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The Meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m., with Vice-Chairman Fannon presiding.


Present Members Bauer, Reinke, Fannon, Meyer, Brennan and Sanghvi

Absent Member Harrington (excused)

Also Present Terry Morrone Ė Deputy Building Official

Sarah Marchioni - Recording Secretary


The Zoning Board of Appeals is a hearing board empowered by the City Charter to hear appeals seeking variances from the application of the Novi Zoning Ordinance. It takes a vote of at least four members to approve a variance request and a vote of the majority of the members present to deny a variance. A full Board consists of six members. Since there are five members with an alternate, it is a full Board and any decisions made will be final.


Vice-Chairman Fannon indicated that there are four (4) cases on the agenda. Are there any changes to the agenda? Hearing none, all in favor to approve the agenda, please say aye. All ayes. Agenda approved.


Vice-Chairman Fannon indicated that there are minutes from February 1, 2000. Are there any changes or corrections to the minutes? Hearing none, all in favor say aye. All ayes. Minutes approved as written.


Vice-Chairman Fannon indicated that since there are no hands we would move onto the first case.

1) Case No. 00-005 filed by Maple Place Investment

Maple Place Investment is requesting a variance to allow a business center sign to be erected at Maples Place Shopping Center, 14 Mile and Novi Road, prior to the four (4) tenant occupancy as required by the Ordinance.

David Goldberg was present and duly sworn.

David Goldberg: Maples Place Investment is the owner and landlord of the Maples Place Shopping Center, located at the corner of Novi Road and Fourteen Mile Road. We have submitted a permit for installation of a ground demarcation sign, which will be located at the corner of Fourteen Mile and Decker. The sign that we are installing is a two-part sign. The top portion of the sign says, "The Maples Place" and introduces the center. The bottom portion of the sign says, "Welcome to the City of Novi." That corner is the entranceway to the city coming from Commerce Township to the north. Under the City Zoning Ordinance, you need to have four (4) occupied tenants or separate businesses in the center before you are allowed to install a shopping center sign. We currently only have two (2) tenants that are actually occupied and operating in the premise right now. We have three (3) other tenants that have signed leases and are going through either the permitting or build-out planning process. There are several other tenants that are negotiating the lease process.

David Goldberg: Based on having four (4) tenants, but not four (4) tenants occupying the premise, we would like permission to begin the installation of the sign. The sign that we are putting in and the request of the variance is not requesting anything that we arenít already entitled to do under the Zoning Ordinance. We are just asking to put the sign in earlier than we can. The reasons for that are that it enhances the shopping center and allows us to properly market it. The landscaping at the corner is being designed, is relatively expensive and rather elaborate. We have worked with the city in not only designing the sign for the shopping center but also introducing the city. If we have to follow the Ordinance as it is currently interpreted than we would have to wait from now until another thirty (30) days until our two (2) additional tenants have completed the preparation of their plans. There will be roughly sixty (60) days until they complete their build-outs. I am afraid that we are going to push ourselves into late June, early July before we can finalize the permitting process for the entranceway sign. By the time that we get to landscape that corner it might be early August, which is not the time of the year when you are supposed to be doing planting.

Vice-Chairman Fannon indicated that there were five hundred seventy two (572) notices sent to neighbors. There were four (4) approvals and twelve (12) objections. Many of the people that objected stated that if there is an Ordinance it should be followed.


There was no audience participation.


Terry Morrone: We have released the permits so it is just a time factor.

Member Brennan: I see this as really harmless. This is something that he is going to have in a couple of months anyway. The fact that he is getting some identification at the corner of the city is in our best interest. He is going to have this sooner or later, in this case, sooner is smarter.

Member Meyer: I think that his comments are very logical regarding the planting season that is upon us. I think that this gentleman wants to beautify the corner and make it a very welcoming entrance to the city from the north end.

Member Bauer: I have no problem.

Moved by Member Brennan,

Seconded by Member Bauer,


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

2) Case No. 99-087 filed by Larry Leo

Larry Leo is requesting a re-hearing for Case No. 99-087. His first hearing was a request for a side yard setback variance of four (4) feet to allow for the construction of a single family home at the corner of Lemay and Eubank Streets, sidwell number 50-22-03-381-014.

Larry Leo: I would like to thank the Board for hearing me again. During the last meeting, there was some opposition from a Sarah Gray and Jim Korte regarding lot split and water tap. Since that time with the help of the Building Department I have gotten ahold of Mr. Lemmon. There is a letter in your packet addressed to Mr. Lemmon from the city attorney where it states that the lot split was a legal split. The other issue brought up was a water tap. They wanted to know if you could tap into an existing structure. I am in a foundation business, which is irrelevant except that I am around construction and there is absolutely no problem to make caps onto existing water mains and sewer mains.

