PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

13 FEBRUARY 1996

7:00 P.M.

 

I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:04 p.m. by Chairman William G. Syfert.

II. ROLL CALL

Members Present: Councilman Steve Galster, David Okum, Barry Tiffany,

Councilman Robert Wilson, James Young, Richard

Huddleston and Chairman William G. Syfert.

Others Present: William K. McErlane, Building Official

Wayne Shuler, City Engineer

Don Shvegzda, Assistant City Engineer

IV. CORRESPONDENCE

A. Discussion re Tri-County Mall Proposed Modification to Entrance A -

Planning Commission Minutes of 9/12/95 - Pages 23-27

B. January 22, 1996 Letter from William McErlane to Joseph Perin re

Signs at 12000 Princeton Pike

C. Planning Commissioners Journal #21 - Winter 1996

D. 2/7 Memo from Cecil W. Osborn re Cellular Phone Towers

V. OLD BUSINESS

A. Douglas & Arlene Eades Request Final Plan Approval - Phase 1 of Charing Cross Estates, Springfield Pike (Landominiums)

(tabled 1/9/96)

Mr. McErlane reported that the applicant indicated that they wish to come in at the March meeting. Mr. Tiffany moved to table and Mr. Young seconded the motion. By voice vote, all voted aye, and the item was tabled.

B. Approval of Modification to Entrance A Tri-County Mall

(tabled 1/9/96)

There were no representatives present. Mr. Shuler reported I talked to the applicant yesterday and they indicated they would be here. Mr. Syfert stated we will move this down to after New Business.

VI. NEW BUSINESS

A. Approval of a Proposed Addition at Springdale Family Medical Center, 212 West Sharon Road

Dr. Thomas Todd stated we built the building in 1984. My son will join me in practice, and we will have four family doctors at that location. We want to add another suite on the back on the old Spooners Pizza property we bought about five years ago. We will have 12 office spaces and we will be able to have three doctors there at one time. What was Spooners will be torn down. The property is 3,000 square feet on the first floor and a complete basement under that. This will be an additional 1500 square feet with a complete basement so our property will go from 6,000 square feet to 9,000 square feet.

 

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VI A ADDITION-SPRINGDALE FAMILY MEDICAL CENTER-212 WEST SHARON

Dr. Todd continued those other plans show the break up of the different offices. There will be a second entrance to the waiting room and you will be able to come in from the back parking lot. We will have 38 parking spaces.

Mr. Okum asked if there were two entrances and two exits out of the lower level? Dr. Todd indicated there were. Mr. Okum wondered if there would be windows in the lower level, and the architect, Mr. Lon Purcell stated there would be six standard basement windows 28 inches wide and 17 inches tall.

Mr. Syfert called on Mr. McErlane for his report. Mr. McErlane stated as far as the zoning is concerned, this property is currently zoned GB, but it also is in the Route 4 Corridor District, Subarea D, which requires pretty substantial setbacks. When the Corridor standards were put together, the consultants felt that the properties along the southern part of the corridor might be consolidated and built as larger parcels. That was the reason for substantial setbacks for the parking and the building. This existing building is about 28 feet from Sharon Road. The corridor standards require 100 foot setback. The new addition is approximately 26 feet, which is not a substantial encroachment over what currently exists.

Mr. McErlane continued we received a landscaping plan, but none of the plant material was identified. There are no existing trees of any substance that are being removed, so there is no requirement for tree replanting. We donít have a lighting photometric plan, but we did receive information on the light fixtures. We would recommend that they meet the 1/2 foot candle requirement. There was no building material and color palette, but we assume that the colors will be the same as is there presently.

Mr. McErlane reported there will be variances required for the front yard setback to the building(100 feet is required, 26 feet shown), the front yard setback to parking, (50 feet required, 2 feet shown which is consistent with what is currently on Sharon Road). It is 10 feet on Springfield Pike. The rear yard setback, which is required to be 35 feet is shown as 5.6 feet. The east setback to the parking is required to be 5 feet and it is shown as 1 foot. The setback to the dumpster is required to be 5 feet, and is shown as two to two and one-half feet. You may be able to meet the five foot requirement. Subarea D requires plantings in that 50 foot grass area requires four three inch deciduous trees and three six foot evergreens for every 100 feet of frontage, as well as one tree for every 40 feet of frontage on Springfield Pike. All together they are required 37 trees in the front yard, which is another item which needs a variance. The lot coverage is fairly close to the 70% maximum for structures and pavement. Parking requirements per the code are 30 spaces for the square footage of the building, and one per each employee. Thirty-eight spaces are shown on the plan; I donít know the number of employees.

Mr. McErlane continued one of the things that doesnít show up on the drawing is the fact that there is a property swap along the property line. There is an odd jog in the property line, and they are exchanging properties with the property to the north in order to straighten that line out. We also are recommending that since there is another property line that goes through the addition that there be a consolidation of properties.

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VI A ADDITION-SPRINGDALE FAMILY MEDICAL CENTER-212 WEST SHARON

Mr. Tiffany asked what the setback requirements would be for GB, and Mr. McErlane answered the front yard setback to the building would be 50 feet and 10 feet for the parking area. The rear yard setback is the GB requirement and the parking setbacks also are GB requirements.

Mr. Wilson asked the applicant if he had talked to the neighbors to the west to appraise them of what you are doing and getting input from them, and Dr. Todd answered Ed Brankamp is very familiar with all of this. There is a cement wall along there that separates this grassy slip from the parking lot. There was some concern about changing that; in the letter he says he liked it the way it was. He put permanent trees along that property that he did not want disturbed. Mr. Syfert asked if he intended to disturb them and Dr. Todd answered that he did not. Mr. Wilson asked if he would keep the wall there, and Dr. Todd responded that he was. Mr. Wilson wondered if Mr. Brankamp was the only one he had spoken with in the area, and Dr. Todd reported that Dr. Meeks has seen all these plans, and we are trading the land back and forth from all the different deeds. There wouldnít be any problem with making this a part of the whole parcel, as Bill recommended.

Mr. Shvegzda reported both the existing and Spooners sites total less than one-half acre, so detention is not required, but we still need storm sewer calculations. There needs to be a consolidation of the plat to remove the existing lot line for the proposed expansion. Mr. Huddleston asked if we know the status of the property consolidation and the swap, and Dr. Todd answered the lawyers have it and have had it for two months. They are supposed to be recording it. Mr. Huddleston commented you need to consolidate that plat and that would need to be done before they could go forward.

Mr. Huddleston asked if there is anything in the Thoroughfare Plan on Sharon Road or Route 4 that this conflicts with in terms of future anticipated take? Mr. Shvegzda responded there are some plans in the future for widening and improvements on Route 4, but that is some years away. There is no change in the existing site on the Route 4 side, so there is nothing that directly affects it. On Sharon Road, I donít believe there are any plans for any widening or improvements there.

Mr. Okum said on the air conditioning units that you are placing in front of the building at your main patient entrance, do you have any concerns about the sound emissions of those units? Mr. Purcell responded they will have a stone wall around them, and the new equipment is pretty quiet. Mr. Okum commented the stone wall is nice, and we like how your building looks, but I just wondered if those AC units could go somewhere instead of out in front where everybody will be going into the offices. Mr. Purcell answered it is 15 feet back from the entrance and pretty close to the back stairs.

Mr. Okum said it shows a seven foot high wood fence around your dumpster area; will that have gates on it? Itís not on the plans for the dumpster, and we will need that to be addressed. Mr. Purcell responded that will be addressed, and we will put gates on it. We are matching the wood siding on the building. Mr. Okum asked if there is residential behind where the dumpster is located, and Mr. Purcell answered it is residential on the west side, but the rest is commercial. Dr. Todd added Ed Brandenburg would be the closest; actually the dumpster sets there right now.

 

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VI A ADDITION-SPRINGDALE FAMILY MEDICAL CENTER-212 WEST SHARON RD

Mr. Galster said I think this is a major improvement to the site that is there now. I think the makeup of the existing building with the stone face complies with the Corridor Study. It is an attractive building and if the addition is the same will be an attractive one. Most of the setbacks that will need variances are no worse than what is existing on the site right now. I am in favor of it, and unless somebody else has comments, I will make a motion.

Mr. Wilson commented one of the concerns was parking spaces; how many full time employees do you have? Mr. Todd answered about eight, and Mr. Wilson said so you are right on the money. Were you aware of the variances on the setbacks when you did the planning? Mr. Purcell responded I was very much aware of them when I first designed the building in 1983. I was cognizant of the fact that this was the south gateway to Springdale. I designed a progressive building. This created some design problems, but we solved those to keep the same character with the stone and the grays to have a building that is attractive from all sides.

Mr. Wilson stated I am looking at what is required and what is shown and Iím trying to see if there is any correction we can make on the addition to get it closer to code, but apparently, it cannot be done. Mr. Purcell responded this is the maximum space to work within.

Mr. Galster moved to approve the plans as submitted with:

1. Submittal of the photometric plan;

2. Setback of dumpster becoming in compliance in terms of

the side yard;

3. That the dumpster be screened on all four sides;

4. That the plat be consolidated;

5. That the issue of the storm water trench drain be handled to

the satisfaction of Mr. Shvegzda.

Mr. Young seconded the motion. Mr. Syfert stated to clarify, we are giving our approval and passing it on to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Voting aye were Mr. Galster, Mr. Young, Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Okum, Mr. Tiffany, Mr. Wilson and Chairman Syfert. Approval was granted with seven affirmative votes.

Mr. Syfert told the applicant that the Board of Zoning Appeals meets next Tuesday night at 7:30 P.M.

B. Conditional Use Permit for Proposed 36-S.F. Cellular Telephone Equipment Building and 135í Tubular Steel Monopole and Antenna Platform, 12110 Princeton Pike (GEEAA Park)

Mike Jones, Architect, Jester Jones & Shiffer introduced Sue Henson, a representative of Cellular I. We are proposing a new site; we have been before this board previously proposing a site on the Perin property, which is slightly west of this location. We entered into negotiations with GEEAA, and they have an area in the back and near the railroad tracks and down towards the creek which is unused and which they felt would be an appropriate location for this.

 

 

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13 February 1996

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VI B CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT-CELLULAR I 12110 PRINCETON PK (GEEAA)

Mr. Jones reported we are proposing a customized building with brick exterior of low maintenance materials, shingled roof and heavily landscaped around the base so it will work in with the rest of the park. Also, we have deleted the fence that we typically put around these sites. We have the cellular coax cable coming out of the monopole and up through the slab of the building so there is no chance that kids would play on it or that there would be any danger. The site itself is screened by the railroad embankment tracks that are probably 25 or 30 feet above the site elevation. This site is roughly the same topography as what it was at Perins; the topo runs about 635 or 640 feet, so the top elevation of this monopole will be within five feet of what it was in the prior application. As a comparison, the top of this platform will be roughly the heights of the freeway light standards along the exit ramps to Princeton Pike from I-275. Those were about 90 foot poles. Mr. Jones reported I have a handheld version of the building elevations which you can look at. I also have a photo simulation to show where the monopole will be located. This was taken from the AMOCO Station and we superimposed the monopole on top.

Mr. Jones reported we received the correspondence relative to the temporary easement that the railroad relocation will require; as the overpass gets designed and built, they will relocate the tracks, and will need a temporary easement. That appears to be encroaching on the edge of our lease area five to 10 feet. The park has not cared where exactly the lease area is, so we can shift the area over from there. I hope to be able to show that as part of the building permit submittal.

