View Agenda for this meeting



WEDNESDAY, JULY 21, 1999 AT 7:30 P.M.




Meeting called to order at 7:35 p.m. by Chairperson Csordas


PRESENT: Members Capello, Churella, Chairperson Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini




ALSO PRESENT: Planning/Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Engineering Consultant Victoria Weber, Assistant City Attorney Paul Weisberger, Landscape Architect Linda Lemke, Director of Planning & Community Development Jim Wahl, and Staff Planner Khanh Pham






Chairperson Csordas asked if there were any additions or changes to the Agenda?




Moved by Churella, seconded by a Planning Commissioner, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (6-0): To approve the Agenda as presented.




Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini

No: None




Debby Charboneau, representative for Turnberry Estates, stated that she would like to reiterate her letter. She is concerned about the three-story hotel that is being built to the east of her property. She just found out about it and had visited the city at the end of last week to pick up preliminary plans. She has been trying to work with the city to ensure that the zoning requirements, the one-acre lots, and the integrity of the property are upheld. She questioned how the building would affect the community and the value. She wondered if there was any way that the decision process could be delayed until she gets all of the particulars so that comments could be added.


Chairperson Csordas stated that the Preliminary Site Plan was approved at the last meeting and there was an opportunity for audience participation.


She asked what exactly would be removed and will the trees be adequate?


Khanh Pham, Staff Planner stated that he would gladly sit down with her to address the issues but right now, her questions would not be properly addressed because the plans are not available.






Member Churella stated that there were four (4) letters and one has already been discussed, Turnberry Estates. There were three (3) letters on Morgan Creek.


William Spencer, 1231 East Lake Drive stated there would be a traffic problem that would be created by the project and overburdening the traffic system. There would also be safety factors that the development might cause.


Patricia Hughes, 1241 East Lake Drive stated more traffic concerns, loss of woodlands, and traffic on East Lake Drive.


Kay Spencer, 1231 East Lake Drive stated that the map shows a road from Morgan Creek Estates to East Lake Drive. She objects to it because she believes that there are too many small children playing around and there will be a lot of traffic down East Lake Drive that shouldn’t be there. She is afraid of serious injury to the children and possibly a fatal accident.




Chairperson Csordas stated that he will be looking for recommendation or motion to approve the Consent Agenda that would include all of the Consultant’s recommendations and all the waivers needed and required from the Planning Commission.




Moved by Capello, seconded by Piccinini, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (6-0): To approve the consent agenda in regards to site plan 99-21, 99-22, 99-23, and 99-24 including the waiver of the sideyard setback and parking spaces. Also, site plan 99-26 granting a section nine façade waiver subject to all of the consultant’s conditions and recommendations and SP 99-25.




Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini

No: None









This project is located in Section 02, north of 13 Mile Road and east of East Lake Drive. The 9.72 acre site is zoned R-4. Applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan and Woodlands Permit approvals.


Leo Soave, 34822 Cranbrooke, stated that he has only twelve (12) homes with 2.5 cars per household and should not cause any concern.


Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant stated that he is recommending approval of the Preliminary Site Plan subject to some minor items being addressed on the final site plan. It is a twelve (12) unit project with access to East Lake Drive. It is located within the R-4 district and meets the standards in terms of lot size and width. The access to the project is via Maria Court, which is a proposed private drive. His traffic letter is dated January 27. A project of this size would be anticipated to generate approximately one hundred sixty trips (160) on an average weekday. Eighteen (18) during the morning peak hour and sixteen (16) during the evening peak hour. East Lake Drive volumes have dropped dramatically over the last few years with the construction of what were originally Decker Road and the Novi Road extension to the south. Maria Court will be a private drive, have an easement and be built to public road standards. It meets the ordinance requirements in terms of cul-de-sac length and he is recommending approval from a traffic perspective of the Preliminary Site Plan.


Victoria Weber, Engineering Consultant stated that she would be referencing her letter dated January 28. The site will be serviced with water and sanitary via extending two (2) existing utilities. The storm water will be directed to a proposed sedimentation basin, which is located near the south portion of the site. This water will discharge, unrestricted, to Morgan Creek, which will ultimately outlet to Walled Lake. An executed offsite easement will be required for the water main before final site plan approval. She needs clarification as to where the drainage easement over Morgan Creek ends to the east and will need to see that on final site plan. Floodplain easements will be required over areas, which are shown to be within the flood plain based on elevation. Proposed drainage and floodplain easements will be required to be dedicated to the city. She is recommending approval.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated that she has two (2) reviews. In her woodlands letter dated January 27, she is not recommending approval. An area to the east is being saved, a 5.2 acres, but she would like to see an additional woodlands buffer adjacent to Morgan Creek. She was looking at relocating the storm water detention pond behind lot ten (10) and possibly saving lot ten (10). The site is one hundred (100) percent wooded with the exception of the front entryway, which is a little sparse. It is all good quality woodlands and is found on the wildlife habitat Master Plan as type B habitat with possible linkages to larger type A habitat. It is a wooded wetland species. She is not recommending due to lack of design alternatives. She has a number of information that has not been provided as of yet. She would have her normal standard four (4) or five (5) conditions based on the type of the approval the Planning Commission would give.


