View Agenda for this Meeting






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

Linda Lemke Ė Woodlands Consultant

Rod Arroyo Ė Traffic and Planning Consultant


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 eight (8) 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.


Chairman Harrington indicated that there are minutes from May 2, 2000. Are there any changes or corrections to the minutes? Hearing none, all in favor say aye. All ayes. Minutes approved as written.


Cheryl Hines, Taubman Company: I am representing the Fountain Walk project, which is under construction just behind West Oaks I and II. I thought that I would take the opportunity tonight to give you a little preview of what you will be seeing at possibly the August meeting. We plan to be coming back to you with a full sign package for the center. This is a retail, restaurant and entertainment complex anchored by a Great Indoors and a theatre with the remaining square footage in the other buildings. The main thing that you can see from this is that there is no backside to it so therefore there is parking surrounding the entire complex. Therefore, it functions like an uncovered mall than it would a strip center. We would like to allow the tenants to make their statements and contribute to the architecture of this project. We have some exciting tenants with exciting signage requirements, which is why you will be seeing us with a full sign package at the August meeting. We would like to do this at this time, long before the center is open and tenants are actually building their store so that we can come to you with all of the site signage, directional signage and the tenant criteria signage rather than as each tenant comes in, one at a time. We would like to have a theme and some rules established at the beginning. We may also need to request a variance because the Board requests "mock-ups" of the signs on the site. At the time we will not have the buildings and walls up so it would be difficult to do. She is working with the Building and Planning department in the package and how it ties in with the entire building and the facades.

Chairperson Harrington: It is the strong position of the Board to see the package as it will look when it goes up. Particularly if a project is many months away we would like to see how it will impact the community. We will listen to whatever will be said but in fairness to the citizens of the community and prior practices we would like to see "mock-ups."

Case No. 00-028 filed by Anchor Sign, representing Extended Stay America

(Studio Plus)

Anchor Sign, representing Extended Stay America (Studio Plus) is requesting a setback variance for a ground sign. Extended Stay America will be located on Haggerty Road between Eight and Nine Mile Roads.

William Sherrod was present and duly sworn in.

William Sherrod: The Studio Plus hotel is going up on Orchard Hill Place Drive which is off of Eight Mile Road and Haggerty. It is well under construction and plans to be open in the next few months. We are requesting a setback variance for the placement of the ground sign. The setback requirement is sixty-three (63) feet from the centerline of Orchard Hill Place and by adhering to the required setback the sign would be placed in the parking lot of the hotel. In an effort to put it in a landscaped area closer to the road we would request a variance of twenty-eight (28) feet. There is really no other place to put a free standing sign and this is the option that Studio Plus has asked us to pursue. Most of the signs on this road are all free standing ground signs on Orchard Hill Place and would like it to be tied in with the rest of the signs.

Chairperson Harrington: What is the geographical problem that prevents you from complying with the Ordinance?

William Sherrod: The islands that separate the parking lot from Orchard Hill Place Drive are not deep enough to allow the sign to be set back the proper distance from the centerline of the road. If it were placed there it would be behind the landscaped areas and essentially in the parking lot. There is a slight rise and a left-hand turn as you are approaching the site and this sign would not be visible at all. We tried a couple of different options of where we could place it. The initial place to locate the sign was going to be on the southern edge of the property but we did not realize at the time that it would be a storm water retention pond. The next option was to place it right at the entrance to the property, which makes more sense for customers.

Chairman Harrington passed around pictures of the sign and asked that the pictures be made part of the record.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-four (24) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals or dissaprovals.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: There is a berm there and as the applicant indicated if the sign were to be set back in the requirements of the Ordinance it would be in the ingress/egress lane, which is definitely a hindrance.

Chairman Harrington: It is my understanding that this is a monument sign that is being proposed, correct?

Don Saven: That is correct.

Chairman Harrington: The sign that I saw today looked like it was on poles, which was probably for convenience.

William Sherrod: The mock-up that was made was placed on cardboard and with all of the rain it would have melted by now.

Member Bauer: Will it be on top of the berm?

William Sherrod: There will be a berm there but I donít think that it will be as tall as it is currently. I believe that there will be a slight berm there.

Member Fannon: Is this a two-sided sign?

William Sherrod: Yes.

Member Fannon: Lit?

William Sherrod: Yes.

Member Fannon: I think that the location of it is fine especially on Orchard Hill Place Drive when people are driving there late at night from the airport. It is not on Haggerty Road but will take you right to the hotel. I donít know about the size. Is there a size variance on here?

William Sherrod: The smallest standard size that Studio Plus has is twenty (20) square feet. At the time that I applied for the variance I didnít realize it was going to require a two and a half (2 Ĺ) square foot variance but that is what it worked out to be. We could custom make it if it became an issue.

Chairman Harrington: My reaction was that the sign is real close to the street and when I retraced my steps a couple of times I was impressed to see that it is consistent with the other signs on that road. Although it appears that it is the closest to the street as compared to the other signs. Do you have any room in your berming or architecture to back off the sign another five (5) feet from the street?

William Sherrod: There is the possibility of backing up a few feet. I donít think that another five (5) feet is possible.

Chairman Harrington: Three feet for sure?

William Sherrod: We could potentially go another couple of feet. The sign is currently five (5) feet from the property line and the distance between the property line and the edge of the road is about eight to ten feet. There is probably room on the island to back it up another two or three feet if it is part of the approval.

Member Reinke: I think that would make it more consistent with the other signs in the area.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Fannon,


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

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Bauer,


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

2) Case No. 00-029 filed by Michael Wing, 47215 Eleven Mile

Michael Wing of 47215 Eleven Mile is proposing to construct a garage addition in the required side and rear yard and is in need of a variance.

Michael Wing was present and duly sworn in.