Mr. Galster asked if Cellular I has the tower off I-75 by Sharon Road exit; it is a monopole. Mr. Jones answered no. Mr. Galster continued as I understand from previous discussions, there will be no outside lights on this building, no red flashing light on top of the pole. Mr. Jones confirmed this. Mr. Galster asked if he forsaw any need for any additional towers throughout the City of Springdale, or will this tower cover at least our city? Ms. Henson reported it could get to capacity so

that another one might be required in the vicinity, not necessarily in this city. Mr. Jones added it could be in Springdale, but it could be another area between two other existing monopoles. The capacity sites are like another telephone exchange, and it would depend on the traffic and volume of the calls; it is hard to know. Mr. Galster commented so theoretically you could have two towers standing next to each other. Mr. Jones answered not next to each other. Another tower might be located between this one and the next one. The problem you have with these towers is they cannot overpower each other. If you put two of them next to each other, the signal would be too unbalanced. . They have to be spaced a relatively equal distance apart. Mr. Galster asked the busiest area in which Cellular I has towers? I am trying to get an idea of how close another one would be. Are we looking at Beacon Hills or Oxford Hills? Mr. Jones answered typically they are between one and three miles apart. The capacity sites may be necessary, and the height of the system could come down. Mr. Galster responded so if the height requirement of this one would decrease in the future, would you come back and replace that pole with a smaller pole? So you would lower the height on this one if in fact another one in the general area would need to go up? Mr. Jones answered yes, and that would also come at that lower height, between 80 and 110 feet. Mr. Galster asked if this could be tied into the Conditional Use Permit, so that if the height requirement changes, the tower would change as well?

 

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VI B CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT-CELLULAR I-12110 PRINCETON PIKE (GEEAA)

Mr. Jones responded I do not have any problem doing that; we have done that for other locations. The only thing I would like to be included is that it be based on the engineering requirements.

Mr. Tiffany said I donít know if I am any happier with it or not. Mr. Osborn did some homework on this and put some numbers together that frankly scare me to death. There are approximately 20,000 transmission facilities for mobile phones right now in the U.S., and by the year 2,000, there will be 115,000. Thatís almost six for every one that there is now. If we put six more to cover the area that this one is going to cover by the year 2,000, weíre looking at four years away; that is incredible. I understand the demand for mobile service is going through the roof, but I donít know that to keep putting up towers is the answer. There is a push across parts of the country to hide these things, put them in church steeples or make them look like street lights or pine trees.

Ms. Henson commented as we get more and more towers, the height can come down and we could use existing structures like light poles. Mr. Tiffany said what would be wrong with putting something like this on the top of an existing building? Ms. Henson answered thereís nothing wrong if there is one tall enough. Mr. Tiffany said McAlpinís isnít tall enough? Ms. Henson answered you are talking about on the other side of the interstate which is not the line of site. Mr. Tiffany asked about Princeton Hill; it is on the south side of I-275. I am grasping at straws here. Mr. Jones responded those kind of criteria get looked at. Every time we have a search area we try to find a tall building and a willing landlord, and that is not always available. The technology is also changing from analog to digital. Hopefully the existing systems will be able to handle it. From what I have seen and heard, that appears to be where the real breakthroughs will happen. Not only will the system get lower, but the capacity will increase without the need for additional sites. In the year 2000 it is much more likely that this will happen.

Mr. Tiffany stated I am not just looking at Cellular I. As you know, there are laws that prohibit any mobile communication company from having an equal share of the market. Currently there are limits of two handlers in this area; that will change very soon, and we will have half a dozen more competitors coming in and all six of them will come in here and say whereís our tower. I donít know what we are going to do. I canít see having six more towers throughout Springdale all at 135 feet or higher than that. I am more uncomfortable than ever with this whole thing. I do appreciate the effort to get it further away from the highway; I think it is a better looking package, but I donít know how I feel overall about it.

Mr. Okum commented I have the same concerns. In the Cincinnati market, are there common shared use of the towers? Mr. Jones answered on occasion there have been. It depends on the search area and the engineers from our competitors being willing to work with our engineers. I do not know as much of the detail they go through, but sometimes there are interference problems based on the height of their antenna versus ours. I know the sectoring that Ameritech uses is about 14 degrees askew from what Cellular One uses so their system starts going off into a different geographic direction. We like to do it if at all possible. The same kinds of concerns that you have we know we will be facing more land more. We are constantly trying to find alternative solutions. We try to do a co-location if at possible.

 

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VI B CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT-CELLULAR I-12110 PRINCETON PK-GEEAA

Mr. Okum asked if there were a shared use in the Cincinnati marketplace now, between Ameritech and Cellular I? Mr. Jones answered yes; one of the other companies put a co-location on top of Deaconess Hospital. Both of us put a common equipment building on top; their tenants are on the penthouse and ours are out along the edge of the roof with screening. It worked for both of us. We do make a good faith effort to try to do as much of that type of thing as we can.

Mr. Okum asked if they put in the new unit at Forest Park and I-275 by the Discovery Zone? Mr. Jones confirmed that they did, and Mr. Okum stated it is abominable; it is mass ugly; unbelievable. Mr. Jones commented it is not done yet. Mr. Okum asked if he anticipates that the unit building would need to be changed size wise to accommodate the amount of equipment? Mr. Jones answered no, adding that the new technology will allow the equipment to get smaller. Mr. Okum asked if digital were in other cities, and Mr. Jones stated that it is still in the experimental stage; we are working on it. They are finding that there is a delay built into it. Mr. Okum asked how they are handling the utilities to this facility and Mr. Jones stated that they were underground. Mr. Okum asked if they would need new phone lines brought into the area and Mr. Jones confirmed this.

Mr. Okum asked how close the facility would be to the large trees in the area, and Mr. Jones answered that the area for the shelter and monopole does not have any trees on it; we would not want to take any trees down. Mr. Okum asked how the building would be accessed, and Mr. Jones reported that there will be an easement that follows the park road. Maintenance will be about once a month.

Mr. Okum commented I agree with Mr. Tiffany; this is something we have to be fair about, and obviously there are future companies coming into this area. I wish there were a way we could hold you all to using the same poles. Iím a user of a cellular phone, and I know this is a terrible area.

Mr. Jones commented that is what has driven this site selection. There is a hole in the Cellular I coverage area. There is coverage further east and coverage further west, but this is a weak signal area.

Mr. Galster said you mentioned in this photo that you are showing the top as the same elevation as the light poles. Could you put it on top of the light poles? Mr. Jones answered we are in the process of trying to work through some type of agreement with ODOT. There are a lot of instances where we would be thrilled to take down an existing light pole and put the antenna on top of it. ODOT is 99% adamant that they would not consider anything in the right of way.

Mr. Tiffany said you had an engineer with you at an earlier meeting, and he had remarkable drawings showing where the holes were. I donít remember if the hole was to the south or north of I-275. If the hole is at I-275 and S.R. 747, and there was a tower placed on top of McAlpinís and a tower on top of United Van Lines in West Chester, wouldnít that fill the gap? Mr. Jones answered I do not know, but I can find that out. Mr. Tiffany said I know when we talked to him we asked about West Chester, and he indicated that the hole was not in West Chester. Mr. Jones commented I think most of the area right around the interchange and south, because the original search area was further south.

 

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VI B CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT-CELLULAR I-12110 PRINCETON PIKE (GEEAA)

Mr. Tiffany said if you go south on S.R. 747, the building is at S.R. 747 and Tri-County Parkway and sets on top of the hill. Best Buy is on top of the hill at Century Boulevard, one of the highest points of Springdale; it is a little further south. I do not know want to say no, but I do not want to have structures all over the place; weíll end up with a jungle or iron trees.

Mr. Jones responded my gut reaction would be that those sites would probably be the types of sites that we would look at as capacity sites, because they are lower. We are trying to get the coverage immediately, and then those would be the capacity sites that would not be noticeable and shouldnít be objectionable to anybody. Because of the relative elevations, those probably would fall into that category. PUCO says you have a license and if you get complaints, we will find somebody else who can do this job and provide the service.

Mr. Young asked if this didnít pass, what their Plan B would be. Mr. Jones stated this is try number 3. We have had two versions of this in here. We had those on the Perin property next to the ramp, and in that case we have moved north and east. We have now moved further north and east to get into the park. It would go back to the engineering, and they would have to reevaluate the search area the coverage problems that we have, and we would be back before this board again. GEEAA was chosen at the suggestion of a couple of the people on this board. Mr. Young continued so you are saying is the idea of site locations on the tops of buildings is not out of the question; it just has not been researched. Mr. Jones said it is not totally out of the question. Ms. Henson added it would take a revamping of the system in this area. Mr. Jones said having one further north and one further south and lower, may not cover I-275.

Mr. Huddleston commented I like the other members of the Commission would share a concern for a proliferation of these kinds of poles. On the other hand, I think based on what I thought I heard at the Commission last month, there was somewhat of a favorable response to this. I think the applicant has done good due diligence in terms of seeking a site that would least interfere with certainly residential consideration, by locating in a very commercial area adjacent to a railroad track adjacent to an interstate. With that in mind, and with the fact that there is a lot of future technology coming down the road, I donít know that we ought to penalize this particular applicant for what may or may not occur in the future. While I donít doubt in my own mind that there will be a continued proliferation of additional cellular phones and utilization of those, I think the technology may solve some of those problems. I would be inclined to go along with it.

Mr. Syfert commented I knew this was coming in and we have clear up the fact that you know that the easement for the railroad is coming in. I have been driving back and forth across 275 quite a little bit, and have been studying it recently. I really like the fact that in Springdale we have kept away from the horizon pollution; itís really a beautiful site coming across the valley. Like Mr. Huddleston, I realize even with my own cellular phone that it doesnít work all that great in this area. I was kind of leaning towards it if we could get it down to 40 feet, which I donít think you will be amenable to. I was very concerned about the one in Forest Park and the one in Fairfield, and when I find out that the Forest Park one is yours, I wonder why we need 135 feet here in Springdale. I am having a lot of trouble with that, so I think I would still be if favor of a 40 footer, looking like a tree.

 

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VI B CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT-CELLULAR I-12110 PRINCETON PIKE (GEEAA)

Mr. Okum said obviously the addition of the tower in Forest Park will eliminate some of the problems. If this board would approve it with a lower height, letís say 100 feet instead of 135 feet, what would happen?

Mr. Jones responded this is an engineering question that I canít answer, but the coverage would be less along I-275, there would be less range. Mr. Okum said I understand, but currently there is service in this area and with the addition of the pole in Forest Park, and thatís maybe two miles from this pole, would it be possible for the engineers to reevaluate the level of height? Ms. Henson it might come down some. Mr. Jones added we would have to verify that. The original application was for 150 feet. Mr. Okum added it depends on where you set it, also. You donít know the results of the efforts of the Forest Park pole is yet. Mr. Jones answered that went into their analysis. That is a 135 foot tower on the hill. Mr. Okum commented I would like to see the maximum height that you absolutely need. I understand the condition, and I agree with Mr. Huddleston 100% regarding penalizing you, and I donít want to do that, but I have enough trouble with the interstate light poles much less this. Mr. Jones said I wouldnít have any qualms at all about asking you for a 135 foot pole and also committing to the lowest minimum height that engineering would permit us. Mr. Okum asked who the evaluator would be. Mr. Jones answered the radio frequency engineers. Mr. Okum said we donít have one of those on staff, but we probably could get someone to represent us. Mr. Jones said I am not uncomfortable at all with committing to putting it in at the absolute lowest height we can live with. Mr. Okum said you are not objecting to that? Mr. Jones responded not at all, but I donít know what that minimum number is; that is my hesitation. Mr. Okum continued so if we made a motion in agreement with a mutual understanding of engineering between the cityís radio frequency consultant and yours, then it would be an approved height not to exceed. Mr. Jones commented that would be fine.

Mr. Tiffany asked when the one at Forest Park was drawn up and proposed? Mr. Jones said about 10 months ago. Mr. Tiffany continued so if the effectiveness of that tower was taken into consideration in proposing this site also, I donít think you are in the business of overbidding these things. It wouldnít be to your benefit, so I feel pretty confident in your engineerís opinion that this is the desired height. As I understand it, I donít believe making the thing higher would improve the performance at all. It has to be at a level direct to the next tower and so on down the line. So I am confident that this is the height that it will have to be at this time and with todayís technology. This is called the Planning Commission because we try to have some foresight. I guess thatís where I am coming from, what we are looking at down the road, and we donít know. We know there will be more use and requests for more tower, but what they will look like, where they will go and what the technology will be, we donít know.