In regards to the landscape plan, she is recommending approval. She has eight (8) comments that are in her letter of January 27 that need to be addressed for the approval. A variance would be required by the Zoning Board of Appeals for not having the thirty (30) inch berm along East Lake Drive due to lack of space.


Ms. Weber stated that the wetland review would be an administrative permit.


Paul Weisberger, Assistant City Attorney stated that the case that was handed to him dealt with subdivision with access from another existing subdivision. They are proposing to put a road through the existing subdivision and take the area of the existing subdivision out to include in within the envelope of their new subdivision. Because of some drafting in the state statutes and interpretations of the AG a site condo is distinguished and different from a subdivision. There is clear attorney general opinion that says a site condominium is not subject to the subdivision act. The subdivision act is the statute, which deals with when a re-plat is needed when a division occurs and when an amendment to a plat is needed. Based upon this, he did some investigation, called around to other municipalities in the area (Rochester Hills, Troy, Livonia) and found that some developers were using it as a way in which to gain access through existing subdivisions. He is doing it creatively but legally. The opinion of the office is that the site condominium can be overlapped onto an existing plat. If it were a subdivision then it would be considered to have changed the boundaries of the existing plat and would have to go through the re-plat process. There may be a problem with deed restrictions with respect to running a road through the lots. He was provided with all the information and could not find anything that prohibited it. It is not really his burden since it is not a public road. This is something that the developers, at his own risk, is proposing to put the road in and may have to face the owners of the subdivision. That is between the owners of the subdivision and the developer.


Chairperson Csordas stated that the action required is preliminary site plan approval and a woodlands permit approval. The Planning Commission did not do it last time and it was brought back for legal opinion. He re-stated that in Mr. Weisberger’s opinion that as far as access to East Lake Drive being proposed it is okay.


Chairperson Csordas announced he has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal for the City of Novi Fire Department, which states that the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended with the following items being corrected on the next plan submittal. One, all roads are to be paved prior to construction above the foundation. Two, all water mains and fire hydrants are to be installed and be in service prior to construction above the foundation. Three, building address is to be posted facing the street throughout construction. The address is to be at least three (3) inches high on a contrasting background. Four, street names on suitable poles shall be established and installed prior to construction above the foundation.


Chairperson Csordas announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public.


Jim Korte, Shawood Lake Area stated that he was at the last meeting and he brought up the two (2) thirty (30) foot lots. He found it interesting that people cannot find deed work, covenants, and restrictions. The subdivision is from 1919 and a paper that he had was from November 17, 1939. The first paragraph stated "for residents purpose only" and to put a road in, it would be against convenants and restricts as of 1919, Oakland County. He suggested that the developer should turn the project over and use Novi / Decker Roads as entrances. He stated that the exclusiveness of getting in through Novi / Decker Road could up the price of his homes. He stated that the developer is not landlocked, he has another entry and he has to use it.


Mr. Weisberger stated that it is not his position to tell the developer his legal rights with respect to private covenants and restrictions. However, there are cases that say when a road crosses a lot, which contains the clause for residential purposes only. If the road is serving an area, which has a residential purpose, the deed does not violate the clause. He stated that the attorney of the developer and the landowners of the plat would be the ones to discuss it.


Michelle Raplank, Secretary of Homeowners Associate stated that she is very much against the project. She stated that the traffic on her roads are not reasonable and one more car is a problem to the residents. It is not just the volume of traffic but the speed of the traffic. There are a lot of children on the road and she is very upset about it.


Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin stated that she had brought a couple of things last meeting regarding on-site detention of storm water. She still questions whether it can adequately hold the water back since Morgan Creek continuously runs "chocolate." Development and the city’s inability to control what goes into the wetland, that goes into the Shawood Lake, that flows into Walled Lake and directly into Walled Lake from Morgan Creek have compromised her whole ecosystem. She urged the Planning Commission with the utmost care when dealing with the project to insist on on-site retention and detention. If you compromise the ecosystem then the tax base is being compromised. She agrees with flipping the property entrances to Novi Road because it is a viable alternative. It makes sense and will protect most of the assets of the area inclusive of the lake frontage and Morgan Creek. She questions the approval of building in the floodplains. She is in favor of the developer building his project but not as it is proposed.


Kurt Krolievich, 1245 East Lake Drive stated that this is the third time in the last twelve (12) months that the residents have had to come to City Hall to discuss a project that is basically an assault on the safety of the children. About a year ago, he had talked with the Planning Commission and it was agreed that zoning changes would have caused unsafe traffic patterns on East Lake Drive. Recently there was a petition to remove some of the stoplights and traffic on East Lake Drive. Both the City Council and Mr. Nowicki had said that there is a traffic problem that exists currently and things need to be done to correct it. Currently the traffic is unable or unwilling to be held to the normal speed limit. He stated that multiple dwellings and multi-family would only exasperate the problem. He stated that the applicant only cares about money so he can flip the road with no problem with no concern to the children.


