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, Kocan and Reinke

Absent: Member Sanghvi (excused)

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 (6) members it is a full Board and any decisions made will be final.


Chairman Harrington indicated that there are fifteen (15) cases on the agenda. Are there any changes to the agenda? All in favor to approve the agenda to include the tabling of CVS to the next month, all in favor please say aye. All ayes.


Chairman Harrington indicated that there are minutes from August 1, 2000, September 12, 2000 and October 3, 2000. Are there any changes or corrections to the minutes?

Member Kocan: In the September minutes on the top of page 16 I would like to make a correction. It says that the motion was made and seconded by Kocan. My records indicate that it was moved by Member Brennan and I did second the motion.

Chairman Harrington: Member all in favor of the September minutes subject to that correction say aye. All Ayes. Minutes approved as amended. Any comments or changes to the August minutes?

Member Brennan: I motion to approve the August 1, 2000 minutes.

Chairman Harrington: By acclamation, all in favor say aye. All Ayes. On page 15 of the October minutes, the transcription reads with respect to the Novi Concrete that I visited the site. I think the actual comment was that I have not visited the site and in fact I had not until this afternoon. Subject to that correction, I have no objections to the minutes.

Member Kocan: I have two (2) correction on page 19. "If you were not improved…" I believe it should read "If you were not approved".

Chairman Harrington: Correct.

Member Kocan: At the bottom of the page it reads to suggest to take off the area and it should be "tape" off the area.

Chairman Harrington: Board members in favor of the October minutes subject to those corrections say aye. All ayes.


  1. Case No. 00-067 filed by Guernsey
  2. Martin McGuire, representing Guernsey Farms Dairy is requesting two (2) variances: a variance to the loading/unloading space in the rear yard and a variance to the interior landscape parking islands located on the north parking lot.

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2507, para (2) states: "Loading and unloading space shall be provided in the rear yard."

    Proposed plan indicated loading/unloading space within the side yard.

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2509, para (8) (b) (1) requires one (1) square foot of interior landscape island for each ten (10) square feet of parking space.

    Applicant requests relief for the landscape islands.

    Leroy Stevens was present and duly sworn in.

    Leroy Stevens: This was a tabled matter in which we were here two (2) months ago. At that time, you as members asked if there were any other alternatives for the side yard loading of our ice cream. Basically to give a review, we have proposed to build a new freezer to store finished product ice cream. The trucks would load off of the side yard instead of the back yard. When we presented it, we discussed that we load milk inside the building and could we do the same with the ice cream. We have gone back and studied the flow, the processing plan and where we could relocate to freezer. We have a rear yard, side yard and the restaurant on the other side of the building. All of the production is at the north end of the building, where we are talking about building the freezer. We do not have an alternative to loading the trucks other than the side yard. The side yard is where all of our parking is and where there is enough room for the truck parking. Our trucks are side loading. They do not back up to the building, they pull along the side of the building and are loaded into the side. The freezer needs to be in that area, because that is where we manufacture the ice cream. From the ice cream production, it goes right into the freezer and is held there for a day or two (2) and is loaded out. It can be held in the freezer for several weeks, but at minimum a day or two (2). Our raw milk is backed into the building, put into storage tanks and then processed. The milk loads out the rear of the truck. It takes about two (2) hours to unload the milk and clean up the truck. The ice cream trucks are Guernsey’s trucks. They can load up in twenty (20) minutes. They go to the back of the building, get the milk and come around here and get the ice cream. I think the side yard really works the best. We really can not move ice cream a great distance within the plant because of the temperature of the ice cream. We like to have the ice cream "brick hard" so the cases do not "deform". After looking at the possibility of using the rear yard, and if you see our drawings we have very little rear yard. The possibility of the interior and trying to find another place to put the freezer. The whole freezer project we are adding is about five thousand (5,000) square foot. We also feel that we have the best flow of traffic. We would like to keep all of our trucks at that end of the building, because at the other end is where the restaurant is. Our customers and retail pedestrians are at the far end. So this is the ideal place to keep the trucks and the customers apart. We do not really have landscaping today right along that north side of the building because the landscaping is on the perimeter of the site. The landscaping is all well developed. At the last meeting there was a letter about a lady that said that our headlights shined into her home across the street. We did a little investigating into that so that we could understand how that works. We found that we have a milk truck that comes in very early in the morning, when it backs in, if the headlights are on and the truck is backing down causing the headlights to direct up. The solution to this was to tell our drivers to turn off the headlights when they back in. We actually do not have that many trucks come very early in the morning, but in the winter time that does happen. We hopefully have solved that problem and will continue to keep it solved. The lighting issue surprised us, but we think we do have that solved. We did look at adding more landscaping there, but that did not work because that is where the driveway is. The northwest corner where the landscaping area was less dense, we thought that was an area where we should put some more landscaping to make it denser. Our request is that we would like to do the side yard loading. We have four (4) trucks. We will probably expand that a little bit. It is not a very heavy use as far as trucks there all day long. It does work ideal for the operation of Guernsey’s. So over the last two (2) months, we have gone back and looked at the whole facility and tried to see if there was another solution. The whole flow of the operation works that way the best. We are requesting the side yard.

    Chairman Harrington indicated that the records did not reflect any additional input in the form of letters, correspondences, objections or approvals.


    There was no audience participation.


    Don Saven: How many trucks are you talking about?

    Leroy Stevens: In our side yard loading we have four (4) trucks right now. We own four (4) trucks. That is what we would load out there. I say six (6) because I assume we will expand some day to six (6).

    Don Saven: You mentioned the hours of operation with one (1) coming in early in the morning. What is the span on these trucks coming in?

    Leroy Stevens: The trucks that came in early in the morning are the raw milk truck. Our trucks all load out in the morning and are gone. They actually load the afternoon before. It is not a heavy use.

    Member Kocan: Where are the loading doors proposed? Are they near the west end of the building or will there be more than one (1) door?

    Leroy Stevens: No, there is one (1) door, but it is a third (1/3) of the way down the building.

    Member Brennan: On the north wall.

    Leroy Stevens: On the north wall, probably a third (1/3) of the way from the west.

    Member Brennan: I recall that we had questioned whether the ice cream trucks could pull in that existing dock. I believe, then and tonight, it was said that you had a unique situation with a brand new freezer that needs to be at the north end so that the traffic flow is quick. This makes sense if it is ninety (90) degrees in the summer it could be a lot hotter in the shop. I think the petitioner has some unique difficulties because of his business. While we had one (1) resident who had a lighting problem, I think they have come up with a solution for it. I think it is a minimal request.

    Member Kocan: I also agree. I think it is a unique shape of the property. They can not expand toward the east because of the railroad track. Their operation can only go to the north. I think that the flow of traffic that goes around the back of the building and comes around the front, hopefully that will mitigate any trucks that are being stored. I did drive by the site today and saw a couple of trucks along the building. I do not know how long they have been there. I would hope that they are not there for any length of time. With the loading on the side of the building, I think that would mitigate it more because you can not leave trucks there if you are loading on that side. With regard to the landscape island, Ms. Lemke, did you have any input on that?

    Ms. Lemke: I was recommending that they keep those and put in columnar trees in those islands. I also sent them a memo dated August 25th requiring them to add more shrubs along the perimeter of the side to screen the loading.

    Member Brennan: You have seen their letter asking for one (1) tree removal? You are okay with that?

    Ms. Lemke: I am not sure what one (1) they are talking about?

    Member Brennan: Could you clear that up for Ms. Lemke?

    Leroy Stevens: Yes, we would like to eliminate the back one (1) because our trucks circle there. It would be the northeast plant.

    Ms. Lemke: I would be alright with that as long as they added the landscaping around the perimeter.

    Leroy Stevens: Yes, we agreed when we looked at that. We have beautiful landscaping and nice pines, but there is one (1) area where it is light for some reason.

    Moved by Brennan,

    Seconded by Bauer,


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

  3. Case No. 00-072 filed by Dean Waldrup of 339 South Lake Drive

Dean Waldrup is requesting a variance of three hundred fifty (350) square feet and a 3.5 foot height variance to allow construction of a new garage at 339 South Lake Drive.

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES; SECTION 2503, PARAGRAPH (G), "ACCESSORY USES," requires a maximum of 850 square feet for an accessory structure in an R-4 zoning district.

Proposed structure: 1200 sq. ft.

Maximum allowed: 850 sq. ft.

Variance: 350 sq. ft.

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2503, PARAGRAPH (F), "ACCESSORY USES," requires that no accessory structure exceed 14 feet in height.

Proposed structure: 17.5 feet (Mean average)

Maximum allowed: 14 feet

Variance: 3.5 feet

*Please note that the existing accessory structure on the property will be removed.

Dean and Mary Waldrup was present and duly sworn in.

Dean Waldrup: We want to tear down our existing garage and build a bigger structure that will be big enough to store the boats and the equipment that we need to store on our property. My initial estimate, when I started looking at this, is that I would need a forty (40) by sixty (60) foot tall barn. When I started adding up all the boats, trailers and the cost I think that a forty (40) by thirty (30) is more reasonable. I do need it at least forty (40) foot wide in order to fit the docks in the barn. This is our first step in our improvement plans. After we get this built and have a place to put our stuff we are going to do some improvements on the house. Whether we actually tear it down and build another or whether we do massive improvements is still being decided. The issue and the hardship is that we have a three (3) acre parcel zoned R-4, the smallest designation. What I am asking for is appropriate for a piece of property that size.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-one (21) notices sent to neighbors and there were seven (7) approvals and no disapprovals. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson on South Lake, Mr. Kemper on South Lake, illegible signature on 359 South Lake, John and Karen Peccia on South Lake, Jamie Walzooski on South Lake, Leonard Walzooski on South Lake and three (3) or four (4) others.

Dean Waldrup: All of our neighbors approve.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: Just as the gentleman indicated that this is a R-4 zoning district, which puts restriction for accessory structures. He does have a little over three (3) acres of property. He is on a lakeside and need space for his boats, etc…

Member Reinke: The largest lot of residential zoning is R-A correct?

Don Saven: Correct.

Member Reinke: Which means it has to be more than an acre?

Don Saven: It has to be an acre or above.

Member Reinke: With that kind of zoning, what would be the square footage of the structure?

Don Saven: Approximately a twenty-five hundred (2,500) square footage for an accessory structure.

Member Fannon: Don, how can we be sure that this old garage is torn down?

Don Saven: By Making it part of the motion and we can obtain two (2) permits. One for the building of the garage and a demolition permit once the garage is completed.

Chairman Harrington: How long are these dock sections? Are they eight (8) footers?

Dean Waldrup: No, they are thirty-three (33) footers. Three (3) thirty (30) foot three (3) foot sections.

Chairman Harrington: How do you get them in and out?

Dean Waldrup: They are on wheels. It is shallow there.

Chairman Harrington: You understand that because there is a flood plain you will have to have an elevation survey completed where the proposed structure is to be located?

Mary Waldrup: Yes, we are already working with JCK to work out what exactly they are going to need to approve it.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Brennan,


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

3) Case No. 00-026 filed by Metro Detroit Signs, representing Value City Furniture

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: The previous presentation by Mr. Deeters of Metro Signs and myself, we will not repeat. Mr. Jim Draper, the store manager is also present. The store is opening this Friday. As you know, we are attempting to recycle this building, which was previously an HQ. I do not want to repeat the hardships that relate to dealing with an existing building. We trust you have the opportunity to examine with the banner signs as they now are, and had the opportunity to see this is a nicely redone development. At the request of the board, Mr. Deeters did some measuring. I believe your board packet have a copy of his memo. The short version of that is all of the other stores of comparable magnitude in the center have been allowed to have signs of one hundred fifty feet (150’) as approved by this board. Most of them are at least that size. The point we are asking for is as the ordinance measures it as a larger dimension. That is because we have eighteen (18) letters in the standard sign. Because the sign is staggered in such a manner that there is a fair amount of open space in the way the ordinance works. Because there are eighteen (18) letters as opposed to the four (4), six (6) or eight (8) in the other signs, we are concerned about legibility, the capacity of a customer being able to observe safely what the store is. Those are reasons we feel the sign is appropriate even though, as measured, it is larger than the ordinance permits and larger than variances previously granted by this board. Mr. Deeters and I would informally measure the blank spaces would add if deducted. It comes very close to one hundred fifty-four (154) square feet, if you take out it is not a precise measurement. The point is if you have a hundred fifty-four (154) feet of effective sign area, we would ask that the board consider, in view of its observation of the appearance of the sign on the building. I think some board members mentioned last time that the sign appeared smaller than the two hundred fifty (250) square feet that was measured. That is because the apparent size reflects the smaller lettering and the prominence of the "V" etc… I do have a current site plan and current elevation drawing if you would like to review it. These are photos in which Mr. Deeters measured off three hundred feet (300’) from each of the seven (7) majors in the center and signs for each of the major seven (7). As you can see, our proposed sign does not appear materially different in its magnitude. Because we are also addressing in the next variance request Bed Bath and Beyond, you might also find it useful to examine that one. Although Bed Bath and Beyond falls exactly at one hundred fifty (150) square feet, which is what the rest of the center is. I think it is an entirely different issue than Value City which asks you to exercise discretion above that which you have already done in other things. We recognize that’s the request and we want you to have the opportunity to think about it.

Chairman Harrington: Are you aware the City took a look at your measurements and the like and provided their own input? Did you receive a copy of that document?

Charles Harris: I did not, no.

Chairman Harrington: Don, was that given to the petitioner?

Don Saven: No, I do not believe so.

Chairman Harrington: I do not think it dramatically effects the chair’s view of the site, but there were some different measurements that may be a little more accurate.

Charles Harris: We did our best with what we provided.


There was no audience participation.


Chairman Harrington: Have you reviewed Alan Amolsch’s measurements and input?

Don Saven: I just reviewed Alan’s input. The actual was two hundred and ten (210) square foot for Marshall’s verses Mr. Deeters’ findings at one hundred ninety-two point five feet (192.5’). Based upon the Kohl’s sign, Alan’s findings for the sign that was permitted and allowed by ordinance was one hundred fifty-seven point five feet (157.5’) verses Mr. Deeters’ findings of one hundred forty-four foot (144’). The other difference was Jo-Ann’s sign was at one hundred fifty (150’) square foot, which their measurements came up at one hundred forty-three (143’) square feet.

Chairman Harrington: Mr. Harris was that a copy that you just received?

Charles Harris: No sir.

Chairman Harrington: Take my copy that way you have a complete file.