Mr. Okum moved to approve Cellular Iís application for this site location with the adjustment for the railroad relocation temporary easement, that the building to be constructed is as on the submission, that all the utilities shall be underground, that there shall be no external fencing around the perimeter of the unit, that the landscaping be as specified, that the unit shall not exceed 135 feet and must be approved for height based upon independent engineersí evaluations and agreed to by the City and Cellular I. Mr. Wilson seconded the motion.

 

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VI B CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT-CELLULAR I-12110 PRINCETON PIKE (GEEAA)

Voting aye were Mr. Okum, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Galster and Mr. Huddleston. Mr. Tiffany, Mr. Young and Mr. Syfert voted no. The vote was 4 to 3 and was defeated; five affirmative votes are needed.

C. Approval of Proposed Addition at Kerry Ford/Subaru, 155 West Kemper Road

Dale Beeler of ATA Architects stated we have done a lot of renovating and modernizing of car facilities, and have done quite a few projects for Kerry Ford and Sweeney Saturn and Jeep Eagle Chrysler Plymouth. We were asked by the owner of Kerry Ford to do some re-imaging work on his rather dated dealership. Part of the work has been permitted already, the inside of the used car and now we have permits before the Building Department for redoing the interior of the showroom. The biggest problem we have is there is no front entrance and no area to deliver new vehicles to a customer. Kerry Ford is the biggest Ford dealer in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and the biggest problem is delivering the vehicles to the customers in a customer friendly environment, so we have designed a small addition that goes on their building to their building. This has a Ford blue metal recognition cap. We have reoriented the whole building to make the front entrance on the corner of Kemper and Northland Boulevard. Towards that end, we are putting in new sidewalks and some display pads that tell the customer where to park. This recognition cap is also a roof over an outdoor delivery area where the new vehicles would be brought in under cover in a well lit area for the customer to inspect.

Indicating the drawings, Mr. Beeler continued this is what you see from the corner of Northland Boulevard and Kemper Road. This lighted canopy will have quite a few foot candles of energy for the night to both deliver the new car and call attention to the front entrance of the building. We viewed this as an addition to a building; it is about 650 square feet of all exterior space. We did not propose it as a sign pylon; it is a major recognition element, the same as those buildings who have some type of enlarged entrance area. That is what we are trying to accomplish.

Mr. Okum asked what is on the other three sides of the canopy; is it signage? Mr. Beeler answered there is a set of elevations, and the elevation we show is the one that faces at the corner where we propose to put Kerry; the owner may want to put Ford there. The West Kemper Road was a good sign face, and those are the two that we felt important, this facing up Northland Boulevard, and Mr. Okum commented that is shown on three sides. Do you still have the signage on the front of the building? Mr. Beeler answered at this point we are proposing not. As a corner building, the owner is entitled to building signage on two fronts. I have shown three, and if that is a problem, we do not have a problem coming back to the board with the exact signage that he buys to put up there. The Kerry Ford that is right now on the front is 36 inch letters. That light bar that goes all the way around the showroom comes off. Heíll probably want to reuse Kerry Ford. The light bar is no longer used by the Ford Motor Company, but I think he would be agreeable to taking it off the lower facia. Mr. Okum asked if the roof system were blue metal panel and Mr. Beeler reported that the tallest roof on top is a standing seamed blue metal roof. Mr. Okum asked the height of the canopy from grade. Mr. Beeler stated that the main facia of the building is about 20 feet, the taller facia is 32í where Kerry Ford is, and the peak of the roof is around 43 feet.

 

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VI C KERRY FORD/SUBARU ADDITION -155 WEST KEMPER ROAD - continued

Mr. Okum asked if the signage at the corner will remain, and Mr. Beeler answered there is a pylon on the corner, and there are no plans to modify or take that down. Mr. Okum commented with the height that is, it would block the view of this. Mr. Beeler responded that could be, but our feeling is that would not be a major drawback. Right now we have a problem with customers driving on the lot and finding the front door of the building.

Mr. Okum said I notice changes to your parking layout; there are dedicated customer parking areas on the front section. Mr. Beeler confirmed this, adding we will stripe off 25 customer parking spaces across the front, around the bulldozer and down Kemper Road. Mr. Okum asked where the stock would be that would be displaced and Mr. Beeler responded thatís their problem. Mr. Okum asked if the retail parts entrance remain the same, and Mr. Beeler answered we will keep three or four customer spaces there. They sell the majority of the cars on the weekend, so they may have some stock parked in vacant customer spaces on a slow Monday or Tuesday, but on a weekend, they will open it up and have sufficient parking spaces for the customers. Mr. Okum commented I have been there both items, and you canít park anywhere but in the lanes. If this were to be approved, I would insist on designated customer parking areas. I do have some concerns about the height of the canopy though. Mr. Beeler responded it is under the allowable zoning height. Mr. Okum stated thatís height of building; would you consider this a building? Mr. Beeler answered I most certainly would. It is added to the building; it is connected to it. It is part of the building. New vehicle delivery is one of the most important functions of the building. It started with the Saturn organization; we built that glass delivery booth on the front of the Saturn store, and that started a trend that all of them are scrambling to upgrade the delivery experience.

Mr. Syfert said if we look at this as a pole sign, and if we were to say you are not allowed two pole signs, are you in the position to agree to take the other one down? Mr. Beeler answered I could not speak to that.

Mr. Wilson said if a customer goes in to look at a vehicle in the showroom, do they still have to go around the back or do they go through the front where the silgnage is? Will there be doors there for them to go in? Mr. Beeler answered that will be doors.

Mr. Wilson continued so you understand where I am coming from, that addition, from the corporate color roof to the signage on the sides, that is signage. That is one big sign identifying Ford. That is the way I am looking at it, signage. I can agree with you that you need that customer point so they can come out and inspect the vehicle, but when you use corporate colors as opposed to the actual color of the building, when you use Kerry Ford on three sides, that is a sign, no way to get around that. You are using signage for your customer delivery. That is innovative and I like it, but it is still signage. My feelings are that the sign on the end is signage that will be incorporated into the total signage, so you might have to eliminate that. Before I would feel comfortable in approving this tonight, I would say we need to do some more things here, because I am not comfortable with all that signage. If you want to incorporate that in the building, that is a way to cover yourself,;use it as part of the building. There are two sides. One is that it is signage and we have to recognize that and secondly as part of the building, so we have to look at how those colors would affect the rest of the building.

 

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VI C KERRY FORD/SUBARU ADDITION -155 WEST KEMPER ROAD - continued

Mr. Wilson wondered what would be done with the existing roof, if it would be painted corporate blue, and Mr. Beeler answered it is flat and will stay the same. I would say to you that there are two types of signage, there are pylon signs and there are building signs, and we are entitled to a little bit of both. I would submit to you that if you gave me no signage on this addition, I would still build it the exact same way you are looking at. I am not going to change anything; if you say you canít put the word Kerry on there, Iím going to submit the same plan to you again because it is a visual element. And, if the Ford blue is a serious problem, we can discuss that. Mr. Wilson responded my only concern is that we donít look at this as not signage. It is signage, and I want to make sure that is clear. We are dealing with signage; when you are dealing with corporate colors that is by definition identifiable. I donít have a problem with the way it looks; I just want us to have an understanding that to me it is signage, which means we have to address other signage on the building.

Mr. Syfert commented I think we are getting hung up on the signage, and you stated that you could not make any statement regarding signage, so letís stay away from signage and deal with the structure. If we donít have any problems with that, weíll have to deal with the signage later.

Mr. Tiffany stated I personally do not see any problems with the structure. I think it is a good improvement, and I agree with Mr. Okum that we need to specify parking for customer use only not to be used for stock. That could run into problems with people test driving and pulling back into the lot and parking there and going in to write the deal, because they are customers at that point. In reference to the signage, my only concern is that the plans show signage on the entrance tower on three sides and it also shows it on the front of the building. You said their intent was not to have it on the front of the building and only on one side. What we need to know for sure when you come in next time, because I donít think we will resolve this, is what exactly they want?

Mr. Beeler commented like any owner, he would like as much signage as you are prepared to give him. Being a corner property, I am sure he would like the word Kerry to show on at least two faces of the building. I agree that showing three is probably pushing the envelope. Mr. Tiffany responded I donít know, asking the zoning. Mr. McErlane reported it is General Business. Mr. Beeler continued I donít think they would have a problem with taking the signs off the lower elevation and keeping the two faces of it on the upper tower. Mr.Tiffany asked if there were a variance in place for signage, and Mr. McErlane indicated on the pole sign for the size and the location.

Mr. Tiffany stated I personally see this as a pole sign. It is a free standing structure on top of the building on poles. It is not a functional part of the building. I understand your point too. I guess we will have to defer to Mr. McErlane on that at some point.

Mr. Beeler commented obviously we would like to keep the permit process moving along. If the board would like to handle the total signage package, I would feel comfortable having the owner Mr. DeCastro at that meeting.

Mr. Tiffany commented personally I donít see any problems with it; I think it is a vast improvement.

 

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VI C ADDITION KERRY FORD/SUBARU - 155 WEST KEMPER ROAD - continued

Mr. Syfert questioned if this were a structure or a sign. Mr. McErlane reported it is definitely not a pole sign by definition. If youíll notice on the drawings that were submitted, there is a callout on one of the drawings. Mr. Syfert asked if it were fixed to the building, and Mr. Beeler indicated that it was. Mr. Tiffany said my point is if it is connected, you could take a piece of drivitt from that point out to within 5 feet of the pole sign at the corner and because it is attached, not consider it a pole sign or a sign structure separate from the building. Where do we draw the line?

Mr. Beeler said I couldnít deliver an automobile to a pole sign. There is space created by this structure, and it has a function. Mr. Tiffany said if you drive I-275 and Route 4, there is a sign for Pictoria Island; it is considered a sign and it is basically the same thing as this, because it is a sign; it is not a structure. The top doesnít have a function. The canopy is below that and that is the functional part. Iím not opposed to it; it is the combination of that 43 foot structure with another structure at the corner and signage down both sides. We donít have numbers as far as total signage, and I think that needs to be fine tuned to know exactly what the man wants and go from there. Mr. Beeler said the franchise owner can speak to a lot of these issues. The Ford Motor Company will want him to have a pylon sign.

Mr. Tiffany confirmed with Mr. McErlane that the blue Ford color on the roof would not be considered signage. There was some question as to whether this is lit from the bottom side coming down or if the panels on top are lit and glowing. Mr. Beeler answered the lower canopy is lit underneath.

Mr. Okum commented I tend to agree with Mr. Tiffany that the function of the drive through portion is the lower system underneath this tower. We had a similar tower proposal for North American Properties where Wal-Mart is; that was a sign tower. At this point with these items on this structure, I would like to not see those up there, and I could say that I am approving this structure the way it is without any signage on it at all. Then I could consider it. But, as long as Kerry Ford is on top of it, I see it as a pole sign at 43 feet high.

Mr. Beeler stated that he would like to pursue two options with the owner and the board. We could leave the structure as it is and he can debate the signage issue, and if he comes up with no signage and he really likes this tower, without signage it meets your requirements. The other option is to drop that blue roof down on top of the canopy which you say has function. If that is your opinion that it is the one that has function, then I could put the new roof on that, and have Kerry Ford on that lower sign; it would be 10 foot lower.

Mr. Okum commented you still would be limited to the amount of signage. It would be set the same height that your signs currently are on the building, and not at 43 feet in the air. Mr. Beeler responded the sign is not at 43 feet; the sign is at 30 feet.

