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, and Sanghvi

Absent Member Brennan

Also Present Don Saven – Building Official

Sarah Marchioni – Community Planning Assistant


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


Chairman Harrington indicated that there are six (6) 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 since there are no hands we would move onto the first case.

1) Case No. 00-055 filed by John Ingwersen representing Value City Furniture

John Ingwersen representing Value City Furniture is requesting a setback variance of forty-seven (47) feet to construct a compactor enclosure at the proposed new Value City Furniture building located in West Oaks II (FKA HQ and Builders Square). The structure also fronts Donelson Drive.

Charles Harris was present and duly sworn in.

Charles Harris: I will be representing Value City Furniture and I have Murray Miller with me, who is the Store Manager for the Westland store for Value City Furniture. We are seeking a variance from a setback requirement under the Novi Zoning Ordinance. The applicable provision of the Ordinance calls for a seventy five (75) foot setback. The setback in this instance is from Donelson Drive. Donelson was constructed after the Builders Square/HQ. At the time, it must have been in compliance with the applicable Ordinance. Afterwards, Donelson was put in and the forty (40) foot distance between the existing building and the right-of-way of Donelson has created the thirty five (35) foot non-conforming condition. That thirty five (35) foot non-conforming condition exists between the present western wall of the rear of the store and the right-of-way of Donelson. There is a very significant grade difference between Donelson and the floor of the Value City building. I think that it is something in the order of twelve (12) feet. (He showed a picture, which depicted the grade difference). Value City feels that it will be necessary to dispose of the waste generated by their business and will need a compactor. The compactor takes up a space of approximately twelve (12) feet by fifty (50) feet. Is there any way to accommodate this other than further encroaching in the already existing thirty five (35) foot non-conformity? The problem is that in order to make this building a feasible retail operation they need three (3) truck beds. In order to get the truck bays in, you have to pop the compactor out so that the truck can back into it and the materials can be crushed. This compactor is necessary to make the building financially viable and that there is no reasonable alternative from an economic standpoint then its location exterior to the building. Because of the peculiarities of the grade and circumstances we don’t feel that there is any particular disadvantage to any adjacent property by locating the compactor outside. It will be screened in a manner that is entirely compatible with the existing outside bricking of the building. Even with this intrusion of twelve (12) feet into the setback it will be visually undistinguishable from the rest of the wall screen.

Chairperson Harrington: There is nowhere else you can put it, correct?

Charles Harris: That is correct.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were eight notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals or objections.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: This gentleman has covered everything that I wanted to bring to the Board’s attention especially the issue with the screening. It will be compatible with what is out there now.

Member Bauer: What happens when Fountain Walk is put in? Will they be able to see it?

Charles Harris: That is unclear to me. I looked at it this evening and there seemed to be a substantial berm in place. I am not sure how much larger it will be. The compactor will be visible as a brick wall against a brick wall, made of the same material.

Don Saven: The berm has nothing to do with the visibility of this particular site. The pavement on the Fountain Walk project is going to be much lower than what this screening wall will be.

Chairperson Harrington: Any noise associated with the compactor?

Murray Miller: Very minimal. There are trash compactors back there already and I can’t imagine that they have any intrusion.

Chairperson Harrington: It would be operated during normal hours?

Murray Miller: Yes.

Charles Harris: Not during the hours of eleven?

Murray Miller: No.

Member Reinke: There is no other location that they could possibly put this that is really viable and with minimal impact.





Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Bauer,


Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

2) Case No. 00-049 filed by Joseph Gallagher of Toll Brothers Inc. representing 47610 Aberdeen Drive

Joseph Gallagher of Toll Brothers Inc. is requesting to construct a brick fence at 47610 Aberdeen Drive within the required front yard setback.

Joseph Gallagher was present and duly sworn in.