Patricia Hughes 1241 East Lake Drive stated that she has little critters in her backyard because they are being eased out of their home. The Novi Road / Decker did not take care of the traffic and if it is paved it will be like a highway. She emphasizes that they do not need any traffic coming into East Lake. In addition, she does not understand why the traffic has to come through East Lake instead of coming around. She does not want another highway going by her front door for her children.


Debbie Meyers, Shore Acre Subdivision stated that the subdivision she lives in is being proposed to take two (2) of the residential lots and turning them into a road. Whether it is public or private, it is still a road. She belonged to the Walled Lake Sector Study and this is very contrary to what she was trying to accomplish. The people that would have to have the road next to them are taxed at the highest rate per foot in the entire city. She lives directly behind Hickory Woods Elementary School. She and the residents came to the Planning Commission meetings and fought against the school. The school got the woodlands and wetlands approval and the residents were told that they were not going to be affected. However, it has affected them, still affects them, and is never going to get better. She had minimal flooding before the school went in and now she has major flooding. She has not heard of what is going to happen to the lake frontage lot and she does have a keyhole ordinance, which she would like to have addressed. She does not like the fact that the subdivision is going to be drained into Walled Lake. The residents are still fighting problems from the Maples and the Vistas. There are other alternatives to putting the road through and she does not want to have her property flooded out any worse than it is. She added that this establishes a very dangerous precedent for all of the old subdivisions in the area.




Member Mutch asked if any alternatives had been explored?


Ms. Lemke stated that so far, no alternatives have been explored and she has not discussed any alternatives with the applicant.


Member Mutch asked if there are any reasonable alternatives for the site that would do a better job of preserving the woodlands than what is being proposed?


Ms. Lemke stated that there have been two (2) design options that have been looked at. One, is a subdivision open space plan and the other is a one-family cluster option section. Both have the potential to save more woodlands. There are a number of items that she had from a minimal of relocating an outlet for a storm, to looking into the sedimentation basin being moved to a different area, and looking at the different road elevations.


Member Mutch stated that Ms. Lemke noted that the plan would be saving 5.2 acres of woodlands on the site. He asked how much of it is outside regulated wetlands?


Ms. Lemke stated that the 5.2 acres is the rear or eastern half of the site and is right at the wetlands line. What are being saved at the remainder of the site would be the areas within the wetlands setback. There are a few areas of about fifteen (15) feet to twenty (20) feet in width at the back of the lots that might be safe but almost, none of the upland woodlands.


Member Mutch asked that what is being preserved would have to be preserved anyway because of the wetland issues, correct?


Ms. Lemke stated that is correct.


Member Mutch asked if there is a count of regulated woodland trees that are going to be lost?


Ms. Lemke stated that she would have to look it up on another plan.


Member Mutch asked if the street that is being proposed will be a private road but will it be built to public street standards?


Ms. Weber stated that is correct.


Member Mutch asked what issues there would be if the residents wanted the road to be public?


Ms. Weber stated that she would have to look it up and obtain an answer. Mainly, the requirement is that it is built to public standards in the event that something would occur.


Member Mutch stated that there was some reference to the setback for the existing houses adjoining. He asked Rod for some information.


Mr. Arroyo stated that if the road were to be dedicated as a public road it would require instead of the sixty (60) foot easement, it would be sixty (60) feet of right-of-way. It would create an exterior sideyard for the properties that abut the roadway within the existing subdivision that are shown on the plan. The front yard setback would have to be imposed upon the frontage onto the roadways and he does not believe that either one of the homes would be capable of meeting the minimum front yard setback requirement. Therefore, if it were to ever become a public road then based upon past practice the entity that is being proposed the road would be in a position of having to go before the ZBA to ask for a variance for a front yard setback. It does not apply in this case because it is not a public road right-of-way and an exterior sideyard is not being created. From a planning standpoint, it would be a major problem that would be created by converting it to a public roadway.


Member Mutch stated that the intent of the site condominium section of the zoning ordinance is to have site condominiums meet the same standards as the subdivision ordinance. He asked if this was correct?


Mr. Arroyo stated that is correct, the design standards and the subdivision ordinance.


Member Mutch asked if what is occurring with the road is a legal loophole?


Mr. Weisberger stated yes.


Member Mutch asked if it was not only the lots but the setbacks from the existing homes as well.


Mr. Arroyo stated that it is separate from the issue of platting across existing lots. It is an issue associated with the site condominium form of development and the use of a private road.


Member Mutch asked if wetland setbacks are allowed within platted lots?


Mr. Arroyo stated yes, in a subdivision.


Member Mutch asked if it is an open wetland?


