Tuesday – March 2, 1999


The Meeting was called to order at 7:35 p.m., with Chairman Brennan presiding.




Present: Members Brennan, Antosiak, Meyer, Reinke, Bauer, Sanghvi


Absent: Member Harrington


Also Present: Donald M. Saven – Building Official

Kelly Schuler – Staff Planner

Alan Amolsch – Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Nancy McKernan – Recording Secretary


Chairman Brennan indicated we have a quorum present; the Meeting is now in session. The Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by the Novi City Charter to hear appeals seeking variances from the application of the Novi Zoning Ordinance. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to approve a variance and a vote of the majority of Members present to deny a variance. We have six (6) Members tonight, we have a Full Board, all decisions will be final.




Chairman Brennan inquired are there any changes to the agenda? We do know, and I think that we are going to hear from this petitioner, with regard to the last two (2) cases, Case No. 99-015 Marriott – TownePlace Suites and Case No. 99-016 Marriott – Courtyard, the mock up signs that we had asked for are not in place so we will not hear the cases. The last two cases will be moved to the April Meeting. Are there any other changes? Hearing none, I would move that we approve the agenda as modified. All those in favor indicate by saying aye. All ayes. Agenda approved.




Chairman Brennan indicated we have the minutes from the February 2, 1999 Meeting. Are there any changes or corrections? Hearing none, I would move for approval of the minutes as written. All those in favor indicate by saying aye. All ayes. Minutes of February 2, 1999 approved.




Chairman Brennan indicated this is the Public Remarks portion of the Meeting. All comments related to a case on the Agenda should be held until that case is called. If anyone wants to address the Board on any matter that is not on the Agenda tonight, now is the time to do it.


Don Saven: I would like to address the audience for a minute. On or around ten o’clock the main doors to this facility will be locked. If you are here after that time there is an exit door right outside the doors to the left and you can just follow it out. Parks and Recreation will be closing those doors as they are concerned about the weather tonight and their people want to go home. If there are any questions, just contact me and I will show you the way out.


Chairman Brennan indicated we have a full docket tonight, so with respect to these cases let’s be direct, let’s be concise and let’s get the business taken care of so that everyone can get home.


Maurice Taitt: I am with Marriott International. Let me begin by apologizing for the communication mix up. I personally was not aware until today that the mock ups were required in advance of the hearing. What we would like to do is to come before the Board at the April Meeting for the Marriott – TownePlace sign. Both hotels are under construction. The Courtyard is requesting 2 wall signs and the walls are not yet in place so we would like to delay that until the May Meeting with your permission.


Chairman Brennan: OK. I think that we have everyone’s approval with that and I thank you for showing up. I know that you have come a long way and I am sorry about this.



Case No. 98-096 filed by Tyler MacEachran, representing Stone City


Tyler MacEachran is requesting to operate his business (Stone City) which includes industrial/construction equipment sales, service, storage and distribution; retail sales to building contractors/public outside storage for building materials (bricks, etc.) and contractor company for paving stone installation in an I-1 zoning district which does not allow this type of outside storage of materials or retail sales with consumers.


Roger Soulliere was present and duly sworn.


Roger Soulliere: I leased the property on a 10 year lease. We submitted plans for the business address to the Building Department. My manager in charge, I guess, has over stepped a little bit in getting all of the permits available here. I have been talking to Mr. Saven in regards to changing this over because we do have stone currently placed out there. We are primarily a seasonal business in the summer and right now we pretty much have no activity going on there. We would like to have the opportunity to upgrade it to current and to where it belongs. A part of this would be giving us the time to find another location for our stone supplies and I have a plan of what we would currently like to do to give us a little bit of time to get this up to compliance and what we would like to do with the end result with some storage in a compliance area.


Roger Soulliere: I talked to Mr. Saven and if I could get at least a couple of years to get this all transformed over there, it would be greatly appreciated. The area is a lease. There was some hardships in there such as I talked to a few other people who have tried to build on there and there are right of ways to go in for the signs which they have up there. It is a lease of a building and I don’t have the authorization to take down the building or to add another building in our contract. It has been vacant for awhile. It was a mess when we got in there and we have cleaned up quite a bit. We cleaned out brush and we see that there is still some more brush that has to be cleaned up out of there to make that a desirable site from the expressway and from anywhere else.


Roger Soulliere: Our long range plans would be to have equipment inside of a building. To have the outside storage in the building so that anything that we have out there would be in a building. In the mean time we would like to get some screening up so that if there is any trucks unloading or loading it would be screened there. We would put up a beautiful greenbelt or something to help as they come down the expressway they will see it and the large pines, something of substantial size. I am in the landscape background so I know what a real pine is and what is a "scrub" or a "Charley Brown tree". We want to do it up nice to make sure that the whole look as they come down is a good representation of what Novi would be.


Roger Soulliere: If some considerations could be done here as we really didn’t come sneaking into the night. We thought we followed the right plans. Again, my manager thought that he had all of the approvals. We made the mistake. We have had a lot of improvements done here; I am in this type of a contract and any considerations would be greatly appreciated.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total 12 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: As Mr. Soulliere has indicated, I had been working with him regarding this particular issue. Maybe some Board Members can recall this used to be the Conzono site and they had a lot of pallets stored in the area; which was a real concern to the City for a long period of time based upon the outdoor storage that was there. Through court we were able to get it cleaned up. The outdoor storage now became another issue through Mr. Soulliere’s business. We had general discussions about what was to take place. Outdoor storage is not allowed for that district but the gentleman did enter into a lease agreement for a period of time and he also has another business to which may possibly go into that particular location, I am really not sure, but that probably can be verified through the Planning Department. But the bottom line is that he is looking to look at a time factor involved. If you take a look at the plan, it indicates that this plan is proposed for 2 years for this particular condition. One of the things that we had concerns about was certainly screening because that was an issue of the outdoor storage and the fact that he is looking at purchasing this property and putting up a building to put all of his wares within the building.


Roger Soulliere: Yes, if I can work out the rest of that over the time.


Don Saven: Basically that is where we are at. Based on the fact that it has outdoor storage screening is definitely a factor, he is in the landscape business. The time factor that he is looking for is 2 years and I think it is up to the Board to take a look at that if they want to see this and if not I don’t know what else to say other than the fact that he is making an attempt to try to clean up the area.


Planning Department had no comment.


Member Reinke inquired of Don Saven: If everything is enclosed in a building then is he in compliance?


Don Saven: Yes, I believe that he would be.


Vice-Chairman Bauer: What about retail sales?


Don Saven: I think that there is a factor involved with the type of business that he would be operating to the extent to how many square foot that he would be allowed within that building. Likewise, if he was selling a certain type of merchandise like a large piece of machinery or something along that line that would be one thing; if he was selling tiles that would be another issue.


Member Reinke: If the petitioner is working to try to come into compliance, I really have no problem as long as we maintain continuing jurisdiction to work with a limited time frame. I think that a 2 year period would be reasonable.


Member Antosiak: In my opinion, the plan as submitted is substantially better than the property as it has been used in the past.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Member Sanghvi,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Case No. 99-001 filed by Wm. Matykowski, representing Greystone Construction


Wm. Matykowski, representing Greystone Construction is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of a construction sign at 43155 Mainstreet until July 31, 1999. Refer to ZBA Case No. 97-122.


Wm. Matykowski was present and duly sworn.


Wm. Matykowski: Basically we would like to keep the sign up that is on Market Street right across from Vic’s Market which is the identification for Main Street Building 200 and 300 until approximately July 31, 1999. We may be able to remove this sooner, but until such time that we basically have the facility done.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 31 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Planning Department had no comment.


Member Reinke: I have no problem extending this until the end of July; but that is it. I can’t see going any further than that. What is the percentage right now?


Wm. Matykowski: The percentage of completion? We are in the process of starting tenant buildouts. The building shell should be complete in about 2 months. Well, we are waiting for the weather to break to do the paving outside and the landscaping.


Member Reinke: I really don’t have a problem extending it until that time; but I would look at it then as the total cut off point.


Moved by Member Reinke,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Case No. 99-003 filed by Grace Light


Grace Light is proposing to build a single family home with an attached garage located on parcel #3, sidwell number 5022-03-351-016 on South Lake Dr. The proposed construction requires side yard setback variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals.


Peter Light was present and duly sworn.


Peter Light: I am here on behalf of my Mom. She asked me to stop in this evening and to take care of this for her. I am going to read a statement from her.


"Good evening and thank you for your attention of the variance request. My son, Peter, is here appearing as my representative. I am in Florida on plans that I made a year ago. I am proud to be a Novi taxpayer and a resident. I plan to build my retirement home (my Mom is 70 years old) on Walled Lake Parcel #3 instead of in Florida (she had planned to do this before, she now plans to retire here). In my appeals application to you I state a hardship (she has 2 hardships, one that the garage wouldn’t be large enough to open the door of her car so she could get out the car easily as she is 70 years old and se has some arthritis and she has pretty bad asthma and a larger garage will provide the space for a ramp to enter the house if she should need one.)