Joseph Gallagher: Some of my predecessors may have misunderstood the Ordinance, in that if there is some difference between a brick fence versus a brick wall. My understanding is that they believe that they would be able to construct this within the right-of-way without a variance. When I came on board and started talking with the building department I realized that this structure would require a variance in order to be into the front yard setback. In discussions with the homeowners they really want it for the front of the house. They like the way that it looks and has an intrical part of the courtyard entry that they have on their home. It is really much more of a decorative fence than an obtrusive brick wall. I would like to see if this is something that we could precede with. One of the items that we had discussed in our construction, once we had found out that we needed a variance, we talked about bringing it directly off of the corner of the garage as opposed to going ninety (90) degrees to the street first. Unfortunately, what happens there is that it is a three (3) car garage and there are only sixteen (16) inches between that door and the corner of the garage as there is now. Placing the brick wall right there, which would keep it within the setback, would make it very difficult to turn into the first bay of the garage as they come through the wall. That is one of the reasons why we would like to move it away from that garage wall towards the street and make the first bay much more accessible.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were nine notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and one objection.


Virginia Noble: I am the homeowner. Part of the reason why this is so important to us is that we have a three (3) car garage and our first bay is also difficult to enter. There was a problem when the home was constructed. You were supposed to be able to walk directly up the steps to the porch. Because we have a walk out basement this was not possible and we had to have a side entry. Turning into the first garage is very difficult and you almost have to make a ninety (90) degree turn just to get into it. If we are in a situation if we can’t have the variance on the fence it will make it very difficult to get into the third car garage which leaves only one garage that is easy to enter. That is part of the reason that we would like to receive the variance.


Don Saven: The fence represents a structure and it certainly has to meet the requirements of the thirty (30) foot setback.

Member Reinke: What is the height?

Joseph Gallagher: The maximum height is thirty (30) inches. We could be flexible on that if there is a view objection.

Member Bauer: Do you have an association yet?

Joseph Gallagher: It is not yet formed but there will be an association. Right now the project manager is handling association matters.

Member Fannon: Is it the column that is thirty (30) inches tall or is it the fence itself?

Joseph Gallagher: The column is thirty (30) inches tall.

Member Fannon: So the tallest part of the fence is the column with the light on it?

Joseph Gallagher: That is correct.

Member Fannon: The rest of the fence is what height?

Joseph Gallagher: Four (4) inches lower.

Member Reinke: It is more of a decoration than what you would call a fence.

Joseph Gallagher: It really is a decoration and there is a lot of landscaping that could go in that would give the same effect.

Member Sanghvi: The house doesn’t look like the picture.

Joseph Gallagher: It is different and that is what Mrs. Noble is trying to express. The front porch, because of some elevation changes there, is higher than that shows above the garage. Instead of having steps come straight off the front porch, the porch is bigger. It is much bigger because we had to bring steps down both sides of the porch in order to access the front door. It was no fault of the owners, it was mainly an elevation problem. The first bay, the closest to the house, is difficult to turn into now. You basically have a front brick porch that you have to drive that comes out to the front edge of the door. If you put the brick wall in and hold it back with the garage then you have taken a three-car garage and made two bays difficult to get into.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Reinke,


Don Saven: I would ask that for future consideration regarding this particular matter that you give credence to the setbacks that you have available to use so that you don’t run into this again.

Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

3) Case No. 00-050 filed by Thomas Tennant representing 168 Penhill

Thomas Tennant is requesting to construct a single family home at 168 Penhill and is in need of variances for side yard and a chimney projection.

Thomas Tennant was present and duly sworn in.

Thomas Tennant: The lot that I am trying to build on has the ten (10) foot setbacks on each side. The house is a colonial with a two-car garage and I need a foot on each side.

Chairman Harrington: Why?

Thomas Tennant: The house is twenty (20) feet and the garage is twenty-four (24) feet. That is just about the smallest that you can build of a colonial.

Chairman Harrington: In other words, it won’t fit unless you get the variances, correct?

Thomas Tennant: Correct.

Chairman Harrington: Talk to us about the chimney.

Thomas Tennant: The chimney is a box-out without a footing. It has no footing below it, it is built out of lumber up the side of the wall to receive the heat stacks.

Chairman Harrington: You need the variance because it won’t fit?