Ms. Weber stated that it is a high-quality wetlands. There would be other implications in terms of impacting habitat and filling a floodplain.


Member Mutch asked if the homes were being built within the floodplain?


Ms. Weber stated that the floodplain line is outside most of the lots and it is required that the base floor elevation would be built one (1) foot above.


Member Mutch asked if the lake side lots are owned by the petitioner and if so what is his intent to do with them?


Mr. Soave stated that he does own them and that they are not part of the project.


Member Mutch asked what could be done with the lots?


Mr. Weisberger stated that there are two (2) revisions that could possibly deal with the problem. If the site plan had included lake side lots he would have had to provide a lake front recreational park and he doesn’t have sufficient lineal footage on the lake to do so. There is also another provision that states if a parcel of land is owned that abuts the lake and access is wanted to a non-conteguace subdivision or residential development then it could not be done unless a lake front recreational park was provided. It is Mr. Weisberger’s understanding that he is nowhere close to having the lineal frontage for the park.


Member Mutch asked if the property could be used as a public access site?


Mr. Weisberger stated that Mr. Mutch would have to talk with DNR about their standards. It is not something that could be done privately because it would exceed the common law rule.


Member Koneda stated that he had a couple for questions for Ms. Lemke concerning some lot size reduction that she had mentioned in her report. She was referring to lot 6,7,8,9, and 12 specifically. He asked if the lot sizes can be reduced and still meet the current design or would it have to go to an open-space option in order to reduce the lot size? He stated that he is asking specifically about lot eight (8) and nine (9) that really encroach into the wetland setbacks.


Ms. Lemke stated that she believes that they have been reduced somewhat but she would have to do some calculations. She stated that she could answer Mr. Mutch’s question from before. There are three hundred forty five (345) trees, eight (8) inch dbh and greater listed. She had three (3) comments related to the trees which basically asked for additional information because she could not determine the exact amount that was going to be removed. The applicant has indicated that eighty-nine (89) trees would be removed by land development. She would need to figure out how many trees would be removed for the basic envelope within fifteen (15) feet around and within the grading or variance detention basins and utilities. She stated that eighty-nine (89) to one hundred (100) trees for land development and probably another one hundred fifty (150) or more to be removed for the homes and all the utilities. Without the information that she has requested as part of her requirements, it is difficult to determine the number.


Member Koneda asked if there was a replacement tree plan submitted with the site plan?


Ms. Lemke stated no and she does not know of their intentions.


Member Koneda asked about the water main that runs from the north from Hickory Woods and what impact it will have on the quality of woodlands?


Ms. Lemke stated that it is usually the developers’ responsibility to replace the trees for the utilities. She stated there is a large open area where there are not any trees. However, she needs more clarification.


Member Koneda asked if Novi Road would be feasible at all because of the amount of wetlands?


Ms. Weber stated that it would highly impact the wetlands and the wetlands are very high quality. It would require quite an amount of fill especially if there is standing water in it.

Member Koneda asked about the storm water sedimentation basin proximity to Morgan Creek and the water quality if it will have a negative effect?


Ms. Weber stated that there is no on-site detention for the project. Storm water will discharge unrestricted to Morgan Creek, which ultimately outlets to Walled Lake. The purpose of the sedimentation basin is for water quality purposes. She also does require that at the time of construction that inlet filters are placed over storm inlet structures to also help in terms of water quality while the site is being developed. In addition, she will require that there is a placement of oil/gas separators to pick up any types of oil or gas from the pavements. As far as the location of the sedimentation basin, there are some limitations due to the typography of the site. A portion of the site does fall to the east, towards the wetlands and the rest of it does drain to the southwest to Walled Lake. The only wetland impact is the placement of the end section into the creek and she would ask that it is pulled back.


Member Koneda asked where the sedimentation pond should be moved?


Ms. Lemke stated that she had talked about moving it to the east end, putting it on lot ten (10), putting it behind lot seven (7) and eight (8) where there is an open basin, or a number of areas.


Member Koneda asked if she thought that the impact of the woodlands would be less severe if the sedimentation pond were moved behind eight (8)?


Ms. Lemke stated that there are less of the larger trees there and it is a more open area. At lot ten, there is a very good cluster of maples ranging from nine (9) to fourteen (14) inch dbh.


Member Koneda asked if on lots eight (8) and nine (9), where she wanted to reduce the lot size, were going to have the rear lot line inward?


Ms. Lemke stated that is correct.


Member Koneda asked how far she would want to pull it in?


Ms. Lemke stated as far as she could depend on what lot size, she could reduce it and what option she was going for.


Member Piccinini asked Ms. Lemke about the open space, one-family cluster option and if she would save a significant amount of trees?


Ms. Lemke stated that she has not looked at it enough to know.


Member Piccinini stated her concern for the lack of tree count and replacements. She would suggest that it be tabled so the petitioner can look at the issues or that the Planning Commission denies it tonight.


