View Agenda for this Meeting




TUESDAY, MAY 2, 2000


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


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

Also Present Don Saven Ė 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 six members, it is a full Board and any decisions made will be final.


Chairman Harrington indicated that there are ten (10) cases on the agenda. Two (2) cases have been tabled, Kohlís and Ruby Tuesday. Are there any other changes to the agenda? Hearing none, all in favor to approve the agenda, please say aye. All ayes. Agenda approved.


Chairman Harrington indicated that there are minutes from March 7, 2000. Are there any changes or corrections to the minutes? Member Reinke stated that there is a correction on page three (3). Hearing no more, all in favor say aye. All ayes. Minutes approved subject to the correction noted by Member Reinke.


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

1) Case No. 00-018 filed by Collins Sign Company, representing Home Depot

Collins Sign Company is requesting a sign variance for two (2) additional wall signs with verbiage of "Garden Center" (54.67 sq. ft.) and "Indoor Lumberyard" (71.8 sq. ft.). A "Home Depot" sign of 211 sq. ft. has been approved for this business.

Johnnie Capron was present and duly sworn in.

Johnnie Capron: We are the national sign company for Home Depot and we are requesting relief from section 28.6 to add two (2) additional signs to the building. One would say "Indoor Lumberyard" which would notate the area that you could into and purchase items of that nature without having to go into the main part of the store. The same would apply for the "Garden Center" sign. We feel that these signs would eliminate parking congestion in the parking lot and would be convenient for customers. We are asking for a total of 126.6 sq. ft. for total signage.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were eleven (11) notices sent to neighbors and there was one (1) approval and no objections.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: The Home Depot sign has been previously approved for the square footage that it was presented.

Member Brennan: Is this signage similar to the signage on the store in Northville Township?

Johnnie Capron: I am not aware of it but this is part of their national sign package so it probably is.

Member Brennan: What is the overall frontage?

Johnnie Capron: The length of the building is approximately four hundred thirty five (435) feet.

Member Brennan: Since there is not a lot of residential interest in this particular property there might be some justification for relief.

Member Reinke: I think that anyone that pulls into Home Depot can tell where things are. The Garden Center is on one end that is typical of any Home Depot and the opposite end is lumber. I have never seen a Home Depot set up any differently than that. I donít think that there is a hardship enough to grant the additional signage.

Member Fannon: Can you explain why you think it is necessary that people are confused when they go to Home Depot that you would need these two (2) signs?

Johnnie Capron: If someone had never been to a Home Depot than they wouldnít know which is which and sometimes they are reversed.

Member Brennan: Historically, we have looked at real data on new construction. Given that this store is not even up yet it might be hard to justify that there is potential parking problems when it hasnít even opened yet. While you might not have a lot of support tonight then you certainly have the option of coming back when the store is open if management can demonstrate that there are some problems without the signage.

Chairman Harrington: I absolutely agree with Member Reinke. I also remember in this particular case that we have given them a parking variance so that there would be less space available for parking, which would shrink their options. I donít think that the real need that Home Depot has is exterior signage, I think that they have a critical problem inside the store with their interior signage. I think that their interior identification of where things are is terrible. I donít see a real problem here with a hardship for outdoor signage.

Member Bauer: I have also used their services and I have never had a problem with their outdoor signage.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Reinke,


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


2) Case No. 00-020 filed by Irwin Arkin of SHIRO Restaurant

Irwin Arkin is requesting a variance to allow a sign for SHIRO Restaurant located at 43180 Nine Mile Road.

Case No. 00-021 filed by Irwin Arkin of SHIRO Restaurant

Irwin Arkin is requesting a variance to allow an off-premises sign at the northeast corner of Nine Mile and Novi Roads. Sign is proposed to be 8í x 4í (32 sq. ft.) in area and 14í in height to advertise SHIRO Restaurant at 43180 Nine Mile Road.

Irwin Arkin was present and duly sworn in.

Irwin Arkin: The company that I am representing is spending a tremendous amount of time, effort and money to improve and preserve the elegant structure. Vertical signage is necessary because of high ground elevation, short name and the conforming to traditional Japanese style lettering. The sign variance that we are looking for are two (2) square feet in area, 4.6 feet in height and twenty (20) feet in depth. We are requesting a forty three (43) foot setback. It is actually in the same location as it was previously. The sign requests are bare in minimum to resolve the topographical difficulties, which include the structural setback, high ground elevation, and dense wooded area. The various requests will not negatively impact any neighbor or alter the character of the land. We are in favor of the sign, which we think has been done in good taste and we also know that the food will be tastefully done.