Member Brennan: Board members, does anyone remember the sign for Jo-Ann’s and what it reads?

Member Kocan: It has something in the middle of Jo-Ann’s.

Member Reinke: They wanted the "etc" to project above, and we said that they had to confine it within the area.

Member Brennan: Mr. Chairman, in the minutes, my comments last month, I felt that the two hundred fifty (250’) square foot sign was huge. I suggested that it should be similar in size to Jo-Ann’s which was one hundred fifty (150’). The homework that has been done since the last meeting further cements that feeling that the sign is big, and I stand by my comments last month that one hundred fifty (150’) square feet would do them just fine.

Member Kocan: Again, I have to look at because the "V" comes up higher. I still believe if all the letters were the size of the "V", I think that is where you come up with the two hundred fifty (250’) square feet. If you drop down and square footage the "V" the "alue city" and the "furniture" it is closer to the one hundred fifty (150’) square feet.

Charles Harris: One hundred fifty (150) is the rough estimate of just taking out the two (2) blank areas that are obvious. We are not doing it tight on everything. Just taking the area to the right to the top part of the "V" and taking the area to the left of the word "furniture". We did not pay attention to the gap between the two (2) lines. But if you wanted to really squeeze it tight, I would not suggest that. If I think it is within the general vicinity of one hundred fifty (150’) square feet, in my view, when you make that subtraction there is no question that the sign design disadvantages Value City when this ordinance is applied to it.

Chairman Harrington: Mr. Harris, you have had your chance to argue and we are in board comment. I am not sure there was a question there.

Member Kocan: I think it needs to look proportionate with the other names. I see Kohl’s and Jo-Ann’s and the other one (1) word five (5) letter names being huge. I do not have a problem with Value City Furniture. It could be larger because of the façade. I would not have a problem with this. Looking at Service Merchandise with a number of letter, I think is a little bit smaller, but they are not on the same façade as Jo-Ann’s and Kohl’s. I personally like it and would be in support of it.

Member Brennan: We may recall that we approved a sign at Eight Mile and Haggerty that caused quite a bit of grief. Not because of the verbiage of the sign, but because of the large red background that made it look hideous. I think that this is a similar case. While the verbiage itself may not be that large, the overall dimensions of the sign are huge.

Member Bauer: Since I was on the board back in the eighties (80’s), we went through a lot of trouble to have the area be conformed. They are not conforming to what we had put through. We were giving them much more than what the ordinance calls for. I would have to stay with one hundred fifty (150’) square feet.

Member Reinke: Is that correct Don, that Builder’s Square had a hundred eight-eight (188’) square feet?

Don Saven: It looks as though it is one hundred eighty-eight (188’).

Member Reinke: I could not see going any larger than what was there as a maximum. It is unfortunate the way their logo and their sign is constructed, but that is not our doing.

Chairman Harrington: I drove by today, looked at Bed Bath and Beyond and looked at Jared. I think the sign is too large. I do not think it is necessary that the sign itself be completely visible all the way out to Novi Road. That is a dominant structure with a unique location next to the roadway makes it a predominant structure. So, I think the building helps you there in terms of attraction. I do believe the two hundred fifty (250’) feet is significantly larger than it has to be. I would not quarrel with one hundred fifty (150’) or one hundred eighty-seven feet (187’) or even two hundred feet (200’). I think that is the range that an acceptable sign is going to work for you should be. That is why the board wants to see the actual sign, because even photographs do not compare to "eyeballing" it directly on site. It is a great looking structure. It is a very attractive sign. People are not going to have a problem finding you with a sign in that level. I know that you want every square foot, but it is a sense of seminary and what fits with the other signs that are out there. I think the range that the board members are talking about is appropriate. The two hundred fifty (250’) is too large.

Member Fannon: I read from the minutes where I thought the sign looked too small. I went out there again, this time at night, and I think the sign fits perfect. I know that the ordinance is the ordinance, but the sign is up on the wall. I think the Bed Bath and Beyond looks larger. At night it looks larger. I know that it is technically out of the ordinance (250’), it does not look like it. One of our charges is to see how it effects the residents of the city and how it fits up on the building. I think a strict enforcement of the ordinance might not work in this case, because it seems to fit. I had some problems the last time the opposite of Member Brennan. I thought the sign was too small and he thought it was too big. I think it does comply in spirit with the ordinance, because of the way the sign was put up on the wall.

Moved by Kocan,

Seconded by Fannon,


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


Member Brennan: You are not going to get a two hundred fifty (250’) square foot sign, so if you would like to consider something smaller. I am not going to make a motion for a one hundred fifty (150’) square foot sign unless they are agreeable to build it.

Chairman Harrington: To the architect, are there proportional increases or decreases in the signage? Would it be reasonable to go from two hundred fifty (250) down to two hundred (200), or two hundred (200) down to one hundred fifty (150) in fifty square foot increments or twenty-five (25)? How does it work?

Mr. Deeters: It would be to reduce the size of the "V" and it would take off fifty-six (56") square feet.

Chairman Harrington: Which would bring it under two hundred (200).

Mr. Deeters: Correct.

Chairman Harrington: What exact square footage would that be?

Mr. Deeters: One hundred ninety-four (194). Including the dot on the "I" it would be more.

Member Reinke: We had one hundred eight-eight (188) before, and it is not excessive over that. I could work with that.

Don Saven: Is the dot on the "I" going to be a problem?

Member Reinke: The "I" could be shorter and the dot still there. Keeps everything at the top straight across there.

Chairman Harrington: If you shrink the "V" shrink the dot.

Charles Harris: Put it down and shorten the "I" so that the red dot…

Member Reinke: Right, so that the top of the dot is at the top of the "C" line.

Chairman Harrington: Essentially the remainder of the sign is unchanged, but for the shrinkage of the two (2) letters.

Charles Harris: We request a little bit of "wiggle room", and we would encourage you to be looking at something like two hundred (200) square feet.

Chairman Harrington: There is a lot of "wiggle room" between forty (40) square feet, which the ordinance permits and one hundred ninety-six (196). This is one hundred forty-six (146) square feet of "wiggle room".

Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Fannon,


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

  1. Case No. 00-027 filed by Metro Detroit Signs, representing Bed Bath & Beyond
  2. Patti Krula of Metro Detroit 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 110 sq. ft.


    There was no audience participation.



    Moved by Brennan,

    Seconded by Bauer,


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

  3. Case No. 00-070 filed by Howard Copeland, representing Novi Crushed Concrete
  4. 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.

    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.

    East side yard setback: Required: 50 feet

    Proposed: 18 feet (weigh scale)

    Variance: 32 feet

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

    Proposed: 45.5 feet

    Variance: 54.5 feet

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 24, SECTION 2400, "SCHEDULE OF REGULATIONS," requires a side 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.

    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

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2002.4 requires a ten (10) foot high berm and fencing when adjacent to a residential district.

    Proposed berm is three (3) feet in height and does not extend the entire length of the new use area. No fencing is proposed.

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

    Outdoor storage is proposed.


    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCE, 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.

    The proposed site contains a three (3) foot high berm along the east side of the crushing operation.

    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: Carl Creighton on behalf of Novi Crushed Concrete. At the October 3, 2000 meeting, several issues were raised and the petition was tabled to allow us to address those issues. Also tabled to allow the board members an opportunity to visit the site. We have submitted some written materials in response to those issues, and I would like to touch upon a few of those highlights. The issue was raised regarding the credibility of my client’s assertion that their hardship was occasioned enlarged part by their detrimental reliance on some misinformation given to them by the Novi Building and Planning Department. We have supplied documentation in support in of our position in the form of a letter and a transcript. We are prepared to discuss that matters should the board so desire.

    Chairman Harrington: How was the transcript obtained?

    Charles Harris: It was made by a tape recording a telephone conversation.

    Chairman Harrington: Was the tape recording disclosed to the opposite party? Was the fact it was being recorded disclosed?

    Charles Harris: I doubt seriously that it was.

    Chairman Harrington: I would strongly recommend that you not make any further reference to that. There are significant legal implications which you may be aware of relative to your client or whoever made that recording. I am certainly not going to allow any reference to that tape recording. I am not going to consider that. That is illegal and it is against State and Federal Law. You can not tape record telephone conversations.

    Charles Harris: This is not a court of law and I will not go into that.

    Chairman Harrington: We are a State Body sir.

    Charles Harris: I would like to differ. There is a body of law including State Supreme Court decisions in the State of Michigan, that allow someone to tape a conversation to which they are a party. Where there is a court of law, I would be happy to brief that and share that information with you.

    Chairman Harrington: If the board members would like to hear that, they can do that.

    Charles Harris: Well, I was not going to go into that. I was also going to indicate that there was also a letter supplied in support of that position. Another issue that was raised was the actual concerns or the degree of concern of the City of Wixom with regard to the granting of the variances that were sought. Petitioners and Council met with the Mayor and the City Manager of the City of Wixom. It is my understanding that the City Manager has furnished a letter to the board that the abutting parcels in Wixom, while currently residential are in fact in transition and are Master Planned Industrial. The letter from the City Manager also indicates that the proposed setbacks and screenings shown on the site plan, that he was provided a copy with, meet and exceed the current requirements of comparable City of Wixom Ordinances where outdoor storage abuts residential. So, what we are proposing more than exceeds their requirements that would be imposed where industrial abuts residential. In fact, the screening requirements would not be required at all where there is industrial abutting industrial. On this basis, it is certainly appropriate for this board to determine that the petitioner’s development is not abutting a residential zone and thereby obviating the need for the first four (4) variances set forth on the agenda. I know that some of you have also have availed yourself the opportunity to walk the petitioner’s site. Those of you that did tour the facility can hopefully now agree with our earlier representation, that the spirit of ordinance regarding the obscuring of outdoor storage is more than met by the petitioner’s site plan that has proposed improvements, with the combination of distance, woods, wetlands, buildings, berm and twelve (12) to fifteen (15) foot plantings completely obscures our proposed outdoor operations. Within a reasonable short period of time, we will completely obscure what little outdoor storage of natural materials may initially be visible. The site related lot configuration hardships hopefully are obvious in terms of the width of the lot and the depth of the lot. We certainly feel that our proposal is reasonable. We ask approval of our requested variances.


    There was no audience participation.


    Don Saven: We had the opportunity to talk to some of the Wixom people. One dealing with the Building Official and the Director of Public Services in regard to what was being proposed to confirm that the zoning would be changing in the near future. This was confirmed. The second issue was the fact that there was going to be a reconfiguration of the exit and the entrance ramps as the property does developed in the future. This would take on a part of their property, which would have a different entrance to those properties on Wixom, which would make those properties a little less in square footage in area. They also have some topography issues in the rear, which would make screening, I believe, very difficult to do toward the rear of the property. There is a substantial amount of wetland in the back that they have to deal with.

    Member Brennan: My biggest concern last month was clarifying Wixom’s objections. We have that with the letter from the City Manager. I have also walked the site and was pleased to see that the crushing site was very well protected from the north with the substantial plot of woodland and wetland. I wanted to ask the petitioner, are any of tree lines on the west side of the property yours, or does the property line go up to the trees? Is there any natural screening?

    Mr. Copeland: Yes they are ours. I would say five (5) to ten (10) foot. The giant oaks are actually property lines.

    Member Brennan: While we asked to get some clarification as to the history with the city, I am equally troubled with a transcript. We do have this letter from Khanh Pham who suggest that yes they may have been told that there was not any big issue and to proceed. I have been given the history, given what the petitioner is trying to do as an existing member of the community and solving a problem on the other part of town. I think he has gone through great length to move his business to an appropriate place. Unless something new comes up, I intend to support his request for a variance.

    Member Kocan: Ms. Lemke, could you refresh my memory as to what exactly the landscaping will be on either side? When I walked the property, the east side that abuts the driving range was wide open to this property. I have somewhere in my notes that there may be a three (3) foot berm with ten (10) fifteen (15) foot trees?

    Ms. Lemke: That is correct. On the east, a three (3) foot high berm with ten (10) to fifteen (15) foot Evergreen trees.

    Member Kocan: That runs the entire length? I know that it stops at the wetlands to the north.

    Ms. Lemke: Right, then it stops there.

    Member Kocan: And the reason that it stops there?

    Carl Creighton: The buildings itself as well as the natural topography provides screening to the east in this area.

    Member Kocan: My concern was that looking at the driving range, it would not be ideal to be hitting a golf ball with the amount of concrete that was back there. I would want that view mitigated as much as possible, that may be appropriate.

    Member Brennan: If I am not mistaken some of that conversation of going to a three (3) foot from a ten (10) foot was the amount of real estate property that a ten (10) foot berm would take up. Their solution was a three (3) foot with trees.

    Member Kocan: You would make the property unusable if you kept a ten (10) foot berm. So I would be amendable to reducing the berm.

    Chairman Harrington: I went out to the site this afternoon with an open mind. My sense was that your client needs some minimal variances such as two (2) foot and ten (10) foot in parking. But, before I ever got to the important variance, which is the one that your client desperately needs, outdoor storage, I was appalled by the garbage, junk, trash, tires, rubber, pipe and the things that are plainly visible. It has obviously been there for years. We have a petitioner coming to this board asking us to set aside strict ordinance and the property is in the condition in which it is in. I was shocked. My initial thought was how could they come in front of this board, present us with a parcel in this kind of condition (a public health safety hazard) and ask for relief. My second reaction was contrary to the impression that we have when we just drive by or look at the site plan and a map. This parcel is huge. The existing concrete that is there, which is in the back where I walked back and inspected, only covers a small portion of the rear area. It is clear to me that it has been moved all the way to the sides, which is why you need the side yard setback, so that you could use every square inch of the property. I do not know what the hardship is. I think the operation can live within Novi Code, at least with the berms and the setbacks. I am not inclined to give any relief on the berm. I am surprised that we would try to solve one (1) problem in the city by creating another one (1) in the west end, because it is closer to the freeway. I think that is bad government and bad planning, but that is not our board decision. They need to move and that is probably the only location there is. I do not think anything in the city will be fixed by expanding that operation and putting in a new building across the street from where we know will be hotels and office buildings. However, it is not our jurisdiction to say that we can not approve that because of what might happen in the future. So, I am not inclined to give relief on berms. I think we need more berms. I think there should be a complete screening from the Twelve Mile side of any of the operations in there. I do not think you should be able see what they are doing from Twelve Mile, much more an five (5) story office building or hotel. I will not support any berm relief. You can do the operation with the berm. The parking I could live with and maybe something on the setback. Obviously there is an outdoor storage problem, that was my first reaction. When I looked at what you were storing out there, which has been there for years, it is appalling.