Mr. Okum stated I did have a concern when you said underlit that the metal roof would be a lit metal roof. I would like to consider this tonight without signage, and I think most of the board is very uneasy about there being any signage consideration. I see you have added one tree to the site; it is really nice.

 

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13 February 1996

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VI C ADDITION - KERRY FORD/SUBARU - 155 WEST KEMPER ROAD-continued

Mr. Beeler stated that is a crabapple tree that was already there. We have added sidewalks and display plaza and have put some evergreens along the service department. Mr. Okum asked if there were anything done at Northland Boulevard to soften that up? Mr. Beeler answered not at the right of way. This work is basically sidewalks right around the showroom area. Mr. Okum said you did put trees around the building, and that will help.

Mr. Beeler added we could keep the process moving with the Building Department and bring the owner back to discuss the signage. He is not in town, or he would be here this evening.

Mr. Tiffany moved to approve the structure as proposed at this time, and leave out signage, to be addressed at a later time. Mr. Okum seconded the motion.

Mr. Wilson asked if we are eliminating that second roof, and Mr. Syfert answered no. Mr. Tiffany added if he comes back and says that he likes the tower and suggests getting rid of the signage on it, I donít think anybody is opposed to that, because it is just a structure. Mr. Galster commented I think there are people opposed to the height of it, especially if it has a sign on it. Mr. Tiffany said the height is within code if you consider it a building without a sign on it.

Voting aye were Mr. Tiffany, Mr. Okum, Mr. Galster, Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Young and Chairman Syfert. Mr. Syfert stated we have approved the structure as rendered and no signage whatsoever.

Mr. Beeler stated we will come back to the board with the signage as soon as possible with a signage package with us. Mr. Tiffany suggested to speed the process up, I believe there is a variance in effect at this time and I would check with his department to see what your number is.

Mr. Syfert suggested a 10-minute recess at 8:46 P.M. Planning Commission reconvened at 8:55 P.M.

D. Approval of Signage for Boston Market, 810 Kemper Commons Circle

Mr. Dave Wilson of Wilson Sign Company stated he is representing Boston Market.

Mr. Syfert called on Mr. McErlane who reported that Boston Market does not plan to put the ground sign in at this time. Mr. Wilson confirmed this, adding that they addressed the issues from the last meeting, and taking all things in account, they decided to eliminate any free standing sign whatsoever. Mr. Syfert commented so everything is on the building.

Mr. McErlane continued with that in consideration, the total amount o square footage for the signs that are proposed is 209 square feet. The allowable is 198 square feet, so we are looking at 11 square feet. The reason this is back in is at the time Planning Commission approved Boston Market, there were options available on signs, and they did not know which ones they would be going with, so Planning Commission excluded the sign package from that approval.

 

 

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VI D SIGNAGE FOR BOSTON MARKET - 810 KEMPER COMMONS CIR -continued

Mr. Tiffany said in consideration of the deletion of the ground sign, we are talking about 11 square feet; it is in a PUD, and in a PUD we typically get demands for a lot more than that. So if there are no problems with it, I move to approve this with the deletion of the ground sign. Mr. Young seconded the motion.

Mr. Okum asked if the internally illuminated fabric awning is part of the sign package, and Mr. McErlane answered if it is not designed to be read from the right of way, it is not considered a sign under our Code. We do not consider lighted canopies per se as signs. Mr. Okum said this has lettering on it. Mr. McErlane acknowledged this, adding but it is small. In my opinion, it is small enough that it will not serve a purpose in the right of way. It is you prerogative. Mr. Okum commented itís pretty close to Commons Drive. I certainly would consider it readable from Commons Drive. Mr. Galster asked the height of the letters and Mr. Wilson answered approximately six inches. Mr. Okum added you really donít need 209 square feet on the building when you have a lit canopy that says rotisserie and meals to go banded around the building and lit up. Mr. Wilson said we can eliminate the copy from the awning if the Commission wishes. Mr. Okum asked if the awning was calculated into the signage package, and Mr. Wilson responded that it was not calculated into the signage package. Mr. Okum said so the awnings are not signage, but they have copy, internally illuminated. Mr. Syfert asked if anyone but Mr. Okum have any problem with it? Mr. Wilson said I do. Mr. Tiffany added I have to go with Mr. McErlaneís opinion, because he makes the determination as to whether it can be read from the right of way. We even considered that with the new signage zoning that was proposed last spring. There was a lot of consideration given to that at that time. Mr. McErlane added similarly we caused Tuffy to reduce the size of the letters they have over their door so they would only serve a purpose on the lot instead of considering them as signage.

Mr. Okum said the gentleman has agreed to remove the lettering from the canopy, is that correct? Mr. Wilson responded we certainly would prefer to keep it but if the Commission insists, yes we can remove it. it can be put up without copy.

Mr. Wilson said I would ask to modify the motion to eliminate the signage on the awnings. I have no problem with the illumination, but I have a problem with the wordage. The letters to me constitute part of signage. It is a tough call bcause actually the awning is all signage, but overall you are only 11 feet over, so I have mixed feelings. If you were to eliminate the lettering, Iíd be 100% in favor of it.

Mr. Syfert commented I like it. It depends on whether Mr. Tiffany wishes to amend his motion. I believe what Mr. McErlane is telling us is that he is doing what he has done on everything else. Are we going to change his opinion? That is what we would be doing, and I do not particularly want to, but if that is the choice of the board, that is fine. Mr. Tiffany,l do you want to change your motion? Mr. Tiffany said I would like to hear from other members on this.

Mr. Galster said I have no problem with the words on the sign. It is a little different from Tuffy because it is backlit, which will make it a little easier to read, but I do not have any objections to it; I am fine with it. Mr. Young added I do not have problems with the words around the canopy at all. Mr. Huddleston stated if we are considering the canopy and signage as signage, I have no problem with leasving it as it is.

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VI D SIGNAGE FOR BOSTON MARKET 810 KEMPER COMMONS CIR-continued

Mr. Okum asked if the words Rotisserie Rotisserie were considered part of the calculations and Mr. McErlane reported that they were not. Mr. Okum asked the distance. Mr. McErlane stated it is 31 feet to the right of way and another 15 feet to the street. Mr. Okum said so it is roughly 45 feet.

Mr. Syfert said there was a reference to modify the motion. Do you wish to modify your motion? Mr. Tiffany responded the motion should stand.

Voting aye were Mr. Tiffany, Mr. Young, Mr. Galster, Mr. Huddleston and Chairman Syfert. Messrs. Okum and Wilson voted no, and approval was granted by a vote of 5 to 2.

E. Approval of Signage for Roberds Grand, 11755 Commons Drive

Bob Wilson, Executive Vice President of Roberds approached the Commission stating that with him are Ken Fletcher, Founder and President, with his wife Debbie, Connie Post and Ron Ross of Connie Post Designs, Steve Lensch of Miller-Valentine, contractor of the project, Jim Scott, who will run the Cincinnati market, and Store Manager Bill Mancuse, Ed Keyes from Cap Signs and Craig Miniger, Counsel to the owners of the property, Springdale Kemper Associates.

Mr. Wilson stated since I was here last time, Krogers has vacated the facility, and we have begun construction; the bulk of the demolition of the interior of the building is now done. The rooftop units are gone. There has been very little on the exterior, but we are planning on opening the third week in June, so we are on track.

Mr. Wilson continued we are here for approval of the sign plan. We tabled the issue of the banding around the building as part of the building permit application so you could see that this evening.

Mr. Huddleston stated I need to have the Minutes note that I will not participate in the voting or discussion of this, since I am with Miller-Valentine.

Ms. Connie Post said it is a pleasure to be able to talk to you. I am CEO of an architectural design firm which specializes in furniture stores nationally and internationally. The furniture business is a lot different from other retail; it is a fashion business and it is rapidly changing. Seventy-five percent of the decisions to buy are made by women. The other 25% are influenced by women, and sixty-three per cent of the purchases are made on the weekend. Roberds Grand is the largest retail furniture store being built in the world today, 300,000 square feet; 250,000 square feet will be furniture, and 50,000 will be appliances and electronics. The only other one close is Nebraska Furniture Mart, which has been added to over 25 years. This project is the largest in the country, and therefore I have changed the name from Roberds to Roberds Grand because it is so magnificent, it had to have a name bigger than life. Creating this format, as opposed to having five satellite stores in the market, on large store will have much grander ramifications, and people from West Virginia and Kentucky will come to see this.

Ms. Post continued Roberds are changing their product mix and going from more of a promotional type store into a step up. The product line is changing, so we have to create a different aura.

 

 

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VI E SIGNAGE APPROVAL - ROBERDS GRAND 11755 COMMONS DRIVE-cont.

Ms. Post stated we are taking a utilitarian looking building (showed picture) and transforming it into a much more elegant building concept. We are not Lowes, K-Mart or Wal-Mart. They have raised the level of retail at a commodity level, so therefore that pushes us in a fashion business to change our look. This is a very classic preparation. Black is a very common color and a long lasting color. The combination of black, taupe and butternut has a less trendy, longer life. She showed the samples, adding that the overall color of the building is taupe with black banding (two and one-half feet on the building) and a nine inch butternut stripe that goes along the building, then the taupe and then white accents on the building. We are talking about 650 feet with the black stripe. The butternut color will be a light box which will be a neon behind plexi that will give it a very warm color. There is a canopy that has a glass type look giving the dynamic of something special and different.

Mr. Tiffany asked if she were proposing that this neon be on all the time, and Ms. Post indicated that it would be on all the time. Mr. Tiffany then asked about the maintenance of this; we are concerned about flickering; we donít like flashing signs. Ms. Post commented we donít like flashing signs either.

Mr. Galster asked about sign number 2 on the drawings. Ms. Post indicated that it is on West Kemper Road, adding that it is a 14 x 7 foot monument type sign that goes along the road.

Mr. Syfert asked Mr. McErlane to report on the sign issue, and Mr. McErlane stated that the applicant has not presented the signs per se. There were a number of options that were shown. I donít know if it is left up to the board to determine what those are to be. That book shows three different sizes of pole signs and two different sizes of directional signs. Ms. Post commented the largest sign seems most appropriate for the large building. Mr. McErlane said Iíll comment on the larger signs then. If you remember when this project was approved, there was a pole sign approved for I-275 frontage that was supposed to serve the retail development that North American Properties owns. That sign never was constructed, and this sign is an additional one to that if that other one ever comes to fruition and is located further west, probably centered more with the entrance to Roberds. The largest one is shown at 146.4 square feet. The ground sign is 98 square feet, which meets the ground sign requirement. The only problem with the ground sign as shown on the location plan is it is shown on Sams property behind the guardrail and on the slope of a hill. That also is 200 feet back from Kemper Road, so that should be clarified as to where it needs to be. Mr. Wilson stated there is an easement between Springdale Kemper Associates and North American Properties, and North American has given us their informal approval. Mr. McErlane continued so that would be on the east side of Commons Drive, and that was a previously approved sign. I think North American Properties had some control over that as well as Springdale Kemper. That one is shown on the west; the previously approved location was on the east side and closer to Kemper Road. Mr. McErlane stated the first group of directional signs are shown at 10.8 square feet apiece, and there is an additional set which are shown at six square feet, which is the Code requirement for directional signs. There are two wall signs, one shown on the north side of the building and one on the south side, both of which are 384 square feet, which exceeds the Code maximum of 150 square feet.

 

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VI E ROBERDS GRAND SIGNAGE - 11755 COMMONS DRIVE - continued

Mr. McErlane reported there is a customer pickup sign shown at 36 square feet, and there also is a sign on the west side that is not visible from the public right of way, an electronic repair sign. In total, with the larger pole sign and large directional signs, we are looking at 1,048 square feet, less than what would be permitted for that building because of the amount of frontage it has; 1762 square feet is permitted. It is based on I-275 and Commons Drive frontage.

