View Agenda for this meeting







Meeting called to order at 7:31 p.m. by Chairperson Csordas


PRESENT: Members Canup, Capello, Churella, Chairperson Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, and Watza




ALSO PRESENT: Planning/Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Engineering Consultant Victoria Weber, Assistant City Attorney Paul Weisberger, Landscape Architect Linda Lemke, Senior Environmental Specialist Aimee Kay, Director of Planning & Community Development Jim Wahl, and Steno Clerk Sarah Marchioni






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


Chairperson Csordas stated that Deer Run is off the agenda for the evening.


Member Canup stated that he would like to put under Matters for Consideration an appointment for a person from the Planning Commission to be on the Novi Expo Task Force to gather and share information.



Moved by Canup, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (8-0): To add under Matters for Consideration to appoint a person from the Planning Commission for the Task Force for the Novi Expo.




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

No: None




Moved by Capello, seconded by Watza, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (8-0): To approve the agenda as amended.



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

No: None























This project is located on 4.5 acres in Section 12, at the northwest corner of Haggerty Road and Twelve Mile Road. The 58,000 square foot high-tech building is zoned Office Service Technology (OST). Applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan, Woodlands, and Wetlands Permit approval.


Jim Cappo, DeMattia Associates Architects with Don Berry representing FATA Automation Systems. FATA is a member of the worldwide FATA organization and is a major supplier of automated material handling systems for conveyors and production lines for the automotive industry. This facility is going to be there corporate headquarters for North and South America which will include office spaces as well as engineering spaces and prototyping areas. Currently, they are located in Farmington Hills in a lease building and they will build and own this facility to be their headquarters. This is a four and a half (4 ½) acre site that is north on Haggerty Road from Twelve Mile on the west side of the site. It is the OST zoning. He is proposing just a 60,000 square foot building. There are one hundred twenty nine (129) car-parking places up front of the building. There is a drive that loops around the back of the facility and there are two (2)-loading spaces that will be contained inside the facility. There is an interior truck well and a great door that a truck can pull in on the interior for loading and unloading. There are two (2) crane bays that run north south in the back of the building that can loading their product onto a truck. The office areas on the first floor consist mainly of engineering space, engineers that go out to the shop area and do their engineering. The upstairs is the corporate office and support staff that they have for the headquarters facility. The building elevations that are proposed consist of three (3) main materials. The top elevation, east elevation, which fronts onto Haggerty Road would be a decorative split face brick unit. The split face brick is going to be white in color, used a color mortar with it and has a clear granite look to it. The balance of the office will have continuous bands and a curtain wall defining the entry on the center of the top elevation. The two (2) side elevations, north and south, the brick would continue down. There are two (2) stair towers that would define the materials. He feels that the brick being on the front of Haggerty and coming down the side would be for public view. The materials that are being proposed around the back of the high tech space are two (2) split face block materials with colored mortar.


Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant stated that he would begin with the planning review of August 24. He is recommending approval of the project and there are just a couple of items that need to be addressed on the final from a planning perspective. One of which is the requirement for screening of the truck loading areas from all property lines, whether or not this plan meets the requirements and if a waiver is required. Also, there will be some details on exterior sight lighting that he will look for at final. Other than that, he is recommending approval from a planning perspective.


The traffic review is dated August 26. He has a negative recommendation from a traffic perspective. He did meet with the applicant this morning to talk about his primary concern which was the truck access situation. The most significant concern that he had was the area in the rear where the rear truck wells are. He was unsure whether or not there was sufficient room to provide for ingress/egress and maneuvering of large vehicles into the space. In discussing the project with the applicant, a couple of things came up. One, that there could be some modifications made to the plan that was submitted to address his concerns. Also, the overall concept of development of this area from a traffic perspective. He is trying to do his best from the city’s perspective to coordinate the developments as they come in. He is seeing many new projects coming forward along Haggerty Road and it is important that there is coordination of these from a traffic perspective. The city will end up with something that works well rather than being a problem later on down the road. One of the things that have now been added to the plan is a stub connection to the property to the north near where the truck well situation is. This accomplishes two (2) things; one it provides the additional maneuvering room that he thinks is going to be necessary for the large vehicles to be able to back in to the loading area. The second benefit is that it does provide an opportunity for an extension of vehicular traffic connection to the north. There is a whole road network going into this area. This includes Cabot Drive extension running from Twelve Mile to Thirteen Mile, this project just north of Twelve Mile Road, and to the north are two (2) projects that the Planning Commission will see in the near future. One (1) is already in for review, which is Novaplex and to the north is another one where plans have not been submitted yet. He would like to see the opportunity for as many projects as possible to connect to the collector system that is Cabot Drive and to potentially take advantage of the traffic signals. He is looking at the possibility of a traffic signal coming out where there is the east west roadway north of the Magna site. He is also looking at the possibility of one along the south property line where the Novaplex site is. If there could be a northerly connection, private shared access agreement that might eventually connect this property to the Novaplex he may end up seeing the potential for them to take advantage of a traffic signal. If not it still could provide for a potential for secondary emergency access to this site even if there isn’t a potential to arrange the owners to get together for cross access easements. He is satisfied with the concern that he had about truck access can be resolved with it being shown on the final site plan. Some of the other issues that he brought up in his traffic letter dealt with the access point to Haggerty Road. His understanding is that the applicant has agreed to address them in the final site plan. Because of the size of this project it will be necessary to extend the center left turn lane up on Haggerty Road so that left turns are separated from the through traffic stream. He is prepared to change his recommendation based upon the site plan that is presented right now which includes the change to the truck maneuvering area to recommend approval of this plan.