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 11 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




James Korte, Shawood Lake and most recently our illustrious Mayor accuses me of attacking personally. I don't know the Light’s and I don’t know the builders. I would like to talk about the piece of property. This piece of property appears to be the old north end. This property is the new north end. This was not deeded as ours were pre 1920. I would venture to say that this division was less than 10 years ago. The piece of property is 85 x 200 and something which is about 4 times what our awful pieces are. Now, I think that when we at the north end have asked on so many occasions to push, squeeze and do whatever you can do, but this is new property, new lines and new construction. I don’t think that you would do this to Bristol Corners. I don’t think that you would do this to any of the Addington’s and I don’t think that you would do it to Autumn Park. Therefore I would have to question, are we putting the right house on this piece of property? So, if it is the right piece of property then it is the wrong house and if it is the right house then it is the wrong piece of property. When you get into new, and one of the reasons I am sure that we have stringent specifications is because so much of the north end is so awful. We have to stop that awfulness in the new. Therefore, I don’t see any hardship when you have deeded 85 by 200 and something; it is buildable. I also don’t think these people have done anything with regards to wetlands and asking the City what could be done to make it a better building site. I think that has to be researched too. I am asking that you deny or postpone. Thank you.




Don Saven: Number 1, this parcel of land is a very unique parcel of land. Before you, you have the plot indicating where the wetlands are, the boundaries of the wetlands, the configuration of the property, the topals to which you have; also the easements that are associated with the 25 foot easement off of the front. I worked with Mrs. Light for over 2 and weeks trying to fit a house on this property to take care of the issue regarding the wetlands, to address the issue regarding the wetlands, to work with JCK in protecting the wetlands and knowing and defining and delineating where those wetlands where. Furthermore, you will see that it is an impossibility to build on the last 2/5ths of the property because you cannot get across the wetlands. The wetlands also comprise about 1/3 of that property, leaving approximately 1/3 of the front property buildable which also includes the 25 foot easement off of the front building line. If it was possible to build a garage to the front, they wouldn’t need the variance and we recognize that. We tried to fit this on any way possible and that would end up giving them a 15 foot wide house to stay within the buffer requirement for the wetlands. This is a very difficult piece of property. With the issue of the garage and the elevation of the garage it is apparent that there will be a step down into that garage and there is probably going to be a 3 by 3 landing outside of the door, in the garage. That is going to infringe upon the ability to open a car door once you are in the garage. Based on those circumstances we tried to make this as reasonable as possible. This is a configuration based upon what she had presented in terms of the plans that she had available to try to work with. We would love to try to work something out where the garage could have been in the front and smalled it up a little bit; but it just couldn’t be don’t. Either we are going to do that or to small up the house and then what it would look like adjacent to the one next door; well we have to stay somewhat consistent to the area. That is the information that I can relay to you today.


Planning Department had no comment.


Member Reinke inquired of Don Saven. Looking at this from the back edge of the house, could that go back any further?


Don Saven: You would have to take a look at the slope of the property and the protecting of the wetlands in that particular area. The closer you get to the wetlands, then the worse things become in terms of the foundations and the ability to do anything as even as much as putting a small deck out there. Things like that do happen. People need to enjoy a deck, no matter how small it is. The fact is that you are getting to close to the wetlands and the protected area.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Is this a two story house?


Don Saven: I think that it is a bungalow.


Peter Light: Yes, it is a story and a half.


Chairman Brennan: This is 938 square feet?


Member Antosiak: The second story does not extend over the garage?


Peter Light: That is correct, it does not extend over the garage.


Member Meyer: Is that a one car garage?


Peter Light: No, that would be a two car garage.


Member Reinke: Is this going to have a full basement under?


Peter Light: Yes.


Member Reinke: I can understand the rationale and the reasoning for wanting that sized garage, but I think that if we down sized the garage and moved it in on each side we would have a buildable unit. I really think that this is being overbuilt and pushed on new construction.


Member Antosiak: I agree with Mr. Reinke. I think that lots in some of our newer subdivisions are 80 feet or 85 feet and they are building reasonably sized houses on those. I generally oppose setback variances on new construction and I really don’t see any reason to change my position here; particularly when we don’t even know what housing designs were even considered and rejected for the one that has been selected.


Chairman Brennan: I tend to agree that we have been very consistent in looking at new homes on lots and be it a brand new subdivision or sitting up on Walled Lake, we have a clean piece of real estate. This is a single party, a single person and assuming one car and a 30 foot long driveway approaching South Lake Road…..


Peter Light: I am also a resident in the house, so it isn’t just a single person in the house. Again, I would just like to say one other thing. My mom is 70 years old, she does have arthritis and we are looking at possibly having to put a ramp in this house in a few years. I just want you to keep that in mind with this.


Chairman Brennan: What is the significance of that comment.


Peter Light: She has arthritis, real bad and in order to get in and out of the house to make the garage bigger and why we did it is partially because of that ramp.


Member Reinke: Ramps can be put in with any kind of configuration, and I don’t think that it justifies a basis to make a 24 foot garage.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Bauer,


Seconded by Member Reinke,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Case No. 99-004 filed by Joyce Enochs


Joyce Enochs is requesting a side yard setback variance of 7’ on the north side of the property and a 5’ side yard setback variance on the south side of the property to allow for the construction of a single family home which will replace a home that was destroyed by fire at 317 Duana.


Joyce Enochs was present and duly sworn.


Joyce Enochs: My house was destroyed by fire on November 6th and I lost everything. I didn’t have any foundation to allow a rebuild back in the same spot. I don’t know what else to say. I am just asking for your approval for me to be allowed to rebuild.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a of 26 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 3 written responses received all voicing approval.


Joyce Enochs gave the Chairman 3 written responses, all voicing approval. Copies in file.




James Korte, Shawood Lake. Now we are back to the "Old City". This is another old and disgusting piece of property that we all live on and we have all learned to love so much. The modular that she is presuming is long and narrow; her lot is long and narrow. She has compensated for the awful parking situation by setting the house back far enough to put parking in the front. If we have a hardship, this is a hardship. We have someone who has been a vital part of our inner society, a member of SES, member of LARA for many years that now has a real problem. The problem is, no where to live. So, it is definitely an improvement. It will fit into it’s surroundings and I ask that you approve it.


Jane Sharon, I own 3 lots adjacent to Joyce right on the north side. I have no problem with her being there. None at all.




Don Saven: No comment.


Planning Department: No comment.


Member Reinke: This is an unfortunate situation. This is an existing situation, destroyed by fire. It is really classified as a buildable lot. I don’t see what more they can do than what they have offered to do by moving it back to get parking off of the center of the street which so many of the homes have a problem with. I really don’t know a much better approach to this lot than what is being proposed.


Member Antosiak: I would have to concur with Mr. Reinke. Here you have a lot that is approximately 40% as wide as the lot in the previous variance request and I don’t think that you could reasonably build a smaller house on this lot.


Chairman Brennan: There is an existing garage on the property that was not destroyed by fire? Is that still there?


Joyce Enochs: Yes, it is back there. A lot farther.


Chairman Brennan: Can you access that, or is it used for storage?


Joyce Enochs: We never did use it for parking, just storage.


Vice-Chairman Bauer: I would have no problem with this.


Member Meyer: I have no problem with it.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Member Reinke,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Case No. 99-005 filed by Arthur F. Smith, Architects representing Baby N’Kids Bedrooms


Arthur F. Smith, Architects, representing Baby N’Kids Bedrooms is requesting a variance to replace 68 lineal feet of 30" brick screen wall along the right of way with 28 to 30 inch tall arborvitae bushes for property located at 43600 Grand River Avenue.


Steve Farley was present and duly sworn.


Steve Farley: Just a bit of history on this project. We started designing this about a year and a half or two years ago for the client, Baby N’Kids Bedrooms. During the design process for this project the site became increasingly difficult with a lot of obstacles that we were not aware of initially in the design process that seemed to pop up one after another along the process. The first thing that came up was the woodlands that were discovered on the site that did not appear at first hand to be woodlands. The second was a floodway that actually occurs on this site, which is where the water during a flood time actually will flow in a 100 year flood, and just beyond that which covers the entire property is a floodplain which is where the water would actually back up during a 100 year flood and then the last straw that all most broke the back of the project was when the right of way was increased 10 feet during the design of the project; so we had to actually shift things back on the property to accommodate the increased right of way along Grand River.