Mr. Wilson (Roberds) said if I can clarify the pylon sign on I-275, it is an agreed upon sign between Springdale Kemper Associates and North American Properties. That sign has yet to be constructed, and there is no plan to construct that sign at this point. We are asking for a pylon sign in addition to that one, but there is no plan to construct it.

Mr. Tiffany commented for clarification, the pylon sign that was approved for North American Properties and Springdale Kemper, that is at the corner nearest Champion. That is still an option for them at any time because it has been approved, regardless of whether we approve this one or not. So if we approve this one, potentially we could have two large signs there. Mr. McErlane confirmed this, adding that this one is substantially smaller than what was approved. Mr. Tiffany said Iíll go on record right now and say I am opposed to having both those signs there. I think their sign is attractive, but I donít want to see both signs there.

Mr. Okum stated I agree; I believe the understanding was that the purpose of the North American Property sign would be a combined use type marketing for the development, which is common. I do have some concerns about maintaining the band at 21 feet up so it is not flashing. I donít have a problem with the light being there, but we have another business in our city that since it has been built, that neon light has continued to flash. In my opinion that is a flashing light, and I would like some very strong wording that if at any time a portion of that band begins to flash, that entire band would be turned off until all the lights are replaced and it is in working order. Ms. Post responded that is no problem whatsoever. It would affect the integrity of the overall concept, and it would be come very tacky; it is n not even a question with me. Mr. Okum asked if she would be willing to put that in the language, and Ms. Post indicated that she would adding that Ken Fletcher also just agreed.

Mr. Wilson said I tend to agree also. I know what will happen, and there needs to be verbiage in there. If I remember correctly from the last series of meetings we had with this project, someone asked about the wattage. Was that ever resolved in terms of how bright it would be? Ms. Post answered in order to get the quality of what I am looking for, it has to be an execution of neon and plexi to get a warm soft glow. That glow is different than if you are using fluorescent base or something else that gets too intense. We can get a special plexi that is the color I am looking for with the combination of neon which will give us a better light and we can get the warm quality of the classic look.

Mr. Wilson stated my concern is that at 3 or 4 in the morning coming up I-275 or off 75 south and making that turn and seeing Champion and Roberds and being so mesmerized by the lights that we have accidents, or that it be so blurring that you come from south 75 where there is little illumination to an area that looks like a circus. My concern is that the illumination not be so bright that it distracts the driver.

 

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VI E ROBERDS GRAND SIGNAGE - 11755 COMMONS DRIVE - continued

Ms. Post responded I understand your concern, and I think we have to look at scale and proportion. We are looking at a nine inch sign that is 600 to 800 feet off the interstate. The fact that it is a warm glow sign will not be a problem, I assure you.

Mr. Syfert, addressing Mr. Wilson of Roberds said we have talked about the two pole sign issue on the interstate. How can we address that? What are your suggestions? You have heard that a number of people have concerns about it.

Mr. Wilson answered I think there are a couple of things you could do. First, you could approve what we asked for. Secondly, we really have had no discussions with North American Properties about sharing that sign. We could make that approach and see where it goes. This is second or third hand, but they indicated they want to reserve the right to go on there, but they had no present plans to do so. Quite frankly the reason that we have taken this approach is because we have less square footage than permitted on the face of the building, and we felt that a separate pylon sign made sense, particularly in light of the fact that there doesnít seem to be any movement by North American, Champion or Springdale Kemper to do anything with that sign. Given the fact that we have taken this area for retail use, I donít know there will be anything going on with that sign at this point, but I acknowledge it. Nevertheless, we are still under the total amount of signage permitted.

Mr. Tiffany commented you are well under total square footage as you mentioned. That 1,048 is based on the largest pylon sign and the largest directional sign. I have a little problem with the number four sign on the back of the building; 16í x 24í is a massive sign. Ms. Post responded the reason for it being so large is because you are descending down to the back of the building. I have a photo of the back of the building. Mr. Wilson (Roberds) added you are as far from the building at Kemper Road as you are from I-275.

Mr. Tiffany continued as we come down to the building, we have a sign at Kemper Road to tell us how to get off Kemper Road, so I donít consider needing to see this thing and being able to read this thing from Kemper Road as a necessity. If they go down that street, eventually theyíll run into Roberds.

Ms. Post showed the picture of the building. Mr. Tiffany said Iím only going by Code, which is 150 square feet; we are talking about better than double the normal size. I understand this is a different situation, and that is why we went with PUD so we could address it as a separate issue. I am also wondering why we are going with panels as opposed to individual letters on the signage. Ms. Post answered because it is consistent with the overall design. All the signs consistently are the same type. Mr. Tiffany commented it seems like we as a city have tried to move away from that. I just wondered; Iím not badmouthing it by any means. Ms. Post responded I think it is important that we have a different look and it is consistent with everything else I am trying to do. It is consistent in style, the way the letters interact and it is less expensive overall. Mr. Tiffany said with that in mind, if we go to Sign #3A at the corner to direct us to go to the main entrance, customer pickup ahead and to the left and electronic service to take the road to the left, then we have a big wall sign that says showroom entrance to the right, what will we look at; what is our focal point here?

 

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VI E ROBERDS GRAND SIGNAGE - 11755 COMMONS DRIVE - continued

Ms. Post responded down the driveway we have 600 to 800 feet, and it is very important for people who are driving into a new environment to have some element of direction. Sign 3A is not a big sign. It is enough to touch base with to know that you are in the right area. Mr. Tiffany commented I donít have a problem with the directional sign. What I am saying is when you throw the directional here, and we have a big one here and arrows. Ms. Post stated these are all small in scale and proportion. That sign is large, but in relationship to the overall building, it is very small. It is important for people to be assured that they are in the right place at all times. Mr. Tiffany responded and it has nothing to do with advertising. Ms. Post stated I think at this point it doesnít, because you already are there. Mr. Tiffany said if you want to see it from Kemper Road, it is an issue of advertising. If it is for comfort and direction, I donít think it needs to be 384 square feet. Ms. Post responded for scale and proportion to the building, yes it does. Mr. Tiffany said you are within total, but over on some of the issues. Ms. Post responded please look at the back of the building; look at the size in relationship to the building. It may be a little larger, but it is not too large for the scale of the building. Mr. Tiffany said you have to consider that you do not see the entire back side of the building as you descend. Sams and Wal-Mart are in the way. The drawing is showing the entire building. Letís look at the other side of the building, and we do see the entire thing. If your argument is going to be that something is minuscule and not in proportion, do you think that sign is proportionate to the front of the building? Ms. Post answered Iím not considering the front of the building when I am looking at the back of the building; they have no relationship. Mr. Tiffany said I am talking about total square footage. You are putting the same size sign on the front of your building as you are the back of your building. The front of your building is 650 feet and the back of your building is 200 and some feet. How is that rational? Ms. Post answered the rationale is that I have the entry that is working for me differently. This issue is 361 feet, and the sign is 24 feet long, which is very small. Mr. Tiffany responded it is still over twice Code. Ms. Post answered I agree, but I am still under overall. Mr. Tiffany continued I donít look at everything as a total package; that is why we have separation for each issue. Otherwise you could say I have 1700 square feet; I will put it all on a sign by the street.

Ms. Post asked what would make you happy. Mr. Tiffany said I donít know, and asked Mr. McErlane if this were a directional sign or not. Mr. McErlane stated it functions as a directional sign. Ms. Post commented people have to know where the showroom entrance is. Mr. Tiffany said weíll agree to disagree; I am just uncomfortable with some of the sizes with the signage, not the total signage; Iíll leave it at that.

Mr. Okum said I tend to agree with Mr. Tiffany. You have to put it in perspective, and I wish that photo you have of the building had your sign sketched on it. Ms. Post responded take a five-minute break and I can do that. Mr. Okum said I would want to do that, and one of the reasons is that those are four-foot panels on the wall and 24 feet across and 16 feet high is a big sign. Ms. Post responded envision that with 361 feet. Mr. Tiffany added it is proportional from Kemper Road. Once you get down to from me to that wall away, it is a billboard. Ms. Post said you literally will not be as close as that, because of the grounds. Mr. Tiffany said I donít think 150 feet is reasonable; I think you need something possibly larger than that.

 

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13 February 1996

Page Twenty-One

VI E ROBERDS GRAND SIGNAGE - 11755 COMMONS DRIVE - continued

Ms. Post responded what we have here is a sign that is exactly 384 feet. That has to be proportioned to scale; it is very important that it not be a little fly on the building after coming off a dual lane street and looking at he building. Mr. Tiffany said if youíre going to use that argument, go to the front of the building and you should have 900 square feet of signage on the front of the building.

Mr. Okum said in the picture, there is a tractor trailer; that gives you an idea of how large the sign would be. If I can read that at that distance, and it is 10í x 22í, I donít see why it has to b e 16í x 24í. Ms. Post said then tell me what will be okay with you gentlemen. If 16í x 24í is too large, if I do it 20í x 14í, will that be okay? Mr. Okum responded I was thinking more 16í x 12í. Ms. Post said will you settle for 192 instead of the 380; make it 200 flat so I can work with it? Mr. Tiffany said I donít have a problem with it. Personally, I am talking about the sign on the back of the building. Around the front, I donít have a problem. Ms. Post said I want to make you happy; tell me what will make you happy. Mr. Tiffany responded 50 feet would thrill me, but itís not reasonable.

Mr. Okum said Iíd accept 200 feet. Ms. Post responded then weíll modify and change that sign if you agree with that. Mr. Okum continued I also would like the issue of the pole sign on I-275 to be resolved. Mr. Wilson asked in what fashion. Mr. Okum stated if yours goes up and theirs goes up and then we get the other development at the other end; itís a matter of two versus three. Looking at these entry signs, the option 3.2 would be preferable because we were very particular about Tri-County Mallís entry and direction signs, and these are more in tune with theirs. I think it would be more in line with what we approved for another PUD in this area.

Mr. Wilson (Roberds) responded so your suggestion on I-275 is that we withdraw the pylon sign as proposed and work on the existing sign with North American/Springdale Kemper. Mr. Okum added or get them to remove theirs from the PUD so there would only be one sign. Then on option 3.2, reduce it down to 200 square feet. I do agree that even though we encourage developments in the community to go to individual letters, with your design, I donít think we could put that demand upon you.

Mr. Tiffany moved to approve the signage for Roberds Grand as submitted with the agreement that the pylon sign erected at I-275 would be okay only if we get North American/Springdale Kemper to delete theirs from the PUD, that on the directional signs that we go with Option 3.2 and that Sign #4 be reduced to 200 square feet or less, and that the neon lights be on a separate circuit, and if part of it is not working, they are all turned off until it is fixed. Mr. Okum seconded the motion.

Mr. Galster said for clarification, if in fact we are going to approve this pole sign, which are we approving? Mr. Tiffany responded 1.1, the largest one. Mr. Syfert asked Mr. Wilson (Roberds) if he understood the motion and could live with it, and Mr. Wilson answered that he would. Mr. Syfert suggested we not take the vote until Mr. Wilson comes back; it will take five affirmative votes. He asked Mr. Fletcher if he wished to address the board.

 

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13 February 1996

Page Twenty-Two

VI E ROBERDS GRAND SIGNAGE - 11755 COMMONS DRIVE - continued

Mr. Fletcher commented we are excited about being in Springdale. This furniture store will bring national attention to this area. It has been my dream to have a store like this, and I want to say thanks for the opportunity. It will be a fun store, exciting and something that you will be very proud of.

On the motion to approve voting aye were Mr. Tiffany, Mr. Okum, Mr. Galster, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Young and Mr. Syfert. Mr. Huddleston abstained and the approval was granted with six affirmative votes.

Mr. Wilson asked Mr. Fletcher if the frontage and dome will be the corporate logo from here on out for other buildings, and Mr. Fletcher answered in stores of this size it will be. We are in the process of doing one in Atlanta, Georgia that will look very similar to this.