Member Capello stated that denial is a harsh thing to do and he suggested tabling it. He believes that the one-family cluster option is reasonable but he does not believe that the market would support it. He does not know if reducing the lot sizes and bringing the cul-de-sac will save that many trees. He thinks that the only thing that will work will be to give up a lot or two (2). He knows that it is a lot to ask in a twelve (12) lot project.


Mr. Soave stated that it is a ten (10) acre site and he is only using 4.8 acres with only twelve (12) houses. As far as the trees, he will pay the tree fine and all of it will be shown on the final plan. He started this process about two (2) years ago and has owned the property since 1982. He knows the people have legitimate concerns. He is also a taxpayer. The property is zoned accordingly to what he would like to do. Any concerns will be addressed on the final plan. He asks the Planning Commission to go forward so he can do something with it.


Rick Hofsas, Engineer at Wozniak and Associates stated that when he did the economics at it, even with twelve (12) lots it was tight to build with twelve (12). To ask Mr. Soave to give up two (2) of the lots would not be financially doable. He could modify the trees a little bit and save a few more trees or contribute more to the tree fund. He did look at the other options. Mr. Soave was not interested in the single-family cluster and going to a reduced lot area would help much. He could pull it over a little but it did not seem that it would save a significant amount of trees. He is trying to reproduce a single-family subdivision and allow some flexibility to build full sized houses that would give him the option of using different styles of houses. He has prepared a plan making all of the tree counts and he thinks that he can address all of Ms. Lemke’s comments with the possible exception of the sedimentation basin. He would prefer to leave it where it is because it works well engineering-wise and at the same time, he is getting an easement from a woman on the north side for the water main. He has spoken to her and she was concerned about losing some of the trees and hopeful that the trees along her line could be preserved. In order to defer to her wishes, he would like to keep it on the south side. It is about one hundred fifty feet (150) away from any existing houses. It could be moved behind lot eight (8) if the backyard was reduced but he would prefer not to have it on the lots. His preference is to leave it where it is.


Member Capello stated that he does not think that the woodlands permit will be approved. He asked if there is anything that could be done as opposed as getting a denial on the woodland permit?


Mr. Hofsas stated that the rework would not be significantly different other than relocating the retention pond. He stated that if the Planning Commission does not feel that this will be significant enough to get the woodlands approved than Mr. Soave feels that it would be better to release one of the lots, either five (5) or ten (10).


Member Capello asked Ms. Lemke if she thought that this would work?


Ms. Lemke stated that if he removed the two (2) lots and made the other lots larger there would be a premiere lot. They would be one of the larger in the area and would be able to gain back some of the finances.


Mr. Hofsas asked if it would be what the Planning Commission was looking for?


Member Capello stated that more trees that are natural would be left between houses with the larger lots.


Ms. Lemke stated that from a woodland perspective it would be more ideal in this case because they are smaller lots to have one (1) contiguous area than it is to have a larger lot.


Member Capello asked if she would like to have one (1) lot?


Ms. Lemke stated that she would rather have one (1) lot. She would like the lot to be ten (10).


Member Capello asked if the sedimentation basin could be moved from lot ten (10) to south of lot eight (8)?


Mr. Hofsas stated that it could be done.


Member Capello stated that as far as the residents are, there is nothing that he can do in regard to preventing them from utilizing the one (1) lot for access. As Mr. Weisberger has stated, he cannot enforce the deed restrictions so if the plan gets approved he is not ignoring the residents. They do have a private cause of action if they want to seek an attorney, go to Circuit Court, and see if the judge would enforce the deed restrictions but it is not the job of the Planning Commission.


It was reclarified that the developer is willing to give up lot ten (10) as a developed site and move the storm water sedimentation basin to behind eight (8) on the east side. Since there is not a woodland replacement plan, there would be conditions upon Ms. Lemke’s satisfaction.


Member Mutch stated that the elimination of lot ten (10) is an improvement and he feels uncomfortable doing it at the table. He knows Ms. Lemke has some issues that need to be addressed and he knows that he can condition it upon her approval. However, a woodland approval is going to be done without a lot of the information that is needed in terms of tree replacement and tree impact. The private road benefits the developer only and because of a legal loophole, it is slipping through. A situation is being set up for the future residents of the development will not have the opportunity to have the street dedicated as a public street. They will pay city taxes for street maintenance but will get no benefit from it because it won’t be a public street so the city won’t pave, maintain, plow, etc. Although it meets the intent of the ordinance, it points out to him that there is something wrong with the ordinances that it can happen. He may be able to support a preliminary site plan he does not think that he can support a woodlands permit approval without more information.


A member asked if the sedimentation was put behind eight (8) isn’t there an ordinance that prohibits sedimentation basin within a platted lot?


Ms. Weber stated that she would have to check on it but she knows that it covers detention. Sedimentation is a type of storage to the extent that water is typically stored to a one (1) year storm event.


A member wanted the applicant to notice that if preliminary site plan approval is given there may be a time when the basin is unable to be put in without a variance from council.