    Member Brennan: I remember that this property was procured by the petitioner and was in a mess when he got in there. Maybe we could ask for some clarification. Is what Chairman Harrington saw today left over from the previous tenant or is it your "stuff"?

    Mr. Copeland: I do not know how familiar you are with construction. I do not appreciate that kind of a comment. I have tires and garbage all over? I would like to have been there with you and have you point all these things out to me. You have a gentleman sitting next to you that walked out there, and did not have any of that to say or see any of that type of problem. None of that stuff was there.

    Chairman Harrington: You are saying none of that "stuff" is there?

    Mr. Copeland: None of that stuff was there from before. Anything that is there, is from my paving operation.

    Chairman Harrington: All I am trying to establish is that it is there. It is there, correct?

    Mr. Copeland: There is equipment out there. Tires? I am trying to think of where you saw one (1) tire?

    Chairman Harrington: We do not need to argue. I am telling you what I saw today. I inspected the property. I do not need to tell you that there is a large construction tire on the west border next to where your concrete slag sits there all by itself on top of a little hill there. I do not have to tell you about the other tires that I saw on the east side of the property. The point is that is my perception, that is what I saw. I do not care on whether it is from before or whether it is there now, it looks awful.

    Mr. Copeland: The only tires that I can think of are out beside the shop. Those are new tires for trucks.

    Chairman Harrington: I am talking about the big concrete pile that is back there where you have a little roadway going in, on the right side and on the left side.

    Mr. Copeland: On the right side is not our property. That is the neighbors property. That was the "stuff" that has been there. We cleaned up to the edge and I did not clean their property. Anything off the edge of that concrete pile is not mine.

    Chairman Harrington: Going all the way back?

    Mr. Copeland: Yes, all the way back. There are not tires out there. Outside my shop door, I have a dozen tires. I have one hundred fifty (150) tires on vehicles that go down the road everyday, probably more. I have a dozen there that are ready to go on at the drop of a hat.

    Chairman Harrington: So what would appear to be the natural property line on the east side is not yours? The golf driving range is not the property line?

    Mr. Copeland: No. We thought that when we purchased the property because it looks like that is the way it should have been. No, I am right to the edge. When you mentioned our berms, it is a huge property, if it was square, I would have no problem. But it is two hundred forty-seven (247) foot wide by a thousand (1000) or twelve hundred (1200) foot long.

    Chairman Harrington: The concrete pile is flush square with the property line?

    Mr. Copeland: Yes, I am right on it. I had to be careful that we did not get over it.

    Carl Creighton: The site plan is proposed to move that fifty (50) feet in once we have approval and are in position to establish the berm line. Mr. Arroyo pointed out to you that there was "spill over" and the property line did not flow in a straight line as one would assume. As you can see on here, there is a great deal of "spill over" onto the driving range. The white area that is probably a good seventy-five (75) feet wide that still remains on the driving range property.

    Member Brennan: That the previous tenant was using.

    Carl Creighton: The previous tenant and the owner that was permitted by the person who owns the property lease. I am trying to show you the white area belongs to the owner to the east.

    Chairman Harrington: Now that you have established your boundary, do you know what I am talking about in terms of the "junk" that is out there?

    Mr. Copeland: Yes I do. We were looking at that whole area of my concrete and then up another length of that pile, the whole site was that material. That was what we cleaned up.

    Chairman Harrington: Who owns this site of the property where all the "junk" is out there?

    Mr. Copeland: The person that I bought the property from.

    Chairman Harrington: Is he still the owner?

    Mr. Copeland: Yes.

    Chairman Harrington: It is split, and that is the driving range?

    Mr. Copeland: Yes.

    Chairman Harrington: I stand corrected as to your parcel.

    Member Brennan: I think that is worth while reiterating that that crushing operation will be moved to the west and centered on the property. Currently, it is sitting right on the property line. Again, when I went out there, I looked at the rear and did not see a problem, there is a twenty (20) acre swamp. I verified tonight that he is going to have a natural line of trees on the western edge, it is going to be industrial not residential. One (1) of the side yard setbacks that we are considering tonight would be short term, because it will be industrial soon. It is residential and soon it will be industrial. The berming on the east side, and the other issue was Wixom. They have clarified that they have no problem. I still think that we should consider the history that the gentleman has had with the city, not necessarily the phone call. The fact that they have moved the operation at the city’s urging to get it out of the middle of the city to the end of town. I will stand by my previous comment that I think it is a reasonable request, now that we understand everything.

    Member Reinke: I like the location a lot better than the present location. It is a short duration to where trucks are on the road and gone. They are not going through town to where their previous location was. I think the gentleman has done a lot to clean the property up. I think the natural topography hides a lot of the operation. I think when the sides are brought in, it would reduce the height he can pile, and bring that down. I think everything there is workable.

    Member Kocan: The fact that this is zoned I-2 and maybe it should not have been, we can not change that at this point. The landscape architect agrees with the ten (10) to fifteen (15) foot trees and a three (3) foot berm. I don’t knowing how long it would take to get up to thirty (30) or forty (40) feet. There may have been a better location right off of the expressway. He is not asking for a variance in the use. I think he is doing all that he can to screen it.

    Don Saven: Mr. Chairman, if it is the board’s desire to approve this particular variance, I would request that we write into the variance something along the line of maintaining dust control for this operation. It is a normal procedure they go through, but I would like to make sure that it is maintained.

    Moved by Brennan,

    Seconded by Kocan,


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


    Member Bauer: Don, how high can he pile that? Is there a limit?

    Don Saven: I do not have anything in the ordinance that addresses the height of the stock piling of the material.

  5. Case No. 00-058 filed by North American Signs, representing Jared Jeweler’s
  6. 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.

    Requesting three (3) 90.25 square foot wall signs with the verbiage "Jared the Galleria of Jewelry" on the east, south and west elevations.

    Requesting three (3) 13.75 square foot diamond logo signs on the east, south and west elevations.

    Requesting four (4) 4.76 square foot awning signs with the verbiage "Jared" on the west and east elevations.

    Charley Schalliol was present and duly sworn in.

    Charley Schalliol: My name is Charley Schalliol of North American Signs. With me this evening is Mike Glacier, Director of Jared’s construction. I am here this evening to clarify a few points that were brought up at the last meeting. Hopefully I have answered the questions in which the board asks. First of all, I would like to amend our application. Last month, we came before you with eleven (11) proposed signs. We understand that was outrageous in the City of Novi. That is our prototypical and we had to go for it. We are back before you this evening to remedy that situation. We have put up the mock-ups, which I hope you had the chance to view. Since then, we have rectified the situation, and we feel what we are asking is what we truly need. That is three (3) sixty (60) square foot signs. You could notice on the store front the forty (40) and the sixty (60). The sixty (60) being the lower one (1) and more appropriate for the architect of the building. I have specs on the sixty (60) square foot signs for the board to view. I also have what the ninety (90) square foot signs look like and the dramatic change between the two (2). You will notice that it is a very attractive building.

    Chairman Harrington: Is the rendering that you have given us a depiction of the larger of the two (2) signs, which is on the façades?

    Charley Schalliol: Yes. Per our last meeting, I also have in my possession a letter from the landlord which shows their approval for anything that Jared goes for at the meeting. They have approved any signage in which the city would feel that they would accept. Also, in the same letter, it explains that they are in direct ownership of the trees and that is their berming as required by the City of Novi. Once again, I have taken the ninety (90) foot signs we originally asked for and showed you what that looks like in comparison to what you have in your hands today.

    Chairman Harrington: What we saw today is the sixty (60) square foot, correct?

    Charley Schalliol: That is correct. That was the original request. You have seen Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond and we are all in the same complex. Granted we have a little different situation because where they have one (1) exposed wall, we have three (3). Being a site that is toward the center but still blocked by the trees and close to entrances, does not give motorists a whole lot of advanced notice of our location. That is the only reason we are here. We do not want anything more, bigger or anything that would not be accepted by the City of Novi. We definitely want to fit within the community. On the east elevation, which is the main storefront, the sixty (60) square foot sign would only be 2.9% of the building façade; the side wall/south – 4.6%; the rear/west – 2.3%. This is all that we are asking for is that small percentage. Talking about the traffic safety, which we think is a huge factor in this case, we formulated a site distance analysis prepared by the majority of traffic engineers in the country. The sign company that I work for sends us to seminars. We have a traffic engineer that works directly with us on occasion. That is where this information has come from. We have calculated the road speed. Ten (10) seconds is the normal reaction time for someone to view something and to make safe vehicular movement. Therefore, with the road speed, distance and entrances, we have determined that the people need to be aware of the sign five hundred thirteen point three feet (513.3’) away from the store. That is where the site comes from as far at the patterns that you see here. The purple is the rear sign, great visibility. You have entrances from the back of the center between the Kohl’s and the other stores. That would give full view of the Jared’s store. Very important, because if someone comes in through the rear of the center, they would never know that we were there if all we had was a front sign. That would be a huge problem for us. Definitely creating an economic hardship. The side sign, the green piece is a car that is located five hundred thirteen feet (513’) away. The proposed side sign is more than adequate and gets you five hundred thirteen feet (513’) before hand. Very important because we have the trees, center sign, light posts with the traffic lights, all obstruction to our sign in our store. Once again the trees in front of the center prevent the vision of the motorist coming on Novi Road. The front side does provide adequate notification for the store for people who are traveling south on Novi Road. It would notify the motorists before they got to the first entrance on Novi Road and definitely before they get to the second. The side sign would only notify the people coming north on Novi Road and rear to the people to the rear. Very important for safe travel of our motorists. We do not want anything more than anybody else, we are just here to make a presence in a very prominent community in Michigan. We want to survive and be economically viable in this community.

    Mike Glacier: On here I noticed that you still had the awnings. That, we have already installed the awnings without, so it is no longer a request.


    There was no audience participation.


    Member Brennan: The awning signs are gone, but you still have the diamond logo right?

    Mike Glacier: Correct.

    Member Brennan: That is not figured into your sixty (60) square foot?

    Mike Glacier: No, it is not.

    Charley Schalliol: The drawing that you have in front of you, we have incorporated it into the sixty (60) square feet.

    Member Brennan: Just to be sure. The diamond and the verbiage is all included in the sixty (60) square feet.

    Charley Schalliol: That is correct.

    Member Brennan: We have a line of trees in front of your store on Novi Road on the westerly side, where you are proposing the west sign. These trees are twenty (20) or thirty (30) feet are not going to be taken down and will only get bigger. Why do you need a sign there if you can not see it?

    Charley Schalliol: Because it is a principle rule in retail that you have to identify the main entrance of your store. People feel secure if they know the door that they are going into is actually where they want to be going.

    Member Kocan: Just driving in that direction, Starbucks does not have a sign over their entrance.

    Chairman Harrington: They wanted one.

    Member Kocan: Visibility wise I think you need it on three (3) sides. It is a stand alone building, I know that it is not consistent with everything else. Jenny’s Convertibles had two (2) signs, Starbucks has one (1). I question why you have the entrance facing east instead of facing west into the parking lot. It really makes no difference on the consideration. I was trying to figure out what sign to remove and I could not figure whether to take away the east or the west.

    Member Brennan: Did you receive a copy of Linda Lemke’s letter addressed to Sarah Marchinoi stating that she may not object to the owner removing some of those trees if they presented a plan? Have we requested to do anything other than approve any sign that we approve?

    Mike Glacier: We have asked earlier, but we have not gone through a variance process to get the trees removed.

    Member Brennan: If some of the trees were removed, why would you need all of the signs? If you were more prominently displayed in the front?

    Mike Glacier: Due to the fact that the motorists that are traveling north on Novi Road, they would not have the five hundred thirteen foot (513’) notification. They would have a mere two hundred foot (200) notification. Because of the proximity of the store to the road itself, you would be looking sideways at a piece of metal.

    Member Brennan: Couldn’t they go into the north entrance.

    Mike Glacier: That is a right in right out only. It is not a left turn.

    Member Brennan: Can’t they go up to Twelve Mile Road and make left once they see you? Heading north on Novi Road, assuming there is no sign on the south side of the building, when I see the sign on the front, how would I get to your building? Isn’t there other ways now?

    Mike Glacier: The traffic signal is prior to our building.

    Member Brennan: Now I have passed your building, and I know that I want to get to it, what do I do?

    Mike Glacier: I know that to the strip center, the far north is a right in and right out only, there is access off of Twelve Mile Road.

    Member Brennan: There is an entrance after their store into West Oaks.

    Chairman Harrington: You could take a left there before you get to the light.

    Member Brennan: Yes, that is another entrance. If they pass Jared’s, they can get to the store by another entrance north of the store.

    Mike Glacier: Certainly feasible yes.

    Member Brennan: Is there another door other than the one facing Novi Road?

    Mike Glacier: There is a rear door, but it is not a pedestrian entrance.

    Member Brennan: That satisfies that question. The sign on Novi Road has to be there. Whether you need a sign on the western wall, for people who are already in the parking lot, might be debated.

    Charley Schalliol: Going back to the other conversation. If you miss the store due to the trees, not paying attention etc…, you go up to east west road go left, go to the next traffic light and make a left, go through the construction area is behind the rear of the Value City and come in at the east. Once you are in the center, you have already missed Jared Jewelers, you do not know it is there, there is not sign on the building. You could travel to Toys R Us, a mere three hundred (300) yards away, and still never know a Jared Jeweler’s is there. That creates a huge problem for us because there are multiple entrances to this location. motorists could enter at any number of entrances. We are trying to enable the patrons and the customers that we believe we will have in Novi to shop at our store with convenience.

    Member Brennan: Mr. Chairman, the petitioner has made some concessions from the last month, that is what we asked them to do. We are dealing with three (3) sixty (60) square foot signs which include the diamond logo. I would like to suggest to the board that a motion be made to move things along and see where we sit.

    Moved by Brennan,

    Seconded by Kocan,


    Roll Call: Yeas (3) Nays (3) Motion Fails


    Member Bauer: On the last sheet that we had, it showed that the diamond was an additional thirteen point seven five (13.75) square feet. Would you say that 13.75 is included in the sixty (60) but makes the Jared really roughly 47?

    Mike Glacier: I believe that the size of the diamond has been reduced to a size that would allow. The sixty (60) square feet, a lot of the problem that came in with the ninety (90) square feet was the size of the diamond. Also the space between the diamond and the copy itself. With the reduction of the size of the diamond and the spacing in between, it makes the rectangle smaller that we are having to measure with.

