REGULAR MEETING OF THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS OF THE CITY OF NOVI
CIVIC CENTER - 45175 TEN MILE RD.
TUESDAY - MARCH 3, 1998
The Meeting was called to order at 7:32 p.m., with Chairman Antosiak presiding.
Present: Members Brennan, Antosiak, Meyer, Reinke, Bauer
Absent: Members Harrington, Sanghvi (alternate)
Also Present: Donald M. Saven - Building Official
Steve Rumple - Staff Planner
Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer
Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary
Chairman Antosiak indicated we have a quorum present this evening. The Novi Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by the City Charter to hear appeals seeking variances from the application of Novi Zoning Ordinances. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to grant a variance and with five (5) Members here this evening it will take a vote of three (3) Members to deny a variance. Being that we have less than a Full Board tonight, is there anyone who would like to see their variance request tabled until the April meeting? (No one wished to be tabled at this time.)
Approval of Agenda
Chairman Antosiak indicated I would like a vote on the agenda this evening, if there are no recommended changes.
Moved by Member Bauer,
Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,
TO APPROVE THE AGENDA AS WRITTEN.
Roll Call: (Voice Vote) All yeas Motion Carried
Approval of Minutes
Chairman Antosiak indicated we have minutes from the December 2, 1997, January 6, 1998 and the February 3, 1998 Meetings for approval. Are there any changes proposed to those minutes?
Member Bauer: There has been a change given to Nancy on the December 2, 1997 minutes.
Chairman Antosiak inquired are there any other changes? Hearing none, all in favor of approving the December minutes as amended, the January and February minutes as presented; say aye. All ayes.
Chairman Antosiak indicated this is the Public Remarks portion of our Meeting. All comments related to a case before the Board this evening should be heard at the time that the case is heard. If there is anyone in the audience, however, that would like to address the Board on a matter not related to a case before the Board this evening, now is the time to do so.
James Korte, Shawood Lake. I have been here more than any other person on the face of the earth and you know that. The assessments for the north end are out. My assessments, and I realize that is not your situation, went up a $172,000.00. I would hope that when you people look upon the north end and look upon our problems you understand that they are even complicated more by the amounts of money that the City thinks that we are worth. If we are to truly be civilized I think you have to understand that as a Board also.
Case No. 98-007 filed by Donald Samhat, representing Wixom Ready Mix
Donald Samhat, representing Wixom Ready Mix, is requesting to remove three (3) underground tanks; two (2) 1000 gallon and one (1) 500 gallon and replace with three (3) above ground tanks, two (2) 1050 gallon and one (1) 500 gallon tank, for property located at 27460 Beck Rd. Outdoor storage of goods or materials is prohibited in the district.
Donald Samhat, Tony DeAngelis and John Stalmack were present.
Donald Samhat: I have given a pretty thorough presentation as far as what we are asking for here. A brief history: essentially we are asking to remove the below ground storage fuel tanks and make it an above ground fuel storage tank system. This site has been used for over 30 years as a cement plant and shipping facility. We are continuing to use that facility. Zoning has changed; so technically we are grandfathered in that type of facility. However, because of a federal and state law requirement all below ground fuel storage tanks are required to be updated by December 22, 1998. That necessitates us doing one of two things; either putting in above ground fuel storage tanks or upgrading our currently existing fuel storage tanks.
Donald Samhat: The justification and the reason for why we think it is necessary to do the above ground fuel storage tanks is quite lengthy and all relate to health and safety and in fact cost also. Number one: the ease of monitoring above ground fuel tanks. If one of these tanks began to leak above ground it is readily noticeable, when they are below ground you dont observe it and it can contaminate the soil. Number two: with regards to the below ground storage tanks that are currently there, by putting in above ground storage tanks we would now be required to remove the below ground storage tanks and if there has been any fuel leakage we would be required to do a clean up of the entire site; which is actually good for the site on a long term basis in its future development. The third reason is that by doing the above ground storage tanks we have actually reduced the risk of a potential damage to any of the tanks so that we can prevent the likelihood that there would be an actual fuel leakage. The reason why there is a greater risk with below ground fuel storage tanks is that trucks tend to drive over the tank areas and can cause cracks. Typically it is the pipe that goes from the below ground tank up to the pump station and that tends to crack, break seals, and that is where you tend to have the majority of the leaks with the plumbing system and not necessarily the tanks themselves. By having them above ground there is no likelihood to that and as I have shown on the drawings the tanks are totally surrounded by posts to protect the area as well as the fuel pump stations themselves.
Donald Samhat: The long term development of this site, either a hotel or an office, would require the eventual removal of these below ground storage tanks; and so by having these now converted at this time we have actually taken a step in that direction which is an actual selling feature of the overall property here. Additionally the ease of removing an above ground storage tanks is significant compared to below ground storage tanks. If you were to allow us to have these above ground storage tanks and we were required to remove them in the future, it would literally take 3 hours to have them come out and haul it away versus a various number of months to remove the actual underground storage tanks.
Donald Samhat: Finally the cost is a factor here. I have sited $14,000.00 to do this project, if we are allowed to do this as an above ground storage tanks versus a $40,000.00 expense just to do an improvement to the tanks themselves and when I say improvement we are not actually digging out the underground tanks and putting in new ones we are talking about an electroplate process and I can have Mr. DeAngelis explain that more if you think it is necessary; but it is a coating process of the tanks themselves to make sure that they dont leak.
Donald Samhat: The one thing that I would like to correct on my petition is that I indicated that there was two 1000 gallon storage tanks there and one 500 gallon storage tank under the ground and it is actually only one 2000 gallon storage tank. The actual gallons that we are talking about here is still the same. We are talking two 1050 gallon storage tanks and one 500 gallon storage tank.
Donald Samhat: I believe that you have had a chance to review everything that I presented. The only issue that I can see on this being an outside storage facility is whether or not it would create an unsightly feature by having it as an above ground storage tank and for that reason I have presented to you various photographs from every angle possible and I think that I have shown that it will be virtually impossible to see these tanks no matter where you are at and where you are looking. In fact they are going to be much smaller than a cement truck that is on site and concealed because of the gravel pile, the wood landscaping around it and actually the natural terrain itself.
Donald Samhat: For those reasons, I think that this variance would be appropriate under this set of circumstances.
Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 5 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.
James Korte, Shawood Lake: Underground tanks. I personally removed all of the underground tanks from Novi, Thirteen and South Lake. We cannot have underground tanks. Now, that property has been in business since at least 1966. October 4, 1966 I walked that property when it was KT Ready Mix. It is an old business. I think that if they can do proper landscaping, it sort of is in the middle of no where even thought it is close to everybody. The tanks have to get out of the ground. If they can do it, then it has to be. I think that you have to understand, and believe me, I walked the property in 1966 when it was KT Ready Mix, they have been there a long time and that means something too.
Don Saven: The State of Michigan has taken a very aggressive approach for underground storage tanks in making sure that they do meet certain requirements as they are now. All businesses have been notified to upgrade and to comply with the standards for underground storage tanks. In this particular issue the only thing that I would have to ask is, do we have a size of the bollards that you are going to use and the height of the bollards that you are going to use for protection of the tanks?
Tony DeAngelis: Six inches and 4 feet high.
Don Saven: What is the spacing of these poles?
Tony DeAngelis: They are going to be 4 feet apart and they are going to cover all of the corners in 3 directions. The only direction that is not covered is the back where there is no traffic.
Don Saven: I believe that the other issue would be some screening effects for these particular issues. I think that Mr. Samhat has indicated that you would not be able to see these tanks, is that correct?
Donald Samhat: That is correct.
Member Bauer inquired of Don Saven: When they put these above ground, is there a retaining saucer type?
Donald Saven: Absolutely, it is a requirement by law that they do have confinement.
John Stalmack: There is complete containment around each tank.
Donald Samhat: Picture number 8, shows a view of the tank inside and the container around is the secondary container. There is also a concrete slab that will be poured here to try to avoid any spill and the inability to clean it up promptly.
Member Bauer: On the bottom one, it shows no containment on the ground.
Donald Samhat: That is not on our site, obviously. That is just to give you an example of what the tanks look like.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that it is a much better situation to have above ground tanks than below ground tanks because as the petitioner mentioned a leak shows up right away, right now. If we have a leak below ground it can go on for a period of time before we realize that we have a problem. Understanding their work situation and what kind of requirements they have and where they are situating these and the screening that they are offering, I think that it is a much better situation than what is in existence today.
Member Brennan: As Mr. Samhat has noted here, this is not an enlargement or an increase of the existing operation. I will though point out for his sake and for anybody else that we do not take into consideration the financial implications, but given that we have some push by the State of Michigan this seems to be the right thing to do.
Member Meyer: My concern is, and in the picture on page 8, it appears that if by chance some young kids were deciding to have a good time one night and just visited your property, it sure seems like they could get near this tank; in other words there is no fencing or at least it appears that way for their safety.
John Stalmack: The yard and the business is fenced in. The gates are locked any time that we are not in operation.
Member Meyer: This particular picture looks like it is wide open in the back.
Tony DeAngelis: Those are samples, those are not of our property. Those tanks are not on the property
Member Meyer: That is just my concern. I am not trying to pick on the young ones, I do a lot of work with young people; it is that every now and then they tend to get curious. I would hope that this is so protected that they would never hurt themselves if they got near it.
Tony DeAngelis: I dont think that it is a matter that they could possible hurt themselves, we are padlocked at night for security reasons so that they cant do anything to release the fluid and the way that it is built any fluid that will be released will be inside of the containment vessel. The reality is that if you want to do something that is completely out of the ordinary there is nothing to keep them from doing anything to anybody; but under normal circumstances of being closed and locked in it would have to be not normal curiosity but actual vandalism.
Member Meyer: Thank you, all I am asking is for the normal circumstances.
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-007 TO APPROVE THE REQUEST WITH MR. SAVENS NOTATIONS, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SATISFYING THE STATE OF MICHIGAN AND RENOVATING THE SITE.
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-008 filed by Jeffrey Thorpe
Jeffrey Thorpe is requesting a 7.3' side yard setback variance to allow for the construction of an attached garage to be located 2.7' from the property line, for property located at 223 Endwell.
Jeffrey Thorpe was present and duly sworn.
Jeffrey Thorpe: I request the garage for the home. Currently the way that the lot is done at the house, the back yard drops off considerably. The north side of the lot drops off even more. The south side is really the only flat area of the land. I would like to build an attached garage for storage and to get things out of the yard; for the value of the home and such like that. So the request would be for the lot line variance.
Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 40 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 3 written responses received all voicing approval. (Copies in file.)
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: We have had some experiences with buildings that have been close to the property lines. We really want to try to insure a couple of things: number one, that we dont change the grade as it would affect the adjacent neighbor; that is very important. Number two, we should try to control the roof run off by virtue of a gutter or something that would traverse the water into another area or have it go out the back end of the property and number three, the building code requirement as you approach closer to the property line. Those are the 3 concerns that I have and I would see to it that they try to take care of there.
Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Could you be a little more explicit on the third requirement?
Don Saven: As the building gets closer to the property line, at the 5 foot mark, as you go less than the 5 foot you have a fire safety requirement that you have to deal with.
Jeffrey Thorpe: Is that like a 5/8 dry wall? That is in the plans with the builder.
Don Saven: How you plan on doing it will be your choice, but it must be done.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I am assuming because you made a notation on your drawing here, that you will remove the shed.
Jeffrey Thorpe: Yes.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: Hopefully you will clean up some of the other things around there that goes along with it.
Jeffrey Thorpe: Yes, that is the thing; I have some toys and they are exposed to the neighborhood and I would like to enclose that.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I would like to see the garage go back further, but as I have driven there 3 times trying to look at the situation and as the petitioner has talked about with the drop off it makes it impossible if not creating more of a problem in moving the garage back to a further part of the lot line, fill would be required and how it would change the water run off. I think that he has done a good job in what he is trying to do and the distance to the residence on his closest side to the garage is adequately spaced to give access to everything and I think that he has done all that he can do and I can support the petitioners request.
Member Bauer: I would have no problem with this.
Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-008 THAT THE PETITIONERS REQUEST BE GRANTED DUE TO THE LOT SIZE AND THE LOT SLOPE CONFIGURATION.
Discussion on motion:
Member Brennan: Just adding Mr. Savens comments and points on the conditions of the building.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: He has to and it is by code that he would have to do that.
Don Saven: The other point would be the drainage control and the roof runoff.
Chairman Antosiak: Do you verify that as part of the permit?
Don Saven: I think that it should be a part of the motion.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I would have no problem in adding that.
Member Bauer: That would be fine.
Chairman Antosiak: Then we have an amended motion.
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-009 filed by A & M Custom Homes
A & M Custom Homes is seeking to construct a new single family dwelling on lot 13, Arden Glen Subdivision, 22611 Arden Glen Ct. with non-conforming side yards.
Mark Evangelista was present and duly sworn.
Mark Evangelista: This house on lot 13, we tried several different orientations to the house and normally this house would fit; except that there is a 6 foot easement for Detroit Edison on the left side. Detroit Edison is taking a firm stand and normally they would let you have a driveway over the easement provided that you would sign a hold/harmless letter providing that they could come in and tear it up if they had any problems with the utilities. But after January 1st of this year, they have sent letters to the builders saying that under no circumstances are they going to allow that anymore. So, what we did was to try to orientate the house with the best fit on this lot and trying to take into account all of the factors and the requirements for side yard setbacks. We were able to achieve all of the requirements except for the back right corner; which because this lot is over 110 feet in the front we have to have 40 feet total on the rear sides. So, we are short by a little less than 4 feet on the back right side.
Mark Evangelista: This is a house that is not very wide for the type of houses that we are building in Arden Glen Subdivision and we feel that it is not a detriment. On the right side there is wetlands and no neighboring houses and it is going to look beautiful on that lot with that orientation.
Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 9 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: If you take a look at the plot plan you will notice that there is a wetland buffer very close to the building and as Mark has indicated there is a considerable concern as what Detroit Edison has for building structures in the easement; as driveways. This is a new policy that they instituted effective January 1 and it has made things a little bit difficult for configurations as we do have side yard easements on many lots; so this will probably be the first time that this is before us but these issues will be before us again. The other issue is the fact that greater than 110 foot frontage, does put this into another calibration as far as the side yard setbacks are concerned whereby he does need the 40 feet and that is why he is before us today.
Member Brennan: The average range of homes in this subdivision in terms of square footage?
Mark Evangelista: They are 3500 to 4500 square feet. This house is 3800 square feet.
Member Brennan: So it is about in the middle of the offering.
Mark Evangelista: The width of the house is the second narrowest house that we could put on this lot and the other house or the most narrow house is next door on the next lot.
Member Brennan: Do you know how deep that wet land is to the north?
Mark Evangelista: Actually there is a wet land between lot 13 and lot 14 so there is an open space between the two lots.
Chairman Antosiak: In looking at the drawing, absent Edisons policy on easements is there any way that this house would fit on this lot, with the cumulative 40 foot side yard setback?
Mark Evangelista: The house would fit, except that the driveway would only be 19 feet wide making it hard coming into the garage, the requirement is 22 feet; so we would have to get a building code variance.
Chairman Antosiak: Unless you had a front entrance garage, instead of the side.
Mark Evangelista: They dont allow the front entrance garage in this subdivision.
Chairman Antosiak: My personal opinion is that the house is to big for the lot and that is what is causing the problem with the side yard setback and not the easement.
Member Bauer: That is right.
Mark Evangelista: The house and this subdivision, this is the medium range of the houses in this sub. The width which is really the determining factor is the second narrowest out of the 6 floor plans that we offer. So, I dont think that it is really to wide for the lot, the trouble is that the lot angles back in the right corner so you are starting out with 110 feet in the front but you are not carrying it all the way down it is cutting sharply on an angle.
Chairman Antosiak: But, the lot was designed that way.
Mark Evangelista: Right, but Edison usually gives you and just about all of the time they would give you a variance to put the drive on...
Chairman Antosiak: Yes, but I dont think that you could fit that house on the lot even without the problem from Edison.
Mark Evangelista: Sure you could. I have a plot plan. If you get the variance from Edison for 3 feet you can fit the house on the lot.
Chairman Antosiak: And meet.......
Mark Evangelista: Sure, I have a picture right here. We make the driveway 22 feet and then we get three feet......
Chairman Antosiak: Then you would need a variance on the driveway.
Mark Evangelista: Yes, but that would be from the Building Official.
Chairman Antosiak: That is my point, he needs a variance to build that house on this lot under either circumstance. Whether he has the Edison problem, he needs the side yard variance; and if he doesnt have the Edison problem then he needs a variance on the driveway; which tells me that the house is to big for the lot.
Member Bauer: It is the lot, it is the smallest one around there and he is trying to put a large house there.
Member Brennan: We have had typically taken issue with new homes on new lots seeking variances. I would concur with Mr. Antosiak with one exception; the impact of this variance request is very minimal given that it is on a wetland buffer. The only ones you are going to bother are the mosquitoes in the summer time. I dont think that it is an out of line request.
Chairman Antosiak: Dont get me wrong, I dont think that it is an out of line request, but I feel that the hardship is imposed by the design of the lot and the selection of the house to go on the lot.
Member Brennan: That is one of the reasons that I asked the question about the range of homes, if he had to shrink this one would it make it an odd ball house in that sub, and it seems to be about mid range. That is exactly why I asked that question. If you are going to talk about shrinking that down in order to make it fit on the lot, can you sell it?
Member Meyer: If I have hear you correctly, this is a 3800 square foot home?
Mark Evangelista: That is correct.
Member Meyer: So you couldnt make it a 3500 square foot?
Mark Evangelista: No. We already have a perspective purchaser for the home.
Member Meyer: 3500 is the size of some of the other homes in the subdivision?
Mark Evangelista : That is correct. But the width of the house is the governing factor and this is the second smallest in the width. You can make the house bigger as far as the width and you can make it more square footage or less square footage if it is a different type of floor plan. But the width of this house is the second smallest that we offer in the subdivision. It is because of the lot configuration and the reluctance of Detroit Edison to give us the easement, because if this was a normal situation and this was a 90 to 100 foot wide lot we would be able to fit it on there because the setbacks are different. The setback would be 10 and 25. It doesnt say average from the front to the rear, it is just the front. So that is what the hardship? It is the size of the lot, the fact that Edison wont allow us to have something that they have given in the past and after January 1st they have changed their policy. So that is what we are up against.
Member Bauer: He is going to put something on there, so it is better to have him get the variance so he can at least have the neighborhood look the same.
Member Brennan: Is this whole Edison thing, something that you are aware of, Don?
Don Saven: It just came to be. The talking started about a year ago and it just came to be very strong about November and I knew that Mr. Witalek was the one that started implementing this new procedure because they were having so many problems with Detroit Edison having to get back in under those areas that driveways were put in and they had to get back in to do work and it became a very tight issue.
Member Brennan: The house is built?
Mark Evangelista: No, we are going in for a building permit.
Moved by Member Meyer,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-009, A & M CUSTOM HOMES REGARDING THE SEEKING OF A VARIANCE THAT IT BE GRANTED DUE TO ODD LOT SIZE AND DUE TO THE FACT OF DETROIT EDISON CHANGING THE EASEMENT POLICY.
Roll Call: Yeas (3) Nays (2) Reinke, Antosiak
Chairman Antosiak: We have a vote of 3/2 and the motion has not passed nor is it denied. Any further discussion or comments from the Board?
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that what we looked at and understanding the size home that they want to put on; the lot wont support it. I think that you really have to look at the lot size and shape and it requires a certain sized home without getting into a variance request. I really dont see any justification for a variance request.
Don Saven: If you were to take the house and move the front parallel with the road, and move the house closer to the Detroit Edison easement you would probably pick up about 3 foot and if that house or that driveway were allowed to go into the easement as it was allowed to in the past; would you be here before this Board?
Mark Evangelista: No.
Chairman Antosiak: I was under the understanding that he would have needed a variance from the Building Department on the depth of the drive.
Don Saven: What he would have to do is get approval from the easement holder. It was commonly done prior to January 1. Now because of the policy that has changed, it is very difficult for this man, he cant fit it on the property. That is why I wanted to make a point. This subdivision was built prior to this policy and that is one of the things that I definately wanted to bring up plus the fact that in the past if you were to have an easement holder or there was going to be a structure as a driveway being placed in an easement, not a home but a driveway, then that was a standard practice that we would go through that holder and get the approval from that holder on the easement and then we would in fact be able to do this.
Chairman Antosiiak: You said that this is the second narrowest home, where is the narrowest?
Mark Evangelista: On lot 14.
Chairman Antosiak: I mean in terms of comparison to this house, how much narrower?
Mark Evangelista: Probably 2 feet. So I would probably still have to get a variance because I would still be one to two feet. We are talking about a small footage over a large space. We have tried a lot of different orientations and we felt that this was the less impact of the ordinance and the setbacks. It is less than 4 feet on one side of the rear of the house which doesnt side to any other houses. We are trying to make the impact as minimal as possible and trying to conform to all of the requirements that we are up against. It was difficult.
Member Meyer: There is no way that you can take it down from the 3800 square feet?
Mark Evangelista: On this particular floor plan, it would be taking 4 feet out of that right side of the house and that would make those rooms undesirable.
Member Meyer: You couldnt relocate where this house would sit? You said ....
Mark Evangelista: The garage has to be, because of the grade, on the left hand side because that is the high side of the lot. It kind of falls off in the back corner where we are asking for the variance. You could probably get a daylight type of situation out of there.
Member Meyer: There is no giving on that, in other words there is no way of moving from the 3800 square feet to 3600 square feet, or 3700 sqaure feet? What I am trying to do is to get you under 4 feet so that you dont have to be before us.
Mark Evangelista: That means that you have to cut the house somewhere and have to bring it in 4 feet in certain areas and the way that the house is designed for as large as it is it is very minimal as far as the width. It is only 57 feet wide and that is a pretty small width for a 3800 square foot house. Actually the upstairs is a little cantilvevered over the first floor.
Member Brennan: I will go back to my comment because I think that it does have some bearing of what is the significance of the variance on that side of the property and typically you have another home owner that is impacted and in this case we have wetlands. I think it is a very minimal request. I will reitterate this other issue, is this a reasonable home in this development? It seems to be right in the middle of what you are offering. Square footage isnt necessarily going to make it more narrow.
Mark Evangelista: That is correct.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: The only thing is that positioning a house and if it were positioned differently than what is presented here and as Mr. Saven has alluded to you wouldnt have to be here, so it is feasible. I really dont see a reason for a variance to be granted.
Don Saven: What I had previously indicated was the fact that the house was turned that it was parallel to the road, that would pick up extra square footage to the side of where the Detroit Edison easement is and he could pull that away from the angled portion. At that particular time if he picked up the lilneal footage for the setback on that particular side of the property then at that time he has the issue with the driveway being placed in the easement because at that time the driveway would need to go into the easement, which is required that we do have 22 foot of hard surfaced parking plus 3 foot for drainage purposes. So no matter what he would do, he would be into the easement to be in compliance with the ordinance but he still would have to get the approval from the holder of the easement plus supply us with a hold/harmless letter or whatever and that would satisfy the condition and he would not be before us. But, because Detroit Edison is not giving him the easement and he has to stay out of the easement, therefore the driveway cannot be smalled up and then he would in turn have to go into someother variations and we try not to deal with smalling up the size of the driveways for turning radius purposes.
Member Brennan: So we are back to the situation that he cannot position the house parallel to the road, so that is not a viable option.
Member Bauer: Also 3800 square feet is 2 floors and not on the main floor.
Member Brennan: This is the only way that the house can be built?
Mark Evangelista: It is the way that it can be built with the most minimal impact to the infringement of the setbacks.
Chairman Antosiak: It is the only way that this house can be built. It is not the only way that a house can be built.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I still think that with and I guess that it is my mis-interpretation of orientating the house as presented; but since there is nothing there I think that this house is to large for this lot and that there is really no reason to justify a variance request.
Chairman Antosiak: I dont see that you are going to get a resolution from us this evening. In order to keep the door open my suggestion to you would be to consider tabling this until the April Meeting until we have a full Board. I sense that everyone is fairly locked into place on their vote and it will be 3/2 to approve and 2/3 to deny and neither of which is going to work. My advise would be to table and we will put you on the agenda for the April Meeting and we should have all 6 Members for that Meeting, as of today that is what we believe it will be.
Chairman Antosiak: If that is OK with you, I would move to table this to the April Meeting. All in favor, please say aye. All ayes. Case tabled to the April Meeting.
Case No. 98-010 filed by Craig DeRoche
Craig DeRoche is requesting a 17.3' front yard setback to allow the construction of a new single family dwelling at 1620 West Lake Dr. The property in question has threee (3) front yards and this variance would be for the front yard facing West Lake Dr.
Craig DeRoche was present and duly sworn.
Craig DeRoche: We purchased this lot to build a home for ourselves, to live in. Being aware of the ordinances in the City we worked very hard to build a house that would fit in the lot as it stood without a variance to the ordinance. As you can see it is a relatively modest footprint of the house portion, 30 by 30 foot. It is going to be a colonial style and a 30 by 30 garage area. We did have this laid out at the time that we purchased the lot. It was laid out by the architects and with our engineers to comply; which was somewhat challenging. Every way we had this laid out the bottom line was it came down to within a foot and a half on every side of complying with the ordinance. Then when we applied for the building permit.......
Don Saven: Then we had a little a problem with one of the side yards, which is West Lake Road side.
Craig DeRoche: It noted on the property that this was an easement and when we applied for the building permit it was sent out to the City Attorney for an interpretation, who rendered the opinion that this was no longer an easement that it was a public right of way and therefore that amounted to about 19 feet, but like I said I had about a foot and a half of room to give and with that ruling by the City Attorney it made the lot somewhat unbuildable in that the setbacks would require the house to be no more than 12.7 feet wide, which is a hard standard to meet. Again I think that the layout of the house is somewhat modest in size, a 30 by 30 building of colonial style to maximize the use of the space rather than try to fill up the whole lot like a lot of folks do around the lake area and to preserve some of the yard, if you will.
Craig DeRoche: On the lot immediately to our west is also going to have a house built on it and we are aware that the owners of that lot and how they are going to build and with the layout that we are presenting it really preserves some of the green space and allows both houses to have a yard and not be in conflict with each other.
Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 32 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 4 written responses received, all voicing objection. Copies in file.
James Korte, Shawood Lake. This is when it is so nice to live at the north end. If he has 3 front yards, does he have 3 back yards? And if he has 6 sides, then he better be an octagon or he has no sides at all. We have an ordinance in the books somewhere that says your front yard is where the post office delivers your mail and I have been through that many times because my lake is in my back yard and not my front yard because that is where my address is. Now, unless this couple chooses to have 3 addresses; they dont have 3 front yards. Now, one variance to build the house. No one is worrying about 35 in the back yard or 10 feet on the side yards. In the north end we have given 2, 3 and 4 variances to construct a house. I think that Danny Love on East Lake got 5 variances to build that house on a corner lot. If I am not mistaken and I did not know Mr. DeRoche was to be here this evening; I dont know him, unfortunately he knows me but I dont know him. He must be next to Ed Lesniak; now if you get into that the City allowed a multiple on 3 smalls, condo style, which had to have 8 variances to build. It was done. It was beautifully done and an asset to the area. If whatever this strange configuration is, he needs one and only one variance then he is lucky. If we go to Eubank, the corner, you have allowed as a Board houses within 6 feet of the road; and that is the Breshears and the VanOyen. If he is only asking for 17 then he is roughly 8 so he is still within the confines of what has been allowed on corners. But, this cant be a corner because there is three. Let him build. Thank you.
Howard Denser, 1623 West Lake Drive. I havent seen the plot plan and I was wondering if there was one that I could take a quick look at.
Howard Denser: The plot plan is what I suspected it to be. I would like to point out and I would assume that you gentleman have been out to the area and have reviewed the site. The entire lake shore along there is quite congested. Some lots have as little as 30 foot of road frontage and probably an average lot along there is 40 foot wide. Across Ludlow there is a condominium complex that was built there a few years ago that is a very congested condominium complex. Directly across the street from the proposed building site is a garage that sits 18 feet off of the road surface. The road being very narrow there with this gentlemans house at 12 foot or 12.7 feet this is going to appear as an alley way instead of a road. You have a nonconforming structure that is already there at a very close proximity to the road and now you are going to have another structure that is 12 feet off of the road. I feel that a setback of that size would degrade the area and definitely degrade the neighborhood and I strongly recommend that a variance of any size strongly be denied. Looking at the plot plan it does appear to me that repositioning might offer him some relief. I would strongly recommend that this request be denied. Thank you.
Don Saven: I would like to bring to the Boards attention that this gentlemans property was one that on the plot that does not show the road. This is what prompted the further investigation for the fact that this property line did go all the way through to the adjacent properties. In other words there was no road showed on the plat. That is when this came before us, the question was and I certainly remember West Lake Road going through for many years; but this was a private easement. This was one of the issues that we had concerns about; the private easement. And for the fact that it was continually used as a road and as it was continually used as a road then that particular issue locked Mr. DeRoche into the fact that as it was used for all these years then in fact we did have this as basically a public road. But it did not show a road on the plat, and I want that clear. We should probably do something to indicate that we have to look into this matter or do something about this property or that particular piece of road that is there. That is why he is here before you today.
Craig DeRoche: It is a relatively challenging area because one of the gentleman that spoke up here was talking about the road and across Ludlow and the condos; a lot of the folks in the area have come to know that easement as Ludlow. But Ludlow is to the north of the property and has somewhat been abandoned by the City as far as City services of plowing and other things because it is to narrow and I believe that the street lights and everything else have been put up on the other easement. There is s lot of challenges to it. Also on the plot plan that you are looking at; there is a garage on the corner of the property and for your information we are planning on removing that. That is literally a foot away from West Lake Road and the easement commonly referred to as Ludlow. That will be taken down to free up some land when we are able to build.
Member Brennan: Was there any thought given to, and I agree that this is a relatively small house, and with that being said has there been any thought given to positioning the house in the middle of the lot and splitting the variance requirements.
Craig DeRoche: Initially no, because we thought that what we were doing was trying to get this to comply with the ordinance as it stands until the Attorneys ruling. When that happened, of course that was our next reaction; well if we are going to have to go for a variance then lets take a look at what is best and that is what I discussed earlier; with the other house that is being built to the west of this what this will do is to preserve a back yard and not much of one but the minimal back yard that is provided in our ordinance but will also provide them some space as well and I think that will add to the entire area as far as the visual affect for the surrounding houses and everything else and to preserve some of that space. So I do believe that at this time and after reviewing that this is the ideal location to construct the house.
Member Brennan: Well, it is one variance request instead of two; if it was positioned in the middle of the lot.
Craig DeRoche: That is right.
Member Brennan: There were 4 objections, can you give us a general gist of what those issues are?
Chairman Antosiak read some of the comments. Copies in file.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that you really need to look at the lot configuration and I think that the petitioner may be asked to do a little bit more innovative research as to what he can do because with nothing being there even with the road cut back that is not shown I think it is another situation of being over built.
Craig DeRoche: You mean the house being to big?
Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is right. We have an ordinance that says that we need certain side yards, front yard setbacks, etc and this is meant to be a condition to be acceptable to everybody. I think that when we ask for a deviation from this we really need to show the justification of hardship and I dont see any justification here.
Craig DeRoche: Do you understand what I said before, that I complied with the ordinance until the City Attorney said that my easement was now a public road. That is the hardship.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: Yes, I understand that. But, the thing is I still see that in the connotation of the front yard setback it still doesnt fall into that. What I am saying is for what the ordinance calls for that it doesnt fall into that guideline for what you are proposing.
Craig DeRoche: You mean prior to and including the easement of West Lake Road or after?
Vice-Chairman Reinke: What I am saying is that everybody else has to fall within the same guidelines that you do. The easement for West Lake Road is no different for you than anybody else along there.
Don Saven: Again, I would like to go back to the fact that the property first of all technically has 3 front yards. I want to say that if this plan was to come in and we did not understand or know that there was a private easement for that road we would have issued him the permit. That is the point that I would like to make but because that road was utilized over a period of time it has become a road by usage. A road by usage was one that created us into a situation that required us take into account the 30 foot setback from the road or easement.
Chairman Antosiak: And as a road by usage it is not going to show up on any plat.
Don Saven: It did not show up on the plat.
James Korte: Is this the easement for the road that the City closed at one point in time?
Don Saven: That I cant remember.
James Korte: It was, because the gray corner house that is surrounded by the bay had it closed. Ed Lesniak went to court, with his money and I would presume circuit and had it opened and I cant say deemed as a road but the City closed it and the courts re-opened it. Not the 52nd District but the higher courts opened it because whether anybody likes it or not it is now a road. Whether it was an easement to begin with, I have no idea but what I am telling you from Sector Study and all of this it is a road.
Don Saven: The other point that I would like to add is the fact that if you take a look at the lots across the street or lots 11, 12 and 8; those are the accesses for those particular lots so that road does have to exist.
Howard Denser: For the record, should we have the other letters read into the record.
Chairman Antosiak: They are in the record for this zoning variance request.
Member Brennan: My concern was the proximity of the house to the road. That is apparently what some of the neighbors have a problem with. When I first looked at the plot my gut reaction was why dont you center this and get it farther away from the road. I realized that there were 2 variances involved there, but I do think it is a better placement of the house. I dont know that it is over built, I am not convinced of that. It is nearly a 30 by 30 square home with the garage attachment. I think on 3 parcels that is reasonable. There was one concern in one of the letters that this might be split and another home be built and I dont think that is a legitimate concern. I personally would like to see it pushed away from the road and I would be much more supportive of seeing it more centered on the lot. That is my general thought.
Craig DeRoche: We would be open and it was my opinion that this was still the best placement. I dont know the protocol if it is possible, but we are open if you have something in mind. If you can make a motion at this meeting and I dont know if I have to come back to a later meeting but something that was 5 or 7 foot less in the front and then add on a variance in the back at the same time.
Member Brennan: I cant design your house or give you any recommendations. It is my thought that if you positioned this house more centered that it would alleviate the concerns about it being to close to the road.
Craig DeRoche: I would guess that one of my over riding concerns is the time; I am not a builder. This is the only piece of property that I own and I am trying to build this house for a May wedding. I would like to expedite it. I realize that you are not in charge of designing it for me but if there was something that was agreeable to this Board I am saying that I am flexible enough to say it.
Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Given the angle of the streets, is Mr. DeRoche going to have another setback problem off of Ludlow if he slides the house a little further back on the property?
Don Saven: If it is parallel and both property lines that face each Ludlow are parallel, so he would have to move the house parallel with those lines so that he would have to maintain.....
Vice-Chairman Reinke: He would have to maintain a 30 foot minimum, correct?
Don Saven: Off of both Ludlows, you are talking about infringing upon now the rear yard setback. To close that up a little bit, that will be up to the Board to make that determination.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I would rather, giving you direction on my feeling, I would rather work with a rear yard variation then a front yard variation. Understanding that the lot size configurations that are up there are very hard to work with. I have a real problem in deviating from a front yard setback and being a close proximity to the road because that is one of the biggest problems that we have up there. I would rather deviate in the rear yard then to deviate in the front yard. That is only one Board Members opinion.
Member Meyer: I certainly agree with it. I think that with 4 objections out of the 32 Notices were regarding it being so close to the road that it would be best to move it back somehow.
Chairman Antosiak: I guess the choice for you, Mr. DeRoche, is; are you willing to put a proposal on the table? I dont think that it would require, it isnt the type of requirement that would require another notice.
Don Saven: That is the decision that you are going to be making.
Chairman Antosiak: I dont believe that it is.
Craig DeRoche: My proposal and to center it I would say 10 feet and less than that would be to keep a little bit more of a back yard.
Chairman Antosiak: You propose to move the house so that the rear setback will be 25 and the front will be 22.7.
Member Bauer: That would be 22.7 in the front.
Howard Denser: I believe that if there is any compromise made that it should be presented to the neighbors again for their review. I dont think that it is quite fair to make a compromise without appraising them. I still feel that the full 30 foot setback requirement should be maintained. If a man can do it with a smaller back yard that is fine. It is the appearance of that road with the short setback in the front yard where there are already buildings that are to close but they are nonconforming structures and they have been there for years and it just adds to more congestion to that building area. I strongly recommend that compromise if there is a compromise to be made that it be submitted as another variance request so that all parties involved would get proper notification. Thank you.
Chairman Antosiak: I will put a question to the Board, Mr. DeRoche has offered to modify his request to basically move the house 10 feet further back. What is the Boards opinion as to whether that is a sufficient change to require a re-noticing? He would now need 2 variances instead of one.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: If this was tabled, with the time table that you are looking at; would this really create a hardship for you?
Craig DeRoche: Yes. I am not a builder and I am not in this business so I have a significant amount of my livelihood and a wedding to pay for in May. Another month doesnt sound like a lot but it is and I am sure that you guys have built and put out your own money for things in the past. I am all for peoples concerns being addressed but I think that is what we just did by moving it back off of the road, if that is what everyones concern was.
Member Brennan: I believe that we have acted in the spirit of addressing the neighbors concerns by talking about and getting some compromises on the front yard setback. I am prepared to move.
Chairman Antosiak: My personal opinion is that this change is as Frank has said, such that it has addressed the concerns of the people who wrote although it didnt completely address the concerns of the gentleman that appeared here this evening; my personal opinion is that such a change would not require a re-noticing. Is there anyone on the Board who would object to that interpretation?
Member Meyer: I am just leery of setting a precedent here; so maybe you can inform me, is this setting a precedent?
Chairman Antosiak: We have allowed the petitioner to offer a compromise at the meeting, if we felt that it was no more of a larger variance than what they had originally on the table. We have done it by approving smaller signs than those requested. By approving a little smaller setback variances than some homeowners have asked. I dont think that we have had one particularly like this, but I recollect a couple where the homeowner agreed to move a house 2 or 3 feet so that the side yard variance would be a little less than they originally requested.
Don Saven: I would suggest that we put that into the motion that we are moving the house back and this would now make it a violation of the rear yard setback variance.
Moved by Member Bauer,
Seconded by Member Brennan,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-010 THAT THE FRONT YARD SETBACK VARIANCE BE 7.3' AND THE REAR YARD VARIANCE BE 10 FEET DUE TO LOT SIZE AND CONFIGURATION.
Discussion on motion.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: The setback will be 22.7 feet in the front and 25 in the rear.
Member Brennan: Is that 22.7 in the front?
Vice-Chairman Reinke: Actually it would be 22 foot 9 inches.
Chairman Antosiak: We have a motion and a second and just to reconfirm it is in essence a movement of the house back 10 feet from the plan presented to us which will result in a front yard setback of 22.7 feet requiring a 7.3' foot variance and a rear yard setback of 25 feet which requires a 10 foot rear yard setback variance.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: With reluctance I will support the motion because I still think that the lot is being over built. I dont know what else to do with it. I understand what the petitioner is trying to do. The unfortunate situation is the way things are cut up around the lake. There isnt a lot that you can do with it. I can understand that point. With moving it back away from the road, I dont know what else you can do so I will support it.
Chairman Antosiak: I agree with Mr. Reinke, I am confident that our ordinance in no way contemplated 3 front yards particularly with lots the size of some of the lots on the north end of the City.
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-011 filed by Tom VanSickle, representing Builders Square
Tom VanSickle, representing Builders Square, is requesting a variance to allow temporary outdoor storage of garden items in an area 16' x 89' on the south side of the building for three (3) selling seasons March 15 through July 13, 1998, 1999, 2000; for property located at 43610 West Oaks Dr. Refer to ZBA Case Nos. 91-005, 92-008, 93-002, 94-018, 95-005 and 96-006.
Tom VanSickle was present and duly sworn.
Tom VanSickle: In the past the Board has been generous to grant us permission and a variance for our garden set ups each spring for the past several years. As you know, the variance from the last season has run out and we are here to apply for the variance for this selling season, more or less as a re-application for something that we have been very successful with in the past.
Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 7 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: Just to inform the Board that we havent had any complaints on the operations. Everything looks good. It is up to the Board.
Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: For clarification, this is a 3 year request and there was a 2 year request granted last time; do you recall the rationale? I think that this issue has come up before.
Don Saven: I believe that what we are trying to do, is to take a look at these temporary use permits as far as the approval basis and if there wasnt any problem we were taking a look at it for a little bit more than a year. I think that we had increased it to 2 years and then it was up to the Board if they wanted to see any more than that.
Member Brennan: My only comment was already answered and that was the history. As long as the Board has continuing jurisdiction I would have no problem with the petitioners request.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I have one comment, I want to limit this to Builders Square.
Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-011 THE PETITIONERS REQUEST BE GRANTED AND LIMITED TO BUILDERS SQUARE ONLY.
Discussion on motion:
Chairman Antosiak: Is that for the 3 years, the March 15 to July 13 periods?
Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is correct.
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-012 filed by Susan Heholt
Susan Heholt is requesting a variance to allow the existing fence to remain within the required exterior side yard and the front yard for property located at 1739 East Lake Dr.
Shane Deal was present, attorney for Susan Heholt.
Shane Deal: We are here this evening to request a variance according to Section 2515.2 with regard to the fences and Section 2513 with regard to corner clearance. I believe that you have before you a plot plan indicating where this fence is located on Ms. Heholts property. She is asking for the variance to allow the fence to remain. The fence was built in October of 1995. She purchased the property in August of 1995 and built the fence in October of 1995. The fence has been there since that time. Recently it has come to someones attention that the fence is built out of ordinance standards and so therefore the ordinance enforcement officer indicated that she should appear here to seek a variance. She is asking for a variance primarily for the purpose of maintaining the privacy on her property and to keep the dust from East Lake Road from rolling across and into her side yard. The fence is aesthetically appealing. As far as I know; few, if any, of the neighbors have objected to the fence and the removal of the fence would cause some hardship to the extent of removing the fence and there are arborvitae out there that would be exposed and of course it would take away from the privacy that she has on her side yard.
Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 28 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 6 written responses received all voicing approval. Copies in file.
James Korte, Shawood Lake. I talked with Tim McNamara, Police Lieutenant., and asked him if he would give comment on health, safety and welfare with regards to the greater area in this fence. His comment was that he wouldnt put it in writing unless the City Officials asked, however, he knew of no problem and I am speaking of our conversation and not from his mouth.
James Korte: I seem to be where the action is; police wise on Austin and in the last month and a half I have talked with 3 of the Sergeants and have asked them what is their thought process on health , safety and welfare and is it a problem or a deterrent and do they have problems. Two of them said "what fence?" and the other said "Oh, I wish I could afford that"; so that is an informal from the police department.
James Korte: Coming from the direction of Sector Study, we tried so much to improve and to get things looking like something and shall I say for the civilized people and I am sure that you have read your packet. That fence serves its duty. This is a lovely house. They happen to be lovely people and it confines their realm to loveliness and not the blight around. We have allowed in this City and if we go to Monticello and Paramount we have allowed 6 foot fences on corners for numerous reasons and I would hope that you make this one legal and this be put to rest and then it is over with. Thank you.
Don Saven: I believe that in your packet you will find a comment from Craig Smith, DPW Superintendent, which was issued to each of you concerning the corner clearance and the 25 foot setback on this issue was one of his concerns.
Chairman Antosiak: I read his letter and it wasnt clear to me if he had a problem with the variance or he didnt. Basically he just recited what the ordinance was.
Susan Heholt: I spoke with him on the phone and he asked me to canvas my neighbors to see if anyone had a problem with the positioning of the stop sign and the ability to see out onto East Lake, and I couldnt find anybody who had a problem. I dont know if that means anything to the Board but included in the packet also was an informal petition that I took around to some of my neighbors and they signed that they didnt have a problem with the fence remaining.
Chairman Antosiak: I presume that 1737 East Lake is your neighbor and he wrote a letter back voicing his approval. There are 2 residents of Endwell 214 and 217, which I presume who are very near your property who wrote back recommending approval.
Member Brennan: Can we talk again about the letter from Craig Smith? I drew the conclusion that he is suggesting that it is a problem because you cant see traffic making a left hand turn. Did you draw a different opinion?
Chairman Antosiak: Yes. I drew the conclusion that he had no opinion because all he did was recite the ordinance and Ms. Heholt said that his response to her was to talk to her neighbors, which she did and submitted a brief petition containing 7 signatures from the neighbors stating that they had no objection to the fence.
Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Has there been any incidents on that corner as a result of the fence, that you are aware of?
Don Saven: I really couldnt tell you that because I am not sure. One of the questions that you may want to ask her is the type of fence that this is. What type of fence do you have there?
Chairman Antosiak: I have some photos if you would like to see them.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: It is a wood fence. It is not anything that you can visually see through.
Shane Deal: It is a 6 foot privacy fence.
Member Brennan: As made with the previous case in principal, I am always moved by what the neighbors feel. There seems to be an overwhelming agreement that this doesnt present any problem with the neighborhood. It has been there for a while. It does offer some protection to the homeowner and without hearing anything from anyone suggesting anything negative; it appears that we have an easy decision.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: After I drove by there once tonight and looked at it, I drove back from the other direction and the one thing that I must say is that it doesnt really obstruct visual direction coming up to East Lake Drive. They have adequate vision pulling up there, etc. Personally I dont like the fence location I think it is to close to the road. But, as Mr. Brennan has brought up the neighbors dont have an objection to it and I guess I cant really say there is a reason to not have it there.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: Is that a sectional fence?
Susan Heholt: Yes, it is.
Shane Deal: It is in 8 foot sections and it is 6 feet high.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: Would there be a possibility of taking the first section away from the road and adding it onto the back part of the fence?
Susan Heholt: That would extend into the driveway.
Jim Korte: What I have to say is when we get into the north end and when we get into the corners, this is a sad joke. We have an ordinance that says that you cant do anything 24 inches above the road level. Something on top of something is now illegal that has been there for 60 years. These are the things that get me. It has been up 2 years and nobody has found it a problem until one SOB at the north end said I want to attack. Now, I think that 2 years is long enough to see if there is a problem. Obviously it is not a problem. In my opinion it isnt a problem to you now, and it shouldnt be a problem to anyone.
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Meyer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-012 THE VARIANCE REQUEST BE APPROVED AS SUBMITTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAINTAINING SOME PRIVACY.
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-013A,B & C filed by Childrens World
Childrens World is requesting A) a 1 1/2' variance to construct a 6' tall brick screen wall, B) a variance to allow the construction of a fence in the required front yard and exterior side yard, and C) a variance to allow a commercial curb cut to be located across a public street from residentially zoned property to allow for the construction of a child care facility on Ten Mile Road between Taft Rd. and Beck Rd. Sidwell No. 5022-21-455-013.
John Finnemore was present and duly sworn.
John Finnemore: Actually I am glad that you took your break when you did because I was just pointed out something that I didnt properly request on the variance. I thought that the only fence or wall that we were requesting the variance height on was actually the masonry wall which is along the east property line. Actually all of the fences are in there. I can go through the different materials as we proceed here, but they are all 6 feet in height. So, I believe that we actually need a variance on all of our fencing because of the height. I will run you through the types of fence. Actually this plan isnt completely correct based on our latest discussions with the engineering department. We had originally looked at putting this dog legged berm around the parking lot and there was some concern about the additional weight on top of the sanitary sewer that runs along the east property line so actually what is going to happen is that the berm is going to terminate here and this brick wall will continue all the way up to here. (Charts shown to the Board.) Now the portion from this point to here can be 4 1/2 feet in height because that wont be acting as a fence for our playground and this part we wont need a variance on but it is going to change a little bit. So starting here it will be a 4 1/2 foot wall and when it gets to this point it will bump up to 6 foot and extend down to here and along the frontage of Ten Mile, it will be a tubular metal fence and as it comes up Homestead Court it connects back into the building as well as this section here which is 6 foot high vinyl coated chain link fence. Those are the types of fences that were approved through the Planning Commission in the site plan approval, special use process.
John Finnemore: The reason for our request is really quite simple. It is purely a security issue. About 5 years or so the child care industry switched from 4 foot fences to 6 foot fences; both in an effort to help keep the children in and it is obviously easier to climb a 4 foot fence than a 6 foot fence but also more importantly to keep unwanted people from being able to reach over a fence and grab a child who may be close to the fence. So the child care industry pretty much as a rule has switched to the 6 foot high fence so our request is really just a security type issue.
John Finnemore: The second variance that we are requesting is to have this drive located on what is a residential type street. We really dont have a hardship in that regard because we have configured this layout where we could turn everything around and put the parking in the front and have another curb cut onto Ten Mile Road. But, that was not met with much favor from staff members and the consultants because to add another curb cut to Ten Mile Road especially fairly close to the new public street was not very desirable and it was preferred that we proceed through the site plan approval process that would require us to come here for the variance for the drive that is onto Homestead Court. The houses that will be affected by that and there is an existing home right here and the property line ends right here and the gentleman who owns that home is present tonight and he has no opposition to our development and in fact is happy to see us come. Also the drive will affect one of the lots that is created by this subdivision, but is currently a non existent house, so they fill move in there fully knowledgeable that there will be a drive across from them. So, we really dont have a hardship there it was just a preference both for us as well as the staff to have that drive there. It benefits everybody with the ability for some stacking here if it is difficult to take some lefts out of here we have the ability to stack here with a lot more cars than we would, like 1 or 2 in the length of our driveway. Of course it does minimize the cuts onto Ten Mile Road which is something as time progresses will be a definite benefit out there.
John Finnemore: If you have any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them.
Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 47 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 2 written responses received, 1 voicing approval and 1 voicing objection. Copies in file.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven had no comment.
Steve Rumple: I would like to summarize where this project has been and how it has gotten in front of you. Some of the issues regarding the fencing and the brick wall have been brought to you because the land abutting, residential in this case, requires that the use has 4 foot 6 inch high berms. This usually is measured from whichever side of the wall or berm that would offer the most screening to the residential side of the development. Since no elevations at the time were sent to the department we took the base elevations which were at 956 and the first floor house elevations at 962 of the adjacent homes. To make a long story short the berm at 4 1/2 feet would not offer adequate screening to the neighboring residential. Therefore we had recommended at the time to go to a 6 foot high berm. When we started looking at that there was some engineering issues that came up as the applicant has stated with the types of soils that are going to be placed over the underlying utilities and the added weight and we felt that from the engineering standpoint that there would be possible future problems with maintenance of that area. Therefore the next option was to go to a 6 foot high wall which would alleviate the weight but also offer the proper screening to the residents adjacent to this development. In finding the rest of the fencing/wall being 6 foot around the entire perimeter I think again from a safety standpoint one of the things that we wrestled around with was having some type of fencing or wall in front of this development that would do a couple of things. One, offer security to the children on the other side but not block the vision to the internal yard where the children would be. We dont want to create a prison type of atmosphere and we want to keep the view open. By going with the 4 foot fence along the front with the requirement of the 30 inch berm being right up against it in essence you have basically a 2 foot step right next to the 4 foot high fence which you basically would have 2 feet to get over this fence. So Planning feels that going to a 6 foot high fence that you can see through into the court yard where the children are would be something that we would recommend.
Steve Rumple: As far as access, the road entry off of the new Homestead Court is the preferred entry to the site. The addition of another curb cut into this area is something that we would not look favorably to with the traffic that would be coming out of the subdivision and as parents pick up and drop off children. We didnt want any more congestion there. That is also a favorable way that this has been developed at this point.
Don Saven: I would just comment that should the Board decide to approve I believe that they would still have to seek a variance from City Council for the placement of the wall in the easement.
John Finnemore: Actually we have read that easement in detail and we are allowed to build and whoever negotiated it evidently the former property owner, it is very specific as to what can go in the easement and it references wall, fences, berms, pavement and it is real specific as to what can go in there and it is also very specific as to what cannot go in there and that being buildings or any type of structures. The easement as signed to the City of Novi does already allow the wall in that easement. I can get you a copy of it, but we did read it.
Chairman Antosiak: Just so that you understand, whatever we do tonight we dont affect that. So if there is a problem with that issue then you will have to address it with the City Council.
John Finnemore: But I think it may have already been addressed. Who determines that and who do I get with?
Don Saven: That would be City Council in this case.
John Finnemore: I mean to determine if I have to go to City Council, if the easement already is....
Don Saven: We could try to find out in Planning; they may look into the matter for you.
John Finnemore: I would like to add one other thing. I forgot to mention that after the Planning Commission gave us our approval there were some concerns that were raised by the residents or actually one of the residents in one of these homes and we were requested to sit down and meet with them, which we have done and as a result of that meeting we have agreed to set this wall back 4 feet from the property line and provide plantings, groupings of bushes intermixed with trees; it will be on our property but on their side of the wall. So for these residents their back yards increase by 4 feet and they get a row of planting across there and I believe that the residents as much as one of them in particular really didnt want to see us there, they were happy with our willingness to give them some plantings and soften the appearance of the wall.
Member Meyer: Would that be all along that wall?
John Finnemore: Yes. We met with the woman who lives in this house too and at the time it was still a question of whether this berm would dog leg here and we appraised her that if we were required by engineering to extend the wall up that we would also extend the plantings with the wall. The thing that we didnt point out to her is that we would be able to drop that down to 4 1/2 feet. We can ask her and she may prefer it to be at 6 feet and it doesnt matter to me whether it is a 4 1/2 or 6 feet. I just figured that it was less wall requiring a variance. She may prefer it to be 6 feet and if she does we will build it to 6 feet.
Member Meyer: What about, and it is Ten Mile Road.... so this wall is quite away off of the road?
John Finnemore: Yes, it stops right here. Part of this project and we will dedicate another 60 feet total....so this looks 40 to 50 feet from the pavement line.
Member Meyer: Part of my reason for asking is will it be aesthetically beautiful in the sense that it looks green right now, so it looks like a green scape of sorts, but I am reading that it is going to be a wall?
John Finnemore: This will be a brick wall with groupings and we are going to do this under Linda Lemkes direction some groupings of 5 bushes then a tree then 5 bushes and a tree along the wall and then actually along Ten Mile this will be a 2 1/2 foot berm and fairly densely planted. This really doesnt represent all of the planting that are truly there. It will be much more densely planted and that will also be the condition along Homestead Court. So while we were required to make this a decorative metal fence to make it more aesthetically pleasing it wont be that highly visible because it will be fairly heavily planted in front of it.
Member Meyer: Thank you. Initially my image was that it was going to look like a fort.
John Finnemore: As the Planner has mentioned, when we abut residential it is prudent to put some type of solid wall up but we really try not to do that on all property lines because it does wall the children in.
Member Brennan: I will just commend you for being aggressive and taking into account the residential concerns. A lot of people come here and do that after the fact, so I applaud you for doing that up front. Given that we are looking at 3 variances, I was just glancing at one of the objections and the objection really has no relevance here because we are looking at 3 variances that have nothing to do with the Planning issues that the objection referred to. So with that we have no true residential concerns or negative feedbacks, in addition to which Planning obviously has gone to great lengths to come up with these changes to the plan that seems to suit everyones need and this looks like a good deal.
Chairman Antosiak: Is that Mr. Myers property immediately to the west?
John Finnemore: Yes.
Chairman Antosiak: He is the person who wrote the letter recommending approval to the Board.
Moved by Member Meyer,
Seconded by Member Brennan,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-013A, B & C THE THREE (3) VARIANCES REQUESTED BY CHILDRENS WORLD BE GRANTED FOR PURPOSES OF SECURITY AND ALSO WITH RECOGNITION OF THE EFFORT MADE BY THE CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER TO MEET WITH THE RESIDENTS.
Discussion on motion:
Chairman Antosiak: I just want to clarify one issue, you made some comments here about changes that you were making to the development as a result of your meetings with the neighbors and such and those are being recognized as part of our motion. Although Mr. Meyer hasnt reiterated them all.....
Member Meyer: That is what I was trying to indicate, that due to your negotiating and as my colleague, Mr. Brennan, has indicated your willingness to be assertive in that direction and to go forward and to sit down and talk I am recognizing that as a part of this motion.
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-014 filed by Summit Pointe LLC
Summit Pointe LLC is requesting a variance for excess parking area in the north side yard to construct a new office building complex located west of Haggerty Road between Eight and Nine Mile Roads.
Mark Churella was present and duly sworn.
Mark Churella: I am the President and CEO of the FDI Group of Companies which is based in Novi. We have been long time Novi residents, both on a personal basis and a business basis. In January of 1998 we presented the Planning Commission with a conceptual design for the master plan of 43 acres located on Haggerty Road between Eight and Nine Mile Roads. That conceptual plan which you see in front of you contains class "A" office space of approximately 800,000 square feet comprised in 3 groupings of buildings built in phases numbered 1 through 6. In addition to that there is another building that is in the conceptual stage right now which is called Life Time Fitness which is an executive health club facility which measures 90,000 square feet. Today we are here to talk about the site plan that was presented to the Novi Planning Commission and was granted the preliminary site plan approval in January for phases 1 and 2 of the office building that we call Summit Pointe.
Mark Churella: The Summit Pointe Office Building is done in 2 phases. Those phases are 126,000 square feet each. In the Summit Pointe Office complex as you can see to the rendering to my right, indicates that there is a detention area to the front of the property. That detention area to the front of the property due to the topal of the land for site 1 renders us in a position which has forced us to come to the Zoning Board of Appeals in regards to our parking requirement on the north side yard of the building complex. One of the things that we have done as a part of this plan is put an extensive amount of landscaping in through the green belt area that you are going to see in the front of the detention area as well as a buffer to the residential. This parcel of property encompasses 3 different zonings. We have OSC, OS1, we abut to OSC and we also abut to the residential zoning. What we are looking for here is for a zoning variance for the one side yard portion of the building. I am going to ask Frank Ray, who is the President of Nordstrom Samson, who has done the conceptual design as well as the site plan work for us on this project to give you some specifics in regards to how the mathematical formulas were calculated and to explain specifically what the variance is that we are asking for. I would point a couple of things out prior to Frank coming up; number one we have been very diligent in regards to the site planning on this entire parcel and number two we have gone to an extensive amount of additional work to communicate with all residents in the Whispering Meadows Subdivision and that we have developed a conceptual landscape plan in the 150 foot green belt area that is to the immediate west of the entire parcel and that we have at our own expense come up with the landscape that is in front of the Whispering Meadows Homeowners Association now as a proactive measure prior to the Lifetime Fitness Facility which will be coming in front of you in the next couple of months for some specific variances themselves. So we have taken to heart the idea of proactive in regards to contacting residents prior to requesting any variances.
Mark Churella: At this particular point I would ask Frank to come up and give us an explanation.
Frank Ray: I would like to briefly explain the area in question. The side yard off street parking is located adjacent to the RM1. The RM1 starts at this point so in our calculations the way that we are calculating this area the box that you see that is how the ordinance would define the side yard. Within the area right here the pavement and parking area is approximately 72%. It says 68% in your document there but we were corrected by the Building Department that it is 72%. That is the area in question. I would like to bring to your attention that in our planning process with this detention pond in here which is one of the methods to provide detention on a site such as this; we elected to go this route because we think that it enhances the site and we use the extra property to do this and we put it in what ends making sense engineering wise but it also makes sense from a site standpoint. We tried laying out a scheme where we could maybe take the detention pond and use it up in this area to add additional buffer to the residences; but from an engineering standpoint it wasnt feasible. There is a 10 foot drop from this part of the site to the front of the site and we really couldnt get the slopes necessary for the gravity fed sewers that we are putting in there. Our inlet is right here that is taking all of our storm water from most of the 43 acre site; so this is a major engineering entity. Our front yard areas that we put when we do the calculation on the front yard, we are at 40% so we are 10% below the required and when you look at the combined area and I am trying to look at this from a global standpoint we are at about 53%. We feel that this detention pond in this area meets the 4 foot 6 berm that is in this area that is receiving all the required planting that is required by the ordinance and additional planting. We have some woodland trees that we are displacing as part of this development that we are locating on this site, we are not locating it somewhere else. The primary location is along the berm and around the detention area and we are enhancing it with those trees. So we think that we are doing a really good job. The Planning Commission granted a 40 foot versus a 60 foot requirement for the setback on the parking; they thought that it was a good plan. I can take any questions that you have.
Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 52 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.
There was no audience participation.
Steve Rumple: I think that the applicant has done a great job not only in presenting the case but putting together the site plan. I think that it is a class "A" site plan. I think that with the addition of the detention pond on the side of this development, it really enhances it especially when you are looking at an office development of this size. It breaks it up. I think that the additional landscaping that is going to buffer and increase screening to the residential lots on the north side goes a long way in breaking up the increase in the parking area and I think that what the applicant said kind of summarizes the staffs opinion as well. There has been a shift from the front yard reducing by 10% the amount of parking that would otherwise be allowed there and it is kind of being wrapped around to the back and a lot of that as the applicant has said is due to the topal and the fact that they have added this really lovely pond that is going to aesthetically increase the value of the property to community as well.
Don Saven had no comment.
Member Brennan: Well if you look for a reason to say yes and tie it to hardship you can say that the property has topography that really dictates that the pond be there and it if is there it impacts how many parking spots you can have on the Haggerty side road. I would soon see more parking in the back rather than strung along Haggerty. I am fully in agreement with this.
Member Bauer: It is a beautiful job.
Chairman Antosiak: Are both of these buildings part of the phase that you are discussing now?
Mark Churella: Actually building one is the first phase that is going to begin construction in the next 4 to 6 weeks. Phase 2 is contingent upon the market conditions, like most of these situations are. We do have the benefit right now and we have been working very diligently with the Whispering Meadows Homeowners Association in regards to the Lifetime Fitness Facility, they have started a club in Troy and they have another build that is going in Auburn Hills and they have targeted Novi for their third site. One of the things that we have been very particular about and it has to do with our ties to the community both as residents and as business owners here is the fact that we want to make this site to be something a little special and we want to make sure that the adjoining neighbors view that as well. So to the extent that the development is going off in phases and we would love to be able to build it at one time, but this area cannot absorb 800,000 square feet of commercial office space. That is a lot of space.
Frank Ray: In terms of Phase one this is the site plan for Phase one. The area in question is going to be constructed in Phase one, the berm and the landscaping will be there. We are actually adding the parking back here to try and protect the area from the building here. The area in question will be constructed in Phase one.
Chairman Antosiak: Presuming that you build the second building, will there be any additional zoning variances required for that?
Mark Churella: Actually as one of the missions that we had here was to try to not come and see you folks. So we have been very diligent in what we have tried to do and in the magnitude of this project you can imagine that there is a lot of considerations that occur. There is nothing that is minor about doing this project, but one of the things that Frank and his firm have been able to do for us is that they have presented countless number of variations of this plan to try to see what we can do as the best possible use. The likelihood that we would be here for Phase two, I would be misleading you if I said absolutely not, because I dont know. But based on our working relationship with Nordstrom Samson I would say that it would be less likely than more likely that we would be back. However, in regard to the Lifetime Fitness Facility we already know that we are going to be in front of the ZBA for a couple of issues and those have been approached to the neighbors and that is the reason that we are working on the landscaping plan as well as the settlement to some dispute that was there on the 150 foot green belt.
Member Meyer: As with the previous petitioner, I applaud the fact that you have made this effort to be proactive in dealing with the neighbors so you not only will make a beautiful site you also have a good relationship with the people that live in the area. Thank you for that. I think that is what makes Novi what it is. Thank you.
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-014 THAT THE PETITIONERS REQUEST FOR VARIANCE BE APPROVED DUE TO THE SITE TOPOGRAPHY AND GIVEN THAT THE VARIANCE REQUEST IS MINIMAL AND STILL WITHIN THE SPIRIT OF THE ORDINANCE.
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-015 filed by Pucci Building Co., representing James Kukuzke
Pucci Building Co., representing James Kukuzke, is requesting a 6' setback variance to allow a pool to remain 4' from a proposed construction at 41416 Glyme Dr.
Frank Pucci and James Kukuzke were present and duly sworn.
Frank Pucci: We are proposing to build an addition on the home and it turns out that the above ground pool constitutes a permanent structure and in Novi you have to have a 10 foot setback from a permanent structure to a proposed structure. The pool cannot be moved, it is 10 feet from the opposite lot line and it is the proper distance from the home and in this lot situation; it is a corner lot, we cant move the structure farther away from the pool because we are in violation of the 30 foot setback to Meadowbrook Road.
Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 35 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 2 written responses received, both voicing approval.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: Where is the service line coming in from the Detroit Edison pole?
Frank Pucci: It runs parallel with Meadowbrook Road, we are going to have to relocate the service to the north end of the garage.
Don Saven: I just want to be sure that there is no overhead wires where the pool is.
Member Brennan inquired of Don Saven: Are there any specific ordinances with regard to above ground pools and the distance to garages? Personally I am a little concerned, because I have had some history with kids jumping off of garages into pools, especially above ground that are 4 feet.
Don Saven: Basically what it dictates is that you have to maintain a 10 foot setback requirement from a structure. This is also an attached structure, so it is a part of the principal building. Therefore it is required to be 10 foot from that particular building.
Member Brennan: That is the variance request that they are asking for. I really have some concerns from a safety side, although we dont have ordinances that specifically address that.
Chairman Antosiak: The 10 foot is designed to do that.
Member Brennan: That was my immediate concern, I have been around above ground pools and I know what happens when they are that close to garages. That bothers me.
Frank Kukuzke: May I say something? Your illusion of the above ground pool might be misleading because the level of the pool is the level as you walk out of the house. It is not 4 foot above that. As you walk out of the house, it is like a built in pool and then it goes down.
Member Brennan: How deep is it?
Frank Kukuzke: It is 4 and 1/2 foot.
Member Brennan: I understand, we have a 4 foot deep pool; with the possibility and the proximity of jumping off a garage into it. That is my point and that still remains.
Member Meyer: On the diagram you have here, it says existing above ground pool, you already have an existing above ground pool?
Frank Kukuzke: It has been there for 10 years.
Member Meyer: So this is another pool?
Frank Kukuzke: No, that pool is staying where it is. The structure of the house is such that the pool is 10 foot to the back of the house; what we are going to do is to add an L-shaped garage and now it is going to be encircling the pool somewhat. The 4 foot is going to be on the garage side. The pool cannot be moved.
Member Meyer: I understand, thank you.
Member Brennan inquired of Don Saven: What is the impact if we granted a variance to this, does that put the issue of liability on the Citys shoulders?
Don Saven: I am sorry, I am not an attorney. I dont really know. I would like to ask one question though and it might be helpful for the Board to understand this; can you tell me which way your trusses are running?
Frank Pucci: On the garage they will be running from Meadowbrook towards the pool. There is a possibility that we may have a gable on that end facing the pool to accommodate the entrance off of the back there. Your concern was the roof. Of course, if somebody wants to jump off of a garage roof if the pool is there or not they are going to have some problems.
Member Brennan: They are going to have a lot harder problem if it is 10 foot away rather than 4 foot away. I think that we ought to have some input from the City Attorney. I would like to know that if we are talking about a variance that perhaps puts some liability questions on the table; I want some guidance. I dont want to potentially saddle the City with a liability problem because we have approved a variance that we know has been placed to safe guard perhaps a situation like this. We have an ordinance in place that says 10 feet and maybe I am being over cautious on this, but this jumped right off of the page when I saw this one.
Member Meyer: I am with you on this.
Frank Pucci: I am trying to understand this, if someone is jumping off of a roof they are taking a risk in themselves and the property owner. I cant see how the City can be brought into any kind of a litigation on private property.
Member Brennan: Sir, are you an attorney?
Frank Pucci: I am not an attorney, none of us are attorneys and we shouldnt be in front of the Zoning Board if this is a legal issue.
Member Brennan: That is why I am asking for some help. I am not an attorney, but my gut feel is that if we are granting a variance I am concerned about what liability we are assuming in the granting of that variance, especially when it relates to safety. I think that the homeowner should have some concern about that too. Maybe your insurance covers that. I will be a little bit more candid; I have an acquaintance who is a paraplegic because he jumped off of a garage into a 4 foot pool, he busted his neck and that is the first thing that jumped out.
Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Arent there certain situations where we do seek hold/harmless agreements from petitioners who we grant variances to?
Don Saven: I believe that is a possibility but I think that this goes above and beyond that particular condition for the hold/harmless statement.
Frank Pucci: Can they provide an affidavit, a written affidavit, releasing the City of Novi or doesnt that make any sense? Probably not, if someone is going to sue they are going to sue, they are going to go after the biggest insurance policy.
Chairman Antosiak: The problem is that your client cant release someone from indemnity that hasnt been injured yet or who may not be covered by his release. So, I think that Mr. Brennan asks a worthwhile question.
Don Saven: Another issue is we dont know if that gentleman is going to be in that house forever.
James Kukuzke: I built the house in 1976, that is why I am building on because I plan on staying here. My families are all here now. I have grandchildren. That is why I call this my home. That is what I am trying to do.
Member Brennan: Would you mind 30 days? If you gave us 30 days that we can ask the City Attorney to give us some advice here. It is good advice for you, you are going to get it for free but it will cost you a month. If you say no and ask us to vote I dont think that you have support quite honestly and if you would like to give us that month you can come back, we will try to get you early in the agenda.
Member Meyer: You wont be waiting until 10 oclock.
Member Brennan: I think that this is in your best interest. You will get free legal advice if there is an issue. If they come back and say no, then it is a whole different situation. I believe that we could have a liability on both parties and we need to have an answer from an attorney.
Member Meyer: I just would like to say to the gentleman because you have been here since 1976, we appreciate and want you to stay in Novi. So it is not like we are trying to make life miserable for you. I think that in this particular case though at least prudence would dictate that we get a legal opinion on this.
Frank Kukuzke: I understand that.
Chairman Antosiak: I would support Mr. Brennans comment; I doubt that we would have consensus this evening on the issue and I would also advise that you table your request to the April Meeting, which would be April 7th.....
Frank Kukuzke: I have a problem with that because I am going to be out of the country. Is it all right if just the builder is present at that time?
Chairman Antosiak: If he can speak on your behalf that will be fine. We will ask Mr. Watson to review that and advise us on what the potential liability issues are so that we are all prepared by the next meeting.
Frank Pucci: We will know before the next meeting?
Chairman Antosiak: We will ask him to review it before the next meeting.
Don Saven: That will really be up to him as to how quick we can have that information.
Chairman Antosiak: I move that the request be tabled until the April Meeting, all in favor please say aye. All ayes. Case is tabled to the April Meeting.
Case No. 97-118A & B filed by Townsend Neon, representing Big Boy Restaurants
Continuation of case filed by Townsend Neon, representing Big Boy Restaurants, requesting A) a 10' x 8' (80 sq. ft.) wall sign to be located on the front of the building facing Novi Road with the verbiage "BIG BOY, logo, circle, B) a wall sign 10' x 2'6" (26 sq. ft.) on the side of the building facing Fonda Dr. (Expo Center Dr.) with the verbiage "BIG BOY", to be located at 2401 Novi Rd.
Tom Shoemaker and Gabe Cassab were present.
Tom Shoemaker: The mock ups are in place.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven had no comment.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Member Brennan: If I am heading north on Novi Road with the permanent sign that you plan on having the big 80 footer, would I be able to see that? Is it going to jut out to such an extent that I would be able to read that heading north?
Tom Shoemaker: No. The front sign will only jut out 9 inches more than the mock up. In other words there is no readability until you get close enough to the front of the building.
Member Brennan: So the purpose of the sign on the Fonda Drive while it gives signage for those coming in and out of the Expo Center, it also provides signage for northbound traffic that will no longer see the pole sign that you have indicated that you are going to take down.
Tom Shoemaker: It also is an indication because there is no front driveway where the main sign is, so this gives an indication that there is an entrance on the side of the building.
Member Brennan: Do you anticipate any other signage requirements?
Tom Shoemaker: We would like to put 2 signs that are on the building up and remove the pylon sign and that is our request and has been.
Chairman Antosiak: I would like to note for the record that Mr. Harrington, who couldnt be here tonight, did write a letter to the Board; but I dont think that his comments are appropriate any longer because they were written before the mock up was raised and when he left town it was prior to when the mock up was put up.
Member Meyer: I have looked at the mock up and I have also looked at the final product on a Big Boy Restaurant on the east side of town; I believe it was the VanDyke and M59 area or VanDyke and I cant exactly remember where; but I saw what the final product looks like and it looked very neat and very appropriate. I dont think that the mock up does it justice to tell you the truth. I still need a little convincing about the sign on the south side. When I drove by there today I am sitting on Novi Road going north and I could see this as clearly as I could see the other sign on the side of the building. I am not sure I know why you need the sign on the side of the building on Expo Drive. So, convince me.
Gabe Cassab: Did not come to the microphone. Not able to hear on tape.
Member Meyer: I have taught logic at the college level, but I am going to ask this just logically. In order to get into the Expo Center they are going to pass Big Boy, in other words they are not going to pass it on the way out for the first time they are passing it to get into the Expo Center so they know that the Big Boy is already there....
Gabe Cassab: Maybe they wont see it.
Tom Shoemaker: That sign at night will be visible before the other sign. The mock up doesnt do that justice on the brick.
Member Meyer: I am just saying that they already know that the Big Boy is there when they drive into that place or into the Expo Center.
Tom Shoemaker: For people who arent going to the Expo Center. We arent just targeting people who are going to the center........
Member Meyer: I thought it was just for people coming out of the Expo Center, because you see everybody else is coming along the road and they know that is Big Boy right there. They can see the sign, they can see the Big Boy. I guess what I am saying is that I dont know what more they need.
Don Saven: One of the things to take into consideration because this is on a corner lot, this individual would be allowed to have that sign on the sign of the building provided the ground pole sign out front comes down. I think that is what they have indicated that they are going to do.
Member Brennan: So on a corner lot, he is allowed 2 signs?
Alan Amolsch: Yes, he is on 2 thoroughfares.
Chairman Antosiak: We do appreciate you putting up the mock up so that we could get a handle as to what the signs will look like.
Moved by Member Meyer,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 97-118A & B THE SIGNS REQUESTED BY THE BIG BOY RESTAURANT BE GRANTED. THEY ARE WITHIN REASON AND ARE FOR THE PURPOSE OF IDENTIFICATION OF THE BUILDING, THE PYLON SIGN WILL BE REMOVED. THIS VARIANCE WILL BE FOR THIS PETITIONER ONLY
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 97-102 filed by Infiniti
Continuation of case filed by Infiniti requesting a 27.5 square foot area variance and a 10'7" height variance to allow for a ground sign to be placed at 24355 Haggerty Road.
Roy Coons was present and duly sworn.
Chairman Antosiak: I dont think that it is necessary for you to state your case, once again we were waiting for the mock up which has been up for several days. So we will proceed.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Chairman Antosiak read comments from Mr. Harrington, who is out of town. "My years of driving past the Chrysler/Plymouth sign have reminded me that my objections to the sign were well founded, notwithstanding, the Board approval was prior to our current custom if insisting upon a true-to-scale rendering. The rendering of the Infiniti sign makes clear to the undersigned that the proposed sign is way too large. In fact, portions of the sign are partially obscured by the utility lines. Clearly, if any variance should issue, assuming proofs of hardship are compelling, the undersigned would only respond favorable to a sign somewhere between 3' - 5' shorter."
Chairman Antosiak: We will handle Mr. Harringtons letter as a comment from the public, as he is not here this evening.
Member Brennan: Well he hit it right on the head. I agree and we have discussed this many times that we made a mistake back then and signage since that time in that area with respect to Mercedes, with respect to the Mobil dealership and all along that line has been at heights much less than what has been proposed. While I have no real objection over the sign and its design with the white portion of it, it appears that it perhaps could very readily hacked down and lowered. It is going to be my recommendation along the lines of Mr. Harrington that the sign be no taller than what we have at the Mobil corner; given that you are right out on Haggerty and my preference would be something in the 6 to 7 foot range in terms of height.
Chairman Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: What is the height of the Chrysler sign? Do you know that off hand.
Member Brennan: It is 15 feet.
Alan Amolsch: Originally it was 22 feet and it ended up somewhere about 15 feet I can get all the information for you.
Member Brennan: I have that right here. It is 15 feet and the Mercedes is 10 from grade and if you recall it sat like 3 feet in the ditch, so from grade of the road it is about 7 foot tall and that is my jist of where we need to be to be consistent with where we are going. If we get a chance, believe me, if we get a chance to barter with Chrysler/Plymouth that sign will be shorter and smaller.
Roy Coons: I understand your concern with that and I am just sorry that I didnt get mine first. But, the situation that we have and where I would put my request forth and be certainly willing to discuss some variance in the sign height is the fact that because of the location that we are, our elevation of the building is quite low and where the sign is placed now is 3 feet below the road grade. With the sign being effectively 12 feet above the road grade. With the location that we have, being just a little off center of the middle of the block and with the road from between Grand River and Ten Mile being arched if you are coming from either direction and many people that come to our business and are coming to Novi come from out of the area and are not familiar with it. If you get back as far as the corners, I dont believe that the sign looks out of scale in relationship to the property or any of the other signage in the area. Actually the amount of signage that we could cut off in talking with both the sign people and looking at it and trying to be realistic, our belief is that we could probably realistically take a couple of feet off of it and have a maximum of 10 feet elevation above the road. I believe that anything below that with the signage that is available to us, without going into a wider sign and we have tried to be sensitive to some comments that were made before about our neighbors being both tall and wide, we tried to keep it as narrow as possible and still have it visible and readable. My belief is that we would be willing and flexible to take 2 feet off it and then it would be no more than 10 feet above road grade.
Member Bauer: The Chrysler sign was really discussed to be that high because they sit 500 to 600 feet of Haggerty Road; you are what maybe 30 feet off of Haggerty Road?
Roy Coons: No, we are probably and I dont have the exact footage but it is considerable greater than 30.
Member Bauer: But much closer. I was looking at a 5 foot sign height, myself. That would be to the top of the Infiniti sign and I think it would be sufficient.
Member Meyer: The Chrysler sign, they showed us a video of people driving up and not being able to see it as they were coming up Haggerty because of the distance. I would presume though that by the time that they got up to the top and they are going north now, by the time they get over the little hump they would have plenty of time to see Infiniti.
Roy Coons: You can see the building, but due to the fact that we have minimal signage on the building, it is very hard to identify and again this has really and truly been prompted by our location and having many of our customers and again many of them coming to us from out of the area and not being able to locate us with the additional and increasing traffic there. People come along and try to see it and then make a quick maneuver in to be able to identify it from as far away as possible. I am respectful of the fact that you are not pleased after the fact, with the Chrysler signage and in your eyes it may be a large amount of over kill, but I believe that by narrowing the sign down that to make the sign a maximum of 5 feet tall would give it very limited visibility from any distance other than pretty much adjacent to the driveway.
Member Brennan: What you are referencing was one Members suggestion and what I had proposed was more in line with other signs in the immediate area. You are not going to convince me that where that sign is located and even if it is at 7 foot tall, that you cant see it. You can see that sign very well heading north or south. There was some very severe topography issues with the other sign as you were north bound on Haggerty and that was what was driving the height and size. I dont think that we should get to carried up with what everyone else has because your case stands on its own. I will reiterate my position and I am comfortable with the square footage and I dont think that it is an over kill, where the sign is located I would support a sign that was in the same height range of other signs in the area and that is about 7 foot.
Roy Coons: Would that be 7 foot from road elevation? Again, if we put it 7 foot from the ground which would necessitate the taking of 8 feet off of the sign, being we are 3 feet below road elevation.
Member Brennan; Your original request was for 15 feet 7 is that from Haggerty Road or is that from the ground?
Roy Coons: That is from the ground.
Member Brennan: I am speaking of the same thing then; 7 feet from the ground.
Roy Coons: I guess that what I would have to do, and I certainly want to be flexible and agreeable to the Board, but I also need to have adequate signage and what is available to us in terms of being able to make sure that it is available and it is going to be something that is going to be recognizable. I am not familiar with the height of the Mobil sign, and with the Chrysler sign being the size and the width that it is; if my sign gets considerably lower I believe that is going to block it. Again if any other Board Member has a feeling on the height, but I think that if we got it anything less than 7 feet from the road elevation it would be very difficult to see if you were at either corner; which is where most people look to try to find the location particularly if they are coming from the Grand River end of it and stop at one of the lights to try to find the location.
Member Bauer: I can see that sign fine and I drive by it twice every day. At that height it just hits me. So if we cut it down to 7 foot, I could still see it and from the other side of Grand River.
Member Meyer: It is at 10 feet right now?
Roy Coons: Actually it is 15 feet from ground height and again if you take the road out of it is at 12 feet, but it is 15 feet from ground height, the same height as the Chrysler sign.
Member Brennan: What I have offered or suggested is 7 foot from ground which put it 10 feet from the Haggerty grade.
Roy Coons: Then I was confused because that is what I was asking; whether it would be 10 feet from the ground which would give us 7 feet above Haggerty grade.
Don Saven: First we were talking about 7 feet from grade and now we are talking about 10 feet from grade......
Chairman Antosiak: We are talking about a sign that the actual height of the sign would be 10 feet from grade, but it would give the appearance of being 7 feet from the road.
Don Saven: I was misunderstanding what was going on.
Member Brennan: Haggerty is 3 feet below......
Chairman Antosiak: No it is 3 feet above.
Member Brennan: Then it is just the opposite.
Member Bauer: Yes, it is just the opposite.
Roy Coons: So it would be lessening the sign by 5 feet.
Chairman Antosiak: The top of the sign that high would be right at the bottom of where the Infiniti insignia begins.
Roy Coons: Approximately, yes.
Member Brennan: Is everyone in agreement to where it is at?
Roy Coons: From the dirt to the top of the sign would be 10 foot, as I understand what you are proposing.
Member Brennan: With Haggerty being 3 foot above the bottom of the dirt or where the dirt is.
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Meyer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 97-120 THAT THE PETITIONERS REQUEST FOR SQUARE FOOTAGE BE APPROVED AS SUBMITTED AND THAT THE HEIGHT WILL BE 10 FOOT FROM GROUND WHICH IN THE RENDERING TAKES IT JUST BELOW THE INFINITI VERBIAGE.
Discussion on motion:
Chairman Antosiak: I have a question. The square footage and it wasnt clear to me, the variance request is 60 square feet requested; where did the 60 square feet come from?
Alan Amolsch: That is what the petitioner put on the application. The actual sign area is only 5 by 5 or 25 square feet. Unless they plan on putting lettering on the bottom in the future. That is the way that the application came in and they took the whole sign. We do not count the base of the sign as sign area. That is what they put on the application, that is the way that it was advertised.
Chairman Antosiak: I would ask that Mr. Brennan amend his motion so that the actual sign square footage would be 25 square feet as per the rendering and be limited to this petitioner.
Member Brennan: That is fine.
Chairman Antosiak: The motion as amended tonight is height of sign is 10 feet from ground, the actual signage on that sign is 5 by 5 or 25 square feet and is limited to this petitioner only.
Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (1) Bauer Motion Carried
Case No. 98-006 filed by Hughlan Development/Sandstone
Hughlan Development/Sandstone is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of three (3) signs; 1) a sign advertising the "Vistas of Novi" project located at the northwest corner of Novi Rd. and Old Novi Rd.; 2) a sign advertising the "Vistas of Novi" project located at the southwest corner of 13 Mile Rd. and Novi Rd.; 3) a sign advertising "The Hills" at the "Vistas of Novi" located
at the northeast corner of Novi Rd. and Sandstone Dr. these signs were approved in ZBA Case No. 96-101 for a one year period.
Bruce Sanders was present and duly sworn.
Bruce Sanders: Just as you have stated; we had a variance one year ago to have 7 signs; we received a letter from Nancy McKernan, Ordinance Enforcement Division, stating that the variance that we were allowed did expire and we needed to contact and apply for a new variance; which we did. What we are asking is to allow 3 of the 7 signs. In the letter to Ms. McKernan, we said that we would be removing 4 signs, which has already taken place. We ask that the 3 remaining signs which are pertinent to the development remain.
Bruce Sanders: Item number 3 is a sign advertising The Hills and this one will not be needed much longer. My understanding is that there is only 14 more lots in The Hills to sell. The other 2 signs advertise the overall development which is 16 phases and will be going on for some time yet.
Chairman Antosiak indicated there was 107 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Don Saven had no comment.
Chairman Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: Was the approval that we granted last year, the first extension on these signs?
Alan Amolsch: That was the second.
Member Brennan: If I can summarize just to make sure that I understand; these first 2 are project signs that you expect that you will need for sometime because it is covering all of the various additional.......
Bruce Sanders: Chances are that we will probably be back in another year to ask and as long as those signs are still in as good a shape that they are now; we will probably be back to ask for another extension in the future on those 2 signs.
Member Brennan: Do you need a year on The Hills, sign?
Bruce Sanders: No, my understanding is that there is only 14 more lots and at the rate the current builder is selling there, I would think that it would probably be in the range of the summer some time around there that it could be removed.
Chairman Antosiak: This would be, if granted, the third renewal; I think it is only fair to advise you that I dont ever recall the Board ever granting 4.
Member Bauer: But we never had a development this big.
Member Meyer: I am a little confused. You said that there was 7 signs and we are approving 3 of them tonight?
Bruce Sanders: The other 4 are no longer pertinent and they have been removed.
Member Meyer: Do you have signs that announce the entrance to the place, other than these signs?
Bruce Sanders: These are the only 3 signs left on the project currently. As the phases progress, currently we have 4 more preliminary site plans for new phases already approved and as these progress I am sure that they will be coming in for signage separate from these issues. Separate signage for advertising each individual phase.
Member Meyer: There wont be a permanent sign that says The Hills?
Alan Amolsch: They do have entrance signs to the subdivision.
Member Meyer: Dont those signs of themselves advertise?
Bruce Sanders: No, the only things that are there are monument markers. Stone markers that say Sandstone 1995. The date that the project started out there.
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-006 THAT SIGNS NUMBER ONE AND TWO BE GRANTED A THIRD YEAR ADDITION, THE HILLS SIGN (ITEM THREE) BE GRANTED SIX MONTHS OR UNTIL THE END OF AUGUST.
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-016A,B,C,D,E,F & g filed by Jon Sarkesian Architects representing Hagopian World of Rugs
John Sarkesian Architects, representing Hagopian World of rugs, is requesting A) a wall sign 20' x 4'6" (90 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "HAGOPIAN RUGS*CARPET*HOME ACCENTS"; B) a wall sign 17' x 3'9" (64 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "HAGOPIAN RUGS*CARPET*HOME ACCENTS" C) a wall sign 16'9" x 3'10" (64 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "HAGOPIAN RUG OUTLET"; D) a ground sign 3'4" x 10 3/4" (3 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "HAGOPIAN (with directional arrow)", E) a ground sign 6'8" x 10 1/2" (6 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "<RUG CLEANING DROP OFF RUG OUTLET>"; F) a wall sign 6' x 7" (3.5 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "RUG CLEANING" G) banners of pennants (unspecified number) of a solid color possibly with a logo to be placed on the building, for property located at 43223 Twelve Mile Road.
Edmond Hagopian was present and duly sworn.
Edmond Hagopian: What we have here is a kind of unique site that we are dealing with, so I put up the plan. I dont know if you drove by recently, but it is an unusual piece of property. We have spent a lot of money trying to develop it. It is a difficult piece to design for retail and it is probably why Taubman had it up for sale at this date. We think that we have come up with a nice building. We are going to move our headquarters here. Our whole retail operation will be centered out of this store.
Edmond Hagopian: But, we do have difficulties with the signage. We have 2 front yards. One is down here that faces the mall and another one that faces Gormans. These are 2 different levels. So a customer entering here will have to take an elevator or stairs down to this floor. This sign here that faces Twelve Mile Road is really our main frontage, that will get the most exposure from traffic - so we felt that was critical for our identification of the building. The ordinance does allow for 2 signs. We feel that we have a unique hardship with the lay of the land, it drops almost 40 feet. We were unable to put the front door on Twelve Mile Road because of that. We had no choice but to create a building that looks and operates like this one does. In terms of the wall signs I feel that we have a unique situation and I think that this solves it. We have spent a lot of time working on this building and this option, I believe, accomplishes what we want and aesthetically it is a good looking building and the signage will add to that. It is proportionate to the size of the building.
Edmond Hagopian: Let me address what we are proposing for the Twelve Mile Road facade. Hagopian with Rugs, Carpet and Home Accents underneath it. We will be selling different products than what we have now. We think it is important that people know that. We are known for rugs and I think that our name is synonymous with rugs and since we are getting into a new product category we feel that it is important to identify those. It does create a situation where it adds a little bit to the size of the sign, but we feel that it is critical to launching our new project.
Edmond Hagopian: This is the sign that faces Gormans. It is appropriate, we feel, to the size of the facade. It communicates where the front door is. None of these signs are visible from or for the most part there might be a small amount of time that you might see this sign and the sign facing Twelve Mile; but for the majority of people they will only see one of these signs at a time.
Edmond Hagopian: We did get letters from our neighbors, both the Baronette and Gormans have looked at the plan and feel that they are comfortable with it.
Edmond Hagopian: That is my position on the wall signs.
Edmond Hagopian: The other issue that we have here is the monument sign on the ring road. It is a directional sign that is important for traffic flow up on the ring road to get to our site. We actually have an error here on what we submitted. It is 35 percent, the graphic represents 35% of the total sign; but that includes the arrow and it is our understanding now that we should not have included the arrow in that calculation. So now we are within the 30% requirement of the graphic for the monument sign and I feel that addresses that issue.
Edmond Hagopian: Regarding the pennants or flags, again the ordinance states that we are allowed 2 flags and each flag can be a maximum of 24 square feet. A commercial institution may have a flag according to the ordinance. We would like to see 4 flags; but we are willing to reduce those in size to 12 square feet so that the total amount of square footage would be equal to the ordinance; so we would be in compliance. We are basically asking for 2 additional flags at half the size.
Edmond Hagopian: There is one more sign, the directional sign. They are in compliance and are not an issue. We are allowed 3 square feet, a double sided sign, we have 2 of those signs and one of them is at a right angle and it is not double sided so it is 6 square feet; each side is 3 square feet for a total of 6. That is in compliance as well.
Edmond Hagopian: The last sign would be letter F and that is our cash and carry entrance. We get a lot of foot traffic from our cash and carry business. We have a drop off center at all of our other locations and signage is very important. You never actually have enough in that case. We always have customers bringing in rugs to the wrong door. This will help. I feel that this is a difficult site for a customer to get orientated in. I think that knowing where to drop off your rug for cleaning is a service to them. It is just really to direct traffic basically.
Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 9 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 2 written responses received, both voicing approval. Copies in file.
There was no audience participation.
Donald Saven had no comment.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Chairman Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: Could you clarify something that the petitioner said or a couple of things? One is the 30% lettering on the directional sign.
Alan Amolsch: They have the sign angled at right angles that means that we include both sign faces as sign area. If it is back to back it is only 3 square feet. What they have represents 6 square feet, there are two 3 square foot signs. The percentage looks to me, a lot more than 30% of the sign. I dont know how they figure it is less than 30%. That is how we figure the sign area.
Chairman Antosiak: The petitioner also inferred that they were entitled to a certain number of banners or pennants and I believe that banners or pennants are prohibited by ordinance.
Alan Amolsch: The ordinance allows an American flag and 2 other flags of their choice, whether they are commercial, other states, other countries; with at 24 square foot maximum. The ordinance does not permit pennant type of signs.
Member Bauer: Lets start right off, we would like to see mock ups for all of the main signs.
Member Meyer: We would like to see what they would look like. Just as Big Boy did. If you drive by there tonight you will see that they did a mock up for the presentation that they just gave here. So we as a Board can drive by and see what it looks like.
Edmond Hagopian: OK.
Member Meyer: If you drive by Big Boy at Expo Drive and Novi Road, you will see what they did as far as a mock up.
Edmond Hagopian: You want to see the height of the letters and everything?
Chairman Antosiak: Yes, we want to see something that looks like the signs that you are requesting.
Edmond Hagopian: Like a cloth banner?
Member Meyer: That is why I am saying that if you drive by there tonight you can see what they did. You might want to look at it. The other thing is, as one Board Member, I just dont know how I could approve sign A being 37 square feet over the permitted amount. My hope is that you gentleman will bring this a little bit more into conformance with the requirements.
Chairman Antosiak: The initial impression that I have, absent of the mock up, is there are a lot of signs and they are big. Perhaps mock ups would alleviate those concerns.
Edmond Hagopian: Looking at the scale of the building, you dont feel that they are within the appropriate dimensions? You have almost a 40 foot high facade here. You wouldnt want a small sign; the signs have to look like they would fit the building. Other than the wall sign issue and the size is there any issues with the banners that maybe we could work on?
Member Bauer: We dont like banners, they are not in the ordinance.
Edmond Hagopian: Let me re-phrase that. Flags. Is there any issue with the flags? The ordinance does allow for flags.
Member Bauer: The American flag and 2 other flags of your choice.
Edmond Hagopian: We were asking for actually was to downsize the 2 others of our choice and have 4 because we have 2 front doors. We were trying to create some balance there. I would like some kind of indication from the Board on what your feeling is about that.
Member Brennan: Are you proposing flags in the order of what is right behind you or banners or streamers or?????
Edmond Hagopian: It wouldnt be a streamer. We are a high end retailer and we want our place to look nice. We are not trying to look like a used car lot.
Member Brennan: What are you proposing?
Edmond Hagopian: We are trying to make it look up-scale. A twelve square foot flag is not very big. Would you like to see a mock up of the flag? Is there an issue with having 4 flags? Smaller? Does that seem to be OK?
Alan Amolsch: One American and 2 other flags of your choice.
Edmond Hagopian: So you would prefer that I have 2 large flags as opposed to 4 small ones; is that what I am getting a read on?
Alan Amolsch: That is what the ordinance allows. Twenty four square foot per flag, and the American flag cannot be more than 60 square feet currently, that is being looked at
Member Brennan: For purpose of balance? Is this and maybe I am reading into this that you have your 2 main entrance ways where sign C and sign B - is it your proposal to have an American flag and a Hagopian flag?
Edmond Hagopian: Actually we were not going to have an American flag.
Member Brennan: What is your proposal?
Edmond Hagopian: We would like to have is 4 flags that have our logo on them in these 2 areas. They will be unique to this building.
Member Brennan: This is the building that is just steel up right now?
Edmond Hagopian: Well they have actually put up the drive it and it is partially enclosed.
Edmond Hagopian: I guess that what we are trying to do is to create a site that looks like it was designed for that topography as opposed to just going forward with the plans because that is what every other building does. It is a unique site. We have had to do a lot of things to accommodate that site and I guess that the flags; well would you put them at one entrance and not at the other. It seems to me that you can create....
Member Brennan: Or not at either.
Edmond Hagopian: But the ordinance does allow for it and I think that it would be attractive. I think that the ordinance allows something a little large. I dont think that they need to be 4 by 6. Visually I think that what you are trying to create with the ordinance is an uncluttered affect and I think that 2 smaller flags at either entrance create that affect even more so than having 2 large ones at one entrance. I guess I would like something.....
Member Bauer: How about an American flag at each side or you dont get any of them.
Member Brennan: That part of the ordinance is clear. You have one flag which is an American flag and 2 other flags of your choice.
Edmond Hagopian: You are allowed?
Don Saven: You are allowed one flag that is the United States flag and then you are allowed 2 additional flags. You can have a grand total of 3. But if you are not including the American flag you cant have any of them.
Edmond Hagopian: That is specifically in the ordinance?
Member Brennan: Yes.
Don Saven: The first one has to be the American flag and then you are allowed 2 additional flags.
Edmond Hagopian: We could put up a flag pole and then fly the American flag if that is what you would like to see.
Don Saven: That is basically what the ordinance says.
Edmond Hagopian: If we were to accommodate that issue with the American flag what is the read on the other?
Don Saven: Then you would need a variance for the 2 other or the additional flags.
Chairman Antosiak: Is that in addition to all other signage?
Don Saven: Yes.
Member Meyer: We are trying to work with you. We are trying to keep it uncluttered ourselves.
Edmond Hagopian: Having an American flag, I dont know if that unclutters it. But I am willing to do it, if it allows me to get the other flags.
Member Brennan: You have to have that. If you are going to have any flags at all you start with that.
Edmond Hagopian: Im American, whether I fly a flag or not.
Don Saven: What I am saying is the issue of getting additional flags is based upon you having an American flag.
Edmond Hagopian: That is not a problem.
Don Saven: The second question is that you say you want these flags on your building, therefore if you are talking about putting an American flag will the American flag be on the building too, or did you indicate that you would put it on a flag pole somewhere else on the property?
Edmond Hagopian: Well, actually until this moment I hadnt really considered it.
Don Saven: I think that is something that you probably have to think about. But if it is your intent to have 4 flags of your commercial business strategically located on your building; on both faces of the building with one facing whatever the main thoroughfare and one facing the ring road; then that is what you are going to seek a variance for. It would be for those 4 flags because you dont have the American flag first.
Edmond Hagopian: OK, I guess what we will do is to come back with a rendering.
Member Meyer: It would be good to look at the signs on the buildings around you and see what they have.
Edmond Hagopian: I actually have some photos, if I could be allowed to submit them. I dont know if you would be interested in looking at them.
Photos presented to the Board.
Member Brennan: If you heard some of the previous cases and if you proceed and go ahead on sign "A" and put up a 90 square foot sign that rendering may in effect give us the illusion that it is to big and when you come back we may not be interested in that sign. That would be for the mock ups.
Member Bauer: Then again it may be just right.
Edmond Hagopian inquired as to when the next meeting was to be held.
Chairman Antosiak: That meeting will be held on April 7th.
Member Brennan: Is your building construction to the point that you want to do this now, or do you want to......
Edgar Hagopian: We actually have a little time.
Chairman Antosiak: If your building is such that it would be difficult to do and if you want to wait another month, all you would have to do is to tell Nancy.
Edgar Hagopian: I think that is a good idea. Are there any other issues? This was a very elaborate request. I want to make sure that I get all of the points covered.
Don Saven: I think that the issue of the mock ups will be very beneficial to you because of your location. I think this is what the Board needs to see, the location and the topography.
Edmond Hagopian: It is a very difficult site.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: It gives us a perspective, whether it is the proper size. We might see or you might even see that something is really too big and needs to be down sized.
Chairman Antosiak: Alan indicated that he wasnt sure that he agreed with your calculations on some of the directional signs; you might want to double check those.
Edmond Hagopian: We will do that. We will make sure that is right.
Chairman Antoisak: If you do fall within the ordinance, then you dont need a variance for those; but if you dont you will need the variance.
Member Meyer: Just to let you know that our colleague that is not here this evening is a very vocal individual; so he will want to see the mock up and he will let you know immediately if he thinks that it is too big. I am just trying to let you know ahead of time.
Edmond Hagopian: I noticed that some people had actually shown the mock up earlier, before the meeting, is that how we do it?
Member Meyer: Basically a few days before the Meeting, apparently Big Boy did this in the last 24 hours and he would have preferred because he is out of town that it had been up 2 or 3 days before.
Edmond Hagopian: We would like to be on the April agenda.
Case No. 98-017 filed by the Linder Company, representing Old Navy
The Linder Company, representing Old Navy, is requesting a 20 square foot variance to allow the placement of a 70 square foot sign with the verbiage "OLD NAVY" for property located at 43207 Crescent Blvd. A variance was granted for this property on September 8, 1987, ZBA Case No., 1503B granting 50 square feet of signage.
Jim Clear was present and duly sworn.
Jim Clear: I am the property manager at the Novi Town Center. We have a new tenant coming to the Town Center, Old Navy. They are going to occupy about 15,000 square feet of retail space. We would like to give them the best shot possible coming into the Town Center. There is a representative here tonight, Richard Kim, from Old Navy and he would like to talk to you about the specifics of the sign.
Richard Kim was present and duly sworn.
Richard Kim: At present we have designed signage for our store at Novi Town Center to comply with the existing variance of 50 square feet. Basically I am here today to ask that this allowance be increased to 70 square feet. The information that you have in front of you shows basically 2 variations of the elevation of our store at the Novi Town Center, there are also details on the sign and a picture of what the signage looks like on an existing store in a different location.
Richard Kim: There are a few main reasons that I am going to go over as to why we think that we need the additional size on the signage. First of all the idea of competitive visibility. I think that we would like to increase our sign because of the fact that Old Navy is not necessarily something that may not be as well known as GAP, it is a division retail of the GAP; but Old Navy at this point, I think, is not as well known. Whereas in certain instances you can recognize a name without necessarily having to read it. In this case, I think, because it is not as well known people are going to be tending to read the actual sign. So the idea of giving it more presence and making it larger, I think, will help as far as people looking for our store. Secondly from the frontage roads there are 3 or 4 entrances into the center and several of the entrances you cant see our space. We are located right here in the hatched area. Overall these 2 entrances and if you come in from this entrance you cant see the sign at all because of the angle that we are located. Again if we had it a little longer it would be easier to see. The same with this location, it is a little bit further you have a better angle but it is still hard to see. The best view of our store from the frontage road is probably from these 2 entrances and basically we are about 600 some feet away from the frontage road.
Richard Kim: Again, it seems to make sense that if we had a little bit larger signage it would be more visible. The strip center, and I am sure that you have been there, is very consistent in design and the things that distinguish are their signage basically. Again, if we could increase our signage to make that distinction a little more apparent to people that are there that seems to make a little more sense as well. Simply put there are existing tenants there that have larger square footages on their signage. I dont want to stand here and act like an 8 year old and say "well, other people have got them too".
I think that the main thing is that if you look at our signage and I have brought an example of what it looks like, it is a very simple sign. There is 7 letters and if you look at signs like Linens N Things they have several letters which allow them to increase the length of their signage. In our case we dont have that many letters and to be able to increase the size seems to make sense as well. The other thing is that there are other tenants there that also stack their letters which gives the impression that the signage is larger as well and we dont have the opportunity to do either just because stacking Old Navy would be like kind of breaking up Nike and saying you should put NI here and KE here; it is a branding process that we are trying to go through. To break up the letters just doesnt seem to make sense. There are several examples of that in the center and I am sure that you have seen those examples as well.
Richard Kim: Basically, I dont regard a 20 square foot addition to the 50 that much of a deal as far as what we would like to ask for. I dont think that it is a big deal, especially if you look at the drawings and the 2 comparisons. It is not a whole lot bigger, but at the same time if you look at the whole picture, there is a difference between 3 feet and 3 foot 6 and 50 square feet and 70 square feet. If we could be given the opportunity to present our signage in that manner and in that fashion and that size it would definitely help us out quite a bit. That is it.
Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 47 Notices that were sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received, voicing approval. Copy in file.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: I think that one of the things that the Board should know is approximately what the length of your frontage foot is for the entire business that you have there.
Richard Kim: We have approximately 100 feet of store front.
Member Bauer: How many separate stores did you take?
Richard Kim: We moved into a space that was a single space, that was?
Jim Clear: That was the Michaels space at approximately 17,000 square foot and we sectioned off about 2300 to make the 15,000 square foot for Old Navy.
Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Do you know what the size is of some of the other signs, like the Mens Warehouse:
Don Saven: No., I dont. But I could tell you that on the pillar signage you approved up to 50 square feet.
Member Brennan inquired of Don Saven: If this was a new building, with 100 foot of frontage, what is the allowable square footage?
Don Saven: That would be 50 square feet.
Member Brennan: I struggle with this because we are subject to listening to variances based upon hardship and what I heard was identification and marketing, the visibility issue which everyone in that complex has a visibility problem - nobody can come in from every angle and see that store. I dont know the issue of distinction, breaking up and giving the illusion of a bigger sign with stacking and that is your option you can do that. I didnt hear any hardship presented. Maybe I missed something but it appears that on the portrayal of the proposed sign or the 50 square foot sign it fits right over the entrance way quite nicely. I didnt hear anything that drove me to believe that there was any real requirement for anything bigger.
Richard Kim: If we are talking about a hardship issue as far as safety reasons for a larger sign, we can head in that direction and I can give you reasons why we think that it would be safer for people to drive into the complex with a large sign. It seems to make sense to me that if it is more visible and if it is larger people wont constantly be looking for it and they will be safer driving around the complex.
Member Brennan: I think that they take that into mind when they write the ordinances.
Richard Kim: Right, understandably; but even more so.
Chairman Antosiak: I guess I can only add my opinion, especially with the Town Center, we have made accommodations where we believed that the accommodations were needed; such as allowing signs on the back of the building or on different facades and signs in a couple of cases. I share Mr Brennans view that we just havent heard it here this evening.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I dont think so either. I think that we have covered this quite well and we have had a couple of situations over there that we needed to address; but I dont see any reason to deviate from what is allowed now.
Member Meyer: The only one that I can see is the fact that it is 200 feet from the road to seeing the sign, so very possibly the sign is not visible if it is not bigger.
Richard Kim: Yes, that is right. At 2 of these entrance ways.
Jim Clear: We do have several hundred feet to Crescent Blvd. from the store.
Member Bauer: If you go across the highway, you have 12 Oaks Mall and a lot of the stores inside dont have any outside signs at all. I think that 50 square feet is more than enough. It stands out in between the center point of the building. It is quite prominent.
Richard Kim: I actually think that the 70 square foot sign seems to balance out the octagonal theme out there in the Novi Town Center a little better than the 50 square feet. I look at the 50 and it seems to be overwhelmed by that the octagonal facade theme. In that respect it seems to make sense that our signage should be a little bit bigger.
Member Meyer: Is the picture that you gave us, the one of the 70 square feet?
Richard Kim: Actually that is a larger one, that is a 4 foot sign.
Chairman Antosiak: That is a big sign.
Moved by Member Bauer,
Seconded by Member Brennan,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-017 THE VARIANCE REQUEST BE DENIED DUE TO INSUFFICIENT HARDSHIP
Discussion on motion:
Don Saven: Does this mean you wish to keep the 50 square foot?
Member Brennan: Yes.
Chairman Antosiak: I also interpret that to be a denial of the 70 square foot request.
Don Saven: I just wanted to make sure that the 50 square foot is still there..
Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (1) Meyer Motion Carried
Member Meyer: I just want to publicly thank the citizens of Novi for giving me the opportunity of going to a training session for people who sit in on the Zoning Board. I was at the Double Tree in Novi on February 12th. I do appreciate the fact that there is an opportunity provided for people sitting on the various Boards in the City to get some training for what they might do on that Board.
The Meeting was adjourned at 11:15 p.m.
Nancy C. McKernan