Michael Wing: I am proposing construction of a 20 x 20 foot extension onto the rear of my garage allowing additional storage for tooling and lawn maintenance equipment. This should reduce what I would consider a blight of the area since there is a lot of stuff that I need to keep outside. It would improve the aesthetics of the area. I would like you to consider the hardship due to the existing lot size and layout relative to the RA zoning. The subdivision was originally built in 1958 and my lot size is 80 x 150 feet deep. The current RA zoning deals with a lot of 150 wide by x amount deep. The setbacks are the area that I am having the concern with. The current RA setbacks are fifteen (15) feet to the side and fifty (50) feet from the rear. With my current lot size and layout this would preclude me from any type of addition into the back area. I have evaluated a number of schemes. I looked to the west, which would put me over my current septic field causing a hardship there. If you go to the north, along the existing driveway line, which would block off the existing kitchen, dining room and living room windows. It would require extensive re-work of the building structure at that point. I have evaluated a smaller type of shed but that wouldnít suit my requirements for storage of the equipment that I have. Back in 1958 the garages were built to house a car and one (1) lawn mower. I have three (3) cars, a chipper shredder, a riding lawn mower, snow thrower, etc. Based on that information, the only direction that made sense was to go directly south. I have canvassed my neighbor over the fence and I have two (2) in attendance right now. They had indicated that there was no problem. Based on that I am requesting an appeal for the zoning deviation which will clean up the area, improve the aesthetics and will allow me to store equipment in a secure area. The main thing is the inability to do anything with the back other than what I have shown due to the RA zoning and setbacks.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-six (26) notices sent to neighbors and there was one approval and no dissaprovals.


Rick Weiner: I live at 47235 Eleven Mile Road, which is just to the west of Mr. Wing. I have seen the plans and I have no objections.

Julie Real: I live at 47195 West Eleven Mile, which is to the east. I have no objections.


Don Saven: He does have a septic field in that particular area. Where the field is at if he extended anymore to the one side than he might be in the field area. He does have an easement at the rear of the property line. Also, this is a RA zoning district and the requirements for the accessory structure can be up to a thousand (1,000) square feet. Unfortunately, his lot is smaller than what is required by the RA district.

Member Brennan: I would add that he has the approval from the subdivision, Pioneer Meadows. My first reaction was does he exceed the amount of percentage of building space on the lot?

Don Saven: No.

Member Brennan: There are no objections from neighbors or the homeowners association. His intents are good to clean up the area. I would support the petitioner.

Member Bauer: I have no problem.

Member Sanghvi: I agree.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Bauer,


Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Motion Carried

Chairman Harrington: This was a closed case for me tonight and I support the motion. I would like to make clear that anytime we have a situation where garage space comes close to equaling or exceeding the residential living area is very problematic for me. The size of the lot is very problematic. This is the most overbuilt garage lot that I would have ever supported. However, it is significant to me since the neighbors have no problem with it. They would probably like to see everything enclosed which also raises an issue of whether or not the hardship is self-imposed or not. With reluctance I will support the motion because there is no opposition from anyone. I would certainly not approve a similar request for anyone else in the future.

3) Case No. 00-030 filed by Planet Neon, representing Polynorm Automotive

Planet Neon, representing Polynorm Automotive is requesting a variance to allow placement of a sign mounted to the landscape wall at 44700 Grand River Avenue. The verbiage will be "Polynorm," with the square footage being 80 square feet. Refer to ZBA Case No. 95-082.

Dave Hanna was present and duly sworn in.

Dave Hanna: There was a variance granted in 1995 for the original wall sign being "Delwal." The company has had a name change. The hardship is that the company needs to represent and reflect the name change. The square footage would be less than what is existing now.

Chairman Harrington: How much less?

Dave Hanna: 3.15 square feet. The letter size is the same as what exists now. One of the differences is that it would be halo lit letters for the "Polynorm Automotive" portion and the logo, not including "North America."

Chairman Harrington: So you have a name change and you want to reduce the size?

Dave Hanna: Yes.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were eleven (11) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals or dissaprovals.



There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: No comment.

Member Brennan: This is going right where the "Delwal" sign is, correct?

Dave Hanna: Yes.

Member Brennan: Does he really need a variance for the setback or just the name change?

Member Bauer: Just the name change because it was a ZBA case before.

Member Brennan: That is why I am questioning it because the summary states that he needs a setback from the centerline. That was given with the initial sign, correct?

Member Reinke: It was but we maintain continuing jurisdiction on it. I think that we have done that with just about everything on Grand River.

Member Brennan: If we agree to this gentlemanís request we are agreeing to the name change and the setback, correct?

Member Reinke: That is correct.

Member Fannon: Is that pretty much the color of the sign that it is on the wall right now?

Dave Hanna: It was the closest representation that you could do with a banner.

Member Fannon: To me it wasnít very easy to read. The brass letters that were on "Delwal" were fabulous.

Dave Hanna: The finish would be considerably different than the banner could represent.

Chairman Harrington: Could someone help me with the decrease in the square footage? I am looking at the notice, which says 10.55 square foot reduction. Is there a different number that applies?

Member Fannon: The one from 1995 said that it was an eighty three (83) square foot sign and it says that it is eighty (80) so he is right when he says three (3).

Dave Hanna: The original square footage that was granted also included "Tipke Tool." It is a smaller portion of that wall.

Member Brennan: Is the "Tipke Tool" sign staying?

Dave Hanna: I believe that in the future they would like to remove it because there was a consideration for safety sake with the address.

Chairman Harrington: So the minutes are clear and whatever motion that will be made, are we moving to approve a decrease for three (3) feet or ten (10) feet?

Member Brennan: Three (3).

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Bauer,


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

4) Case No. 00-032 filed by Mark McPherson, representing Redford Baptist Church

Mark McPherson of Merritt, McCallum, Ciesak, PC representing Redford Baptist Church is requesting four (4) variances for the construction of the proposed new Redford Baptist Church which is to be located on Meadowbrook Road between Twelve and Thirteen Mile Roads.

