PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
March 8, 2011
7:00 P.M.



I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman, Don Darby.


II. ROLL CALL

Members Present: Carolyn Ghantous, David Okum, Richard Bauer,
Tom Vanover, Steve Galster, Marge Boice, Don Darby

Others Present: Anne McBride, City Planner; William McErlane, Building Official; Don Shvegzda, City Engineer; Jerry Thamann, Assistant City Administrator


III. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF FEBRUARY 8, 2010

Mr. Vanover moved to adopt the February 8, 2010 Planning Commission Meeting minutes, Mrs. Boice seconded the motion and the minutes were adopted with seven affirmative votes.


IV. REPORT ON COUNCIL

No report presented for City Council.


V. CORRESPONDENCE

    No correspondence to report.


VI. OLD BUSINESS

A. Chairman Darby: Under Old Business we have a request for an amended Conditional Use Permit for a Day Care, Growth Spurts Learning Center at 11490 Springfield Pike. Because this is a Public Hearing, anyone that wishes to speak in regard to the Conditional Use application before the Commission must be sworn in.

(At this time the applicant, Jenell Holston was sworn in by the Chairman.)

Mrs. Jenell Holston: I am here today to request an amendment to our Conditional Use Permit for Growth Spurts Learning Center that was issued on
January 12, 2010, to include an on-site, outdoor play area in accordance with the ordinances of the City of Springdale and the Ohio Revised Code. The reason for our request is that originally we did not plan for an outdoor play area; we had an inspection by a licensed specialist from the state of Ohio and she determined that the distance was too great for the children to walk; it is approximately fifteen minutes. She also stated that the primary and secondary routes, in which we would be traveling, were unsafe and the daily routine trips would be inconvenient for the children as far as the distance. She also stated that she felt consistency from the Staff was unlikely to actually meet that requirement of outdoor play. The requirement is for children that are there for more than four consecutive daylight hours to receive outdoor play; she didn’t feel as though Staff would meet that qualification. She recommended that we try to find on-site space or a totally different space; which at this time is not feasible because of the investment that has already been made at that particular space. Basically our goal is to exceed Ohio’s requirement for on-site, outdoor play area for our children at Growth Spurts Learning Center. We would only be doing the hours of operation where there is daylight hours; it will be each day and we want to accommodate fourteen children in the play area at one time, which allows them to have sixty square feet of usable space according to the proposed measurements of our play area which is 20’ X 42’. The age groups that the play area will serve will be the toddlers, pre-schoolers and school-age children and it will be low to medium volume activity just because of the space that we have and because of the partial asphalt. Children would be participating in activities such as riding small toys; bucket basketball for the older children; and for the younger children like toddlers, they can actually use the basketball hoop, corn hole, jump rope and things of that nature that will be low to medium volume play because of the location of the play area and the space that we have. Staff/child ratios will be met where the toddlers will be one child-care Staff person to every seven toddlers; one child-care Staff person to every eight pre-schoolers and because of the maximum number of children allowed in that particular space for the school-agers, it would be one to fourteen. Location is immediately adjacent to the southeast façade of the building. The entire play area will be fenced with the finished side facing the public right-of-way, with a dog-eared picket fence with posts that will be mounted with a sturdy stand and it also will have a gate.
(At this time, Mrs. Holston presented all members of the Planning Commission with a copy of the fence information.)
The interior finish of the play area will be asphalt and mulch. The fencing materials that are listed on the information that is being passed around is a 3’ X 8’ vinyl dog-eared, picket fence, 4” X 4” vinyl posts and then we have the 4” X 4” pyramid post top and sturdy stand post mounts would actually mount the vinyl post to the asphalt and we will have a gate. The gate will be located near the even-level portion of the ramp that is there near the main entrance. Growth Spurts Learning Center will provide maintenance to the play area and the surrounding areas and the fence to insure that it remains safe, sanitary and free of hazardous conditions. Inspections will be performed by Growth Spurts Learning Center at least four times a year on a quarterly basis during the months that the program is in operation. Formal inspections will be documented on the Child-Care Playground Inspection Report that is required by Ohio Job and Family Services. Each day before play, the child-care Staff members will assess the play area to make sure that there is nothing there that is hazardous and that it is safe for children. Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services will inspect the playground at least twice a year. Accessibility to the play area: there will be a gate located near the flat surface of the ramp at the main entrance that will be used to enter and exit the play area. The opening of the gate will be 36” and will swing outward away from the building to accommodate an emergency exit from the play area and also to prevent injury to individuals inside the play area upon entry of others. The latching mechanism on the gate will be functional and will not provide easy access for children. Accessibility to the center from the public parking lot: the space between the fence and the grass area adjacent to Elm Alley and the space between the fence and the large concrete planters adjacent to Church Street will serve as a safe path of travel for individuals traveling to and from the public parking lot to access the Center’s main entrance located on Church Street. The existing landscape: we have nine boxwoods to be relocated into large concrete planters on the south-side of the fence adjacent to Church Street. The concrete planters will be spaced every 4-1/2’ and they also will be mounted into the asphalt with steel rods to impede vehicles that are approximately 61.4” in width, approximately 5’ which is the average size of a Smart-Car according to Smart Center at King’s Auto Mall; we want to prevent vehicles from coming in contact with children in the play area. The remaining landscape, which includes a pine and four service berries and an unknown larger tree and a portion of the soil and the mulch, will be relocated on the south-west façade of the building facing Church Street and the west façade side of the building facing Springfield Pike, unless advised otherwise by the City of Springdale. A portion of the soil or mulch will remain on the play area to provide consistency. Parking the van: accessible handicap parking space will retain its location and continue to serve as purposed and the remaining three on-site parking spaces will serve as “drop-off” and “pick-up” at each of the three spaces. Growth Spurts Learning Center is requesting that the City allow the secondary parking for parents and primary parking for employees in the adjacent public parking lot and the parents and employees of Growth Spurts Learning Center will utilize the City parking lot during hours of operation and will refrain from overnight parking. Revisions to our parent / employee handbook will be made to accommodate the “drop-off” and pick-up” zones and the on-site parking. And the owner and Center Administrator will enforce those policies regarding the on-site and off-site parking.