Chairperson Csordas stated that Mr. Arroyo did have a number of concerns in the packet. He asked about the proximity of the curb cut in the driveway?


Mr. Arroyo stated that he believes that it is acceptable based upon the discussions that he has had provided that the center left turn lane is extended north. Also, that the deceleration and acceleration tapers mentioned in his letter are put. This will eliminate the problem of having the access across the tapers and will provide for the appropriate ingress and egress. He feels comfortable with it given all the conditions in his letter are being complied with on the final site plan.


Victoria Weber, Engineering Consultant stated that she is also recommending approval of the preliminary site plan. Public utilities will be provided to the site as well as storm water detention and a means of water quality and sedimentation. She had a few comments and all of which she feels can be addressed at final site plan. One comment that she would like to point out and the Planning Commission can find an attachment in the packet to her letter showing a revised sanitary sewer water main layout. This is modifying connection locations that are coming from the west and specifically show a sanitary sewer extension along the north property line. This will be stubbed to the north property line at Haggerty Road for future service connections for the developments to the north. One comment on the dendum that she would like to see. There is a second crossing under the detention basin that she would like to see eliminated.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated that she is also recommending approval of the conceptual landscape plan. She has a few items that she would like to address. One of them is the requirement for screening for OST. They meet it almost but they need to add a few additional shrubs so it will be possible for them to meet it. They also need to add berms along Haggerty Road. There are none shown at the present time and they also need to add additional shrub plantings. They do have enough room to do so. They need to keep the berms away from the one-(1) tree on the side that she is trying to get them to preserve which they are preserving. She will be looking at this at final. They meet the four-(4) foot greenspace requirement adjacent to the building except along the north. They do have a walkway that can be moved out away from the building four (4) feet and provide the four-(4) feet of greenspace. They are going to need to provide additional shrubs and other low growing plant materials at final. At the conceptual stage, the plan does not meet the required corner clearance and she will be looking at this closer at final.


In regards to the woodlands, the majority of the site is indicated on the woodland map as being woodlands. It is indicated as being medium woodlands and dense woodlands. Normally, these two (2) designations usually mean high quality woodlands. She thinks that this is the first one that has come in that is not true. These are really low quality woodlands and are primarily poplar silver maple, elm, ash, and red maple. They are of a smaller variety and have marginal understory. They are scattered throughout and there are large areas that are open on the site. The site immediately to the north of the site, the dense woodlands on the site, is indicated as a dense designation and they are extremely high quality beech maple woodlands. It shows that the map is not always accurate but really this is the first time in all the years that she has been working on it that it is this different. They are preserving some trees on the south and some trees on the north of the property. One (1) tree right near the front of the property along Haggerty Road which is a twenty five (25) inch dbh black walnut which is in good shape. They are missing a number of items. They had in their last submittal some conflicts with the utilities, which looks as if they addressed at least the water main and the sketch from JCK. She will need to look again at the sanitary sewer along the northern property line. All the items that she feels that she has listed can be provided at final although they are quite extensive. Due to the quality of woodlands, she is willing to defer them until the final review. She is recommending approval of the woodland permit with three (3) conditions, the general payment of the fence maintenance and financial guarantees and inspection fees and bonds. The fact that they can not begin any clearing or grubbing on the site until she has had environmental pre-construction meeting and the protective fencing has been approved. In addition, that all of the items in the letter is reviewed by her office at final.


