View Agenda for this meeting






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


PRESENT: Members Bauer, Brennan, Fannon, Harrington, Reinke and Sanghvi

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 six members it is a full Board and any decisions made will be final.


Chairman Harrington indicated that there are ten (10) cases on the agenda. Are there any changes to the agenda? Hearing none, all in favor to approve the agenda, please say aye. All ayes.




  1. Case No. 00-026 filed by Metro Detroit Signs, representing Value City Furniture
  2. Patti Krula of Metro Detroit Signs, representing Value City Furniture is requesting a sign variance of two hundred ten (210) square feet.

    Proposed: 250 sq. ft

    Permitted: 40 sq. ft

    Variance: 210 sq. ft

    Charles Harris was present and duly sworn in.

    Charles Harris: I would like to thank the board for granting the variance early in the summer with respect to the trash compactor at the rear of the Value City Furniture store. I hope as you have observed this store and seen the variance you granted for the enclosure of the trash compactor was not offensive. This evening, we are seeing a variance from your sign ordinance to bring the proposed sign into what we believe to be substantial conformity with the proportionality of the signage for the rest of the center in which the Value City store will be located. Mr. Deeters is with Metropolitan Sign has made some measurements and will speak on those. I would like to point out that the application has been modified in some respects. The initial application was for two hundred sixty-four (264) square foot sign that was reduced to two hundred fifty (250) square feet. The percentage that is specified in the application was reduced slightly. The ratio of the signage to the façade changed from 4.88 percent to 4.62 percent. Although, as Mr. Deeters will be pointing out, it is a direction that is farther toward the low end of the prevailing signage proportionality for the façade in that particular center. One aspect of the application that was confusing was the indication that the building seventy-five (75) feet from the center line of the nearest roadway. In fact, the relevant measurement in our view should be a measurement from the centerline of the roadway to the doorway where the sign appears. Two hundred eighty (280) feet. We are talking about visibility and the violability of the store. Its capacity to attract customers because the purpose of a major tenant, like Value City, is not only to attract customers for its own business, but also to act as an attracting source to bring customers past the smaller stores whose signage might be more appropriate for the small square footage. It is important for the violability of a major tenant that it act as a magnet or anchor. This is one of the reasons for the size of the sign being proportionate to the store. The proportionality of the proposed two hundred fifty (250) square foot sign is generally in line with the signage of other stores in the center. Mr. Deeters has done some measurements that he will present at this time.

    John Deeters was present and duly sworn in.

    John Deeters: John Deeters 23544 Hoover Road, Warren. We are the sign installers for the manufacturer Hanovers Signs from Columbus Ohio. I took a look at all of the stores in north of West Oaks Road in the mall area. Those that had super structures or parapets above the roofline. They are Kohl’s, Marshalls, Toys ‘R’ Us and Kids ‘R’ Us and Jo Ann, Value City and Bed Bath and Beyond. In those instances, the Kohl’s sign is approximately two hundred (200) square feet measured against a front façade of fifteen hundred (1500) square feet or thirteen percent (13%) of the coverage.

    Chairman Harrington: How did you measure that?

    John Deeters: I walked it off.

    Chairman Harrington: You did not go to the city and get the exact measurements?

    Charles Harris: It was an observational review and it is not precise.

    John Deeters: Marshalls, the sign is two hundred fifteen (215) square feet against a front façade of eleven hundred twenty (1120) feet or nineteen percent (19%). That assumes the front is twenty-eight (28) feet high as Value City. Toys ‘R’ Us and Kids ‘R’ Us has a combination of three hundred (300) square footage of sign against thirty-eight hundred (3800) square footage or fifteen percent (15%). Jo Ann Fabrics, the sign is one hundred (120) square feet against sixteen hundred eight (1680) square feet frontage or seven percent (7%). As Mr. Harrington mentioned, Value City is at two hundred fifty (250) square feet would be 4.2%, the façade is fifty-four hundred (5400) square feet.

    Charles Harris: As you can see, there is quite a large frontal area which is why two hundred fifty (250) square feet relative to fifty-four hundred (5400) square feet is less than five percent (5%) of the area. The other aspect we wanted to call to your attention is the distance or the visibility component. The measurement that the application incorrectly stated as a distance from the center line of West Oaks seventy-five (75) feet to the building is not where it seems to me the appropriate measuring point is. It should be to the center of the door, which is where the sign would be located on the building. That distance is two hundred and eighty (280) feet. The other distances we measure using the site plan I used in the presentation regarding the compactor enclosure. From the center line of the private drive, which is an alternative measurement device under your ordinance, is three hundred and twenty (320) feet. The other two dimensions are from the entry way off of West Oaks drive. The public right-of-way and private access drive intersect, is four hundred (400) feet to the sign. The drive that enters from the east, with the north south private drive is also four hundred (400) feet to the sign. The point is we are talking about a fairly large sign if you are close to it. However, no body that is looking for the Value City location is going to be close to it. They are going to be four hundred (400) feet to maybe three hundred and twenty (320) feet from it. So the size of the sign has to be commensurate with the visibility. For safety reasons as well as commercial reasons, it has to be reasonable readily identifiable from the thoroughfares that people would be using and looking for the building.

    John Deeters: The entrance to the mall from the North side of the Art Van store would probably be one (1) of the two (2) main entrances to the mall. You can see the temporary sign that is there from about five hundred (500) feet. That will last about five (5) years until the trees are filled in, and then you can not see it until you get to the private roadway that runs north and south on the west side of the Art Van store. Also going west on West Oaks Boulevard, you can see it from six hundred (600) square feet and the situation is the same. When the trees are filled out in a few years, you will not be able to see the signage until you turn into the store. If you continue west on West Oaks Boulevard, there is no entrance until you get to the rear of the shopping center, you can not see it at all due to the elevation.

    Charles Harris: There is as you recall a dramatic elevation difference approximately twenty (20) feet. The square footage of the store is fifty-two thousand (52,000) square feet. The way I saw this effectively is that the ordinance is drafted in a way that talks about a single building. The intent that is supposed to be achieve in talking about a single business in a single building I believe is applicable to this situation. The difference in the appearance in the façade along the entire center, you can not tell whether it is a single building or a series of buildings with a single façade. I think the purpose of the ordinance is fulfilled if you have treatment under Section B of the wall sign for a single business when you have building….

    Chairman Harrington: Mr. Harris are you asking for an interpretation of the ordinance?

    Charles Harris: I am only suggesting the purpose of the ordinance, not an interpretation. The purpose is to achieve a limitation on signage that is commiserate and proportional with the nature of the business being conducted in it. When you have a substantial business that occupies fifty-two thousand (52,000) square feet of floor space, objectives of the ordinance are being achieve when the ordinances standard two hundred fifty (250) square feet for a single business building are applied to this circumstance. In my view, I would encourage you to agree with me.

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


    There was no audience participation.


    Member Reinke: Mr. Morrone, what is the size of Kohl’s sign?

    Terry Morrone: I do not have that information with me.

    Member Brennan: What size sign are you asking? Your calculations of a hundred fifty (150) square feet was not calculated properly, because you calculated the distance over "alue City" where it should be the entire rectangle. If we do it properly, it is a hundred ninety-five (195) feet, so I do not know what sign we have before us?

    Mr. Deeters: The agenda is correct we are asking for a two hundred fifty (250) square foot sign. That is the sign that you are looking at. When you measure the rectangle, it is two hundred fifty (250) square feet total.

    Member Brennan: What is the mock-up out there?

    Mr. Deeters: The mock-up is two hundred fifty (250) and forty (40) for two (2) of them. You can draw your own conclusions.

    Member Brennan: I see no reason to do anymore than what was granted in previous cases similar situation/problem. Forty (40) foot obviously does not work. There is no question that is too small. However, two hundred (250) is huge. Jo Ann’s a very recent ruling by this board is an applicable similarity, and I think that we should be closer to what was granted on that case, and that is a hundred fifty (150) square feet.

    Chairman Harrington: When are you opening?

    Mr. Deeters: I do not know.

    Charles Harris: I believe the target is November. I am not certain.

    Chairman Harrington: After our November 8th meeting? I noted the initial petition was filed with the Building Department in May, is there a reason why this is only coming to us in October just a month before opening?

    Mr. Deeters: Either the sign company Hanover or Value City was trying to decide how much signage to request. Or to apply for a variance given the total variance from the forty (40) square feet allowed.

    Chairman Harrington: I was most interested and intrigued by your rough estimate pacing relevant square footage and sizing of the other signs in that area. That has been an area of significant board attention over the past several years. It seems like every store that goes in there wants a variance, and we have granted variances although reluctantly and conservatively. I would be most interested to see what this board has actually done with the signs in a more specific and more detailed manner. I would like to table this pending receipt of additional information related to all of the signs in that configuration, that rectangle on the north and west side of West Oaks, to see what exactly we have done, how many of the businesses up there have been able to live with code. I will grant you the forty (40) square feet is invisible from Novi Road. I will also grant you the two hundred fifty (250) square feet is purely visible from Novi Road. I agree with Member Brennan that there should be some comparison in relationship to the other businesses that are already in there. I also think there may be a difference between a Value City Furniture verses Kohl’s, which is five (5) letter, and you have a different need to fit it into a configuration. I would be interested in studying all of the signs that we have granted and then come back. In comparison with Kohl’s, Jo Ann and the other stores we have given variances to and make you fit into the proportionality.

    Member Bauer: The two (2) signs at Toys ‘R’ Us, are three hundred (300) square feet? Is that one hundred fifty (150) each?

    John Deeters: The Toys ‘R’ Us I measured at one hundred sixty-eight (168) square feet 42’x4’, Kids ‘R’ Us 33’x4’ one hundred thirty-two (132) square feet.

    Chairman Harrington: Value City Furniture is your entity name? It is your incorporation name? Is it not Value City, selling Furniture?

    Charles Harris: This is their standard sign format and it is in use in a number of centers in the Detroit area and throughout the country.

    Member Kocan: Mr. Chairman about the number of letters. Unfortunately, it seems like this petitioner may be "penalized" because of the number of letters that are in it; proportionately it looks smaller from the road than anyone else. When you look at something that has five (5) letters like Jo-Ann, it looks smaller. I thought Value City was smaller and was not proportionate with the other buildings. My question would be proportionately, the number of letters, how does that fit into?

    Chairman Harrington: That is what contributes to the uniqueness of every case. Every case presumable involves different business entities. Here there is a situation where consciously you have dropped the word Furniture to smaller letters and Value City larger as a marketing strategy. Maybe that is why it looks smaller due to having more letters.

    John Deeters: I think a comparable one is Kids ‘R’ Us and Toys ‘R’ Us on the other end of the center.

    Chairman Harrington: Yes, but they do not have five (5) foot letters do they?

    John Deeters: They have four (4) feet letters. One entrance, a huge store front similar to some extent to Value City. The only two (2) in the whole wall that have that much square front footage. In comparison to Jo-Ann’s square footage is only one third (1/3) of what Value City’s is. Their name is much shorter.

    Chairman Harrington: I do not know that this board has ever looked as a specific criteria the square footage of the façade. It is relevant, but there is nothing in the ordinance that speaks to us, you are entitled to forty (40) square feet, and we are trying to find a size that will work with your need and our fairness to other petitioners in similar circumstances.

    Member Fannon: I thought the sign looked too small. That sign did not look as big as I thought it would be. I would like to see if Marshalls’ is two hundred and fifteen (215) and if these figures are right.

    Member Sanghvi: I do not think it is that big. I do not think the other figures are that accurate.

    Member Fannon: We do not want to make decisions based on poor information, so I suggest that we get the real figures. Proportionately it did look funny.

