SPECIAL PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
JANUARY 29, 2009
7:00 P.M.


I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman Tony Butrum.

II. ROLL CALL

Members Present: Richard Bauer, Tony Butrum, David Okum, Carolyn Ghantous, Lawrence Hawkins III, Steve Galster and Tom Vanover

Others Present: Don Shvegzda, City Engineer; Anne McBride, City Planner and
Mr. Jeff Tulloch, Economic Development Director for the City of Springdale,
Mayor Webster

III. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF JANUARY 13, 2009

With one correction noted by Mr. Okum; on the first page the address for the Thompson Thrift proposed development needed to be corrected to reflect 11580 Princeton Pike; Mr. Okum moved to adopt the January 13, 2009 Planning Commission Meeting Minutes and Mr. Vanover seconded the motion and with a unanimous vote the minutes were approved.

IV. REPORT ON COUNCIL

Mr. Galster: At the last Council meeting we had a representative from Duke Energy and they are scheduled to come back to our first Council meeting in February and see if they can give us some answers as to why the power outages continue to happen.

V. CORRESPONDENCE
a. Zoning Bulletin – December 25, 2008

VI. NEW BUSINESS

A. Thompson Thrift Development Plan – 11580 Princeton Pike

Mr. Jeff Kanable: I am here representing Thompson Thrift Development, joined tonight by Chris Hake, development associate with Thompson Thrift; new to our team is Jose Kreutz, Director of Project Management.
I really appreciate the Planning Commission taking the time to consider this project.
Ms. Ramona Masse from 5/3rd, the trust administrator on the trust called at the last minute and she could not make this meeting because of the weather.
We last met on January 13th, 2009 and at that time some recommendations were made to make improvements to the site plan and that is what we did. With help of Staff we made some revisions.
In summary: the first revision was to bring the curb line all along the parking area along Kemper and along Princeton Pike in two feet. This increased landscaping two feet along that entire stretch, which took our impervious surface ratio from 83.5 to 81.8 percent. The second thing we did is added a door along the west elevation on the Vitamin shop. We also added an awning, with that we added an awning to the front, as well. What we also did is we added six parallel spaces to the rear of the building which increases the number or parking spaces to 59.

(At this time Ms. McBride read her staff report and summarized Mr. McErlane’s staff report as Mr. McErlane was absent from the meeting. Following Ms. McBride, Mr. Shvegzda read his staff report.)

Mr. Bauer: Ms. McBride, could you explain the definition of ISR?

Ms. McBride: The ISR that is required for that district is .75 and the applicant had gone to our Board of Zoning Appeals and got relief for the BP site, that it could be 80 percent.
We did have some discussion at the last Planning Commission meeting whether pervious pavers is open space, and the answer is “No”; by our code open space is green space, it is landscaped area, it is not pavement, it is not building.
It was the intent of the City when the code was written that 25% of a site in this district would be green space, it would be landscaped, it would be lawn; when we did the code pervious pavers and all of those kind of things had not really been developed at that point and time. Between Mr. McErlane and I we have a list and some of the Commission members have contributed some items that need to be updated or addressed or just practical housekeeping matters and that is going to be one of those items.

(At this point Chairman Butrum opened the floor for discussion.)

Mr. Okum: Ms. McBride did you say that they put the gates on the dumpster enclosure?

Ms. McBride: Yes, they did.

Mr. Galster: Is the fencing around the patio only going to be where that patio touches the pavement in the parking lot and not wrapping all the way around that patio?

Mr. Kanable: It is currently. After reviewing the lease with Qdoba it requires us to enclose that patio area, so our plan is to enclose it. The walkway in front will remain open.

Mr. Galster: You are going to continue to work with Ponderosa to see if you can work out something behind there?

Mr. Kanable: We will continue to work with them.

Mr. Galster: In reference to the tree shortage, given the fact that you have donated the land for the City streetscape and also contributed to some type of construction for the landmark, I am o.k. with putting the shortages into the rest of the project once that gets redeveloped.
My only concern is when you look at the layout of the building, when you show the entryway of the Vitamin shop, you are basically walking into storage shelves; Is that something that we are waiting to see?