Larry Leo: Ms. Gray brought up the fact that she lives within one hundred (100) yards of the situation and was totally against it. My son and I walked around to the neighbors that were within one hundred (100) yards or closer and asked them how they felt about us getting a variance to build a particular house. I also included in the packet eight (8) signatures of the people that are real close to the situation and they were pleased that we were willing to go in to build something.

Larry Leo: That takes us to the buildable site situation and this is a buildable site. It is not an ideal buildable site but as it stands right now, we can construct a house. (He showed boards that he had drawn to scale of the different looking houses.)

Larry Leo: I walked into the city and asked Terry Morrone if I could sit down to review some of the past variances in the last couple of years. There has been an awful lot of variances in the north end and I donít feel that what I am asking for is excessive. As far as the size of the total package, with the variance and a garage, we would still be under the twenty-five (25) percent lot coverage. With the variance we would come in at 23.4 percent.

Larry Leo: I also received a letter from Mr. Randu covering the assessment that he wrote to me. He is under the opinion that the assessment has been covered by the fact of when he received the bill for the variance. I donít know if it is covered or not covered, maybe City Council could figure it out.

Vice-Chairman Fannon indicated that there were nine (9) notices sent to neighbors and there was one (1) approval.


There was no audience participation.


Terry Morrone: We have no objection to the variance that is being requested. Although it does not meet the letter of the Ordinance, it does meet the spirit and intent. The variance that is requested is less of an encroachment than about eighty (80) to eighty five (85) percent of the variances that have been granted in the north end. I would like to say that the alleged illegal split has been confirmed as being legal per the city attorneyís opinion. The issue over the water tap has been resolved. At least, in part that it does not belong in this meeting but it can be appealed to City Council for a reassessment. The lot coverage issue as currently shown on the plan, is 16.4 percent, not including the garage, which is not even requested. If a garage is requested one can be built with no variances, 19 x 24 feet in depth. Regarding the issue over the width of the home, I feel as Mr. Leo does. He can build a twenty (20) foot wide home or build one that meets industry standards and will actually enhance the area.

Vice-Chairman Fannon: We are looking at the four (4) foot variance from a ten (10) foot to a six (6) foot sideyard, correct?

Larry Leo: That is correct but we have come up with three (3) plot plans since that time and it can go anyway.

Member Reinke: First, we have to decide if we are going to re-hear the case? Then we can look at the variance.

Member Brennan: I was the dissenting vote last month. I would have challenged you to present what is different than last month. Last month there was those that suggested that the lot split was illegal, the water main was questionable, participants in the audience reacted violently to the plans, no neighbors were spoken to, and many other factors that are different from last meeting. I support this petitionerís request because I think that he has done the job of addressing the issues, real or not that were brought to the Board last month.

Moved by Meyer,

Seconded by Bauer,


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

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Bauer,



Member Meyer: My support is going to be particularly because you have been in dialogue with the neighbors, the very people that are going to be impacting by this. The letter from the immediate neighbor welcomes this work on your part. It speaks volumes to me and I wish you well.

Member Reinke: There is a lot of trouble with the north end. There are situations where we create something to make it better but yet we still create a problem. Just as soon as we create something then we need a variance and this is my objection to this. I donít know what else can be done with it.

Terry Morrone: In comment to the suggestion, we feel that the Ordinance has to be tweaked a little bit. There was a change in the sideyard setbacks some years ago and this portion of the Ordinance, which was designed to allow the smaller lots to be built with limitations was not adjusted to accommodate the corner scenario. The Building Department is going to recommend that the Implementation Committee take a look at it to see if it is out of line and needs to be adjusted.

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


3) Case No. 00-006 field by North Oaks Pediatrics, PLC

North Oaks Pediatrics, PLC is requesting a variance to allow a second ground sign located at 42450 W. 12 Mile Road.

Cheryl Klebba Gannon and Susan Laurent were present and duly sworn.