    Chairman Harrington: Are you in a position to go to the City files and prepare a summary or rendering, basically a diagram of the L-shaped corner of West Oaks with the signs, façade square footage, sign square footage and any other pertinent information for the next meeting? I would also think, since we are putting them off for thirty (30) days, is there a problem with them keeping the temporary sign up there so that once we get the information we need, we can measure that against what they have?

    Member Reinke: I think that would be a good idea because we can look at it in proportion to the size to the other signs.

    Chairman Harrington: Can you come back for the November meeting?

    Charles Harris: Yes and we appreciate the board’s attention.

    Member Brennan: You are stating that this sign is two hundred fifty (250) square feet and this sign is a hundred fifty (150) square feet and they look nearly identical?

    John Deeters: Yes they are.

    Member Fannon: So, being in the business, why is it looking to us this way?

    John Deeters: Because of the huge façade. The super structure. None of the other stores are like this.

    Chairman Harrington: The capital "V" fits into the total rectangle of the square footage of the sign.

    Member Fannon: It may be the one (1) letter is shooting the whole thing off.

    John Deeters: If we were allowed to measure it with tight rectangles on a per letter basis, the square footage would be dramatically lower. It would probably be in the area of one sixty (160) or one seventy (170). The "V" adds sixty (60) to seventy (70) square feet. The letter is two (2) feet higher than "Alue City".


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

  3. Case No. 00-027 filed by Metro Detroit Signs, representing Bed Bath & Beyond

Patti Krula of Metro Signs, representing Bed Bath & Beyond is requesting a sign variance of one hundred ten (110) square feet.

Proposed: 150 sq. ft

Permitted: 40 sq. ft

Variance: 210 sq. ft

John Deeters was present and duly sworn in.

John Deeters: Bed Bath & Beyond is requesting one hundred fifty (150) square foot sign in comparison to the forty (40) square foot sign that is allowed under the code. Basically the same statements I made previously apply to this also.

Chairman Harrington: When do they open?

John Deeters: I believe November.

Chairman Harrington: Any problem that we deal with that next month? Because to me, the same considerations apply.

Member Reinke: In trying to look at it realistically to have something there that is beneficial to the business but yet in a proper perspective, we want to see the size of the sign.

Chairman Harrington: Before we table this, are there any board members have any specific questions for this gentleman that would be helpful to this situation in consideration of this again next month?


There was no audience participation.

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




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

3) Case No. 00-070 filed by Howard Copeland, representing Novi Crushed Concrete

Howard Copeland representing Novi Crushed Concrete is requesting four (4) variances to allow his business at 46900 West Twelve Mile Road. The west property line of this property abuts the City of Wixom residential zoning.

  1. NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 24, SECTION 2400, "SCHEDULE OF REGULATIONS," requires a side yard setback of fifty (50) feet. Paragraph (m) further requires, when adjacent to residential property the setback is one hundred (100) feet.
  2. East side yard setback: Required: 50 feet

    Proposed: 18 feet

    Variance: 32 feet

    West side yard setback (abutting residential): Required: 100 feet

    Proposed: 45.5 feet

    Variance: 54.5 feet

  3. NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 24, SECTION 2400, "SCHEDULE OF REGULATIONS," requires a side yard setback for parking at twenty (20) feet. Paragraph (I, 2) further requires when adjacent to residential property the side setback for parking is one hundred (100) feet.
  4. East side parking setback: Required: 20 feet

    Proposed: 18 feet

    Variance: 2 feet

    West side parking setback : Required: 100 feet

    Proposed: 90 feet

    Variance: 10 feet

  5. NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2002.4 requires a ten (10) foot high berm and fencing when adjacent to a residential district.
  6. Proposed berm is three (3) feet in height and does not extend the entire length of the new used area. No fencing is proposed.

  7. NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 1905, PARAGRAPH 4.b.1 requires that no outdoor storage is permitted when adjacent to a residential district.
  8. Outdoor storage is proposed.


  9. NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2001.3 requires outdoor storage yards to be obscured by masonry, wall, landscape, earth berm, etc and to be constructed in accordance with the requirements of Section 2509 for height, location and extent of plantings.
  10. The proposed site contains a three (3) foot height berm along the east side of the crushing operation.

  11. NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCE, SECTION 2002.1 requires that the outdoor storage of any equipment or material shall not extend to a greater height than the on-site obscuring screen…

The proposed site has a partial three (3) foot berm adjacent to the outdoor storage.

Carl Creighton was present and duly sworn in.

Carl Creighton: We are located in 300 Five Mile Road Suite 210, Livonia. Howard and Rose Copeland principles in Novi Crushed Concrete is here and Mr. James Ludwig of Ludwig and Associates.

Howard Copeland was present and duly sworn in.

Howard Copeland: I am Howard Copeland, 46900 W. Twelve Mile Road. Just briefly I would like to tell you what brings us here today. Approximately a year ago we approached the City of Novi to relocated a crusher that I have now at Meadowbrook and Twelve Mile Road. I would not purchase the property until I could get the okay from the City of Novi. We did our due diligence through people here at this building. We got our DEQ permit and were okayed by the city. This process took a while. I would not make the purchase until this was okay, because I could not afford two (2) places. We were told that we met all of the criteria and we were a portable business. Unless we put a permanent foundation in, there was nothing the city could say about it. Basically the exact words. I made it clear to the people I was dealing with that I could not afford to buy this property unless I could put it in. That is the way that it ended up. There is nothing that we could say about it, you are in and good to go is what I was told. This happened about late spring, that I got the okay. At the time I am crushing at Twelve and Meadowbrook. I figured to finish crushing for the season so that I would not be setting up in the middle of the year and losing business, because it is quite a process. Plus I had a yard to clean up. I stopped hauling material in at August 1st, started stock piling at the other property. I spoke with Edison and had a pole put in and got well permits and was in process to move a crusher. We continued to crush the rest of the season because I decided to. Approximately six (6) months later, we went to get a fuel permit to get containment, for fuel tanks above ground. We went in to the city and they wondered what we had going here. They told us that we had a screening issue. That is what started it, and all of a sudden we have a screening issue and we will see if we can deal with it administratively. It snowballed and now I have a lawyer and we are making prints. I am putting roads, curves and gutters and landscaping front to back, screening that I can not meet. I am dealing with a piece of property that was not very wide to begin with and it was a real decision on my part whether I could even make this thing work on this piece of property as it was. Now if I am going to be taking property for screenings and the rest of this, it makes it tough. Along with the dollar factor, which would have been a big decision in me purchasing the property. In turn I had to stay where I was at. I had sent memos out to all of my customers. I could not crush here, I do not have any material at my other yard because I crushed it all and have it all stock piled at this yard. I have sent memos to every customer that I have that I moved. They do not know if I am in business or where I am in business. It has been tough. I do have a crusher in Novi, I feel this is a better location, I did it because I thought it was a better location for me. But, through this process I think it is a better location for Novi too, because it puts me right on the express way. Where I am at right now, the crusher itself is right in the middle of Novi. The truck traffic comes right through the middle of town. I have a lot of truck traffic and it comes right down Grand River and Novi Road to get to me. So, I think that needs to be taken into consideration. With the new interchange at Beck Road and Twelve Mile, I am a thousand (1000) feet off of the expressway and it would eliminate truck traffic in Novi. It was good for me, it was a reason I looked into it and started it but, now I think it is something for the City to think about too. Basically I am looking for some consideration. This has been a definite hardship for me.

Carl Creighton: Mr. Copeland has elaborated on his economic hardship and his detrimental reliance on some advice that he got from some various representatives that he got from the City. This particular site that was purchased is two hundred forty-seven (247) feet wide by approximately seventeen hundred fifty (750) feet in depth. Prior to Mr. Copeland purchasing it, it was used as a storage yard for twenty (20) different businesses. I will show you pictures of the property before Mr. Copeland purchased it and cleaned it up. He took out train carloads of debris, construction material, scrap iron, trailers to clean this site up. We have been at this process for nearly a year now since the first issue regarding the screening came up. We have spent a lot of time with Mr. Arroyo and Ms. Lemke as well as all of the other consultants to get to this point. We do have the Planning Commission Preliminary Site Plan approval for our site plan here. The site plan and aerial map give you an idea of the position of the site with regard to the border of the city of Wixom, which is immediately to the west of the property and the other land uses in the area, both current and proposed. Those documents as well as the proposed Master Plan use that is shown on the diagram prepared by Mr. Ludwig. Shows the existing zoning, the proposed master zoning and as you can clearly see from the proposed Master Zoning, this particular location will not be adjacent to any residential in very near future.

Chairman Harrington: What does that mean in the very near future?

Carl Creighton: The Twelve Mile Road is being relocated through the existing homes that are facing on Twelve Mile Road. The parcel immediately adjacent to this see on this diagram is still currently residential. This has been rezoned industrial. The Master Plan is being implemented. The residential uses that are currently there are being eliminated. There are a few rental homes that are in the process of being relocated when Twelve Mile Road is relocated because the path of the highway is going through the path of the existing residential structures. Also looking at the site map I think you can see immediately to the west of our parcel there is a significant wetland which would prohibit any residential development. Part of our parcel is abutted by industrial, the wetland comes down the western side. We are a substantial distance from the relocated Twelve Mile Road and relocated Beck Road. There is no actual residential use that abuts the site that is being used. The project at issue, the concrete recycling operation is located in the rear of one half of the parcel. This two hundred forty-seven (247) front feet on Twelve Mile Road and the balance goes back to the north. There is significant natural screening of the operation from the south offered by the two (2) story shop and existing office building, out of which Copeland asphalt paving uses as their business on Twelve Mile Road. There are dense woodlands to the north as well as some wetland that acts as a buffer. The adjacent property owner to the east has signed an acknowledgement and consent to our use as a concrete crushing operation in a record form to put future land users to the east on notice of our existence. To the west is sheer open space along with wetlands and the ultimate industrial zoning serve as a natural buffer. That together with the proposed three (3) foot berm and ten (10) to fifteen (15) foot high plantings in combination will render our operation virtually invisible from any site line of Twelve Mile Road or Beck Road. The power source is electric. It results in quiet crushing and conveyor system. Dust control is strictly maintained by a sprinkling system. New material and finished material is brought in by truck and taken out by truck. All raw materials and finished products are natural products and non-hazardous. They are concrete or asphalt that is brought in block form. It goes through a conveyor and crushing system and to a product pile. This is removed and recycled. This is truly a recycling of natural resources. The notice and minutes indicate that we need a substantial number of variances. If you take into consideration the virtual certainty that there will be no residential uses to the west in Wixom, given the topography, the wetland conditions, the master planning, and the existence of industrial zoning abutting that property. If you eliminate all of the variances that would be eliminated as a result of the presence of residential, we would only require two (2) variances. One is the variance from the strict application of the screening requirements for outdoor storage and the second involves the position of the existing buildings, which are valid non-conforming uses that have been there for years within fifty (50) foot of the west boundary of the property. the strict requirement of the screening imposed by ordinance would require us to erect a ten (10) foot high berm and given the sloping requirements of berm, to comply with that we would be left with forty-seven (47) usable feet in the middle. We would have to have approximately a hundred (100) foot of face on either side to build this ten (10) foot high berm, which is unpractical and renders the petitioner’s parcel useless. What we have proposed is in combination with the natural screening by distances and other topographical features, is a three (3) foot high berm with ten (10) to fifteen (15) foot evergreen plantings. Currently eighteen (18) to twenty (20) feet high which would obscure all of our operations but not our raw material pile, which would be at the back of our parcel. It would be kept at a height not to exceed forty (40) feet due to limitations of the ability of the conveyor systems and the mechanical equipment that is used to load and unload it. The possibility of making a forty (40) foot instant screen or wall is virtually impossible given two hundred forty-seven (247) feet of width on this property. At the Planning Commission process it was stated by Ms. Lemke, that we have tried to do the best that we can given the limitations of our site. Given a period of time that what we are proposing will ultimately will grow to a height in excess of the forty (40) feet. It will begin at approximately twenty (20) feet and as the evergreens grow on top of this berm, will ultimately completely obscure outside storage. But, as Ms. Lemke pointed out, it is virtually impossible to plant forty (40) foot evergreens and completely obscure this immediately. Again, we have addressed some of the ordinances at the Planning Commission that need to be cleaned up in the Final Site Plan Approval. There was one (1) in regard to the scale; that the scale is to be relocated, this has already been discussed with Mr. Arroyo prior to the Planning Commission approval. There is a parking variance of two (2) feet. The parking area will be relocated as part of the Final Site Plan approval. If we apply the zoning as the area currently exists in Novi and as Master Planned then ultimately will be in Wixom, we come down to the two (2) variances of the screening requirements and the existence of the valid non conforming use with regard to the side yard setback of the existing buildings.