Matt Quinn: We are here this evening to clear up some variances that were necessitated by the decision made by the Planning Commission when they approved the church and the overall site. The requested variances are broken down into a couple of different areas. One deals with setbacks and berming that are really necessitated as a result of a future road that is going in. The second variance deals with height and the third deals with a request to not have a noise analysis done. First of all, dealing with the variances for sideyard and berming. He pointed to Meadowbrook Road going north and south, the church area of fifty one thousand (51,000) square feet, parking going around, significant wetlands on the south and the area in the back is currently being left open. However, the future of the church is to develop this area into residential lots. In order to accomplish the possibility of future development for residential lots to the east end it is necessary to bring in an access road. The access road will be coming off of the most northerly driveway and then going off of the property line. To the north of the property is the school that is in Novi but part of the Walled Lake school system that has a parking lot that abuts the church property. The access road will go close to the northern boundary and then will open up into the future housing development. The first thing that is needed is a variance for the seventy-five (75) foot setback for off-street parking. Currently between the property line to the north and the beginning of the parking lot is one hundred five (105) feet, which exceeds the current city requirement of seventy-five (75) feet. Once the roadway is put in it will be a dedicated public roadway with a sixty (60) foot right of way. It would be impossible to have the required seventy-five (75) foot setback from the edge of the roadway to the existing parking lot. Also, since we are bringing this road in there is a requirement that there be a 4.5 high berm in the section adjacent to Meadowbrook Road going back to the jog where the school boundary is. There is really not enough room there because of the access driveway in the future roadway to build a 4 Ĺ square foot berm so they are proposing not to put any berm there but to landscape it fairly heavily. I think Ms. Lemke has written a recommendation on that also. The third area of berming, there is a requirement that adjacent to the parking lot that there be a three (3) foot berm. The berm is being provided from the westerly point until you get to the rear. They are not providing a berm, there is plenty of landscaping there. That is part of future development and it didnít make a lot of sense to put berming in that you would have to take down later to provide some access. Those are the setback and berming variances that we are looking at.

Matt Quinn: The next variance is the noise analysis. This is a fairly isolated site as you can see. From the closest point to each of the boundaries it is about eight hundred (800) feet from the most easterly portion of the building to the east boundary. The purpose of a noise analysis is to analyze the noise that is created by the ceiling, heat and air conditioning units. Ours are enclosed with the side panels on them. (He pointed at the map and explained all of the distances from the church to each side of the property.) So it seemed almost a futile and useless effort to spend more than a couple of thousand dollars for noise analysis that is going to show that it canít be heard from the surrounding property owners.

Matt Quinn: The last area of variances deals with height and there are two variances in that regard. (He pointed to the map and explained elevations.) The height requirements are from the lowest ground elevation and the entire area is no higher than thirty five (35) feet from the ground elevation to the top of the structure that is adjacent to the ground. However, when you have to measure from the lowest point to the top then we exceed that elevation. Mr. Arroyo took an average height of the entire structure and found that we are one (1) foot over. The average height is thirty-six (36) feet, starting from the lowest point. We need a variance for the overall height because on an average we are one (1) foot higher. The second variance deals with the church spire and going to the midpoint of the highest point of the church spire requires an eight (8) foot variance. (He pointed to the cross and spire area). It is a feature that is necessary for the overall aura of the spiritual building and will make a very nice presentation to Meadowbrook Road. It is certainly not obtrusive. The neighbors across the street, which is a subdivision being constructed, will find it to be a very nice entranceway to the church. (He pointed to the glass portion that allows light to go into the chapel.) It is a real necessary part to make it a beautiful church for many people to worship in.

Matt Quinn: Those are the variances that we need and will be more than happy to answer any questions that you have.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-two (22) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals or dissaprovals.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: No comment.

Member Brennan: I would like to be sure that I understand the first variance request, which is the setback for the parking. You will actually have more than seventy-five (75) feet but sixty (60) feet in width will be concrete.

Matt Quinn: That is correct.

Member Brennan: You will still have open space between the parking lot and the property line of some one hundred forty five (145) feet. I am generally in favor of some of the berm requests because sometimes they are overdone and I would like to have Ms. Lemkeís comments with respect to the height. I think that the intent of the Ordinance is to keep anything from being normally jutting up and the profile of the building is relatively level. It is difficult to find anything wrong with any of these requests. Although they are numerous I would hate to be the one to vote no on a church. Could Ms. Lemke give a comment of the berm?

Linda Lemke: It is required because of a residential zoning adjacent. This is usually where people are living and we are very diligent about the height and the opacity of the plant materials. This is a school use so it is primarily a visual buffering.

Member Brennan: There are two (2) berms issues with one that abuts school property and are you okay with the ground cover?

Linda Lemke: They have primarily all evergreen plantings and shrub plantings so they will have the visual screening there.

Member Brennan: They are being asked to berm their own adjoining property?

Linda Lemke: Basically they are berming up adjacent to the parking lot if you look at the plans. They are already providing a berm but there is not a berm for the road.

Member Brennan: Where they are seeking relief is around the corner of the parking lot where they are proposing a ground cover rather than the berm?

Linda Lemke: Correct and there is nothing there at the present time.

Member Brennan: I wanted to be clear on all of them because there are a number of them.

Member Fannon: I think that Mr. Quinn has done an excellent job of explaining this but I think that he is the only person that could come in with a swamp land and put a lake on it. I think that it is very nice looking.

Member Sanghvi: How soon do you think the housing development will take place?

Matt Quinn: It will be after the church is built and the church wonít be built for approximately three (3) years. It is in the future.

Member Sanghvi: What point in time are you going to put the proposed roadway in?

