WORKSHOP MEETING – VILLAGE OF NORTHVILLE
Monday, January 20, 2020
The Village Board met Monday, January 20, 2020 at 3:30 PM at the Village offices.
Present: John Spaeth, Mayor
Steve Collins, Trustee
Sue Eckert, Trustee
John Markiewicz, Trustee
Sue Sedon, Trustee
Wendy Reu, Village Clerk
Mayor Spaeth called the Workshop meeting to order at 3:30. p.m.
Mayor Spaeth explained the purpose of the workshop was to discuss how we proceed with Zoning after the proposed amendment was not moved forward at the December meeting. He explained for the public present that they were welcome to sit in on the meeting but there would not be a public comment portion to the workshop.
Mayor Spaeth gave background on how we got to where we are today. He stated at the last meeting, the vote on new zoning was defeated. He stated that on January 6th, communication was sent to the Board indicating options for moving forward. Mayor Spaeth stated that just making no decision wasn’t the proper way to proceed and that a formal decision should be made. He indicated that he outlined options for the Board and requested a workshop to discuss them. The options he presented were as follows:
- Go forward with new zoning with some modifications
- Start from scratch and come up with an entirely different zoning package
- Vote to stay with the old zoning.
Mayor Spaeth stated that all the Board members agreed that formal action needed to take place and the Workshop meeting was set up.
Trustee Markiewicz stated he felt there was room for updates on the old zoning.
Trustee Eckert stated she felt there needed to be a happy medium between the old and new zoning. Mayor Spaeth stated the purpose of the workshop was to determine the steps moving forward and not get into details of what it would look like.
Mayor Spaeth stated that after the last meeting, he took the time to look at what issues each option would present for the Board. He stated the new zoning was drafted based on our new Comprehensive Plan. He stated that the State mandates new zoning that allows the things in the Comprehensive Plan to happen. Mayor Spaeth stated that if someone comes forward with a project that is based on the Comprehensive Plan, but they can’t do it because our zoning doesn’t allow it, it presents a legal issue for the Village. Mayor Spaeth cited for example that page 50 of the new zoning pertains to Housing stock, which addresses the Comprehensive Plan that called out the need for new housing in the Village. Mayor Spaeth stated that the old zoning does not support any new housing in those areas. Trustee Sedon stated that the Planned Development Districts provided an intense process for a developer to build a project. Trustee Collins stated that in the new zoning, we blocked all mobile home parks. Mayor Spaeth stated that having zoning that does not reflect what is called out in our Comprehensive Plan presents a problem. Trustee Markiewicz questioned why we ever did a new Comprehensive Plan. Mayor Spaeth stated that it was because the municipality was constantly getting turned down for grants for projects such as the walkway at the spillway and we were told it was because of Comprehensive Plan had not been updated in over 20 years and it did not target areas in the Village that we were applying for grants for. Trustee Eckert agreed and stated that there was great concern over not getting grants. She continued and stated that whatever decision we make on zoning, we have to make sure it is in line with the Comprehensive Plan. Trustee Sedon stated that the zoning committee and Board addressed a lot of the concerns regarding the zoning map and other issues based on the public’s input.
Mayor Spaeth stated that in preparing for the workshop, he took our current zoning and tried to do a comparison to the new zoning in an effort to identify the differences between the two codes to show where there are issues. He presented a handout for the Board and stated it was an approximation because the maps are different and there is some overlay of districts. He stated he did not want to interpret or put his own opinion down for the uses in each district so he highlighted the districts/uses as follows:
Blue/Green – Easily identified
Red – New Zoning more restrictive
Yellow – New Zoning less restrictive.
Mayor Spaeth stated that commercial space within in the Village is limited and in order to preserve commercial space for commercial use, the Red areas do not allow single family homes in the commercial district.
Mayor Spaeth stated the Green area was items from new zoning that didn’t appear in old zoning. He stated for example Live/Work space, we currently do not define Live/Work space. He stated that if we do not define a use and say specifically it is permitted, then it is not permitted. He stated the code officer is left to interpret areas in the Blue section and there is a lot to be left to interpretation. He stated that our new zoning was trying to take the gray areas out of zoning and clearly define it, hence the need for more pages of the document. Mayor Spaeth stated there are several inconsistencies in our old zoning and cited an example, indicating that Daycare/Adult Care is defined in our current zoning but not permitted anywhere in the Village.