Chairman Harrington: Do we wish to address both signs in the same presentation?

The Board Members agreed.

Irwin Arkin: The signage that we are requesting here is on the corner of Nine Mile and Novi Road. We are requesting 46 Ĺ feet to the north of Nine Mile Road and 60 feet to the east of Novi Road. The sign requests are due to the following hardships. Location is extremely well hidden in an industrial area. The structure is hidden by the deep setback of 245-265 foot setback. There is also high ground elevation, dense wooded area, and topographical difficulties. The vertical sign is necessary because of the high ground elevation, short name conforming to traditional Japanese lettering and forty (40) plus mile per hour on Novi Road. There is no restaurant in sight for anyone looking down Nine Mile Road. Referring to the directional arrow indicating six hundred (600) feet I believe that each of us has gotten off an expressway and observed a sign with an arrow directing to a restaurant down the road without an indication of how far away it is. The thought has gone through my mind that the restaurant is a minimum of five or six miles down the road and we choose not to travel that unknown distance. It is important to give the potential patrons the distance piece of mind to make the turn in the restaurant direction.

Irwin Arkin: The three most important factors in choosing a piece of land are location, location and location. The landmark is not on Grand River; this restaurant is not in full view but rather hidden in an industrial area. The restaurant is a destination location and no matter how good the restaurant may be it needs directional assistance for impulse patrons. I find it hard to understand how a non-illuminated sign across the thoroughfare and landscaped would negatively impact any neighbor. I have been in the community since the early 1970ís. When the City of Novi and JCK engineers came to me with the idea of widening Novi and Nine Mile intersection I listened with the thought of working with Novi for everyoneís benefit. There is a sixty foot right-of-way on the west side as well as on the east side, both north and south of Nine Mile Road. Novi could have taken all of the land west of Novi Road, both to the south and north of Nine Mile. The roads could have been widened using the sixty (60) foot right-of-way on Chelsea Knoll on the west side of the road. The easiest and best way illustrated to me was to use my property as pointed out to me by JCK. Rather than take thirty feet from the east side and thirty feet from the west side and screw up Chelsea Knollís property to bring the road up to their doorstep they showed me that if they took sixty feet from my property it would be easiest. That totaled 478 feet times 60 and approximately 660 feet times 60, which is a total of 66,600 square feet. I gifted this property to Novi with no money exchange and no tax benefits. As it was pointed out to me, this was the best for the community and everyone involved. How would Chelsea Knollís residents have felt losing some of their frontage for widening the intersection? Life is a give and take. I donít think that after giving up approximately 66,600 square feet it is too much to ask for the use of approximately four (4) square feet of land that I gave up for a tasteful SHIRO sign. Please donít judge the look of a supported 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. The actual sign will be tastefully done. I would hope that those who have objected would change their position. I feel that I have been the caretaker of the property and the liquor license for a number of years. I have had numerous opportunities to sell this liquor license but I have refused to do so as I felt the city gave me the license for the purpose of the enjoyment of the restaurant. I have worked with my neighbors to the west of SHIRO and have come to appreciate their endeavors of making quality improvements to the property along with their aspirations of having a quality restaurant. We recognize the restaurant's view hardship and sympathize with their problems.

Chairman Harrington indicated that on case 00-020 there were twenty-six (26) notices sent to neighbors and there were three (3) approvals from Mr. Arkin and two (2) objections.

On case 00-021 there were thirty-four (34) notices sent to neighbors and there were three (3) approvals from Mr. Arkin and seven (7) objections.


Sandra Frasier, 22311 Chelsea Lane: I am here to object to the sign of Case No. 00-021 for the sign on Nine and Novi. There are a number of us in Chelsea Knoll that donít like the idea of having the sign there. I am past president and secretary at present for Chelsea Knollís Condo Association. Our board has asked me to be here tonight to let you know that we object. At Chelsea Knoll there are twenty (20) units with thirty-nine (39) registered voters.