Mr. McErlane: Before I read my Staff report I need to point out that there are a number of things that the applicant mentioned tonight that you do not have in your packets. If you notice that I noted in both what the applicant submitted in your packets, and both my comments and Don Shvegzda’s comments, are exactly the same ones that you received last month because we received no re-submittals until I received an email yesterday afternoon. Some of the things that the applicant is expressing to you are in the email from yesterday afternoon that has not been distributed to you because we haven’t had the time to digest that or to comment on it. We had asked for any re-submittals to be submitted by the 25th of February but didn’t receive it until yesterday afternoon (March 7th). When the applicant talked about vinyl fencing and the size of the play area, it doesn’t correspond to what was submitted to you in the application.

Chairman Darby: Are we in a position to decide on these issues?

Mr. McErlane: That would be entirely up to you, whether or not you think that you can digest what is being presented and has been presented to make a determination as to whether you feel comfortable approving it.

Chairman Darby: What is your comfort level?

Mr. McErlane: I think that some of this was in response to some of our comments. We had commented that the fence enclosure be pushed back to the building so that it is not so close to Church Street. We had suggested that because they are removing landscaping that it is probably a good idea to place it in heavy planters on the street side to also be used as a barricade to the fence to keep cars from running into the fence; although I think the size of the fenced-in area has grown to the degree that we may have a little bit of concern because now it going back toward the street from the 16’ that was originally proposed to now 20’ from the building. We had indicated that the Corridor Requirements do require either a wooden fence or an iron fence and when we talked with the applicant there was some discussion about vinyl, and I think at the time we wrote the Corridor Review Standards we didn’t consider vinyl; vinyl may be a legitimate alternative to chain link, but the Corridor Standards did not permit the chain link. We had no new layout for the fence play area and we had no indication what that fence would look like, except for what the applicant distributed to the Planning Commission Members tonight. We don’t have a good handle on the size and what the fence is going to look like and where that fence is going to be located relative to the street.

(At this time, Mr. McErlane read his Staff comments.)

Mrs. Holston: Everything that I read off in the beginning, I took all of that information from the comments and suggestions that were made to me regarding the playground; and I do apologize that you did not receive that information to be able to digest it earlier. I also apologize for not being able to make the last meeting on February 8th, the actual owner of the property passed away and we had to go through a couple months and the building has just transferred over to his daughter and that is why the affidavit was just now received, as well.