Mayor Spaeth stated that with our current zoning, it requires a lot of interpretation on the part of the code enforcement officer when projects come before him. He stated that since he has been Mayor, there have been five different code enforcement officers and each one had his own interpretation of the code. He stated that is a clear sign of trouble and there have been inconsistencies in how projects were handled as a result. He stated the goal of the zoning committee was to take away as much of the grey area, the area left for interpretation, and that accounts for a majority of the growth/size of the new zoning document. Trustee Markiewicz stated that the new zoning was meant for a small city, not the little Village of Northville. Trustee Sedon stated she felt zoning needed to be clearly stated. Trustee Markiewicz stated that we do need to update to a degree but not to the extent of the new zoning.
During the discussion, Mayor Spaeth stated he did not hear anyone say that the old zoning was sufficient, and he asked the Board if that was their feeling. The Board agreed that sticking with the old zoning was not something they wanted to entertain, citing that we need to have zoning that is not the old zoning.
Mayor Spaeth asked the Board to explore Option #1, start with new zoning and pare it down. He stated we could revisit the new zoning. He suggested that everyone take a real hard look at it, under the new lense of what we heard from the public, in an effort to make it more palatable to the Board.
Mayor Spaeth explained the adoption process as it currently stands. Mayor Spaeth stated the new zoning is still in front of us. He stated if we made non-substantive changes to it and we could revote on it again within 62 days of the initial public hearing. He stated that if we held a vote beyond 62 days, it would require another public hearing. Mayor Spaeth stated if we make substantive changes to the new document, it will require another 239 -m review along with a review by the FC Planning Department. Mayor Spaeth also informed the Board that a grant was awarded to the Village and those funds were utilized to pay for the consultants work on the new zoning amendment. He stated the grant deadline was July 31st. He stated that he has been in communication with the Department of State and they will be wanting the final withdrawal paperwork by late March. Mayor Spaeth stated there is a potential for not getting all of our reimbursement from the grant as we have not adopted the zoning the consultant has worked on. He stated he is fairly confident we will get back a portion but there is no guarantee we will get back the entire $ 40,000.00. Mayor Spaeth stated he is only informing the Board of this as he wants them to know all the details.
Mayor Spaeth stated that it now appears that the Board has three options since they have decided to not stay with the current zoning. The options are as follows:
- Start with the old zoning and move forward with it in comparison to the Comprehensive Plan
- Start with new zoning, read it through again, and modify as needed, while keeping it consistent with the Comprehensive Plan
- Start front scratch
After discussion, the Board agreed that starting from scratch was not an option. Mayor
Spaeth polled the Board to see how they would like to proceed, and the results were as follows:
Trustee Eckert – start with new zoning
Trustee Markiewicz- start with old zoning
Trustee Sedon – start with new zoning
Trustee Collins – start with new zoning
Mayor Spaeth – start with new zoning
Mayor Spaeth stated that Scott Henze from the FC Planning Department would more than likely assist the Board with the review of the new zoning and discuss proposed revisions. He indicated that Scott not only worked with the Committee on the zoning but also the Comprehensive Plan, so he could help explain why certain items are in the document if the Board has questions.
After continued discussion, Trustee Eckert made a motion for the Board to take a critical look at the new proposed zoning document, making modifications as necessary yet keeping it compatible with the Comprehensive Plan. The motion was seconded by Trustee Sedon and carried by voice vote as follows:
Aye: Mayor Spaeth, Trustee Collins, Trustee Eckert, Trustee Sedon
Nay: Trustee Markiewicz
Mayor Spaeth stated that in the interest of time, we should schedule another workshop. Prior to the second workshop, he asked the Board to give the proposed new zoning document a thorough review. Trustee Markiewicz requested a copy of the new zoning.
The Board decided on two tentative dates for the workshop meeting, February 4th or February 10th, and would decide based on Scott Henze’s availability. The meeting would be held at 6:30 p.m.
The Board also moved the Regular monthly meeting of February to February 11th due to the absence of the Clerk and Treasurer during the week of February 17th.
There being no further business before the Board, motion was made to adjourn by Trustee Collins, seconded by Trustee Sedon and passed by voice vote with no one dissenting. The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
Wendy L. Reu, Clerk