Chairman Harrington: Mr. Creighton, are you aware of the letter that was put in our packet date September 28, 2000, from Miliken Leiman on behalf of the City of Wixom?

Carl Creighton: No.

Chairman Harrington: I thought you or your client would have been courtesy recipients of this. Let me give you my copy for your review. This was given to us this evening just before we started.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were seven (7) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and one (1) disapproval from AO Superio, president MMS Partners, owner of twenty (20) acres immediately west of the property, opposes any requested variance. They believe any variance that is granted the petitioner will economically hurt our property as well as the general welfare of the entire area. Your request for variance far exceeds any minimal change but request devastating changes to present setback requirements as well as environmental concerns from a noise standpoint.


There was no audience participation.


Mr. Arroyo: I would like to share information that I shared with the Planning Commission. A couple of aerial photographs to show this property. I know that you have seen some photographs taken from the ground. I thought it might be helpful to see how this relates to some adjacent property.

(Referring to aerial photographs) This is an aerial photograph that in my records was taken in 1995 of the subject’s site. Here is Twelve Mile Road, the subject site is here, and this is Beck. This is when the trucking operation the applicant referred to was on site with all of the outdoor storage you viewed pictures of. There was an encroachment into the adjacent property, which is the golf driving range. This is a color aerial photograph taken spring of 2000. It shows and verifies what the applicant has indicated that the outdoor storage area has been removed, most of the encroachment has been removed. There has been some storage of the aggregate material towards the rear of the site as the applicant indicated they did begin to receive some of that material and that storage is shown in this area. You can see the wetlands in the City of Wixom and these extend into this area, I do not have precise boundaries, but the wetland area does extend back. This is wetland vegetation to my understanding. You can see the existing homes that are within the City of Wixom north of Twelve Mile. If you look at the site plan it gives a representation of the future alignment of Twelve Mile which will go to the north as the interchange is rebuilt at Beck Road and Twelve Mile, which would necessitate the likely removal of all of these structures as the realignment of that road takes place.


Member Kocan: The residences that are along Twelve Mile Road the petitioner also point out that there are some residential zoned properties?

Mr. Arroyo: Yes. The parcel that immediately abuts the subject property is currently zoned residential, is my understanding in the City of Wixom. I think the next parcel over is industrial. It is apparently master planned for an industrial use, but it is my understanding that is currently zoned residential. Hence the requirement that they fall under your ordinance standards, that if the property is adjacent to residential there are certain restrictions that are in your information.

Ms. Lemke: What is required is a ten (10) to fifteen (15) foot high berm and seven (7) foot high evergreen. This would give twenty-two (22) foot height screening. They are proposing a three (3) foot berm and fifteen (15) foot high foot evergreens which gives you eighteen (18) foot of screening. If you do three (3) to one (1) slopes in a six (6) foot crown on the berm, that is ninety-six (96) feet in width for a fifteen (15) foot high berm.

Chairman Harrington: Was an architect hired at the time you purchased this property? Or investigated the purchase, either Mr. Creighton or your client? If not, why not? How come no one knew about side yard setbacks and berms?

Carl Creighton: I can only repeat the information that I received from my client. No, I did not represent the Copeland’s at the time they purchased the property. An architect did not represent them. Mr. Ludwig did not represent them. There were existing building that were suitable for their use. The front parcel, of where the residential uses were shown, is I-1 to this point, and then I-2 beyond that. The storage building and the existing building were suitable for their uses. They went to Planning and went to Building and described what they were going to do.

Chairman Harrington: Why did they not hire an architect that knew about setbacks and berms?

Carl Creighton: I can not give you a good answer for that other than they thought that in coming to the City with what they wanted to do and carefully explaining it to both Building and Planning, and given assurances that it was a use that a site plan would not be required because they were not putting up any permanent structures. Perhaps you would have to take into context what was there at that time as opposed to what they were proposing.

Chairman Harrington: I have been on this board for ten (10) years. I have heard a lot of unsupported and unsubstantiated allegations made to buttress a claim to try to excuse the behavior of the petitioner. We are not allowed to grant relief where the hardship is self-created. This is not a trial this evening, I do not need to know it was that made the alleged misrepresentations, but it is real easy for a petitioner to say that someone told me. Particularly when there is nothing in writing to demonstrate this. Every significant project that I have seen since I have been on the board has been accompanied by professional assistance. You do not do it yourself. You get an architect, professionals, and attorneys. This is problematic for me. So I am taking at minimal face value the allegation that someone made a misrepresentation. There may have been a misunderstanding or miscommunication, but it is troublesome for me that we are faced with cleaning up a mess that started several years ago because of what someone did or did not understand. It is easy to blame the city. The burden is on the petitioner to show that the hardship is not self created. Anytime you are dealing with more than a hundred dollars; you ought to be getting some professional advice. Why was the purchase offer not conditioned upon receipt of all necessary approvals from the City of Novi, which would include variances?

Carl Creighton: Actually it was. Unfortunately they went and asked for those assurances and again were assured by a representative, and I could tell you who that was, that it was appropriately zoned for their anticipated use and that there were no site plan requirements because there was already outdoor storage. They were going to do outdoor storage and they were not erecting any permanent structures. All of this concrete recycling material is on wheels.

Chairman Harrington: Are you suggesting that someone said that there are no setback issues and no berm issues? Someone told them that in writing?

Carl Creighton: No. They asked for it in writing and were assured that it was not necessary to be in writing because the code says they are appropriate. For the record, we have been sandbagged tonight by receiving the letter from the planning consultant without a copy. We have been surprised with the correspondence you have from someone representing to be the owner to the east. We have the affidavit of Mr. Dominic of LDD co-partnership that owned the property immediately adjacent to the east where he acknowledged and consented to our operation and use. Perhaps with the indulgence of the board, we need to investigate these thing more clearly, and perhaps should be tabled to be able to find out the genesis of this letter and that letter to answer these things.

Chairman Harrington: As to the material, it is typical that objections and approval can be noted by adjacent or interested property owners. The procedure is they are returned to the City, and made part of our packet. Generally speaking, we never see these particular letters until the matter comes on before the hearing board. As to that letter, I think it is unusual to receive a communication, and we are "sandbagged" as much as you are. I would really be interested in, had we heard nothing from the City of Wixom, I would have wanted information from them. We have received information, if you want an opportunity, we could continue talking about these variances, but if you want an opportunity to come back in November and talk to some of the Wixom people. I would encourage that. I would like to know if they are really objecting or not. I would like to know whether the consultant’s board, the City of Wixom and the Wixom Council feel these are residential problems that they feel they have a community stake in. I think we, in Novi, need to be sensitive to the concerns of our neighbors. If they are concerned about a temporary situation that is going to be resolved by the condemnation procedures, maybe they are doing it for the record and are not serious. If they think there is going to be residential impact, that is information that we need to consider. This is something that you may want to look at or have them withdraw or clarify their objection. Do they want you to place a forty (40) foot berm there? What do they as a community should be done? Are they interested at buying the site at a profit from the petitioner so that they do not have to worry about this adjacent to their residential area?

Member Brennan: I do not know if you can get the information, but I was troubled by the whole residential issue until it was pointed out. If the Twelve Mile rerouting occurs as proposed, then the residential issue is a mood point, all of the houses are gone. At the same time the City of Wixom says it is residential yet will be zoned light industrial. But if it is going to be zoned light industrial, why would they have qualms about it abutting light industrial use.

Member Fannon: The objection says that it is the twenty (20) acres to the west not to the east. Is the twenty (20) acres to the west the City of Novi or the City of Wixom?

Carl Creighton: Our western property line is the border with the City of Wixom.

Member Fannon: Do you know what this twenty (20) acres is zoned?

Carl Creighton: Currently it is zoned M-1 at the back and Master planned M-1 down to Twelve Mile and Beck Road. As you are aware, there is the day care center on the corner, which would be eliminated by the relocation of Twelve Mile Road. The entire area is master planned. Currently zoned R-1 with the exception of that second parcel over as Mr. Arroyo indicated is zoned M-1 already. The residential use of the parcel immediate adjacent to us ends within a few hundred feet of Twelve Mile Road. It is wetland and brush the entire length of our parcel as you go back from the road. Again, as you can see from the aerial photograph, the substantial wetland may or may not be relocated in connection with the installation of the cloverleaf in the road. If it does there will need to be mediation and it would have to be moved somewhere else. The twenty (20) acres immediately to the west of us is not very usable, it is the size of a small lake. There is very little development along Beck Road along that point until the rear of our parcel with the existing industrial facilities. Again there is the daycare at the corner, but that will of necessity disappear with the relocation of the road.

Member Fannon: Mr. Chairman, when we are on a border of a city when this happens, do any residents in the City of Wixom get notified of our rule of the three hundred (300) feet?

Chairman Harrington: I do not know that they do, but they should. Mr. Morrone, what do you think?

Terry Morrone: No, we do not notify them.

Chairman Harrington: Even if they are next door? The City of Wixom is notified that something is going on?

Member Kocan: It is my understanding that this particular item did not receive special land use consideration, even though there are some special land use requirements. I am very familiar with residential next to light industrial living in Meadowbrook Lake subdivision and next to Hickory Corporate Park. I do take industrial next to residential very seriously. I would like to see something from the City of Wixom that states emphatically the residential will be gone. Master Planned verse what something is zoned today, it does not necessarily always happen to change. We got caught up with that in Meadowbrook Lake. Something was Master Planned residential it was zoned industrial, people bought property because it was going to be residential. It never went residential. I would like to see more from the City of Wixom. I was speaking with Mr. Arroyo earlier, and I think we need to address this in the City as far as heavy industrial abutting residential and requiring it to have a special land use with a public hearing. A noise analysis is missing from this application. We only have something that says it is a quiet operation. There are specific decibel levels that I-2 has to have next to I-1 and I see nothing in here. I do not know if that will be a variance request, because I do not know what those decibel levels are. Maybe this is a Planning Commission issue. The noise and the berming issue are my concerns. When you have heavy industrial next to light industrial, I think it should not have as heavy of a requirement. Ten (10) to fifteen (15) foot berm between industrial and industrial to me is not what I think is required in our ordinance. Is the ten (10) to fifteen (15) foot because it is next to residential?

Mr. Arroyo: There are two (2) requirements. One is the ten (10) to fifteen (15) foot adjacent to residential. There is another requirement that states if you have outdoor storage; you have to have screening that is equivalent to the height, so that you can not see what is being stored on the site. This is a separate issue regardless of zoning.