    Member Bauer: By your print out, it does not look like it. But, if you say the diamond is smaller, fine. I will go along with it.

    Member Reinke: I see justification for the east elevation. I see justification for identification on the west side to the parking area. I am not sold on the south elevation yet or the real necessity for the third sign.

    Member Fannon: I agree with Member Reinke. The east and the west is not a problem. I would like to see them work with the land to improve the tree situation, and then if they have a problem come back and tell us why. I would support the east and west.

    Member Kocan: Just as a comment, I did not hear this from the City, I did hear it from someone else that the reason the trees are there is because of the Art Van development. There was so much concrete they had to provide for landscaping off site and that was what I was told by someone who remembers that particular development. I do not know how easy it would be to get rid of that. I have talked to some residents who said that they would hate to see that taken down.

    Ms. Lemke: That predates me. I can not comment on that.

    Charley Schalliol: What exactly are you asking us to do? Peter Housler has had conversations with Ms. Lemke and we have had conversations with the landlord. Through the conversations with the landlord, it was made aware to us that the trees could not be dealt with ourselves. Also that they were serving the purpose that the city set up as far as berming and screening and the code of the ordinance. That is why the trees are remaining. That is our impression. We would love to see all of the trees taken down. But that is beyond our control. That is something that we have little to do with. We are merely one (1) tenant in a center of multiple. If the center was to try to change that and maybe have to plant more trees and change it to a different style, a bigger tree may be blocking another business. If they did something to accommodate us, it might be detrimental to someone else. That was the impression that we received from the landlord that it was beyond our control. That we could not do anything about it, and not attempts by the landlord were made aware to us that they would do anything about it either. That is why we are in this situation.

    Chairman Harrington: I do not think anyone was making you do anything with the trees. I think there was simply board comment regarding the trees. It was not a motion.

    Member Brennan: I am not convinced that you need the south side. You are convinced, you brought this map. I am not convinced. Would east and west come back someday and say that people were running into the side of the building? I think people will see the building and go north two (2) driveways and take a left. They are going to say you are next to Starbucks.

    Charley Schalliol: Would it please the board, I understand the motion was made, but would it please the board if the south sign was reduced to a size of forty (40) square feet? Because we still feel that that south sign is very important for our motorists on Novi Road. All three (3) of these signs are definitely important. But if the south sign needs to be moved to forty (40) square feet, we are more than happy to do that.

    Member Bauer: We have a unique building. The building is a sign in itself. I can see no justifiable reason to have three (3) signs on a building that is sitting onto of Novi Road. The entrance way has a traffic light to stop traffic right there.

    Mike Glacier: Would it please the board to change the request to two (2)?

    Member Fannon: Which two (2)?

    Charley Schalliol: East and West.

    Moved by Fannon,

    Seconded by Brennan,


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

  7. Case No. 00-078 filed by John Bernard, representing Main Street
  8. John Bernard representing Evergreen III, Inc. is requesting two (2) sign variances for the Main Street project. The proposed signs are being requested to assist the public in locating additional parking within the site. The proposed signs per the plot plan are addressed as B-2 and C-1.

    SIGNS B-2 – 2 signs

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCE, CHAPTER 28, SECTION 28-8, paragraph (10) requires locator/noncommercial message signs not exceed two (2) square feet in area.

    Proposed sign (18" x 18"): 2.25 sq. ft.

    Maximum allowed: 2.00 sq. ft.

    Variance: .25 sq. ft.

    SIGN C-1 – 1 sign

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCE, CHAPTER 28, SECTION 28-11, paragraph (a) states that a sign not expressly permitted is prohibited.

    Proposed locator sign is used as a wall sign.

    John Bernard was present and duly sworn in.

    John Bernard: My name is John Bernard representing Jim Chen, Evergreen Three. I have Eric Haven, the manager of ASI Sign Systems. Basically we are at a point in the Main Street Novi Development where we need some locator signs. We have garage parking and there is a lot of confusion on where additional parking is. We have the B-2 signs that say "garage parking" and the C-1 that is a wall sign for the underground parking.

    Chairman Harrington: How many total signs are you looking for?

    John Bernard: Three (3). Two (2) B-2’s and one (1) wall sign.

    Chairman Harrington: What is the size of the B-2 sign?

    John Bernard: The B-2 maximum allowed was two (2) square feet and we are 2 ¼ square feet. We are in ZBA for a ¼ of a square foot.

    Chairman Harrington: That is on a pole correct?

    John Bernard: Correct, six (6) foot above the ground. Low profile state of the art signs.

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

    Don Saven: The second variance was for the locator sign which was the wall sign. I do not believe we have discussed that issue.

    Chairman Harrington: Please explain the wall sign, why you need it and why you need it so large.

    John Bernard: That is for visibility purposes. As you can see there is a line of site drawing. There is a considerable amount of linear footage from the top of the hill. We have minimized the lettering. The electronic portion of the sign, seven (7) inches is the minimum amount of letter height you could have for that type of sign. There are actually three (3) lines to the sign. The top line is static will say garage parking. Between the normal business hours for the office users from 8:00-5:00 Monday-Friday, Saturday from 8:00-1:00 it will say permit parking only. After 5:00 or normal business hours, it is public parking. That mean that the retail and the restaurants can use it after business hours. It is a tremendous amenity for the downtown because there is a mixed use development. The first floor (4) being retail and restaurant and the second and third floor in the next two (2) buildings, proposed for the spring of 2001, have office users that utilize the first floor that utilizes the first floors retail and restaurant. After 5:00, it would create additional parking for those first floor retail and restaurant businesses. This is a tremendous convenience if it snowing or raining. We are trying to give them identification.

    Don Saven: This is the first that Novi has for underground parking. As it is in the Main Street building, it has one of the criteria that we have been taking a look at. We are trying to get the people into the back end of the building because the parking along Main Street is insufficient. Ultimately when it is built out and developed, we need to get the people into the garage parking area. What the gentleman are talking about in terms of the locator signs, we have the locator signs which will be on the lamppost for directional parking. A non-commercial message getting them into the back to park. On Saturday and Sunday, they are parking all over.


    There was no audience participation.


    Member Brennan: I did not know it was there until the staff at Lazy Lizard told me. I wondered why you needed signage when it was permit parking only, but you have clarified that the public will use this. I have no further questions.

    Member Reinke: What is the distance on your drawing showing an arch there for the building?

    Member Brennan: The distance from the cars to the wall?

    Member Reinke: Correct.

    Member Brennan: It looks like one hundred forty (140) or one hundred eighty (180) feet?

    Eric Haven: What we did, was we drove and stopped the car in the middle of the driveway and looked south straight at the underground down ramp and the wall. This is where we came in with the site line. It appears to be one hundred eighty (180) feet.

    Member Reinke: It appears that you are going to have three (3) lines on the sign, correct?

    Eric Haven: One (1) is static at the top garage parking. The first line will be permit parking or public parking.

    Member Reinke: So, one (1) of the two (2) will be lit?

    Eric Haven: Correct.

    Member Reinke: You said that it takes seven (7) inches for those letters?

    Eric Haven: Correct.

    Member Reinke: Seven (7) and seven (7) is fourteen (14) plus the other one (1). How do you come up with fifty-nine (59) inches high?

    Eric Haven: It is there to offer any additional flexibility for the future in case any other message scheme needs to be provided.

    Member Reinke: I can not buy that.

    Chairman Harrington: What kind of future message scheme did you have in mind?

    John Bernard: There are a lot of promotions that are geared to a downtown. You have the Holiday Walk, which this would be the forth year established. You have a 50’s festival that could be relocated if it is not longer held at the Expo and the Expo is relocated. People need to know where to park. There could be visitors coming in from Ann Arbor, Jackson, Lansing or other communities and they will not know where to park. The whole idea is to have a locator for additional parking.

    Member Brennan: I think the original question was would you expect to be changing this verbiage from anything other than permit parking and public parking?

    John Bernard: If we did, we would come in and appeal to you for any specific use requirement. But when you purchase this expensive sign, instead of buying two (2) lines, it is an economy of scale of buying the sign that permits the potential for that as opposed to somewhere down the road meeting the potential and already have locked yourself in.

    Chairman Harrington: There is a gentleman that put in a huge sign with extra space and placed a Pepsi Cola on there. Somehow, he gets away with that extra Pepsi Cola on this huge sign. I am offended every time I see that one (1). Your sign is permitted. I am going to hold you to that language. If you want to put anything else in there that you need, you will have to come back and see us. We do not want it transformed into an advertisement for the building, the structure or special events. If it is an informational sign, that is the hardship, that is why you are here.

    John Bernard: I have no problem with that Mr. Harrington. One thing that we are trying to establish with the Main Street Project is the new downtown since 1992. I came on board in March 1998. We want to establish some integrity at the ZBA level that we are not coming in and asking for unnecessary things. They make sense and we are trying to study them. We will continue to employ that type of integrity in dealing with your board.

    Member Fannon: How much smaller can this sign be when you said that it could be reduced?

    John Bernard: You have a static garage parking to eliminate any confusion whether it is public or permit parking.

    Member Fannon: I understand this. You stated earlier, when Member Reinke inquired on why it was 59" high, that it could be reduced?

    John Bernard: We actually had it bigger than fifteen (15). We reduced it to that with the site line that we felt that that was appropriate for readability that was the appropriate size.

    Eric Haven: The lettering that you see, permit parking only, is a seven (7) inch letter. It is the smallest the technology will allow. You can not form a letter with pixel configuration any smaller than that.

    Member Fannon: Is this sign depicting where you can put another line underneath that right now?

    Eric Haven: Yes sir. The overall size of the sign could have two (2) lines of text.

    Member Fannon: So you can buy a sign that does not allow that?

    Eric Haven: Correct.

    Member Fannon: It would be a smaller sign on the wall?

    Eric Haven: Correct.

    Member Fannon: So, how much smaller would that be?

    John Bernard: That would defeat our purpose. In terms of the cost factor involved and the timing to do this in the future potential, with the understanding that we need the second line that is programmed with a lap top computer, we would come to you with a specific need for that. But, now is the time to plan for that from a Planning Development standpoint. Now is the time you want to put your money into that sign and have the cost one time.

    Member Fannon: I do not buy this argument. You are here for a specific reason. Permit parking only. Public parking only to get the people underneath. I was just there Monday night. There were only two (2) cars in the whole place.

    John Bernard: We are very disappointed to hear that.

    Member Fannon: There were only two (2) cars in the entire parking garage. So, I agree with you. But, I do not know about approving something large enough to do something in the future. It seems to me like we are setting ourselves up for a problem. Why don’t we just approve what you need and then if you need something else, whether it costs money or not, you can come back and you might have to invest more money.

    John Bernard: Well, Mr. Fannon, it seems logical from a standpoint of building a downtown, that this entire development would represent one hundred fifty ($150,000), two million dollars ($2,000,000). It would be over a million (1,000,000) square feet of mixed use. In terms of setting precedence for the potential need for this type of development and we are the only downtown. We are not a Twelve Oaks or West Oaks or Novi Town Center. We are your Downtown. We would like to think that it is prudent and feasible to consider the future development of this taking shape into over a million square feet of mixed use development. Now is the time to put that up there. If we are going to tear into the wall, this building represents twenty-three million dollars ($23,000,000). We are going to put up a sign and tear it down. We have agreed from an integrity standpoint to approach you specifically we need any identification on that second line that is programmed with a lap top computer. I do not know how much more honest you could be than to say that we are going to prepare for the potential use of that. Appear before you for permission to use the specific use requirement, but now is the time to prepare that from a planning standpoint. That is all that we are saying.

    Member Fannon: I respectfully disagree with that.

    Member Reinke: The picture rendering shows the sign fifty-nine (59) inches by seventeen foot eight inches (17’8"). But on the petitioner’s request, it says that it is ten foot ten inches (10’10") by two foot eleven inches (2’11"). What are we looking at?

    Eric Haven: I think you will find that one (1) is an inch configuration and one (1) is a foot configuration.

    Member Reinke: How do you get from two foot eleven inches (2’11") to fifty-nine inches (59")? And you don’t get from ten foot ten inches (10’10") to seventeen foot eight inches (17’8"). I am looking at the application for C-1. The size measurement at the bottom of the application says ten foot ten inches (10’10") by two foot eleven inches (2’11").

    Don Saven: Mr. Chairman, I was involved in helping the applicant put together the application for the ZBA. The ten foot ten inches (10’10") and the two foot eleven inches (2’11") was the first application that we had come in to try to bring the need into focus. This was a preliminary application, it was not the modified application. I think the request was still the same as what we had before.

    Member Reinke: I do not see that listed anywhere on the application.

    Don Saven: It is not listed on the application. This is a preliminary application that we have worked on that since has changed based upon the needs.

    Member Reinke: Otherwise there is not identification size wise for the wall sign, correct?

    Don Saven: The identification was based upon the information that was submitted to the Zoning Board.

    Member Kocan: (inaudible)

    Don Saven: Correct.

    Member Reinke: I can not buy that size sign, in the configuration that they want to put it in with the third possible identification. I agree that they need a sign. I do not think they need that and I can not approve that.

    Chairman Harrington: Gentleman there seems to be a sense, that at present, for some of the board members, a three (3) line sign. The future line is not receiving a great deal of support. It that sign were not to be approved, but the board wished to consider a two (2) line side, the one (1) permanent letters and the other one (1) to be adjusted, what size would that be? It would not be fifty-nine (59) inches, or is it?

    Eric Haven: I have some specifications. I could bring something in for you, if you would like to know the exact height.

    Chairman Harrington: Do you have information on the size of the sign Mr. Chen?

    James Chen: No, but I have reasons for the third line. The third line is for any kind of city function. If we happen to offer the downstairs parking garage as a staging area, then that there could say things related to the staging area. That is the reason we talked to the city. It seems the downstairs, garage parking is a huge place, and during Sundays or if we have a future city function, then we could send a message here to the people. Since we are doing this sign, so we as developers, we are willing to invest more money up front, for the chance in the future, should the basement parking become necessary for a public function, it would be available. This would be a good place to send out the message for the people.

    Member Brennan: That is probably a good idea between you, the sign makers and the city. However, you are asking us to approve a sign that we do not know what is on it. We can not do that.

    James Chen: As of right now, you do not need to approve what needs to go on the third line. But just reserve the space. We are not going to use that space for any other use prior to your approval. When the city or anyone would like to use it, they will come here to get your approval.

    Chairman Harrington: I think the board would be interested to hear the information you have in your car regarding the size of a two (2) line sign.

