowbrook and Grand River accesses are acceptable to the Fire Department.
Chairperson Lorenzo then opened the Public Hearing for anyone who would like to address this issue. Seeing no one, Chairperson Lorenzo closed the Public Hearing and turned the matter over to the Commission for Discussion.
Member Capello began by making a motion and is going to incorporate Mr. Rogers’ facts and comments on Page 2 of his April 10, 1996 letter and move for approval of special land use subject to the ZBA’s interpretation of indoor tennis courts, roller skating rinks, and ice skating rinks; including an indoor soccer rink. Member Vrettas seconded the motion.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that it has been moved and seconded to approve special land use for SoccerZone, Inc. SP 96-11C subject to the ZBA’s review of the use question referred to on Page . . . .
Member Capello interjected by stating that he incorporated Brandon’s findings on Page 2 of his April 10, 1996 letter subject to ZBA’s interpretation of the ordinances including indoor soccer.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked if that is a use interpretation?
PM-96-04-075 TO INCORPORATE MR. ROGERS’ FACTS AND COMMENTS ON PAGE 2 OF HIS APRIL 10, 1996 LETTER AND MOVE FOR APPROVAL OF SPECIAL LAND USE SUBJECT TO THE ZBA’S INTERPRETATION OF INDOOR TENNIS COURTS, ROLLER SKATING RINKS, AND ICE SKATING RINKS; INCLUDING AN INDOOR SOCCER RINK
Moved by Capello, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To incorporate Mr. Rogers’ facts and comments on Page 2 of his April 10, 1996 letter and move for approval of special land use subject to the ZBA’s interpretation of indoor tennis courts, roller skating rinks, and ice skating rinks; including an indoor soccer rink.
Chairperson Lorenzo then asked if there was discussion on the motion?
Member Hoadley stated that he will not support the motion as it is currently made because there are too many other items involved that has not been addressed in the motion. Member Hoadley stated that one example is the "new shifting down" that is not part of the packet or part of the preliminary site plan. Member Hoadley also stated that the applicant has addressed his major concern, but it is not part of the motion and not part of the consultants’ recommendations and furthermore, it is a brand new scenario. Member Hoadley stated that he would like to see where the eliminations of some of the parking spaces are proposed and he believes a better motion can be made. Member Hoadley advised that in addition, he cannot support it without it coming back to the Commission for final site plan approval.
Chairperson Lorenzo advised Member Hoadley that a Commissioner always has the option of amending a motion that is on the floor. Member Hoadley stated that it would be too many amendments and that the motion should be redone after debate and feelings from various Planning Commissioners.
Member Weddington asked to be corrected if she is wrong, but she thought that the motion dealt only with special land use and that Member Capello was separating the preliminary site plan to be addressed separately. Member Hoadley stated that Member Capello first said special land use. Member Capello advised that his motion is only for special land use and not for approval for preliminary. Member Weddington then advised that the Commission will not even get to the site plan if there is no special land use approval. Member Hoadley conceded that if it is only for special land use, he will withdraw his objection but still wants to debate it.
Member Hoadley asked what makes this project different under the NCC zoning from the nursery on Ten Mile Road that was limited to 10,000 square feet and was not given the opportunity to have a special land use? Mr. Rogers asked if Member Hoadley was referring to a child care nursery? Member Hoadley said he is referring to Glenda’s Market and the Commission was not allowed to grant special land use for that. Member Hoadley further stated that one of the big problems they had was 10,000 square feet. Mr. Rogers advised that they remedied that by making the building less than 10,000 square feet.
Member Capello interjected by stating that before they get off the point, he asked Mr. Watson to give Member Hoadley a brief understanding about what the consent judgement is because he thinks Member Hoadley’s question on NCC is off the point.
Mr. Watson stated that the consent judgement specifically provides that the area in the back is to be developed in accordance with the I-1, Light Industrial Zoning District and therefore how the NCC Ordinance impacts that is not considered. Member Hoadley asked why the Commission isn’t recommending that it be changed from NCC to Light Industrial or sent back to the Implementation Committee to do that? Mr. Watson replied that there is already a consent judgement in place approved by the City Council, the property owner, and the court to treat it that way. Mr. Watson further advised that in the intervening years, nobody felt that it was necessary to go back and rezone the property since the consent judgement effectively governed it and that it would be a needless gesture.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated seeing no one else, asked Mr. Cohen to call the roll and restated that the motion on the floor is to approve special land use for SoccerZone, Inc. SP 96-11C subject to the ZBA interpretation that the use of SoccerZone is akin to similar uses permitted in Section 1903.4 and incorporating the findings on Page Two of Brandon Rogers’ letter.
VOTE ON PM-96-04-075 - CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura
Chairperson Lorenzo then advised that they will now move onto preliminary site plan for SoccerZone.
Member Hodges has a concern about northbound traffic on Meadowbrook Road once past the intersection and asked if access is available to make left hand turns into there and is there a turning lane needed? Mr. Arroyo advised that there is a center turn lane on Meadowbrook Road and on Grand River already.
Member Hodges asked if the consent judgement requires three accesses and is it correct that the accesses can go over other property? Mr. Watson replied that she was correct and the reason was that the back parcel, which under the consent judgement was not going to be used in a commercial use, was essentially isolated from immediate access to both Meadowbrook Road and Grand River Avenue. Mr. Watson further stated that because of the fact that it was more important to City Council that it be used for an I-1 use rather than one more 7-½ + acre parcel used for commercial use in the vicinity, that it was deemed a better idea to be zoned for a separate use. Mr. Watson added that given the fact that it was going to be used for a different type of use, it was going to be a separate site plan and have a direct access problem. Because of that, Mr. Watson stated that the consent judgement was drafted to provide at least three access points to the public roads and to make sure that those access points would not be something that would disappear, they were going to have to provide easements from those underlying property owners.
Member Hodges stated that her question extends itself to when it is said that they would have to "provide" and is this consent then, extending itself to property owners who are actually not involved in the development. Mr. Watson replied no and that the SoccerZone property was owned by the same partnership that owns that portion that is going to be developed for commercial use. In addition, Mr. Watson stated that one of the partners back then was also the developer of three sites on Meadowbrook Road which included the incoming Federal Express site. Mr. Watson further stated that although the consent judgement said that they were going to have to have the easements there, that wasn’t a dilemma for the property owners because they were going to be able to get them. Member Hodges added, "as a partnership."
Member Bonaventura asked the petitioner if any of the other facilities are used for anything other than soccer? Mr. Stein replied no, but they are currently looking at developing some in-line hockey during the summer months on a limited basis.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Rogers if the applicant would be limited to sporting events inside the facility? Mr. Rogers replied that is a good question, because the present ordinance, 1903, paragraph 4, allows indoor tennis courts and roller and ice skating rinks and that is why he is recommending that SoccerZone to go before the ZBA for interpretation for being a similar use. Mr. Rogers is considering as one of the amendments to the zoning ordinance update to change the language in paragraph 4 and call out indoor recreational sports or activities a generic title. Member Bonaventura asked if they would be allowed to get away from sports and hold concerts in a facility like this? Mr. Rogers does not see that being permitted.
Member Bonaventura thanked the traffic consultants for addressing the banquet hall because he did not realize that their site plan had expired and he was concerned about it. Member Bonaventura stated that when the Commission reviewed the banquet hall, he does not recall a sporting facility like this being mentioned. Mr. Rogers replied that it probably was not known and the banquet hall was approximately a year or two ago.