Member Kocan: Are the conveyors forty (40) feet high?

Carl Creighton: The conveyors are able to reach and deposit materials forty (40) feet high. They are collapsible, moveable and are on wheels. The only thing that will be forty (40) feet high is a pile of concrete that is waiting to be crushed. Instead of a dirt hill, we will have a light concrete hill that will be in the process of being processed. Some days it would be forty (40) feet high at maximum, as this is the maximum workable level, but the machinery and equipment would be totally obscured by the berming and the plantings.

Member Kocan: In a heavy industrial district, if this were a building as opposed to outdoor storage, the maximum height would be forty (40) feet?

Mr. Arroyo: If this was light industrial that would be true. This is heavy industrial and the maximum height of a structure is sixty (60) feet.

Carl Creighton: Again, the building itself is nearly forty (40) feet. When you take into consideration site lines on an angle, from Twelve Mile and from the south you will not be able to see any of this operation or the piles. The woodlands to the rear are fairly dense and far in excess of the forty (40) foot height. There is existing tree and vegetation in the areas that are not covered by wetlands down the entire western side of the parcel. With respect to the driving range to the east, again we have the owner’s acknowledgement of consent as well as a twenty (20) foot barrier that will ultimately grow to a forty (40) foot barrier. We can not build it that high and still have any usable land space immediately, and it will grow to be that level and the forty (40) feet would be completely obscured.

Chairman Harrington: Mr. Arroyo, across the street on the south side, just inside the interchange area, are we going to see hotels and office buildings here?

Mr. Arroyo: There is a combination. The long range plan for most of the property on the south side of Twelve Mile is OST. Which would include high technology, industrial and office type of uses. It could include some hotel uses that are part of the overall project. It is somewhat limited as to how much you could have in terms of accessory uses. For example, the hotel or something would have to be part of an overall OST project. It can not be a stand-alone.

Chairman Harrington: Under current zoning, that would be applicable to that OST area, what would be the height of the buildings that would be permitted without a variance?

Mr. Arroyo: For OST, the maximum height is 46’. There is a specific condition that allows, I think this property would qualify, if you are adjacent to the I-96 corridor, you could go potentially up to 65’. The base without any special additional approvals is 46’ for OST as the maximum height.

Chairman Harrington: Has there been any consideration of what is not there, but will certainly be there in the near future, which is a three (3), four (4) or five (5) story building and how the site land issues would impact with this operation?

Mr. Arroyo: There has been some discussion on how this use might impact the area and the long range planning for this area. The Master Plan and Zoning Committee discussed that at a meeting last night. The recommended to not take any action to make any changes at this time. There was some concern that maybe this entire area need to be revisited, particularly the I-2 area and whether it was appropriate to continue to have I-2. They chose to not move forward with any suggestive changes at this time.

Chairman Harrington: Would you like to come back and see us next month?

Carl Creighton: I would, especially if there are specific items that you would like us to address and bring more information to bear. Obviously I would love for you to approve my variances tonight so that they could get on with their project, but…

Chairman Harrington: I think it would be important to walk the site particularly with respect to find what the screening would do and the berms. I would like to do that between now and the next meeting. I would be interested to find where the City of Wixom is with this because I will consider their input with this issue. I think neighboring communities should be considerate of each other. There may be other issues that you may want to bring to our attention and board members to reflect on this a little more. This is a serious case to me. I do not think you solve one (1) problem by creating another problem. There are other issues that trouble me about the history of this matter. I would like more time to think about it before I vote on these variances.


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

4) Case No. 00-058 filed by North American Signs, representing Jared Jeweler’s

North American Signs, representing Jared’s Jewelry, is requesting the following variances for signage for location at 27795 Novi Road.

SECTION 28-6(2)b.1(a)i.a. and SECTION 28-6(3) permits a separately owned and operated business in a business center category one (1) wall sign at the front entrance elevation not exceeding forty (40) square feet in total area.

  1. Requesting three (3) 90.25 square foot wall signs with the verbiage "Jared the Galleria of Jewelry" on the east, south and west elevations.
  2. Requesting three (3) 13.75 square foot diamond logo signs on the east, south and west elevations.
  3. Requesting four (4) 4.76 square foot awning signs with the verbiage "Jared" on the west and east elevations.

Peter Hauser was present and duly sworn in.

Peter Hauser: Good Evening my name is Peter Hauser, Director of Site Enhancement for North American Signs. With me this evening is Charlie Shallio, Zoning Specialist of North American Signs and Mike Glacier Director of Jared Construction. I would like to start with a sincere and expressed apology of the mock-up signs were not up earlier this week. We came up last week to put them up and the efface system was not constructed. We came back up today and they had one efface up. This construction project has been one of the fastest construction projects that I have ever seen. Final permit approval was received three (3) weeks ago. The building is about seventy-five percent (75%) complete inside and out. It does have a projected open date of November. In regard to the mock-ups we had prepared to do, I would respectfully request permission from Mr. Chairman if we may bring up color renderings to scale that we had designed showing the proposed and the allowed signage. These renderings are done in the represented colors of the final building and done to scale. I believe they clearly and accurately represent what was proposed in the application and what was allowed by code.

Chairman Harrington: We have written rules and procedures. The procedures are available to the public at large, to attorneys, sign companies and anyone else who would like them. In fact, as I understand, they are routinely distributed. It has been the policy and the practice of this board to insist upon that ability to view a rendering on site prior to approval and consideration. I know of no exceptions that we have made for that rule. We will listen to your testimony tonight and your petition tonight. I understand one (1) or more gentlemen are in from out of town. I think one (1) of you will need to come back next month. We will address the rendering issue first. We would like to hear what you have to say regarding your sign package, which is quite extensive and quite prolific. I, as Chairman, am not prepared to vote in favor of variances without seeing renderings. It would be my position that it is appropriate for next month, and if the renderings are up, they could act as temporary signage. I will not vote in favor of you tonight. Other board members?

Member Reinke: Yes. It is not only fair to them, but fair to us to see exactly what is there and what looks appropriate to represent the business and the community.

Member Brennan: We also may be able to save them some money because they will not have to put up as many renderings after we tell them what we think we might approve and what we might not. I would not mind listening to them.

Chairman Harrington: We are going to listen to your presentation, but I think you understand that we are wanting to see mock-ups or rendering between now and the next meeting.

Peter Hauser: We appreciate the opportunity. If Charlie may approach the board, we have renderings of the proposed. This is what the application represents. This is a typical sign package for a stand alone Jared Jewelry. Jared Jewelry’s are always stand-alone. That is the type that is manufactured. Unfortunately we are tied in with a Starbucks Coffee. Novi is the place to be and development opportunities are somewhat limited in this community. We are glad to have the opportunity that we have. The forty (40) square foot would represent on the east façade, which is our storefront façade, two (2%) percent of the façade area. The proposed sign is 4.6. The proposed sign includes awnings that have the Jared logo, including a diamond that is over the main Jared sign and the Galleria of Fine Jewelry. It may seem that the signage is excessive, the number of signs, and looking at that there is a line of evergreen trees directly in front of the building that happens to be the elevation that the store front is on. The nature of retailing we have to put a sign over the door. That sign will have limited effectiveness to the traveler on Novi Road. The south elevation, that is evident in the photos, will have visibility from Novi Road. A sign here is an excellent way finding device for motorists, helping them to located the store and turn into the proper entry way of the center.

Chairman Harrington: Who owns the trees?

Peter Hauser: I was told they could not come down.

Mike Glacier: It is part of the right-of-way and not on our parcel.

Chairman Harrington: Has any effort been made to try to remove the tree through legal measures?


Mike Glacier: Phone calls have been made. I was not personally involved in this, but we did make phone calls relevant to those trees if they could be removed. I do not know the parties involved.

Chairman Harrington: It would be helpful to me to the extent that one of the factors we have to consider whether the hardship is self created and whether you have mitigated all efforts to alleviate part of the problem of all of the problem. It would be significant to me if you could obtain a letter from whoever owns the trees, possibly Oakland County, who may or may not be happy to have those trees cut down. Those trees may not be inherent to whoever planted them there, they may have outlived their purpose. I would like to see something from Oakland County, the City of Novi, whoever owns West Oaks regarding those trees and what can or can not be done.

Peter Hauser: We have a situation where effectively we have a stand-alone building. Jared Jewelry occupies a rectangle. A small northeast corner of that rectangle occupies a Starbucks Coffee that is existing. We have torn down the Jennifer Convertible building, rebuilding a new store around Starbucks. We will almost completely surround them.

Chairman Harrington: Have you read the Starbucks’ variance request?

Peter Hauser: No.

Chairman Harrington: You may want to do that.

Peter Hauser: We have three (3) elevations. The store front elevation and our only entry into the store. This is a fine jewelry store, security reasons facilitate one (1) entry and an emergency egress. Our main signage will be the south elevation, the rear elevation and our front elevation. We have heard your concerns tonight, we are open to your concerns and are flexible from our traditional signage. The Jared people do not think their signs seem out of place, but I understand there are percentages of sizes that you would like to use as a comparison as hearing the first two (2) variances for signage in this center this evening. To give you proportionality size to our façade and the requested signage. The east façade (front) the proposed, is 1939.6 square feet, the proposed sign would be 4.6% of that façade area. A 60 square foot down from the 90 square foot sign would be 3% of the façade area, and the allowed would be 2%. The south elevation, which is smaller, the end elevation that points down is 1224 square feet; the proposed would be 7.3% of the façade. A 60 square foot sign would be 4.9% of the façade and a 40 square foot sign would be 3.2% of the façade. The west elevation, the largest with no Starbucks, is 2508 square feet. The proposed sign is 3.5% of that façade. A 60 square foot sign would be 2.3% and a 40 square foot sign would be 1.6%. We understand your concern with signage. We do not want to have something that you feel is inappropriate to the community, but this is a unique situation where we have an out parcel building that happens to have a Starbucks attached to it. It is a very small building. It puts us in a condition where we are under the forty (40) square feet. We would like to come up with something that you would feel was acceptable, but would also hopefully allow us something that we could put a sign over our entrance. One (1) on the south wall and one (1) back toward the center where a lot of the customers are going to come. It is possible that they could enter the center from any number of entrances and never know Jared’s is there. The signage would not be detrimental to the surrounding properties. It would contribute to the health, safety and welfare of the community by facilitating safe motor travel to the site. Literal enforcement of the zoning code would constitute a hardship. We would have to put a forty (40) square foot sign in our front yard surrounded by trees. These pictures answer a lot of questions.

Chairman Harrington: Do either of your other principles want to address any points other than the ones that you have made?

Mike Glazier: I reside at 378 Caledonia Avenue, Ohio. We have worked with the Planning and Zoning Commission here and I wanted to express my thanks to all of the City officials who have helped us expedite this project. Everyone has come together early this year to help meet our goal of being open for the Christmas Season. Our corporate executives, who several of them are from the Detroit area, have taken express interest in this site, and have plainly stated to me that this is where we wanted to be outside West Oaks Mall. This is very important to us. We want to be a good contributor to your community. As well as in the same breath being a retailer we also want to make this a good store for us and visibility and identity is very important to that.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were nineteen (19) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and no disapprovals.


There was no audience participation.


Member Reinke: (inaudible)

Chairman Harrington: I assume, Member Reinke, as we look at the photos that we have been handed, that the one (1) set would be what the ordinance permits.

Peter Hauser: That is correct, one (1) sign on one (1) elevation.

Chairman Harrington: The second packet is what you are looking for correct?

Peter Hauser: That is the prototypical.

Mike Glacier: That is what we would like, not what we are expecting. We are under the impression that we are not going to get that. We want to fall somewhere that is acceptable.