(Ms. McBride read her Staff comments.)

Mrs. Holston: I just wanted to note that the reason why we extended the playground in length coming away from the building is because, when the fencing guy came out, there was no where to put that gate but near the flat portion of that ramp because the ramp goes down, and then once it becomes level, that was the best place for the fence to go. So, we had to come out 4’ and then the only reason I thought to extend it the other way is so that it can meet up exactly with the edge of the building, instead of a portion closer to the window; ending at the window as opposed to the edge of the building.

(Mr. Don Shvegzda read his Staff comments.)

Chairman Darby: You mentioned earlier that you had an inspection from the folks at Jobs and Family Services. The key item that they focused on was the outdoor play area?

Mrs. Holston: No, actually she was there to inspect the indoor recreation area that we had created which is 1,440 s.f., so we wouldn’t be required to have an outdoor play area on-site. But in addition to the indoor recreation area you have to also travel daily to a play area. Basically everything has stopped since that point because there is not another area that I could take the children to and it be acceptable.

Chairman Darby: Do you know if what is proposed is acceptable to them?

Mrs. Holston: Yes, we actually spoke on a conference call with Mr. McErlane and she sounded as though the play area out there would be fine with the vinyl fencing. That is all that is required that we have fencing or natural barriers.

Chairman Darby: At this time, because this is a Public Hearing we will open the floor to the audience.

Mr. Jerry Thamann, Assistant City Administrator: I don’t have a question, but one comment I raised to Staff was that she mentioned putting basketball hoops and equipment in the play area and I have not seen that fence, so I don’t know what that would look like and I don’t know if all the equipment inside the play area will be blocked from view.

Mrs. Holston: We couldn’t keep the equipment outdoors overnight; we would bring it in because we have already had some slight bit of theft at that location; so we would be bringing everything in.

Chairman Darby: At this time we are going to close the Public comment portion of the hearing.

Mrs. Boice: I was not here when the original presentation was made but I was given a copy of the minutes. There seems to be so many definite statements in those minutes – “at no time shall there be an outdoor play area on-site.” I am a little concerned and I am wondering what has changed.

Chairman Darby: The original determination was to have the children go to a play area off-site. The Ohio Job and Family Services squashed that plan. The applicant had to rework her plan so that the outdoor play area could be on-site.

Mrs. Boice: After having read the minutes, it seemed like a closed issue and that was my main concern.

Mrs. Holston: She did say that it was o.k. for the children to visit the Springdale Recreation Park on field trips, but not as a routine daily event.

Mr. Okum: I think that one of the things that we need to be sensitive to are the conditions #1 through #8 that Ms. McBride provided to us. Some of those items are directly tied to the business. It is a difficult situation for the applicant because she is going along with the process and making improvements; and you don’t have all your ducks in a row and you find out from Ohio Job and Family Services that what you planned is not going to work. These conditions (#1 through #8) do not go away and we have to be sensitive to that in our deliberation. This would also require variances for setback of the fence and so forth; being on the Board of Zoning Appeals it would be very difficult for me to make a decision based upon what you have here. They too have to consider this same situation; fences in a front yard could be a significant issue for other developments in the Corridor Review District.

Mrs. Ghantous: How many hours a day, or what portion of time will the children actually be using the playground outside?

Mrs. Holston: For the children that will be there for more than four consecutive hours, approximately 45 minutes.

Mrs. Ghantous: During the course of a day between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. or 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. or whatever your daylight hours are, how many hours during that time frame would there actually be kids on the playground?

Mrs. Holston: Because of the square footage of the play area the children would have to take turns going out. The toddlers would go out first and then the pre-schoolers would come in; so I would say if we give each group 45 minutes then we are looking at a little under 3 hours or 2-1/2 hours.

Mrs. Ghantous: Would that be pretty much consecutive or broken up; where the toddlers would be out for 45 minutes and then an hour break and then the pre-schoolers would be out for 45 minutes?

Mrs. Holston: Something similar to that, it would all have to fit into the curriculum; toddlers take naps so we would want to schedule them first and get their playtime out. The school-agers are at school doing the school year, so they would actually come later; we would want to get the playtime done early so when the school-agers come, we are taking them out.

Mrs. Ghantous: What amount of time is the Job and Family Services Department requiring that each child be outside, for what portion of time during the day?