Aimee Kay, Environmental Specialist stated that she is also recommending approval. In the northwest corner there is a small pocket of wetland near the truck well and is over 1/10 of an acre. There is another wetland pocket in the southeast that is about ¼ acre. She has deemed them to be non-essential and she realized that because there is low species diversity. She is recommending approval with a few small conditions and most of them had to do with soil erosion.


Doug Necci of JCK stated that he had originally rejected it and since then has received their actual samples. They were submitted and based on that there is a positive recommendation now. The project will require a Section Nine (9) Waiver that revolves mainly around the distinction between brick and split-face brick. The ordinance defines brick as natural clay fired product. What they are actually using is a sementitious unit but because it has the two and half (2 ½) inch high by eight (8) inch configuration, is a very nice color he thinks that the overall visual effect will be equal to or maybe even greater than brick. Particularly because the white color is very consistent with the high-tech look that he is trying to get into the OST district. They have agreed to change the percentage of metal siding by raising the block line on the shop area of the building bring the percentage into compliance. It goes from eight (8) to ten (10) feet. Based on these two (2) items he is recommending approval contingent on the two (2) revisions and positive recommendation for a Section Four (4) Waiver.


Chairperson Csordas asked if they have increased the use of the flat metal panel why doesn’t the percentage change on his recommendation?


Mr. Necci stated that the applicant has not really submitted the drawing yet, it was just a conversation that occurred today. They agreed to raise the block from eight (8) to ten (10) feet, which would lower the percentage of metal siding to below fifty (50) percent. He went through a few experiments to see how far they would have to raise it to achieve the percentage. He stated approximately in his letter between ten (10) and ten and a half (10 ½) feet. The primary reason for his positive recommendation after seeing the samples is the white color, blue glass, and the match between the brick and the block.


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, the fire suppression water main shall be controlled by either a post indicator valve or a gate valve in a well. Two, all weather access roads capable of supporting 25 tons are to be provided for fire apparatus prior to construction above the foundation. This shall be noted on the plans. Three, all water mains and fire hydrants are to be installed and be in service prior to the construction above the foundation. This shall be noted on the plans. Four, the 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. This shall be noted on the plans.


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


Seeing no one he closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.




Member Capello stated that in regards to the screening by the truck wells is the applicant proposing to provide screening or are they looking for a waiver?


Ms. Lemke stated that they have attempted to provide screening and they just need additional screening. There is no problem with providing it and she has not received any input from them that they would not. She is assuming that they can and will provide it at final. She stated that there would be no waiver being addressed.




Moved by Capello, seconded by Canup, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (8-0): To approve Preliminary Site Plan 99-33, grant the woodland and wetland permit subject to the consultant’s comments and recommendations including a Section Nine waiver for façade.




Member Mutch stated that the storm water is going to drain from the detention basin to a water quality basin and then into Haggerty Road into a ditch. He asked where the water is flowing from the ditch?


Ms. Weber stated that she needed a minute to check the plans.

Member Mutch asked if there is sufficient room for the buffering?


Ms. Lemke stated yes.


Member Mutch asked if there has been any indication from them on the replacement tree issue and how it will be handled?


Ms. Lemke stated that they have not indicated a method. She has indicated that if they are putting the trees back on site, which there is room to do so, that they need to indicate them separately. They have two (2) other options. They can put it on their piece of property that they have interest in the city or they can put the money in the tree fund.


Member Mutch stated that she had made reference to a detention basin where trees that were going to be removed and wanted to know if it was the one on the property or the area on the south?


Ms. Lemke stated that it was the one on the south.


Ms. Weber stated that the storm water flows south into the Haggerty Road ditch and down Haggerty Road.


Member Mutch stated that he knows at some point that Haggerty Road will be improved to a boulevard which will probably take up the majority or all of the right-of-way. He wanted to know where the water would go at that point?


Ms. Weber stated that it would be something that she would have to look at but it will be accomodated for as part of the improvements for the road.


Member Mutch stated that the water has to go somewhere at some point and he wanted to know how it would be handled?


Ms. Weber stated that the county would be looking at it and they will have to provide proper drainage since it is a county drain.


Member Mutch asked if there was sufficient right-of-way provided with the plan?


Mr. Arroyo stated that they are showing the sixty-(60) foot future right-of-way and it is what is called for in the Thoroughfare Plan. It will be adequate in most cases for even the boulevard section with some areas that will have to be additional but for the most part particularly away from the major intersections. One hundred twenty (120) feet will be sufficient.


Member Koneda asked if a design and construction variance was no longer needed?


Mr. Arroyo stated that is correct.




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

No: None






Chairperson Csordas stated that it has been added to the agenda to appoint a person from the Planning Commission to sit on the Task Force for the development of the new Novi Expo Center.