Chairman Harrington: Regarding the prototypical, is part of the variance request the small Jared signs in the windows or on the awnings?

Peter Hauser: Yes, we conferred with the building department, and we need a variance to do that.

Chairman Harrington: And you are aware that in Novi given your location, whether you are free standing or connected to Starbucks permits you one (1) sign? And how many are you asking for when you add them all up?

Peter Hauser: Eleven (11)

Member Brennan: Mr. Chairman, I can not recall in nearly six (6) years of ever considering signage on awnings. I agree that you need a sign over you door, but you are going out one (1) door. I do not think there will be a lot of approval for signage on the canopies. I think there may be debated about signage on all three (3) fronts, but certainly nothing what you have portrayed here. You are asking for a lot of verbiage in addition to the diamond logo. You might give some thought to what you really need. What is Jared’s repetition experience as far as main recognition? Is the diamond more significant than the Galleria of Jewelry? I think you will probably find some support for some sort of signage on all three (3) fronts if it was scaled back.

Peter Hauser: We are looking for something that is proportionate to what has been approved in the center.

Chairman Harrington: If you have the impression that this board has some formula that it is proportionate to square footage that is not what the ordinance says. There may be some reaction that a sign might look like some square footage, but that is a subjective reaction by the board. Certainly we do not look at 4.3 or 4.2% or whatever it would be. Is your corporate logo and what you do business under, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry? Is that your entity? It is not Jared descriptive the Galleria of Jewelry?

Peter Hauser: Yes.

Chairman Harrington: Is the diamond part of logo in the symbol?

Mike Glacier: No it is not.

Chairman Harrington: What I would request that you do for all three (3) facings on the building between now and the next meeting I want to see what ordinance would permit. In terms of getting your mock-ups you could get them there a week in advance. There are a lot of ways that we could go, and it some board members may think that you should have a sign on all three (3) sides, maybe two (2) of those three (3) sides should be in ordinance ought to be within ordinance or less than ordinance. Show us what the forty (40) square foot is and also show us what your wish list is on all three (3) sides of the building.

Member Bauer: The sign package for this, I believe we need to have approval.

Chairman Harrington: Have the owners of the building approved? Because you will need an acceptance from them of what you are asking for or some lesser package.

Member Fannon: Ms. Lemke, do you know whose jurisdiction the trees are?

Ms. Lemke: I believe they belong to West Oaks. You are required to have, by current ordinance, thirty-six (36) inch high berm, one (1) canopy tree or evergreen tree for thirty-five (35) perennial and shrub to provide screening for the parking.

Chairman Harrington: Would you like to come back next month?

Mike Glacier: We are supposed to meet on November 8, 2000, but are supposed to meet for a probable opening for the following Friday the 10th. What should we do for signage?

Peter Hauser: We are asking because we say that Bed Bath & Beyond had a sign erected as their prototype that was an actual sign. Is that recommended?

Chairman Harrington: I think that if you were not approved for the complete package, I would plan on not having all of the signs that you would have had up on a temporary basis, but it would be my sense that the board would not strip you of all signage while you are making the sign package. I can not tell you what we would be approving, but if you desire to have temporary signage up in the form of your rendering, until your signs are done, that is something that we would consider next month.

Peter Hauser: If they erected the channel letter sign for the Bed Bath and Beyond, is that something that was a permit? How do we do that?

Member Bauer: We did not approve that sign. They did it at their own risk. We have never advised someone to put up a permanent sign as a mock-up. It is not a good idea.

Peter Hauser: We need to find out about the trees and give you some written documentation on the trees, no awning signs (a comment by Member Brennan), owner approval, mock-ups on all three (3) of the efface structures.

Chairman Harrington: Both the forty (40) foot which we would approve, not the numbers we would approve but, the forty (40) foot and what you are proposing.

Mike Glacier: The mock-up is the full size letter up on the façade? So we would need to manufacture six (6) signs…

Member Bauer: I would suggest taping off the area showing what a forty foot sign would be so we get a proportion of the two (2) size sign, whether than make it up six (6) times.

Charlie Hauser: If we hung a banner that had the letters laid out in the correct pattern. It would appear that because they are individual channel letters. It is a tall J and a little A, etc… The banner, is it going to appear to be larger? Would you be able to differentiate between that?

Chairman Harrington: Yes.

Member Kocan: You have indicated that what is on this print is the maximum that you would ask for, but you thought that we would probably not give you that. I would like you to consider proposing exactly what it is that you want so that we do not have to sit here and try to negotiate.


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


5) Case No. 00-00-069 filed by Dale Kort of 2400 Novi Road

Dale Kort is requesting a ten (10) foot front yard and five (5) foot side yard variance for the construction of a new residence located at 2400 Novi Road.

Required front yard setback: 30 feet

Proposed: 20 feet

Variance: 10 feet

Required side yard setback

(with street frontage): 30 feet

Proposed: 25 feet

Variance: 5 feet

Iris Sexton was present and duly sworn in.

Iris Sexton: We have earnestly tried to put a home on this land for quite some time. Each time something new arises. We have a hundred twenty (120) foot setback from Novi Road and a sixty (60) foot setback from Austin for right-of-way. Then, wetlands, we have to be twenty-five (25) foot from wetlands as well. We are in this dilemma where we keep reducing the size of the home. We did not want to have to come for a variance, but each time we come in something is not right. We have done three (3) site plans, we have architecturally changed the home three (3) times and still ended up here. The home is only twenty-eight (28) foot in depth. We really have tried everything that we can. We are at the bare minimum. We do not feel it will cause a negative impact on any of the neighbors. In fact this home actually, if you look at the print, the starting of this home is at the end of the other neighbors home, they are a full house in front of us. We are set back quite a bit. It is about eighty-five (85) foot from Novi Road. The northeast corner of the home is only encroaching in the corner, it is not the full side, just a small corner area. As far as the variance for the front of the home on Novi, we have asked for a ten (10) foot, but the structure of the home is only five (5) foot. We only need five (5) foot, the porch would allow us another five (5) foot. We would like to have a covered porch. We are asking for a ten (10) foot variance on the front. At this point, we do not know what to do. We have reduced the home three (3) times now. I do not think it will change the character of the land, we have not had to remove any trees and I do not think it will have a negative on any one of the neighbors. We have done everything on our part to try to make this a build-able site. We have three (3) side we have to set back from wetlands and two (2) right-of-ways and it makes it difficult. I do not think that we can do anything else. We did want to vote on it tonight, we have a construction loan that is expiring for the second time, and we do not know that they would extend it again. So, we are looking hopefully for an answer today. I understand that we received two (2) letters in the area. These residents are over on Crown. They are quite some distance from the home. I can not see where it would have any impact on them.

Chairman Harrington: Where is Crown?

Iris Sexton: When you come in off of Austin, it is back and over. They’re properties are not even adjacent to this property. I was baffled to hear tonight that there were a couple of letters. We are no where near the wetlands. We are the twenty-five (25) foot. We kept out of the wetland area. We just need the variance for Novi and Austin. The home to the south, the building, we would be behind them if you approve what we have here. The back of their building starts where our residence would start in the front.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-one (21) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and two (2) disapprovals. Mark Abenatha at 2330 Crown who says that it is an environmentally sensitive site. It backs up to a woodland and wetland drainage course. It serves Shawood Lake and Walled Lake and is a wildlife habitat. If the lot is not build-able due to these natural features, it should remain not build-able. A letter from Christina Kochtrich at 2245 Crown who objects to giving the front and side yard variances with the size of the lot a home of good size could be built on it. There are enough oversized homes for lot size anyway.


There was no audience participation.


Terry Morrone: I think the request is reasonable. I do not have any problem with it.

Member Brennan: Square footage overall, this is a ranch?

Iris Sexton: Yes, Cape Cod.

Chairman Harrington: The square footage is two thousand one hundred sixty (2160) feet, including the upper level.

Member Reinke: Is there any reason that can not be rotated to be put more in parallel with the home to the north?

Iris Sexton: We have submitted three (3) with everything that you are asking for, but encroaching the wetlands would be the biggest problem.

Leo Tonamaker: 315 Elm Court, Novi. I am a friend of the applicant. You don’t want it to parallel with Old Novi Road.

Member Reinke: That is correct. I do not want to see another road cut in that short distance from Austin on to Novi Road. If it was rotated back or in line with the house to the north, and had your driveway coming out on Austin would be a much better situation.

Leo Tonamaker: It would not match the scenario of going down Old Novi Road, all the other houses are lined up parallel with Old Novi Road, up and down the road. If you turned it, you would change the site driving down the road.

Member Reinke: You have how many houses facing Novi Road on that side? Two come out on Novi Road and the rest come out on Austin, correct?

Leo Tonamaker: Yes. The one (1) to the north comes off on Austin; the one (1) farther north comes out on to Novi Road; the lot directly north comes out on Austin; the lot two (2) lots north comes out on Novi Road; three (3) lots north, Novi Road.

Iris Sexton: If we re-angled the home, we would have no back yard. It would just be the wetlands.

Member Reinke: It is an unfortunate situation with the lot. To have another entrance onto Old Novi Road right on top of Austin, I can not see the reason for hardship for that. I think the house can be positioned on the property, so that it has less of a variance need than what is represented, and not have a road cut coming out on Novi Road.

Iris Sexton: What if we were to put the driveway coming off of Austin, and change the garage. So that it is a side entry garage instead of a front? We would not want to have to take down the amount of trees, it would be awful if we switched the house on an angle because there are so many trees that would be lost.

Member Reinke: If you were to rotate that to where you say the back edge of the house would be as far back as the house to the north, how many trees would you have to take out?

Iris Sexton: Twenty-five (25) maybe. The other problem is as we turn it, we would need a bigger variance on the side and in the front. I think it would be a difficult thing to do.

Member Reinke: I do not think it would be. Until it is laid out on there, I really couldn’t say.

Dale Kort: The house is staked. Right now were proposing it, the house is staked.

Member Reinke: Yes, I have seen it. Behind the house I do not see any trees right there.

Iris Sexton: If we were to turn it like this, wouldn’t we cut out all of these trees here? What if we came in off of Austin? We are open to whatever we can here. We are really in a dilemma and would like to get it settled. If someone would have said something to us earlier, we have done three (3) site plans. We have done three (3) different buildings. We would be willing to tilt it and come in off of Austin if it causes a problem with Novi Road. We would really love to keep it where it is at. We are eighty-five (85) foot from Novi Road and quite a good distance from Austin, and have stayed the twenty-five (25) foot from the wetland. We have reduced it. I think it would look really nice facing Novi. I think it would look aesthetically nicer to the neighborhood to drive by than to see the side of it. When we are looking at this other house on Lot 110, that home is not in full view, because it is down Austin. We were staying parallel with Novi Road.

Member Reinke: I just think it would be better positioned than the way it is.

Leo Tonamaker: If you rotate it, wouldn’t it put the driveway closer to the intersection of Austin Road and Old Novi Road?

Member Reinke: Currently, you are just about on the corner.

Leo Tonamaker: If we rotate it wouldn’t put it right at the corner.

Member Reinke: I still think it is a problem.

Leo Tonamaker: Where would you like to see the driveway?

Member Reinke: I would like to see it as far back on Austin that it could possibly be.

Leo Tonamaker: As you can see, there is only thirty-eight (38) feet on Austin Drive.

Member Reinke: I understand that.

Leo Tonamaker: Would you like it on/off of Austin Drive then the driveway?

Member Reinke: That is what I would like to see, yes. But, I would also like to see the house back away from Novi Road further than what it already is.

Iris Sexton: We are at the edge of the wetlands.