Mrs. Holston: They didn’t specify in the rules, they just specified that any toddler, pre-school and school-age child that is there for four or more consecutive hours and also any school age children that are there and participating in after school program, be provided with outdoor play. They didn’t put a time frame on it; they didn’t say they need to be out there for ½ hour or 45 minutes.

Mrs. Ghantous: So, maybe if one concern is the noise, you could schedule the amount of time to be less; is that a possibility, to help with the noise concerns?

Mrs. Holston: Yes. If there are noise concerns then yes we could go down from 45 minutes to 20 or 30 minutes.

Mrs. Ghantous: In my mind, the older kids are going to make more noise than the little kids; as far as any disruptive noise.

Mrs. Holston: That is definitely something we could put into plan because we don’t want to disrupt any of the businesses or residents.

Chairman Darby: Who established the time for outdoor play?

Mrs. Holston: I established the 45 minutes just to give them a maximum number of time; it could be 30 minutes or 20 minutes. I thought that 45 minutes would be a good amount of time, especially during the summer when the school-agers are out of school.

Mr. Bauer: I have a couple of questions; I guess my concerns would be the parking spaces and the change from decreasing that amount, do you feel that your business would be impacted by only having the four drop-offs at the front door? It seems like that would be a concern.

Mrs. Holston: Not really, because the public parking lot is right there; it is very close to us. There will be three drop-off zones along with the handicap parking space. I think during peak hours everyone is not going to get a chance to use those drop-off zones. I think the public parking lot is easy access to my building.

Mr. Bauer: The other concern was, without seeing the new layout of the play-ground area, my concern from the original proposal from last month is the proximity to the street; and with Staff’s comments about moving that back, it sounds like you are willing to do that. The planters, having something substantial besides the bollards, that is a good idea.

Mrs. Holston: That idea came from the City and I think it is a great idea.

Mr. Bauer: I have seen the bollards, the ones that you proposed and you have to have them in concrete underground for them to stop a car; the ones that attach to the asphalt don’t last very long.

Mr. Okum: If you were restricted for the amount of hours for playtime outside, the restaurants activity gets busy during mid-day, if that would limit you to
2:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M., would that be a window big enough for you to accommodate?

Mrs. Holston: Yes. I am willing to work within any window that I am provided.

Mrs. Boice: I think children need outdoor breaks a couple time each day. When my children were toddlers I wanted them to have time to play outside.

Mr. Okum: I am trying to tie down a time, because business does increase in that area around lunch time.

Chairman Darby: Along those same lines, the play area can only accommodate fourteen children in any one session. Maximum, how many children do you expect to have on your schedule?

Mrs. Holston: At one time, approximately 43 because our occupancy permit would only be for 49 at any one time.

Chairman Darby: You don’t want to cut that outdoor play time down to where it is not valuable.

Mrs. Holston: What I was wondering, both of the restaurant businesses that are near us are only doing lunch or dinner and patrons are not there in the morning because they don’t serve breakfast; if we could do a session in the morning and in the later afternoon, that would be great.

Mr. Galster: I go back to when we originally approved the Conditional Use, back in December of 2010; the conversation was about no outdoor play because of the fact that nobody liked the idea of kids playing in the parking lot. Having five kids myself, every time you walk your kids through a parking lot you are holding their hands and being careful to tell them not to play in a parking lot. This street is not a quiet street, it gets plenty of traffic. We are putting a fenced play area out in the parking field or closer to the fence, to me it is still a question of safety. I am not convinced that a playground located outside of that building is safe. There is a lot of traffic coming to and from your establishment at different hours because you have different drop-off times and you have different age children that might come from school and that is a concern for me. Not knowing the exact dimensions, I don’t know if it is 3’ off the roadway or 6’; I am not sure that it is enough to make a difference to me to eliminate the issues that I have on safety. I can tell you that the fence that has been submitted is basically a metal pole that has vinyl put over the top of it and then there are little inserts that hold each section of fence. I have a neighbor that has one of these fences and it is easy to push a section out and all of a sudden the whole thing comes out of the connection that it has at the post; where a chain link fence or a wood fence have some stability to them. I question the stability of vinyl that is 8’ long that is held in by just a couple of clips on each post. If in fact a car would actually get through to that fence, that fence is not going to do anything to slow a vehicle down much less stop a vehicle. The interaction with the traffic, on a road, the parking area, it is just not a good mix for me. I understand the fact that you have invested a lot of energy and time and money into trying to make this site work but I think that we go back to that December meeting and this site did not work in my mind with an outdoor play area and unfortunately it still doesn’t.