Matt Quinn: The roadway would not be built until they actually go to the housing unit. It would not be built with the church; the area would remain a greenspace.

Member Reinke: How large of an area is it?

Matt Quinn: The back area?

Member Reinke: Yes.

Matt Quinn: Approximately six (6) acres.

Member Reinke: I know the average of the height is being averaged but what is the actual total height of the building from those two (2) points?

Matt Quinn: Outside of the spire, the height is no more than thirty-five (35) feet from ground to top.

Member Reinke: I understand that point but what is the actual height of the building?

Matt Quinn: The total actual height is forty-nine (49) feet.

Chairman Harrington: Isnít the whole problem created by the desire of the church to engage in a real estate speculation by selling the five (5) lots in the future? We havenít heard that if we simply move the church in the back any variance except height and noise would be required. What is the point of being able to act like a real estate person to sell five (5) residential lots and have to come for five (5) variances? Why canít they move the church back there?

Matt Quinn: First of all, letís take it in two (2) phases. As far as the location of the church is concerned if you look around the area you will see that churches tend to be very visual from the roadway.

Chairman Harrington: Lots of churches do not have the room that you do. It is a huge parcel.

Matt Quinn: We have a lot more room but it is all wet and we donít have that much of actual good land to build upon.

Chairman Harrington: But you have enough room for five (5) houses back there.

Matt Quinn: Maybe, we will have a battle with Ms. Lemke sometime in the future over it. It may be the pastorís house or some legitimate houses for sale. There are probably enough church members chomping at the bit to have those houses so that they could walk to the church.

Chairman Harrington: Do you have a plat of where those houses are going to be?

Matt Quinn: No, not yet.

Member Brennan: If we are three (3) years from building the church and the road wonít be built until after the church is up arenít we a bit premature on the one particular variance request?

Matt Quinn: No, because the church has some economic realities that it has to plan for. When you build a church from scratch it is the member of the church that spend their own money to build it. They would like to be able to do some future planning and have a warm, fuzzy feeling that they will be able to come back to the city in the future for the houses. They would like to know that they have the variances that would allow them to do this at that time.

Chairman Harrington: It is the houses that are creating the necessity for at least two (2) of the variances, correct?

Matt Quinn: Agreed.

Member Sanghvi: You donít have anything approved for the house at this moment but you do want everything else done?

Matt Quinn: For example, if the church is coming up short on their fundraising opportunities to build the church and they see that perhaps their plan today may have to be reversed. Maybe they decide to come in, sell the houses, build the road to the houses and then use the money from the sale of the houses to be able to complete the construction of the church. The whole idea is for them to remain flexible and I think that this gives them the greatest flexibility on the overall use of the land.

Member Brennan: If potentially it is only four (4) or five (5) homes why couldnít those residents come in through the parking lot of the church?

Matt Quinn: Mr. Arroyo would never allow that. We talked about that but there would be a requirement that it be a dedicated public roadway to access those houses, whether they are a condominium plan or a subdivision plan.

Chairman Harrington: How would the dedicated roadway impact what we are doing tonight?

Matt Quinn: The variances are set up for that sixty (60) foot dedicated roadway. The side yard setback to the parking lot is the major one.

Member Reinke: I agree.

Matt Quinn: It is not speculation, it is planning.

Member Reinke: Without seeing the whole thing here, I have a problem with doing the one leg on a chair. I am wondering which way it will tip and that is what I am seeing this being.

Matt Quinn: Are you talking about the setback?

Member Reinke: No, I am talking about approving the dedicated roadway with the setback variance there. Something is going to go back there.

Matt Quinn: There are only two ways that they could go, either develop the land or they donít.

Chairperson Harrington: This would appear to be the maximum economic return on the development of the property consistent with the church. There is a church with no other proposed locations for the church. We now have to give variances because of the church. I donít think it is a possibility that they will not develop it. My business sense would tell me that thatís how they are planning and funding a substantial portion of the church by the sale of the residences. I donít hear that the church can not be moved back there. It looks like a pretty self-imposed hardship. I have set aside the noise, which I have, comments on. There are no alternate proposals to move the parking in back. It is all in the front under the claim of visibility but there is an enormous space back there and there is nothing wrong with a winding driveway going back to a church or having a house on the side of the driveway. I donít hear what the petitioner has done to alleviate the hardship. All I hear is that you need the variances to do this development and I am having problems with that concept.

Matt Quinn: From the churches standpoint they are looking at this as a way to be able to afford to come to Novi and build a church that will house five hundred (500) worshippers. A substantial portion will be Novi residents and they really canít have their hands tied because they donít know which way they will work it in the future.

Member Fannon: What would happen if the Board granted a variance for the height and the noise but not for the berms and the road that wonít be built until the future?

Matt Quinn: The berm is there anyway, it is just the little one in front and the little one in the back. If the variance was not given for the parking lot setback then in the future when they came in for the development of the plat in the back, they would have to seek a variance from the ZBA at that time. They would not have access to a public roadway and they would be landlocked in that development. They canít come through the driveway at all so they would have to come back.

Member Reinke: I think that I would rather see the whole thing because it looks like the whole thing is going to happen. To see half of it and make a channel for the rest of it influences how we look at projects.

Member Brennan: That was my thought also to the extent of the road getting into the back. I look at that as a totally different project that is not even on the board today. They want to build a church and I am comfortable discussing the berm, the building height and the noise ordinance.

Member Reinke: The church is three years away.

Matt Quinn: The site plan has been approved subject to these variances. They have a special use permit contingent upon the variances and a site plan approval contingent upon the variances. Could they get started within a year? Sure, they could get started in a year if fund raising went very well. If it doesnít start within a year they will have to come back to the Planning Commission requesting an extension of the site plan. The applicant is well aware of that. When you start building a church from scratch you go to your current members and start your fund raising now. You have to show them a plan that has been approved by the city so that the members feel comfortable starting to make those pledges over the future. That is why they had to start everything now and get approvals.