Ms. Weber stated that the ordinance does read that it does include pre-treatment systems.


Mr. Pham stated that the issue is approving a plan with potentially a lot of changes that may not work and a woodland plan that does not have sufficient information. He thinks the applicant knows where he has to go to get approval. He believes that in the best interest of getting something that will not have to be re-motioned or have a void motion it should be postponed or tabled. They can come back the next meeting after being worked out with the consultant’s to get something more concrete that will not be debated at the table.


Member Mutch stated that he agrees.


Chairperson Csordas stated that there is not enough information provided for a woodland permit and he does not have the right to re-design the property for him. Certainly, Ms. Lemke is not comfortable with the information provided to her and he is uncomfortable that there is not any design alternatives submitted. He will entertain a motion but he thinks that the project should be tabled so the petitioner can go back to the Planning Department.






Moved by Piccinini, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (6-0): To table Morgan Creek Estates, Site Condominium, SP 98-27A to the next meeting or the following meeting.




Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini

No: None


Member Mutch requested that the Homeowners Association be notified when the project returns.




This project is located in Sections 15 at the northwest corner of Novi Road and Grand River Avenue. The proposed building is zoned Town Center District (TC-1). Applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan approval.

Chuck Fosse, Architect from Wah Yee Associates stated that the project has been worked on with staff and the Town Center Steering Committee for quite awhile. They have come to a resolution that meets his requirements and answers a lot of questions. The project is located at the northwest corner of Novi Road and Grand River Avenue, which is the present site of the Bate’s hamburger restaurant. Several things are trying to be accomplished. One, to establish the corner as a strong identity piece for the Novi downtown and make it compatible with the proposed developments such as the Novi Town Center expansion. Also, to integrate the project with two (2) existing projects to the north, the Wonderland Music and the Roman Plaza. He has sited the building close to the roads, creating an urban type environment along Novi Road and Grand River. He is only using one (1) curb cut, which is actually a re-location of an existing curb cut along Novi Road. The other access to the site will be the existing curb cut that presently services Wonderland Music and the Roman Plaza. From this point, internal circulation will be used to service the property and the existing parcels. He believes that he has actually improved some of the conditions for the existing parcels, mainly the service accessibility for Roman Plaza. He will need some variances for a building setback and some minor waivers for parking setback along the western and northern property line. The required setback In the TC-1 zoning is eighty (80) feet from the centerline of the thoroughfare. He meets the setback along Grand River and is twenty (20) feet short along Novi Road. There is also a ten (10) foot parking setback required along the property line, which they are proposing a three (3) foot setback. On the north property line, there is a twenty (20) foot setback required and he is proposing zero (0). However, he believes that it is irrelevant because he is combining the parking and circulation areas so a twenty (20) foot buffer wouldn’t accomplish any purpose. Another area that he is insufficient on, is the loading area. In the TC district, the loading area requirement is based on frontage and since there is a double frontage, there is a very high loading requirement relative to the size of the building. It is a thirty-five (35) foot service area with a screened dumpster adjacent to it so he feels that it is more than adequate to service the building. He is providing a well-designed streetscape along Grand River and Novi. He is also taking into consideration the planned future, realignment of Novi Road by holding the streetscape back from the existing curb if an additional lane on the west side is ever constructed it can be done without interfering with the streetscape or building. Along the southern boundary, he has accommodated the proposed future right-of-way along Grand River. He has developed an interesting façade scheme. The street front will use various colors and textures of brick to give the impression of different facades, traditional downtown storefront look. There will be at least three (3) different kinds of brick, it will be basically an all masonry building, cast stone at the base, and possibly some EIFS type of material as decorative cornices at the type. The intention is to lease it to a variety of smaller stores so the façade will eventually match the break up of the stores inside. It will be finished on all four (4) sides and screened with masonry walls and landscaping. There will be monuments at the ends of the property.


Mr. Arroyo started by going over the July 14 planning review letter and he is not recommending approval due to several ZBA variance issues that need to be addressed. If the applicant does receive the variances then he will be in a position to recommend approval. One, is the front yard setback from Novi Road. Parking setbacks do not comply, the rear yard along the west property line have a three (3) foot setback where a ten (10) foot setback is required. In terms of parking, the applicant is providing parking and also creating some new spaces on the north by modifying some of the landscaped areas. Ms. Lemke has taken a look at it and found it acceptable. Between the two facilities there will have to be joint access agreements as well as sharing of parking for final site plan approval. The loading area is smaller than would be required but the applicant does not anticipate heavy delivery. They are also going to be improving the loading situation for Wonderland Plaza by making the internal connection to the rear of Wonderland Plaza. It is an unusually shaped parcel and it is a unique approach to address some of the issues.