Thomas Tennant: Correct. I am trying to construct a new home that will improve the area.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-seven notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals or objections.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: The lot represents the minimum non-conforming lot size. It is sixty (60) feet by one hundred ten (110) feet deep. The house being twenty-four (24) feet is probably the minimum that he can fit on this lot with a twenty (20) foot garage. He has done everything possible not to exceed some wild variance request.

Chairman Harrington: There are no safety or health hazards presented by these variance requests?

Don Saven: Absolutely not.

Member Reinke: It is unfortunate for the size of the lots in that area. With the 1.26, 1.25 and .33 I think that the gentleman has done everything that he can to do a minimum projection and variance required. I wholeheartedly support his request.

Member Bauer: You did a good job.

Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Bauer,


Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried


4) Case No. 00-052 filed by James Capo representing Magna Materials Facility

James Capo of DeMattia Group representing Magna Materials Facility is requesting the elimination of the berm abutting Lewis Drive right of way.

James Capo was present and duly sworn in.

James Capo: Magna heating systems has foundations in for construction of a 268,000 square foot facility. (Pointed to map). The unique and unusual condition of the site is down in the southwest corner of the site where there is five (5) acres of wooded area and some wetlands that was not regulated. It was deemed partially essential by JCK. We are in the situation that if we move the building back we are impacting the woodlands and wetlands of the project. We have worked with JCK to come up with a solution. The intent of the berm was for screening. Due to the topography of the site the finished floor is about fifteen (15) feet above Lewis Drive. The area in the back part of the site is almost thirty (30) feet above the existing grades. We have proposed a plan that works for some of the mitigation areas that take the storm water drainage from the parking area into the swale. It will improve the water quality. There will still be deciduous and evergreen trees to screen the parking. We think that we have come up with a solution that is a nice, creative landscaped area, which also helps with the storm water. We believe that this is a better plan and by shifting the plan back to put the berm we would be impacting some of the environmental areas.

Chairman Harrington asked why they need the berm, why they can’t put it up and if they do, what damage or impact will it have on adjacent areas?

James Capo: If we put the berm in then we would have to provide for the mitigated area to it.

Chairman Harrington asked what is wrong with that?

James Capo: That would move the building up the hill with the existing grading. There is a forty (40) foot setback existing and a three (3) foot berm could be done. We would be shifting the building back. (Pointed to map). The woodlands and wetlands would be impacted more by moving the building.

Chairman Harrington asked what they are going to do in place of the berm?

James Capo: We have upped the landscaping along for the screening. We have also done landscape treatments with the stones and the dams natural features to screen the parking as well as enhance the front yard.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were five notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals or objections.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: Eric Olson from Linda Lemke’s office is with us tonight to explain the berming requirements.

Eric Olson: We are in support of the variance. There are high quality woodlands on the site and according to our letter of May 18, 2000 Linda has recommended approval with a condition that additional shrubs be added to what has been shown on the plan. Also, those exact contours are labeled on the plan.

Chairman Harrington: Let’s assume that there is a motion to approve the variance, how is it that the alternate with the shrubs is incorporated into the motion?

Don Saven: If you tie the motion into the approval process or the recommendation of Ms. Lemke’s office in letter form then that should be sufficient.

Chairman Harrington: The letter of what date?

Eric Olson: May 18, 2000.

Member Reinke: I think that from the topography it is a better solution all the way around than trying to put a berm going up and down. It will have less impact on the water flow. I think that they did a good job on it and I like it much better than if the berm would be in place.

Member Fannon: How wide is that area?

James Capo: Approximately forty (40) feet.

Member Fannon: I think that it is a great alternative based on what is on the site. Especially, the wetlands and woodlands.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Reinke,


Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

5) Case No. 00-053 filed by Michael Parkinson of 24929 Nottingham

Michael Parkinson is requesting a rear yard variance to construct a new single family home at 24929 Nottingham.

Michael Parkinson was present and duly sworn in.