Steve Farley: To keep the process moving, because the client was on an extremely tight schedule to have this started, constructed and occupied; we did not have time at that point to go through a variance process. So, with his blessing we proposed what the best alternative was for the project which was a 30 inch high screen wall as it was shown in the drawings across the front. We could not put a 30 inch tall earth berm as we had initially designed because once we lost the 10 feet of right of way and the floodplain and the floodway and the woodlands we didn’t have the landscape or the real estate to create the berm which would take all most 20 feet to create. The wall would be the next alternative and we knew at them time that we would have to come back for a variance to get that eliminated because the client did not want the expense of it nor did he feel it was necessary with all of the hardships on this property.


Steve Farley: So we got our building permits, which is probably a little unusual and we are back here today to try to get a variance from constructing that wall. The hardship, as I have already mentioned on this property, is that it is very unique and that all most the entire property is in a floodplain and a small percentage of it by the Rouge River is a flood way, which the wall cannot be built in and you can see that on the drawings. Initially it was 55’ back from the property line on the west and also the increased right of way that the client donated to the County and the City, which greatly impacts this site. It is very unique compared to other projects.
We could not fit the berm. The wall was the only alternative. In looking at it, it is a very expensive item to have on a piece of property that really screens nothing for the majority of that wall. We are proposing to leave two 20 foot sections which you can see on your drawing and on this colored sketch where the small amount of parking abuts the right of way, we do have the 20 foot length of wall still intact to screen the parking. What we are considering is from that point to the line of the floodway which is about here, we have a wall that essentially will screen nothing but landscaping and building. It seems kind of redundant to have a wall screening landscaping and building design in keeping with the Town Center District requirements.


Steve Farley: What we are proposing is to eliminate that section of the wall and replace it with 28 30" high arborvitae trees. There was a small typo in the agenda that list that we are adding 28 to 30 inch high bushes and we are actually adding 28 30 inch high bushes. That will actually extend all the way to the property line where the wall could not extend into the floodway.


Steve Farley: There is also a drawing here of the elevation of the building, for those of you who have not seen it. It is very much in keeping with the Town Center District, very simple banding with light tan and light beige banding which is very much in the keeping. It also has the copper roofing on there which is from the Town Center District. There is a lot of landscaping and it is all within keeping of the District and the intent of the ordinance. Along with the arborvitae that we are proposing to add we already have 87 juniper bushes along the front right of way district, 15 viburnum plants which are very colorful, and within the detention pond which is out in front we have gone to the great extent of landscaping that so it is not a typical eye sore and it will be very ornamental throughout the year with wild flowers and ornamental grasses; this is something that we worked very closely with Linda Lemke on to achieve a nice appearance out in the front.


Steve Farley: We feel that this proposal still maintains the intent of the ordinance, which simply is to improve the appearance of the right of way along the streets and we feel that our proposal does that and we actually think that it exceeds what the wall would do. In surveying around the Town Center District area, of all the properties that are out there, I would say that less than 10% actually have these walls constructed – including recently built projects. The most recently built in the Town Center is the Wendy’s which has two small stretches of wall just abutting the parking spaces as we are proposing. We truly think that this is something that is consistent with what has been done within the City.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 24 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: Just to remind the Board that there is a letter from Linda Lemke dated January 18, 1999; basically with her recommendation that says "I am not supporting the variance, the wall was an exceptional site amenity and I am disappointed that the petitioner has decided that the cost warrants remove all but two areas of the wall, we have used this design several times as an example of what can be done in a Town Center District. In regard to the arborvitae I would support the use of a globe arborvitae which is shorter or to use a shrub cluster such as viburnum or cornus varieties". That is her recommendation before the Board.


Steve Farley: Our client is willing to make that change in the specification to that bush.


Planning Department had no comment.


Chairman Brennan: I have two comments. Number one, if you are ever back here again to seek a variance don’t tell me that you have a financial hardship because we don’t listen to financial hardships and whether there is consistency in the ordinance, anyone who doesn’t meet ordinance has to seek a variance. So if anyone, that you believe, isn’t meeting the ordinance; they have either met it some other fashion or have gotten a variance.


Steve Farley: Actually it was more Linda Lemke in her letter that referred to it as a financial hardship. Our hardship, from our approach, is all of the restrictions on the site with the floodplain the floodway and the woodlands.


Chairman Brennan: You have a copy of Linda’s letter?


Steve Farley: Yes I do and I was actually surprised by her tone with it because we have talked about it many months ago and I really can’t speak to those conversations now.


Member Reinke: The only thing that I see alluded to is financial. I really don’t see that as an aspect to even be given any consideration. I really find a problem to find grounds to support a variance request.


Don Saven: I would like to point out, if I may, that if you took a look at the site plan the issue with the floodplain location and if you take a look at the line of the regulated floodway you cannot build a structure in that area. That is Federal law and you cannot do that. We know that we cannot address that particular area.


Steve Farley: That is right, I think it is 55 feet that we have to stay back from the property line. We will actually be adding bushes within that 55 feet.


Member Reinke: Maybe we need to table this matter then and this needs to be addressed in the petitioner’s request. This isn’t something that we were given the information for consideration.


Chairman Brennan: Where are you right now with construction?


Steve Farley: The structural steel is up and they are supposed to have started the masonry today. This part of the construction wouldn’t be built until later, so it is not like we are holding that up.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Where on this drawing does it show the floodplain?


Don Saven: It is not the floodplain that we I am speaking of, it is the floodway. There is a line that just about comes within 6 inches of the building in that particular area. You will see it is represented by a dashed line. If it was a setback requirement on the west side of the building it predominately addresses the west side of the building.


Chairman Brennan: For clarification purposes, Mr. Reinke what is it that you would like to see?


Member Reinke: Is there a place that the wall according to the floodplain is non-buildable?


Steve Farley: Is that something that you are asking me to clarify?


Chairman Brennan: No, we are just kicking things around here.


Steve Farley: There is a distinction between floodway and floodplain which we didn’t know until we worked on this project.


Chairman Brennan: Maybe I should regress back to Planning for a second. We seem to be struggling with some issues here. Is there any guidance that you want to give us for this project?


Kelly Schuler: I understand you may be confused about the floodway or the floodplain?


Don Saven: You can do things in a floodplain, provided you go through certain procedures. You cannot build a structure in the floodway. Personally I sit very close with NFIP and as a matter of fact they are coming in to audit us on Monday and we are dealing with issues like floodplains and floodways and you cannot build in a floodway. That is one part of the property that a structure cannot be built on. In a floodplain other than that what can be done to his property, maybe we should go back to our engineers to see what is feasible as far as the grading is concerned to allow the construction of that wall and to see what length of the wall would be feasible or whether or not you would accept the alternative.


Member Reinke: I would really like to see this information. Other than that the only thing we are looking at is economics and I really don’t think that is a hardship. Now if because of the floodplain or floodway causing a problem then that is something that is reasonable and we have to work with it. But, I would like to see more documentation to support that, than what I am seeing here tonight.


Chairman Brennan: Do they have to go back to JCK, or do they go through the Building Department?


Don Saven: It maybe something that the Board may consider tabling until we get that information.


Chairman Brennan: Would you have any objection to coming back next month?


Steve Farley: I am not real clear on exactly what the intent is to that. The way that the wall is designed currently and has been approved is the only feasible option to us, other than replacing it with the variance and these bushes. We cannot build a berm and that is what we intended to do and would prefer to do, but with the retention pond and the right of way distance we just can’t achieve the high enough hill to get a berm in that configuration that is approvable, not even close to it. That would be another option to create a small berm, maybe 20 inches high and I am not even sure how high that could be. I guess that would be something that we could look at.


Chairman Brennan: I think that what has been raised tonight is that there is some concern by some Board Members that there might be a better way of doing this and less of variance request required and your options would be to re-think it for 30 days and come back or we could vote on the variance as submitted.


Member Antosiak: One of my issues is that both the petitioner and Don made the statement that some of the wall could not be built because it was in a floodway; but it is not clear to me how much we are talking about.