F. Approval of Dumpster & Loading Dock Location, Ethan Allen, 11285 Princeton Pike

Tim Hershner of Hershner Associates reported last month we were before you, and upon going back to the architect, I found that the flipping of the loading dock caused a tremendous hardship on his overall design, on the building and on the Ethan Allen way of doing business. In addition to that, they confirmed that there will be no semi trailers delivering to this location, which was an issue. Putting the loading dock on the northern portion of the building is a hardship. That is why we are pushing to bring the loading dock back to the southwest corner of the building. In doing that, they propose that the dumpster location be put over in this area. One of the comments from Anne McBride was to increase the landscaping around it to buffer the driveway. We have submitted a detailed landscaping plan with a two foot high berm around the south and west side of the dumpster. Included in that, and in addition to all the other landscaping, we agreed to five evergreen trees (which are more full than pines), and 14 hemlocks for color. Here is a rendering that shows what the dumpster would look like. It is a drivitt construction, with bollards installed on the inside, beefing up the structure. We are requesting that because of the problems with the loading dock needing to be on the southwestern corner of the building, that this go with the landscaping and additional detail upon the enclosure. We moved it back out along the driveway from Merchant Street so trucks can have ready access into it. This layout would allow the loading dock to function during the day and the garbage to be picked up during the evening with no problem.

Mr. McErlane reported that the location of the dumpster meets the Code relative to the Ethan Allen lot itself. It is located in the rear yard, and is more than five feet from the property line.

Mr. Tiffany commented I appreciate the effort you made. It looks like we meet Ms. McBrideís comments in terms of additional screening on the dumpster. I am a little concerned with the slats on the gate, to make sure that they do not have big gaps.

Mr. Tiffany moved to approve the revised location of the dumpster as shown and Mr. Wilson seconded the motion. Voting aye were Mr. Tiffany, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Galster, Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Okum, Mr. Young and Mr. Syfert. Approval was granted with seven affirmative votes.

 

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

13 February 1996

Page Twenty-Three

VI. OLD BUSINESS

B. Approval of Modification to Entrance A - Tri-County Mall

(tabled 1/9/96)

Mike Dzaman, Development Director of Compass Retail stated we are

here to request a rather minor site plan revision. This item was briefly introduced at Planning several months ago and at that meeting, our traffic consultant was the only representative here from the Mall, and the item was tabled. Approximately three days before that Planning meeting, our Mall manager who was handling this resigned, and in the confusion, the ball was dropped. I took this over and met with Mr. Osborn and Mr. Shuler to work out a resolution, and tonight, I have assembled a team of people, whom I would like to introduce. Mall Manager is Dave Duebber, Architect Jerry Willging of Baxter Hodell, Jack Gehrum who is the traffic consultant and John McCoy of Taft Stettinius and Hollister.

Mr. Dzaman continued our philosophy of managing is to try to maximize the value of the Mall. Tri-County is one of the finer malls, but the retail business is hurting in this country. A lot of the mall tenants are not doing well and a lot of the department stores have not done particularly well. We are doing everything we can to maximize the value of the properties so that the center will thrive and the tax revenues will be up.

Mr. Dzaman added we are asking a minor site plan revision. When the Mall was renovated, an excellent job was done in taking a mall less than half the size that it is today with traffic problems, double deck the mall, add parking structures and many retailers and improved the traffic situation tremendously. It was a job well done by all parties. In one area we feel we overreacted, and we are trying to prevent any blockups in this area. We restricted the entry, which forced the people coming into the Mall to travel all the way around to the back of the Mall or come up on the parking deck outside Lazarus. What we are asking for tonight is a little relief, a curb cut here to allow people to flow into this parking area that used to be one of the hottest parking areas in the Mall. We would put a double lane here. We have done a lot of traffic work to analyze it to make sure that we donít create traffic problems either on our property or at Princeton Pike.

Mr. Dzaman continued I want to talk about what the problem is and how we want to fix it. The numbers are startling as to how much this seems to have affected the tenants doing business on the first level of the mall by Lazarus. Prior to the renovation, the tenants on this side of the mall at the lower level have almost unilaterally declined in gross sales volume over a period of five or six years. The tenants on the other side of the Mall by J.C. Penney almost unilaterally have gone up in sales, so something here is strange. It is something that the retailers in the mall have been complaining about and the mall management has been discussing it for a long period of time, but it wasnít until Compass got involved a little over a year ago that we decided to do something about it.

Mr. Dzaman continued I want to read to you some of the tenants by categories, that are in the Lazarus wing. A national womenís retailer in 1988 was doing gross volume of more than $1 million and in 1993 was doing $830,000, -25%, and closed in 1995. Another national womenís retailer declined by $400,000 in gross volume in 1993, declined 33% and closed in 1995. A national menís clothing retailers declined from 1988 at $548,000 to 1993 $362,000, down 51%. They closed in 1996.

 

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13 February 1996

Page Twenty-Four

V B APPROVAL OF MODIFICATION TO ENTRANCE A - TRI-COUNTY MALL - cont.

Mr. Dzaman reported a local menís retailer went in volumes from $1.2 million in 1988 to $708,000 in 1993, down 68%; they have pumped their sales up a little bit, but they still are way down. A national womenís clothing store declined 27%, from $623,000 in 1988 to $490,000 in 1993; they still are hanging on. A national junior womenís clothing store declined from $535,000 to $468,000 or down 14%. A national family shoe store went from nearly $1 million to $615,000, down 54%. And finally, a regional service business went from $685,000 to $388,000 in 1993, down 76%. They still were down in 1995 and probably will be leaving us soon.

Mr. Dzaman reported on the other side of the mall, on the ground level by J. C. Penney, a national womenís lingerie store increased from $1.2 million to $1.9 million over the same period, an increase of 51%. A national uniform supply went from $236,000 to $333,000, up 41%. A casual clothing store for men went from $727,000 to $827,000, +20%. A national womenís store went from $1.2 million to $1.6 million, up 27% and a national card store went from $426,000 to $726,000, an increase of 70%.

Mr. Dzaman continued those totals are staggering; something is seriously wrong here. We believe in all sincerity that this driveway problem is a major cause of it. It continues; the problem has become known, and I have a signed letter of intent with a national restaurant chain, who would like to take a position outside that front entry. One of the things we feel is very necessary to revitalize the retail regional shopping industry is to bring more entertainment oriented uses in, and restaurants are part of that. I will read to you from this letter: "We would not be willing to proceed on this deal unless we are able to gain direct access from the traffic light into our parking field, from the first traffic light south off I-275." The problem is in the past, present and future. We think the case is extremely compelling, and we hope you are able to help us out here.

Mr. Dzaman reported that Neil Koenig the traffic consultant that was present last fall believed that the solution we are showing works. I felt I wanted someone local, and I added Jack Gehrum to the team, and he concluded the same thing. The cityís engineer, Mr. Shuler will speak to you, but I believe he is quite comfortable also that what we are talking about will not create a traffic problem here. On the other hand, Mr. Gehrum and Mr. Shuler will say that this is not a textbook item of study, and that there is a small possibility that there may be some backups. In order to counter that claim, I would like to state that we are willing to put our money on this and try it out. We donít want for our sake, our tenantsí sakes or the communityís sake to create traffic problems here, and if there are any, we will take it up at our expense.

Mr. Tiffany stated you have cited some of the stores that have closed at that end of the mall, and you have talked about some of the stores at the other end which are doing exceedingly well. I believe the lingerie company that did a tremendous increase over that period of time is Victoriaís Secret, isnít it? Mr. Dzaman answered Iíd rather not comment. Mr. Tiffany continued at that end of the mall if it is a national lingerie store, it would have to be Victoriaís Secret. Part of that you would have to attribute to their aggressive sales tactics in sending out a catalog to just about everybody in the United States.

 

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

13 February 1996

Page Twenty-Five

V B APPROVAL MODIFICATION TO ENTRANCE A-TRI-COUNTY MALL-cont.

Mr. Tiffany continued I feel for your problem at the Lazarus end of the mall, but I also know that Tri-County Mall made a decision in recent years to move the Food Court from the center of the mall to one end of the mall. A Food Court draws people consistently, and I saw a big change in that end of the mall at that point. I donít know if that happened to coincide with when we redid the mall, I donít think it did; I think it was prior to that. Darciís was in there, a pretty well known restaurant in a lousy location because it was away from the rest of the food. Ruby Tuesdayís is at that end; everything else is right upstairs; they donít have to go to that end of the mall.

Mr. Tiffany stated I understand your position with the driveway, and it is a great selling point for the incoming restaurant, but personally I cannot attribute the lack of this for the total lack of business at that end of the mall. I think that is absolutely ludicrous to insinuate that. I donít think that is fair. The change of the food court made one hell of a change in the traffic patterns inside that mall. My concern is not with a backup onto Princeton Pike or I-275; we run into that at Christmastime regardless. My concern is a safety issue; you are jamming a lot of people into this thing. Believe me all you have to do is go through that intersection once at a busy time of year, and these people will do anything to get through that light and not have to sit through it again.

Mr. Syfert called on Jack Gehrum for his traffic analysis. Mr. Gehrum stated we are suggesting that there be a right turn lane in along the parking area, two lanes being provided. The operation at this intersection is for two functions:

(1) With the free flow moving, this has the right of way to take away

any chance of backing up; and

(2) In the other direction cars are advised that incoming traffic does

not stop.

Mr. Gehrum continued that in the other direction, we can make sure that they stop and that these cars have the right of way in so we shouldnít have any backup problem. In terms of safety, this type of move is common in a lot of areas and there is no reason to believe that there would be any chance of a safety problem here. We did extend this area out to discourage any types of left turns. Mr. Shuler recommended that this area be brought back down to avoid any possible left turns and usage into that area and maintain this direction.

Mr. Gehrum stated because we were impinging on this parking area, we will add some parking blocks to make sure that the vehicles do not get too close to that roadway; we want to make sure that nothing hangs over. Some of the staff concerns were having to do with what this entrance would create in major problems out here. We donít believe there is any reason that problems should occur out here. Some of the other issues were the ability to avoid that left turn, and we have addressed that; we have addressed the parking issue. There is some parking being removed, nine spaces, but I donít think that is a problem overall.

Mr. Shuler reported what you are looking at is the result of probably a year of meetings and discussions with the different parties. You have read our report that we submitted last month. Maybe I can give you a little background of some of the issues and some of the discussion that led to this point.

 

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13 February 1996

Page Twenty-Six

V B APPROVAL OF MODIFICATION TO ENTRANCE A-TRI-COUNTY MALL-cont.

Mr. Shuler stated when we first had discussions with the previous mall management and their traffic engineer about this issue, we were concerned. There are members here that were on Planning Commission at the time that the mall was expanded and traffic was a vital concern there. We insisted that we have a roadway system that would take the traffic off State Route 747, would smoothly and safely move that traffic to the major parking areas. You may remember that there was a gas station at this intersection, and at the time of the. expansion and at the insistence of the City, the driveway to the gas station was removed so there were no conflicting turning movements off this main ring road.

Mr. Shuler reported our main concerns on traffic in this area were three:

(1) Level of service in that intersection. There is a tremendous

amount of traffic on S.R. 747, especially at Christmastime The City has spent a tremendous amount of money on traffic

control facilities to move that as effectively as possible, and

although it is not perfect, we still have times with traffic overloads,

most of the time it operates pretty well. We do not want to do

anything that will diminish this level of service.

(2) The safety issue. We are concerned with multiple turning lanes

off S.R. 747 into this facility. Anything else we throw at the motorist for another decision that he has to make and react to quickly, lends itself to the potential for a safety problem, not that one will be created. So safety certainly is a concern that we had and will have if this approved.

(3) The third issue is not a city issue in that it is off the right of way,

but it is a concern that we need to be aware of, and that is that

we do not want to do anything that will diminish the capability

of this road to take the greater volume of traffic to the parking

garages on the north and east side of the facility, which is its

main purpose.