    John Bernard: We are attempting to put together monthly promotions for the New Downtown. Right now what is established is the Christmas Walk, Art Fair to be started by Interior Designers, Blues Festival…

    Chairman Harrington: Somehow this will be incorporated into the new parking sign?


    John Bernard: Somehow we may come back to you, say we have six (6) or eight (8) of these monthly promotions, band show on the corner, different reasons why we would notify people where they can park. Right now there is confusion on the north end of the building because of the different elevation and also garage/underground parking. The next two (2) buildings will double the underground parking. (Building 500 and building 700.) We see this as the time to do it. We are not trying to slide anything by the City of Novi, we are just doing what we think is prudent planning with the thought that down the road there could be a use for this. It does not make any sense to put a two (2) lined box up there, only to remove it in the near future when we double the square footage with the two (2) new buildings proposed for spring of 2001.

    Chairman Harrington: What is the size of a two (2) lined sign?

    Eric Haven: The length is the same. It is seventeen feet eight inches (17’8"). The height is twenty-four inches (24"). It is the same as the static portion of the proposed sign.

    Member Brennan: I understand what Mr. Chen is trying to do. I think the intention is fine. I agree. I do not think that we have the capability of granting a variance for signage that don’t know what is going to be there. There are telling us that they are going to come in here once a month for next months events. I think this needs to be handled at a different level through council. I think this is a special use that I do not think falls within the sign ordinance. This reminds me a bit of the sign that was picked for around City Hall. It was going to be a blinking, change it everyday and it never went anywhere. I would have had the same problem with that. How can you give a variance approval on a sign that you do not know what the script is?

    John Bernard: Mr. Brennan, we are building your downtown.

    Chairman Harrington: We have heard this already.

    James Chen: It is my decision. With your approval, we would revise the sign to seventeen foot eight inches (17’8") long and the height would be twenty-four inches (24") plus another twenty-four inches (24") instead of thirty-five inches (35"). That would only allow two (2) lines. It would be two (2) lines here and the top line would be stating garage parking. The second line would be permit parking only or public parking. Nothing else.

    Member Reinke: I could agree with that. It identifies what needs to be done. It gives you direction.

    James Chen: Thank you.

    Chairman Harrington: You dimensions are forty-eight inches (48") by seventeen eight (17’8")?

    James Chen: It would be forty-eight inches (48") by seventeen foot eight inches (17’8"). Thank you.

    Moved by Reinke,

    Seconded by Bauer,


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

  9. Case No. 00-076 filed by Christina Kadwell, representing CVS Pharmacy
  10. Christina Kadwell, representing CVS Pharmacy is requesting a variance to erect a second wall sign located at 42191 Fourteen Mile Road. *Please see previous Case No. 99-079.


  11. Case No. 00-079 filed by Ronald Cieslak, representing Our Lady of Victory
  12. Ronald A. Cieslak of Merritt, McCallum, Cieslak, PC, representing Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church is requesting an interpretation of Section 2903 "Height limit" of the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance.


    "The height limitations of this ordinance shall not apply to farm buildings, chimneys, church spires, flat poles, public monuments or commercial wireless transmission towers…"

    Proposed spire height is approximately 130 feet.

    Ronald Cieslak was present and duly sworn in.

    Ronald Cieslak: Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church is currently located in Northville. They are planning to develop the parcel on the northwest corner of Eight Mile and Beck Road to a new church facility. We have submitted drawings for Preliminary Site Plan Approval and Special Land Use earlier this year. Part of the review by Birchler and Arroyo noted that we have a spire of approximately of one hundred thirty feet (130’), which required a ZBA interpretation.

    Chairman Harrington: What is the interpretation that is necessary?

    Ronald Cieslak: I do not know. The ordinance states that the height limits of this ordinance shall not apply to farm buildings, chimneys, church spires etc… There is not definition of a church spire in the ordinance.

    Don Saven: It is the architectural feature that represents the spire. Whether or not the height limitation is the building verses what is beyond that. It represents a spire. However it is up to the board to verify if that is the condition.

    Ronald Cieslak: This is our spire. This is a new facility. The north elevation. The longest side of the building faces north. This is the church portion of the building. This is the spire in question. The rest of the building meets the height requirements for zoning. We are not requiring or requesting any variances now or in the future on this property. We are asking that you stipulate if that this falls within your spire in the limits of your ordinance.

    Chairman Harrington: What is your building time table?

    Ronald Cieslak: We would like to break ground in 2001.

    Chairman Harrington indicated that there were four (4) notices sent to neighbors and there was one (1) approval and no disapprovals. Approval of resident who would love to have a church as a neighbor.


    There was no audience participation.


    Ronald Cieslak: I have brought examples of other spires. This is Meadowbrook Congregational Church with a ninety (90) foot tall spire. I think if you look proportionately, this to that, that it is in keeping with the spirit of the ordinance. This is not in Novi, but North Congregational Church on Twelve Mile Road has a one hundred fifteen (115’) foot spire. A spire is a symbolic element, non structural. It would not be there if it was not a church. For that reason we are asking you to agree that it falls within your ordinance.

    Chairman Harrington: There is not a construction urgency that you have to have this tonight, correct?

    Ronald Cieslak: We are going before the Planning Commission December 6, 2000. It would have to come after that.

    Chairman Harrington: I feel really comfortable getting a legal opinion or at least a legal background whenever we are making an ordinance interpretation, because we are being asked to put on a semi-lawyer hat when we look at this. When we do so without professional advise would be contrary to our prior procedures. If it is not going to hold up construction, I would like to have our city attorney look at the spire issue. If only because we have never done an interpretation that involves definitions under the ordinance. Without that kind of input and assistance, there may possibly be something else involved here. I doubt it, but under prudence, I think we should get some input on this issue.

    Member Brennan: This is a spire. I think we have wasted this man’s time. I can not believe that they are here. I welcome Our Lady of Victory to Novi. I would prefer to vote on this interpretation.

    Member Kocan: The Webster dictionary definition is a tapering roof, or analogous pyramidal construction surmounting a tower. My question is when you say spire, are you referring to the one (1) cross going up or does it include the entire pyramid? The dictionary said that it did, and I am comfortable with that definition.

    Don Saven: We are interpreting the height of that particular spire is one hundred thirty feet (130’). Is that correct sir?

    Ronald Cieslak: Yes, approximately.

    Don Saven: That could have been the point of question the Planning Commission was looking at as far as a definition of a spire. Also that it was part of the principal roof design. Is that correct sir?

    Ronald Cieslak: It is not a structural element.

    Don Saven: But it encompasses the roof design also?

    Ronald Cieslak: It is a pinnacle.

    Don Saven: I think that is where the question came in to be.

    Member Brennan: The code specifically includes churches. Right?

    Don Saven: No, it does not. It does not exclude churches. It says church spire.

    Member Brennan: "The height limitation of this ordinance shall not apply to church spires." So, why is he here?

    Don Saven: It is probably the condition of how that is configured or that architectural feature. That is the basis of what I could tell you.

    Member Brennan: What is before us tonight, is they have asked us for an interpretation, "Is it a spire?" I think that is something that we could deal with.

    Chairman Harrington: Who sent them here?

    Don Saven: The Planning Department.

    Member Bauer: Being that high, does he have to have a red light on top of it?

    Don Saven: No. In reviewing the site plan, when we get involved in a figure such as this, is that if it does fall, it would fall on the property itself.

    Chairman Harrington: Someone out there thinks there is an issue as to whether or not this is a spire. I do not know whom it was in Planning that sent it over here. But, someone thought it was important enough to have this gentleman pay a fee and file to come in front us. They're presumably some theoretical reasons why it is interpreted to not be a spire. It looks like a spire to me. But, because someone thinks so, I suggest we get an opinion from somebody.

    Member Fannon: Do you recall why they thought maybe it was not a spire?

    Ronald Cieslak: I called and spoke to Birchler Arroyo and they simply said what it says here. They commented that it looked like a structural element. I said that it is a structural element. If it did not have structure it would not stand up. I would have to be self-supporting. But it is in fact a symbolic element. Our building stops there. Based on this comment, Mr. Arroyo states as a highlighted item in his review, ZBA interpretation is required. I was a little puzzled by it myself.

    Member Reinke: I think we could deal with this tonight. I do think it is something that we need to pursue for further information of why this was sent to us.

    Ronald Cieslak: They’re comment is that it looks like a structural element. I simply responded that it is from this point up, it is purely a symbolic element there to signify the church structure.

    Moved by Brennan,

    Seconded by Reinke,


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

  13. Case No. 00-081 filed by Philip Vincenti representing Jo Drive Industrial Building
  14. Philip Vincenti, representing Jo Drive Industrial Building is requesting two (2) parking side yard variances and a landscape variance for parking lot setbacks.


    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 24, SECTION 2400, "PARKING LOT SETBACKS" requires a ten (10) foot side setback for parking.

    Required (west side): 10 feet

    Proposed: 0 feet

    Variance: 10 feet

    Required (east side): 10 feet

    Proposed: 0 feet

    Variance: 10 feet

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 24, SECTION 2400 requires landscape setbacks for parking lots.

    Required landscape: 9,221 sq. ft.

    Proposed: 8, 197 sq. ft.

    Variance: 1, 024 sq. ft.

    Seymour Mandell was present and duly sworn in.

    Seymour Mandell: I am Seymour Mandell. This case is here because, several years ago, a development for the Vincenti Industrial Park, the Jo Drive area, there was a lot here that was designed. The two (2) buildings were submitted to the City of Novi and given Site Plan Approval. This plan dates back to 1986. At that time, because there was a building here and other properties being developed in the area. It was suggested by both the Planning Commission and the owner of the property that some easements be created. Consequently, there was an easement put through this are here. There was a thirty (30) foot easement put through the property over on this side. I believe this easement is only twenty-four (24) feet. The easements were recorded in the early 1980’s. Proceeding to this approval there is immediately subsequent there too. This building was built here. There is an easement here. This parcel here, which became split as an identifiable sidwell number, ended up burdened with two (2) easements. One is here and one is here. One extends beyond the property line on to our property in one direction. One extends over in this direction on this side. The properties came improved with these easements and with driveways and with parking. What we have here is the last lot of this whole industrial park that is burdened with two (2) legal easements where the adjacent property owners have a right to use that property as part of their ingress/egress. In this case here they are using it partially for parking, which they have a legal right to do. They have been doing it for several years. As you will note the creation of these driveways were done at a time prior to an amendment to your ordinance, which requires now that there be certain landscape or setbacks requirements along property lines on the internal property line of industrial property. That seems to be a difficult thing to do because these properties are burdened with a condition. It was originally designed and approved. How the easements came into being was that this building was approximately twenty-six thousand (26,000) feet. The present building that is on here is approximately twenty to twenty-one thousand feet (20,000’ to 21,000’). There has been a reduction in the intensity of use from the original approval. If you would notice in terms of landscaping, this had certain landscaping in the front, none in the rear or side yards to speak of. There has been a substantial greater amount of landscaping added to the parcel. The ten (10) foot side yard requirement and variance is due to the fact that people have the right to use this property and we can not stop them from using. There lies our hardship. Consequently we can not put any greenbelts on our property line because other people have acquired a righted interest in an easement, or called a burden of the property. Not all of this was with the approval of the city at one earlier time in our life, we now have to live with it. We are asking this board to grant us a variance so that we could proceed with a design that we have developed for the site. It is a reasonable and desirable use in terms of a tax base and the other things that go with Industrial Parks. This comports with virtually all of the other buildings in the subdivision. There are numerous other industrial buildings and there are drive easements and not greenbelts between the properties throughout most of this industrial park as it exists today. There is consistency. There is responsibility in this hardship. We have been to the Planning Commission already, they have approved this plan in principle and have sent us here for relief because of the technicalities of having had a change in the ordinance that creates a problem with the burdens that we already have with this property.

    Chairman Harrington indicated that there were eleven (11) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and one (1) disapproval. B.C. Sloan, 41123 Jo Drive (owner of property directly adjacent), who states there is already so much pavement around this building, we feel to give up any landscape aesthetics would diminish the beauty and the value of the area. The reason these ordinances are in effect is to ensure the common good and value of all property owners, etc…


    There was no audience participation.


    Ms. Lemke: Since they were before the Planning Commission they have increased the southern setback, significantly the green area and have provided on the west side the large area going up. Next to the greenspace on the south side. What they are not showing you also, is that whole area has been planted. The landscape plan showing significant plantings in that area. With the extra square footage being shown on there, I could give a positive recommendation.

    Member Reinke: I think they have done probably as well as they can do. They have offered to increase the landscaping as much as they can and still be viable. I can support the petitioner’s request.

    Member Kocan: I also drove through the subdivision. There is hardly any green anywhere in the subdivision other than what is proposed in this plan. It is a significant improvement, it is unfortunate that the other buildings could not look like that. I would have no problem approving these variances.

    Member Bauer: I have no problem either.

    Moved by Reinke,

    Seconded by Fannon,


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

  15. Case No. 00-082 filed by Stone City

Roger Soulliere, representing Stone City is requesting continue use of outside storage for the patio and stone wall at the entrance to their business, located on Taft Road. *Please note that this is an expansion of their previously approved variance (Case No. 98-096).



"All uses in an I-1 District shall comply with the following conditions:

1.a. Except as provided in subpart (b) all uses shall be conducted wholly within a completely enclosed building

2. Unless otherwise provided, dealing directly with consumer at retail is prohibited

Proposed additional outdoor storage is located at the entrance to their business.

Roger Soulliere was present and duly sworn in.

Roger Soulliere: We have property on Taft Road, which we do have some outside storage that was granted two (2) years ago. We are asking for an extension on that. Our original plan was to change this over to outdoor mini storage. We were looking for some participation from our landlord, which we’ve rented for a ten (10) year lease. He has reclined and wrote letters that he did not want to participate. He would like to put the outside storage and leave it when I am done. That was his voice on that. We have been there for two (2) years and in front of the board once for our sign and additional outdoor storage. Most of our business is local contractors and people that come in. We have cleaned up that site, it was always a problem. We have taken out dumpsters and dumpsters of broken pallets and debris. We are constantly cleaning all edges of it. We planted trees originally proposed and put up the brick wall. We tried to maintain a clean facility. The hardship I would say is that the site is not suitable for any buildings of any size because of the configuration. We are using it here. We have about seven (7) years left on our lease. We are looking for another place. Evidentially outside storage of that would have to be off site. We definitely would continue to keep up the site, do basic clean ups, the trees are growing and screening it off. The vegetation along the expressway is growing up high there. It is well maintained. There is no visibility off of Taft. It is a dead road. All the way around us is pretty much barren land.