Steve Farley: I was just looking at the drawing and the retention pond is sloped down and the retention pond starts right past the sidewalk. There is no other option of building a berm or even a half of a berm. The whole issue with the floodway is that for the first 55 feet of the western property edge we cannot build a wall and that is something wasn’t necessary for a waiver that was something that was demanded by the State, MDEQ; that we cannot build this wall here so the remaining portion of the right of way we do have the wall. It is not really a financial hardship, it just seems kind of odd to us that we are required to build this wall in the middle of a grass area screening essentially more landscaping. We understand fully why you would want these walls adjacent to parking lots and that is usually the intent that if you don’t have the real estate for a berm that you build a wall and you can put the parking behind it and not see it. We are not screening parking. Where we are screening parking we are leaving the wall, two 20 foot sections just like the new Wendy’s that has been built. What we are saying is that the remaining portion of that wall or 68 feet from the end of the parking lot to the floodway to us is pointless as it is in the middle of a grass area screening nothing but more landscaping that is behind it. We feel that this site would be better off without the wall and with the row of arborvitae bushes that blends in more with the landscaping that we have at the entrance drive that you see on the drawing and then also meanders over to the woodlands; which now kind of ties the woodlands into this project a little bit nicer. You cannot build the wall in the floodplain you can plant landscaping in the floodplain, so we are actually extending the 30 inch screening further along the right of way with bushes than we can with the wall. We actually feel, that we are exceeding the design that we have currently. I guess it would be a preference. Would you prefer to see a 30 inch high brick wall for 68 feet or an entire row of the nice bushes that kind of meander and feather into the woodlands for 68 feet plus another 55 feet. Either way we are adding landscape or adding a wall that is essentially out in front of the building with nothing but grass between the wall or the bushes and the building. I can’t reiterate enough that we are still leaving the walls where the parking lots occur and we agree with that and can understand why that would be there. We feel that the rest of the wall is senseless as it is screening nothing, it is screening landscaping which is a bonus and a benefit to this site. That is the hardship of the site, it is a very difficult site and I am actually surprised that we are building on it after all of the difficulties with the floodway and floodplain and woodlands on this property. If you remember the project or the building that was there until we tore it down in November, it was a definite eyesore. That is the major point of our discussion here that we feel the wall doesn’t have the purpose that was intended and we feel that the landscaping does a better job of the intent of the ordinance.


Chairman Brennan: Mr. Reinke raised the concern. Laverne, do you still need more information?


Member Reinke: The thing is, we have an ordinance here and if the reason for variance is economics I can’t support it and that is basically the thing that I see.


Don Saven: I just happen to have taken a look at these plans a little more closely regarding this issue and I am looking at and I don’t have the engineered drawings that are associated with this; but could you please indicate to the Board where the detention pond fits in on the front property line. That might be a significant factor that you have regarding this issue.


Steve Farley: Essentially the exact configuration of that arc from there to the building is all detention pond. It all slopes down into this little bowl and kind of wraps around the building. What we are trying to do is to put all of the landscaping in this corner of the building so that the building and the new landscaping which is going to be wild flowers and ornamental grasses will blend in with the existing woodlands from the property line to the creek. We didn’t want to have a nice manicured lawn and then all of a sudden a very rustic and weathered woodlands. We are trying to feather this project in, and that would be in keeping with what we are trying to explain here and that is additional landscaping will integrate this project with existing woodlands. It is not a hardship issue it is in the budget and he can build it if he needs to; it is just that we don’t see the benefit to it and we think that the landscaping does a better job than the ordinance. Financial is really not the issue because it is in the budget of the project and it would not be that cheap to add all of the bushes into the project either.


Vice-Chairman Bauer: On the drawing of the woodland landscape plan, all the trees shrubs, etc. look like they are extending over the sidewalk.


Steve Farley: Actually what we are using here is just a template for a tree, only a representation. Linda Lemke’s firm is very careful about knowing the size of the trees. They are very careful in that regard. You can see, we have added a lot of vegetation around this project even though there is a lot of vegetation that is existing.


Chairman Brennan: I will summarize at least my thoughts. You do have some unique characteristics of this property with the floodplains and the other issues and I tend to agree with the petitioner that putting a wall up when you have a floodplain doesn’t serve the purpose for what the wall was perhaps meant for in the ordinance. Given that Linda objected, but then also gave some recommendation for plantings I think that at least in her mind there was some room for movement. Those are only my comments.


Member Reinke: The thing is the ordinance is there. I think it might be better, but I still have a problem supporting it.


Moved by Member Meyer,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,




Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (1) Reinke Motion Carried


Case No. 99-006A & B filed by C Z Cartage


C Z Cartage is requesting A) a variance to allow the continued placement of a ground pole sign 4’ x 4’ with the height from grade being 8’ (this sign was erected without a permit; B) the continued placement of a banner sign 120" x 36" on the building for property located at 48735 Grand River.


Sherrie Cornell was present and duly sworn.


Sherrie Cornell: Regarding Case "A", because of the extreme setback of our building from the road, as we are located 350 feet back from the road, we needed a one sided entranceway sign for our customers and visitors. Not being able to see our business from the road until they have gone past our driveway is a hazard and a hardship to our business and to traffic, especially when you have big trucks coming in.


Sherrie Cornell: Regarding Case "B" the banner on the front of the building, it is a 3’ x 120" banner and it is on the front of the building which faces the road. It says "on the go for ISO" "ISO 9002 certification". From the road it looks the size of a piece of chewing gum. We put it there not knowing that we would need a permit. We just are proud to let the community know and our customers know that we are getting ISO certified and we hope that the City of Novi would be supportive and proud to know CZ Cartage is a corporate citizen and wants to display it’s quality system certification efforts.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 7 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Reinke: OK, I will get on the band wagon right of way. Banner signs, forget it as far as this person is concerned. You need identification and I would say that is fine, but I think that you need to live within the ordinance and I think that you need a sign out in front but within the ordinance. I think that within the ordinance requirements you can adequately get the identification that you need.


Vice-Chairman Bauer: Those are my sentiments exactly.


Member Meyer: Also I noted in the packet here that it indicated that and I would like to quote "we would be putting the City of Novi on the map so to speak when we get this ISO registration listed in the state and nationwide in the national directories"; I just want you to know that we are already on the map.


Sherrie Cornell: Oh, I already know that.


Chairman Brennan: My sentiments on the banner, as well. ISO is great, I am in the industrial world and most of my colleagues put that on their business cards and letterhead. You might consider that.


Member Antosiak: What sized sign would they be permitted without a variance?


Alan Amolsch: They need a variance for the number of signs, because they already have a wall sign on the building. So right of way they would need a number of sign variance. The ordinance allows a 3 square foot, 6 foot high entrance sign which 30% of that area can be the business name and the rest would have to say "enter" "exit" or whatever. So it is a business sign and doesn’t actually fall within the entrance sign requirement.


Chairman Brennan: So it is not even a question of the elevation of that ground sign, it is also the overall square footage?


Alan Amolsch: I wrote it up as a business sign because of the size of it. It is an extra sign and the violates the height restriction of a ground sign if it were the only sign on the property.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Bauer,


Seconded by Member Sanghvi,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Case No. 99-007 file by Timothy Laird, representing Laird’s Auto Glass


Timothy Laird, representing Laird’s Auto Glass is requesting a .4 acre variance for lot size and a 25’ variance for lot frontage to allow for the construction of an auto glass repair shop on Grand River between Meadowbrook and Haggerty Roads.


Matt Niles was present and duly sworn.


Matt Niles: I am with Wah Yee Associates, the architects who are working on this project. The project is currently in an I-1 zoning district. The use of the building is permitted. It is actually a multiple use, it has office use, storage and auto glass repair shop. The office is allowed, the storage is allowed and the auto glass repair shop is allowed per ordinance with special land use approval, in section 1903 Principal Uses Permitted in Locations Not Abutting a Residential District Subject to Special Conditions. There are 6 conditions that we have to meet for special land use approval and four of them we meet completely and two we do not meet. We are required 2 acres minimum and we have 1.6 acres. We are required 200 feet of frontage and we have 175 feet. The parcel is located on the north side of Grand River between Haggerty and Meadowbrook Roads. The west side of the property line borders the existing Holcomb Industries, the north property line borders existing Vincenti Industrial Condominium Sites, and the east property line borders another existing commercial building and the south property line is Grand River Avenue. We have worked pretty hard for almost a couple of years now developing this site. It meets the ordinance in every possible way and if you look at the consultant review letters it meets building setbacks, it meets landscape requirements and in fact we have 6 or 7 additional percent of landscape on site above and beyond what ordinance requires, we have one parking space more than is required by ordinance; every parking dimension, every driveway dimension, maneuvering lane; everything is met completely per ordinance. This is not the case of a developer trying to overbuild the site. It is a true hardship, it is a landlocked site. Any developer or anyone trying to do anything on this site would incur the same problem of frontage dimension and the size of the site. We have done everything that we can to meet the ordinance in every possible way. This has been approved by the Planning Commission on a 9 to 0 vote and everyone is very supportive of it. We are just asking you to look at those two dimensional hardships and approve them.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 12 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: As the gentleman has indicated it is an existing parcel of land and he is locked into the frontage and also the size of the parcel. He has construction to the each side and he cannot acquire any other property. He is just locked.


Kelly Schuler: Planning Commission did recommend Preliminary Site Plan approval subject to them receiving variances this evening.