Michael Parkinson: My wife and I are in the process of building a single-family residence at 24929 Nottingham. When we originally purchased the property we recognized that the rear property line was somewhat unusual. As we started into the building process my wife and I finally agreed as to how the house will look. As it came about, we tried to put the home over the top of the property and center it. In the building size it would have caused us to put the home extremely to the left. Somewhere roughly from 17-18 feet off of the left hand side of the property line. I asked the surveyor to go back and help me to reassess if we were to center the home on the property. The proposal in front of you is where the rear corner of the garage is the eight (8) feet that impacts the fifty (50) foot rear setback. That corner of my garage is what I am looking to relieve as far as the eight (8) feet.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-three notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and one objection.




There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: We have had a lot of people come in and look at this parcel of land. There is quite a problem in moving the house from any direction. It is a very difficult piece of property.

Chairman Harrington: You can’t slice off the corner of the garage?

Don Saven: That would be a little difficult.

Michael Parkinson: I did speak with two of the residents that are adjacent to the property and asked if they had received the petitioner. They did but they didn’t realize that there was a comment section on the back. I did get the signatures from the Millers and Majors who live adjacent to my property.

(Michael Parkinson submitted the two approvals as part of the record).

Member Fannon: Is there an association approval?

Michael Parkinson: There is. Mr. Bill Gladden is acting president of the association and is unreachable. When I did speak to him regarding the building and setbacks he said that obviously I need to approach the city with regard to any setback variances. He would be more than happy to approve the building. As far as the setback, I would need to apply for a variance through the city.

Don Saven: In the building permit process we require the Homeowner’s Association to sign off on the plans.

Member Fannon: So he can’t pull the building permit without the letter. If I draw a line off of the corner straight out, then it is forty-two (42) feet?

Michael Parkinson: That corner is forty-two (42) feet to the rear property line.

Member Bauer: I can’t see where we would have too much of a problem with it being in the rear.

Member Reinke: The thing is that it is at one point, it is not continuing for the whole building. As Don has said with the lot shape the way it is then I think that they have had a minimal encroachment on it.

Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Bauer,


Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

6) Case No. 00-054 filed by Gary Kade of 43484 Scenic

Gary Kade is requesting a rear yard variance of nine (9) feet for the construction of a sunroom located at 43484 Scenic Lane.

Gary Kade was present and duly sworn in.

Gary Kade: I am here to speak on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. O’Brien. (He passed out pictures). As you can see, it is a beautiful setting, corner lot, nicely landscaped and beautiful neighborhood. There was great concern put into designing something that was going to blend nicely into the setting. If you look at picture one, there is already a conservatory/bay type shape on the house. It will be the style used on the back of the house. The garage is very forward of the house. Number two was a picture taken from Vista Lane. The fourth page shows the layout of the property, which is very nicely landscaped. The fourth picture is from the property line to the rear. The fifth picture is panning around and the sixth picture is from the neighbor’s house. The location is very well covered by a lot of landscaping. The sunroom is made out of glass so it is not a solid brick wall. On page three, there is the existing deck and the bull nose of the conservatory sunroom will be extended. We have had a lot of conversation with the neighbors, particularly the neighbor behind that originally had a concern about what will be done. We met with them and he has since given us an approval letter. Our original request was asking for a nine (9) foot variance and we have modified it to a six (6) foot variance. It seemed to better fit the landscaping and a little more agreeable with the neighbor to the rear.

Chairman Harrington: Without the six (6) foot variance you can’t put the sunroom in, correct?

Gary Kade: Yes.

Chairman Harrington: The three (3) feet that you cut off is the most that you can cut off and still do it?

Gary Kade: To be a reasonable size and to be compatible with the home, yes.

Chairman Harrington: What would be the square footage of the sunroom that you will put in?

Gary Kade: The modified size would be 17 x 15, which is 250 square feet.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were thirty-four notices sent to neighbors and there were three approvals and three objections. There is also a letter from the Homeowners Association who because of the objections of more than one member opposes the plans. Ordinarily they would not take a position but there are two or more members that oppose it so Timber Ridge Homeowners Association opposes it.


James Cotton: I live two houses to the east. This is a very nice subdivision and has a very nice park-like setting. When the leaves go away everything sticks out and with this being a corner lot will show everything. I am also concerned that it would set a precedent in the neighborhood. This house was under construction for two years and other variances were granted to make the house fit on the corner. The garage sits further to the south and the house sits further back to the lot line. If that were not the case, there would be no need for the variance. The back of the house would line up with the rest of the houses that are along the street. There was also another variance granted to build the deck by the previous owner.