The traffic review is dated July 15 in which he has provided trip generation information. The access agreement will be necessary. There are also driveway spacing standards that need to be included in the motion if the project is approved providing for a waiver of standards. There are a number of driveways along Grand River just west of Novi Road. The access point that is proposed to Grand River would provide for right turn out and right turn and left turn in but left turns out would be prohibited through a channelized island. It does help to litigate some of the impacts of the proximity of the driveway to Novi Road. There are still a few discrepancies and some minor modifications regarding internal circulation that he would like to see but they can be addressed on the final site plan. From a traffic perspective, he is recommending approval of the preliminary site plan.


Ms. Weber stated that her letter is dated July 14 and she will start out with the utilities. It appears that they are showing a connection on their plan to a thirty (30) inch transmission line which she will not approve. They will have to connect to two (2) areas with water main on the east side or the south side of Grand River that they could connect into and can be addressed at final site plan. The storm water for the site will ultimately be routed to and discharged to the Walled Lake Branch of the Middle Rouge River. There is an existing thirty (30) inch storm sewer that is located at the southeast corner of the site to convey the storm water there. There are two (2) ingress/egress easements that will be required prior to final site plan approval, one for the western access drive and one for the northern access drive. Written permission will be required from the property owner located to the west for the encroachment of the western access drive in the right-of-way. The applicant is proposing a right-of-way at the intersection of Novi and Grand River and she will require that the right-of-way be provided for the portion that encroaches onto the applicant’s property. The sidewalk location will need some clarification as to where it is actually going to be. In addition, to verify that it is located at a safe enough distance off from the back of Novi Road and in from Grand River. With these comments, she is recommending approval.


Ms. Lemke stated that she is not recommending approval because of the variance required. The one variance that has not been discussed has been the four (4) foot greenspace surrounding the building on all four (4) sides. She would support the variance with two (2) items. One, that additional shrub is added in the parking lot island off of the northwest corner of the building. Two, that the shrubs be evergreen here and in the planting bed near the building’s northeast corner to provide greater screening for the loading area. She also wants to see the use of pedestrian lighting and all of the other Town Center amenities, which include the three (3) decorative monuments, decorative brick paving, a grade-level circular planter, benches, and trash receptacles. With these comments, she would recommend approval.




Chairperson Csordas announced he had received a letter from Doug Necci of JCK regarding the façade. The project is in full compliance in that a Section Nine (9) Waiver is not required.


Chairperson Csordas announced he has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal

for the City of Novi Fire Department which states that the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended.




Member Mutch stated that he had a few questions for Mr. Arroyo regarding right-of-way. The plan is showing the existing curb, brick pavers, greenspace and a seventeen (17) foot wide sidewalk. They are showing the proposed future curb line at the edge of the sidewalk and he asked if it is for a dedicated right turn lane on Novi Road?


Mr. Arroyo stated that the plan has been developed and they have modified the location of the building so there can be a dedicated right turn lane southbound on Novi Road. However, they are not proposing to actually construct it.


Member Mutch asked if Oakland County has plans to install a right turn lane.


Mr. Arroyo stated that there have been a number of meetings and Road Commission has indicated that they do want to have a full one hundred twenty (12) foot right-of-way which would be sixty (60) feet from the center line. This is where their building setback sits so that if the right-of-way were in fact acquired they would be able to make the improvement. The improvement that they have indicated would be the addition of the twelve (12) foot wide lane.


Member Mutch asked how much space it would take up?


Mr. Arroyo stated that it would take up most of the greenspace and there is still a wide sidewalk that would mostly remain.


Member Mutch stated that they are showing a seventeen (17) foot wide sidewalk coming to the edge of the curb line. He asked if they are required to have a twelve (12) foot wide sidewalk in TC-1?


Mr. Arroyo stated that twelve (12) is the general sidewalk requirement within TC-1.


Member Mutch stated that it seems to him that instead of installing the brick pavers in an area that is going to be torn up and replaced there should be a twelve (12) foot wide sidewalk to install the brick pavers at that point.


Mr. Arroyo stated that the concern that he has is that he doesn’t know when the road improvements are going to come in and everywhere else they are right on the back of the curb. He thinks that it is something that could be removed and reused. His preference is that they go in along the back curb for consistency and that if they have to be moved at a later date then they be moved.


Member Mutch asked about the design where there would be a seventeen (17) foot sidewalk abutting up to the curb?


Mr. Arroyo stated that there would not be a sidewalk all the way up to the curb. Some of it would probably be removed. The Road Commission had indicated that they wanted a five (5) foot area for placement of signs. There would be a new greenspace area created behind where the splash strip is for the brick.


Member Mutch stated that he did not understand where the splash strip is going to fit. He asked if they needed a twelve (12) foot sidewalk and four (4) feet for splash strip then that takes up sixteen (17) of the seventeen (17) feet so where would the five (5) feet fit in?


Mr. Arroyo stated that there is a slight variation in the width but he picked a point right near the center of the building. If he scales off twelve (12) feet from the front of the building then he provides for a four (4) foot green area and a four (4) foot splash strip with still enough room for a twelve (12) foot lane. This could vary by a couple of feet because it is not parallel to the back of the curb to the building. There is some room to provide for it.