Chairperson Harrington: I had a question regarding the height variance. Is there any excavation that is being required in order to construct the lower level walkout or are you following the natural topography of the land?

Matt Quinn: The natural topography.

Member Reinke: I have no problem with the building height and the berms. I do have a problem with the access road.

Member Brennan: I think that we have heard the same thing.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Reinke,



Chairman Harrington: I will comment on the noise waiver that is requested. I have a real concern that this board may be in the position of rubber stamping on a routine basis, waivers to the noise ordinance. I am not sure that I understand why Council passed this ordinance but I understand what the clear reading of the ordinance is. We have a situation where people are simply saying that they are too far away and there will be no one complaining especially since there are no people that have moved in yet. I donít know what the cost perimeters are, you referenced to $2500 but I am sure that Council had that in mind when they passed the Ordinance. I will defer to Council. If I hear a compelling reason for a noise waiver then I will do so but I am not going to insert my ears and look at those diagrams. I think Council had this in mind and was putting it on a burden on development. I havenít heard any compelling reason other than well, there is no one there now but there could be. It is speculative, is in the future and if it is only $2500 than my guess would be that this project is several million dollars and I find that to be a nominal cost. I will not support the waiver on the noise.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Reinke,


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

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Reinke,


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

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Reinke,


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

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Sanghvi,


Roll Call: Yeas (2) Nays (4) Motion Failed

Moved by Harrington,

Seconded by Reinke,


Member Fannon: What exactly does Section 2519C say?

Rod Arroyo: It says that if you are a special land use you have to perform a noise analysis.

Member Brennan: How is that done practically? They have to build the church and take noise measurements on Sunday?

Rod Arroyo: It is done based on projections. It can be done in a number of manners. Sometimes a noise model is used to project based upon previous studies and scientific models have been developed. In other cases we have had applicants go out and measure noise at similar facilities with a similar level of impact. It is done in different manners depending on the type of use that is in place.

Chairman Harrington: Is this something in your ordinary church scenario that would be hugely expensive to do?

Rod Arroyo: I think that the numbers that Mr. Quinn had indicated are the numbers that I have seen quoted. Approximately $2500 Ė 3000 seems to be the cost of a typical noise study.

Chairman Harrington: What is the low end of those studies?

Rod Arroyo: I havenít heard anything under $2000 but I have only heard a few quotes.

Chairman Harrington: The top end, Cadillac of noise?

Rod Arroyo: I am not sure but it could be in the $3000 range but it could be higher. If you had a large automotive facility that was very complex it may be more than $10,000.

Chairman Harrington: This is primarily to measure the impact of HVAC?

Rod Arroyo: That and to the extent of truck loading and unloading.

Chairman Harrington: What was the intent of Council passing this ordinance?

Rod Arroyo: There was a fairly extensive study at the time that the Interloch project came in and there was concern from the residents about the potential noise. The residents hired a noise analysis to study that potential user and the study showed that there could potentially be a violation of standards. Planning Commission then undertook a study of the noise ordinance and recommended changes where it went to City Council. City Council approved changes to the noise standards, which did two things. One, it lowered the standard making it quieter in residential areas than before. Two, it instituted this requirement for noise studies for special land uses so that it would be documented up front to avoid fewer enforcement problems later on.

Member Reinke: If you make a study, what is an acceptable noise level?

Rod Arroyo: It depends upon what the adjacent use is. If it is residential there is a daytime and a nighttime number. I think that it is fifty-five (55) decibels if it is a residential adjacent use.

Member Fannon: Should the Board be looking at the use that is being proposed since it is a church? I havenít been to many churches that arenít quiet most of the time. I understand that the ordinance is the ordinance but this isnít an automotive plant.

Rod Arroyo: The Planning Commission recognized that there were a number of situations where folks were coming to the ZBA asking for variances for noise studies. They looked at it and made a recommendation to the City Council that they change the noise standard requirement so that it would only be required for industrial uses that are adjacent to residential. City Council choose not to approve it.

Member Brennan: I took this noise testing as strictly a use and I didnít think that it was applicable in this case.

Member Reinke: I try to look at this as, is this a hardship? Looking at the magnitude of the project I donít think that $2500 is a hardship so I have trouble working with it. Is it really a noise level problem? It seems to be if Council rejected it and suggested a change to the ordinance they must feel that it is a problem.

Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Motion Carried

5) Case No. 00-033 filed by Haggerty Corporate Office Centre II

Brian Hughes representing Haggerty Corporate Office Centre II is proposing to construct a two-story office building on a 3.57 acre site located on the west side of Cabot Drive. The proposed landscape plan does not meet the requirements for landscape buffering along Cabot Drive and is in need of a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Matt Quinn: There is a conflict between two (2) city ordinances. One ordinance requires that you put in a three (3) foot berm with plantings along the front of an industrial building. The safety requirement says that you can not have any obstruction to traffic view. (He pointed to the curvature of the road in front of the proposed building.) We would be required to put in a three (3) foot berm along the whole frontage with plantings. We are asking that a variance be granted so that we do not have to put in the three (3) foot berm. There is a letter from Ms. Lemke, which states that "the applicant has agreed to put additional plantings in front of the building." This will provide the landscape buffering effect that is necessary. The berm will still be extended on both sides to the boundaries of the property. It is only in the site distance area that becomes a problem.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were nine (9) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals or dissaprovals.


Don Saven: Based on the fact of the twenty five (25) foot clearance as you are coming up and vehicle traffic coming around the turn, you have to be able to see the oncoming traffic.

Chairperson Harrington: So there is a genuine hardship related to safety?

Don Saven: Absolutely.


There was no audience participation.


Member Fannon: I can see exactly that if you had a three (3) foot berm you would not be able to see people coming at you. I have no problems with it and I can see the conflict.