Bill Briggs, 43605 Nine Mile Road: I can see this proposed sign from my bedroom window. We already have a big commercial development that is a result of a lawsuit. The court said that the City Council wasnít paying attention to their Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance. I think that we have standards and ordinances and they should be looked at. Any logic that you apply to allowing this sign tonight you could apply to allow fifty billboards up and down every road in Novi. Furthermore, I donít think that there is any hardship at all. The previous restaurants that were in there had problems because of expensive, poor food and bad service. People arenít going to be cruising up and down Novi Road looking for a fine dining establishment; this is going to be a destination restaurant.

Paul Jensen, Vero Court: We are opposed to any further commercialization at that intersection. We have personally spent $15,000 in landscaping along Novi Road in an attempt to beautify that area and we feel that signage on the corner would not enhance that corner. We hope that Mr. Arkin is successful and we are pleased to see him take over the management of the building.

Donald Howard: I noticed that I was recorded as being opposed to the 00-020. I think I was confused and I would not be opposed to a sign by the building itself. However, I am strongly opposed to the sign that would be out on the intersection and I think that it would destroy the aesthetics of the intersection.

Debbie Bundoft, Novi/Twelve Mile Road: Although I donít live in the Nine Mile area I do go down Novi Road quite often. I think that it is great that they are going to try and put a Japanese restaurant in there and I hope them great success. However, I do know that in trying to find that restaurant is difficult. I think that putting the sign on the corner would be a good idea but maybe not the size requested. Although they may prefer to have it in Japanese writing a somewhat smaller sign might do a little better in that location. It is important to keep that house and utilize it.


Don Saven: I would like to point out to the Board that back in October of 1995 we had another sign issue approximately at the same location of what they are asking for in Case No. 00-020. The only difference was that the requested sign at that time was thirty-six (36) square feet and Mr. Arkin is only requesting thirty-two (32).

Chairman Harrington: What they would be entitled to height wise at present is 4 Ĺ feet?

Don Saven: That is correct. Five (5) feet is what is required.

Chairman Harrington: How close to the street can they put the sign up?

Don Saven: What is permitted is supposed to be sixty-three (63) feet but they are only going to be forty-three (43). It is the same as it was at the previous variance request. The road was widened at that time so there was a right-of-way issue that has changed between that time and now.

Member Brennan: I would like to deal with the first case, 00-020. I agree with the petitioner with respect to the placement of the sign. It would cause no difficulties putting it where he wants, putting it back sixty three feet defeats the purpose of having a sign because you wonít be able to see it. I have mixed opinion on the height. I tend to be a little agreeable to their story on trying to put together a Japanese style sign, which is narrow and tall. I have no support at all for a sign at Nine Mile and Novi Road. I think that it would be a huge mistake if we gave directional signage at every corner in the city. You wouldnít be able to see the intersection.

Member Bauer: I think the sign should stay at five (5).

Member Fannon: Is the sign in front of the restaurant going to be lit?

Irwin Arkin: The sign in front of the restaurant would be lit but the sign on the corner would not be lit. There were a few objections to 00-020 but I donít think that they are proper. There are no residents within three hundred (300) feet of that property.

Chairman Harrington: I think that the position of the Board is pretty clear which is that any citizen and voting resident of this community can speak to an issue before the Board. As a matter of right, property owners with any specific footage from an effective property would get a notice as a matter of right as per Ordinance. They get mailings saying that this is what is proposed and you can comment but any person in this city or even outside the city if they think that it affects them can come in to speak about it. I think that the objections are proper, perhaps they shouldnít have gotten the thirty three (33) cent stamp but they are here in the file and the Chair will consider them.

Irwin Arkin: We would consider getting something lower on the corner sign or even a temporary sign, something to help the restaurant get started.

Member Fannon: Is it a two-sided sign that is lit?

Irwin Arkin: Yes.

Member Fannon: I really donít have a problem with the sign that is being proposed, even the height. I would like to see a successful restaurant at that place because in the past it hasnít quite made it. I cannot see a sign anywhere out at Nine Mile and Novi Road, before the intersection was done or even after. It is setting a precedent that is unheard of in the city. I would support the 00-020 but I canít support the 00-021. I wish the applicant luck because we need a good restaurant.

Member Reinke: I agree with Member Fannonís comments. I would support the sign in front of the business but I canít support an off-premise sign.

Chairman Harrington: I think that the sign at the corner is too tall and there has been no reason articulating why they need that in a form of a hardship, which would justify a variance.