Cheryl Klebba Gannon: We are here tonight to request a sign ordinance variance for an existing driveway sign. We recently opened a new pediatric practice in Novi called North Oaks Pediatrics. We are requesting this hardship variance based on the following three (3) issues. The driveway sign is the only sign option available to us to promote our new pediatric practice. As part of our taking over the vacant space in the building previously used by Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital Urgent Pediatric Care Center, this existing driveway sign was the only signage available for use to promote our practice. We have provided a letter from our landlord confirming that this is our variance. The sign had some minimal text changes that were made which are consistent with the signs prior usage. Previously the sign had the name "Pediatric Urgent Care" in a backlit section and had listed the hours of the facility on a base panel. Having the space on the sign that allows our names to be placed as well as the corporate name are essential in a sense that patients identify with a physician more than a corporate name. We essentially have no identity yet with this corporate name since we are brand new. We have presented you with pictures. The sign is professional in its appearance and complimentary to other signs in the area. To the best of our knowledge, no one has objected to the sign changes.

Susan Laurent: When the suite was promoted to us and we went through our negotiations, the only signage that we were offered was that sign in the driveway. We were not offered any space on the larger sign that is in front of the building.

Chairman Brennan indicated that there were seven (7) notices sent to neighbors. No approvals

or objections had been submitted.


There was no audience participation.


Terry Morrone: We have no objection. The only comment is that if there is a variance granted that it be limited to the petitioner only.

Member Brennan: I think that you have a very legitimate offer in front of us. You are a new business and this is the only sign that you have access to. You did your homework in supplying us with the letter from your landlord. I agree that patients look for a doctorís name. I find this request harmless and good promotion for good people trying to do business in our community.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Reinke,


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

4) Case No. 00-007 filed by Leonard Siegal, representing Brateman Medical Building

Leonard Siegal, representing Brateman Medical Building is wishing to construct a 11,002 sq. ft. medical office building and is in need of a lot size and lot width variance.

Lonny Zimmerman was present and duly sworn.

Lonny Zimmerman: There are really two (2) variances that we are requested. We are located in a NCC District and it will be a medical clinic for Dr. Robert Brateman. The NCC District requires a two hundred (200) foot wide lot and two (2) acres minimum. This particular site is 158.5 feet wide and 1.15 acres so our variance request is for 41.42 feet in width and .85 acres in overall size. Dr. Brateman has been in Novi for about eleven (11) years and he has outgrown his current space. Right now he is located on Grand River and Karim Boulevard. He would like to stay in Novi and has looked for a site in the immediate area. The closest that he could come was the site that the present building is proposed on and it is in an area that is correctly located for his clientele. He plans to make this his final office for twenty plus future years in Novi.

Lonny Zimmerman: There is a practical difficulty with meeting the requirements of the Ordinance. On the west side is Provident Family Dentistry which has recently been completed. They are on approximately the same size site and received a similar variance that we are requesting in April 1996. On the east side a Mr. William Bryant owns the property and through Jonathan Brateman we have been trying to purchase the property since 1994. There are roughly three (3) letters where he has refused purchase of the property adjacent on the east side. On the south side there is an existing condominium complex. This property has nowhere to expand in order to meet the minimum NCC Ordinance size requirements. We believe that there is a practical difficulty. The building that we are proposing to put on it is an eighty two hundred (8200) square foot medical building with a twenty seven hundred (2700) square foot mezzanine for storage within the space itself.

Vice-Chair Fannon indicated that there were fourteen (14) notices sent to neighbors. There were no approvals and one objection, stating that Novi does not need a building of any kind.


There was no audience participation.


Terry Morrone: No objection and the Planning Department is the same.

Member Reinke: We created a zoning district, which isnít that old and now we have to go in to apply variances to it. There are certain situations that require that but I think that sometimes in our Zoning Ordinances we create a situation that either development of property or existing property is not going to be able to be developed or to follow the Ordinance without a variance. If we are creating those kinds of Ordinances then we are not looking at the whole program. I think the petitioner has done everything that he can do. He has met everything except the acreage and the width in the NCC district. I think that he has done a good job at his presentation and how he has made every attempt to comply but hasnít been able to acquire additional property. I think the Ordinance has been established without really looking at what ramifications it is going to cause by what they establish.

Member Bauer: We have run into this a number of times on Grand River. I think that he has a practical difficulty.

Member Brennan: I think that if Mr. Harrington were here he would challenge whether other property could be acquired and you have done a nice job in presenting that. That set my mind as to where I was going on this case. This isnít a debate over the size of the building, the piece of property is too small for the district. It is not his fault, he has done everything that he could to try to comply. I think that he has presented a valid case for a variance.






Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Bauer,


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

Other Matters


Husky Molding Injection has requested the continued placement of the temporary "mock up" sign until spring 2000 due to ground conditions.