Mr. Shuler continued those issues were our main concerns going in, and they remain our main concerns. We have looked at a number of options to try to accommodate the mall. As we told them in our meetings early on, we are here to work with them to try to solve their problems as long as we do not create any other problems in the meantime. We have looked at a number of options to try to accommodate what they feel is a need.

Mr. Shuler stated I also said in my report to Planning that I really saw this as two issues. The first issue is, before we discussed how we might create an additional exit off the ring road is whether this is really needed. We told the applicant that they needed to convince Planning Commission that there is a need for this, and if they concur with that, the discussion needs to be how it is to be accomplished. Our comments dealing with the ring road and this specific proposal they have made is with the assumption that Planning Commission has concurred with the applicant and this is necessary. If that is the case, we further indicated that this is not an intersection that we can plug into the computer, and run the traffic through it to see whether it will fail, etc. It is a unique situation; it is something there is not a computer program to model what will happen there, how it will work and how effective it will be. They have made a number of modifications to earlier proposals to address certain issues that we were concerned about.

 

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

13 February 1996

Page Twenty-Seven

V B APPROVAL OF MODIFICATION TO ENTRANCE A-TRI-COUNTY MALL-cont.

Mr. Shuler stated our bottom line is that we cannot tell Planing Commission that it wonít work and recommend against it; we also canít tell you that weíve checked it all out and we guarantee that it can work, because it is a unique situation. If Planning determines that there is need there, and are willing to work with the applicant to try something; the applicant has committed that if this does not work, if our level of service decreases in that intersection and it is attributable to this, if we start to see accident reports increasing, if the accident rate increases, or if we feel there is a diminished capacity of the ring road to move traffic to the parking garages, they will take it out.

Mr. Shuler stated you also need to be aware that by putting this in, it will necessitate removing all the trees along the ring road in that area that separates the ring road from the parking at this time. We did ask if they wouldnít look at a possible way to make this connection further around the ring road to the north. They indicated that they did look at that and tried to work something out with Lazarus, and Lazarus would not give them permission to penetrate in that area. So, they have come back to us with this. We are not in the most ideal situation by any means, but there is just no definitive answer that I can give you as far as a guarantee that it either will or will not work.

Mr. Wilson commented you talked about stacking 14 to 16 cars. Is that from where the gold starts to where the split takes place? This was confirmed, and Mr. Wilson continued that really we are talking about seven cars counting left and right turn lanes. my concern is when someone turns, and you have two lanes initially and they realize there is a third lane that is only one lane and then it forks, how much time do they have to get from the far left to the far right lane? Mr. Shuler answered they canít make that move. Mr. Wilson said so they have to be in the middle lane. Mr. Tiffany commented but they still see the option; that is the problem. Mr. Wilson added my concern is for someone picking up or slowing down to change lanes; how much time do they have to do that?

Mr. Gehrum responded not much time, but it is not intended to have anyone in the outer lane to make that move. l One of the original ideas was to separate that by a medium type thing or by striping or painting a little island to indicate that. In evaluating it we realized that this type of thing does happen and drivers seem to cope with that pretty well, that idea was eliminated. In staff review, if it was felt that we need to go back to some sort of a separation, we would be willing to do it.

Mr. Wilson suggested a sign on southbound S.R. 747 showing that diagram and telling the driver at the stop light that there are three lanes, and as soon as you make your turn, you need to be in whichever lane. Mr. Young commented by that time, you are committed. Mr. Shuler responded you could put a sign up. The problem is that it would have to be so detailed that the driver would not have enough time to read it and understand it. This has to be one of those learned experiences where they know where they want to go and have to get into the right lane to get there.

Mr. Okum said I agree with Mr. Wilson. The Wal-Mart entrance where you have probably 300 feet to merge from the left to the right to turn right into Wal-Mart parking lot does not function well, and it is dangerous.

 

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

13 February 1996

Page Twenty-Eight

V B APPROVAL OF MODIFICATION TO ENTRANCE A-TRI-COUNTY MALL-cont.

Mr. Okum continued on your stacking, you indicated a capacity for 14. Your aisle spacing is nine feet between cars? Mr. Tiffany said they are eight and one-half feet. Mr. Okum said letís say they are nine; that is 108 feet from the edge of the stacking lane. I frequent that mall and I spend five to 10 minutes finding a parking space in the front end of that mall. If your businesses are hurting in that front end of the mall, it is because you have more retail than you have parking.

Mr. Okum said on pedestrian crossing, you will have a volume of cars going off to the right and a volume of cars going off to the left and all those people will be walking out of those parking fields across that increased flow of traffic.

Mr. Okum said I see one of the biggest reasons why the Lazarus/System 7 entrance is hurting is because that mall is so far back. You are talking convenience. That is all the way back from where the people have to walk. You are not giving your customers convenience; you are keeping your parking fields away from them.

Mr. Okum continued I cannot agree with the tree removal unless you do something about it. I want you to succeed; I was involved with this Planning Commission when this plan was approved, and I personally didnít like A and B entrances, but the architect and the engineers all said they would work. If you are going to make changes, you need to talk about parking fields for the volume of the businesses you have there. Then you have to consider maybe tying A and B together into one major entrance into the mall and splitting it off and moving your loop away from the mall. When your loop is further away from the entrance, it might work a little bit better. Maybe you should put a parking garage in front, underneath, something to increase the availability and convenience for those people. You have more retail in that front end there than you have parking space for those people to go. It is not the ease of getting in; it is that there is no space to park in the front end, and that is where your retail businesses are hurting.

Mr. Dzaman showed an aerial photograph taken March 23, 1995. I think it is pretty indicative that you often have parking spaces underutilized at the front of the mall. Prior to the renovation, that area of the mall had some of our strongest sales volumes. Mr. Okum commented where the parking convenient to the main entrance is, your parking lot is stacked all the way back. You move further back where the mall shoots back in and the people have a distance to talk, your parking drops down.

Mr. Dzaman responded if I implied that this is a panacea for all the problems our retailers are having, I did not mean to. We consider this a tweaking that will not dramatically affect the overall traffic flow of the mall. We think the majority of the cars will still make this movement and go back. It is very frustrating to see a place to park and not be able to get there. Despite the fact that our largest percentage of vehicles are coming this way, they cannot get to this parking area. We are saying letís put a curb cut to allow people to park there. If we had flanks of traffic engineers saying this is ludicrous, itís a safety problem and something we should not do, we wouldnít be here asking for it, but we have three very highly qualified experts in the field of traffic who are all agreeing that this is a reasonable proposal.

 

 

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

13 February 1996

Page Twenty-Nine

V B APPROVAL OF MODIFICATION TO ENTRANCE A-TRI-COUNTY MALL-cont.

Mr. Okum commented Mr. Shuler indicated that he has some concerns. Heís not saying heís endorsing this, heís saying he has some concerns. Mr. Dzaman responded the way I read his report is if you decide this is a reasonable thing to ask, he thinks from a traffic standpoint it is reasonable. We are a company with some of the best retail developers, retail managers and leasing agencies in the business and this is a problem for us. Please help us.

Mr. Okum asked what they would do with the increased numbers of people walking across the ring road. Mr. Dzaman answered it is not an uncommon situation. Youíll always have a traffic flow in the inner ring road, and people will cross it. Itís not like a major street in a downtown area. I do not think this will dramatically impact it.

Mr. Galster commented I have a concern, not only on S.R. 747, but on I-275 exit ramp. In order to get into that right turn lane, when I am at the 747 intersection turning into there, I have to be in the right lane of the two left turn lanes. In order for me to do that, I would have to go back on the interstate, be in the left of the two right turn lanes to get into that position. I think when shoppers go to the mall, they want to park as quickly as they can. If there is access to that parking lot, a lot of people will try to find a spot there. If I know that right turn lane is going to happen and I have to start making decisions all the way back at I-275, and I am in the left of the right turn lanes, Iím going to block a lot of peopleís ability to even use the left most left turn lane turning into the mall.

Mr. Dzaman responded if you are sitting at that light on Princeton Pike waiting to make a left hand turn, there is an existing overhead sign with two big curves. I would like to utilize this sign to cue people that this exists. Mr. Syfert commented it will be an education process; I donít think there is any question about that. Mr. Galster said right now when you want tog et off at Route 4 heading westbound, people start crossing over into the entrance lane from 747 so they can get into position and other people who were taking their time to turn in now canít because it has been filling up behind them before the lane was actually created. I think that will happen here as well. I think the backup happens all the way back to I-275.

Mr. Gehrum said donít you think people do that now? Mr. Galster agreed. Mr. Gehrum added it really isnít any different. Mr. Galster responded do you agree that most people want to park as quickly as they can? Mr. .Gehrum responded I think they want to park as close to where they are shopping as possible. Mr. Dzaman added right now nobody wants to go to that area of the mall. Mr. Galster commented I would agree with opening it up closer to the garages, but right here there is too much. Mr. Dzaman reported we tried and talked to Lazarus and the city. We have been working on this for a long time.

Mr. Young said you mentioned that there was no cooperation with Lazarus on this. Mr. Dzaman answered they cooperated with this; theyíll support this, but we had talked about moving it at two points, and they did not want this because that would dead end their parking area. Mr. Young from what you mentioned earlier, I take it that Lazarus is not among those retailers that have declined in sales volume. Mr. Dzaman responded they have declined.

 

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V B APPROVAL OF MODIFICATION TO ENTRANCE A-TRI-COUNTY MALL-cont.

Mr. Tiffany said I would like to know the time frame. When do we decide we have had enough if it is not working, and when do we decide? The biggest problem I have is the City made a grave mistake at the Kemper and Northland Boulevard intersection, and it was a catastrophe. We spent a lot of money redoing it twice; the accidents were incredible. If one person got injured, this is not worth it, and we are hearing it may work and it may not; we donít know. Thatís not a safe bet to me; we have something that is effective right now.

Mr. Dzaman stated as far as the criteria for how much is enough, we are flexible. Whatever the City or Planning Commission wants to establish as criteria we will accept. Mr. Tiffany commented to be fair to everybody, that has to be spelled out.

Mr. Syfert commented Mr. Shuler pointed out one of his concerns was with the level of service diminishing and that is something we could have a handle on fairly easily. The accident reports would tell the other major concern from a safety standpoint. Your point is very well taken; if one person gets injured that wouldnít have otherwise, it isnít worth it. He asked Mr. Shuler to address this.

Mr. Shuler reported this issue came up in staff discussions; we discussed the criteria we would use. We can certainly establish the existing or base condition and we certainly can monitor how that is changing. There has been no discussion or decision on what would constitute a level that would be unacceptable, and that certainly is something that needs to be discussed. I as well as the applicant would want to know what that level is so that we know when we cross that line and it has to come back out. We have discussed the issue, but there has been no decision made other than we have collected data so we know at least what the existing condition is so we can compare that if this is approved and goes into effect so we have something to compare it against, but no decision has been made as to what level would require it to come back out.

Mr. Tiffany said with reference to the picture that they supplied tonight, the parking field by Lazarus has probably 30 to 40 cars. I think you are looking to park more people to the right as we go in there. This little tiny field to the left will fill very quickly for the left turn. At that point, we are just funneling people back around the corner going to the left like we would be with this lane, and then we are causing more congestion down around the garage, around Lazarus doors. To the right, at peak time that field is pretty much full. Mr. Syfert commented it wouldnít even apply at Christmastime. Mr. Dzaman added for the holiday shopping season, we thought of maybe having a police officer to direct traffic and not permit them to make that right hand turn in movement when things are starting to get backed up it would solve the problem. It would be a much more user friendly solution than actually blocking it off during the holidays.

Mr. Wilson said for all those people who would be turning right at that top, the concern initially was pedestrians walking out of that parking area and trying to cross the street with all that traffic. Maybe we could put a pedestrian bridge over so we donít have a problem with passengers. Granted that would only solve one problem, having a pedestrian not being struck by a vehicle. Have you given that any thought to that?