Member Sanghvi: I would like to applaud Mr. Arkin for his contribution to the city of Novi. I have no problem with the sign that they are proposing at the site but I think that it would be fool hardy to start a precedent of putting a sign at street corners, advertising businesses. The same could happen for Main Street on Novi Road or any other business and we may find ourselves with lots of sign requests. From this point of view, I would be opposed to a sign at the junction of Novi Road and Nine Mile.

Chairman Harrington: I would suggest that we take the cases separately with the first case being the sign in front of the restaurant, which would be the 00-020 case. This variance consists of three (3) separate requests for square footage, height and setback.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Reinke,


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

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Bauer,


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


4) Case No. 00-022 filed by Anthony Ferlito representing Regency Drive

Anthony Ferlito is requesting the installation of a real estate sign announcing the project known as Regency Centre. The sign requested is 64 sq. ft. and 10í in height.

Greg Hudas and Brad Eagen were present and duly sworn in.

Greg Hudas: We are requesting a variance on the Novi City Code Section 28-7 (4) which states that "no real estate sign on vacant property shall exceed sixteen square feet." The reason for this is that we feel that it is a unique piece of land since it is set back from the road. Tom Co. Fabricating blocks off a significant portion of the Haggerty Road frontage as well as the Haggerty Road overpass. Virtually, the piece has no visible frontage on Haggerty so we are requesting an eight (8) foot high by four (4) foot wide sign that sits two (2) feet off of the ground so it would be ten (10) feet high. The sign is up right now and Mr. Amolsch stated that our best case scenario was to put it up and give it our best shot. We feel that it is very professionally done, very tastefully done and with a thirty (30) acre park it is the only signage that we have. Signage from me as a real estate broker is very important and getting this park done as quickly as possible so that there is not construction going on for years. We have had a 3í x 4í sign there and with the overpass and the speed limit it is virtually impossible to read the sign and get any information. I understand that there may be a light going in there but until that point we are looking for this variance. Ferlito Construction is making a huge investment into the city and we feel that when the park is done there will be as many as four hundred (400) jobs brought into the city. It will be a very corporate image type park, very light industrial and high-tech. Right now we are site plan approved for a thirty five thousand (35,000) square foot multi-tenant building that will be half office, half shop. We respectfully request that the sign be allowed to stay at least until the road is in and the buildings are up so we can market the individual buildings.

Brad Eagen: I would like to add that with a thirty (30) acre parcel we only have seventy (70) feet of frontage along Haggerty Road which makes it pretty difficult to see what is going on back in the main part of the property. Having the larger sign gives people that are traveling at a high rate of speed a chance to see what is going on.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were eleven (11) notices sent to neighbors and there was one approval from American Self-Storage and one objection from Joan Henry.


There was no audience participation.


Chairman Harrington: Will this sign be temporary?

Greg Hudas: Until we get to the point where the buildings are built, putting signs back in on the park is not going to do any good as far as marketing the property. I donít think that the sign will be up for three (3) years. Will it be up for twelve (12) months? Probably.

Chairman Harrington: What I am getting at is, you arenít going to come back to us in eighteen (18) months and say that you want to now make this a permanent sign?

Brad Eagen: We would hope that there would be a marquee sign for the park in the future. This sign is purely for marketing of the development. We see it as being twelve (12) buildings when it is complete. We are moving forward aggressively with three (3) buildings right now and this is for a marketing push to get tenants in the door.

Greg Hudas: We did put the actual sign up just to show you that the sign looks very professional and not an eyesore real estate sign.

Don Saven: If they had their first building permit for that particular project they would be allowed the sixty four (64) square foot sign up to fifteen (15) feet in height, depicting basically the same verbiage that is on this sign because it does meet those requirements as a construction identification sign. It would be good up to approximately twelve (12) months after the last Certificate of Occupancy had been issued. Unfortunately, they are at a clearing and grubbing stage so there will be a time factor involved in that particular area.

Member Reinke: Hypothetically, if we gave them a variance for six (6) months and they came in with their first building permit within five (5) months then it would be legal, correct?

Don Saven: That is correct.




Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Bauer,


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

5) Case No. 00-023 filed by Library Sports Pub & Grill

Library Sports Pub & Grill is requesting a variance to allow for temporary outdoor seating for property located at 42100 Grand River Avenue from May 2, 2000 through September 30, 2000. Refer to ZBA case No. 96-020, 97-023 and 98-022.