Member Antosiak: I would certainly support this variance because the property otherwise cannot be used as it is zoned. I don’t think that there is a bigger hardship that is out there.


Member Reinke: As Mr. Antosiak has said it is 175 foot wide, so whoever would build there would have the same problem. The other part is, we are looking at a 2 acre minimum and for what the zoning use is and then you would run into the same thing. I don’t know what more they can do.


Member Meyer: I also think that the petitioner should be commended for making an effort to meet the spirit of the ordinance in this instance while meeting the actual ordinance in other instances. That is very commendable.


Moved by Member Reinke,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Case No. 99-008 filed by Michael Davis


Michael Davis is requesting an 11.3’ rear yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a single family dwelling on Austin, sidwell no. 5022-10-231-023.


Michael Davis was present and duly sworn.


Michael Davis: The piece of property that is in question was platted somewhere in the late 1920’s and due to the unique size and the layout of the property being a pie shaped, I designed a home to fit on this piece of property and buyer beware but I got confused on the setback restrictions. Someone had told me 30 feet and blah, blah, blah; but anyway making a long story short I had to redesign the house. I took 40 square feet off of the house to get it to set on the property and then I went to the building department and found that I needed to redesign the property because a 10 foot line had to be drawn across the back of the property and then a 35 foot setback from there. So after I redesigned the property I am building a 900 square foot home that is a split level, 800 on the bottom and 900 on the top; which will give me roughly 1700 square feet. I am building a 12/12 pitched roof that is gabled in the front so that the house fits to the front of Austin Road and the garage faces Austin Road keeping with the rest of the homes in the Sherwood Sub that has some really nice looking homes out there. The elevation will keep the same plane as Austin Road. I have done everything that I can possibly do to get this home to set down on this piece of property within the constraints that I am issued here with the side setbacks, the front setbacks. I need this variance to set this piece of property. The property backs up to a piece of property owned by Mr. Chicorel, and I have a letter from him stating that he is in compliance with it. I grant you that there are some homes in that area that need to have some work done on them, but I want to bring a nice and good looking home to this area to try to increase the property values. I want to put a nice looking home on this property that is really pretty. With these setbacks, I just can’t downsize the home any more than I already have.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 27 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received. One approval was given to the Board at the Meeting.

Copy in file.




James Korte, Shawood Lake Area; besides being the old north end, this is my end of the old north end. All of my properties are as peculiar as most in the north end and they all pie. However none of them pie as much as this piece of property. I don’t know if it were mine and I were building, how else I would put a relatively rectangular structure on a pure triangle. So I think that for what is going on it sits fairly decent on the property and only one variance to the back is needed. Any parking problems can be handled because of the large front yard and the distance there so I would hope that it is approved.



Don Saven had no comment.


Member Reinke: The situation being the lot configuration when they were platted and laid out and it is really a problem up there. I think that the gentleman has done everything that he can do. It has a minimum intrusion for the way the lot is laid out and I think that he has done an excellent job and I have no problem supporting the request.


Vice-Chairman Bauer: This is the best that I have seen in some time.


Moved by Member Reinke,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Case No. 99-009 filed by Jerome P. Pesick, representing Vidosh/Shemin Nurseries


Jerome Pesick, representing Vidosh/Shemin Nurseries is requesting a variance to allow outside storage of landscape materials in an OST zoning district and a variance to have the outside storage without meeting the landscape requirements for property located at 27400 Beck Rd.


Jerome Pesick was present and duly sworn.


Jerome Pesick: The property in question is located at 27400 Beck Road. Significantly the access point to the property is located within the footprint of the Michigan Department of Transportation’s current design for the I-96 and Beck Road interchange. The petitioner’s are requesting a temporary variance through the year 2002 or until such time that the I-96 and Beck Road project are completed. The variance would permit the outside storage of landscape materials on the subject property and waive the landscaping requirements of the OST Zoning Ordinance.


Jerome Pesick: I think that some brief history is relevant to this petition. The property in question has been owned and controlled by the Vidosh family since 1982. Don Vidosh and his family are in the landscape business. In March of 1982 shortly after they purchased the property, site plan was approved authorizing the use of the site as a landscape supply business and the property at that time was zoned I-2. The property has been continually been used as a landscape supply business since that time and attached as exhibit "A" to our petition is a portion of the site plan that was approved at that time which shows a 75’ x 75’ outside storage area. By 1987 the Michigan Department of Transportation had initially made it’s announcement to build the I-96 and Beck Road interchange. It was clear at that time that because of the property’s proximity to plans that the proposed interchange would severely impact the owner’s ability to use and develop the property. The pending project made it impossible for Mr. Vidosh to further do any development at that particular time. In September of 1987, after those plans were announced in lieu of being able to further develop the property Mr. Vidosh applied for a permit to allow outdoor storage of landscape materials virtually on the entire property on a temporary basis or until such time that the interchange was constructed. The Board of Appeals granted that temporary variance in October of 1987 permitting the outside storage of landscape materials. Mr. Vidosh has continued to operate that property in accordance with that variance that was issued at that time up to the present without objection from the City. In 1998 the property was rezoned to OST, Office Service Technology, shortly thereafter Mr. Vidosh entered into a lease for the property with Shemin Nurseries, Inc., pursuant to which Shemin Nursery would continue to operate the property for a landscape supply business. Mr. Vidosh is a major supplier of Shemin Nursery and they have a long standing business relationship. Shemin Nursery, I should indicate, is a national landscape company with an excellent reputation and they are a very class operation. They have operations in 18 different locations in 12 states and they have been in business since 1955. As part of their business activity at the site, Shemin desires to use the property for outside storage of landscape materials and make minor modifications to the interior of the building.


Jerome Pesick: The reasons that we are asking for the variance tonight are first of all the Beck Road interchange which was first proposed in 1987 as I had indicated by the MDOT and continues to be pending and which also led to the issuance of the original variance has not yet been constructed. At a meeting held in January of this year the Michigan Department of Transportation advised affected property owners that it now intends to go forward with the project and expects that construction may be completed by the year 2002. I personally placed a phone call to a right of way representative at the Michigan Department of Transportation last week to try to get a better feel for what the comment would be in so far as it would affect this property. She indicated to me that although nothing is certain, and we do know that it has been pending since 1987, that it was her understanding that the property acquisition for the interchange project would start in approximately 2001. That being the case, I would suspect that 2002 is a good projection date in terms of when construction will start.


Jerome Pesick: Again, I have had the opportunity also to look at the current plans for the interchange project and was able to obtain this picture; but if you look at it closely it does appear that the interchange project in so far as it affects the subject property which is right here is as currently planned going to cut off all access for the subject property which makes it very difficult to make any kind of development plans whatsoever and until such time as the plan is finalized and we know what is going to happen to that particular piece of property. Accordingly we are asking for the requested variances.


Jerome Pesick: I do have with me some photographs of a typical Shemin’s operation which will you give you a good idea of what their operation looks like. You will see it is very clean, classy and very neat. This is strictly a wholesale operation. It is not retail. Traffic will be limited at the site.


Jerome Pesick: I should also indicate that it is our belief that because of the penancy of the interchange project, absent these variances we have an extremely undue hardship here because there is really simply nothing that you can do in terms of trying to plan some future use for this particular piece of property until we know what is going to happen to the interchange project. There is a strong likelihood that the property may be acquired in total by the Michigan Department of Transportation, we simply don’t know until those plans are finalized and they go forward.


Jerome Pesick: I should also indicate that with me here tonight is Don Vidosh and Clint Rousch from the Shemin Nurseries who will be happy to assist in answering any questions that the panel may have.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 6 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: This is a temporary issue.


Planning Department had no comment.


Member Reinke: I think that this is a unique situation in that it is ongoing basically for the same type of business that was there and until what is known is going to happen when the interchange goes in, they really can’t plan anything. I really don’t have a problem with working with the petitioner’s request in that time frame, until it is defined.


Chairman Brennan: My only thought reading the packet prior to tonight was why 2002 and you have explained that and it seems to be in line with your testimony.


Moved by Member Reinke,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Alan Amolsch: Would the Board like to tie the site plan in with the variance approval?


Chairman Brennan: Would you like to expand on that?


Alan Amolsch: The Board is maintaining continuing jurisdiction and you might want to tie the site plan in to make sure they know exactly what boundaries they are going to have for the outdoor storage, so there is no problem down the road. This will make sure that they know exactly what boundaries that they are going to have for the outdoor storage so that they don’t have a problem down the road if they start having more than they are supposed to have there.


Member Reinke: I don’t have a problem with that. Is that defined?


Alan Amolsch: It is on the site plan. They indicate where they are going to store things.


Member Reinke: Do you have problem with the way the site plan is?


Jerome Pesick: The site plan as presented; no, we don’t have a problem with it. This is our intention and we are going to follow through on it.