Mr. Kanable: I called the Vitamin shop and asked them for a very quick turn around time for their layout and I don’t know that a whole lot of thought was put into it, they just added the door and showed a brief configuration, but I am sure they will pay much more attention to that as we progress.

Mr. Galster: As far as the parking goes, I am more comfortable given the fact that we have added additional parking spaces and that we are going to require the employees to park on the Ponderosa Lot and the fact that we are looking at the Ponderosa resurfacing to try to get more parking spaces.
The only thing else is, I know our code allows up to a 7’ monument sign and that seems awfully high to me considering the entryway. I am wondering if we could reduce that height down to 6 feet, still allowing to get your tenants on there.

Ms. McBride: There was one other comment with regards to parking, one other consideration that we had put to the Commission; when they did have some tenants for the remaining 4000 s.f. we are going to work with them to make sure they are lower parking generators; it was suggested the Game Stop or some of the other folks that would be lower parking generators and there are standards for that, how many parking spaces are required and so forth that American Planning Association.

Mr. Okum: The corner of the back end of the building is going to be visible from 747 and tying that to mechanical units that are going to be on that roof top, that will need to be screened. The picture shows the parapet on the front on the building. I know you have added lights to the back of the building and brick on the back of the building. We need to address that corner because the building is sort of on an angle with the road and Ponderosa is back quite a bit.

Mr. Kanable: On that rear elevation there is a separate screening mechanism for the rear of the building.

Mr. Okum: Is there anything we could do when we are doing plantings to give us a little screening to that elevation on that corner that would be on the southwestern corner, because right now on their landscape plan they have rose bushes and day lilies and junipers. I am looking for height in that line of sight that you see going northbound on 747; that you are going to see the back end of the building.

Mr. Kanable: We want to have a clear-line site so people can make a right turn out; and we did make some pretty significant upgrades to the rear of this building because we wanted it to feel like a four sided building. We feel it is an attractive rear for a building.

Mr. Okum: So you are saying that there is no need to plant some of the tree replacement as a result of the building elevation being attractive on the rear of the building.
The modular stone work I think should compliment the building colors, instead of the concrete block.
Also, I wanted to make sure that you understand that staff’s comment regarding that western door that it be functional for ingress and egress?

Mr. Kanable: We do understand.

Mr. Okum: And the Vitamin shop clearly understands that?

Mr. Kanable: Yes.

Mr. Okum: One other question, the stone wainscot that has a fairly soft limestone look, what are the dimensions of those stones?

Mr. Kanable: They are larger than bricks.

Mr. Okum: From a distance would it have the appearance of a small block?

Mr. Kanable: The intent is to have it perceived as limestone.

Mr. Okum: Cut limestone tends to get grey and nasty over a period of time, especially in a high carbon area and then it is going to look like dirty block.

Mr. Kanable: We can work with Staff on that; my first thought is to have a rigorous maintenance schedule with a property manager and power wash those things pretty regularly.

Mr. Okum: And staff is going to work with you on your final landscape plan?

Mr. Kanable: Yes.

Mr. Vanover: Continuing with the comments concerning the monument signs; in this case where they are located, they are back off the right of way, they are halfway into the entrance. I don’t see a problem with the height.

Mr. Galster: I am not sure what the width of it is. If we put the monument signs in with the sign package and then you could get some detail understanding that we do not have problems with the two of them. If we could put that off until we have a signage package, I am o.k. with that.

Ms. McBride: Right now they would not be required to come back for signage unless you make that a condition of the parking modification.

Mr. Okum: If they conform to code on the square footage then there is no need for them to come back for signage.

Ms. McBride: And the two proposed ground mount signs, as they are, do conform to the code.

Mr. Galster: How wide are they?

Mr. Kanable: My best guess is ten feet or less.

Mr. Galster: I don’t mind dropping my objection if all the signage is to code.

Ms. McBride: Also, if the applicant does need to come back and seek a variance with regards to the amount of signage that would go to the Board of Zoning Appeals and would not come to this Commission.