Vice-Chairman Fannon: We asked Husky to take down the mock-up signs and they are not taking them down, is that the issue here?

Member Bauer: They donít want to until summer.

Member Brennan: I canít remember a time when someone couldnít build a sign in the dead of the winter. We have had the mildest winter, it is seventy degrees outside today and maybe that is why they are not here. Did we give them both signs from the 96 side or just one? They still have two signs. I would deny this because there is no reason that they cannot get those signs up within the period that we granted especially with the weather conditions. I donít see why they canít comply with the variance that we gave them. We gave them a variance and they should do what they said that they were going to do.

Member Reinke: I would like to say that I am very disappointed that when a petitioner wants to request something and they canít have a representative. It does not seem to be that important to them. I think that if it warrants us to take time then they need to communicate that to us one way or another.

Terry Morrone: Mr. Saven had discussions with the Husky people and I donít think that there was an intention for them to be here tonight. I think that there was some sort of latitude or decision made. I hate to take that any further because I really donít know a whole lot about it other than the fact that Mr. Saven had indicated that this was an informational thing on the agenda that should be noted.

Member Brennan: When was the sign granted? At the January meeting? A variance is good for how many days?

Terry Morrone: Ninety (90) days.

Member Brennan: So they are already past their ninety (90) days.

Member Reinke: I donít see an end date, I see a date of spring 2000.

Member Bauer: Spring 2000 starts March 21.

Member Fannon: Was Mr. Saven asking us to take action or just giving us some information that those people has asked him for some time?

Terry Morrone: It was an informational thing. I think that Mr. Saven has given them a little bit of latitude. I donít believe that this was to be debated here tonight but I could be mistaken.

Moved by Brennan,



Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Bauer,


Amend Rules of Procedure

Member Brennan: As I understand, this is the revision based on some minor suggestions made at the last meeting. This is a document that we decided we were going to generate.

Member Bauer: I am against it because you are giving this person no time to get a replacement for that "mock-up." Then the person will have no signage whatsoever.

Member Reinke: I agree although I didnít agree before. If someone does something without a permit, what is the normal length of time they have to remove something?

Terry Morrone: That varies on the situation. If something is done without a permit then there would be a notice of violation issued and they would have to obtain a permit within so many days or file for a variance with this Board.

Member Reinke: How many days would they have in a situation like this?

Terry Morrone: That varies with the Ordinance Officer and their dealings with that company. It may be repetitious, which would be a shortened time. It may be a one-time thing done in error so it is hard to put a finger on how much time would be allowed and permitted before something would happen. My guess is, ten (10) days is pretty normal for any type of action to happen.

Member Reinke: If there is a policy in place, then there is really no need to do this.

Member Brennan: This statement should say, "If a mock-up sign which was denied, it should be removed within five days."

Member Meyer

Member Meyer: I would like everyone to know that I am resigning the Board tonight for professional reasons due to my new responsibilities as the Coordinator of the Spiritual Care Space of the cancer center in Novi. I would like this opportunity to thank Mayor McLallen who appointed me to the Board, some four years ago. I have notified Mayor Clark and Mr. Harrington by mail and Mr. Saven by phone call. I would like to thank everyone for the wisdom and insight that I have gained at this table for the last four years. I would like you to know that I feel that I have made a difference in sitting at this table. On some Tuesday nights, I will be saying a prayer for you.

Member Sanghvi

Member Sanghvi: I would like to go on record that I would like to be considered for the vacant position on the Board.

Member Bauer: I think that the Chair should send a letter to the Council making Member Sanghvi as permanent and not alternate.

Member Reinke: I think that you might elude that the position of an alternate is an experienced member of the Board, which would be more beneficial to sit in the position as a full-time membership. The new member could then be in the alternate position, which gives them a little bit of time to become acclimated to the procedures.


Member Reinke: I hope that this is not something of times to come but when we get information pertaining to a case before us that we havenít seen prior to the meeting it has no merit whatsoever. In all honesty, we can not even review it, try to digest it and try to figure out what merit it has.

Terry Morrone: My apologies. I had not intended for you to read that but I gave a summarization of what the letter said. That letter didnít come in until a couple of days ago, much too late but it was too pertinent not to give it to you.

Member Reinke: I would rather see someone make a presentation or comment as you did rather than set it in front of me. If you set it in front of me, I try to do something with it and it just distracts me.


The Meeting was adjourned at 8:27 p.m.



Date Approved: April 4, 2000

__________________________________ Sarah Marchioni

Recording Secretary