Don Saven: As you could recall this was a show cause hearing not too long ago, in which there was question regarding the sign. They took care of the sign and took down the displays that they had for the brick displays on the patio. What was left was the patio. That was one (1) of the concerns of the board as expressed at that time. Whether or not this might be considered as outdoor storage. What they are asking is that they maintain that patio and that wall at that particular location along with the existing storage.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were ten (10) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and no disapprovals.


There was no audience participation.


Member Fannon: As long as we keep continuing jurisdiction, I have no problem with it. They took the display down. I do not think the patio is bothering anybody.

Member Brennan: I remember the case in July. I had some compassion for the new owners. They have complied with the actions that we asked them to comply with in July. They can continue to keep their business in a descent shape, without any problem, we should be all right.

Member Bauer: I have no problem with it.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Bauer,


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


Roger Soulliere: I was looking for the time frame to be the duration of my stay. It would be until 2007. I am willing to maintain and improve the site. I have already cleaned up the patios. Improvements with the patios and bushes. If I knew this I would definitely put more landscaping and bushes. I would like to dress up the place, it has always been an eye sore along there. I think I could greatly improve that. If allowed I would do that.

Member Reinke: I have a problem with that.

Member Brennan: Let’s have you back in three (3) years.

Roger Soulliere: May I ask if I do a nicer sign and approach. Would that be something that would be worth my while. I know that the last sign was not as attractive as what they would like to see. Maybe I could talk to one of the members and bring a rendering in to show something nicer?

Chairman Harrington: You have a right to file an application for a variance. We would take a look at what you think is an improvement. Be aware though that the board does not look favorably to off premise signs. We would want to hear serious information about hardship and people not being able to find you.

12) Case No. 00-083 filed by Carol Wilke of 1284 Ease Lake Drive

Carol A. Wilke, Patio Enclosures Inc., representing the property owners of 1284 East Lake Drive is requesting a side and rear yard variance for the construction of an enclosure on the lakeside deck. *Please refer to Case No. 93-054 for previous case.


NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 24, SECTION 2400 "SCHEDULE OF REGULATIONS," requires a ten (10) foot side yard setback variance.

Required: 10 feet

Proposed: 6.5 feet

Variance: 3.5 feet

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 24, SECTION 2400 "SCHEDULE OF REGULATIONS," requires a thirty (30) foot rear yard setback.

Required: 35 feet

Proposed: 30 feet

Variance: 5 feet

Edwin Dodson was present and duly sworn in.

Edwin Dodson: My name is Edwin Dodson. I represent Noree Carmel. My address is at 40480 Grand River Suite A. We are requesting the approval of the ZBA based on the hardship of dealing with this unusual lot on East Lake drive. What we are trying to do is stay within the spirit of the ordinance. But through the initial design, we are dealing with an outdoor patio/deck. What we were planning to do was build a non-obtrusive glass and screen patio porch. Trying to stay within the design elements and keeping in mind with the city ordinance, we are trying to stay within the perimeter of the already established house wall. That is for part A of the ZBA side set back.

Chairman Harrington: What you need is a 3.5 feet on the side yard and 5 feet on the rear yard, correct?

Edwin Dodson: Correct.

Chairman Harrington: How come?

Edwin Dodson: The reason being through the design of the existing outdoor patio deck, which is in elevation, more than eight (8) feet. For architectural appeal and to stay within the perimeter of the house walls, we inset your south wall approximately six (6) inches inset.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-six (26) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and one (1) disapproval. Nancy McMullen, neighbor who objects and states she opposes construction: "It will definitely obstruct my view of the lake. The setback rules are to prevent this and protect and preserve the view of the lake for the homeowners. As I purchased this property for it position and existing lake view, this would be a detriment to my property and result in a drastic reduction in the value of my property."


Rich Tanielian: Rich Tanielian 1282 East Lake Drive. I am next door. In the event this enclosure was built. First of all, he is going to add onto the square footage. The home is probably taking up more than what is allowed for square footage. Secondly, it would be obstructing my view to the south.


Member Brennan: Well sir, you have got a problem.

Edwin Dodson: If it may please the neighbor and keep peace within the neighborhood, perhaps in the rear setback we are asking five (5) feet. If there is a possibility, I would like to hear the neighbors comment. If he would have any objection if we would bring that wall closest to the lake that five (5) feet so that we would stay within the city ordinance of the thirty (30) feet.

Chairman Harrington: It sounds like what you are asking for is for us to pass on this matter and go to the next one (1) while you have the opportunity to talk to the neighbor. If you would like to talk to him and see if there is additional information, we would certainly listen to it.

Edwin Dodson: That would be wonderful. Thank you.

Edwin Dodson: Here is the request. Just to inform you, the neighbor no matter what we do or what size the structure is, he is going to object in regard to having a sunroom patio. That leaves us to stay exactly with the ordinance of what the city has put forth. A ten (10) foot setback on the side, staying thirty-five (35) from the rear. So obviously if we go that way, we should be able to get this permit approved. There would be some major redesign changes but that is a possibility. What is most important, is that back in 1985, they had to come to ZBA for side setback for the house to be built. What we are willing to do if it is possible is to bring back the room five (5) feet to comply with the rear set back. The side setback is what I am asking the ZBA board to approve, based on 1985’s approval of the home. Based on that the sunroom is setting within the perimeter, the outline or the footprint of the house.

Chairman Harrington: If I understand what you just told us, you would like to withdraw your request for the rear yard, but are continuing to ask for the 3.5 on the side yard? Basically this follows the footprint of the existing home?

Edwin Dodson: Correct. But it is actually smaller on the side than the footprint.

Chairman Harrington: Your neighbor continues to disagree with that 3.5 side yard setback?

Edwin Dodson: No matter what size, even if we are building exactly to the ordinance.

Chairman Harrington: Even if you did not need a variance the neighbor would still object?

Edwin Dodson: Correct.

Member Reinke: In looking at his deck, I would assume that we granted a variance for that deck from where it is set?

Don Saven: It appears as that would be it, yes.

Member Reinke: If he encloses that, does that change the whole thing?

Don Saven: Yes.

Edwin Dodson: The correction is that sunroom patios do not add square foot volume of a home.

Chairman Harrington: For taxing purposes or for any purposes?

Edwin Dodson: For livable space. This is a non-inhabitable space.

Member Brennan: I can not support the petitioner’s request because of the adjoining neighbors are in objection.

Member Bauer: I can not either.

Member Brennan: And further, we see lake cases every month. It is a sensitive area. People have a lot of money invested in there or they are planning on investing a lot of money. We try to do this with every case in front of us. Unless there is concurrence, I can not support it.

Chairman Harrington: I can support it for a couple of reasons. Number one (1), you have withdrawn the largest of your variances. You are looking for a modest 3.5 feet. What we are really dealing with here is a neighborhood philosophical disagreement, that no matter what size it was or if it complied with the ordinance, there would be objection. I do not believe in tourney of the minority. Just because one (1) people objects, you should not have the opportunity to be able to do what is appropriate. If twenty (20) people objected, you would have a different story. I do not have a problem with three (3) feet. If it was sixteen (16) feet or thirty (30) feet, that to me would be significant. I think overall, it would improve the look of the house and the look of the neighborhood. It would probably increase the property values of the neighbors next door, just as your taxes go up. I can support it.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Bauer,


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


Member Fannon: Seeing that you are not going outside the width of the home. You are not even coming out to the width of the house with this?

Edwin Dodson: Correct.

Member Fannon: Based on this, that is why I can support the one (1) variance of 3.5 feet. It is not even going to come out as far as the house. It is going to be set back according to the ordinance. I think that is a reasonable request.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Kocan,


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

13) Case No. 00-084 filed by Lee Mamola, representing Spartan Concrete

Lee Mamola of Mamola Associate Architects PC, representing Spartan Concrete Inc. is requesting to enclose a water dependent recycling operations prior to site plan approval.



"Permits not to be issued. No building permit shall be issued for the erection, alteration or use of any building or structure or part there of…which is not in accordance with all provisions of this Ordinance."

Proposed structure has not been thru the site plan process.

Lee Mamola was present and duly sworn in.

Lee Mamola: Primarily for the benefit of the audience, I will highlight our explanation as to why we are here tonight. I believe you have in your packet my letter of October 18, 2000. Nearly eleven (11) months ago, Spartan Concrete, who has been at the location for nearly thirty-three (33) years. As a part of that operation, when the trucks come in from delivering the loads, they empty the trucks on part of the site. The trucks would be hosed down, and in the pond, slag would develop and the DEQ became aware of that process and the told them to cease and desist. There were concerns of the environmental impact of that operation. Spartan Concrete went about and did research and found there was a product on the market that would recycle the slag. It involves water coming through the trucks and water mixing with the slag in some format. The product is recycled and does not have to go to the balance of the environment. The environment is able to be cleaned and maintained in a much preferred manner. Spartan Concrete shortly thereafter realized that they had to enclose this operation that recycles their facility. When they started to erect the steel to enclose the recycling unit, someone in the city noticed there was a building going up without a permit. This is defined as an accessory use building. It does have to go through the site plan procedures. We were contacted by the Spartan Concrete Civil Engineers. The survey has been ordered and since then been completed. We do need that to being the site plan process. What we are asking for a building permit to enclose with wall and roof structure that steel which is erected on the site today. That would allow the recycling process to continue, which involves the heavy amount of the use of water. Without such permission, they can not recycle. They would be out of business. That would be one alternative due to the weather. We need more time to properly prepare the site plan documents and properly obtain approval. This is the first time in all of my presentations to ZBA that what we are asking for is your permission to allow us to do everything there is to do by ordinance. When this project is all said and done and completed. The accessory building and all that goes with it will be by ordinance. We are not seeking any variances such as setbacks etc… It is primarily a procedural manner. We are caught at this time of a year. Had this been April rather than November, we would not be here

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were eleven (11) notices sent to neighbors and there were two (2) approvals and no disapprovals. Dan Mansfield on Grand River Avenue, approves: "Spartan Concrete has always conducted their business in a responsible manner." Mr. Anderson who comments he approves and the government interferes too much.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: This is not just Spartan Concrete’s problem. This is a problem with all concrete plants in the State of Michigan as they exist today. This is an environmental issue that has been brought to light. The DEQ has responsibility for monitoring compliance. I am very well aware that Spartan Concrete was notified as well as the other clients within this area have been notified. We are watching them as to what is happening with them also. They have certain requirements that have to be complied with and it definitely is for the protection of the ground waters. The surface waters are draining into the areas as well as this story that we are dealing with. This is an unusual situation. This is a procedural issue. Along the same line, the steel that is erected at this particular time, for them to do what they need to do to protect the ground water, is that building should be covered for the winter time.

Chairman Harrington: Don, what is the reasonable construction time?

Don Saven: I think if they can get that building enclosed, they could probably do it in a month’s time. Just before the winter season sets in.

Chairman Harrington: What would reasonable compliance with ordinance be?

Don Saven: I would probably have it be plus one hundred twenty (120) days. This is a site plan issue. They have been willing to comply with anything that we had requested for the compliance of this particular building.

Chairman Harrington: What I am getting at is what kind of time that they need?

Don Saven: For compliance?

Lee Mamola: We are easily looking at three (3) to six (6) months. We need to obtain Final Site Plan Approval so that the building department can issue a building permit. If we applied today for a Site Plan Approval on another project, we do not expect to be on the agenda until January for Preliminary Site Plan Approval. This is to give you an idea of the amount of time these kinds of approvals take.

Chairman Harrington: If we furnish you a temporary use, is July 1, 2001 reasonable?

Lee Mamola: To July 2001?

Chairman Harrington: I am not going to give you a blanket variance for the next two (2) or three (3) years and maybe stop building or something.

Lee Mamola: To obtain a building permit and then close it up, that is a fair timetable.

Don Saven: We will be taking a look at the plans that are being presented and make sure that it is in accordance to what those specific designs were.

Member Kocan: Do we have the location of it? I am not sure exactly how close it is to the lot line, but are there screening issues that come with it?

Member Reinke: This will have to go through the whole process, so there would not be an issue with that.

Member Brennan: Mr. Chairman, I am confused as to what it is that we can do within our powers to enable them to finish a building that they have not pulled a building permit for? What is it officially that we can give them?

Lee Mamola: My understanding of the ordinance is that a building permit can not be issued when site plan approval is involved until the site plan has been approved. However there are, maybe Don can elaborate, there are certain other types of permits which can be issued but the building official needs some governing board to give him permission.

Chairman Harrington: It is a special use.

Don Saven: Yes, I would do the Special Uses Accessory Structure.

Member Reinke: It is a limited Special Use because given the time that you are allowing them to function until they comply with.

Member Brennan: Aren’t we in fact giving them the approval to build a building? We are issuing them a building permit.

Member Reinke: We are giving them the usage of that building until they comply with the site plan building planning approval process. If they don’t the building might have to come down.

Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Bauer,


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

  1. Case No. 00-085 filed by Nels Carlson of 1361 South Lake

Nels Carlson is requesting a variance to the "Similar/Dissimilar" Ordinance to construct a home at 1361 South Lake Drive.


NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 303, para (1) states:

"The erection of single family detached dwellings shall not be grossly dissimilar to the exterior design and appearance of existing detached single family dwellings in the surrounding area."

Proposed construction is dissimilar to existing designs and appearances in surrounding area.