Member Brennan: I have great respect for Ms. Lemkeís recommendations.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Bauer,


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

6) Case No. 00-035 filed by Ann Ridge of 214 Faywood

Ann Ridge is requesting a front and side yard variance for the construction of a second story addition and new foundation for the home located at 214 Faywood.

Ann Ridge was present and duly sworn in.

Ann Ridge: I need a variance to lot size and conformity. The roof needs major repair and I have to tear the whole top of my house off anyway. If I were to move my house over it would block my driveway, making my garage inaccessible.

Neighbor: The lot size is approximately forty (40) wide, eighty (80) deep. The house itself is twenty-four (24) feet wide. Given the size of the driveway it puts the house too close to the side setback requirements. Every house on the street was built before they had the current front setback requirements.

Chairman Harrington: The reference to the new foundation is?

Neighbor: In the rear of the home there is a small jog on the one corner of the house and is closest to the property line. She would like to simply square off the back corner of the house to make construction more feasible. It is approximately eighty (8) feet by eight (8) feet.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were forty-five (45) notices sent to neighbors and there were three (3) approvals and no dissaprovals.






Mike Gammeral, 204 Faywood: I would like to say that I am in favor of the variance. It is an improvement to the neighborhood. I understand her condition and what she would like to do with the house.


Don Saven: Ann Ridge is very ambitious. If you take a look at the east side of the house, 208 is approximately 14.8 feet away from her home.

Chairman Harrington: Will the squaring extend and be consistent with the existing footprint?

Don Saven: Absolutely. Plus there will be a new foundation, correct?

Ann Ridge: Correct.

Member Reinke: It is not encroaching any further on the side yard than it already is. I donít have a problem with it and I think that it will be a definite improvement to the petitioner and the neighborhood.

Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Bauer,


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

7) Case No. 00-036 filed by Khalil Abboud of Flaming Shish Restaurant

Khalil Abboud of Flaming Shish Restaurant is requesting a variance to allow seven (7) tables for temporary outdoor seating at Flaming Shish Restaurant from June through September 2000, located at 39777 Grand River Avenue in the Pheasant Run Plaza. Refer to Case Nos. 1430, 1619, 1867, 91-70 and 92-080.

Hassan Yazbek was present and duly sworn in.

Hassan Yazbek: We are requesting and seeking a variance to allow us to set up a few temporary tables for the summer season based on the request of the customers. The previous owner had done this.

Chairman Harrington: Who was the previous owner?

Hassan Yazbek: It used to be called Samís Cafť. For about ten years they had the tables set up in the front. The tables will enhance the service for the customers. We would like to have seven (7) tables with approximately twenty-eight (28) seats to better service the customers.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were five (5) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals or dissaprovals.


Allie Fayz: I am the owner of the plaza and I would like to say that I am very much in support of this plan.

Don Saven: The previous owner had an approval for five (5) tables and I wanted the Board to be aware of that.

Chairman Harrington: Would the approval of two more tables present a safety or health hazard?

Don Saven: Possibly, I would have to go out and take a look at it.


Chairman Harrington: The prior variance that we had granted to Samís was for five (5) tables and you are requesting seven (7). Can you comment on why you need seven? Can you live with five (5)?

Hassan Yazbek: We certainly could, based on the capacity and the frontage area that we have for the restaurant. I am not sure what the sizes were of the tables that the previous owner had. We are proposing to do a twenty (20) inch table that is a rather small size. We could live with five (5) if we had to but we would like seven (7).

Chairman Harrington: Will all of your tables fit comfortably in front of the area right in front of the restaurant?

Hassan Yazbek: Yes, they will.

Chairman Harrington: They wonít extend into the neighborís?

Hassan Yazbek: No, they will not.

Chairman Harrington: They wonít be packed on top of each other where people have a problem tripping over other people on a crowded day?

Hassan Yazbek: (He showed a picture of the plaza.) There is a twenty eight (28) foot sidewalk in front of the restaurant. With the overhead cover which is about fourteen (14) feet to accommodate their needs. It is a very user-friendly area because it is accessible.

Member Reinke: I think that the area is sufficient. The tables that he is talking about sound like they are smaller than what was there. The only way that I would agree to go with seven (7) tables would be subject to Building Department review and visiting the site.

Chairman Harrington: Also, there will be continuing jurisdiction in case there was a problem with the seven (7) tables in the future.

Member Brennan: Mr. Saven has suggested that seven (7) tables may be workable if they were all the twenty (20) inch smaller tables. Maybe we could make a motion to grant the seven (7) tables, all twenty (20) inches and Mr. Saven would continue to monitor it to see if any problems exist.

Chairman Harrington: He could submit a letter indicating that he has seen the site and approved.

Hassan Yazbek: We need this in a timely way so that we can open up for the season.

Chairman Harrington: There is a provision that we can waive the five (5) day waiting period.





Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Reinke,


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

8) Case No. 00-037 filed by Cary Simon Construction

Cary Simon of Cary Simon Construction representing Alan J. DeZell is requesting two (2) side yard variances for the construction of a new home at 1217 East Lake Drive.

(Matt handed out additional information that was photographs of the property and the neighborís property.)

Matt Quinn: We are requesting two (2) variances this evening. I have Mr. DeZell, his fiancťe, and builder if there are any questions. (He showed a picture of the property). My client owns a fifty (50) foot front lot and it goes back pretty far. The limiting factor is the fifty (50) foot lot. Part of the fifty (50) foot lot is the easement. Pursuant to a consent judgement the neighbors to the north were provided with an eighteen (18) foot easement so that they can gain access to their parking pad. The easement is a reality even though it is part of my clientís fifty (50) foot frontage and width. It is specifically reserved for ingress and egress for the property owner to the north. The proposal is that we need a five (5) foot variance on each side of the house. The Ordinance requires a ten (10) foot variance on each side. There may be some objection from the property owners to the north. The house will be twenty five hundred (2500) square foot, two-story house. The rear part is all garage. Mr. DeZell will be driving on this easement to access his property.