Kevin O’Brien: My wife and I are the petitioners. To my knowledge there has only been one variance granted when the house was originally constructed. That was a variance from the street setback off of Vista Lane, which amounted to a foot or two to allow a slight outward projection of the deck in that area. When I say deck, I mean a walkway on the side of the house because of the bay area of the house. Variances is not the right word. Unfortunately, we were not there when the house was built. Right now we are looking to enhance the house in our view with the sunroom as opposed to projecting the deck further. I wish that the Board would give full consideration to our feelings and what we would like to do with the house.

Chairman Harrington: The plot plan suggests that your lot is 110 feet across the front. Is that typical of the lots in the neighborhood?

Kevin O’Brien: This is a corner lot. The width of the lot along Scenic Lane is going to be wider than other lots but that is because we are subject to a huge easement by the road. The effective size of our lot is the same as everyone else.

Chairman Harrington: Your neighbor, Mr. Cotton, is how many feet away from you?

Kevin O’Brien: He is on lot 19 and we are on lot 21. It would be two lots to the east of us, on Scenic.

Chairman Harrington: Over 200 feet away?

Gary Kade: From where the addition would be, yes.


Don Saven: Is that entire deck going to be removed?

Gary Kade: No.

Don Saven: You are going to keep the deck and also have the walkway going across?

Gary Kade: The walkway area to the side is going to stay.

Chairman Harrington: If we did not grant the variance then what is the size of the sunroom that could be constructed?

Gary Kade: The one that they were looking at would be 9 feet across with a fifteen foot projection.

Member Sanghvi: If you put a sunroom in then you will hardly see the sun. There are so many trees around you.

Kevin O’Brien: To our west side we do get a fair amount of sunlight, in the winter and the summer. There are trees on the other side of Vista Lane to our west that are relatively tall. We do get a fair amount of sun on that side of the house. To our rear and the side of the neighbors there is a fair amount of trees. In terms of us getting sun in there, yes, otherwise we wouldn’t think of putting in a sunroom.

Member Fannon: Where are you going to exit the room from?

Gary Kade: Onto the existing strip of deck that will still remain there. As you are looking from the backyard it would be on the right.

Chairperson Harrington: Is there a break point between the six (6) foot variance that is being requested and some lesser variance where you can still accomplish most of what you are trying to accomplish? In other words, can you live with a two (2) foot variance rather than the variance requested?

Gary Kade: Originally, we were asking for nine. Six (6) feet is really a size that would enhance the home. If you start going less it is very small.

Chairperson Harrington: If you conformed to the Ordinance and didn’t need a variance at all it might look strange and negatively impact the property value down the road.

Gary Kade: Exactly. The conservatory design has the bull nose in so you are losing functional square footage because of the bull nose. However, it adds design and enhances the home and neighborhood.

Chairperson Harrington: Can you work with a two or four foot variance or is it six feet or nothing?

Gary Kade: I feel that it has to be six (6) feet.

Member Fannon: What is the practical situation when the Homeowners Association has denied the variance? How will they ever pull a building permit?

Don Saven: We would notify them if the Board had granted the approval. We would give them ten (10) days to seek relief.

Member Fannon: The Homeowners Association would have to appeal the decision of the Board?

Don Saven: No.

Chairperson Harrington: I would guess that if it is a deed restriction then they could bring an action in a court to stop it. They do not have veto power over what we do.

Gary Kade: We have met with the Homeowners Association officers and they would like all of the neighbors to agree. I think that the wording "oppose" is a little strong. They would just like the neighbors to agree. If you look at the layout of the lots the neighbors that are affected by it, lot 22 has approved it. The neighbors to the rear, lot 13, which is the most affected, has approved it. Lot 14, who is kiddy-corner, has approved it and the Gallaghers, who would have a difficult time seeing it, are out of town.

Member Reinke: What is your timetable?

Gary Kade: We have a 12-week time on ordering the product and our goal was to be able to get it done for Christmas. Time-wise this is the meeting that is key.