 

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V B APPROVAL OF MODIFICATION TO ENTRANCE A-TRI-COUNTY MALL-cont.

Mr. Dzaman responded I would say that this is so important for our company, that if it took putting a pedestrian bridge in, we probably would do it. I believe the amount of traffic on this ring road as a result of the modification will be marginally impacted. Weíre not going to be creating a major thoroughfare here with this change.

Mr. Gehrum added if you think about the amount of parking there and available, to fill that up is not a tremendous number of cars. Mr. Wilson asked how many spots they are talking about and Mr. Dzaman answered maybe 200. Mr. Wilson continued you donít think that pedestrians walking, trying to get to the mall might not be a problem? Mr. Gehrum answered they are doing that now.

Mr. Huddleston commented I do not have the historical perspective, and I try to be sensitive to that because it is important to know that and understand what has gone before. On the other hand, I think the applicant has proven to my satisfaction and I concur that there is a need. I try not to mix economic issues with planning or public safety. In terms of economic vitality, I would say that canít be the barometer that Iíll make the decision on. On the other hand, I know enough to say that regional malls are in a very serious struggle, and I think it behooves us as good diligent planners for the city to make sure that this mall continues to be viable. I think they have established a need; I think there is a need for some other attempt to satisfy this concern. They have offered us a money back guarantee if you will, and I certainly agree with the other members of the board that this needs to be an iron-clad money back guarantee from our side of the table. While I have been in the business for 25 years, I donít claim to be a traffic expert or a retail expert, so Iím going to defer to the "experts". If our city engineer tells us that it is a reasonable attempt at a viable solution, Iím going to assume that it may work in the future. I donít know if itíll work or not, but it is worth the attempt. It does behoove us to try and insure that this has long term viability. I donít think this City would like to see in three or five years one end of this mall boarded up as there is another mall, and on the other hand, I donít think we can sit here and be smug and say thatís the way it was so weíre going to leave it that way, and if thereís a problem you go solve it on your own.. Things have changed for them, theyíve changed for the city and theyíve changed for the region. Having said all that, Iím not trying to be indifferent to the other members of the Commission, and I do very much respect the work that has gone into this. I think there has been a lot of good planning that has gone on in Springdale and thatís why I moved to the community. I went from Blue Ash, a plannerís dream to Butler County which was a plannerís nightmare, and I donít want to see that here. Iím back in Springdale, extremely happy to be here, and I think we should work with the gentleman to establish some viability there and work on that basis. I would like to see us be a little more proactive in trying to work with them.

Mr. Okum commented when we reviewed through Pflumís recommendations, there was Option B, which showed a curb separating those lanes out and not quite as much recess. I asked Mr. Shuler about this, and he responded that they were concerned about having a barrier there such as we have on Route 4 where cars drive over the top and get hung up all the time. I remembered a speed bump to separate the lanes; it was six inches high and tapered on the sides. Couldnít that be used to keep that crossover traffic from wanting to cross over and force them to go where they are supposed to go into the garage?

 

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V B APPROVAL OF MODIFICATION TO ENTRANCE A-TRI-COUNTY MALL-cont.

Mr. Okum stated the way it is right now, I cannot vote for it. Experience tells me that it will create an enormous amount of driver frustration with cars wanting to get over and merge into that area. You have given us a guarantee, and I agree that some way it has to be quantified and be able to be tracked, but I canít allow those two lanes to freely merge into that one lane. I would like you to at least consider what Iíve said. Mr. Dzaman responded I personally like that idea; I suggested dots to Mr. Shuler and Mr. Gehrum. Mr. Okum said not dots, I am talking a raised mound three foot wide curved structure, so it is inconvenient for the cars to merge over. I do have one concern about the increased flow of traffic into that field; when it gets full, where are those cars going to go? Mr. Dzaman responded if that solution is acceptable to Mr. Shuler, it is acceptable to me.

Mr. Gehrum said the next step, if we have a workable concept, is we need workable drawings of the final design to submit to the city. Between that time, it is fine with us; we can go either way; it doesnít make any difference.

Mr. Okum said I was going to discuss pedestrian crossing, but I failed to realize that it is a right in to that mall so those lights are sequenced and there will be opportunities for people to cross.

Mr. Okum stated your problems are more than just this entrance. If you feel this entrance will help, weíre here to help you but we donít want to put a safety situation there.

Mr. Dzaman reported there is a kind of traffic bump, round concrete discs that we can put at five foot intervals. Mr. Okum responded something that will discourage that crossover and help the situation.

Mr. Shuler stated there are a number of methods that could be explored to accomplish that if the concept is approved. In our report we also indicated that this is concept only. There will have to be more detailed work on this before it can be approved, but Iím sure we can come up with something to separate those two lanes.

Mr. Syfert asked Mr. Shuler if he anticipated any problems with coming up with a criteria that we could use to determine if it is working or not? Mr. Shuler answered we have to sit down and talk through how we will monitor that, and put it in writing so everybody knows going in what that threshold is that would require it to come back out if it were ever crossed.

Mr. Tiffany said one of my concerns with that is I think the large driving force for this is the restaurant tenant coming in at this end of the mall. If we were to approve this tonight, and they started construction on it three weeks from now and had it done a month and a half from now, by the time the tenant gets it built out and everything worked out, he would be looking at August or September for an open date. If it doesnít work between now and then, how is this fair to this tenant that is proposed to come in? Mr. Wilson said thatís true, but that is the mallís problem. Mr. Dzaman added I suspect also that if we were doing a restaurant on the front of the mall, we would be doing more than just interior work and would be back before you in some way. Mr. Tiffany added between now and next Christmas, we may not get a good feel for this thing until this restaurant is ready to open.

 

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V B APPROVAL-MODIFICATION TO ENTRANCE A-TRI-COUNTY MALL-cont.

Mr. Wilson repeated I agree with you but itís not our problem. Mr. Tiffany continued the reason I am bringing it up is that it needs to be considered when we put together this time frame. Do we need to let this thing ride through Christmas of next year? Mr. Shuler stated I was not looking at it from the standpoint of a time, but from the threshold of either accidents or diminished level of service. And you are right; it will take some time to evaluate; you wonít be able to do this in a month. Mr. Huddleston added we may do such a good job of relieving his problem that suddenly he is be busier than he was before and there could be a problem. I think that will take time, and needs to be part of that agreement. Mr. Tiffany continued as Mr. Huddleston said, we have to consider what is good for the community and good for the development and look at it from a planning standpoint.

Mr. Galster asked if Planning could delay voting on this until we have these things from the engineer as far as the wording of the agreement? Do you need to be more comfortable with an ironclad guarantee ahead of time?

Mr. Shuler reported what the applicant is looking for this evening is a concept approval of what they are presenting to you, so the rest of the work in terms of the agreement and on the details, which we want to see as well, can move forward. They donít want to go forward if Planning is opposed to the concept. Mr. Wilson stated the applicant is asking if we feel comfortable with this; if we are, letís move on; this is concept.

Mr. Huddleston said they are here looking for a concept approval, and I think if we can give them some direction in the form of a motion on concept and outline our points, that would be adequate. Mr. Huddleston moved to approve the concept as submitted, subject to total review by the cityís engineering staff and in particular based on the concept that we are reviewing this evening to see that the city engineer, solicitor and staff are satisfied that we have adequate guarantee over the public safety issue and the timing of the public safety issue to insure that if in fact this does not work from that perspective, the applicant will remove it within a stipulated period of time at his expense. Mr. Wilson seconded the motion.

Voting aye were Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Okum, Mr. Young and Mr. Syfert. Mr. Galster and Mr. Tiffany voted no, and the concept approval was given with five affirmative votes.

Mr. Dzaman asked if they need to come back for another hearing. Mr. Huddleston answered the intent of my motion was if you can structure this in a formal arrangement, then it is something we need to look at, the engineering documentation, the legal documentation. I donít think you have a grand slam here, so it is your call as to whether you want to pursue it further. Mr. Syfert asked if they would be back next month, and Mr. Dzaman stated it would be April before we are back, and requested to be on the agenda.

Mr. Syfert asked if anyone would not be here at the next meeting, March 12, and Mr. Okum stated that he might not be. Mr. Huddleston stated that he would not here on April 9th.

VII. CHAIRMANíS REPORT - nothing

 

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13 February 1996

Page Thirty-Four

VIII. DISCUSSION

A. Election - Municipal Representative to Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission

Mr. Syfert stated we have one gentleman running, Robert F. Alsfelder who is on the Mariemont Planning Commission and is looking for our vote of approval.

Mr. Tiffany said this pretty much limits the vote to Robert Alsfelder. It concerns me because it pretty much the vote to him. Letís say Mr. Okum wanted to run for this position, and I would like to consider a position like this for myself, and I think Mr. Huddleston would be good for it. If we donít get this until now, there is no way we can add our names to the ballot for all the other communities. I donít see it as a fair issue, and I would like for us to present that to them, possibly in writing. It doesnít say how long the term is, and we didnít receive any notification that it was coming up. Mr. Wilson said letís abstain from voting until we get some clarification. Mr. Tiffany reported it has to be received by February 29th. Mr. Wilson said letís tell them we wonít submit that until we get criteria for the position, and if there are any other people interested in it and the term of office. Mr. Tiffany commented Robert Alsfelder will be elected, and I donít think it is a very fair and legitimate way of doing this. As a member of this, we pay a good chunk of money, and I donít know that we are being represented as well as we could be. Mr. Wilson said I agree, and that is why we should abstain. Mr. Syfert asked if all members shared that opinion. Mr. Huddleston agreed, and Mr. Young suggested sending a letter. Mr. Syfert will send a letter to them indicating that we are abstaining and expressing our concerns. Mr. Tiffany commented I remember five years ago Mr. Hermann mentioned that the election was coming up and asked if anyone were interested, and that was the end of it. Mr. Huddleston added I started on Blue Ash Commission in 1971, and I remember the same issue coming up in the same fashion every time.

Mr. Tiffany stated I think we need to take a serious look as a city at these cellular towers. This will continue from here on out. The literature that Mr. Osborn provided us in terms of disguising these things and doing something with them, we need to look at it. If we donít beat them to the punch, they will have their way with it and put them wherever they please. Mr. Young commented based on that literature, we may not have that option. Mr. Galster said maybe we need to be a little more aggressive, and have the engineer look at 10 building tops throughout the city that would cover all of Springdale. Mr. Young said I did not understand why he wouldnít come in with a backup plan. Mr. Galster said they only look at one pole; they could look at five different sites. Mr. Huddleston commented that might be true; the other reality is they have to deal with the property owners. I also agree with you that we need to be proactive in seeking the solution; that is the key to it. If we donít weíre leaving ourselves wide open for legal challenge, and youíre not going to win with the FCC.

Mr. Okum said these were photographs provided to me years ago on the Kroger property. After the meeting the other night we were talking about potentially having photographs of this type of key sites in the community. That way when we are reviewing plans submitted to us, we have some better review. For a number of years, Bill was taking video tape of different sites. Jim, you said you might know someone that could do this?

 

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13 February 1996

Page Thirty-Five

VIII - DISCUSSION - continued

Mr. Young reported my cousin does this; I can give you his name and number to get the quote. You can tell him exactly what you want. Mr. Okum asked if the Commission had any problem with that; would it be helpful?

Mr. Huddleston suggested that there is a lot of aerial material out there now; the question always is how current it is. We use it in our business all the time. Mr. Young said that picture tonight was an excellent picture. Mr. Syfert said letís look into it. Mr. Young reported my understanding is that it is $250 to $300 per shot.

IX ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Wilson moved for adjournment and Mr. Young seconded the motion. All voted aye, and the Commission adjourned at 11:50 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

_________________,1996 _____________________________

William G. Syfert, Chairman

 

 

_________________,1996 _______________________________

Richard Huddleston, Secretary