Member Capello stated that it is not a city-initiated committee, it is a task force of businesses and citizens putting together to give the Expo Center some guidance. There are two (2) issues. One, what is going to be left with the property if they do move? Two, what is going to be developed if they do move?


Member Watza volunteered to be on the committee.


Member Mutch volunteered to be the alternate.






Proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment - Briefing by Jim Wahl and Rod Arroyo


Jim Wahl stated that he and Mr. Arroyo would like to introduce the Planning Commission to a Planning and Zoning concept, which some Commissioners are more familiar with than others. More importantly, that it is his anticipation that there will be a Public Hearing on an Ordinance amendment with respect to this planning concept on the next agenda. It is a very important component of the Master Plan process, which the Planning Commissioners went through in May with the adoption of the new Master Plan. Also, of a several year effort that some of the Commissioners participated in with the Grand River Corridor study. As he introduced to the Commissioners at the last meeting this is a longstanding relationship to the Town Center. He would like to again reference the study that was completed in 1990 and the important parts of it that relate to the ordinance amendment that he wanted to bring to the Commissioners attention. The residential component that was recommended to this plan is where the DPW site is currently located and the idea was that it was going to transition to some other kind of use. Development is happening in this area but it is not residential. The market wants to go office down the road and this is the way that it has been moving. The other area of residential, in the southwest quadrant, has not taken place either. Another issue is the Expo Center, which the plan is the first concept of turning the Mohawk Liquor building into an Expo Center in 1990. The residential proposals are moving to the east so the planning process is trying to adjust to both changes and opportunities. It also needs to be pointed out in this study that if you are going to have a true downtown and community you need to have some relationship to your residential neighborhoods. Some physical and functional relationship to housing and people living in neighborhoods. He showed a more updated map that shows the Grand River Corridor study area and what he had defined as of late last year as a potential boundary line of a downtown development authority. One of the reasons why it took on a linear shape was because he knew something would be happening in the area. He knew the residential part of the Town Center district had a better opportunity to be accomplished in the area. As of a year ago, he knew that the Town Center was going in the direction of change and he was adjusting to opportunities in the community while still trying to accomplish the plan that was approved in 1990. This has lead us to developing the Gateway concept and Master Plan. It has continued to be worked on because he thinks that it is an important part of the process and moving forward with this idea. Ordinance language has been worked on with a lot of effort in a short period of time. There are five (5) drafts now and there is now a sixth (6th) draft in the Implementation Committee. At this point, Mr. Arroyo is going to give an outline of what the ordinance is attempting to accomplish and what it encompasses. He would like to get some action at the next meeting.


Mr. Arroyo stated that it is important to point out the reason that this is coming before the Planning Commission because of the Master Plan. It was one (1) of the recommendations that came out of the brand new Master Plan that was adopted in May. When the Master Plan and Zoning Committee looked at the particular area along Grand River, he felt that there needed to be a change. He felt that it was appropriate to provide more of a sensible rival into the downtown area leading into the Town Center area. The current zoning and long-range planning for the corridor really was not reflective of what it should be based upon the vision of the community twenty (20) years from now. As the committee and Planning Commission discussed it there was recognition that one, there are some basic concepts about the long-range planning and even the zoning that occurs in the area that have some merit. Most of the property is zoned NCC (Non-Center Commercial) and there are some characteristics that are good. One, NCC allows a mix of uses such as office, retail, restaurants, and residential. Many people do not realize what a mixed-use district is. The only thing that the NCC district has that does not make it very attractive to development is that it is a very low-density district. Building heights are minimized, floor area ratio is very limited, and the amount of retail that can be put in is limited. Many these concepts have been carried forward into the new Downtown Gateway district. The setbacks and many the design perspectives have changed to reflect the different type of characters. If you are driving down Grand River heading westbound and you hit Meadowbrook Road, once this district has been fully developed it should feel a lot different. It will have a sense of arrival into an area that has a character much different than the remainder of Grand River heading all the way to Haggerty. Between Meadowbrook and Haggerty, there is a typical suburban type of character. Once you get to Meadowbrook Road and this Downtown Gateway moves forward it should have much more of a village type feel. Buildings will be a little bit closer to the roadway than you would normally see. You should hopefully have some higher quality structures, higher percentage of brick than you might normally find, more amenities, and more pedestrian orientation. Some of the things that are in NCC are carried forward such as the restriction of retail. There has always been a concern that Grand River not develop into a strip retail commercial area and that basic tenant carries forward into this district.