Leo Tonamaker: The zoning lots are only forty (40) feet wide. Thirty-two (32) feet, forty-one (41) feet, Lot 118 are the dimensions.

Member Reinke: You are listening to one (1) board member’s opinion. The other board members have their opinions and their input on it.

Iris Sexton: We are at your mercy here. It is really a problem for us. We really hoped we could keep the home where it is at. If we have to change it, would we have to come back for another variance with a new site plan next plan? We are at the end of our mortgage, some one switched jobs in the middle of it and we may not get another one, this is difficult. Every time we come in, it is suggested that we put it in a different spot. That we change it, that we go for a variance. We have been open to everything and we finally get to this meeting. Now we are here, and we have another suggestion. We could have suggestions continually. At this point, we would like it stay like this or if you could designated exactly what you need so that we would not have to come back again. If we could get the variances subject to changing something so that we could get started. We have everybody lined up to start next week. We only did this because of the commitment for the mortgage.

Member Brennan: The petitioner has gone through the proper channels to present a variance request to us. What is before us is a plan that through input from planning appears to be the optimal design. I am going to assume that they had these discussions with the Planning Department and the Building Department. This seems to work for them. I think the two (2) variance requests are minimal. I understand and can appreciate Member Reinke’s concern about another jaunt out on to Novi Road, but the petitioner has offered to remedy that. I think that we should listen and debate their requests for the two (2) variances. If they can solve the driveway problem, which they have offered to do, I think that makes this case even easier.

Member Kocan: Mr. Arroyo, with regard to the driveway that is proposed right now. The setback from Austin, does that comply with the ordinance? Is the curb cut too close to the intersection, and if they were to move the driveway so that the entrance is off of Austin Drive, would it be far enough away from the intersection?

Mr. Arroyo: Unfortunately, I am looking at this plan for the first time. I was not asked to review it, so bare with me.

Member Kocan: It looks awfully close to the intersection of Austin and Old Novi Road.

Leo Tonamaker: The property lands twenty-five (25) feet away. That is what was City required.

Member Kocan: The curb cut from the intersection?

Leo Tonamaker: The building itself.

Member Kocan: I am talking about the curb cut off of Novi Road.

Mr. Arroyo: For a residential driveway, I believe they could fit a driveway. Looking at what they have here, because it would be beyond the curb return on to Austin, so I think it is possible to have a driveway on to Austin. We want to have it as far away from the intersection as possible, but certainly you can have the driveway go out onto the curb return. Which is the curbing for the turn rate is the radius coming off of Austin. There is room beyond to put a driveway. It appears that way from this drawing.

Iris Sexton: The reason we placed the driveway where we did was because it was a suggestion of the Planning and Building Department that we come in here instead of off of Austin. So, that is why it is this way. If we have to put move it, we will move it.

Member Fannon: What would happen if this whole house was flipped and the driveway was further away from the intersection and still going out on to Novi Road. In other words, nothing would change…

Member Kocan: Reverse the garage and the house?

Member Fannon: Yes.

Iris Sexton: We would stay with the front garage then. We were thinking it would be nice to come in on a side garage off of Austin. But, we would be willing to do that if that is what you decide.

Dale Kort: It is a back yard and it is nice to have your house against the woods because it is wetland otherwise your back yard would be in front of their house, that is behind us.

Member Kocan: And the view out the window will be of this street over here rather than of the woods.

Member Brennan: Gentleman, I think we are wandering. They are here with a petition for two (2) variances on setbacks. We are not here to debate driveways, position or the design of the house. It is not fair to these guys. We should be talking about the two (2) variances in front of us.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Fannon,


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


Member Reinke: I am going to reiterate again that the cut is too close and there is too much traffic. They have a cut that close to the corner.

Chairman Harrington: I can support it. I do not like the location at all, but I am not sure that we are solving anything by making these homeowners make an additional left turn if they are coming in on to Austin. Or to come out on to Austin and make an additional turn when they have direct access to Old Novi Road. I think it is a close call in terms of should you rotate the driveways or not. I think the petitioner has made significant efforts to try to and do the best they could with this very difficult configuration in the property. They are going to have to live and die with the economics of "Is our house worth more or less because of where of where the driveway is?" and I respect their decision.

Member Kocan: Did you talk with people in the house on Lot 110? You are asking for a five (5) foot variance for the garage, correct?

Iris Sexton: Just for the corner. It is a little corner there. Lot 110 did not send a letter. They seem to have no problem with it at all.

Member Kocan: The garage is 26X28, is that correct?

Iris Sexton: Right. We have staked out the garage and the house and they have had not objections. We have had the stakes out for a month. They have not objections, they are not here, and they have not written a letter.

Member Fannon: I do not think the setback requests variances is to the Lot 110. The garage is not too close to Lot 110, it is too close to Austin Drive, correct?

Iris Sexton: Correct.

Member Kocan: I am thinking of the site line issue as you come around the corner. You are supposed to be setback if the front of the house is are supposed to be along the curve. It is that part of the garage that is cutting into. That is why I think they are requesting the extra five (5) feet, because that is how much it comes out at that angle.

Iris Sexton: But, they do not seem to have any problem with it at all.

6) Case No. 00-071 filed by Dennis Mouser of Novi Feed & Supply

Dennis Mouser, representing Novi Feed and Supply, is requesting to install a propane dispensing unit at the property located at 43963 Grand River.

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2502, paragraph (3,A) states: "No such non-conforming use shall be enlarged or increased, nor extended to occupy a greater area of land…"

1) Proposed use is an expansion of a nonconforming use.

Dennis Mouser was present and duly sworn in.

Dennis Mouser: I am not expanding the size of the propane tank. I am going to put on a dispensing unit. I do not have propane there right now. To give you a little history of the business. Over the past hundred (100) years of business the property has had a feed mill, a lumberyard, coal yard and a Mobil Oil had a bulk dispensing unit. Basically, I have to look forward to what is going to happen to my business, particularly with the bridge situation. I want to look proactively ahead. I am trying to think of products and services that I could provide. I had a questionnaire at the store and people asked me to put in propane. It seems like a natural fit. When they come to my store to buy a bag of water softener and a bag of dog food. They always ask me "Why don’t you have a tank here and I could get it filled? You would save me another trip." Really that is the reason I am before you. My property has been rezoned to TC-1. The unit I am asking to put in, is a prefabricated unit. Basically, it is on two (2) rails. There is a tank the necessary plumbing and a pump. I am responsible for underground electricity hook-up to it. I will have to put in bumper poles and a six (6) foot containing fence around the unit. I have not applied to the State. I needed the variance to go any further. If there are any questions I will be glad to answer them.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were thirteen (13) notices sent to neighbors and there was two (2) approval and no disapprovals. Approval from Patricia Rice on Leeland, Ann Arbor, speaking for Country Building Supply, has not problem with Novi Feed installing a propane-dispensing unit. Bob Redner of General Filters, 43800 Grand River, wrote okay with us at General Filters, they are a good neighbor. A number of comments, I think from various persons in the city.


There was no audience participation.


Mr. Arroyo: We were asked to take a look at this application by Mr. Saven. It is my understanding, just to clarify, that you are proposing to bring a tank in and dispensing it. There is currently not a tank on site.

Dennis Mouser: Correct.

Mr. Arroyo: As the applicant has indicated, this is zoned Town Center District 1, (TC-1). I think you are fairly familiar with the intent of the Town Center District. Obviously, when you have a situation where you have an existing use, this property was zoned a light industrial at one time, it is no longer zoned light industrial, and the use is a non conforming use. You are asking to add a component that is associated with two (2) issues. One, you can not have that type of use in a TC District, that is the reason they are here before you. Also, looking at the light industrial, one of the things we tried to address in our review was, if this were zoned light industrial, would they be able to have this operation or this type of facility? The I-2 restricts above ground tanks to six hundred (600) gallon size maximum. This would be above that size. We have indicated that if the ZBA does agree to this type of request, that one possible consideration would be to limit the size to what would be formally permitted in the I-1 District. Also, the I-1 District would require that there be a brick wall at least one (1) foot above the height of the storage tank, not just a fence, to screen it from view. We point that out to you for your information. We are not recommending this, because it is not permitted within the TC District. One (1) of the theories of the Ordinance is that non conforming uses are to not expand unless there is some reason that they could show that they require that they city give some type of consideration. We have not seen anything that would leap that particular standard as of yet.

Ms. Lemke: When I reviewed, it was a little confusing as to what was there and what was not there. If you are going to approve it, it needs to be screened. Certainly a wall would screen it. Additional landscaping, it does face Grand River Avenue, the use of Evergreen Trees would be encouraged.

Member Brennan: Does the TC-1 end at Clark Street? Because there is light industrial on the west side.

Mr. Arroyo: It is from the tracks.

Dennis Mouser: If I was twenty (20) feet on the other side of the railroad track, it is my understanding that I would not have a problem with this.

Mr. Arroyo: Right, if you were on the other side of the railroad tracks, it is zoned industrial. On the east side over all the way through Town Center, it is TC-1.

Dennis Mouser: My property has been used for over the last century for uses like this. I am down in that hole, where I bet a lot of you do not know where my store is. I am looking for another product where I could go another hundred (100) years.

Chairman Harrington: Do they make six hundred (600) gallon tanks.

Dennis Mouser: I would have to ask the gas company. If I could size it down to a five hundred (500) or six hundred (600) gallon tank, I would be happy to do so.

Member Brennan: The other thing that I noticed when I could not get in off of Ten Mile and had to go down Grand River, you can barely see the top of that building when you go over that bridge. It might be different when they rebuild that bridge. My general sense was that it is out of site.

Dennis Mouser: The location that is proposed, I guarantee that you can not see it from Grand River. Coming in to my driveway, it will be hidden behind the existing building, that is why I am putting it there so that no body knows that I have it.

Member Fannon: You know across the street, there is a Guernsey’s. Is it similar to that where the hardware store is at? You drive in and there is a little fenced in area with a tank and a little building that is about 5X5?

Dennis Mouser: Yes.

Member Fannon: I could not imagine why we would have him build a brick wall. He just wants to put a little tank out there in an area that has been used for a hundred (100) years to supply people here in Novi. Forgetting that it is zoned TC-1.

Dennis Mouser: In the future if there is a problem, the unit could be easily taken out.

Member Fannon: I look at it this way. That one is on Novi Road, I do not know of anyone that has ever complained about it. I live right around the corner from it. I do not have a problem with this request. I thought it was a natural extension of his business. It is out of site. I do not think it is going to bother anyone. The post is so that somebody is not going to run into it.

Dennis Mouser: It is a bumper post so that someone does not accidentally bump into the unit. Buried with concrete.

Chairman Harrington: If we are going to consider this, I would like to hear something about screening. I would like to have some screening. I feel something of an increased comfort zone that there is some brick there, because accidents do happen. Brick would stop that thing if it ever lit up. I would feel a lot more comfortable than to have no screening at all. I would like to see screening.

Dennis Mouser: Could you imagine how much it would cost to build a little brick wall around a little tank. You may not even do this economically.

Member Kocan: Screening could be fencing and shrubs.

Member Bauer: You are all forgetting that it is non-conforming.

Member Kocan: Would we restrict the size from a thousand (1000) gallons to six hundred (600) gallons?

Member Fannon: I think that is part of the suggestion.

Dennis Mouser: What kind of screening are you thinking of?

Chairman Harrington: Fencing and trees.

Member Brennan: What you are planning for a cyclone fence around this right now correct?

Dennis Mouser: The other problem is that I need a concrete slab under the tank itself. I do not think trees would grow very well. Maybe a compromise, since I would put cyclone fencing, would be to weave nylon through the fence where you could not see through it at all.