Member Mutch asked if the splash strip should be put where the curb currently is and then could be replaced?


Mr. Arroyo stated that would be his preference. He thinks that he would end up with a more uniformed look in the area by doing it.


Member Mutch asked about the Grand River right-of-way and if this side requires a variance and is providing the full right-of-way?


Mr. Arroyo stated that is correct.


Member Mutch asked if the proposed curb line is the extent of the right-of-way or if it will come back further towards the right-of-way line?


Mr. Arroyo stated that they are making some modifications in the curb for the safety reasons to improve the flow of turns and to hopefully set the curb at where it will be in the future. He is assuming that Grand River does not become wider than five (5) lanes west of Novi Road and would then not have to move the curb.


Member Mutch asked if it would accommodate the total width of the road necessary?


Mr. Arroyo stated that it would. In fact they are providing a little bit extra to widen it out so there will be the full twelve (12) foot lanes that is wanted by the Road Commission.


Member Mutch asked if the area between the brick pavers and the sidewalk would remain grass?


Mr. Arroyo stated yes.


Member Mutch asked how wide the sidewalk is on the south side of the building?


Mr. Arroyo stated that it is about twenty three (23) feet.


Member Mutch asked if there is a particular reason why it is so wide?


Mr. Arroyo stated that they are trying to incorporate some additional some streetscape features and are trying to improve the appearance.


Ms. Lemke stated that they are giving more room.


Member Mutch asked if it is an area where they are going to have benches?


Ms. Lemke stated that is correct.


Member Mutch asked if they had provided any pedestrian scale lighting?


Ms. Lemke stated that she believes that they have but it was not real clear to her so she will be looking for it.


Member Capello stated that the variances that are being requested are necessary because of direction of the Town Center Steering Committee. He is happy with the way that the plan has come before the Planning Commission and he is ready to make a motion to approve the project.




Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (6-0): To approve Preliminary Site Plan approval for Novi Crossing SP 99-13A which would include all of the comments of the city consultant’s and subject to the ZBA approval of all of the variances required.




Member Mutch asked if there was any exploration of doing a two-story building?


James Wahl, Planning and Community Development Director stated that they explored just about every alternative possible including large-scale redevelopment of the whole area and could not come up with any other practical solutions.


Member Mutch asked if there is any interest of doing anything other than the one-story strip mall type of developments in the area?


Mr. Wahl stated that every developer that he has talked to has a similar situation where you run into the amount of parking spaces that are required. In most cases, it does not work or may seem out of character.


Member Mutch stated that the only building that strikes him as authentic downtown building is the one two-story building. He wants a twenty four (24) hour presence not strip malls that close at nine o’clock and offices that close at five o’clock. He would like to see some two-story with residential condominiums or apartments on second or third-stories. He would hate to see a downtown that closes at five o’clock.


Mr. Wahl stated that the applicant has indicated that he is interested in continuing the look at redevelopment of a larger area. He would hope that this particular issue would be an open issue for further development in the northwest quadrant that multiple-story buildings might be part of a larger development that the applicant may bring to the table in the future.


Member Capello stated that he agrees with Member Mutch that more residential need to be fit in.


Member Koneda asked if the building setback waiver of twenty (20) feet is similar to the one that he asked for on the east side last month?


Mr. Arroyo stated that the situation is similar and the only difference was the fact that it was TC zoning and this is TC-1. Through an interesting ordinance provision, the City Council can grant a building setback waiver for the TC ordinance. TC-1 must go to ZBA.


Member Koneda asked if there are any problems that Mr. Arroyo can think with the southbound traffic making a left onto Grand River?


Mr. Arroyo stated that one of the advantages is if you are coming from the south and you go to the facility. If you know routinely that the southbound left turn is backing up through traffic trying to turn then you will learn that you are better off making a left turn using the traffic signal and then making a right turn into the site. As long as you can provide with two (2) alternatives that if one (1) is recognized as a problem they will seek out the one (1) that is easiest to get into.




Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini

No: None






Chairperson Csordas stated the first one is the Administrative Liason Committee, which is full. Second is Planning Studies and Budget Committee has two (2) vacancies. He asked for volunteers?


Member Capello stated that he would like to postpone it because they are short three (3) people.


Member Piccinini stated that she would not be at the next meeting and there is a committee that she is interested in. She would like to be on the Implementation Committee.


Chairperson Csordas stated that it is full.


Mr. Pham stated that he would like volunteers for the Environmental Committee since there is a lot of initiatives that need to be worked on.


Member Piccinini volunteered to be on the Environmental Committee.


Chairperson Csordas stated that they would wait until everyone is present.






Member Mutch stated that there was a letter on the top that indicated that there would be a presentation at a later date.










Moved by Piccinini, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (6-0): To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 9:35 p.m.






Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini

No: None




Kelly Schuler - Staff Planner


Transcribed by: Sarah Marchioni

August 12, 1999


Date Approved: August 18, 1999