Mr. Kanable: With respect to Staff’s request to review our prospective tenants that have yet to be leased for the space, it is really difficult for me to commit to that given how competitive it is right now for credit tenants in the market place, to add an additional layer of approval to this site. I feel like it would really put me at a disadvantage and it would be very difficult for me to move forward on that basis. I am happy to work with Staff, but given their right to veto, I couldn’t agree to that. So, that is something that I request be removed from the recommendations.

Ms. McBride: It wasn’t Staff’s thought to slow up that process; maybe we could agree on some perimeters of users. We don’t want to approve a specific user but at the same time Cincinnati Bell or a Kinkos can tend to be zoos at lunchtime, or what we call parking pigs.

Mr. Kanable: I really believe that the amount of research that tenants do, they identify this site; I don’t think they would sign a lease if they knew this site was underserved, but I understand your point.

Chairman Butrum: But you are still fine with the definition then that would be languaged “defining the types” as opposed to a case by case giving Staff veto power on the tenants.

Mr. Jose Kruetz: Our issue is we are the landlords in this building. Tenants in America change location every seven years, what is to say that the tenant that gets approved in year three may not be there in year six. Qdoba could decide to move out; it is a moving target and our challenge is we are not opposed to the concept of restricting tenants to those that are not parking pigs, our issue is having a layer in the commitments that when somebody in Omaha looks at six different sites across Cincinnati and they see that our site has an additional layer of approval that is needed then our tenant may say, “Just strike that one”.

Chairman Butrum: What if it was not a layer of approval but more a set definition?

Mr. Jose Kruetz: If we could agree on the language, then I don’t have a problem, it is the abstract discussion that is the problem. We don’t want to have a center that underperforms because parking is an issue.

Ms. McBride: I think that Staff’s intent is to provide more assurance to the Commission at the last meeting there was a tremendous concern from this Commission about the reduction in the parking spaces and we were trying to look for ways that might make the Commission more comfortable with that reduction in parking.

Mr. Galster: I agree with the applicant that we let them use their judgment as to what tenant fits the site. Nobody wants to over park the site to where the people can’t properly use the facility. I guess I am against putting any restriction on there that doesn’t allow them to go out and get businesses that want to relocate to Springdale.

Ms. McBride: The parking requirement is 1 per 222. Without my calculator it is 48-49 spaces that would be required.

Mr. Okum: Mr. Chairman I would like to make a motion that the proposed development for Thompson Thrift 11580 Princeton Pike be approved to include the following items:
1. Include all Staff-City Engineer-City Planner recommendations in reference to revised submitted and resubmitted plans and additional attachments.
2. This approval is conditional on approval by Springdale Board of Zoning Appeals of identified variances & conditions as set forth as required by the Board of Zoning Appeals.
3. As indicated by applicant all mechanical units shall be screened from view from adjoining properties and public right of way.
4. Tree preservation & replacement conditions to apply as a burden on the remaining part of the site prior to additional development
5. Retaining walls on the south side of the property shall consist of modular stonework to compliment building colors.
6. Landscaping shall be based on final approval by Staff.
7. West-side side doors shall be fully functional for ingress & egress during all operating hours.

Ms. McBride: I think you would want to strike my comment #10 on my Staff report.

Mr. Okum: With the exclusion of item #10 that has been added to my motion.

Mr. Kanable: With respect to Ms. McBride’s comment #9, it is important that I note I have no control over that today, but that is something that I can commit to working out with Ponderosa in hopes of obtaining their consent, but today that is not part of their lease.

Mr. Galster: What comment #9 says is that the employees shall use the Ponderosa lot.

Mr. Kanable: My point is I don’t have an agreement in place to do that.

Mr. Okum: It refers to offsite parking; it is up to you to find the location.

Ms. McBride: The parking requirements are based on square footage however what staff has considered all along is the employee parking would be off site that there was a cross-parking access agreement with the property to the south and 5 employees for Qdoba and 4 for the Vitamin shop; so that was 9 parking spaces that staff always accounted for because those employees would be parking off-site so that there would be adequate parking for the customers.