Robert Barnett was present and duly sworn in.

Robert Barnett: We have enjoyed a degree of success for five (5) years that we have been in the city of Novi. We have been approved in the past for our outdoor patio and would like to continue to give our customers the opportunity to enjoy outdoor seating. It will be the same setup that we have had since we originally started.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twelve (12) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals or objections.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: No comment.

Member Brennan: No comment means no problems, correct?

Don Saven: That is correct.

Chairman Harrington: Have we typically approved your temporary seating on a year to year basis?

Robert Barnett: Actually, it has been two (2) years.

Chairman Harrington: Your application reflects that you would like only like it for one (1) year. Why only a year?

Robert Barnett: We would like to continue for three (3) years if that is possible but two (2) if you were in the mood.

Member Bauer: I have no problems with this case.

Don Saven: Should the Board decide to do this I would be hopeful that it would be under continuing jurisdiction.

Chairman Harrington: It will be and one of the reasons is to ensure that there are no problems on-site. I have never seen any problems and I could support it.

Member Brennan: Can we give them anymore than what they asked for?

Chairman Harrington: I think that we could, it is more procedural than substantive. They are not enlarging anything that they have had in the past.

Member Reinke: I would agree with the two (2) years but I donít want to go three (3).

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Sanghvi,


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

6) Case No. 00-024 filed by Caren Fifer, 41414 Thirteen Mile

Caren Fifer is requesting to construct a new garage addition and is in need of a variance to allow for an increase to an existing non-conforming structure. A front and rear yard variance is needed.

Timothy Fifer was present and duly sworn in.

Timothy Fifer: We would like to build an attached garage to our home because we have no garage at this point. We are asking for a variance basically because it is a non-conforming structure, which was not self-created. The house and the septic system were there when we purchased the home eleven (11) years ago. The septic system runs behind the proposed location of the garage, which makes it difficult to move it any further back. There is a tree in front of the proposed location of the garage, which would make it difficult to move it any farther forward. Also, the city increased the right of way as part of the Thirteen Mile improvement project and this has added to the problem with the setbacks. The septic field to the west of our house makes it difficult to move the garage any farther west. We are asking for a variance for the front and rear yard setbacks.

Chairman Harrington: What you are looking for is not a square footage variance but simply a setback variance, correct?

Timothy Fifer: That is correct. The square footage will not come close to the maximum allowed for a garage and storage area.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were seven (7) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals or objections.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: Mr. Fifer probably hit the nail on the head with all of these problems that he has out there. He sits up very high so it would be very difficult to move anything even to the front. If you look at the plot plan you will see how close he is to the property line as it exists and certainly the issue with the septic field has been a problem.

Member Bauer: Does the height of the structure have any problems?

Don Saven: No.

Member Reinke: I think that the petitioner has done everything that he can do with the road right of way increasing which puts it in a non-conforming status. I donít think that there is much else that he can do and he has made every attempt. I can support his request.

Member Fannon: I think that it is a safety issue too because they can turn around in the driveway once the garage is built and not have to back out onto Thirteen Mile Road. There was a time when that wasnít a problem but you probably donít want to do it too often.

Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Fannon,


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

7) Case No. 00-025 filed by Eric Stang, 114 Bernstadt

Eric Stang is requesting four (4) variances to allow him to construct a 24í x 24í detached garage, keep two other existing accessory structures and have more than the maximum total square footage allowed for storage space.

Eric Stang was present and duly sworn in.

Eric Stang: I am requesting various variances to construct a 24í x 24í garage, which require the following variances. Accessory buildings to the side yard distance and distance from the house, number of accessory buildings and also the maximum storage space. Required hardships included exhibit number one (1). There is a well located directly in the middle of the yard that prevents me from moving the structure to the back of the yard. Exhibit number two (2) is the roof line elevation as far as attaching the garage to the house. Exhibit number three (3) shows a safety issue; there is a door wall, which is on the side of the house, and if the actual garage is attached to the corner it definitely becomes a safety issue. In addition, I have received some costs to tear down the sheds, which were over five hundred (500) dollars apiece so that is why I am requesting all of the variances on this particular project.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twelve (12) notices sent to neighbors and there were two approvals and no objections. The approvals comment that the smaller storage shed could be eliminated to help with the number of buildings on the property.