Nels Carlson: Good evening. I am Nels Carlson. My wife Delores is seated there and my neighbor to the east, Mr. Light, is next to her. I am here as a homeowner. My wife and I are here this evening requesting a variance under the similar/dissimilar provision of the zoning ordinance. The area that we are proposing to build in, is on South Lake Drive. I think it is the only vacant wooded lot that is over here. The reason that we are requesting the variance is because this is going to be a contemporary home. The reason for it being a contemporary home, is it is going to be seated back into the woods. When we purchased the property, there had been a couple of proposed residences that had already been approved. Or at least through some of the process. Both of them were back in the woods, the same as our structure would be. We actually took a look at the property, one of the concerns is that you can not see the house from the street. That is because of the trees. In the summer, it will be dark back there. We would like to have as much light as we can in the home. I think in your packet you will find that I have some renderings and my architect is also here. The area, by the development over the past couple of years, is very diverse. There are subdivisions behind in Lily Pond Drive. Along South Lake Drive, where we are proposing to build, there are contemporary homes. There is one (1) down on Buffington. I have some photographs that I took of a number of the homes in the neighborhood if the board members would like to see those. Some are traditional, at least two (2) according to my interpretation are contemporary. One (1) looks to me like a bungalow. I can not exactly say what the exact architectural perimeters would be. If the board looks at the letter from JCK, from Mr. Fox, he stated two (2) concerns. He said the type of material that is going to be used in the home. He characterizes it as split faced block and standing seam metal roof. He says that this is different from the surrounding construction, and reading from his letter dated October 20, 2000, "The surrounding home being brick, wood siding and asphalt shingles." The materials in our home I do not think are going to be dissimilar to what is in the neighborhood. It certainly has a contemporary look. There is not doubt about that. At least part of it has a flat roof. My architect and I had a big argument about whether there should ever be a flat roof on any structure. I had one over in Northville and frankly hated it. He tells me that they last longer and that they are better than asphalt shingles. I have talked with my architect about how much… clearly it is not a subdivision home, there is no doubt about that. That is not why we hired an architect to design it. I think it is well within the scheme of what is over there. What we are going to have on the outside is manufactured cut stone. It is not going to look like a concrete blockhouse. It is certainly not going to look like a pillbox. Most of the outside is going to be in cedar siding. The other concern that Mr. Fox had is that it has primarily a flat roof. The only area that is going to have a flat roof is over the garage. The area that is over the living space is a sloped roof and the slope is not unlike the pitch at least some of the other houses in the neighborhood. We have owned the property, since we closed in April. I have been over there looking at the homes and taking pictures of a number of the homes and talking with the neighbors. The pitch on the houses over there vary on what we are proposing which is about 312. I did not know anything about roof pitches when I started, but I guess if it goes out 12 inches then it goes up 12 inches. Ours is going to go out twelve inches (12") and up three inches (3"). There some that are ten (10) twelve (12) as mentioned in the letter. The diversity of the neighborhood is one (1) of the things that brought us to this particular area in Novi. I did not want to buy or build a subdivision home. What I would like to do I to build a house in the woods, difficult to be seen from the street. Even in the winter from Lily Pond Drive it is almost impossible to see my neighbors that are two (2) homes that are to both sides. I have talked to all of the people that were notified. If you look at the house from Lily Pond, you can barley see through the trees with no leaves on them the two (2) houses that exist that are close to the road. The reason for our request is the way the structure is going to be built, they will be in the back, glass that will allow light into the house. Putting it back into the woods, we would like to have that amount of light that could get into there. The house is basically going to be made of the manufactured cut stone, cedar siding and glass. I have attempted to talk to all of the neighbors that got the notice. The neighbor immediately to my west, Gabriel, his wife had passed away that morning and it was not an appropriate to discuss that with him. He know about the house. He knows what I am doing over there. I have not tried to hide anything from any of the neighbors. I talk to any one that I see.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were nine (9) notices sent to neighbors and there were two (2) approvals and no disapprovals. George Roark, no objection to the granting of the waiver; Grace and Peter Light.


Peter Light: I own the house directly to the east. He has my complete approval on the house. I have seen his plans on the house. I agree with him.


Member Brennan: I just wanted to point out for the record that although Mr. Fox from JCK pointed out what he felt were the dissimilar, he did in his parting paragraph say that the degree to which the house is visible, from both the road and the lake, should be given strong consideration. I have been over there. It is a heavily wooded area. I was trying to figure out how far back from the road this is. Do you know off hand roughly?

Nels Carlson: I think it is going to be about one hundred twenty-five (125) feet back. It is immediately behind where the wetlands are at.

Member Brennan: I remember why Planning or the City came up with this similar/similar ordinance years ago. I do not know if this is that relevant to that ordinance.

Nels Carlson: Mr. Brennan, I appreciate you reading Mr. Fox’ comment. I do not know whether the other board members have seen this, but he does not have any criticism of the design. He thinks it is carefully drawn out and an attractive design. He just does not think under his reading that it could go without a viewing from the board.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Reinke,


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

  1. Case No. 00-087 filed by Charles Wilson representing Trans-X Industrial Building

Charles Wilson, representing Monte Costella and Company is requesting four (4) variances for the construction of the Trans-X Industrial Building, parcel "Y". Variances requested are for building setback, truck well location, parking lot setback and dumpster location.

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 24, SECTION 2400, "SCHEDULE OF REGULATIONS" requires a building setback adjacent to residential property to have a minimum of five (5) feet of building setback for each foot of building height. Proposed height of building is 24 feet, 8 inches, requiring a 124 foot setback.

Required rear yard setback: 124 feet

Proposed: 50 feet

Variance: 74 feet

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 1905, "Required Conditions" requires that a truck well be recessed not less than sixty (60) feet from the front wall of the building. Two truck wells are being proposed.

Required recessed setback: 60 feet

Proposed: 42 feet

Variance: 18 feet

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 24, SECTION 2400, "SCHEDULE OF REGULATIONS," paragraph (h) requires that the minimum parking area does not extend into the minimum required front yard setback of the district.

Required parking setback (I-1 District: 40 feet

Proposed: 20 feet

Variance: 20 feet

Required parking setback (I-2) District: 50 feet

Proposed: 20 feet

Variance: 30 feet

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2503, paragraph 1b, "Accessory Uses" requires that accessory structures not be constructed in any front or required exterior side yard.

Proposed dumpster is located at front of the building.

Douglas Hyman was present and duly sworn in.

Douglas Hyman: My name is Douglas Hyman. I am an attorney with the law firm Hyman, Lippit, P.C. I am only going to make a brief part of the presentation tonight. I am going to wait for Mr. Ben Tiseo, the architect, addresses the specifics of the proposal. I am happy that Linda Lemke is here tonight. She has been very helpful in working with my client with my client at almost one (1) year at the Planning Commission to come up with a plan, which they recommended approval of, which was consistent with this unique parcel of property. I would like to let Mr. Tiseo make a presentation. I would like to make a brief comment at the end. I think I have gotten a sense of some of the concerns of the members of the board. I would like to make my comments after Mr. Tiseo has completed. Thank you.

Ben Tiseo was present and duly sworn in.

Ben Tiseo: I am the architect of the project. We are here before you tonight seeking four (4) variances on this unique site. This is a unique site in that the building is setback and does not have a right-of-way. Access to the site is through some adjoining isles and drives through there. The site itself is an odd shaped site. It is bordered on the rear by an undevelopable (R-4) Zoned parcel that is part of the drawing there, as well as some wetlands and wooded areas. To the west they also have a railroad track and industrial zoned property. The first item we are seeking a variance on is from the seventy-four (74) feet to thirty (30) foot setback on the south side of the property from the one hundred twenty-four (124) required set back. On the east side where we have the residential. We did at the least point, comply with the one hundred twenty-four (124) foot at the furthest point. We are probably at one hundred sixty (160) to one hundred and fifty (150) feet. We have exceeded the setback under actual residential side. We have worked many different plans on this site with the consultants. We have come up with what we feel are the best solutions that everybody could support. We did have many different plans that did not require parking setbacks requirements. However, at the advice of the consultants, which we agreed to save some of the trees and wooded areas. We moved the parking areas and put them in the area now requiring a variance. The truck well itself is set in the only one (1) place that we can on this property, the front yard. If you notice here on the parcel, we have on the east side, we have the woodland area and here we have a wetland area. Here we have a sedimentation basin and here we have the easements for all the storm sewers. So we are very restricted in where we can put this building and the parking. The only place that we can have access to the building with vehicles in the Industrial zoned parcel is going to be on the front. The front yard setback is actually forty (40) feet. We have created the front yard façade setback line by the back of the ratio of the office to the shop area. In theory, we could move the office area larger toward the road and not have an issue with the truck well. But, because we tried to keep he building in a proper prospective of office to shop ratio, that part of the truck well, the actual truck area would be in front of that. The truck well, we have stopped the walls right to the façade line so that we are looking at the paving area with some slope to it. The walls will be back to the building line. Also, we have a parking setback requirement on what we are calling the front yard. If you notice, the front yard is abutting other parking spaces in the north property. This parking space here is approximately ten (10) feet from the lot line. We are proposing it on our site to be twenty (20) feet, so we are twice the setback there. The parking area abuts another parking area. It does not abut another building area or residential area, but another parking area in an industrial zoned parcel. The rear yard we are asking for a variance for the one (1) dumpster that we have on the site. The ordinance requires that the dumpster not be in the front or side yard. The rear yard is a wetland area. It is not accessible. Nor, do we want to disturb the trees to provide the waste containers. The only place we can put the dumpsters on the site is this present location, because we have the sedimentation basin here, easements, and the parking. We have designed the site to the only way that it can be designed.

Douglas Hyman: I have hashed over in my mind a hundred times, my presentation here tonight, because I know there is a sensitivity of the board members here as there was at the Planning Commission level the comments of adjoining property owners. We have some property owners here this evening that are going to tell you they oppose this development. I think in my client’s best interest, I owe them an obligation to tell you the motivation behind these adjoining property owners being present here tonight. There was a lawsuit filed in Oakland County Circuit Court called Monte Costella Inc. vs. Thomas Harmon and his wife. The Harmon’s have been trespassing on the property of Mr. Costella for quite some period of time, and in fact constructed a substantial structure on that property that they maintain requires a professional contractor to remove. In response to the trespass cause of action, the Harmon’s filed an action alleging that they had acquired this parcel of property by adverse possession/acquiescence. On October 12, 2000, Judge Steven Andrews of the Oakland County Circuit Court rendered a decision, where he concluded Mr. and Mrs. Harmon had not acquired the property by adverse possession, they had not acquired the property by acquiescence. That is an active case and in fact it is going before the Oakland County Circuit Court mediation tomorrow at 2 p.m. I received a correspondence from Mr. and Mrs. Harmon’s attorney that I will share with you on November 3, 2000 via facile from the offices of Gable Goodmonson and Gable. "In talking to my clients today, they have offered to drop the pending appeal if Costella dismisses the trespass action. They will drop all claim to the disputed area and will appear at not further city meeting to contest Costella’s development." This in my opinion is not an appropriate. This is people trying to get a Circuit Court action dismissed by agreeing to not appear before this board tonight to contest this action. I have been practicing law since the 70’s. I have represented property owners. I do not have a problem with people coming before the board with legitimate concerns, but to use an appearance before this honorable board to try to compel somebody to dismiss litigation is inappropriate and frankly I do not know what the other implication of it are. I am more than happy to share this letter with the board members. I do not think this is the appropriate type of conduct that this board should condone. I know that you are sensitive to the demands of adjoining property owners, but when the motivation for that is to try to gain an advantage in Civil Litigation, I think that is inappropriate. I do not know if that violates any statues or ordinances or court rules, we have not gone that far. I just felt duty bound to present that to this board tonight. We have had opposition, Ms. Lemke can tell you that we have worked with her to develop a woodland plan that was acceptable, to plant additional trees and preserve historic trees on the property. When people came to the Planning Commission meeting, the opposed the project, they complained about garbage trucks coming early in the morning to pick up garbage from commercial sites, something that we have no control about. We had someone say that they did not want to look at block building. The block they were referring to was the award winning cut stone…

Chairman Harrington: Mr. Hyman, I do not want to cut you short, but it is 11:00 p.m. In essence there is a pending Civil Lawsuit and people have strong feelings on both sides. There are claims and counter claims. None of which we have to resolve. What you suggested is that they people may come forward and object tonight and their motives may be several in terms of their objections, they may not be acting in good faith. They are citizens of Novi, and are entitled to come and speak their mind if they chose. I think we can figure out what is going on. Good luck with your mediation.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were thirty (34) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and three (3) disapprovals.


Kathleen Harmon, 42463 Park Ridge: I am not going to argue the case, that is not why we are here tonight. You summed it all up for me, thank you very much on that issue. I did however, come to deal with the situation you are presented with, not our litigation matter that is going on. That is something completely beyond. They are here for four (4) variances. However, we feel that there are a couple of other issues that we would like to present because this effects us, and this is one of our chances to do this. We are the home that directly abuts the twenty-nine thousand (29,000) square foot building he wants to put in. Here is the building he proposes and the undevelopable residential, and this is the residential. These are homes where several people live with their families. Like my husband, I do not object to the proper development of industrial land in Novi. You have to have industrial business, commercial and residential to make a city work. I do have several issues presented by this site plan. On behalf of myself and numerous neighbors, I must put forth some kind of objection to the proceeding of this particular matter conducted tonight because of the notice provision section 3106, which requires all homeowners within 300 feet to be notified of tonight’s meeting. We did get a notice. Unfortunately several of the homeowners around us were not notified of tonight’s meeting, including our neighbor directly to the north and south. My neighbors did not learn of tonight’s proceedings until about 4 p.m., and I asked them if they were going to the Zoning Board of Appeal on the site plan back there. I figured you were going because you had gone to prior Planning Commission meetings. There have been quite a turn out of written response and personal appearances regarding this. Both of them had expressed astonishment and had contacted the City officials immediately. Mrs. Hosely who lives to the north at 42471 Park Ridge, was informed that thirty-four (34) residents on Park Ridge were sent notification and a couple have responded. Unfortunately she, as effected as we are, did not get it and numerous others did not receive notification. Another one is Mrs. Karen who lives at 42447 Park Ridge.

Chairman Harrington: Mrs. Harmon, what you are saying is there are significant people who are effected by the development who did not get notification. What are you asking the board?