Chairperson Harrington: Why did you wait so long?

Kevin O’Brien: We just decided to do it.

Gary Kade: One of the things that I tried to clarify with the neighborhood is precedence setting.

Chairperson Harrington: All cases rise and fall on their same merits. Most cases are unique. However, similar cases should produce similar results. You can’t have two identical cases where the Board votes yes on one and no on another because we are in a bad mood. This case does not set precedence, there is no such thing. However, similar geographical areas in the city may produce the same consideration based on whatever their unique features are. North end cases are a good example. Personally, I don’t think that there is going to be a landslide of sunroom cases on Scenic Lane. This case has its own challenges.

Gary Kade: Lot 17 and 16 are 50 feet between each other. In our situation, even after the variance would be granted there would be 70 feet from the neighbors’ home. There is another one on lot 33 that has a shallow lot and has possibly 25 feet for the rear yard. We are not doing something that is totally out of character with the neighborhood.

Member Reinke: Do the people that object to the variance request understand what you are doing?

Gary Kade: I am not sure. Originally, the homeowner to the rear had an objection and he didn’t understand what we were doing. We took him to the backyard and walked it with him. He didn’t have a problem with it. With talking to Mr. Cousinou we discovered that he is conservative and likes things the way that they are. That was his reasoning for writing the letter.

Chairperson Harrington: Have you sat down with the people that are objecting, showed them the site lines and talked to them? Have you tried to work with them?

Gary Kade: Mr. O’Brien had talked to Mr. Cotton.

Chairperson Harrington: There is also a neighbor that is out of town who could be significant in terms of our consideration. Would you like an additional opportunity to get feedback from that neighbor? Would you like to table it or would you like a vote?

Kevin O’Brien: Gary was not the one that was presenting this to the neighbors, I was. Mr. Cotton took the opportunity to stop by and ask me about it. At that time, I invited him in, walked him to the deck, and showed him where we were going to do this and what the basic plan was. We did not actually walk down the yard but he saw it. Mr. Cousinou was the other gentleman that filed an objection. I did sit down with him in his home, showed him the plan and the brochure. He was busy and not interested in coming over to look. I invited him later to sit down and talk about it again. He said that he was busy and would send in a letter expressing his opinion. The Gallaghers were not around all weekend. There were here late this afternoon but I was unable to reach them. There were efforts to educate the people that are involved.

Member Bauer: Right now my vote would be no. If you had staked it out in the back for the objective neighbors then they may have changed their mind. Without the approval of the Association my vote would have to be no.

Member Fannon: I am just wondering if everyone knows what happened to the three feet. Is that what you were going around and talking about?

Kevin O’Brien: When I originally went around and spoke to all of the people involved, we were dealing with the original variance request of nine (9) feet. The six (6) foot issue arose yesterday after speaking with Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz. We went and spoke with our neighbors to the rear. They looked more closely and after discussion we decided to change it to six (6) feet.

Gary Kade: Would it be appropriate to take five (5) minutes and talk with the Association president?

Chairperson Harrington: Please do. I would suggest tabling the case.

Other Matters

  1. Flaming Shish
  2. Don Saven had the opportunity to look at it. They cut the tables down from seven to six.

  3. Fountain Walk

Don Saven had approached the Ordinance Review Committee about Fountain Walk and the signage. Dennis Watson was there and a letter had gone to City Council. They are looking at establishing a special committee to look at it. I do not believe that they will be on the September agenda. There will be a lot more work done City Council-wise, as well as special committees. Every variance for this project, according to Dennis’ letter on the interior portion of this rendered the fact that we will be dealing with a variance request for every sign.

Chairperson Harrington: I would like a copy of the minutes from the last meeting go to City Council and Mr. Watson. I would like to include a letter, explaining why it is important that Council sees where we are at and what our concerns our.

Don Saven: A copy of the minutes is there and available.