Retail is extremely limited within the Downtown Gateway and as you look through it, particularly if you aren’t doing a mixed use development will be limited to thirty thousand (30,000) square feet of retail, which is about what you would get out of an NCC district. There are incentives for you to go to a mixed use development, you can have a higher level of residential density, you can get a little bit more retail although not enough to create strip commercial centers up and down, and you can also have office development which is generally going to be accepted in any of these districts. As you look at the list of permitted uses, it was mostly pulled from the NCC district. Again, the character of the retail is intended to be neighborhood oriented primarily and not automotive based. There are no fast food restaurants, drive-ins, big box type users like Target, and is more like a village type character. The mixed-use scenario is such that particularly for residential. The thought that Mr. Wahl had mentioned was that the Town Center had always been envisioned as an area that would have residential development. Since it is not happening in the area that was originally discussed it was felt that maybe, it is more appropriate to put it in this corridor. One of the advantages of having a little more density that is residential in this area is the infrastructure in the general vicinity that can for the most part support it with some improvements. The Grand River widening to five lanes is something that has already been targeted, the city is going to continue to perceive to make it happen. There is the interchange area at Novi and I-96, there is M-5 nearby, and there is a lot of infrastructure improvement that is happening and is going to continue to happen in this area. The other thing that the residential component does is that it provides additional support for the retail. The city and the private sector have made a substantial commitment to the Town Center district in terms of the uses that are there.


There is an additional commitment that is going to come forward with development that will occur in this district. Having rooftops available to help support some of the service uses is an important component and it helps make this district a true downtown by mixing retail office and residential among other uses in a planned fashion. The residential densities that you see within it if you move forward with the mixed-use project are very similar to those in the Town Center district. There are incentives to go beyond a mixed-use development and provide a mixed-use building possibly with residential above retail or office building or residential physically attached to a retail building or an office building. There are also some limitations on floor area ratio but they are much higher than NCC and there is an additional floor area ratio allowed if you do a mixed-use development.


From a traffic standpoint, there is another provision that he has gotten a lot of positive reaction from the development community. This is the provision of a rear-shared access drive that would run parallel to Grand River but would be set back between two hundred (200) and four hundred (400) feet from Grand River. The current NCC ordinance and visions is a marginal access drive that fronts along Grand River on both sides running parallel to it with the buildings behind the marginal access drive. This has some traffic benefits but there are also some limitations to it because it is so close to the roadway there could be some circulation problems. In addition, it tends to put a lot of roadway and parking out in front. It takes away from the aesthetics of the area and he thinks that it is better to bring the buildings closer to the roadway. Let them be the showpieces and let the architecture be something that you are proud of and something that you can visualize and appreciate as you drive through there. He thinks that the rear access drive is a positive component of the ordinance.


There is not a lot of detail in the ordinance about the streetscape amenities along Grand River and it is actually intentional. He is hoping to within the next couple of months bring forward another Master Plan recommendation which is the establishment of a Grand River overlay district. This will be the zoning district that overlays a number of other zoning districts so that all of the development along Grand River is tied together through a variety of either landscaping street scape or other improvements to provide some continuity as you drive along the Grand River Corridor. It is his intention that these types of amenities are going to be reflected in the Grand River overlay district and do not need to be in this type of district. He will be consulting with Ms. Lemke on this project.




Member Mutch stated that he had an action item. When this was being discussed at the Master Plan and Zoning Committee meeting as this was going through the process one of the things that was talked about was the northeast and southeast corners of Meadowbrook Road and Grand River intersection. There was much discussion on whether to include it in the Gateway district or not. At the time, it was held out looking at the parcels as more of a transitional area although there was a sentiment to move it into the Gateway District to try and tie the four (4) corners together so that there was a uniform look. As the specific projects have come in, there are projects for the other two (2) corners and in light of the vacant land in this area just to the east of the northeast parcel is a city storm water detention basin which is actually a very nice looking pond. There is also some development of the south side of the road. He thinks that it makes sense to re-visit it and decide whether it makes more sense to have a unified intersection of Gateway Development as opposed to possibly having, some uses come into the area that would not fit in. He would like the Planning Commission to make a recommendation to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to review these parcels on the northeast and southeast corner for a recommendation to Gateway designation.




Moved by Mutch, seconded by Canup, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (8-0): To make a recommendation to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to review these parcels on the northeast and southeast corner for a recommendation to Gateway designation.




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

No: None














Moved by Csordas, seconded by Canup, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY(8-0): To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 8:23 p.m.




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

No: None




Sarah Marchioni - Steno Clerk


Transcribed by: Sarah Marchioni

September 7, 1999


Date Approved: October 6, 1999