Kathleen Harmon: I ask that this application be adjourned and that it be re-noticed. I do know that there are several people who would like to come and do that. Anyway, she qualified, and there was some mistake on her being left off of the list. If you decide to continue with tonight’s agenda, I would request that the variances requested by the applicant be denied for the failure to satisfy the stringent requirements of Section 3104. This Section 3104 for a variance is from a strict application of the zoning ordinances and they can be granted where among other things there exists exceptional topographical conditions or other extraordinary or exceptional conditions of the property that strict application would result in peculiar or exceptional practical difficulties to the owner of the property or would result in exceptional undo hardship upon the owner. We believe several of us, that the applicant has failed to demonstrate the existence of exceptional, extraordinary or peculiar circumstances such that a deviation from the strict application of the ordinance should be granted. Applicant as far as we can tell from the documents, we have been able to review, have indicated no tenant per this 29,000 square foot building which members of the Planning Commission and consultants have noted at the prior meetings, is too big for this lot. Yet, he seeks variances on parking lot setbacks, residential setbacks, truck well setbacks and dumpster setbacks. Had not the applicant miraculously discovered that its noise analysis was an error, just prior to the second Planning Commission meeting, he would also need to request a variance for noise as well. Although no one seemed to consider the combination of the HVAC and the truck wells together. In any event, that is not on your agenda today, but it would have been. Given that the applicant has indicated in documents submitted to the city, that we were able to look at, that is has no tenants for this huge building, which by the way if fifteen (15) times bigger than any of our homes back there, then how can the applicant demonstrate the existence of these exceptional, extraordinary and peculiar circumstances to justify a variance from the strict application of the ordinances? Ordinances which you have all recognized tonight are designed to protect the adjoining residential district, to which this property abuts. I have also noted I am one of many families that will be affected by what goes in here. I don’t mind something going in there. We just want it to be right, something that we could live with. I have heard several times that you go out and look at sites. If you have not come out to look at this site, I strongly urge you to come out and look at it. Particularly in respect to woodland issues and maybe we can show you a photograph of the absence of woods out there. This is something that will effect so many people. Even if he could satisfy the stringent requirements, clearly such a large industrial building will substantially impair the established values within the surrounding area. We abut to woods and not we will have a 29,000 square foot building. You did note not wanting to subject to the tourney of one coming in. Maybe if twenty (20) people came in to object that might be different. There have been a lot of people who have been objecting to this. Unfortunately, we are the only ones here tonight, because a lot of those people did not get the notice. I respectfully request that you reschedule tonight’s meeting so that notice could be properly made or that the request for the numerous requests for this huge project be denied at this time. Thank you.

Chairman Harrington: Would it be a fair summary that it is your belief and you believe that it is shared by a number of your neighbors that in essence that this building is over built for the site and is why they need the variances?

Kathleen Harmon: Yes.

Chairman Harrington: But, you don’t have any specific comments which are targeted to the actual variances, which are the parking setbacks, the recess setback and the rear yard setback? You do not have specific comments with respect to those although the neighbors might?

Kathleen Harmon: I do admit I have looked at, for the prior Planning Commission meeting, I had researched some of the zoning provisions regarding the reason for the setbacks, the parking well. There are two (2), one that would face us. The reason for the sixty (60) feet is so that the whole truck could be buried in there, you don’t see it and it is not part of the visible thing. Certainly not something that would entice any of our children to go out and try to investigate.

Chairman Harrington: I am familiar with the energy that flows back and forth in hotly contested litigation especially when property and family rights are in opposition to business rights. Have you had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Hyman or the developers or builders in this case, outside of a deposition room or the equivalent, have you sat down and talked about these particular variances at all in terms of there being another way to do it? Can you move the building or parcel? Have you looked at these specific variances and talked to Mr. Hyman and his clients?

Kathleen Harmon: We have not specifically spoken to them. I do not believe at this point, given our personal situation, that it would be prudent, given the on going litigation, for us to sit down with him and discuss that matter. I do not know if that would be an appropriate situation.

Chairman Harrington: We always encourage people to talk.

Kathleen Harmon: That would be fine. I have had various discussions with Mr. Costella. One was amicable of a nature of wanting to cooperated the second one resulted in a break down in our ability to communicate. Whether the adjoining land owners would be able to sit down and discuss it, that would be something to consider.

Tom Harmon, 42463 Park Ridge: I would like to specifically address the four (4) variances that are being requested tonight. Ladies and gentleman of the Zoning Board of Appeals I am asking you tonight to reject the applicant’s request for variances in question. Again, I have no objection to the applicant in attempting to develop his property. But, I do object to it when it is being done in a manner that is inconsistent with the zoning ordinances that have been put into place to protect the residents of Novi. Industrial development that abut residential property require special consideration to protect the residents quality of life. I do not believe that is happening in this case. The applicant’s project is clearly too big for the site in question. Several members of the Planning Commission acknowledge the fact that the project is too large for the property. We see this in the need for the multitude of variance requests. Strangely enough the Planning Commission voted to approve Preliminary Site Plan in spite of this fact. I think the reason you are seeing the request for four (4) variances, is the building is too big for the site. I think a smaller building would fit there. It has not been clearly demonstrated that this property could not be developed in a manner that meets existing zoning requirements. According to informal real estate estimates the proposed development would have a substantial negative impact on the value of my property. This is based on the effect of having a home that formally backed to what we call regulated woodland and now would back to the back of an industrial building. Tonight I heard it being referred to as a shop and in Planning Commission meetings, it was being referred to as a warehouse. I do not know if there is any significance there or not. Further these variances do not include a request for a variance that would meet the zoning ordinance requirements for an eighty (80) to ninety (90) percent opacity between residential and industrial developments. The photo that I have passed around clearly shows that the applicant’s woodland plan falls far short of meeting the standard of creating 80% to 90% in two (2) years. The proposal to plan the seven (7) foot trees to replace the existing screening leaves a thirty-three percent (33%) opacity. In fairness to the Planning Commission, when you review the woodland plan. The umbrella of trees that are shown in the diagram gives the illusion of the appearance that there is screening between the applicant’s proposed development and our yard. I think the photograph clearly shows there is a gap between.

Chairman Harrington: We do not have that before us tonight. We have four (4) variances, not what Planning has done. Do you have comments related to these specific variances, the parking, the rear yard setback?

Tom Harmon: The parking, rear yard setback, the disposal and the truck well, I think are all symptomatic that this building is too big for the site. If the building was not so large, the applicant would not be asking for the variances. I am sure the neighbors could get along and live with whatever project goes in there. I think you are doing a fine job to accommodate a business development when it abuts residential and everyone gets upset, but it needs to be done and dealt with. I do not understand why the applicant can not submit a plan to develop his property in a manner that is consistent with the ordinances the City of Novi has laid out. Why does this need to be a zero sum game. I have read the zoning ordinance several times, and have not found the exceptions to those rules that the applicant seems to think apply to him. Why can there be no middle ground that satisfies the applicant who wishes to develop this property and protects the residents of Novi, who depend on the city government to protect everyone’s interest.


Linda Lemke: This project has been a source of frustration and problems for a lot of people for a long time. The proposed plan that you have before you represents a lot of changes. In regard to the applicant there are a lot of motions attached with the Woodland Permit, which also go to a court hearing on a Woodland Violation to take care of some of the screening when we get the Final Site Plan. The two (2) variances that are before you tonight that are driven by the fact that there is a woodland there, a historic specimen tree on a regulated nominated two (2) of them in that site are items three (3) and four (4). That would be for the front yard parking variance and for the dumpster, those two (2) I can support.

Chairman Harrington: Do you gentlemen feel comfortable that you have all of the information present this evening that if you were to ask what alternative buildings could be put on site, without needing any variances, and how that would differ from what it is that is being requested here in terms of cost and economic viability? What would the practical effect on the development be if you were required to put in a similar use building without any variances? Are you prepared to address that issue or is that something you would feel more comfortable dealing with next month if we tabled this meeting?

Ben Tiseo: I could address that. We have studied the site for sometime. I doubt very much, if we could get a building on this site that would require not variance.

Chairman Harrington: So the answer is yes if we wanted to get to that issue. You are comfortable with that?

Ben Tiseo: Yes.

Chairman Harrington: Board members, we have a notice issue here, and I would like to know what the board feel in terms of considering this case on the merits. How you would want to handle what appears to be a notice issue and whether there is a technical violation or not. The chair senses that if they are interested property owners who want to be at a public meeting, they are entitled to be here. We do not have to make a formal finding whether there was technical compliance or not. This is an important enough issue that I would continue this hearing until the December if the board felt that was appropriate. How much further do we want to go into the substance of merits this evening when certainly there will be additional input next month from neighbors who may be interested in hearing that this is all we can do out there. That there is no practical alternative that is economically feasible and in fact we are deprived of our economic use of this property unless we could get some variance relief. Does it make more sense to go into those issues when everyone is here? What does the board think?

Member Reinke: I think we need to stop at this point. The petitioner is prepared to go further into what the effects would be if he tried to do something with no variances at all. Before going into all that, I think we need to have all the residents here. I think it should be tabled. I think it should be verified that all of the residents in the required distance be notified and have ample opportunity to be at our next meeting. That way we can go through this one time only.

Member Brennan: I would like to make a recommendation. Do you have a Homeowner Association in your subdivision?

Kathleen Harmon: Yes.

Member Brennan: I would recommend that that be the interface to the applicant.

Kathleen Harmon: I am not sure that I understand what you mean.

Member Brennan: I would recommend that the president of the Homeowner Association be the party to initiate any potential dialogue.

Ben Tiseo: May we request to be put first on the agenda?

Chairman Harrington: We will consider your request. I recommend that between now and the next meeting, in fact I urge, and my first question will be, that there be some communication between the development and the effected homeowners. If only to shorten the meeting next month. If you have information, because one of the area we would like to hear about is if the property could be developed without the variances. If you have information on that issue or you would like to prepare a correspondence to us, which would be included in our packet, share that with the property owners so that they know what they would be facing. In fact, you may want to outline, because I am not familiar as we speak how this project has gone through planning and the various evolution of the project. All projects evolve when they go through the planning process. I am sure some of the opponents know that. We do not know that. I think it would be helpful for us to have a summary of "here is where we started and here is where we ended up and there is nothing else we could do. Or if we do we are looking at something at a quarter of the size which would not be economically viable". Get that in writing within the next two (2) weeks, which is the cut off for the next meeting. Share that with the petitioners and the subdivision association. If anyone thinks it would be useful to physically talk rather than just write letters, I would encourage it, but you do not want to jeopardize your litigation. I would encourage you to try to bridge some of your differences. Maybe if the project is going to go in, there is not objection to the parking. Maybe the real issue is the dumpster or the thing in the front. Maybe there could be some give and take here rather than a hard cold clash.

Ben Tiseo: We would also encourage the city to be part of that discussion, because most of the site is generated as you see it at the request of the consultants.

Douglas Hyman: It is very difficult when somebody says and they have council and council writes a letter…it is impossible to have communication…

Chairman Harrington: Then don’t. It was just a suggestion.

Member Brennan: I suggested to work through the president of the association, have the city involved in the discussion.

Kathleen Harmon: You want the president of the Homeowners Association to be the liaison to keep things amicable. Will that Homeowners Association be getting the notice and information that you have requested to be submitted in writing regarding the whole history of everything?

Chairman Harrington: You may want to see that they get a copy. They may not be interested.

Douglas Hyman: The issues are for a variance request. Mr. Costella would like to make a comment.

Monte Costella: I am Mr. Costella, I am the owner of the property. I have owned for a number of years. It seems like every time I would like to, in fact I have erected two (2) other buildings there, our own building and Dales Graphics. We have had objections every time. I have met with these owners. At one time I met at their home. The suggestion was that I donate the land for a park, which was unacceptable. I have been over their home with Mrs. Harmon.

Chairman Harrington: It is a suggestion that we make routinely in these cases, because sometimes communication can help bridge differences. If you do not feel comfortable doing that…we do not need a history of what has not worked.

Monte Costella: I don’t want to talk about history. I just have no objection of meeting with them. I would like to know if me meeting with them would change their view on setbacks? Is that what we are trying to do?

Member Kocan: I have two (2) questions for the board, because I think the notice issue is very high on the list. I am in a subdivision that abuts industrial. I do have developers that call me before they build any development in Hickory Corporate Park. We do have discussion and sit down and talk about it. I know that it can be done. The ownership of the land directly to the north, is that your property Mr. Costella, was that a split property to create this size property line?

Monte Costella: That is mine.

Member Kocan: So you created this property site the size that it is. The other question that I have was, the people that did not get notice for tonight’s meeting, do you know did they get notice to the Planning Commission Public Hearing that was a month ago?

Kathleen Harmon: Several of them did yes.

Member Kocan: But, they did not to this one?

Kathleen Harmon: Correct.

Member Kocan: In that case I recommend that we take a vote a postpone this meeting until the time that everybody is properly notified. With regard to residents on finding out information with what is in the packets. As soon as the packets go out, about 10 days prior to the meeting, the packet are in the library and at City Hall. Any of the information that we as Zoning Board of Appeal members have is accessible to all of the residents. You will probably just get notice of the meeting, but the packet of information is available.

Chairman Harrington: When is the December meeting?

Sarah Marchioni: December 5, 2000.

Member Brennan: How are we going to make the extra step to make sure that the residents get the notice?

Don Saven: We normally go through GIS, but now we will have to go back through Equalizer to make sure.

Sarah Marchioni: The first woman was notified. She was on the list and was sent a notification. The second woman is not on our system that is provided by Oakland County.




Sarah Marchioni: I wanted to have the board opinion on how they would like to have items placed on the agenda. I usually place the tabled items at the beginning of the meeting. I reviewed previous agenda to found that Nancy split signs, residential and other. I was not sure if the board would prefer to have the items placed on the agenda in this manner?

Chairman Harrington: I would rather keep it as first come first serve, except for tables. I do not think we need a formal fixed rule on this. I do not think people should be punished simply because they have a sign case. Their time is important like everybody else. I would tend to think first come first serve. Is there a reason that we should not?

Sarah Marchioni: No. However, a lot of residents complained about being last on the agenda.

Chairman Harrington: I think the reason for that was that it was thought that we could save time, because certain city persons would not necessarily have to be here for the sign cases, and they could leave after the primary docket.

Member Reinke: I need more time when there is a fifteen (15) case packet.

Chairman Harrington: I would like to see it a priority that the minutes get to us from the proceeding meeting in our packets before the next meeting. For a couple of reasons. Especially as we get into the winter months and the holiday seasons, we have board members who may have excused absences that may be at the next meeting. They really need to know what happened if they are going to have intelligent input. The other thing is that I found the minutes from the last meeting to be most helpful with the first five (5) cases, which were tabled. I was able to figure out exactly out why it was tabled without having to remember it. if there is anything that we could do to encourage the city to say that we really need this stuff. I would be happy to do it. I know that everyone is short staffed over there. But I think it is an important board. I think what we do is important. We really need those tools.

Member Kocan: On that same line. Minutes from the Planning Commission, like this case was heard two (2) weeks ago. We do not have anything that states that the staff needs time to write up minutes so that we could have them. Instead of getting them the day of the meeting. It is important, especially when there is a public meeting and there have been residents that have spoke ahead of time. There has to be at least a two (2) week time frame between the Planning Commission and a ZBA hearing.

Don Saven: Mr. Chairman, is there anyone planning on not being here for the December 5th meeting? Because Mr. Sanghvi stated that he would probably be out that meeting. I wanted to make sure there was not anybody else.

The Meeting was adjourned at 11:36 p.m.




Sarah Marchioni

Community Planning Assistant

Transcribed by: Christine Otsuji

December 8, 2000

Date Approved: January 9, 2001