Mr. Jose Kruetz: We will continue to strive to find areas designated for parking for our employees off site, but as today we cannot make the commitment that we are going to force our employees, because our cross-parking easements don’t allow us to do that under the terms of the existing leases.

Ms. McBride: I guess the cross parking agreement does not allow you to cross park?

Mr. Hake: Let me clarify; the lot that the Tiffany Glass building is sitting on, that is the lot that has the cross access with the Ponderosa and Skyline. It is our intent to combine the lots into one. However, we cannot legally commit today.

Chairman Butrum: I am confused because the cross parking has come up in a couple of meetings.

Mr. Hake: The cross parking is for the Tiffany piece.

Mr. Okum: The only one that would apply is Qdoba?

Mr. Hake: I am not a lawyer, but that is how I interpret it. But it is clear that the Vitamin shop does not fall in it. Again we are working to get that worked out.

Chairman Butrum: But you can commit to have the employees of Qdoba or that tenant park over there then?

Mr. Kanable: “Required”, I think is difficult to enforce.

Mr. Galster: So all employee parking should be “encouraged” to be offsite? I am o.k. with that.
The other problem that I had with #9 is employees of all the tenants should park off site, who is going to use those six parallel ones that we added on the back?

Ms. McBride: Those are designed for customers.

Mr. Galster: I actually envisioned employees parking back there as opposed to customers.

Mayor Webster: I would like to expand on Mr. Galster’s point; on #9 he said encourage employees to park, maybe we could just amend her statement saying employees of all the tenants shall be requested or encouraged to park offsite. That would not limit it to just one tenant’s employees. I would object to trying to impose upon these people the type of retail tenants they could put in there. As far as the parking, who is going to enforce this? I think that the market is going drive this; if the managers of those retail spaces and restaurants don’t make their employees free up the parking spot then who is going to be hurt but the businesses and the managers. There is an incentive for them to police themselves. It is not unlike what we have down the street at UDF, I am affiliated with the bank there and it is tight parking there and we know that some of the employees will have to park on the streets and we also know if and when the City would ever decide “no parking” on the streets, we are going to probably have to park in the Municipal parking lot. I would encourage the Commission to take that into consideration. I would personally like to drive around the City and see some parking lots over parked, full parking lots. The administration whole-heartedly supports what these guys are trying to do and I think this is a first step in redeveloping this entire artery of the City.

Mr. Okum: I believe we are up to amending the motion to strike item #9 and to add “all employee parking to be encouraged to park off site”.
Mr. Galster seconded the motion and with a unanimous vote from the Planning Commission, the amended motion was approved.

Chairman Butrum: Any idea when you will start?

Mr. Kanable: I would like to be in the ground in March. I am going to do my best to meet that schedule.

VIII. ELECTION OF PLANNING COMMISSION / BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS LIAISON

A.    By a unanimous vote Mr. Dave Okum was accepted as the Planning Commission / Board of Zoning Appeals liaison for 2009.

IX. DISCUSSION

Mr. Galster: I know that Mr. McErlane is not here today, but last time we talked about the pylon sign at Cassinelli Square and the damage that is on the one on Kemper Road, actually they are damaged on the Kemper Road side as well as the 747 side, the steel columns that are underneath the pylon poles are now exposed on both of those, so we need to do something to get that fixed and I think we still need to look at some other way of handling these vacant tenant signs as opposed to just painting them black.

Ms. McBride: I think it is two separate issues; the state of the existing structure which goes under our property maintenance code and I will follow up with Mr. McErlane about that. The second issue is how we can word it to address signs for tenants that are no longer in the City, as well as when they put the boards up on the windows those need to be painted in the colors that match the accents as opposed to the plywood that we have down here at Applebees.

X. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

No Chairman’s report was presented.

XI. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Galster moved to adjourn and Mr. Vanover seconded the motion and the Planning Commission adjourned at 8:29 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________,2009 ___________________________________
            Chairman Tony Butrum


________________________,2009 ___________________________________
            Lawrence Hawkins III, Secretary