Member Meyer: Is that going to be a part of the motion?


Member Reinke: That is right.


Kelly Schuler: In regards to the site plan as submitted, it has not actually been looked at by our Planning Consultants. Maybe Rod Arroyo, who is the Planning Consultant, should look at it just to make sure that it is up to ordinance standards. This is just a suggestion, but it may be something that should be done by the Planning Consultant


Member Reinke: I understand your point and if it was going to go for any length of time other than what they are looking at, I would say that would have to be a strong consideration. Since we are really looking at the time frame and being that it would really have to be looked at once the interchange goes in; I don’t have a problem proceeding with what we are doing.


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Case No. 99-010 filed by J. Bennett Donaldson, representing Quick Send Delivery


J. Bennett Donaldson, representing Quick Send Delivery is requesting a variance to allow loading and unloading in the front yard for property located on Venture Dr., sidwell no. 5022-26-401-019.


Bennett Donaldson was present and duly sworn.


Bennett Donaldson: I represent Doug Pope who is the owner of Quick Send Delivery and Hickory and Associates who owns the land and myself who is the builder.


Bennett Donaldson: I would like to have Doug Pope come up and describe to you what indeed his business does in Novi, so you have a little bit of a background.


Doug Pope: I own Quick Send Delivery. We are a small package delivery service, serving the middle part of Michigan and northern Ohio. We have been in business for 20 years and 4 years have been in Novi. We rent a building on Heslip Drive which is about mile from where the proposed building is going to be located. We take packages into our warehouse from a 24 foot truck; sort and separate them and send them out in 3 smaller trucks throughout Michigan and northern Ohio. That is basically our operation.


Bennett Donaldson: As you know, I am seeking a variance for the front truck well loading. I would like to give you some history on the property. Hickory and Associates has owned the property for the last 10 years. This property currently remains vacant. In the last 10 years there has been a few things that have aided into it’s vacancy. One of which being the ordinance issues that do go along with the special land use piece of property and then the new ordinances that were written in as of the new revision. One being the rear setback which has gone from 60 feet to 100 feet and also the decibel level ordinance which has gone from 75 during the day and 70 at night to 60 during the day and 55 at night. So with that said, our issue is this. The Novi City Ordinance says that truck loading should be dealt with in the rear or the side yard and the Residential Ordinance states that there shall be no loading in the rear yard but there can be loading in the side yard. We thought that was great. We had 2 ordinances that met up with one another, so we proceeded in that avenue. Well as we were headed down that road, we realized that with any configuration in the side yard we were unable to meet noise decibel ordinance, creating the situation where we now present these truck wells in the front of the building. The site is narrow and it really boxes us in to the only solution that we can have with the truck well front loading.


Bennett Donaldson: We have a business in Novi that wants to stay in Novi. I have the support of the Homeowners and I would just briefly like to read you a letter. Ms. Engler who was here waiting but had a previous engagement had to leave but was kind enough to write a letter. "I am currently on the board of Meadowbrook Lake subdivision and represent our civic matters. Ben Donaldson has been very cooperative as well as eager to meet our neighborhood requirements. We are pleased with the current proposed site plan and support a request for Quick Send to proceed." In addition to that we have the consultant support, subject to the variance. We also have the Planning Commission support. The City Council support and Ed Kramer who is on the City Council lives directly behind the Quick Send Project has also verbally given us support at the Planning Commission Meeting for this project to move ahead.


Bennett Donaldson: That is really all the information that I have for, but I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 16 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was two written responses received both voicing objection. Copies in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: What is your traffic, as far as truck traffic?


Doug Pope: We have no tractor trailers at all. We are not into the semi business. We have a 24 foot straight truck that comes in about 1 o’clock in the morning. It unloads and leaves about 1 hour later. Then 3 smaller trucks, 15 foot trucks, leave at about 4 or 5 in the morning. We do have some traffic during the day, but once the trucks leave they stay out for probably 8 or 9 hours before they return.


Don Saven: I would assume that they took a look at all of the landscaping requirements for the north property line?


Bennett Donaldson: That is correct, there will be an amendment to that as far as the screen from the dumpster is concerned. We will be removing those trees and putting in 20 foot pines at the request of the Planning Commission.


Kelly Schuler: As Mr. Donaldson mentioned rear loading at the site is not permitted as it abuts residential and the only other option is the side yard loading and in the documentation that you do have in your packets provided by the sound engineers indicate that if they were to have the loading in the side yard they would be exceeding the noise decibels that are required by ordinance and therefore would not meet the sound ordinance which is a qualification for a special land use.


Member Reinke: From the amount of truck traffic that you are talking about, I really see a very small reason to move that loading to the front yard. How are they going to exceed the DB level?


Kelly Schuler: They had sound engineers perform an analysis and as far as the analysis indicates that is the information that was provided to us, it could be looked at again, but the information that we are taking from Kolana and Saha Engineers.


Bennett Donaldson: They are the sound engineers that did the study and they were also the original engineers that did the study for the residents to establish the sound requirement.


Member Reinke: The biggest noise that I see generated is the vehicle running.


Bennett Donaldson: It is an idling semi, that is correct.


Member Reinke: I have a real problem with the front yard, that is just one person’s opinion. I think that there is adequate screening that the residential people behind this property are not going to see a truck and they are hardly going to see the building. We are only talking about the noise level of a vehicle idling. You can have a vehicle 3 residences away idling and you are not going to hear it.


Member Meyer: At 4 or 5 in the morning, when these trucks are leaving; it could wake people up.


Member Reinke: I would venture to say that if a truck started up 4 houses away from you at 5 o’clock in the morning you wouldn’t hear it any way. It is only my opinion.


Bennett Donaldson: Just so you know, we have also done additional screening on the northwest wall of the truck well, the 14 foot high block wall that would additionally screen the noise and a vehicle from the residents. We moved in this direction through the suggestion or recommendations of the residents and different consultants.


Member Reinke: The problem that I have is that once we put this in the front yard, it is there and you are going to see it forever and a day driving down that street.


Bennett Donaldson: We are light industrial and it would only be light industrial traffic that you would have there, it is not a main street.


Member Reinke: It is still visible in the front yard and it is not the most aesthetic thing to look at.


Vice-Chairman Bauer: You said that you were putting a wall in the back?


Bennett Donaldson: Just on the northwest side of the truck well to further shield the noise.


Vice Chairman Bauer: Where the plantings are that you have sketched out here?


Bennett Donaldson: What we are proposing is to build a 14 foot high wall here that will be flush with this one and straight out, that was determined in the letter from Kolana and Saha so that we could meet the ordinance.


Chairman Brennan: Let me ask the simple and the obvious question. It appears that the subdivision is agreeable to this plan because from their view looking westward they don’t see anything.


Bennett Donaldson: They don’t have any maneuvering in the rear yard or the side yard, correct. They will not have the noise of a maneuvering truck. We are unable to meet the ordinance. We would much rather have the trucks in the side yard or the rear yard.


Member Meyer: You say that you have been here for 4 years; have you been on this site for the 4 years?


Doug Pope: No this site is vacant. We are about a half mile away on Heslip, it is another industrial court and it is a multi tenant building and we want to expand a little bit, so we would like our own building.


Member Meyer: In the building that you are presently in, the loading and the unloading is done on the side or in the back?


Doug Pope: Yes.


Chairman Brennan: How far back are you set from Nine Mile?


Bennett Donaldson: From Nine Mile I would guess that we are 600 to 700 feet.


Chairman Brennan: I share Laverne’s comments about front yard truck docks, but I don’t know how else you are going to do this. Our primary interest is the citizens and the adjoining residential, and they are protecting that entity. The ones affected are neighbors. The ones that have gone on record as objecting; one was conditioned on the setback and they are 600 or 700 feet from Nine Mile Road.


Member Reinke: How many notices were sent out?


Chairman Brennan: There was a total of 16, with two received back.


Member Reinke: I just really hate to see truck wells in the front. You are talking about being 600 feet from Nine Mile Road and Nine Mile Road is going to generate more noise than those trucks are.


Chairman Brennan: My question was relative to how far back they are and how unsightly that may be at 600 feet.


Norman Hyman: This is truly a case of practical difficulties. You have a dilemma here. You either violate the decibel ordinance or you violate the front yard loading prohibition. So you have to pick between. There is a practical difficulty here because you can’t have both. If it is a choice between violating the noise ordinance, which is something that adversely impacts the neighbors and that they don’t want and the reason that we are here is that they wanted us to move to the front or violate the front loading prohibition which hurts no one really. It seems to me that the approach ought to be to grant the front loading variance. The neighbors are strongly in favor of that. Mr. Kramer who apparently was unavoidably detained, as he said that he would be here tonight is the immediate neighbor to the rear of the property and he is strongly in favor and has appeared in front of the Planning Commission.