Mr. Vanover: The safety issue is paramount in my mind. Several years back, Tri-County Assembly of God runs a daycare and there was a child that was struck and killed by a truck tire that came off of a truck, off of Route 4 and that is probably at least 50 yards off of Route 4. I have a vinyl fence that is taller, actually it is a gate but it is not the most substantial fencing material that you are going to find. I would have to go along with Mr. Galster’s comments that I wouldn’t think an outside playground there is going to work there. The biggest thing is the safety issue.

Chairman Darby: If you recall the last time that you were here there was a great deal of enthusiasm from this Commission and we were able to approve a plan. I was really disheartened when I found out the change. I see a fence that is a lot better at keeping kids in, because it is not going to work keeping cars out, or tires. You described a lot of things to us but we really don’t have them before us; the questions we have about the fence and what it is going to look like, exactly what are the dimensions, we don’t even have a site plan. Sensing the comments, I very seriously doubt that the vote would be to o.k. this, this evening.

Mrs. Holston: I understand.

Mr. Okum: You can continue the Public Hearing process; you can call for a vote which would give you a clear decision that may be potentially better for the applicant to go back to Job and Family Services to address this issue. I believe that it is scheduled to go to the Springdale Board of Zoning Appeals next week?

Mr. McErlane: The only reason we advertised it is because of the advertising requirements for it. We did not receive a direct application for a variance so we advertised in expectation that if there was an approval out of this Commission tonight that it would be conditioned on a variance; so if we do not have a decision it would be our recommendation that it would not be considered by BZA.

Mr. Okum: So, without an approval here it would not go on the agenda for the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mr. McErlane: It would not go on the agenda, right.

Mr. Okum: We can take a vote for your benefit, in my opinion I would make a simple motion based upon your application; or you can withdraw.

Mrs. Holston: I want to work on this; I don’t want to just drop it. I want to work on getting the play area and meeting the requirements of the City of Springdale and the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.

Mrs. Boice: I know there have been changes in that play area where it is going to be, and we do not have that material in front of us. I have to be upfront and very honest; no matter where that play area is I just don’t think it is feasible in that area. You can talk about different times of the day where maybe the traffic is lighter but I travel that area quite a number of times around 1:30 P.M. and
2:00 P.M. when I am on my way to the Post Office coming from my part-time job and I don’t care when you travel that area, the traffic is extremely heavy. Being as open and to the point that I can be, I just don’t see an outside play area feasible at all and I would not be able to support that.

Mrs. Holston: Originally I wanted the playground to be in back of my building using part of the property owned by the grocery store but I was advised to try to put it on my own lot. Behind me is space for a parking area and the owner is willing to lease me a portion of this area for my play area and that would be actually in the space near Elm Alley but closer and would take away some of his parking, as well.

Chairman Darby: Is this something that would be feasible?

Mrs. Holston: That is my plan until it was advised that I try to put it on my own lot, so I would look into going back to that plan. In the comments that I received the City Engineer felt that I should put it on my own lot.

Mr. McErlane: To shed a little light on it; when the applicant had indicated that there was an issue with not being able to use the off-site play area; her first idea was to place it on the property parking lot, behind their building of the property owner to the north. My only response to that was that it would remove some of their parking spaces and in order to compensate for that the City would have to agree to allow the grocery store to use the public parking area to accommodate some of their parking, as well. It looks as though it is only two parking spaces but it is two less than what they have today. The other recommendation was to talk with the First Baptist Church which is a block away; and the applicant did contact First Baptist Church and they said they had no interest in considering that because of the liability issues. The answer that I received back from the City Administration was that they would rather see the play area on the property
in the southeast corner of the property; so that gives you an idea of where we ended up today.