Chairman Harrington: Our minutes will reflect that we have been handed a property description/rendering of where this womanís property is and she is handing the Board certain photographs. Do you wish us to make the photographs part of the permanent record or do you want the photographs back?

Kopi Lucas: It doesnít matter.

Kopi Lucas, 717 South Lake Drive: I own lots 89, 98 and 99. I am for Mr. Stang to put a garage up but he should make it larger and take down the woodsheds. My backyard joins his backyard

and I clean the weeds behind the woodsheds all of the time because no one can get back there except for me. Mr. Stang talks about equipment that he needs to maintain the property that is not his.

Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin: Mrs. Lucas had asked me to accompany her this evening. She has lived in the area for many, many years and when these two (2) sheds were built the issue of legality comes up. I canít believe that the Building Department would permit them to be less than one (1) foot from the property line. Mrs. Lucas has no problem with Mr. Stang building a larger garage, pushing it back since he has sixty (60) feet from his back property line. We know that there is a well there and that does present a hardship. Mrs. Lucas would like him to consider building a larger garage and pushing it back but tearing down the two sheds. I think that if someone is giving him estimates of five hundred (500) dollars a shed then that is a little high. I donít think that she would have a problem with the slabs remaining there because they are on concrete but I think that she does want the sheds taken down. You can see that the condition of the sheds are pushing the fence back into her property. She has been concerned about this for many years but urges him to build a larger garage and remove the sheds.


Don Saven: How far is the well from the rear of the proposed garage?

Eric Stang: I donít have an actual scale with me but it would be around nine (9) feet.

Don Saven: Is the location of the well representative to what is being proposed?

Eric Stang: Yes.

Eric Stang: I have been a new owner of this home for about seven months. These sheds were built before I got there.

Don Saven: I think that there could be some creative construction with the existing garage for adding more square footage.

Member Brennan: How close could he get to the well?

Don Saven: I would definitely stay at least five (5) feet away from the well so that they could get a machine in there with the frontage.

Member Brennan: He could potentially have a twenty eight (28) foot deep garage?

Don Saven: I think that he could go to the right and come up with an L or an addition off of the back of that for whatever storage he would need.

Member Reinke: I understand that he needs storage but I think that he will have to be more creative. I think that we will work with you on this but one of the conditions will be to take down the sheds. I would suggest that you go back and give some real thought as to what you need for storage.

Member Bauer: I agree with Member Reinke.

Member Brennan: We would typically recommend that you should reconsider this request and table it until you can look at it further. If you needed additional variances on a different designed garage which also eliminated the two (2) sheds you could come back at that time and we would consider those changes.

Chairman Harrington: Can we approve the variances for this garage or a larger garage but with the same setback variances?

Don Saven: Based upon the testimony that was here tonight and based upon the location, I donít think that he can get closer to that well. I would be more concerned about him servicing that well than anything else. If he was to get the setback variance for what is existing here and add on to that particular approved variance but stay within the limits of the Ordinance then he would not have to come back here.

Chairman Harrington: So it would work?

Don Saven: That is correct.

Member Reinke: I have a problem with that, there are too many ifs and ands.

Member Brennan: I donít like giving a variance without knowing what he is going to build. I want to know what he is going to build.

Member Sanghvi: The best solution to this situation is to table this for another month or two.

Eric Stang: Is it possible to obtain a variance for this exact structure here, the 24í x 24í with eliminating both sheds?

Member Brennan: Yes.

Chairman Harrington: Does this work for you?

Eric Stang: Not really, but it may have to.

Chairman Harrington: Do you wish an additional opportunity to explore the possibility of a larger structure? You could come back next month and have us consider the whole package. I think that you sense where the Board is going on this one, you will have one structure when you are done.

Eric Stang: I would ask for a decision tonight.

Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Brennan,


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

Collex Collision

Show Cause Hearing regarding no outside storage or overnight storage of vehicles allowed.

Chairman Harrington: It is my understanding that the Collex representative has been requested to appear before the Board because of difficulties associated with outdoor storage of junked/damaged cars on-site. This matter was approved subject to the continuing jurisdiction of the Board and there appears to be a suggestion that this is a problem, which would require the petitioner to show cause in this instance.