Member Bononi noticed that according to her calculations that 74% of the site is covered by impervious material; whether it is the building itself or the parking areas and that is quite a maxed out figure from her point of view. Because of that, Member Bononi would be interested in seeing what the landscaping looks like at final site plan stages, in order to compensate for that. Member Bononi is also interested to know whether Mr. Rogers feels that the landscaping that is shown at this point is even adequate. Member Bononi feels that it looks thrifty and would like to see it improved considering the lack of greenspace on the site. Member Bononi asked if any kind of foot or bike traffic is anticipated from a nearby subdivision whereby they would have to accommodate children?
Mr. Stein replied that they have not found that type of need as a concern because there are specific times for leagues and that team members usually come as a group or with their parents. Member Bononi interjected that she is specifically concerned about the summer programs. Mr. Stein replied that summer programs consist of teams and it is not a drop in type of facility and have never had that type of problem. Mr. Stein also stated that the distance from the facility to neighborhoods is great enough that parents would not want their children crossing those kinds of streets to get to their location.
Mr. Clark stated that they run instructional programs, so kids are there all summer. Even with that, Mr. Clark advised that they arrive as a structured group and they don’t see any walking or bike traffic at their other facilities, so he does not see this as an issue.
Member Hoadley asked if there were only be afternoon hours during the summer? Member Hoadley stated that the applicant is testifying that there will be zero traffic impact in the morning and if the hours are changed, there will be an impact to traffic. Mr. Clark advised that some of the instructional programs will be minimal and that the instructional programs are not turnover programs, but they are all day or half day programs. Member Hoadley asked that even if there is a demand for morning soccer, it will not be permitted? Mr. Clark advised that indoor soccer is not played during the summer. Mr. Clark further advised that the only thing that they have during the summer is instructional leagues or structural classes. Member Hoadley stated that there will be no morning traffic ever. Mr. Clark responded that he would never say that. Member Hoadley argued that is what the testimony is right now and asked if he wanted to stick with that statement. Member Hoadley stated that if that is a condition of the approval . . . . Mr. Clark said he did not know if they put that as a condition and that they just said that a consultant was going over their current operation and what they are intending to do, but he did not think that there was ever a condition put in that they couldn’t have traffic there in the morning. Member Hoadley asked if the hours were on the site plan? Mr. Rogers stated that he would have to check, but the traffic study did indicate that there would be no substantial traffic. Member Hoadley stated that as per the site plan, the applicant is locked into that. Mr. Arroyo stated that he found a reference to hours in a letter from Morris Stein it indicates that "due to the hours of operation, weekdays not starting until 4:00 p.m" but he does not know if it is actually on the plan. Member Hoadley stated then that is his testimony and asked if the hours are on the site plan? Mr. Rogers said that Mr. Stein’s letter was addressed to him March 13, 1996 and that the weekday hours of operation do not start until 4:00 p.m. Member Hoadley’s point in asking is because it seems to him that the applicant would want more flexibility on the hours.
Member Hoadley is concerned about the entrance way being used as a drop off and he understood that it would be signed, although it is not a part of the presentation. Member Hoadley stated that if they do give a positive recommendation, he would want to exclude drop offs now that the applicant is stating that they are going to have a drop off zone. Mr. Clark replied that he did not say that they were going to have a drop off zone, but he said that the kids would be dropped off and there is a difference. Member Hoadley asked if it is the applicant’s intention to put signage up? Mr. Clark responded that there will be signage on the front of the building. . .Member Hoadley asked if it will say that there will be no dropping off or picking up in front of the building and that cars will have to park and then come to the building? Mr. Clark stated that they have found in their other facilities with similar entrances that it’s not an issue of people dropping off and picking up, but the nature is that they are all coming as a group and everyone is going in, so they park. Member Hoadley said that it is important to him from a health and safety standpoint because he does not think that it should be permitted unless the parking is separated from a drop off zone. Mr. Clark stated that it will be included in the final site plan approval. Member Hoadley asked if the applicant is willing to make this as a condition on the southern entrance to separate the road. . . . Mr. Clark believes it is a great idea. Mr. Stein’s concern is whether it has to be completed during the final site plan approval process and the concern again is about all the people that will have to be involved to amend the consent judgement. Member Hoadley replied that there is plenty of time to do that and he would not approve a final site plan unless it was in place. Mr. Stein stated that anything more than six weeks just isn’t going to happen and asked if Mr. Watson could advise better what the timing might be. (End of tape)
Mr. Watson advised that the applicant could approach City Council with the revised plan of the commercial portion of the development depicting the change. Mr. Watson further stated that if it can be done in a quick manner and City Council is satisfied, the actual changing of the consent judgement is not a difficult thing.
Member Hoadley stated that unless it is done, he will not support a final site plan because it is too much of a hazard. Member Hoadley happens to think that the southern access will be used equally to the number of traffic that would be on Grand River because the majority of the population lives south of that area and will travel north on Meadowbrook Road and will not make a left hand turn onto Grand River if they can avoid it. Member Hoadley believes that the least used access will be the northern ingress. Mr. Clark stated that he wants to get on with the project and he can see where it would be more reasonable rather than to give them the final site plan approval, to hold up the final occupancy permit until that is done. Mr. Clark stated that it puts a lot of pressure on them because they have a lot of money out there to make sure that the thing is done. Mr. Clark advised that without a start date now, the reality is that the project is dead. Mr. Clark stated that a lot of time was consumed by the consent agreement which they had not planned on. Member Hoadley stated that it is either doing that or not have the access there at all because of the health and safety problem it will cause for parking at Ray Electric if it is not done. Mr. Clark replied that he is not questioning that and he likes the plan, but that it is the mechanics of going through City Council and getting it approved. He knows that they should be able to get it approved before they finish and he doesn’t have a problem being held hostage to his occupancy permit because they will have millions of dollars invested at that point and they will have the driveway in.
Mr. Norberg believes the problem is bringing the change in from beginning to the end. He does not think that anyone would have a problem with making it as a condition of final site plan approval and bringing it to Council for review. Mr. Norberg concurs that the changes made can be made on one plan sheet, but there are forty sheets in the set of construction plans which means they are going to have to revise twenty. Mr. Norberg stated that they can bring the overall plan sheet to Council with the request to amend the consent judgement for the relocation of the roadway and the elimination of the parking spaces and that can all be done within that time period. Mr. Norberg further stated that the difficulty lies with getting that amended. Mr. Norberg stated that Mr. Stein and his engineers have basically already completed the final construction plans and will probably submit them within four to five days from today. Mr. Norberg thinks that everyone would be agreeable to that or to at least submit for that amendment or the change in the consent judgement prior to final site plan. Member Hoadley does not see the problem in making it a condition of final site plan approval because there is a lot of time between now and when the site plan is brought back to the Commission. Member Hoadley stated that the City Attorney has stated that it is just a matter of bringing it to them. . . . Chairperson Lorenzo interjected by stating that the floor belongs to Member Capello. Member Hoadley stated that he still has the floor and Chairperson Lorenzo replied that she had asked him if he had anything further to which he responded no. She then recognized Member Capello and at that point Mr. Norberg stepped up.