Mr. Galster: I think that we have to be fair to the applicant and I think that we have to make sure that if we make a motion, that is one thing, but if we are going to table it we have to make sure that she has a clear understanding as to whether or not it is workable to get this play area in and I agree with Mrs. Boice, as I stated previously, I don’t see this site working with an outdoor play area, on the south, east or west side of this building. When it comes to the north side of this building, we would have a Conditional Use on one piece of property and then part of that Conditional Use on a second piece of property; that just seems awfully confusing to me. If you have a Conditional Use for the daycare facility but then you have an additional Conditional Use on the restaurant property in order to have an outdoor play area, I don’t know how you make that happen on two different pieces of property and tie them together. If in fact it did happen over there and there was some way to tie them together, then the photograph that I have, that shows the back of that building and that parking area, it would need to be blocked off so there is no through traffic and it would need to be such that I wouldn’t have to worry about the kids in that play area; and I am not sure that makes their parking area work. I want to make sure that if we are looking at tabling it, there is no question that if in fact you want direction from me, if there is an outdoor play area on this site, I can’t vote in favor of it. So, I don’t want you to spend a lot of additional time and energy if a majority of the Board, no matter where you place the outside play area on this lot would not make a difference and I think that we need to make sure that we give that clear direction.

Mr. McErlane: I think that the applicant proceeded to make improvements on the property with the understanding that she was going to satisfy the Department of Job and Family Services with the off-premise play area. So, she has invested money in the property to the point where she is almost ready to open, and now is presented with an issue of not having a play area that will satisfy Job and Family Services. If she can’t come up with another alternative that will satisfy them then I guess she has wasted the money that she has invested in the building. I realize that is a self-made problem but I did want to fill you in on that information.

Mr. Okum: It is very, very sad that you have put so much effort into this and you are where you are. And from what I am hearing here, I don’t see an answer. If there is an appeals process for Job and Family Services, then I think that the vote coming from this Commission is important, but on the other hand if you continue it and you relocate the play area to another parcel, this Conditional Use Hearing should not be continued. If you are thinking that the grocery market as a potential spot, because that would require re-advertisement for the public interest; it is required and I would fight for that because there is notification to the adjoining properties that would need to be done. In my recommendation I would recommend that we vote on it. You could always resubmit. The other thing is that this is a Conditional Use approval; it is not permanent. If there is a change there is a review, but the condition, if they change use of that property and this doesn’t become a daycare center, then that condition goes away. I was hoping for what you were doing to be successful and I think Chairman Darby expressed that. It is terribly unfortunate that it won’t, at this point.

Chairman Darby: I feel that the best way for us to proceed at this point, is to deal with the motion on the request. Personally, I think one of the best things that we can do to support you in the appeals process with the Job and Family Services is to give you the vote that says that they need to work with you because, I think the sentiment of this Board is very obvious in that because of the safety issues, the way it has been figured at this time, is just not going to work.

Mrs. Holston: So, the vote will not affect me being able to submit another Conditional Use Permit application for the rear portion of the building?

Mr. McErlane: It would be a new application, new drawings and the like.

Mrs. Holston: O.K., that is fine.

Mr. Galster: If in fact the motion is to deny an outdoor play area on this particular site, there is no time restriction for her to apply for an outdoor play area on a different site, which is what the alternative would be.

Mr. Okum: Mr. Chairman, based upon the evidence that was provided I would like to make a motion that the application for a play area on this site be denied.
Mr. Galster seconded the motion and with seven affirmative votes from the Planning Commission Members, the request for a play area on the site was denied.

   
VII. NEW BUSINESS

A. Chairman Darby: The next item for New Business is Woodcraft Signage for Tri-County Towne Center.

Mr. Clark Gilhart: I am with Tri-County Towne Center. My Uncle Rick Gilhart is in attendance here tonight, as well. We are here in behalf of our newest tenant, Woodcraft; we have a brief presentation.
(At this time Mr. Clark Gilhart presented a Power Point presentation for the Planning Commission demonstrating the signage at the present time and the proposed signage for Woodcraft.)

Mr. Clark Gilhart continued: Also, submitted with the sign drawings were the dimensions. I believe in the comments there were questions about either 3 or 4 measurements that weren’t on here and it was assumed that they were the same; and that is correct. These designs were based upon what we thought were allowable per City Code and what the owner, Mark Miller, wanted for his store. After submission, it was brought to our attention that we would be over the allowed square footage; and that is our mistake because we were not aware that in the Code, the sign panel on the pylon sign at Princeton and Kemper would actually be included into that calculation. Woodcraft is submitting this to help identify and promote their store and to distinguish them from “Woodcraft Furniture”, and to add a little bit to the façade.