Matt Quinn: The house to the south side had the opinion that the layout was acceptable to them. The two (2) side yard variances are necessary due to the narrowness of the lot. With the granting of the two (2) minor variances, this property can be constructed and will be a usable lot instead of one that is not kept up well and used to park vehicles in. This will be an added benefit to the entire area.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were fourteen (14) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and three (3) dissaprovals.


Randy Kernan, 1209 East Lake Drive: I am the adjacent property to the north. I had heard that the owner to the south was in favor of this. As a matter of fact, he is in Las Vegas. I was waiting until what other people had to say before I spoke. There is an Oakland County sanitary sewer that runs down the middle of the lot that goes back to the Hickory Woods Elementary school.

Chairperson Harrington: Don, do we have a sanitary sewer in that project?

Don Saven: We do not know. This information just came today. I had a meeting with Randy and I have been trying to locate whether or not there is a sanitary line. I have been trying to get ahold of anyone that would know about this issue. This lot was supposed to be an access road to the Angel Court property. Angel Court was six (6) houses into a parcel of land, which is to the rear of lot 57. 57 is a lot and has been platted as a lot. It has not shown any dedication as a road but it is a lot. The homes were demolished, the parcel was sold with the Hickory Woods parcel and left this lot as the only lot that was for sale. Someone had it from the school system and sold it.

Randy Kernan: It is very detailed as to who sold what to whom. Nobody has a right to sell the property because it was dedicated as an easement for the property for the schools and Walled Lake.

Don Saven: If there was an easement for this county sanitary, it should have showed up in the title. Is that correct, Matt?

(Mr. DeZell spoke without a microphone)

Randy Kernan: If it is a public utility and you are an abutting property owner, shouldnít you be notified when they disconnect a public utility? My lot is two hundred sixty (260) feet deep by one hundred (100) feet. I can legally split my lot and use that public sanitary sewer. If I could, why was I not notified? They never dug it up and it is still in place. All they did was prove that no one was using it at the time.

Chairperson Harrington: We have a narrow issue in front of us tonight. The narrow issue deals with the side yard setbacks. That is all that we have to listen to and we are here to judge whether or not there is legitimate hardship in granting that. However, it is an interesting point. Don, suppose we granted a variance tonight and it turned out that there was a sanitary sewer there. Isnít that county responsibility? Wouldnít they red flag this project no matter what we did?

Don Saven: Absolutely. The problem is that we donít know if the county sewer has been terminated or where it was terminated at. That is where I need to get the information from anybody that had archives relative to this information. This just came about last minute, last hour.

Chairperson Harrington: You would rather want to know now than before all of the construction is started.

Member Brennan: I donít even see how we can consider talking about this case if we have this significant news at this significant hour. I think that it is in the petitionerís best interest to get this resolved before we even talk about it.

Chairperson Harrington: I would like to hear Mr. Kernanís comments. What other light can you should on this application?

Randy Kernan: I would like to get this resolved. He is a nice man, he bought the property and I think that he bought it unknowing with all of the ramifications that are going on. There is a school back there that has a public utility and I have a right to use it. It is school property that has access to the lake. I will help out in anyway that I can.

Chairperson Harrington: I suppose you are extending the neighborly kindness of advising your prospective new neighbor. There may be legal issues associated with this property that go back years and years. Who knows how they are going to untangle? Mr. Quinn, any comment on the hidden sewer?

Matt Quinn: I have not seen the title policy but my client says that the title policy is clear. It is his understanding that there was a constructed sewer that was never attached to the school. For some reason it was not necessitated so there is nothing that would show on the title policy. My client is willing to live with it and deal with it at the appropriate time. If there is an error on the title policy, then he will be entitled to some money from the title company. That does not really have anything to do with what we are here for this evening. I am requesting the ten (10) foot variance.

Member Brennan: Sure it does. Why would we be party to issuing a variance when we know that there are potential problems with the property? You would be party to this guy spending $300,000 to build a house on top of a vacant sewer?

Matt Quinn: I think that before he draws a building permit he will have to provide Mr. Saven with some documentation that is not a problem with the building site.

Member Reinke: I think that you would have to show that information to the Board before we would even consider a variance.

Matt Quinn: Why?

Chairperson Harrington: We really donít like to give advisory opinions. If it turns out that the project cannot be built as proposed, perhaps there will have to be reconfiguration based on whatever the county says. We are at the beginning of the summer building season, it is not like we are looking at the snow in December so my inclination is to suggest that we table this matter until the next meeting.

Matt Quinn: Basically other than what was presented tonight, there is no objection to the five (5) foot setback from anyone else?

Chairman Harrington: No one else has filed an objection with us. Whether the Board members have objections or not, we wonít know until a motion is filed and that wonít be done until next month.

Member Brennan: We didnít even get to discuss anything.

Matt Quinn: Can we have some input at this time?

Member Brennan: I think that it is a waste of time. If there is a six (6) foot concrete pipe under the property than you are not going to build a $400,000 house on it. I think that it is a disservice to even continue until these guys know what is underneath the ground.

Member Fannon: There was mention that someone from the south sent in a letter today.

Chairperson Harrington: The letter states that they do not support the proposed variances. However, if the Board feels that circumstances would warrant a variance than they would like it strictly held to the drawings. They are pretty clear that they are opposed to the variance requests.

Alan DeZell: The seller of the property divulged that there was a sewer line that was never used. He said that it was proposed to potentially go to the school, which is now east of the property. However, they tapped into a different location so they buried a sewer line. I did talk to the county about it and they said that it was never tapped into at all. It is underneath and can be removed. I told the title company to do a detailed search and had another attorney look at the title information to make sure there wasnít any easements associated with the sewer line. It was clearly divulged that it has never been tapped into.

Member Brennan: I heard another problem that the neighbor brought up that the school had access to the easement to get to the lake. It sounds like you have more skeletons in the closet.

Alan DeZell: The owner also owns several lots along East Lake Drive and the property that he sold to the school. I donít know what was granted back then but now it is deeded as a lot. I made sure that the title search went back as far as the county records had. There is nothing on there showing that there are any other owners beside Mr. Wagner, whom I purchased it from.

Chairperson Harrington: I assume that you donít have anything in writing from the county.

Alan DeZell: No, I donít.

Chairperson Harrington: I think that as a Board member I would like to see something in writing from the county. I think that is important to you and me.

Member Reinke: I totally agree with that.

Member Brennan: I donít want the petitioner to walk off and think that we are a bunch of bad guys. I just think that there are some things that should be cleared up before anyone spends anymore money.

Member Fannon: There may not be a problem but just because the title work is clean doesnít mean that there isnít a problem. That is why there is title insurance. It is not a pretty site when a title company does make an error.

Chairperson Harrington: Any real reason why we shouldnít put this over to July?

Matt Quinn: I think that is fine. I think Mr. DeZell would be interested in hearing some of your thoughts on the variance request.

Chairperson Harrington: Am I correct that there is nothing else that can be done with this parcel?

Matt Quinn: Yes.

Chairperson Harrington: Realistically, what else can he do?

Matt Quinn: We could show you a drawing if we used the ten (10) foot side yard setback.

Member Brennan: There have been efforts to improve that part of the city. This certainly looks much better than a vacant parcel or a single story shack from the 50ís.

Chairperson Harrington: It is really important to the Board that the neighbors talk about what will be going on. They could discuss problems in the past and some accommodations that could be reached.

Member Brennan: If we do proceed with all of the issues squared away, would the neighbor to the north still have the right to the easement for parking?

Matt Quinn: Yes. It is an ingress/egress easement and is subject to a written document that both parties would have to live by.

Member Brennan: Can we define what the distance is from the property line to the front of the proposed residence?

Matt Quinn: We can have the builder get that.

Member Fannon: Maybe some more conversation with the neighbor to the south would be helpful. The letter is an approval but a denial with conditions.

Chairperson Harrington: We will see you next month.


Chairperson Harrington: The first week in July is the 4th so my sense would be that the meeting would be on the 11th.



Stone City

Don Saven: It has been brought to my attention that we have a problem with one of our previous cases to which I would like to bring back to the Board as a Show Cause Hearing. It is by the name of Stone City, which is located off of Taft Road. The outdoor storage was to be placed in an enclosed area but it is exceeding that enclosed area. The other issue was regarding the temporary sign. They are using it as a permanent sign.

Chairperson Harrington: Will you please send them a letter?

Don Saven: Yes.

Enforcement issues

Chairperson Harrington: I would report to the Board that I had a telephone discussion with Dennis Watson, who has not researched the issue because of lack of time. I didnít call him until shortly before todayís meeting. His sense is that in a continuing jurisdiction issue the Board has the jurisdiction to enforce the variance that we granted up to and including a temporary or permanent suspension of the special use permit. I told Dennis that between this meeting and the next, I would like to get a little firmer thought of this regard. That issue is in process.

Conference date

Chairperson Harrington: Is the conference from the 18th through the 21st of October?

Don Saven: Yes. Is everyone aware of the conference dates? How many people can go?

Chairperson Harrington: The conference can be very informative. Some of the issues that are dealt with on variances and board matters are very helpful.

Fountain Walk

Don Saven: This is going to be the same thing that happened with Main Street. Personally, myself I am very concerned with going through all of these little scenarios. We have been trying to get things worked out. One, we are taking the total package of this site for all of the variances that will be associated with this project. In my opinion, they do not need to come in front of the Board on everyone of the particular cases. There are a whole lot of retail businesses in this complex. We will be doing sign cases from now until kingdom come. We are trying to look at the site, the entrance, identifying the site, the size of the site and doing one thing at a time. I had all of the Ordinance people look at the site. We have to decipher how we are going to look at this. It is like an uncovered mall but it is different in design and character. I think that we need some guidance from what everyone would like to see.

Member Reinke: It looks considerably different than what was originally proposed.

Don Saven: I asked Cheryl to come in to explain the project a little so that you will not get blind sighted when she comes in here.

Chairperson Harrington: I realize that the reason that it is coming in early is so that they can do some advance planning and they are telegraphing to us where they are coming from. It is fair to telegraph back to them that in a project of this scope and magnitude this is clearly going to be a situation that we cannot address in one meeting. I am going to want to hear a representative protecting the cityís interest, and reporting to me how this concept squares with 12 Oaks and the Town Center. Those are the only two comparable projects in terms of sign packages. I am not qualified and equipped to make the determination myself. It would be perfect if Brandon were still around but we will need a similarly qualified professional opinions protecting the interest of the city. We will live with this stuff for a long, long time.

Don Saven: That has been addressed. They are aware that they will have to seek input in other directions.

Chairperson Harrington: I would like an objective opinion on this. Donít I recall that with Town Center there were steering committees and meetings?

Don Saven: Absolutely.

Chairperson Harrington: I assume similar effort is being put into this.

Don Saven: I believe there was.

Chairman Harrington: It is not our job to design a sign package.

Don Saven: I understand. I am looking at protecting this Board and making sure that we have all of the information necessary to be able to do some decisions.

Member Reinke: My suggestion would be to discuss this under other matters next meeting.

Chairperson Harrington: The Board would like to hear that they understand the Ordinance and why they need a variance. They should be familiar with the Ordinance.


The Meeting was adjourned at 9:42 p.m.



Date Approved: September 12, 2000


Sarah Marchioni

Recording Secretary