3) Berms and landscaping

Don Saven had also brought up the issue of berms and landscaping at the Ordinance Review Committee meeting. The Board had thought that it could be better handled on the Planning Commission level. The ORC had requested that we bring a case study of how many cases have gone in front of the Board, what were the variance request and what was the result. The reason that I brought this before the Board is because it could possibly be handled better at a Planning Commission level. Since they will be talking about mitigating areas and what is best for a tree it would be handled better at that level. They would like to see more information and Sarah will be working on it.

Chairperson Harrington: I have a residual concern whether adequate staff resources are being allocated to this Board. That concern has been mounting and I believe that this Board is important in the city. We need the resources allocated to this Board by way of budget or otherwise to allow us to do our job. If Sarah is being is allocated 90% Planning and 10% to this Board then maybe we should yank Sarah away from Planning and have her work exclusively for this Board. She has done a wonderful job so far but if we are dividing her time among other areas of responsibility then these minutes should go to the City Manager.

  1. Clements Industrial

Lee Mamola: I am here with Case No. 98-078, which began in front of this Board in September 1998. It was a very difficult case and there were certain issues in 1998. We put together a site plan to gain acceptance to this Board. After the opinion of the Board in 1998, we had to revise the site plan and re-submit it because the Planning Commission did not approve it. Ultimately, in November 1999 we were in front of the Planning Commission with variances in hand. If you recall, the project involved improving certain parts of Novi Rotary Park, which immediately abutted this property. In February 2000, after working with administration and gaining approval on the concept with Parks & Recreation, City Council flat out denied the project. We were going to grade the area, seed that portion of the park, and provide trees on that portion of the park to provide screening. We were also seeking to utilize a small portion of the corner of that park for an off-site detention area. Since Council had rejected the plan we went back to work with the client and reconfigured the design of the site to be essentially the same. We have almost the same numbers if you look at building area and number of parking spaces. There are a couple of parking spaces that are different but the site lays out conceptually the same. The detention basin is totally on our property and the trees are totally on our property. The question arose from Linda Lemke’s office in the most recent site plan review process as to whether or not the plan, which was granted variances in September 1998, would have to come back. However, the only thing that has really changed has been the decision that came from City Council. The project is about the same size, same use, same general configuration, etc. The hardship and the basis for the appeals are still the same. The nature of the hardship of the project is still there. I am seeking a determination from this Board that the appeals previously granted will still carry through this now revised site plan approval. I would also add that the city’s planning consultant in his most recent review letter from a few days ago recognized that the appeals previously granted are carried through on revised preliminary site plan.

Don Saven: I would like to defer to Mr. Olson regarding the trees.

Chairperson Harrington: Before we do this I would like some Board feedback. If we are asking to make a legal interpretation as to whether the variance granted two years ago because the new project is substantially similar to the project that we granted the variances on then that is legal. If it is factually that we are going to reconsider in concept of the same variances but is changed then I think that it should be noticed and people given an opportunity two years later to give an input.

Lee Mamola: I did talk to Mr. Watson and he suggested that we come to have this dialogue. He was of the opinion that he could not decipher from the minutes whether or not your decision was based on the specific layout of the plan in 1998.

Don Saven: Would you like me to recite what the variances were and give a list of variances that were requested at that time?

Chairperson Harrington: I don’t think that it is appropriate under Other Matters to be looking at a project that was approved for variances for two years ago and trying to make a decision. It is a legal decision and should be formally noticed. I don’t feel comfortable dealing with any of the specifics under Other Matters.

Member Reinke: I agree. There are different scenarios since the buildings have changed sizes.

Member Fannon: I was not here in 1998. I would feel more comfortable if we make it a formal case. Is it a big delay?

Lee Mamola: We recently discovered that we need another variance. Certain parts of the Ordinance have changed and we now find ourselves not in compliance with a part of the Ordinance due to a revision. So we will be back in September anyway.

Chairperson Harrington: Would you like to come back in September?

Lee Mamola: Yes.

Sarah Marchioni: I would like to note that the meeting is September 12th instead of the 5th.

Recall of Case No. 00-054

Gary Kade: I believe that Mr. Cotton will now approve it. However, we still have two other neighbors that are not here. We are asking to be tabled so that we can talk to them.

The Meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.




Sarah Marchioni

Community Planning Assistant

Date Approved: November 8, 2000