Chairman Harrington: Mr. Arroyo, are there any safety issues associated with the screening recommendation? Is a brick going to make any difference if anything goes up? We are talking about restricting access to it right?

Mr. Arroyo: I am not aware of anything, there are the options of the cyclone fence with landscaping and put slats through the fence. Normally we do not recommend the plastic slats, we recommend cedar that would hold up and is fairly attractive and lasts. The plastic slats break down more quickly over time.

Dennis Mouser: Obviously, I have to have all of the approvals at the local level and then an application sent to the State. The State requirements state specifically that a six (6) foot cyclone fence is what they require for security purposes, to prevent break ins. It has to be a lockable gate system.

Member Kocan: You said that you are familiar with what would happen with the Grand River bridge. The slope of the bridge is going to be totally different than what is currently there, is that correct?

Mr. Arroyo: My recollection is that it is not substantially different.

Dennis Mouser: The only difference I think, is that the actual elevation of the bridge will be higher than the existing bridge.

Mr. Arroyo: I do not believe it would be lower. I think he is correct, it would likely be slightly higher than it is now.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Fannon,


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


Member Reinke: I would like to include cedar slats.

Dennis Mouser: Cedar webbing in the fence, that is not a problem, no. But, would you want a wood product?

Chairman Harrington: As Mr. Arroyo pointed out, it would be subject to Fire Marshall.

Member Brennan: My motion is amended per Mr. Reinke’s discussion.

Dennis Mouser: Six hundred (600) gallon with wooden slats, okay.

7) Case No. 00-073 filed by Antoine Yazbeck of 2014 Austin

Antoine Yazbeck is requesting a temporary structure to be located within the front yard of the property located at 2014 Austin Drive from November to March.

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 3004, PARAGRAPH (3), "TEMPORARY USE PERMITS," provides for temporary building and uses not to exceed twelve (12) months in developed sections of the city provided all setbacks and other requirements be met pursuant to Section 3004, paragraph 6.

1) Proposed structure does not meet requirements for placement and setbacks.

Antoine Yazbeck was present and duly sworn in.

Chairman Harrington: It looks like you would like to put up a temporary car tent from November until March, is that correct?

Antoine Yazbeck: Yes.

Chairman Harrington: For one (1) year only, or for every November through March?

Antoine Yazbeck: I would like to put the permanent one (1). Next year I am going to apply for a garage or permanent carport. According to zoning, you are not allowed, you have to be ten (10) feet away. Austin Drive, when we bought the house has so many things according to the zoning codes, there is so much you can do if you want to put a garage or a carport. So for now, I figured we could put a temporary car canopy and next year apply for the permanent carport of garage.

Chairman Harrington: Why do you need it?

Antoine Yazbeck: The main reason, I have been living there since 1995, but my wife is pregnant and is going to deliver in December and I do not want her to wake up in the morning and have to shovel snow off of her car. That is the main reason I am applying for it right now. I want to give one (1) of my neighbors signed approval, they did not mail it.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-five (25) notices sent to neighbors and there were two (2) approvals and no disapprovals. Bill Alvanez 2020 Austin, who has circled approval. Glenn Davis, 1988 Austin, who has circled approval.


There was no audience participation.


Terry Morrone: I was out there the other day, and it appears that the tent would extend all the way out to Austin Drive. Not necessarily the property line. It almost looks like it goes right out to the driveway. I am happy that they are coming in and requesting a variance rather than putting it up first. If it is a canopy type without sides for a short period of time as requested, I do not think there would be a hazard associated with it if they keep the sides open.

Member Brennan: I find a difficult time discussing a variance request that would be remedied in three (3) months.

Member Sanghvi: I do not see any problem.

Member Reinke: I can not support the petitioner’s request for that type of structure especially being that closed off. I understanding the situation, but he should have looked into it prior to this point in time.

Chairman Harrington: What kind of car would you be using in storing it under there?

Antoine Yazbeck: It is a VW Jetta.

Chairman Harrington: I know that you need a variance to fix the problem, and you have a problem common to many people in Novi. Either because their carports are inadequate or they do not have carports. They are in condominiums or apartment complexes that do not have them, or for size and lot constraints they can not put what they need to protect their car. I recall, you can order coverings for car that you can put right on top of the car, which would take a little bit more time than driving under a tent. It would do a better job in protecting a car than what we have seen here. On a temporary basis, I would recommend that. It is limited to the size of the car. If the problem can be fixed without a variance, I feel that is the way we should go. I am also extremely concerned, that this would trigger a wholesale application for other variances identical in intent. We have already, in a vintage case, turned down a rather compelling argument for a temporary structure to house an airplane or helicopter. I think that case had significantly more merit than this one (1) in terms of the need and the uniqueness of the situation. I can not support the variance, I understand the problem, but I think you can fix it, especially over a short period of time. If we have another light Michigan winter without a lot of snow, you might not even need it that much. I do not want to go on record as supporting a variance, which would open a door to others in the city with the same problems.

Member Kocan: It is too close to the road. It would end up a foot and a half (1.5’) away from the road. You would have to keep the sides open and I think you may get better snow removal with putting a cover over the car.

Antoine Yazbeck: So, I could solve it if I make a smaller tent closer to the inside of the parking space instead of going all the way to the road?

Member Kocan: That was one (1) of my thoughts, if it was 10X10, maybe.

Antoine Yazbeck: I am not trying to protect the car. I do not car about the car. I just do not want my wife to wake up in the morning going to work and with the baby, shoveling snow. If it takes that I could customize… As a homeowner, I do think I am asking a lot to have either a carport or a garage or a temporary thing just for the winter.

Member Brennan: You are not asking for a carport or a garage. You are asking for a tent, sir, in the front of your house. I think it is ludicrous. I have seven (7) cars at my house with all the kids, and I would have a big tent in front of my house if I was going to put them all under a tent.

Antoine Yazbeck: So, it is easier if I apply for a permanent carport? If I apply for a permanent carport, would that be a better idea?

Member Brennan: I do not know what the regulations are on a carport.

Terry Morrone: The same would apply for a carport as would for the tent. It is still in violation of the ordinance. It requires a thirty (30) foot front yard setback. He is no where near that. He would have to request a variance.

Antoine Yazbeck: That is why I asked for a temporary, because I knew it would not comply with the codes and put a permanent carport or garage. That is why I asked for a temporary, just for the snow.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Brennan,


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


Member Reinke: This is an unfortunate situation with the lot, this is not the answer. I do not know what the answer is. A temporary situation for a couple months is not going to solve the problem. I can not support the request.




8) Case No. 00-074 filed by Lorita Howlett of 1175 West Lake Drive

Lorita Howlett is requesting a variance to allow placement of an accessory structure in the front yard of their home located at 1175 West Lake Drive. The proposed new structure will replace existing shed on the property.

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2503, PARAGRAPH (1,G), "ACCESSORY USES" states: "…no detached accessory building shall be located closer than six (6) feet to any interior side lot or rear lot line."

Proposed structure is located within the front yard setback.

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2503, PARAGRAPH (1,G), "ACCESSORY USES" states: "…the total aggregate floor space of all such accessory buildings on the lot shall not exceed 850 square feet in an R-4 Zoning District."

Proposed total square feet: Existing: 378 sq. ft.

Proposed: 560 sq. ft.

Total: 938 sq. ft.

Maximum allowed: 850 sq. ft.

Variance: 88 sq. ft.

Lorita Howlett was present and duly sworn in.

Lorita Howlett: I am one (1) of the property owners and I have been in that place for at least twelve (12) years. We are planning to replace our current shed with a more permanent structure. We are asking for two (2) variances according to the letter. One (1) of which is whether this structure is actually sitting in the back yard or the front yard because it there will be some different side yard setbacks requirements. The second one (1) is the building size. I would like to address the building size first. If you look at the letter we are really asking for five hundred sixty (560) square foot structure and the maximum allowed is eight hundred fifty (850). We are not really asking for nine hundred thirty-eight (938) square feet. I think there is a math error here, so really that variance does not apply.

Member Reinke: Do you have a garage on your house?

Lorita Howlett: Yes.

Member Reinke: Is that added with that Mr. Morrone?

Terry Morrone: Yes.

Member Reinke: That is where it comes into effect. Your garage is considered storage as well as the shed is. So your garage square footage is added to the shed square footage to come up with the total.

Lorita Howlett: Even if the garage is attached?

Member Reinke: Right.

Lorita Howlett: Based on that, if you could look at the site plan. The property that we have is peculiar because it has three (3) sides water. It has four hundred ninety (490) square foot lake frontage. The land access to the property is via private easement. It dead-ends into our driveway. We need odd space to turn around, so the cars do not come out very easily. The easement is shared by six (6) families. We are one (1) of the six (6). If you would not that the side where our house is, is also the side where our next four (4) neighbors have their houses. They all face east side of the lake for their views of the lake. On the west side of the easement, where our current shed is, our immediate neighbor has a pump house, and the neighbor next to it has a detached garage. The way that the whole sub division is structured, the one (1) side is all the other accessory buildings, and that is where we are requesting our replacement shed to be added. Our current structure is in poor condition. It is falling apart and we are trying to replace it. The current structure is surrounded by overgrown bushes. We are proposing to have a replacement structure at the same location, which is six (6) foot off of the property line. Please note this would be the side of the lake where our immediate neighbors have their pump house as well as a detached garage. This location has the least obstruction to the views of the lake. To locate this structure anywhere else would actually create more obstruction to the view of the lake. It would not be as functional. The structure that we are asking for will blend with the character of our house. We plan to replace overgrown bushes with nicer landscaping. We consider this whole area as our back yard instead of our front yard. If we put the structure anywhere else, it would take away from our view as well as the neighbors. In terms of a bigger structure, we need a place to put all of our seasonal items such as floatation devices, lawnmowers, etc… Currently these items are located around the property and are covered by tarp. It is pretty unsightly. We are also open to potential theft and vandalism, which have occurred over the past few years. The items are severely impacted by the weather, and can be a safety hazard with the strong winds. We would like to put them all into the replacement structure. This is why we are asking for a larger structure. Part of the request, we have gone to all of our immediate neighbors, and have a signed petition. We have all the signatures with the exception of one (1) person who has vacated his residence three (3) months ago and is in a nursing home. We were not able to locate him. As you can see there are no objection for us to put this in that location. In conclusion, based on the above reasons, we ask that you approve our request.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twelve (12) notices sent to neighbors and there as one (1) approval and no disapprovals. David Boyer, 1191 West Lake who approves it. We also have on the letter, which is part of the packet, approvals from Kathleen Brown at 1181 West Lake, Thomas Harvey 1195 West Lake and Roger 1192 West Lake. All of who are immediate neighbors and have no objections to the plan and understand the current shed is being replaced with a more permanent structure.


Rob Marshick: Rob Marshick 1631 West Lake Drive. I am a neighbor down the street. We all have that same situation, with unique lots so I understand. I know their lot and the structure there. I think they have taken some time to look at the views of the lake and not have an obstruction. I think that you should look kindly upon them. The vandalism issue is also something that has been plaguing us in that area.


Terry Morrone: The proposal seems to be reasonable. This is an older piece , tucked away. I do not think anyone else can see it, except the immediate neighbor to the south. The structure, even though it is in the front yard, does not look that way. We only had a decision of that front yard dating back to 1988 as required by a previous homeowner. The structure seems to be compatible with the surrounding structures in the area. I do not see where it would have any adverse impact on anyone or anything in the area.