(At this time Mr. McErlane and Ms. Anne McBride read their Staff comments.)

Mr. Okum: Is there a way you can get closer to the Code, as far as square footage?

Mr. Clark Gilhart: I think so; as I said when we submitted we thought we were there, but obviously that has changed. Are the mounting panels included in that?

Mr. Okum: If the mounting panels were painted out to the same color as the façade, how would Staff interpret that? In my opinion, it would be an expansion of the surface just giving it dimension.

Mr. McErlane: I think the initial design was to have it pin-mounted to the face of the building.

Mr. Okum: My opinion is that if you get the square footage down closer to the allowable and you paint it out to the color of the façade, you would still get the reveal effect.

Mr. Clark Gilhart: The only reason we went with the panel was to give it a little bit more character. We could do away with the slogan to gain more area.

Mr. Okum: I sort of like the slogan; I don’t have a problem with the slogan at all.

Mr. Clark Gilhart: Mr. Mark Miller had to drive to Lexington tonight, so I am not able to ask him tonight but I obviously would have to talk to him.

Mr. Okum: My feeling is that I like the panels painted out versus the letters attached to the building.

Mr. Galster: In this picture, the letters are not attached to the building; you have the white panel with the green letters attached to it. So, Mr.Okum, you are saying that you like them painted out; I happen to agree with you. I personally think that having four on each side is too many and I would reduce it to three and make them a little bit larger to actually have some dimension to them. As far as the sign content you show on the slide show, the names that you have on there right now show small items of what they carry in order to fill up space and it seems to me that if you could pick and chose six total that are more descriptive, as opposed to books and videos and picture framing, it seems like if you could narrow that down to three on each side and maybe get them a little bit larger I think it will look better than what this looks like. I don’t necessarily have a problem with the ones that you show on this picture but when you are talking about picture framing and cabinet hardware and books and videos, just narrow it down to six of them that have more “pop” to them and I think that it would be better served.

Mr. Vanover: I do like the panels painted out; the stripe that is up there now can stay; and like Mr. Okum, I do like the motto across the door, I think it ties the vertical front together.

Mr. Bauer: In the literature we received showing Kerry Ford with their signage, how was the square footage of that determined?

Mr. McErlane: The Code specifically says that if the building is the background of the sign then you box the letters. I think that we took them individually on that sign.

Mr. Bauer: On the sign itself, I agree with Mr. Galster. When I first saw all eight of those items up there I thought of a laundry list. You did a good job showing these other buildings because we have allowed that in other instances; but I do think that eight is too many and it seemed like some of the items, like “accessories”, wouldn’t tell me a whole lot about what was there. I think I would like three on each side and make them larger.

Chairman Darby: Sometimes I think we need to trust the intelligence of our potential shoppers; as I look at “accessories” and “shop essentials”, that doesn’t do a lot for me.

Mr. Okum: I don’t mind the eight signs because I think it gives dimension because it sort of angles in to the building.

Mr. Galster: I like the angle, as well.

Mr. Okum: I would like to personally have, in this particular case because it is a PUD, have the background elements not considered part of the square footage; what I am saying is if we can take the background out, Mr. McErlane, will we get under the forty-eight?

Mr. McErlane: With the condition that it be painted to match the building façade.

Mrs. Boice: That is the most attractive.

Ms. McBride: We don’t know that they will meet the square footage, as permitted to the store, based on if they paint out that background. We don’t have any dimensions for the letters and the direction needs to come from the Planning Commission.

Mr. Okum: The direction that I am suggesting is that the motion should be stated that the background elements not be considered part of the sign space, to allow the applicant to meet the sign limits for the space.

Ms. McBride: Up to a maximum of eight signs with the addition of the logo over the door. Obviously, the Commission isn’t going to get into the content, whether it says “accessories” or whatever.

Mr. Okum: So, that is my motion; up to eight panels and that the background should not be considered part of the square feet and the sign limit shall be what is permitted for that space and the background shall be the same color as the background that it is mounted to.
Mr. Vanover seconded the motion

Mr. Galster: I have a question for the applicant; would the applicant prefer to have fewer panels that are bigger?