Don Saven: At the last ZBA meeting there was a complaint that was brought before us regarding the outdoor storage of junked vehicles. At that particular time, it was investigated by Officer Amolsch and again they had the outdoor storage of vehicles upon the site. I asked him to send another notice regarding this matter and since this Board approved it with continuing jurisdiction it was brought back for a Show Cause Hearing.

Chairman Harrington: Are there particular instances, which you can educate the Board where a member of the city has observed storage outside which would be in violation of the permit or would this be within the purview of Mr. Amolsch?

Don Saven: A notice went to Collex on March 10, 1997 which indicated to remove all junked cars and car parts within the stipulated time period. Refer to ZBA case 93-67 and 94-107, which was Pro-Tech. They have been warned before and received another notice but it was best to bring them back before the Board.

Chairman Harrington: Is there a person from the city who has observed this?

Don Saven: Mr. Amolsch had observed the particular vehicles. I went by right after the last ZBA meeting and I saw the vehicles outside. I was there a couple of days ago and there were vehicles that did not have parts on them. They were movable with a license but they didnít have parts on them.

Chairman Harrington: As recently as a few days ago?

Don Saven: Yes, yesterday.

Chairman Harrington: Mr. Quinn, you are here for the Show Cause?

Matthew Quinn: Yes, I am and I have with me Robert Gagliano, who is the Vice President of Collex. We are ready to make a short statement and answer any questions that you may have. I happened to be at the last ZBA meeting and I heard Mr. Herrington who spoke against my case that was here that night which was another collision shop. His general comment was if you allow a collision shop in an I-1 District you have an enforcement problem. He then stated that his company had been called to go to this auto mall center, that has a number of auto related businesses in it, and they had to tow away two (2) cars. He stated that those two vehicles were from Collex. In talking with the people from Collex we verified that they were not vehicles of Collex. They are the vehicles relating to the All-Tune that is next door. All-Tune does mechanical work on cars and they regularly have cars left there. There has been a historical problem with the All-Tune people and the way that that business is operated. Also, Midas which is adjacent has had repeated problems. Although perhaps they were not reported but they have just gone out of business and my client may be able to pick up that lease space. The variance that was granted in this matter and continued in 1995 basically says that there is no outdoor storage of any automobile repair components. My client verifies that they have not stored outside any automobile repair components. Also, "no outdoor storage of any automobile repair components will be visible on the outside and no storage of vehicles overnight will be allowed." My client has never received any written information from this city stating that they have allowed collision stored vehicles overnight. He was flabbergasted when he got this notice because he doesnít think that he should be here for any reason. We think this issue back in 1997 was a situation where the All-Tune and Lube shop had an employeeís car that was abandoned. There were two mechanical breakdowns and we think that those were the two that were towed away. They were not ours, they were All-Tune and Lube problems.

Robert Gagliano was present and duly sworn in.

Member Brennan: Have you stored any automotive repair components outside or have you stored any vehicles overnight?

Robert Gagliano: We donít store cars. The cars that are there are citizens of Novi that are getting their cars repaired. If there is anything there it is legally parked and plated. There was a problem with the scrap parts hanging out of the bin and we gave up one of the dumpsters to create some room for the parts. Once this notice was brought to us all of the tenants in our complex got together and cleaned everything up.

Member Brennan: As far as you are concerned, you have been and are in compliance with the variance that we granted to Pro-Tech and then turned over to you?

Robert Gagliano: Yes.

Matt Quinn: I have a question for the variance regarding overnight storage of vehicles. Am I correct in assuming that is cars that are damaged and are there for repairs or if I drive in there and leave a not damaged car in a parking spot, is that what this disallows?

Don Saven: That is correct and the reason is because we could take up all of the parking spots that are there with cars that are "damaged."

Matt Quinn: What if they are not damaged? We try to find intent in some of those languages. I went to the original minutes and I was looking at what Mr. Mamola was talking about. His reference to storage was always to damaged vehicles. That piqued my interest to see what you thought the intent of that was.

Chairperson Harrington: I am not sure what Donís feeling on the intent is has anything to do with anything. I think the motion that was passed by the Board is clear and unambiguous. It is not subject to interpretation, it says, "no storage of vehicles overnight will be allowed." If people are bringing cars in the night before then that may be an acceptable use under normal circumstances but that would violate this particular variance that was granted.