Member Capello asked Mr. Bluhm if he has any problem in reviewing all of his comments after preliminary site time approval and prior to final? Mr. Bluhm responded that he does not. Member Capello stated that he would like to make a motion subject to Mr. Bluhm’s comments on Page 2 of his April 12, 1996; subject to Mr. Arroyo’s comments in his letter; subject to City Council amending the consent judgement, and subject to the petitioners amending their plan to reflect the roadway as it is proposed before the Commission tonight and subject to all those conditions, Member Capello moves for approval of preliminary site plan SP 96-11C. The motion was seconded by Member Vrettas.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that it has been moved and seconded to approve the preliminary site plan for SoccerZone, Inc. SP 96-11C subject to Mr. Bluhm’s comments on the record this evening and his letter of April 12, 1996 and Mr. Arroyo’s comments and his letters and Mr. Rogers. . . . Member Capello stated that Mr. Rogers’ comments were already handled in Mr. Bluhm’s comments and in the approval of the special land use. Chairperson Lorenzo continued by stating that further subject to the City Council amending the consent judgements and the applicant’s amending the site plan to reflect the change in access at the southerly location onto Meadowbrook Road. Member Capello stated that would also be subject to them amending their plan prior to final site plan. Chairperson Lorenzo asked if everybody is straight on that?
Member Hoadley responded no and that he would like it to be more specific and the plan should be identified with some sort of number and that number should be included in the motion. Member Hoadley further stated that he thinks that is what Member Capello is saying in his motion that he wants to see the new configuration in any final approval.
Mr. Watson suggested that the petitioner leave the plan with Mr. Cohen so that it becomes a part of the permanent record. Member Hoadley stated that it is not in the packet. Mr. Watson presumes that the applicant will leave a copy with Mr. Cohen. Member Hoadley added that he cannot support it unless it comes back to the Commission for final site plan review and asked Member Capello to amend his motion to include that. Member Capello stated that the problem with bringing it back for final is continual delays and if the applicant gets to the point where he has invested all of this money and he is delayed at the point of final for whatever reason it is delayed for, then it will infringe upon him opening in the Fall. Therefore, Member Capello cannot accept that amendment.
Member Hodges asked Member Hoadley what his reason for asking that it come back for final? Member Hoadley replied that he has a lot of concern about items that are not in the packet and he wants to make sure that it comes back right. Member Hoadley is not willing to delegate that right now.
Member Markham stated that although this type of project is not specifically called out in the zoning ordinance, the applicant has talked about including a pro-shop retail type of facility and a snack bar concession. Member Markham advised that the zoning ordinance under I-1 does not specifically address those as a part of something like this. Member Markham further advised that it does talk about things like eating and drinking establishments of a sit down type with a minimum of 100 seats and retail being 500 square feet or less. Member Markham asked if the applicant would need a variance from the ZBA to be able to have those sorts of features in the facility? Mr. Rogers advised that those uses have been treated as accessory uses to the primary use, which is an indoor recreational and athletic facility. Mr. Rogers then sited subsection 7, which has the 10% and the 500 square foot rule and it does not apply to the indoor recreation facilities under subsection 4. Mr. Rogers advised that it is customary to have a snack bar and a pro-shop in a recreational type facility and since this has to go for interpretation to the ZBA on the issue of the term "soccer field," they will be able to see what this facility will look like from Mr. Stein’s presentation. Member Markham understands that these items are standard and that it also makes sense to have them, but asks if the applicant will be in compliance with the ordinance under which they will be operating. Mr. Rogers feels they are and Mr. Watson has advised that this type of interpretation on a variance should go to the ZBA. Member Markham asked if there are any precedents in the City of Novi for a similar kind of facility that has these amenities as a part of it? Mr. Rogers replied that there was a place on Ten Mile at Catherine; Grand Slam, but it has since become a high-tech office building. Mr. Rogers added that Mr. Arroyo calls out golf courses and bowling alleys. Mr. Rogers reiterated that indoor recreation uses customarily have these amenities and they even have liquor licenses. Member Markham stated that it would make sense that when the petitioner goes before the ZBA that they talk about all of the features of the amenities? Mr. Rogers replied yes.
Mr. Clark said that they have run into this in every city that they have been to. Mr. Clark advised that the problem is that indoor soccer did not exist when most of the codes were written, but soccer is a very similar recreational activity to hockey and roller skating. Mr. Clark advised that some of those cities have changed their zoning to include soccer, but he likes Mr. Rogers’ idea of making it more generic. Member Markham stated that makes sense, but she wanted to be certain that technically the applicant is covered with what they want to do.
Mr. Rogers stated that they are currently in the process of making many updates to the zoning ordinance and one is to get a more generic title for this facility. Mr. Rogers thinks that Member Markham has a good point and they could add a phrase stating "including accessory uses such as: pro-shop, lunch counter, etc." and he believes that would tie it up neatly.
Member Markham is in support of such a facility for Novi and believes Novi needs more facilities for the young people in the community. Member Markham also feels that this is a good use of this parcel, but she is concerned about the fact that there has been a lot of delays getting the project to this point, so now they are asking the Planning Commission to hurry up. Member Markham agrees that there are a lot of open issues, for example the sewer runoff and the adjusted common access road. Member Markham is concerned about the same issue that Member Hoadley is, which is granting administrative approval of the final site plan. Member Markham would be interested in some more creative approaches so that she can be comfortable about what is going to happen at final is going to be what they want. Member Markham further stated that because it is a high visibility project, there are going to be a lot of people using it from Novi, as well as surrounding communities and Novi has an opportunity to shine with this facility.
Chairperson Lorenzo advised Member Markham that any member of the Planning Commission can make an amendment to the main motion to bring it back for final. Member Markham proposes that the main motion be amended to bring the plan back for final approval. Member Hoadley seconded the motion.
PM-96-04-077 TO AMEND THE MAIN MOTION AND BRING THE PLAN BACK TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION FOR FINAL APPROVAL
Moved by Markham, seconded by Hoadley, CARRIED (8-1): To amend the main motion and bring the plan back to the Planning Commission for final approval.
Member Hoadley reiterated Member Bononi’s concern regarding the landscaping. To Member Hoadley, the landscaping is not adequate and he would like to look at it again and not have it approved administratively. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that if there is nothing further, she would like to vote on the motion to amend the main motion to require that it comes back for final.
Member Capello suggested that the Commission just vote on the motion to approve it and then make a separate motion to bring it back since there’s one motion already on the floor.
Chairperson Lorenzo advised that this is a motion to amend the main motion, which means that the whole motion would include it coming back for final. Member Capello stated that is not what he understood; the proposal was to just have it come back for final which he read as being a separate motion. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that Member Capello’s motion is being amended.
Member Hoadley stated that he does not want to be in a position to vote against the project, but he wants to make it right.
Chairperson Lorenzo would like to vote on the amendment motion to bring the project back for final and asked Mr. Cohen to call the roll.
Member Bonaventura asked for a point of order. Member Bonaventura asked if he could participate in the discussion to amend. Chairperson Lorenzo agreed. Member Bonaventura’s concerns are with the facade and asked if the facade is a part of the consent judgement? Mr. Watson advised that the facade is part of the consent judgement in the sense that the facade had to be approved by the City Council so that the City Council could be assured that it would be consistent with whatever was built out in the front. Member Bonaventura stated that the facade is approved and is now a part of the consent judgement. Mr. Watson replied that it is not a part of the consent judgement, but it is approved by the City Council pursuant to the consent judgement.
Member Bonaventura asked if the plan came back for final, would the Commission have any input on the facade? Mr. Rogers replied that he got the impression that the staff and the consultants have discretion on making sure that the brick is of a compatible color with the metal panels. Member Bonaventura asked if it has to meet NCC standards? Mr. Rogers replied that it does, but Council went beyond the NCC requiring brick. Mr. Rogers advised that the plan met the NCC standards the way it was laid out with fractured block and the metal and ribbed panels on all four sides. Mr. Rogers further advised that the Council wanted a more ornamental and attractive facade on Grand River to set the stage for commercial development in front of it. Member Bonaventura asked if he was to take that to mean that the conceptual is not what was approved by the City Council? Mr. Rogers stated he would have to ask Mr. Stein. Mr. Stein replied that it does not and that is a color copy which is not accurate in regard to the true colors. Member Bonaventura asked if the Commission has any input in regards to the landscaping. Mr. Rogers stated that they do and that is part of final site plan review. Mr. Rogers added that there is a preliminary conceptual landscape plan in the packet of plans and he assured the Commission that he will make sure that they meet the ordinance requirements for interior landscaping and perimeter landscaping. Member Bonaventura is definitely in favor of having a facility of this type in the City and agrees with Member Markham. Member Bonaventura is not sure that this would be a regional facility and hopes that it would not because he thinks that Novi Place hosts too many regional facilities in this town. Member Bonaventura believes that it would be used mainly by many Novi residents. Member Bonaventura also has a problem that they are being told that time is of the essence on a project like this and that it is not going to happen if they have it come back for final. Member Bonaventura stated that if that is the case, so be it, because he believes that it has to come back for final.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Cohen to call the roll and stated that once again this is an amendment to the main motion to bring it back for final.
VOTE ON PM-96-04-077 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura, Bononi
Chairperson Lorenzo restated the full motion to approve the preliminary site plan for SP 96-11C, subject to the City Council amending the consent judgement; subject to Mr. Bluhm’s comments in his letter; subject to Mr. Arroyo’s comments in his letter; subject to the applicant amending the site plan prior to final to reflect the change in the southerly alignment access on Meadowbrook; and this is to come back for final.
Member Bonaventura asked what the site plan manual says about submitting changes to blue prints the night of the Planning Commission Meeting? Mr. Rogers stated that it is probably silent and but it is not encouraged. Mr. Rogers advised that most of the data is replete in the file and this was an issue that was raised within the last week. Mr. Rogers does not say that this is unusual and thinks that it has been helpful to have the new plan tonight. Member Bonaventura said that Mr. Rogers is then saying that the Site Plan Manual does not say anything about the timely submittal of plans? Mr. Rogers advised that there is an advance time scheduling for preliminary and final site plan, but this is an addendum to what was officially and properly submitted. Member Bonaventura replied, "exactly" and asked Mr. Rogers if he knows what it says in the Site Plan Manual about plans being submitted on the evening of the meeting? Mr. Rogers replied that he would need to refresh his memory.
Member Hoadley thinks that it is a demonstration of good faith from the applicant and it has addressed his concerns. Member Hoadley is in favor of the plan and is particularly in favor of the applicant putting up signs and not allow a drop off/pick up where it is adjacent to parking. Member Hoadley concluded that he will support the motion the way it is now.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that if there is nothing else she will ask Mr. Cohen to call the roll.
VOTE ON PM-96-04-076 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi
Mr. Stein stated that they made a request that was not addressed and that was whether they could proceed with the early start of the grading and the foundations pursuant to the code requirements? Mr. Watson replied that they would go to the Building Department and under some discretionary rulings they can assist the applicant.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. CONSERVA ELECTRIC SUPPLY COMPANY, SP 96-12
Property located north of Grand River Avenue, between Seeley Road and Haggerty Road for possible Preliminary Site Plan approval.
Michael Hamlin, Project Manager for Quadrants, Inc., 49397 Schafer Ave, Wixom stated that the total site is about 1.5 acres and the building is just over 11,000 square feet. Mr. Hamlin advised that 2,500 square feet of the building is office space. Mr. Hamlin believes that the plan meets all the setbacks and parking requirements and that the parking may have more than what is necessary. Mr. Hamlin advised that all of the proposed materials have been reviewed and deemed acceptable, although he realizes that they have to come back during final with actual samples and colors. The hours of operation are 7:30 to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and Mr. Hamlin does not believe that there are any outstanding issues that cannot be addressed during final site plan approval. Mr. Hamlin pointed out the landscaping is just in the preliminary stages to give an idea of where the greenbelt areas are and that he realizes that a final landscape review will also have to be completed.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant recommends preliminary site plan approval. Mr. Rogers stated that all standards have been met on the facade plan, but suggests that the applicant give further consideration to conforming the east side design elevation with the west and the north because it seemed disjointed. Mr. Rogers believes that this issue can be discussed at final. Mr. Rogers further advised that other than that, the applicant meets the standard; they provide for the setback from Grand River and provide more than adequate parking.
Dave Bluhm of JCK, reviewed the preliminary site plan and stated that one access is proposed from Grand River and water is proposed by a service lead from the mains that are also on Grand River. Mr. Bluhm advised that sanitary will be handled by a service lead in from the rear of the project, but the project will need an easement from the rear property owner for it to curve properly. Mr. Bluhm stated that the applicant is proposing storm sewers on site to pick up the drainage which will be directed to the front of the development where they’ll provide a detention basin which outlets into the ditch on Grand River, then flows to the west, and ultimately to the Ingersoll Drain. Mr. Bluhm advised that the drain currently is county jurisdiction and the county is not allowing developed flows to enter into the drain because of downstream problems in Meadowbrook Lake down toward the southern ends of the City. Mr. Bluhm added one additional note by stating that there is a low area at the rear of the property that they may need to partially fill, but he does not see that as a problem and will be looking for calculations to make sure that there are no impacts. Mr. Bluhm believes that there probably is not a problem because there’s a swale that drains a lot of this property to that basin that will be eliminated. As a result, Mr. Bluhm stated that a lot of the flows that go into there will be redirected to the south. Mr. Bluhm then stated that there are additional comments in their letter, but they are recommending approval. (End of tape)
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant advised that he has a couple comments in regards to a minor shift of the driveway to better align with Bashian and also showing a deceleration/ acceleration taper on Grand River on the final site plan. Mr. Arroyo concluded that they are recommending approval subject to those comments.
Chairperson Lorenzo indicated for the record that she has a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi Fire Department recommending approval with the following: (1) All weather access roads capable of supporting 25 tons are to be provided for fire apparatus prior to construction above the foundation., (2) All water mains and fire hydrants are to be installed and be in service prior to construction above the foundation., (3) The building address is to be posted facing the street throughout construction and the address is to be at least three inches high on a contrasting background., and (4) Fire prevention practice during construction shall be in accordance with the adopted building code and fire prevention code.
Chairperson Lorenzo then turned the matter over to the Planning Commission for Discussion.
Member Weddington made a motion to approve preliminary site plan for Conserva Electric Supply Company, SP 96-12 subject to all the consultants’ comments and recommendations. Motion was seconded by Member Capello.
PM-96-04-078 TO APPROVE PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN FOR CONSERVA ELECTRIC SUPPLY COMPANY, SP 96-12 SUBJECT TO ALL THE CONSULTANTS’ COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.
Moved by Weddington, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve preliminary site plan for Conserva Electric Supply Company, SP 96-12 subject to all the consultants’ comments and recommendations.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that it has been moved and seconded to approve preliminary site plan for Conserva Electric Supply Company, SP 96-12 subject to all the consultants’ comments and recommendations. Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there was any discussion on the motion.
Member Hoadley stated that although he agrees with the recommendations about the realignment of the roads, that it would impinge on where the retention pond is now located and he would like Mr. Arroyo to address how it can be realigned and the retention pond moved so that everything can work? Mr. Arroyo replied that Mr. Bluhm could better address the retention pond issue, since that is the most critical factor. Mr. Bluhm advised that the applicant has a good sized area to work in the detention basin and by looking at the location that Rod is concerned with, it appears to him that it can be facilitated without any problems. Mr. Arroyo added that it is a fairly minor shift. Member Hoadley asked if it would interfere with the water service and wouldn’t that also have to be shifted further south? Mr. Bluhm stated that the basin may not have to be shifted to the west, that the basin could be reconfigured and rerouted slightly to the west to eliminate being in the basin. Mr. Bluhm advised that with the water service in the basin, it is not a problem. The applicant will just have to lower the service, but there are options. Member Hoadley asked if the detention pond would still have to be the same size? Mr. Bluhm replied that it would, but reconfigured. Member Hoadley stated that it looks like a 15-20' shift to him and asked if Mr. Bluhm is telling him that the retention pond can be moved toward the west? Mr. Arroyo responded by stating that the shift only has to made right at the driveway location and that the entire parking location does not have to be moved. The applicant can make the driveway perpendicular to Grand River and then curve it slightly as travels toward the parking area. Therefore, Mr. Arroyo advised that it will only impact a small area of the detention pond. Member Hoadley replied that he was not suggesting that it was, but the detention pond will still have to be moved approximately 20-25' further toward the west in order to reconfigure that and asked if that was a problem. Mr. Bluhm does not see that as a problem.
Member Hoadley asked if the facade and tree plantings were of concern to anyone else, because it is not a part of tonight’s site plan and he wishes that it was. He would like to see that format changed so that the landscaping could be a part of the preliminary site plan. Member Hoadley added that understanding that, he asked if this is one that the Commission may want to bring back for final site plan approval?
Member Bononi stated that as she understands it, that the nature of the applicant’s business is the warehousing of electrical products? Mr. Hamlin replied that the owner is an electrical distributor and warehouses electrical boxes, electrical panel, pipe conduit, and other general electrical supplies. Member Bononi asked how many employees does he anticipate to employ? Mr. Hamlin replied that there are currently seven or eight. Member Bononi asked if he is aware of any wetlands on the site? Mr. Hamlin replied that there are none. Member Bononi asked the applicant if the filling of a portion of the pond like structure on the north side of the site will affect Grand Commons Place because it appears that their catch basin is directed into that? Mr. Hamlin replied that they have spoken to their neighbor and he does not have a problem with this. Mr. Hamlin advised that the pond was originally the neighbor’s detention pond and was made large enough to include both lots. Mr. Hamlin believes that this is what Mr. Bluhm was referring to and the applicant will have to demonstrate for final approval with actual calculations that once the small portion is filled, that it still will remain a large enough capacity for his land. Mr. Hamlin does not think there is any question of that because it was designed to include their lot and a large portion of their lot is not draining into that anyway. Member Bononi asked who is the record owner of the lot? Mr. Hamlin stated that the actual owner is Tom Bozek, who owns Conserva Electric.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that if there are no other comments, she will ask Mr. Cohen to call the roll. Chairperson Lorenzo restated the motion to approve Conserva Electric Supply Company’s preliminary site plan SP 96-12 subject to all the consultants’ recommendations.
VOTE ON SP-96-04-078 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley
2. ABBEY HILLS SITE CONDOMINIUMS, SP 94-36F
Property located south of Eleven Mile Road, east of Beck Road for possible Final Site Plan approval.
Chairperson Lorenzo advised that Abbey Hills Site Condominiums was formerly known as Aspen Woods.
Ray Cousineau from Tri-Mount Companies stated that the consultants have reviewed all the detailed plans for final site plan approval, have recommended approval, and he believes that they are ready.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant, stated that his report advises that the final plan conforms with the previously approved preliminary site plan. Mr. Rogers further advised that the ZBA has granted a waiver for the east side set back of homes and also to permit unit 20 to serve as a single unit cluster. Mr. Rogers stated that his issues on landscaping are satisfied and Mr. Pargoff will comment on that tonight. Mr. Rogers reported that the architectural renovations have been previously submitted conceptually showing the type of materials and the square footage and he therefore, recommends final site plan approval.
Dave Bluhm of JCK, has reviewed the project several times and they now recommend approval of the final site plan. Mr. Bluhm notes however, that there are comments in their letter related to construction requirements, but would like to specifically address Item 8. Mr. Bluhm advised that they have been having discussions with Mr. Cousineau on how to handle individual site plan reviews for the buildings in regards to the wetlands and the grading. Mr. Bluhm further advised that they will be working with Mr. Cousineau to establish a plan and identify the limits of building envelopes so that they can properly review them individual plot plans as they come in and provide more of a level of review for them. Mr. Bluhm concluded by saying that beyond that they are recommending approval of the final site plan.
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant, stated that they have reviewed the plan and they are recommending approval.
Sue Tepatti of JCK, stated that they have reviewed the plan for the permit conditions, their previous approval, and the Commission’s recommendation and recommend approval of the plan. Ms. Tepatti stated that they expect to issue the wetland permit shortly.
Chris Pargoff, Forester for the City of Novi, stated that the Commission has his review letter and in it he stresses the situation on Lots 18, 19, and 20. Mr. Pargoff advised that those areas are close to the preservation line of the woodlands and indicate that they are no backyard areas. Mr. Pargoff advised that they have issued a notice of woodlands violation for the construction of the sanitary sewer going into the project and as part of that violation, they will require a trimming of several of the trees by a certified arborist that were improperly trimmed at the time of the violation. Mr. Pargoff stated that one of the Commissioners brought to his attention that there is a deficiency in the plan for the boardwalk. Mr. Pargoff described it as a one sided guard rail and that the rail should be on both sides of the boardwalk. In addition, Mr. Pargoff stated that it was also brought to his attention that a handrail for smaller children should also be installed. Mr. Pargoff reported that the street trees have a space problem between the sidewalk and the curb, and as part of that space problem they are requiring a deep root structure. The structure is basically an eighteen inch plastic device that forces the roots of the trees underneath the sidewalk so that the sidewalk is not destroyed by the roots of the tree.
In addition, Mr. Pargoff stated that the landscape will require some standard items. Mr. Pargoff stated that the Building Department has requested that they inform the applicant that any signs will require a building permit, any lighting must be approved by DPW, and Mr. Pargoff will have to speak with the landscape contract before he purchases any of his plant material. Mr. Pargoff then discussed the fees that will be required and advised that the utility screening is a little high because they have not yet seen a final utility plan to make a determination of how many utility boxes will be in the front yards.
Chairperson Lorenzo reported that she has a letter from Linda Lemke which in summary she states that she continues to recommend approval for woodlands permit issue subject to: (1) payment of a performance bond, (2) no construction including clearing or grubbing until the fencing is approved by the City and an environmental preconstruction meeting is held, (3) remaining regulated woodlands that are not platted are placed into a preservation easement, and (4) preservation signage is erected as directed by the City.
Chairperson Lorenzo also indicated that she has a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi Fire Department recommending approval. Chairperson Lorenzo then turned the matter over to the Commission for Discussion after a member of the audience speaks.
Jeffrey Bowdell (Abbey Hills), explained that he is a member of a Pioneer Meadow’s homeowners association, which is west of the development. Mr. Bowdell reported that in the northeast corner of their subdivision, there are a few houses that very close to a wetland area that is on the development’s property. Mr. Bowdell asked the Commission to keep in mind that their subdivision is the second oldest subdivision in Novi and they have septic tanks. Mr. Bowdell reported that the people in the northeast corner of their subdivision have had septic problems. Mr. Bowdell reported that the roads have been paved and storm sewers have been installed through their subdivision making an attempt to drain some of the area on the applicant’s property out into the ditch. Mr. Bowdell does not know whose responsibility it is to attempt to maintain it, but he has been informed by Mr. Bluhm that there is some type of blockage there that might be holding part of the water back. Mr. Bowdell’s concern is about some of the discrepancies on the topographical information given on the plan. Mr. Bowdell pointed to an area on the plan and stated that as the plan’s contour lines go down, they say 69, 68, 67, 66, and 65 is the water’s edge. Mr. Bowdell then stated as he pointed toward the plan, that if you start to come back up and use the same contour lines in the other direction, then you would have 65, 66, 67, and 68 which would leave the fence line at about 69, which is the same elevation as it is over here (he pointed to the plan). Mr. Bowdell advised that in reading the elevations they are actually 68, 67 and as he pointed to a backyard it is 66½, which is basically ½ foot above the backyards. Mr. Bowdell stated that it is important to note that this area is not presently uphill and those backyards drain directly to that area. Mr. Bowdell stated that the engineers informed him that some of this development will lead water away from this area and take it down to the storm systems being provided. Mr. Bowdell stated that because the yards are obviously flat, it leads him to believe that the area will be built up to help to retain the water. Mr. Bowdell stated that when they do that, they will also stop the water from these backyards from running to that area which will cause saturation and affect their septic systems. Mr. Bowdell’s major concern is that what is shown on the plan is not what is in the field along this area (he pointed to the plan). Mr. Bowdell stated that if they are going to put this in, they are going to stop the water and if they’re not going to put it in, any additional water will cause problems for the homeowners who already have septic problems. Mr. Bowdell stated that a septic system is approximately $10,000 and there is no intention at this time to bring sewers into their subdivision.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Bluhm to address this issue. Mr. Bluhm responded by stating that there are three homes (he referred to sheet 4) on the north edge of the existing development and south of that there are two vacant lots. Mr. Bluhm reported that in the back of the vacant lots is standing water and it has been their judgement that there has been an artificially created blockage in a swale that drains that water to the west toward Sierra. Mr. Bluhm stated that they have advised Mr. Bowdell about that and that it will have to be addressed by the association. Mr. Bluhm believes that by improving the drain that is blocked, it will help alleviate the drainage in that area. Mr. Bluhm further stated that what is being created with the mitigation area, the contours that he is looking at actually show the mitigation area 3-5' below the finished grades of those homes. Mr. Bluhm advised that alteration to the grade adjacent to those homes can be done in a way to direct the rear yard drainage into the mitigation area as opposed to directing it to the south in the natural progression of the drainage into that wet area that exists in the two vacant lots. Mr. Bluhm does not see a problem and thinks that once they get out there to look at the situation and the grading is completed, that from a micro-grading standpoint that it can be adjusted so that the water is directed to the wetland better if there is any blockage. Mr. Bluhm reiterated that he does not see it occurring, but thinks that this is something that is routinely done in the field.
Mr. Bowdell asked Mr. Bluhm to look at the grade on Lot 25, the third house and asked if says 66.9 at the corner of the house? Mr. Bluhm reported that Lot 25 drains to the southeast. Mr. Bowdell said that today that whole area is covered in water. Mr. Bowdell’s point is that the top of the water on the drawing is 65, which is basically two feet less and that is a 35' backyard. Mr. Bowdell reiterated his earlier concerns about drainage and also reminded the Commission that he did address this at preliminary site plan approval. Mr. Bowdell added that he is supportive of the project.
Mr. Cousineau stated that when the project was designed that he indicated that they were going to make every effort to take drainage away from the Pioneer Meadows site and they have done that. Mr. Cousineau is confident that this will not cause a drainage problem onto Pioneer Meadows or with their septic systems. Mr. Cousineau thinks whatever they are doing in this particular area and throughout the site in general, will be an improvement to the Pioneer Meadows drainage problems. Mr. Cousineau stated he is willing to commit to review the drainage in the field with Mr. Bowdell and the homeowners in question, so whatever they end up doing in the field will be satisfactory to them.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that the Planning Commission will appreciate, if not require those assurances. Chairperson Lorenzo then turned the matter over to the Commission for Discussion.
Member Hoadley is concerned about the information that Mr. Bowdell brought forth. Member Hoadley asked if there are only three lots that are impacted and Mr. Bowdell reiterated that Member Hoadley was correct. Member Hoadley asked how expensive would it be to abandon the septic systems and key those three properties into the project’s sewer lines? Mr. Cousineau responded that it would be very expensive. Mr. Bluhm interjected that it cannot be done because they are at the end of a service district and Pioneer Meadows is in a different service district. Mr. Bluhm advised that the sewers are actually of an elevation that is too high for a connection to be made. Member Hoadley stated that if they put a lift station in it wouldn’t be. Mr. Bluhm responded that it is possible to plum, to grind, and to pump the sewerage up, but then it would be going through mitigation, through woodland areas between lots, and it’s something that would not be very feasible, although it could be done. Member Hoadley’s question is, would they do it? Mr. Cousineau responded no.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that the Chair would entertain a motion one way or the other. Member Bonaventura stated that he is not going to make a motion and when a positive motion comes up, he is going to vote against it. Member Bonaventura stated that he has a few problems with the project. Member Bonaventura believes that the first issue is a result of an unfortunate timing situation that this property went through in a rezoning from RA to R-1, then it came back before the Commission for the cluster option at preliminary and he believes there may have also been a conceptual between that. Member Bonaventura stated that it began with 8 homes, then to R-1 with 16 homes, and now with the cluster option it is at 31 homes. Member Bonaventura advised that the homes to the east had not existed during these changes and now they do. Member Bonaventura stated that these are new Novi residents and they will be in for a little surprise. (End of tape) Member Bonaventura stated that the main reason that he has voted against it is the fact of the increased burden on the community; the increase in fire and police protection and the increase in the number of students. Member Bonaventura reported that communities in the east illustrate this kind of development. Member Bonaventura is also opposed to the increased traffic.
Member Hodges cannot appreciate the abuse that is being done to the land and to the system there. Member Hodges is also very concerned about the neighbors to the west.
Member Hodges asked what can the Commission do to offer any kind of financial assistance for any corrections that may be necessary in the future to mitigate any problems that might occur to the neighbors in the west. Mr. Watson replied that the developer has to put up certain monies as a part of getting occupancy for the development. Mr. Watson stated that the developer has to also post monies to complete the development which will be held until he does so. Mr. Watson advised that the engineers conduct inspections to make sure that he does complete the development in accordance with the final engineering plans. Mr. Watson further advised that there is nothing in the ordinances that permit the Commission to require a developer of property to post money to make sure that he doesn’t harm somebody next door. Mr. Watson did state that the next door property owner does have the remedy of taking whatever action they deem necessary should damage to their property occur. Mr. Watson also stated that the Commission can add a condition to any action that is taken requiring the engineers to take specific review as to each of those three houses to make sure that it deals with the circumstances that were raised. Member Hodges stated that if those conditions are added, would any bond set that would be posted for the project include those conditions being met according to engineering specifications? Mr. Watson replied that what is more likely to happen is that they are going to take care of those things before they even come in for their first occupancy permit. Mr. Watson stated that they are going to have monies posted to guaranty completion of the various site improvements, but in the normal course of events, they probably going to take care of the grading problem before they even have the occupancy on the first house.
Mr. Bluhm added that they typically will continue to hold a small bond for any incomplete grading that may not be completed outside of the building areas for a certain period of time.
Member Hodges asked if any of the money is held upon completion of build out of the entire project or is there a time period after build out that an inspection is done and then the monies are released? Mr. Bluhm stated that they are required to masquerade the site prior to the buildings being built so that 95% of the grading is done prior to the first building being completed. Mr. Bluhm added that there is a certain portion that continues to be held for just as a matter of course for discrepancies that may occur. Mr. Bluhm reported that once the grading is 100% complete, the bond is released. Mr. Bluhm added that a bond can be held until they are satisfied that the issues that Mr. Bowdell has brought up have been addressed. Member Hodges asked if that would be determined by Mr. Bluhm’s expertise as an engineer at the time? What Member Hodges is getting at is that the true impact will not be seen until build out and at least one full year of weather and there is nothing that the Commission can do at this point to protect the citizens for that length of time and asked Mr. Bluhm if that is what he is telling her? Mr. Bluhm asked Member Hodges to restate her question. Member Hodges asked if they have to take some mitigating measures to regrade even after occupancy and people are in the homes. She is talking about after build-out because the full impact is not usually seen until after build out. Mr. Bluhm stated that the situation here is that from a technical point of view, the water that is being directed into the low areas is being significantly reduced from what is going in there today. Mr. Bluhm further stated that in their estimation and based on all the calculations in the engineering that they are providing on the site, they are actually taking water away from the area and not directing water into the area. Mr. Bluhm sees the situation as being improved with the development if it is developed in accordance with the plans. Member Hodges asked if the water is being taken away from the Pioneer residents? Mr. Bluhm responded that it is and the natural grading in a portion of the roadway and house area actually directs toward the Pioneer Meadows properties. All of that area that is being developed is now being directed to the east, so they are actually taking water away from the area. Member Hodges asked if it is now going to be in the front yards of these people. Mr. Bluhm replied that it won’t be directed toward them at all anymore, but in the other direction. Mr. Bluhm is concerned about when they actually get out there to do the grading and if there are any minor discrepancies to the grades that the engineers have, that could be accounted for in the field by their field inspectors and a visit by himself in the field and corrected at that point in time before the bond is released. Again, Member Hodges concern is after build out and calls are received from Pioneer Meadow residents that may have still have a concern and all the City can say is that they take a private civil action against the developer. Mr. Bluhm suggested that Mr. Bowdell contact Bruce Jerome and have them take a look at the situation from the City’s standpoint to see if there is anything the City can do in cleaning the ditches out and Mr. Bluhm believes that is what Mr. Bowdell is going to attempt to do. Mr. Bluhm advised that the current water problem is wholly a function of the Pioneer Meadows homes blocking that drainage up and any future problem is going to be due to that and not to anything the developer is going to do. Member Hodges then stated that what Mr. Bluhm is saying that the condition at Pioneer Meadows may not get any better, but it won’t be because of this development? Mr. Bluhm stated that he is saying that it is not going to get worse and likely to get better.
Member Hodges asked Mr. Watson to reiterate what it is that the Commission can ask for? Mr. Watson replied that the Commission can ask as a condition of this that Mr. Bluhm and the JCK inspectors go through this project and pay particular attention to the grading of each of the lots in that particular area to assure that the drainage concerns are addressed.
Mr. Cousineau added that Member Hodges is correct about timing and going through a building season to gauge the impacts of this kind of development on adjacent properties. Mr. Cousineau advised that they are the builder of this project, in addition to being the developer and timing on this project is that they will develop this piece this year. Mr. Cousineau further advised that they will more than likely begin a building operation, the housing construction toward the end of the summer or early fall and it will probably take them at least two years to build the project out. Mr. Cousineau’s point is that for probably two to three years, as Tri-Mount, will be actively involved on this site and will physically be there for several seasons. Mr. Cousineau stated that if there is a problem, they will still be on the site to remedy it. Mr. Cousineau added that he does not have a problem in earmarking $5,000 of the grading bond money to be directed to ensure that this area is properly handled and will leave that decision with Mr. Bluhm and JCK. Mr. Cousineau hopes that will help in resolving some of the Commission’s concerns.
On that note, Member Hodges stated that Mr. Cousineau has made a financial offer to earmark bonding money for grading and asked if that is negotiable? Mr. Watson replied that it is not and added that Mr. Cousineau is not negotiating with the Commission. Mr. Watson stated that what Mr. Cousineau is saying is that of that money he is posting to ensure that his grading work is completed that irrespective of what else he has completed on the site, $5,000 is going to be retained to make sure that this problem is taken care of. Mr. Watson added that he is not adding to his bond, he’s just indicating that he has no problem with making sure that at least that much is not released until this is taken care of to JCK’s satisfaction.
Member Hodges asked if JCK is not satisfied with the engineering and grading there, what percentage of the bond can now be withheld now? Mr. Bluhm asked if she meant what percentage of the $5,000? Member Hodges asked what percentage of whatever he has to post can be withheld if JCK is not satisfied and he has not met specifications? Mr. Bluhm replied that if by the time he is ready to leave the project and he has not fulfilled the obligation, then the City would be in a position of cashing the bond and doing the work. Member Hodges said that she does not want to say that there is a $5,000 cap and that is all the City can keep. She does not know if that is what he is saying, but that is what she is hearing. Mr. Cousineau replied that is what he is saying and that is going beyond what the ordinance requires. Member Hodges replied that if the City has the ability now to cash the total bond and do the work, she asked why would there only be a $5,000 limit on it? It does not make sense to her. Mr. Bluhm replied that $5,000 would more than cover what work would be necessary based on his estimation to assure that. . . . Member Hodges interjected that she does not want to put any limits on it because the actual bond amount has not even been determined. Member Hodges is not questioning his expertise, but she does not want to put a cap on anything now. Mr. Watson stated that it is not necessary to put a dollar amount on it. Mr. Watson further stated that all Mr. Cousineau is saying is that he will agree that is a minimum amount that would be withheld until JCK approves that specific problem. Mr. Cousineau added that he was just trying to address the Commission’s specific need for a bond to cover something in that area rather than have nothing covered. Member Hodges asked if that process is already in place? Mr. Watson replied that there is already a process in place and the bonds are not returned until JCK says that the work is done. Mr. Cousineau stated that he was just trying to extend that coverage to give a comfort level.
Member Hodges made a motion for final site plan approval for the Abbey Hill Site Condominiums, SP 94-36F with all of the conditions and notations of the consultants and the condition that grading be given the necessary attention that the adjacent residents will be assured. The motion was seconded by Member Capello.
PM-96-04-079 FOR FINAL SITE PLAN APPROVAL FOR THE ABBEY HILL SITE CONDOMINIUMS, SP 94-36F WITH ALL THE CONDITIONS AND NOTATIONS OF THE CONSULTANTS AND THE CONDITION THAT GRADING BE GIVEN THE NECESSARY ATTENTION THAT THE ADJACENT RESIDENTS WILL BE ASSURED
Moved by Hodges, seconded by Capello, CARRIED (8-1): For final site plan approval for Abbey Hill Site Condominiums, SP 94-36F with all the conditions and notations of the consultants and the condition that grading be given the necessary attention that the adjacent residents will be assured.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that it was moved and seconded to grant final site plan approval to Abbey Hill Site Condominiums, subject to the written and verbal comments of the consultants and subject to the adjacent property owners concerns regarding drainage being addressed by JCK. Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there was discussion on the motion?
Member Hoadley will not support this motion because he does not believe that this has been addressed properly by JCK, nor the participant. Member Hoadley seriously doubts that Mr. Bowdell is totally satisfied with the answers he has got. Member Hoadley stated that if this doesn’t work, it means that these folks are going to have put in an engineered septic system which costs approximately $18,000. Member Hoadley advised that an engineered septic system is constructed by building up the land and putting an above ground field. Member Hoadley cannot in good conscience approve this project until Mr. Bluhm and Mr. Cousineau have some kind of meeting of the minds. Member Hoadley stated that if they want to get together and work out something that is satisfactory to the three homeowners, he would then be for it. Member Hoadley is for the project, but he has a real problem with this.
Member Capello stated this is specifically why he had a problem with bringing the SoccerZone project back for final site plan approval. Member Capello stated that the Commission approved the preliminary site plan subject to conditions. Member Capello further stated that the engineers and the consultants have told the Commission that they have met those conditions, except for what is stated in the report and yet the applicant comes back in and the Commission expects them to jump through more hoops before they are given final site plan approval. Member Capello does not believe that the Planning Commission has the power or the authority to do that and the Commission does it time and time again. Member Capello believes that it is ridiculous and abusive to the developers and to the consultants.
Member Bonaventura said that Member Capello makes a very good point and that is why it should be done right the first time. Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Pargoff if he is notified of the date of clearing of the wooded area. Mr. Pargoff replied that he is notified when they begin and they will have an environmental preconstruction meeting, unless all of the permits are in place and then they can have a standard preconstruction meeting. Mr. Pargoff advised that if all they want to do is start clearing, the environmental preconstruction meeting takes place first and then they will come back for a second preconstruction meeting for the utilities and the water and sewer. Member Bonaventura’s requested that Mr. Pargoff notify him and if any other Commissioners would like to be notified, Member Bonaventura would notify them.
Member Markham noted that Lots 28 through 31 are close to the wetland and asked if the residents in those homes are going to be prevented from adding a deck and are special provisions required? Ms. Tepatti replied that they will most likely be prevented from putting in structures that would intrude into the buffer. Ms. Tepatti further stated that the lots that back up to the mitigation area and not the natural wetland are typically asking for a slightly smaller buffer zone to be placed around the mitigation areas and planted. Ms. Tepatti advised that they have done that. Ms. Tepatti further stated that they will be reviewing the plot plans on an individual basis to determine that they stay out of that area to every extent feasible. Member Markham asked that when Lot 30 is purchased, would the buyers be notified at that time that there would be restrictions on what they can do in their backyard? Ms. Tepatti responded that they cannot notify the homeowner, because they do not know who that is. Ms. Tepatti advised that they do notify the builder and when the individual plot plans come in that are adjacent to mitigation areas or buffers they send them a letter of notification that they are protected areas and they are not allowed to do anything in there without a review.
Mr. Pargoff added that they will also put signage up as per the notification ordinance in areas where there are regulated woodlands and wetlands. Mr. Pargoff further stated that any maps in the sales trailer must have notifications that there are regulated woodlands and wetlands and must also include Mr. Pargoff’s phone number. Mr. Pargoff advised that he refers wetland issues to Ms. Tepatti.
Member Markham agrees with Mr. Capello that the City’s engineers are hired to do their jobs and if Mr. Bluhm thinks that the water situation is going to be better because of this development, she has to take him at his word.
Member Weddington asked the Chair if the Commission could get Mr. Bowdell’s reaction to the conditions that were placed on the motion and whether it would be satisfactory to the residents at Pioneers Meadow or not? Chairperson Lorenzo asked if that was the consensus of the Commission? The Commission replied that it was.
Mr. Bowdell responded by stating that he believes that by the merit of the engineers and by asking them to pay special attention to this area that if they found half way through that there was a problem, they will not allow the developer to continue. Mr. Bowdell does not have any problem with the project moving forward, as long as the engineers pay close attention to this issue and keep the homeowners advised whether it is through him or the president of the association.
Member Bononi is more concerned about a drainage pattern working as opposed to worrying about bonding money because if it doesn’t work, nobody’s going to be happy. In addition, Member Bononi stated that Mr. Bluhm had mentioned "micro-grading" concerns and asked if there would be anything that would not be constructive about requiring as a condition of approval that their grades have a special inspection . Member Bononi further stated that if that could be required, then it seems that it would ensure that the drainage patterns would work.
Mr. Watson replied that it is already required that it be done per the plan. Member Bononi stated that micro is not. Mr. Bluhm stated that perhaps he posed that incorrectly. What he meant is that two or three tenths change difference in the grades from what is on the plan and what is seen in the field is typical in these areas. Mr. Bluhm stated that he feels that it will function fine as it is. Mr. Bluhm added that in his estimation, the proposed grading plan is meeting the requirements and he does not feel that there will be a grading problem in this area. Furthermore, Mr. Bluhm believes that is reflective of the improvements that they are going to make and if anything, it is going to get better. Mr. Bluhm will say that they will have a meeting in the field at the time that the grading is being done to re-review the area and see if it is functioning the way that they expected it to function. Mr. Bluhm reiterated again that the plan is going to be an improvement and he does not anticipate any problems occurring.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that at this time she would like to call the question and once again the motion is for final site plan approval, subject to the consultants’ written and verbal comments and subject to JCK specifically addressing the drainage concerns for the adjacent property owners.
Member Hoadley stated a point of order and asked if the Commission is now cut off for any further comments? Chairperson Lorenzo responded yes and she thinks that they have basically exhausted that considering the lateness of the hour. Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Cohen to call the roll. Member Hoadley asked if he could make one comment since he has been opposed to it. Mr. Watson interjected that Member Hoadley is entitled to comment unless discussion is cut off.
Member Hoadley is going to change his vote since Mr. Bowdell seems to be satisfied and that JCK will pay special attention to that problem. Member Hoadley is always willing to be convinced another way based on what his fellow Commissioners have said and the additional information that Mr. Bowdell has supplied.
VOTE ON PM-96-04-079 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges
Chairperson Lorenzo stated considering the lateness of the hour, the Chair will entertain a motion to postpone the remaining items until a future agenda.
PM-96-04-080 TO POSTPONE REMAINING ITEMS UNTIL A FUTURE AGENDA
Moved by Capello, seconded by Markham, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone remaining items until a future agenda.
Member Bonaventura stated that one of the items is restricted to time and requested that Mr. Cohen supply the photographs of the Monte Costella property and the information about the violation to Council? Mr. Cohen replied that he would.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that it has been moved and seconded to postpone the remaining items to a future agenda and asked for all those in favor of the motion please signify by saying aye and those opposed, say no. Chairperson Lorenzo advised that the motion passed unanimously.
VOTE ON PM-96-04-080 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Bonaventura
Chairperson Lorenzo opened the floor for Audience Participation.
Andrew Mutch, 24541 Hampton Court advised the Commission that tomorrow night, the Farmington Hills Planning Commission will readdress the commercial zoning at Nine Mile and Haggerty for a proposed Kroger Shopping Center. Mr. Mutch stated that he has already spoken about this item at the first hearing and at the master plan hearing and this will be their final decision before it goes to Council. Mr. Mutch asked if anyone is concerned, especially the people in the audience, he encourages them to attend. Mr. Mutch further advised that the meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. and is the first item on the agenda.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that the Chair will entertain a motion to adjourn.
PM-96-04-081 MOTION TO ADJOURN REGULAR MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION AT 11:45 P.M.
Moved by Hodges, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the regular meeting of the Planning Commission at 11:45 p.m.
VOTE ON PM-96-04-081 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Bonaventura
Steve Cohen - Planning Aide
Transcribed by: Barbara Holmes
May 2, 1996
Date Approved: May 15, 1996