Mr. Clark Gilhart: With Mark Miller in Lexington, and I am speaking on his behalf, I know he would personally prefer to have more and I am not at liberty to completely make that decision right now; I am just going off of what he said before he left.

(Mr. Richard Bauer polled the Planning Commission Members and with six “aye” votes and one “no” vote the request was approved with conditions.)

Mr. Clark Gilhart: Now, how do we proceed with this; do we need to resubmit?

Mr. McErlane: I have an application for permit but no fees. So, what you need to do is decide which signs you want to place on it and show them with the background painted the same color, and show the dimensions for the letters.

Mr. Clark Gilhart: We will be speaking to Mark Miller and I will pass along all the comments, the reduction in size and stuff like that.




VIII. DISCUSSION

Chairman Darby: The next item is the duration and frequency of signs from Section 153.533; Special Event Signs.

Mr. McErlane: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, as you may recall the Zoning Code has been amended twice to allow banners to be placed on businesses for up to a thirty-day period and be renewed continuously. There are some provisions in there that talk about multi-tenant properties where you can only have two signs up on a multi-tenant property at one particular time. Just to let you know, the last modification that we made will expire on May 7th of this year and I wanted to bring this up to you just in case you thought it merited another extension. I gave you a copy that Ms. Kunkel put together of a summary of the applications that we received in the last year or two from the people who have taken advantage of it and I think the only one that consistently used this in 2010 was the Springdale Elementary School. You will notice T J Maxx used it during their “grand opening”, Outback Steakhouse uses it three times a year for Mother’s Day and Christmas and Valentine’s Day and they did that for the two week period that we used to allow prior to the amendment. One of the Halloween Stores took advantage of it because they were there temporarily for a two month period. Papadeaux’s, who I believe was the reason why we implemented this, did it for a few months at the beginning of last year and then stopped. The question I would pose; do you think it merits further extension and if so, do you want to make a recommendation to Council to extend it for another year? As it stands on
May 7th it will divert back to the two week period, 4 times a year, with a period of one month in between.

Mr. Galster: I think, based on the continued economic climate, that we extended it for another year and that we should recommend to City Council that they extend it for another year. I don’t believe that we have had any temporary banners that have been in disrepair; I think they have been pretty well maintained from what I have seen.

Mr. Vanover: I echo those statements exactly.

Mrs. Boice: For the Elementary School, is that the achievement award banner?

Mr. McErlane: Yes.

Mrs. Boice: I don’t have any problem with that.

Mr. McErlane: Just to clarify, the recommendation would be to modify Section 153.533(A)(3) to allow an additional year to that language; the dates will have to be worked out based on when the Public Hearing can occur at Council.

Mr. Galster: Basically, they have to come in every month and get a new permit to keep a banner up continuously. If you are in a strip center then there is a maximum of two banners. You can continually get yours re-approved, as long as there is nobody else on a waiting list within that strip center that want time for their banner.
I make a motion to recommend to Council an extension to remain for another year for the temporary banners.
Mr. Vanover seconded the motion.
(At this time Mr. Bauer polled the Planning Commission Members and with a unanimous affirmative vote the recommendation was approved.)


IX. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

A.    Chairman Darby: We have one item under Chairman’s Report, a wall sign at the Family Dollar Store at 405 West Kemper Road.
    When are they scheduled to open?

    Mr. McErlane: We received plans from them the third quarter of last year and they did not pick up the permits until the first of this year. It is hard to say when they plan to open.   

Mr. Okum: There is an open invitation from OKI’s office for a Planning Conference. I will send an email out to everyone with information.

Ms. McBride: The Planning Partnership has their last development meeting on Friday at the Cintas Center from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. You do have to pre-register on the Hamilton County website but it is free.
I want to mention that I will not be at the April Planning Commission Meeting; the Planning Commission Meeting falls right in the middle of the American Planning Association Conference in Boston and all of us will be in Boston.

Mr. Vanover: Along those same lines, the session we had a couple weeks ago on Saturday was quite informative.

X. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Okum moved to adjourn; Mr. Vanover seconded and with a unanimous
“aye” vote from the Planning Commission Members, the meeting adjourned at
8:45 p.m.



Respectfully submitted,

________________________, 2011 ___________________________________
            Don Darby, Chairman


________________________, 2011 ___________________________________
                Richard Bauer, Secretary