Matt Quinn: Storage would mean that they had the vehicle under their control first, stored it and then took it back. They canít control someone that comes to the site and leaves their car there.

Chairperson Harrington: If your concern is that the variance that was granted isnít working in the real practical business world then there are remedies for that. You could seek a modification on the variance. The Boardís real concern is that there are junkers being stored. This is an enforcement issue. The issue of leaving your keys in the front door is a separate issue than what has brought us here and maybe you should come back.

Member Brennan: Another person at last monthís meeting accused this company of storing junk, old vehicles and parts. This is why we asked him to come and now he is sworn under testimony.

Chairperson Harrington: I think that we do have the authority to enforce the conditions upon which we approve a variance. I donít think that the city has to go to Circuit Court and get an injunction. I think that we can yank a use variance but my sense is that we need a sound, factual predicate and an evidentiary basis to do so because the decision that we would make to put this gentleman out of business is serious. This is relatively unique for the Board and I would like to see one or more district court convictions under a misdemeanor citation for violating the Ordinance. If there is a conviction by our aggressive city attorney prosecutors for Ordinance violation then I think that would be adequate evidentiary and factual basis for us with another court having made a determination.

Member Brennan: This particular case we retained jurisdiction.

Chairperson Harrington: Would a violation of a variance condition be a misdemeanor?

Don Saven: I think that we should have Mr. Watson discuss this.

Chairperson Harrington: But your gut reaction like mine is that it is?

Don Saven: Yes.

Chairperson Harrington: I donít think that we should be conducting trials here and Alan is the person that observed these things. I am disturbed because I drove by last week and there was a junker sitting there in the middle of the day. If you have a junker that you need to keep secured then it should be indoors.

Member Reinke: I think that they may need to find some off-site storage that they can remove the vehicles to but not to continue what is being observed.

Member Sanghvi: What is the definition of storage as pertaining to this particular case?

Don Saven: I believe it is what was indicated in the motion as far as storage is concerned. "The Zoning Board of Appeals will retain jurisdiction and put the stipulation that no outdoor storage of any automobile repair components will be visible on the outside and no storage of vehicles overnight will be allowed."

Member Fannon: I think that your client agreed that on reading these minutes to assume the same position that Pro-Tech had. I guess you have to go by his word and if he says that they arenít his cars then we donít have any evidence that they are.

Chairperson Harrington: Mr. Quinn, one of the problems that we have is Mr. Amolschís illness and apparently he has personal knowledge of some of the instances that are involved here. There is not adequate proof to indicate that your client has specifically violated on a date certain or dates certain the special conditions that were associated with the variance that was granted. There is probably a procedural way as to how the Board should handle these Show Cause hearings. I think that the way to approach this is on a group basis in conjunction with Mr. Watson and the Board should address this in Other Matters next month. Also, we should send a notice out if we reach a consensus as to the procedure that we will follow and what we are looking for like a District Court conviction or the equivalent. Maybe Mr. Amolsch should come up here, sworn under oath and tell what he saw on certain dates. One or more violations of a flagrant nature where the businesses have been warned would be sufficient for this Board to consider revocation of the entire variance. I think that everyone being forewarned what the Board is concerned about and the direction that we are headed maybe the word will get out.

Moved by Harrington,

Seconded by Brennan,


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

Matt Quinn: I think that it would be a good idea when Alan gets back to have a meeting at the site with all of the businesses and sit down to see what the problem is.



Other Matters

Rules of Procedure

Chairperson Harrington: I donít think that we need to re-visit again the amendment to the Rules of Procedure regarding temporary signs. The language as I observed accurately reflects the motion that was made last month.


Don Saven: The sign is down. They are working on the right-of-way right now so there may be some modifications in the front area.

Release form

Chairperson Harrington: I noticed a form in the file this evening that I had never seen before. Apparently for security or tracking purposes the city has implemented a procedure where public citizens that wish to review a file will fill out a form. I think that is fine but I donít think that the people who have reviewed a ZBA file should have their form in the case file. I think that it takes up more room than it has to and I am not sure it is any of our business who has looked at the files. People donít need this Boardís permission to look at them and I would request that the forms are stored somewhere else.

The Meeting was adjourned at 9:11 p.m.



Date Approved: June 6, 2000 __________________________________

Sarah Marchioni

Recording Secretary