Chairman Brennan: I think that just a general observation is do we need 4 doors on the front? Can one truck get inside of the building and do what it needs to do and leave, via one door?


Bennett Donaldson: One of the reasons that Mr. Pope is moving to a larger building is so that he can further make his business more efficient. Right now he has one truck well, it is very congested and he is not able to be as efficient as he possibly can. That is one of the reasons that he is making the move to a larger facility.


Vice-Chairman Bauer: Have you thought, where the truck wells are of bringing that right out to the edge of where the building is and have the vehicles pull inside to unload?


Bennett Donaldson: To pull inside of the building? We have brought that up and at the Planning Commission meeting and it is really a practical difficulty as you are warehousing semis to essentially hide the semis from the commercial traffic and the commercial residents that are in the subdivision. I don’t know what you hope to gain by that with the exception of…..


Vice-Chairman Bauer: You would lose the noise and the parking in front.


Bennett Donaldson: But you would still have the same amount of noise with the trucks backing in to a regular wall and turning off his engine or his truck is backing into the area; as to the noise we are still going to have the issue. We have already set the truck well 60 feet back and have used the office for an additional shield for that. I think that we are doing our part to make this good for everybody.


Member Reinke: When do you plan to start construction?


Bennett Donaldson: As soon as we can. We have been at this for 2 years now.


Member Reinke: I can understand the point of the neighbors concern. But, when we get 2 responses I really have that being a problem as that is speaking for the neighborhood.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Member Sanghvi,




Discussion on motion:


Member Reinke: I can’t support the motion because I don’t think that there is enough support in the neighborhood to justify making that kind of deviation. Just my comment.


Member Antosiak: My response to that is that we have a letter from someone who is the President of the association and given the prior difficulties in this neighborhood when industrial facilities tried to locate and there were dozens of people who were opposed.


Member Reinke: I don’t want to argue the issue, but a last minute representation doesn’t show a lot of importance if it is that strong of an issue.


Chairman Brennan: Let me just ask a parting question here. Was there any meetings with Meadowbrook Lake?


Bennett Donaldson: I have had several meetings on several different occasions; I have had four meetings and they have been to every one. They have been to the Planning Commission, they have been to City Council and this has not been a last ditch effort to push this thing through. It has been ongoing and I have kept them abreast. In addition to that I have with me probably 6 different designs that I tried and presented in front of the homeowners association and it was a team effort to get this thing through and through their letter they do give their support. In addition to Mr. Kramer who lives exactly behind the project.


Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Reinke, Meyer Motion Carried


Case No. 99-011 filed by Christian Bros. Construction Co., representing Epoch/Too Chez


Christian Bros. Construction Co., Inc., representing Epoch/Too Chez is requesting a side yard setback variance of 2’ and a parking variance for 5 spaces to allow an existing structure behind the Too Chez restaurant to be converted to a catering and pastry shop for the restaurant located at 27145 Sheraton Drive


Richard Kless was present and duly sworn.


Richard Kless: I am here to seek a variance of 2 feet on the south side of the building. We need the 2 foot variance and this is an existing building and we just don’t have the room for the required setback. Along with that it was recommended by the Planning Consultants that we leave the asphalt as it is coming around the southwest corner to enable a truck to make a turn. We are also asking for a variance of the 5 parking spaces. Being shy the 5 spaces I believe that the Too Chez Restaurant is still gaining a tremendous amount of parking spaces. If you look at the drawing there is an existing fence there and today the restaurant operates on the east side of the fence and they are going to gain everything on the west side too. The two businesses which are really tied together; the restaurant and the catering kitchen, when the restaurant is busy the catering facility will pretty much be closed. So the 15 spaces that the catering facility would need when they are maxed out they wouldn’t be using at all and the restaurant would be gaining those spaces.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 8 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: Basically you will find in your packet Rod Arroyo’s commentary regarding this particular issue. They can’t recommend a special land use until those 2 issues have been resolved. This is an existing building and the variance to which they are talking about, the 2 foot, is one that deals with something that is existing.


Planning Department had no comment.


Member Reinke: The intrusiveness on this as Mr. Saven has alluded to; it is an existing structure, it is minimal with the 2 feet and with the number of parking spaces, I really don’t see a problem with the petitioner’s request.


Vice-Chairman Bauer: I don’t see a problem either.


Moved by Member Reinke,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Case No. 99-012 filed by Deana Heller


Deanna Heller is requesting to build two (2) additions onto the existing nonconforming home at 24500 Dinser Dr. and will require a side yard setback variance of 13.5’.


Deanna Heller and Robert Armstrong were present and duly sworn.


Robert Armstrong: What we are proposing is actually three additions, the additions to the garage and the family room and then a second story addition. We are here because the house currently sits about 6 foot off of the south property line which is nonconforming with the existing zoning. We are required to have a 20 foot setback on that side. This house was built 22 years ago. There is a subdivision that is now built around this entire lot or the 4 lots on Dinser, that subdivision was built about 7 years ago. When this house was built this was all farm land and open field. The reason that we are here is the side yard that we are proposing don’t meet the current zoning requirements. We are keeping in line with the existing structure.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 28 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.




Don Saven: The proposed additions to the east and the west are shown on the plan, there is also as I understand an addition over the garage which is not infringing upon the setback requirement. This is in line with the request.


Deanna Heller: We might add that there is a 20 foot easement between our property line and the property lines beside us on the south side. Their houses are probably, from our property line maybe 120 to 150 feet from our house.


Member Reinke: The thing is they are not going further back on the existing footprint which would be my main concern. They are not encroaching onto neighbors for what they are doing and the size of the lot, so I really don’t have any problem with the petitioner’s request.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Member Reinke,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Case No. 99-013 filed by John Donnelly


John Donnelly is requesting a 10’ rear yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a screened enclosure for property located at 42963 Clay Ct.


John Donnelly was present and duly sworn.


John Donnelly: In December we purchased a new home in Vista Hills. After much looking we chose that particular area because of the commons. We have 2 small children and we like the set up of the backyards joining each other where we can spend time with our kids and our neighbors. We then decided to plan the deck for the back of this home, which the rear of our home is very flat. (I have pictures that I would like to give you later.) We were going to have this deck put on and have an enclosure there on the back part of the deck which would be a screened enclosure, partially because we have a southern exposure there and the sun really beats down on that portion of the house. My wife’s family has a history of skin cancer and that was one of the items that we considered, she had grown up with a porch and they built that at their home for that reason. Also, we are close to the wetlands and there are insects, particularly mosquitoes, and we thought that we could better enjoy our yard with this enclosure and then we found out that because of the configuration of our lot that we came within 25 feet of that rear setback. Basically we are seeking a 10 foot variance to that ordinance and then we could build the enclosure. We believe the appeal to our home and the neighborhood will come with this. Again, the flat portion of our home is to the rear and this will add dimensions to it. Basically that is our case.


John Donnelly: I do have some letters here, it is a condo site and it has been approved by the association. I also have 4 letters here from neighbors.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 56 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: Because this is a screened enclosure, it is covered and it takes on the same setback requirements as the principal building and that is the 35 foot requirement. You indicated that there is a wetland behind you?


John Donnelly: No, the wetland is to the east of us approximately 3 lots over. It is not directly behind us. There is nothing behind us to protect us from the sun, no shade whatsoever.


Planning Department had no comment.


Member Reinke: I don’t know how to approach this. The simple reason is that when we get these lots and the houses that they put on them, they really don’t allow them to do anything. I understand the individual needs and wants, but how do you justify a reason to do it?


Chairman Brennan: You are right, but I don’t know if it is anything that we can deal with, the builders build the biggest house that they can on the lot and then the petitioner is in a bind when he wants to put a 10 to 12 foot deck on the back.


John Donnelly: I might add that we only have 38 feet from the rear of the house to the rear property line and to even comply we would only be able to put a 3 foot structure off of the back.


Chairman Brennan: What is directly behind you? Is that another home owner?


John Donnelly: Yes, I believe that is McViegh.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: If this was a standard deck and not enclosed or covered, how far could he extend into the rear yard?


Don Saven: He could project 18 foot into the required rear yard setback. In other words he would have 17 foot to the property line. In this particular case he does have 25 feet. He has a deck but he also has an enclosure which is a part of the deck.


Chairman Brennan: I believe that the petitioner has given a couple of justifiable hardships with respect to being close to wetlands and I can have sympathy with that; as well as the condition that he has gone on record as with his wife and I think that is something to consider. They have no overwhelming objection by anyone, including the neighbors right behind them so I could support the petitioner’s request.