Member Brennan: I do not have a problem with the proposed location. I had a little bit of a problem with the size of it. That is a significantly large shed when it is twenty (20) by twenty-eight (28) feet. That is nearly another garage. I wondered what could be done to get it closer to the maximum allowed. If the shed was reduced to a twenty (20) by twenty-four (24), the maximum allowance would be eight hundred fifty-eight (858) and would be closer to ordinance. I do not know what is the compelling issue other than the storage of an old car. What is the propelling reason for that size?

Member Kocan: That was my concern as well. I have those exact numbers on my paper. Twenty (20) by twenty-four (24) would put it within eight (8) feet.

Lorita Howlett: Not a problem.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Bauer,


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

9) Case No. 00-075 filed by Robert Marshick of 1631 West Lake Drive

Robert Marshick is requesting two (2) side yard variances for the construction of an addition at 1631 West Lake Drive. A variance of four feet, six inches on the north side and four feet, ten inches on the south side is required.

Required side yard (North): 10 feet

Proposed: 5 feet, 6 inches

Variance: 4 feet, 6 inches

Required side yard (South): 10 feet

Proposed: 5 feet, 2 inches

Variance: 4 feet, 10 inches

Robert Marshick was present and duly sworn in.

Robert Marshick: Robert Marshick at 1631 West Lake Drive. You all have a packet. I am asking for two (2) side setbacks. Our current dwelling is what you see in the darker section with the a detached garage. That home that we bought in 1990 and renovated it. We got all of our property approvals etc… We did not change the footprint what so ever. We did not go for any variances at the time because we wanted to stay within the footprint. Our family has grown since then, actually at that point, we did not have a family. Now we have three (3) kids and a dog, and we love it here and want to put an addition onto our home. One (1) of the things that is very particular to us is this area right here. We do not want to go forward toward the lake. We feel that is a commodity, that is why we all live there and it is very important. Our only option was to go toward the road. You can see that we have a long lot, it is two hundred (200) feet, and it goes down to twenty (20) feet at the road. As you can see, the situation of our house, we are at a dramatic angle. That is due to 1920 or whenever the original footprint was built, it is very strange. We had to do a lot of thinking of how we could put an addition onto home without crashing in my neighbors fence, or without going toward the lake. We do have thirty (30) feet there, but not too much, and we did not want to cram people’s view of the lake. We have been looking at this for a couple of years. The last three (3) months we have been looking at it with an architect. What you have in front of you is a preliminary floor plan of what we have come up with. We have changed it a lot of times. We felt pretty good about this plan even though it looks funny on paper. There are some elevation views as well and I think it is going to look neat. It gives us the rooms that we want, the garage is there now, that existing detached garage will come down. Which is only three (3) foot from the fence line right now. We feel we are putting it more appropriately, centering it on the lot, getting rid of the three (3) foot garage. We are trying to stay within the five (5) foot, which has been granted to our neighbors. We have three (3) or four (4) neighbors down the road who have done the same thing, renovations, and we wanted to stay within the five (5) foot so that we would not have to get into the fire walls and that type of thing. I have talked to all of my neighbors. Both neighbors on both sides have said it was fine, and they understand what I am doing. They do not have any objections to it. I think there have been letters submitted and I also have some letters that were given to me today, and would like to bring them up.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-three (23) notices sent to neighbors and there were five (5) approvals and no disapprovals. Tom and Joyce Harvey at 1603 West Lake, Daniel Williams at 1651 West Lake, Stephanie and Clyde Stackman at West Lake, Henry Koslowski 1635 West Lake said you have always been ideal homeowners, Edward J. Lesniak at 1516 Le Benta Street stating we have no objection, Paul Winedwarf 1641 West Lake, and what is in the nature of a petition approving of the variance request signed by: David J. Modics, Stephanie Spackman, Ann Bowls and W. Williams.

Robert Marshick: The neighbor that said that I was an ideal neighbor, he is the one (1) that is directly on this side. He is the one (1) that would be effected the most.


There was no audience participation.


Member Reinke: For the size lots, this gentleman has done an astronomical job on what you have put together and I commend you highly on that. I wish other people would take the direction from what you have accomplished in that size lot there. I think the intrusion in the side yard is minimal for the shape and size of the lot.

Chairman Harrington: You understand that if we approve this, we are approving based on the rendering that has been submitted to the board. We are not giving you a blanket variance. The configuration of what ultimately goes in there, it you are approved, must resemble the rendering that you have submitted to us.

Robert Marshick: Yes. The footprint that we have there is what we are going to do. We have not gone through the full construction plans until, of course, you have approved it, because then we would have to go through them again. We are ready to go on the full plan now as long as it was approved by Novi.

Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Bauer,


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

10) Case No. 00-077 filed by Lou Nantais of Antiques & Pine Design

Lou Nantais, representing Antiques & Pine Design is requesting a variance to allow a portable sign.

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-11(B)(10) states portable signs are not permitted.

Lou Nantais was present and duly sworn in.

Lou Nantais: I am the owner at 43443 Grand River, Novi. I am a new business to Novi in the last couple of years, and new to the retail business. Furniture business is new to me, although antiques are not. I am on the southwest corner next to the gas station on Grand River. I have a two (2) fold problem, one (1) you are aware of and one (1) you are not. This used to be read lighting, and for some reason the windows are heavily tinted. The pictures that you are in receipt of, are day light hour with all the lights on in the store. As you can see, the store looks like it is closed, which I hear probably ten (10) times a day. Prior to knowing that there was a restriction to putting an open sign out there, I like to tract every person that comes into our store. I ask them how they hear about us, I do quite a bit of advertising in different areas, and we tract that also. There is a noticeable difference when in had/have that open sign out there and not to the point of a thousands dollars ($1000.00) on a daily basis. People would say if I did not see your open sign, I would not have known that you were open. So, there is a direct correlation in the amount of business that has been done with the sign being present and not. I have tried to construct this sign in a very presentable fashion, and tried to make it portable. I have noticed that there are other portable signs around Novi which I did inquire about. One (1) of them is Stricker Paint down the street. The reply was "Well the sign has been there forever". Being unfamiliar in this territory, I do not know if there is a grandfather clause for portable signage, if it is allowed or not. The other part of the problem is because the turn lane if right there, and the location of my current sign being on the lawn and the height of it. People drive by all of the time and do not see my sign, which is another problem I will address down the road and apply for a sign on the building. But, as it stands now, I am really concerned about being in my location now and being able to stay there. I feel that I have an excellent location and I would like to stay there. The other problem is the accessibility into my driveway. As you are heading west bound on Grand River, you can not turn left into the driveway because of the turn lane, and you can not turn left into the next driveway because there is not left hand turn. There is only one (1) entrance and exit into my building. I can not go around the back, because the driveway does not connect into the gateway parking lot.

Chairman Harrington: What does this have to do with the portable sign?

Lou Nantais: It is related because of business. It is restricting my amount of business. With the signage, people not noticing that I am open. The accessibility of my driveway. That was part of the two (2) fold problem that you were not aware of. Which I would like to ask for advice at the end of the session.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were sixteen (16) notices sent to neighbors and there was no approvals and no disapprovals.


There was no audience participation.


Member Brennan: You will need to find another way to do this. The ordinance is very clear. I do not care if the sign is made nicely and is taken down every night. I do not like them. There is a good reason they wrote an ordinance to keep them out of the city. If Stricker has one (1) perhaps we should be talking to Ordinance enforcement. I would suggest that you take one (1) of those panes out and putting in a clear glass window, and putting in an interior open sign. I do not think you will get a lot of support for this sign, because of how specific the ordinance is written to keep that type of signage out of the city.

Lou Nantais: When was the ordinance established? Because I know a lot of these ordinances have been around for years, and the city has substantially grown since then. The traffic is substantially grown since then. I like to comply, but I would also like to ask for some type of acceptance here, because it does directly effect my business. Almost to the point that I am close to moving out of the building.

Chairman Harrington: It looks like you already have two (2) signs. I am looking at this picture, is it correct that you already have two (2) signs in the front?

Lou Nantais: No, I only have one (1).

Chairman Harrington: I am looking at Antiques Pine Design entrance now hiring and behind that looks like a triangle sign saying Antique Pine etc… So you have two (2) signs prominent in the front of the building. Between the building which is not that far off of Grand River, where as most businesses and they must be grandfathered in, that has got to be Reid lighting…

Lou Nantais: No, that was put up by me, and was approved by the city and a permit was pulled.

Chairman Harrington: For two (2) signs?

Lou Nantais: That is an entrance sign, and it was approved yes. That is not a problem for me.

Chairman Harrington: Well, it is a problem. Most businesses that come before us do not get two (2) signs, and if it is an entrance sign and has a now hiring sign under it… I am not sure what the now hiring has to do with the entrance, but it looks like you are doing well with your current signage. Both looking at the photographs and having driven by it. I also would not agree that the dark windows obscure all signage. My memory as I was driving by there was that there are interior signs, which were visible in every single one (1) of those dark tinted windows, in total of six (6) or seven (7), more signs, which are unfortunately not precluded by the ordinance. That is every bit as much of a sign as anything else is. But you have made maximum use of that property. Member Brennan made a good suggestion to remove a couple or all of those windows, and handle it in a different fashion. I do no encourage that, I do not like signage in windows, but that is something that is permitted by ordinance. I do not know anywhere in Novi where we permitted a temporary free standing sign like that.

Lou Nantais: They are all over the City. I drive by them constantly.

Chairman Harrington: They may be doing it illegal, but we have not permitted it and granted a variance on it. The only situation I can think of would be we may have approved some temporary signage which is going to be taken down once the units sell out or something in that nature. But that is not your real problem. Your real problem is business identification in the form of directions and advertising. You said and I accept that the open sign is attracting a lot of business.

Lou Nantais: It is like night and day.

Chairman Harrington: Mr. Morrone, is the sign Antiques and Pine Design entrance with the now hiring under it, it that permitted?

Terry Morrone: I do not know. My guess is that if he has not been notified that it is illegal, then it is permitted. That is what my guess would be.

Chairman Harrington: Would we guess further that if he took the hiring off of that sign and put "Now Open" would that be permitted?

Terry Morrone: I do not know.

Member Reinke: I think the entranceway sign is supposed to be six (6) square feet.

Chairman Harrington: Whatever he has on that is six (6) square feet?

Lou Nantais: That hooks on there.

Chairman Harrington: A now open could hook on?

Lou Nantais: Yes.

Terry Morrone: The petition asked when we adopted the ordinance. It occurred about 1987. In with regard to some of the portable signs. They are permitted under certain conditions. One (1) of which is the initial opening of a business or maximum of ten (10) square feet for no more than thirty (30) days. So, under certain conditions, they are allowed, but not for extended lengths or permanent.

Lou Nantais: Again, Stricker Paint is about ten (10) times this and it is a portable sign, and it has been there as long as I can remember.

Terry Morrone: It may have been there prior to the adaptation of this ordinance. It was grandfathered in. We have that case with other signs within the city. They are portable with nature and have been there for a long time, we do not seem to be able to get rid of them.

Lou Nantais: Would the board be willing to entertain the idea of the last word being changed to open, or just the word open, on the sign just below the entrance sign?

Terry Morrone: I can not answer that question specifically, but I am sure that there are other things that you could do, such as the window treatment. Or you can alter the existing sign and meet with our staff Alan Amolsch and ask him that.

Lou Nantais: I will do that. But, as far as replacing the windows, I would like to take them all out and put all clear glass in there.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Sanghvi,


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


  1. November meeting date

Board members were informed of the rescheduled meeting date of November 8, 2000.

Member Sanghvi: I will be absent for that meeting.

The Meeting was adjourned at 10:45 p.m.




Sarah Marchioni

Community Planning Assistant

Transcribed by: Christine Otsuji

October 27, 2000

Date Approved: November 8, 2000