Vice-Chairman Bauer: I could support that for health, safety and welfare.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Bauer,


Seconded by Chairman Brennan,




Discussion on motion:


Member Antosiak: I can’t support the motion because I don’t believe the hardship is to the property. The property was purchased with the full knowledge of what the setbacks were and how much the house filled up the allowable footprint. This is also new construction so we are being asked to approve a variance on virtually new construction.


Chairman Brennan: But, as I understand it, if this was just a deck; he wouldn’t need a variance.


Don Saven: That is correct.


Chairman Brennan: He has a health condition with his wife and that is one of his contentions and that is why I can support the motion.


Member Reinke: Well, he says there is a history which is nothing that is really documented; so I would have to agree with Mr. Antosiak. It is to new to support what is being requested and I think that we are getting off on the wrong tangent to go into that direction. That is only my personal opinion.


Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Antosiak, Reinke Motion Carried


John Donnelly: I would like to request the waiver of the 5 days.


Chairman Brennan: I don’t think there would be any objection by the Board. That waiver will be granted.



Case No. 99-014 filed by Biltmore Properties Corporation


Biltmore Properties Corporation is seeking a variance to eliminate the berm requirement between separate zoning districts on the same property located between 12 Mile and 12 Mile Roads and Novi and Dixon Roads to allow for the construction of a condominium development, Carlton Forest.


Dino Lekas was present and duly sworn.


Dino Lekas: I am with JJR Incorporated in Ann Arbor and I am the site planner for the project and with me is the owner of the property Loren Zalesin representing Biltmore Properties.


Dino Lekas: The variance request is for a berm. The top board that you see in front of you is the site plan that was presented to the Planning Commission on the 20th of January and it received approval. The bottom board or the beige color shows the requirement for berms around the perimeter of the property and between the 2 different zonings on the subject property. This is zoned for OS1 and this is zoned RM1. The property that is zoned OS1 is predominately wetland and it is being developed as a part of the multi family residential project. It has little development potential on it’s own and because of the wetland it is simply containing the entry road into the project. The Planning Commission, as I did mention, did approve the project on the 20th and I believe that they also did recommend or send a recommendation for this variance to the Zoning Board of Appeals.


Dino Lekas: We are currently progressing into the final site plan drawing and are working with the Planning Consultants and in great detail with Linda Lemke to add screening requirements where the berms were required; adding evergreen trees to substitute that type of screening instead of the berm and that is where we stand at this point.


Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 30 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.




Sylva Ridenour, I live at 28200 Dixon, that is on the west side of the project. Is that going to bermed or not?


Dino Lekas: The west side will. There is a berm there.


Sylva Ridenour: Then I would have nothing to say. Thank you.


Don Saven: I am sorry, but I don’t see the berm on the west side of the project. Can you please point that out to me?


Dino Lekas: (pointed out bermed area to Don.)


Debbie Bundoff, I am on the east side; and I would be interested in finding out about my berm too. I am an RA property. Can we look?


Dino Lekas: That is one of the areas where there is a narrow wetland connection between this wetland and this wetland here (referring to chart); so that is one of the areas that Linda Lemke was recommending evergreens rather than a berm.


Member Antosiak: It would be helpful to me, if you could just indicate the berm that you are seeking a variance from.


Dino Lekas: The berms that are required are along here, this is zoned RA in here and this is multi family so there is a berm required along here and there is woodlands that are being left intact along the eastern property edge and there is a berm right in this area here and there is a wetland connection through here that would be lost if the berm was placed. Then the berm on the subject parcel between the 2 different zonings.


Member Antosiak: That is the only berm that you are seeking to avoid with this variance?


Dino Lekas: That is what was brought to our attention by Rod Arroyo, in the Planning comments and in a meeting with Linda Lemke when we went over her comments. It was brought to our attention that these berms were also required but in reading the landscape ordinance again I think that those waivers were granted at the Planning Commission level because of the natural features that they would affect. So there is sort of two things that are going on. One is the land use issue with the OS1 versus the RM1 and then the other is because if the berms were put in place the natural features would be impacted. If I am reading the landscape ordinance correct, I believe that the Planning Commission granted that, actually they recommended that; but in reading the landscape ordinance I think that they are the ones that grant for the natural features impact and then we have come to you for the OS1.


Member Antosiak: The point that I am trying to get to is that the variance request before us, is the berm between the OS1 and the RM1, which is that one berm.


Dino Lekas: Yes, that one berm located here on the drawing.


Debbie Bundoff: I guess the reason that I wanted him to point that out is that during the Planning Commission and during Council, through the zoning of this property and through it’s preliminary site plan approvals unfortunately someone left out the fact that I exist there at the beginning and it was added in later to remind them that there is an RA piece that is adjacent to it. I do own an active farm and I am going to abut 256.47 feet and I am concerned about it. That is going to be their major entranceway and a building at an angle to that parcel. I also had a concern because the sewers are in that area and during the construction of those sewers which got placed on the petitioners property there were some trees that were taken down and removed inadvertently by the City’s construction firm. Therefore, it left 3 openings in that row of trees and I think that part of the City’s obligation is to follow to the rules that it is supposed to be a bermed or walled area. I hope that it gets taken care of at this point since it seems to have lost it’s way and I got told that somewhere in the process it will be addressed.


Chairman Brennan inquired of Don Saven: Is there anything that you can address to this?


Don Saven: The only thing that I would address to the applicant is the area that Ms. Bundoff is addressing and especially at the entrance; how much of that area can a berm be installed? How many lineal foot? I am looking and it looks like there is wetlands associated with the entrance area. I am wondering it that is why Linda Lemke had indicated to put trees there for screening?


Debbie Bundoff: There is 256.4 or 7 feet before the wetland area to the north. I am in between the 2 pockets of wetlands.


Chairman Brennan: So your question would be, if there is not going to be a berm is there going to be plantings and trees?


Debbie Bundoff: Something to keep those people out of my yard.


Dino Lekas: There will be trees put there. Linda Lemke has requested that we put trees there.

Can you point out your property to me?


Debbie Bundoff: (looked at charts to show her property.)


Dino Lekas: There is a wetland connection through here that has been mapped and flagged.


Debbie Bundoff: That is the sewer connection.


Dino Lekas: If I recall you were worried about that connection at the Planning Commission Meeting.


Debbie Bundoff: I was told that this wetland was going to be separated from that wetland.


Dino Lekas: No, they are going to remain connected. That is why Linda is recommending planting through here versus a berm, because of the wetland.


Don Saven: If you go to drawing number 3, you will note that there are areas that are designated as wetlands along the property line adjacent to Ms. Bundoff’s; also the wetland buffer that is there too. Based upon that specific area it might be difficult to put the berm in that area. I am looking at a sanitary sewer line running through this particular area but I am also looking at the wetland area and the buffer areas that are adjacent to this area. I think that is what they are talking about in terms of putting the plantings rather than to disturb the wetlands.


Debbie Bundoff: They have already disturbed the wetlands.


Debbie Bundoff: My question would be, what is going to protect me from their road and their building?


Don Saven: In this area it is going to be bermed.


Dino Lekas: No, there will be screening. Trees will be in there. That was one of the recommendations in Linda Lemke’s comments in reviewing the site plan; that because of the wetland connection that is through here that screening be put in place, vegetated screening.


Chairman Brennan inquired of Debbie Bundoff: Has your question been answered?


Debbie Bundoff: Yes, basically I am not getting a berm; I am going to have vegetation. But I thought that a trade off for a berm was a wall and that is usually what the ordinance read, that is why …….


Chairman Brennan: I think that the ordinance reads that you will have a berm between 2 different zoned districts; not a wall.


Member Antosiak: She is talking about a berm in a different location than the berm that we have before us.


Chairman Brennan: So her particular issue isn’t in front of us.


Kelly Schuler: I wanted to state that is correct. The only issue that you actually are looking at is the berm which is in between the OS1 and the RM1 which the intent of the ordinance to have that berm is to protect it, but between 2 different districts. You have 2 different districts and one property which is the entire condo site.


Chairman Brennan: You need some further clarification and help; but I don’t think that there is anything that we can do tonight.


Debbie Bundoff: That’s just it, you were the last party.


Chairman Brennan: They have more to go through with Planning.


Kelly Schuler: Yes, there is always final site plan and you can maybe work with Linda and come up with some options or maybe even some more dense tree plantings; but I think that there was a concern that there wasn’t enough room for the berm because of the grade that the berm has to be at and it would impact the buffer. Get together with Linda Lemke and maybe you can set something up because they do have to go through final site plan approval.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Other Matters


Member Meyer: I will not be able to make the April Meeting. I do wish that is known at this point as I will be out of town.


Member Antosiak: I will not be in town on March 11th, so I will be unable to make the meeting with Council.





The Meeting was adjourned at 10:25 p.m.










Date Approved __ _

Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary