PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

13 APRIL 2004

7:00 P.M.

  1. CALL MEETING TO ORDER
  2. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman William G. Syfert.

  3. ROLL CALL
  4. Members Present: Steve Galster, Robert Sherry, David Okum, Tom

    Vanover, Lawrence Hawkins and Chairman Syfert.

    Members Absent: Robert Coleman

    Others Present: Doyle H. Webster, Mayor (arrived 8:12 p.m.)

    Cecil Osborn, City Administrator (arrived 8:10 p.m.)

    Beth Stiles, Economic Development Director

    Bill McErlane, Building Official

    Don Shvegzda, Asst. City Engineer

    Anne McBride, City Planner

  5. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 9 MARCH 2004
  6. Mr. Galster moved to adopt and Mr. Okum seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted with six affirmative votes.

  7. CORRESPONDENCE
    1. Report on Council
    2. Mr. Galster reported that Council has had the first reading of the proposed Zoning Code changes and the PUD change. The public hearings will be on April 21st

      .

    3. Zoning Bulletin Ė March 10, 2004
    4. Zoning Bulletin Ė March 25, 2004
    5. Planning Partnership Update
    6. Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes Ė January 20, 2004
    7. 3/10/04 Letter to President of Council recommending modification of Preliminary PUD Plan Ė 1313 E. Kemper Road (Kemper Pond)
    8. 3/10/04 Letter to President of Council recommending Zoning Code Changes
  8. OLD BUSINESS
    1. Approval of Conditional Use Permit and Proposed Development Plan, Steak "N Shake, 11470 Princeton Pike (continued March 9, 2004)

Mr. Syfert opened the public hearing. No one came forward, and he closed the public hearing.

Joe Scott and Chris Carson of Steak ĎN Shake approached the commission. Mr. Scott said based on our previous submittal, we took the comments back to our staff and completely rearranged the layout.

Mr. McErlane reported that the primary change from the last plan is that the front door is oriented north on the site.

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Mr. McErlane stated that the building has been moved further east on the site, and the drive through is now on the east or back side of the building. The building also has been shifted to the south portion of the site and the southernmost drive is now an exit only drive.

The property is zoned General Business, and is currently used for a restaurant with drive through service. Because it was a non-conforming drive through situation, we required a Conditional Use Permit under the current zoning code for drive through service, so the applicant has applied for conditional use as well as a site development plan approval.

In 2001, there was an approval for conditional use and site development plan, but those expired.

Prior to the comments being delivered to Planning Commission, we had not received the ownerís affidavit, but we did receive it Friday afternoon.

There have been colored copies of the building elevations submitted but we havenít received any color pallet.

At the time the comments were distributed, we did not have lighting plans; we received them on Friday as well, and landscape plans have not been submitted.

The new plan shows some different setbacks to the building and the parking. It appears that all of the setbacks meet code with the exception of the rear building setback which is required to be 30 feet and is shown to be 18 feet and the rear parking setback which is required to be 10 feet and is shown at five feet.

The impervious surface ratio is right on the 75% maximum permitted. Forty-nine parking spaces are required and 56 are shown. There is one ground sign seven feet high with a 5í x 10í face or 50 square feet and three walls signs that are 3í x 22í-7" for a total of 203.22 square feet. The total sign area shown is 253.22 square feet, and that is within a variance granted in 1979 which allows up to 262.5 square feet.

This plan does impact existing trees. It looks like one 15 inch deciduous tree that is located where the southern exit drive will come out will be impacted by the layout.

The applicant will be required to get variances for the rear yard setback for the building, the pavement setback on the rear of the property and the dumpster enclosure which slightly projects in front of the building so by definition is in the front and side yard, both of which are not allowed by code.

Ms. McBride reported that the new building contains 3,885 s.f. and 3,440 s.f. of habitable building area. However one of the drawings indicates that it contains 4,020 s.f. of habitable area, so we need clarification.

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Ms. McBride added that our code requires a minimum of five stacking spaces be provided for drive through windows, and that is taken from the order point, and they have not indicated where the order point is.

On the dumpster, they did not supply any enclosure information other than a detail information for the wood gates. Staff would suggest that the dumpster enclosures be a minimum six feet tall and be faced with a cultural stone to match the building. In addition to that, staff would expect that to be heavily landscaped as well, and that the dumpster would only be serviced during hours when the restaurant is closed due to its location and the proximity to a one-way out exit point.

They are proposing three Steak N Shake signs on the building as well as a Take Home sign on the awning. They also are proposing a ground-mounted sign that would replace the existing 102 s.f. pylon sign. The ground-mounted sign would be 50 s.f. in area and seven feet in height and internally illuminated and located on a cultural stone base to match the building material.

We did not receive any lighting information. Prior submittals indicated they would have a series of 1,000 watt metal halide drop lens fixtures mounted at a height of 27í-6". That exceeded the maximum pole sign permitted as well as the maximum foot candles permitted at the property line. There also was an issue about existing light poles on the eastern portion of the site that were marked to be relocated by others, but we did not receive any further information on that.

At the last submittal they were very close to meeting all of our requirements for landscaping, but we didnít receive anything this time. Staff will have concerns about landscaping around the dumpster enclosure since it is both in a front and side yard, and how that front elevation of the building will be treated as it relates to Princeton Pike.

We received floor plans with dimensions and drawn to scale but the full size did not match the 11 x 17, and we wonder which is correct.

We did not receive building materials or a color board, but the building is still proposed to be stone with a white EIFS upper portion as we saw in prior meetings.

The applicant has indicated that the mechanical equipment will be screened from all sides by a 4í-6" parapet wall and we have asked repeatedly for information on whether or not the canopies are going to be illuminated. Since we have received nothing, staff is suggesting that the canopies will not be illuminated.

Addressing Ms. McBride, Mr. Okum said since you have nothing on landscaping, your recommendation would be that they submit it for staff review and Planning would consider it at a later meeting. Ms. McBride agreed adding that the same situation could apply on the lighting as well.

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Mr. Shvegzda reported that one of the features of the revised site layout is that it eliminates the parking spaces that backed out directly into that common north/south access drive.

Another change is that the south drive to the site has moved 20 feet further to the south, which causes the separation between the main drive out of Cassinelli and that site drive to be about 18 feet. This would make it very difficult for a vehicle to make a 180 degree turn. It appears that they might have to cross the center line of the common east-west access drive (to the south of the site). To remedy that, options would be to close that drive or to move the driveway location back to where it was. I donít know all the effects on the site that would eliminate the center parking aisle to the north of the site, but you could gain back some of the parking spaces at the south through angled spaces. It looks like that would be about equivalent.

If that drive remains there, we would recommend a raised barrier to emphasize that you canít enter there and get into the drive through lanes.

No detention would be recommended for the site. There are proposed catch basins on the revised site plan, and one is shown within the building and additional storm sewer calculations need to be submitted.

The revised site plan did not indicate any of the underground utilities, most notably within the easement area to the north of the building. However in the submittal, the building was such that it would not impact. As you will remember, the last time those utilities had to be relocated because the building was being shifted into that easement.

Mr. Okum said when you discussed the 180 degree radius, was that a truck or car? Mr. Shvegzda answered it was based on a car. Mr. Okum commented so trucks would be a more significant concern. Mr. Shvegzda answered yes, if in fact trucks were permitted to exit from that site. Mr. Okum said if you forced them to keep it tight and there was a raised barrier, those trucks would be forced to drive on top of the landscaping. If they narrowed the drive through lane a little bit, could they accommodate that? I donít have a problem with that location and the site layout in general, but I do have a concern about safety and their crossing over into that lane. If it would shift five feet to the north, would that make any difference?

Mr. Shvegzda answered five feet would about cover the overlap. Mr. Okum wondered about signage that said Trucks Left Turn Only to assist that issue at that driveway. Obviously there is no way a truck will be able to turn right out of there and turn right onto that driveway to get out of there. Mr. Shvegzda agreed, adding aside from the dumpster, I donít know why a truck would be accessing that location anyway. Mr. Okum responded if they came in to make deliveries, they would go into the north entrance, come across and probably park in off hours, but they definitely would be going out there (the south side). Maybe the applicant can help us with that.

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Mr. Scott said it could happen on the south, but the left turn only sign for trucks might help eliminate that situation.

Mr. Scott said earlier we shortened the distance from there to the plaza entrance drive and we also eliminated that 15 inch tree. We redid that drive and gained back about 14 to 15 feet of that, so we are about five feet from the existing driveway. We also squared the car back up so now the radiuses do work. Our engineers will draw that in full detail for you. We also included the nub to help the consumer recognize that they need to get lined up correctly and not cut into the drive through and we would have signage that indicates that. That little nub would be a mountable type of a curb that wouldnít do a lot of damage to your car.

Mr. Scott said that the comments were made about the five-car stack from the miniboard and it was somewhat unclear to the members as to where the miniboard was. Having reanalyzed the code, it can be read two ways, from the window to the board or from the board beyond needs to be five. So we have split the difference and have five cars from miniboard to window and five cars from the miniboard back. So we have a 10-car stacking capability now which eliminates some of staffís other concerns.

Mr. Hawkins asked if the entrance on the northeast side of the property only an entrance or can it also be used as an exit. Mr. Shvegzda answered that it is both entrance and exit. Mr. Scott added that it meets the 24-foot requirement for two-way traffic.

Mr. Sherry said Iíve never seen the stacking like this before. Is it in fact five from the order point, or five from the pick up point, or both? Ms. McBride answered that it is five from the order point.

Mr. Scott said we appreciate your time. Ultimately our goal is to receive a conditional use permit and be referred to the variance committee and come back before staff. We actually have 16 landscape plans with us. It was too late to submit to staff, but we will submit them tomorrow morning.

We took the whole tree requirement, the three inches of mulch and all of the things brought up in the previous submittals and put that back into this site plan.

There was an inconsistency between the interior floor plan square footages and our regular 24 x 36. The actual square footage is 3838, which modifies the calculation for parking spaces from 49 to 47, and we provide 56.

We ask that the current variance on signage be kept in place. There were two questions, whether or not enter and exit signs are covered by the code. They are approximately four square feet, and we do think that from the customerís standpoint it would be beneficial to have the southernmost marked as a lit exit sign and to mark the northern entrance as an enter sign, primarily in that landscaped area. They are very short enter-exit signs, and we will bring that to staff.

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.

Mr. Scott stated that in previous submittals, there was conversation about anything facing the Kimco property or to the east, which didnít qualify as signage per se. We are not asking for a sign on the east elevation, but we are asking to leave the word "Take Home" on the drive through awning. Our interpretation is that you donít add that into the calculation because it is not a street-fronting sign. It is merely a consumer convenience.

We brought color boards with us tonight. There is the stone base, and he showed the actual elevations. What you donít see in the south elevation is the dumpster transposed on the southwest corner. The east elevation would be along the access drive and the west elevation would face Princeton Pike.

The awnings are backlit similar to what we have now. It is a single row of lights which not only lights the awning but also is a customer safety factor. We believe that the customers feel a lot better with it well lit, and we have had lots of comments regarding that.

We will bring the landscaping back in.

We will unload the dumpster in off hours and the gates will have to be closed. The general managers will be very aware of that. The orientation we have from a customer/Princeton Pike entry drive view, it will almost look like part of the building. It will be heavily landscaped along the Princeton Pike side and the void which points toward the entrance drive.

The site drainage will be modified and relocated to get the proper drainage. As the additional landscaping comes into play, we are staying within that 75% impervious surface criterion.

Mr. Syfert said to clarify, what are the hours of operation? Mr. Scott answered 24/7, closed two days a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Mr. Vanover said concerning the northeast radius coming out of the pickup window and coming around, I have a ĺ ton Ford van that takes a ten acre field to turn. If people cut the corner on me, itís almost suicidal. I would like for Don to take a look at the new submission and make sure we have enough radius in there, especially since there is ingress and egress there. Everything else looks good; that is my only concern

Mr. Okum agreed that you probably would go west and circle the building instead of trying to make that radius. He asked about the screening of mechanical units and if the applicant felt that it would be sufficient based on the parapet configurations. The applicant indicated that the mechanical units would not be exposed.

Mr. Okum said I am very pleased with your change in direction and the work you have done. Serving on the Board of Zoning Appeals, the variances that you will need, considering the way you are treating the dumpster enclosure, I will be supporting your request. I am very happy to see you make the effort to bring this about; it is a good plan.

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Mr. Galster said I also like the modifications. If we can work on that radius, I would rather see the traffic go out instead of going around the building. I would hate to send all that drive through traffic right in front of the people trying to walk into the front entrance.

On the ground mounted sign, we have the brick across the bottom and the sign on top, and you have a two foot base on the sign. Is it possible to allow the brick enclosure to go all the way around the sign instead of setting the sign on top of a two-foot wall? Even if that two-foot dimension goes to 1í-6" and we put six inches on top, there would be a border all the way around.

The other concern I have is the east elevation. It is not striking.

Is it possible to break up that elevation with some fake windows, rather than the solid white wall? Mr. Scott answered we can create one or two additional windows.

Mr. Galster said the only other thing I had a problem with was the three doors on the east side (SR 747). Is there a reason for those two doors on the right side of the west elevation that they canít be combined?

Mr. Scott answered one is an electrical and one is a plumbing room. What we can do to help camouflage that is color those out to match the elevation. Weíll actually blend the top and the stone color and from a distance those almost disappear.

Mr. Syfert said Ms. McBride said something about taking the "Take Home" off the canopy. The applicant indicated he would like to have it, and I think it should be clarified at this point.

Mr. Galster responded I really donít have a problem with the Take Home on that side. My bigger concern is the lighting of the canopies and to what extent those are lit up to where they become more of an advertisement than safety lights

Ms. Mc Bride added that our comment concerning the take home sign on the awning pertained more when it was on the west side facing 747. At that 2001 meeting, the applicant actually offered to delete that sign, and that was what we were trying to point out to the commission.

Mr. Sherry said on Sheet A-1 you show the electrical transformer being where the dumpster will be. Where will the transformer be? Mr. Scott said it will either have to be in the pod area and/or immediately adjacent to the right side. The dumpster will occupy the far left hand side, but this is CG&Eís call and we will have to work that out with them. Mr. Sherry commented that their requirement is that it not be closer than three feet from an opening and no more than 10 feet off a paved surface. The choice is yours.

Mr. Scott commented that will be a concreted apron all the way into the dumpster and including the dumpster, so we can meet the 10-foot issue. We have to have the door side accessible; we canít block it. You are allowed to screen the two visible sides, but we havenít had a chance to meet with CG&E on this.

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Mr. Sherry commented my preference is that it not be in the front yard, because that is a good sized transformer.

Mr. Okum said on the canopies, if we would be specific in regards to a single row fluorescent eight foot HO bulbs, would that be somewhat subtle in lighting? Ms. McBride answered yes, understanding that we have allowed other businesses of this nature to have illuminated canopies. I think a single row is probably appropriate.

Mr. Okum asked if there was a side opening into the dumpster area for staff to use. Mr. Carson answered that there is about a five-foot opening and there would be a walkway. Mr. Okum asked about the grease receptacle and Mr. Scott answered that it is interior.

Mr. Okum asked if the applicant had any problem with Mr. Galsterís suggestion about stone top and sides around the sign. Mr. Scott answered we are in agreement with the modification. Mr. Okum said also if I were to make the motion it would be for a staff approved faux window on the east and that the doors would be blended out with the color scheme; is that what we all agreed?

Mr. Galster asked if they could add two faux windows on the east elevation and two on the west.

Mr. Syfert stated that with one person missing, it does take five affirmative votes for any final action.

Mr. Okum moved to grant the request to include:

    1. Specifications and design contained in the exhibits presented;
    2. Most if not all staff, city engineer and city planner recommendations;
    3. The building shall have an additional modification on the south exit similar to that presented and conditional on our engineerís approval and left turn signage to be addressed;;
    4. They shall look at the northeast entrance radius with staff.

This approval is conditioned on the approval of the Board of Zoning Appeals for the necessary variances.

All mechanical units shall be screened from view of the adjoining properties and public right of way as indicated by the applicant.

All lighting shall conform to existing Zoning Code and shall be submitted and considered at a later time.

Translucent awnings and canopies shall be maintained at all times.

Such accent lighting shall be limited to the following conditions:

    1. A single row of fluorescent eight foot HO bulbs shall be allowed to be placed within the awnings.

Landscaping shall be submitted and considered by staff and this commission.

PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

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Dumpster refuse enclosure shall be reviewed and approved by staff. The gates shall remain closed at all times.

All four building elevations shall be as presented. The exterior color pallet shall be based on samples presented.

Special additions to the elevations shall be the addition of two staff approved faux windows on the east elevation and two additional staff approved faux windows on the west elevation.,

All exterior steel doors and frames shall be blended to the color scheme of the building.

The signage shall be approved with the addition of stone on the top and sides of the monument sign. Mr. Galster added that the overall height does not change on the monument sign, and Mr. Okum included that with his motion.

Mr. Galster seconded the motion.

Mr. Sherry suggested that the motion be modified on the single row of lighting for the canopy so that they are overlapped on the ends and there will be no dark spots. That is what is typically done with those. Mr. Scott said we normally try to make that connection as he says, to bridge that gap so you donít end up with a shadow line. It will be even lighting. Mr. Okum said I will add "to allow for even lighting".

All present voted aye, and the approval was granted with six affirmative votes.

B. Provident Bank requests relief from the condition to paint the roof of their facility at 11525 Springfield Pike (Approved 2/10/04)

Mr. McErlane said the City Administrator received a call from Provident Bank this afternoon. They indicated that they could not send a representative tonight so they are asking that the request be withdrawn. Mr. Galster moved to withdraw per the applicantís request and Mr. Vanover seconded the motion. All present voted aye and the item was withdrawn from the agenda.

  1. NEW BUSINESS
    1. CVS Pharmacy, 11601 Springfield Pike requests approval of a proposed sign to be located on West Kemper Road.

    Larry Clifford of Site Management Services in South Bend Indiana approached the commission. I am here on behalf of CVS, and the store recently opened. At the time the signage was designed, it was a design package from four to five years ago. It has been revised on a national standard basis.

    What the pharmacy is requesting from the city is the inclusion of an electronic message board in the sign on Kemper Road, for a couple of reasons. One is because of the national standard upgrade that is being done by CVS throughout the country.

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    VI A CVS PHARMACY - ELECTRONIC MESSAGE BOARD

    Mr. Clifford added that secondly, the consumer traveling east at the bottom of the hill on Kemper has bad visibility. He will be making a left hand turn into the pharmacy and doesnít get a good message from the bottom of the hill.

    Mr. Clifford added that by slightly increasing the height of the sign as we are requesting, and adding the electronic message the visibility would be increased. A significant number of studies have shown that the visibility allows the driver to make smart driving decisions as opposed to bad last minute driving decisions, increasing the safety of the driver as he drives up the hill.

    Our intention is to make whatever modifications are necessary or required by Planning. In our initial proposal we entered into typical building discussions with the staff and have made some modifications. The staff also has requested a number of other items which we are prepared to do, for instance Mr. McErlane doesnít like the looks of the proposed sign. He said it looks like the electronic message center has been dropped on top of the CVS sign. So we have added the drawing which I will show you that adds the top to that (he passed around the drawing)..

    One of the other things that Mr. McErlane is requesting is that the electronic message center, if approved by the commission, be integrated into the sign itself. That can also be done, and we would ask that we talk about your requirements and desires are so we can make whatever modifications are appropriate.

    One other possibility is to eliminate that sign on Kemper Road and moving it to the corner of Springfield Pike and Kemper Road. We also would entertain the removal of the other sign on Springfield Pike next to the Ruthie B property, so we are open to a number of options and a number of suggestions.

    There is some disagreement between staff and myself as to whether your ordinance will allow an electronic message center. My position and CVSí position is that it is fully allowable within your ordinance, and you certainly have a significant use of manual changeable copy signs. I can think of five or six of them within a couple of blocks of this building, White Castle, Wendyís, and Walgreens.

    The electronic message center is a 21st century version of that old manual changeable copy sign. Unfortunately manual changeable copy signs tend to get ugly within a short period of time. The letters blow off and they are not protected from the wind and rain.

    Specifically your ordinance doesnít address the electronic message center; it doesnít say whether it is allowed or not allowed. It says that there is nothing mechanical to be in a sign. In fact, the electronic message center is not mechanical at all. It is not the moving arm or spinning ball kind of thing; there are no flashing lights. This is a Light Emitting Deode (LED) low intensity light bulb. As you can see on the version I just handed you, it is a red light on a black background.

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    VI A CVS PHARMACY - ELECTRONIC MESSAGE BOARD

    Mr. Clifford added that there is no flashing. One slide is up and he changes to the next slide. Certainly there is a capacity so it could be made to be flashing, but these types are not and I would suggest you include some language to regulate that in terms of length of message and time period between messages.

    The City can regulate the timing so you donít have flashing. By its nature, electronic message boards are not flashing. There is no color change. The Light Emitting Deode is red, and there is no change in color. These are not neon. Neon is a glass enclosed tube with gas inside.

    Although you could have an electronic message center with a change in light intensity, which is prohibited by your ordinance, these are not changing light intensity. This is a low light bulb and it is not capable of changing intensity. That is something else you might want to write into this so it is in conformity with your ordinance.

    We want to work with the city to make this signage change everything that we can for the purposes of CVS and the city to create a win-win situation.

    Increased visibility of that signage increases safety and also increases income and increased sales taxes, property taxes and income taxes which are good for everybody.

    Mr. Syfert said we do have staff reports. Does anybody feel the need to hear them? We all know the problem. They want more signage than they had before. In two months they are infinitely wiser than they were. We worked with this for I donít know how long, and we got the signs that they wanted, and now you are much smarter than they are. I donít understand all this.

    Mr. Galster said if nothing else the applicant has addressed the fact that we should be more specific in our intent of this section of our code that does not allow the message board that you are asking for. When I read it, it is extremely clear.

    Mr. Osborn arrived at 8:10 p.m.

    You said that there is no change in the intensity so if you have it this bright for daytime readability, at night will it be that much more bright because the change in sunlight?

    Mr. Clifford answered that is not the case. It is like the 60 watt light bulb. It appears to be brighter at nighttime than in the daytime, but it is always a 60-watt bulb.

    Mr. Galster responded it is much more distracting to the motoring public to have that same intensity of light in the day as opposed to the night. You have to have an intensity level that makes it readable during the daytime.

     

     

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    VI A CVS PHARMACY - ELECTRONIC MESSAGE BOARD

    Mr. Clifford said your ordinance prohibits a change in intensity, and there is no change in intensity. There may be a change in the perception of it, but it is a one candle watt candle.

    Mr. Galster said the perception of the intensity during the daytime and the nighttime is there; would you agree with that, in terms of the amount of distraction or glare or anything else associated with the light itself. Mr. Clifford answered there is no glare and there is no over shine either. Mr. Galster commented I have seen many of them in use, so I have noticed a drastic change in what I perceive to be the intensity of the light between daylight and nighttime, based on the level of sunlight on that particular day. I DO see that, and I guess yours could be different from all the others I have seen, but I believe it is the intent of this ordinance to prohibit this type of signage.

    The second item is the raising of the height of the sign. With this revised one, we are up to 13í-3"; it is bigger than some of the pylon signs we have at car dealerships.

    Mr. Clifford answered if it were integrated which staff has indicated that it should be, the electronic message board would be put into the size of the current sign and that would significantly reduce the height. He passed out photographs of the sign from the bottom of the hill and the visibility is not much of anything at all. Mr. Syfert said you mean you canít see CVS Pharmacy there? I can see that a mile away.

    Mr. Galster said I drive this every day, and if you are concerned that the people know there is a CVS Pharmacy there, my suggestion would be that you flip the panels so the CVS is on the outside, because you do see that faster than you do on the inside. You could then have the Drive Through Pharmacy, the One hour Photo, the Food Shop and Open Late on the inside of the sign which is more blocked by the hill.

    Mr. Galster said my concerns are the raising the height of the sign, the changeable copy message board that does have an increase in intensity because off to on is a changing degree in intensity. I donít think this meets the code or the intent and I believe it was debated when the project was originally approved a couple of months ago. I am pleased with the way it came out but the City didnít gain what it wanted in that sign package.

    There are some large billboard type signs there that are stretched to the limit of what we allow, but that is what we agreed to. I think the site is well signed; I have no problem seeing it. The majority of the people coming to your facility are not the people driving by and deciding to stop. They are residents of this community and they know CVS is there and I donít see that larger signage would attract more customers.

    Mr. Sherry said you mentioned earlier that this is a new signage program for CVS. Is it comparable to what Walgreens is now doing?

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    VI A CVS PHARMACY - ELECTRONIC MESSAGE BOARD

    Mr. Clifford said I donít know Walgreens national package, but the total wall signage for the Walgreens in Springdale probably has significantly more than CVS.

    Mr. Sherry said Iím talking about the LED sign. Mr. Clifford answered that the Walgreens uses a manual changeable copy sign

    Mr. Sherry said their latest package has this LED. They have one on their store in Milford that looks just like this and you can see it for miles. When it is dark at night, all you see is this sign.

    Mr. Clifford asked if it were green on black, and Mr. Sherry said no, it is red on black just like this, and they are trying to get it on all unregulated locations. I can tell the commission first hand that you can see it from literally a mile away. I couldnít believe it; I clocked it.

    Mr. Clifford said that the changing intensity old fashioned signs are also the same way. They are the ones that start as a little dot and explode into a giant signage. That is NOT what the CVS proposal is and it wouldnít be appropriate. There would be a clear change in intensity. Mr. Clifford added that these are low intensity and shaded; they are not meant to be visible from that far.

    Mr. Sherry asked if they have been installed on any CVS around here, and Mr. Clifford answered I donít believe so, but they are being installed all over the country.

    Ms. McBride said the Walgreens electronic message center that Mr. Sherry was talking about is 32 s.f. (three square feet bigger). It is the same type fixture that the applicant has referenced, and is red on black.

    Mr. Vanover said the LEDs are coming up because you can get more foot candles out of less power. The intent of our ordinance is there, and we need to make it more definitive.

    Mr. Hawkins asked how often the text of the sign would change; will it stream across or be changed daily, how frequently will it change? Mr. Clifford answered there is no streaming. This design does not stream flash or scroll. It is on for a period of time and then switched to the next and then the next. You can make that appear to be flashing by doing it rapidly, but this can be defined, i.e. one message not shorter than 30 seconds for example.

    When you consider the manual changeable sign that White Castle and others have at their locations, theoretically under your ordinance the employee could change that sign every minute if he wanted to. That is not the intent of that type of sign, but it wouldnít be prohibited under your ordinance.

    Mr. Hawkins responded if you have something that is illuminated, that would be a lot more distracting than a sign that is changed manually. That is a big concern.

     

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    13 APRIL 2004

    PAGE FOURTEEN

    VI A CVS PHARMACY - ELECTRONIC MESSAGE BOARD

    Mr. Clifford said the reality is that the person sitting in his car at the light will notice it whether it is manual or LED. The scrolling or flashing sign is much more distracting. These have been refined in the last couple of years to eliminate that distraction and still be visible.

    Neon costs 12 times as much to operate as an LED, but one of the reasons for that is that the LED is a much lower intensity bulb. It is not intended to project hundreds or thousands of feet; it is just for that immediate area.

    I would encourage the commission or the staff to write into this package that it would be one message not shorter than x number of seconds or minutes and not changing more than x numbers of times a day. The machine can be programmed to do almost anything you want it to except flash scroll leap or change in their intensity.

    Mr. Okum said I have to disagree with you regarding light intensity.

    It is amazing to me that they can put these LED bulbs together and give off more light than the typical exit light that our emergency lights have in the building. Truly when you put them together, you do generate a tremendous amount of light.

    Mr. Clifford said no question about it, but your ordinance talks about a change in intensity. Mr. Okum said I am talking about intensity of light. Additionally the sign package approved for this site was approved with a lot of consideration. The sign on Springfield Pike has a large a CVS panel in it which has already suffered wind damage. Heading eastbound on Kemper Road, I do see a lot of verbiage on that sign and I have to agree with you, you donít see CVS on it because it is on the inside.

    Mr. Clifford said you plan it out, you lay it out and landscape it on the diagrams, and it turns out to be slightly different when you build it. The topography there in terms of the hill, the fact that the house is not set back quite as far as it might be are some of the reasons that CVS has come back here to seek some slight modification.

    Mr. Okum responded so we should put a higher sign up because the property next door is obstructing the view of your sign. Mr. Clilfford answered it is not so much the property as it is the hill. As you come up the hill, the sign is in kind of a gully. Mr. Okum said you mentioned the mound separating the properties that seems to be an obstruction in some way to your sign. Mr. Clifford answered I think that is true, and the fact that the sign itself is in a little bit of a gully relative to the driveway.

    Mr. Okum said it does appear that the grade goes down to the parking lot. Mr. Shvegzda said I believe there is a catch basin in that area. Mr. Clifford answered it is in the middle of the lot between the sign and the building. Mr. Okum said so that puts your sign a little bit lower from the street.

     

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    13 APRIL 2004

    PAGE FIFTEEN

    VI A CVS PHARMACY - ELECTRONIC MESSAGE BOARD

    Mr. Okum commented based on what I have seen here, I cannot support increasing the sign height, and I cannot support increasing the amount of signage on the site. Iíd to look a little further at the information he presented regarding our wording in the code, but I believe it is clear. We probably should look at that part of our code to see if it needs more clarity. In fact the sign height is 13í-3" and our height limit is 7í so that in itself is a reason for my denying the request.

    Mr. Sherry said given your testimony about sight distance problem, is there a reason why you havenít considered a variance to move the sign further south into the required setback area? If you did that your problem would be solved.

    Mr. Clifford answered that has been talked about. This proposal was the first one we are discussing with staff.

    Mr. Galster moved to approve the proposed sign on West Kemper Road. I also will add that I am not going to be supporting it based on the fact that a changing message board is not permitted in the Corridor Review District, that the height of the sign is beyond the design standards established for the corridor and the applicant has shown no compelling reason to increase the height. Also this is a departure from the recent agreement with CVS. Based on the original frontage to the public right of way, concessions were made to allow signage that was above what would have been permitted with the previous zoning on the property. I believe concessions were made by the city that canít be taken back if this was allowed. For those reasons, I will be voting against the motion, but for clarity, I am moving to approve the applicantís request to change the signage as he has presented. Mr. Okum seconded the motion.

    Mr. Clifford said before you vote, may I ask that the proposal be divided and the electronic message board be considered as one part and the rest of the package as the other. Mr. Syfert responded you have presented one package, and that is what we are voting on. What I see is what we are voting on; if you want to resubmit, that is a different story.

    Mr. Galster added that the applicant is free to do as he sees fit on the resubmittal. However, my reasons for voting no are not going to change. They are separate issues and we are looking at them as a whole, but the height of the sign is an issue all by itself which by itself is reason enough for me to not be in favor of it.

    Mr. Sherry asked if the applicant is free to change the face of the sign board if he chooses without our permission, and put all CVS on it? Mr. Syfert answered as long as he doesnít increase the size of it.

    On the motion, all present voted no, and the approval was denied with six votes.

    Planning Commission recessed at 8:37 p.m. and reconvened at 8:47 p.m.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    13 APRIL 2004

    PAGE SIXTEEN

    B. Approval of Tri-County Mall Interstate Identification Sign

    Mr. Galster stated we have a letter from the applicant asking that this be tabled. Mr. Galster so moved and Mr. Vanover seconded the motion, and the matter was tabled.

    C. Approval of Final Development Plan, Retail Building to be constructed in Cassinelli Square (former cinema site)

    John Peterson, Civil Engineer with Woolpert and Pat McCune and Brian Neltner of Kimco approached the commission.

    Mr. Peterson said this is the old theater site behind the Steak N Shake. The theater has been torn down and a revised PUD was approved in January of 2001 to put up a multi-tenant retail building/restaurant. That plan never went forward, and we are before you tonight for approval of a single tenant building.

    The actual site layout and design is very similar to what was presented before, a single building with parking on the north and south sides. There is an up-to a 10-foot tall retaining wall to the south of the building. Storm water detention is being provided very similar to the way it was before.

    The major changes are that it is now a single tenant building rather than a multi-tenant with a single point of entry on the north side of the building and loading docks to the south side. The building itself is about 3,000 s.f. less than the original building. We have provided an additional landscaping area with the building. There is less parking because there is less need for parking due to the intensity of use.

    We have provided color boards and color elevations of the building. The original submittal was unacceptable to staff so we dressed it up with some split face block and some accent strips. I guess there are still some concerns about that, but we have some ideas on how we can make that a little more acceptable.

    Another major concern is landscaping, and we are willing to work with staff and provide whatever landscaping you need to make it acceptable.

    Mr. Syfert asked if either of the council members feel that this is a material change from the PUD originally approved and therefore needs to go to Council. Neither did.

    Mr. McErlane reported that in January of 2001 there was a multi-tenant retail building approved by Planning at 23,250 s.f. The applicant is proposing a single tenant retail building at 20,340 s.f.

    The previous plan had storefronts on the north and south sides. The current plan has a storefront only on the north side. There were no sign details submitted, so Planningís consideration should exclude any sign approvals.

     

     

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    13 APRIL 2004

    PAGE SEVENTEEN

    VI C RETAIL BUILDING - CASSINELLI SQUARE (former cinema site)

    Mr. McErlane stated that the required parking for the entire center with this development will be 1708 spaces. In 1994 the center only had 1546 spaces. When the preliminary PUD was approved for the redevelopment, parking spaces decreased to 1487. That included a proposed future building on the site. When the 2001 plan came in, Planning approved 1424 spaces. This plan proposes 1480, so it has more parking spaces.

    The existing trees on the site were removed when the building was razed. A total of 235 inches of trees were removed; 53 inches of those were exempt from replanting. The required replacement for redevelopment under todayís code is 182 inches. In 2001 our ordinance did not require a one for one caliper inch replacement for redevelopment. It only required half of the caliper inches to be replaced. It also exempted trees within 10 feet of the building footprint. Today that doesnít exist in the Tree Replacement Ordinance. So in 2001 they were only proposing to plant 51 caliper inches, which satisfied the code. Today they are proposing 63 caliper inches and todayís code requires 182. It would be up to Planning Commission to consider relief from that replanting requirement.

    Mr. Syfert said to clarify, the requirement of 182 inches can be placed elsewhere within the PUD, is that correct? Mr. McErlane responded there is no requirement that it be in the immediate vicinity of this building. It could occur anywhere on the site.

    Ms. McBride reported that only 49 of the 102 required parking spaces will be in front of the store itself. The rest would be located adjacent in the balance of the center. Staff would suggest there be some type of pedestrian connection so those that are driving back and forth are aware that there might be pedestrians parking in another part of the center trying to get to that storefront.

    Weíll need to see open space calculations for the entire PUD, which includes this proposed redevelopment. We havenít received any indication as to how the screening of the compactor or the recycling dumpster will be handled on the south side of the site.

    Staff had indicated that the building elevations as submitted were not acceptable. The original submittal were blank buildings. The applicant has added a little more detail, but staff still believes there can be other elements added, particularly to the west and the east building elevations. Those are elevations that will be somewhat visible from Princeton Pike, from the entry drive to the center and from the center itself as you come out and face the proposed redevelopment, so we would like to see something done with those building elevations

    Also the elevations submitted donít reflect the landscape plan that was submitted, nor do they include the proposed retaining wall. The applicant indicates that all the HVAC equipment will be screened by the parapet wall.

     

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    13 APRIL 2004

    PAGE EIGHTEEN

    VI C RETAIL BUILDING - CASSINELLI SQUARE (former cinema site)

    Ms. McBride added that on the landscaping, there are some existing trees proposed to remain on the south development and they need to be identified by size and type and indicated do not disturb. Additional shrub material needs to be added to the landscaped islands within the parking areas. Now they are proposing two to four shrubs in that area, and that is not enough. Additional trees and shrubs need to be installed in the landscaped lawn area along the western façade of the building. We also are suggesting the inclusion of either foundation plants or planting along the curb line in the front of the building. Right now there is no material planned for the front (north) elevation of the building.

    Parking blocks need to be added to the site plan to make sure that automobiles donít encroach on the landscape bed or the adjacent drive on the western property line. Mulch beds and lawn areas need to be delineated on the plan and the mulch beds needs to be mulched with three inches of shredded hardwood mulch. We also have suggested that more of a variety of material should be included in the landscape plan.

    This PUD contains a significant amount of dead and damaged plant material and it has been that way for quite some time. So I would strongly urge the commission that any approval of this request includes the condition that no permit for this development is issued until all of the dead and damaged material on this site be replaced.

    They submitted a lighting fixture which has a dropped lens. Staff has suggested that a flat lens fixture be used on this portion of the site.

    Mr. Shvegzda said the applicant is proposing 4,772 feet of additional detention. This was noted in the previous approval, and will bring up the total for the PUD to 92% of what was approved for the total. (There is one more phase of redevelopment proposed to occur).

    The 448 linear feet 36 inch pipe comprises part of the detention in the north parking field, and 262 linear feet and 30 inch pipe comprises the remainder in the south parking field.

    There are additional detailed calculations for release rate and storm sewers that will be required to be submitted.

    On the site layout, there is a retaining wall at the south of the site with a maximum height of 10 feet. The applicant has changed the pattern on the wall to be what is known as a San Diego Dry Stack (passed around a color photo).

    There was a comment regarding the separation between the east-west main drive from Cassinelli and the proposed wall for the development. The applicantís consultant has indicated that because of the low speeds and the nine-foot separation, the fact that they will have the wall six inches above the planting bed in that area should provide a sufficient enough barrier for any vehicle that might stray into that area. That appears acceptable.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    13 APRIL 2004

    PAGE NINETEEN

    VI C RETAIL BUILDING - CASSINELLI SQUARE (former cinema site)

    Mr. Shvegzda added that we would recommend that consideration be given to extending the sidewalk area to the north from the sidewalk on the north face of the building so that it would encompass the handicap parking spaces.

    The applicant is proposing to reconstruct the curb along both the common drive to the east and to the west in the vicinity of the proposed development.

    All the radius have been increased to 10 foot except for the one (the north drive to the west of the common drive).

    There was as much as a two-foot grade differential between the common drive to the west and the proposed parking field, and a shorter retaining wall has been proposed for that area. The concern is that we have the edge of pavement of the common drive up to the retaining wall with the parking field immediately on the other side of the retaining wall. There is no separation, and some type of barrier should be provided in that area for safety. We had suggested an actual barrier mounted to the wall, but in lieu of that the extension of the wall above the common drive edge of pavement by 12 inches would be acceptable.

    Mr. Okum said on the dock area on the south side of the building, I see three parking spaces drawn in on my site plan. What is the area to the south side of the docks; is it an area for other trucks to set and be staged?

    Mr. Peterson replied I believe it is. Mr. Okum said so if I were a Target Store in that location, I could park my tractor trailers in that space and leave them set there. Mr. Peterson responded I donít think there will be any long term parking there, but potentially there could be.

    Mr. Okum said I am not comfortable with trucks setting there. Mr. Peterson answered I donít think that is the intent.

    Mr. Okum said this building seems to be extremely high, much higher than the one approved in 2001. Mr. Peterson answered this building is about 20 feet tall, and the old building was about 20 feet. The tallest part of the building is 20 feet. Mr. Vanover commented the front elevation shows 32 feet to the fascia parapet, 23í-4" to the crown edge of the front wall.

    Mr. Okum said wouldnít you need to increase the height of the west elevation of the building to conceal the mechanical units behind the parapet? Mr. Peterson said those elevations are the top of the parapet wall. The parapet wall is three feet at the back and five feet at the front, so it steps. Itís not on the back side of the building, but we can put an enclosure around the mechanicals to screen them. Mr. Okum commented I donít think that is acceptable. We typically require all four elevations when they are exposed to the public right of way like this is to be treated as a front elevation. Mr. Peterson responded so we would raise the parapet wall. Mr. Okum said that is my question. How are we going to treat this so that we can balance it?

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    13 APRIL 2004

    PAGE TWENTY

    VI C RETAIL BUILDING - CASSINELLI SQUARE (former cinema site)

    Mr. Okum added in my opinion the west and east elevations are stark and terrible. You are putting a box out on the roadway, and a high box at that. I am not comfortable with it. I have problems with the truck area. Anyone going northbound into the Springdale area will see the trucks on the side of the building.

    Mr. Peterson said you have a 10 foot retaining wall there too. The retaining wall sticks up above grade and there is a wrought iron railing on the retaining wall and some pretty dense landscaping along that side.

    Mr. Okum asked Ms. McBride if the elevations have been treated with landscaping to break that. Ms. McBride answered landscaping will help, but we also have suggested, particularly on their west, east and south elevations that they do something to break up the boxlike appearance.

    Mr. Peterson added we have some ideas on how to break that wall up with some vertical elements and those kinds of things. Right now there are only horizontal elements in there and we will put planters out front and some trees to break up the front façade as well.

    Mr. Okum said if you have a retaining wall along the roadway, you could bring the retaining wall in closer to that area where we donít really need to have trucks parking and you could close it and treat that area with more landscaping. Mr. Peterson said we were trying to hold as close to the original design of the wall as possible.

    Mr. Okum said I donít believe the elevations adequately would treat the screening of the mechanicals on the building. I have some concerns about the breaking of elements on the building, especially on the west east and south elevations. I would like to see more from the applicant before we take action on this.

    Mr. Sherry said given that you do have a 10 foot high retaining wall on the south elevation, you will see the rooftop units unless there is a parapet there. It will be even more severe because you will be up higher. I think we need the gutter and downspouts eliminated and internal roof drains installed with a parapet on all four sides. Itís the only way you will be able to screen the units. Mr. Peterson said we can do that.

    Mr. Sherry asked if they had a tenant and Brian Neltner of Kimco said we had a tenant but it appears the tenant has bought most of the Kids R Us around the country so there is a good chance that they will be taking that space.

    The main reason for trying to get approval is to knock down the lead time so we can market the space. We are under tremendous amount of pressure with constant sniping and cannibalization of the Springdale market being taken up to Union Centre, Voice of America and Forest Fair. We probably are one of the largest landlords in Springdale and we are having a tremendous amount of difficulty with these other areas stealing tenants.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

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    PAGE TWENTY-ONE

    VI C RETAIL BUILDING - CASSINELLI SQUARE (former cinema site)

    Mr. Neltner added that part of the problem before was we got approval and went through 75% turnover in our shopping center in the last four years. By any standards 75% turnover on a 330,000 square foot shopping center is staggering, but right now, we are 99% leased. We have the Service Merchandise building leased and something will be coming before Planning next month.

    The main purpose for this is to be able to advertise that we have the zoning, we have the building ready, we have building permits, we will spend all the money that we have to get the soft costs out of the way so we can help market this property.

    Mr. Sherry asked if the dry stack wall is color concrete or the natural concrete. Mr. Neltner said it can be colored but I donít think we call for a color. Mr. Sherry asked if the one in Blue Ash was colored, and Mr. Shvegzda reported that it has a paint on it that acts to seal the concrete as well as giving it some color

    Mr. Galster said I understand your dilemma and what you are trying to accomplish. I have no problem with your plan, the space or the use, but I donít think we have enough detailed information to approve elevations. If you are asking us to approve the modification of the PUD to allow a retail space of this size in that location, I donít have a problem with making a motion to allow that. But as far as a final plan approval, I donít think we are close to that.

    Mr. Neltner responded we will be willing to spend the money to get to that point, make whatever changes that are required so I can advertise this and market it. It can help, because we can tell the people that we can get this building built in 120 days. It is a bit of a speculation, a risk on our part, but it is well worth it. I donít really want to build the building because very often a tenant has something specific that they want to change. Iíd like to try to meet whatever objections you might have so we can satisfy the community and try to help the community and ourselves by bringing more business into Springdale.

    Mr. Okum said everything you do up front on that site blinds the back of your site, and that is why I am concerned about the building height. Iím concerned about the mass, the 23000 s.f. that will block the businesses that are there. Also, as staff indicated, I hope you will take care of the upkeep of the mall.

    Mr. Neltner said I agree with you on the visibility of the site. I decided we should tear that theater down because it was blocking the rest of our shopping center. It was much wider and higher than this building.

    On the landscaping, I am aware that we have landscaping beds. I think all of the trees in the parking lot are alive. Where we have a problem with landscaping is the material immediately surrounding the Service Merchandise. When we signed that lease, we have agreed to do $60,000 worth of landscaping. That is not required under the PUD, but it is required of us under the lease agreement.

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

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    PAGE TWENTY-TWO

    VI C RETAIL BUILDING - CASSINELLI SQUARE (former cinema site)

    Mr. Neltner added that was to increase the look of our front door coming in off West Kemper. The tenant will completely redo that building.

    If you look at the proximity of most of that rough landscaping, overgrown shrubs, shrubs and trees that are dying, it is right up against the Service Merchandise building. We will tear most of the façade of that building off, and all of that will be gone because of the heavy construction. Because of the functional obsolescence of the Service Merchandise building, we were fairly confident that the façade would have to come off of it. In the course of turning over 75% of those tenants, which was a mind-boggling amount of capital that we have had to reinvest and try to encourage people to come back in, we didnít want to relandscape the front of the building only to tear it out when we have trucks coming in tearing the front of the building off and redoing it. .I think you will be very pleased with the landscaping that we have this spring.

    Addressing the commission, Mr. Syfert said do we all agree that the elevations need some work? Is that the primary concern or are there any other issues?

    Mr. Okum responded on the truck dock area, if they donít need the voided space, they could bring the wall back in and treat that with landscaping and break up that corner. Since it is your primary entrance, to have people looking down on tractor trailers would not be a positive to the site either.

    Mr. Neltner answered I agree. We donít want four trucks backed up there; we have a common goal. We only want the truck that is loading and unloading.

    Addressing Mr. Shvegzda, Mr. Okum said they showed a turning radius of the trucks pulling down the drive lane and backing into that dock space across a secondary lane. We do have a stop sign intersection that would help. Do you see any other concerns regarding that?

    Mr. Shvegzda answered other than restricting the time period that they would be accessing the loading dock, I donít know what other control measures you could put in place.

    Mr. Okum said I think restricting time has been done, and you may even do it by virtue of leasing. Mr. Neltner answered we donít usually do that, but I think it is reasonable given the location, to somehow control that.

    Mr. Vanover said for clarification, did you say the wall would be unfinished concrete, or are you intending to put a paint finish on it. That wall in Blue Ash is painted and is one of the best looking, so my vote would be to treat it the same way that it has been treated.

    Mr. Neltner answered I donít think we want to paint it, because if we paint it, we have a maintenance problem, but there is a stain that we can use. Mr. Shvegzda reported we can get the particular paint compound that they utilized.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

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    PAGE TWENTY-THREE

    VI C RETAIL BUILDING - CASSINELLI SQUARE (former cinema site)

    Mr. Sherry said I would like to see some coordination in the lighting between you and the Steak N Shake redevelopment. One topic we had with them was who owns the lights that are there and who maintains them. I have seen your lighting plan and you are calling them out as existing; I think that probably will change with their redevelopment. If you could get together, that would be appreciated.

    Mr. Syfert said so shall we table it for tonight and see you next month. Mr. Neltner answered I think our tenant will be in next month as well.

    Mr. Okum moved to table and Mr. Vanover seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye, and it was tabled by six affirmative votes.

  2. DISCUSSION
  3. Mr. Osborn said as you just heard from Mr. Neltner, our retail district is truly being cannibalized and raided aggressively by some of the nearby developments, both existing and in the building stages. This is something we are trying to deal with through economic development techniques.

    We have had a conversation with the mall about their status and how they are doing in terms of recruiting and holding tenants. It is pretty clear that they are not doing as well as they should. They have lost several tenants to West Chester or Forest Fair Mall, etc.

    Tri-County Mall is our anchor and we have to keep it healthy. We asked what we could do to help you revitalize this mall, keep it healthy and make it prosper. We have a long list that we are working on with them.

    One of the things at the top of their list was an interstate identification sign for the mall. While this is an identification sign for Tri-County Mall, it also is an identification sign for our retail district. Think of all the businesses that advertise "directly across from Tri-County Mall" or "next to Tri-County Mall". Trying to keep the main mall as productive and successful as possible certainly would help our entire retail district.

    This is a very big sign and something extraordinary for us to consider, but given the fact that we need to look at all our options, we have been pursuing this. We were going to bring it before you as an element of the PUD that would be approved on a one-time basis as a part of that PUD. As you saw this evening, CVS came in with signage containing the same elements involving a message board. We also are aware that one of our hotels is contemplating coming into us with a similar sign.

    So we want to propose amending the Zoning Code so that a development that has a million square feet or more on their site and is in immediate proximity to the interstate would have the ability to install a sign of this significant nature.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

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    VII DISCUSSION Ė ELECTRIC SIGN AND ZONING CODE

    Mr. Osborn added we are talking about a sign that would be up to 110 tall. That may sound high, but you have to consider that the first 40 or 50 of it is below grade for the expressway. We are also looking at a fairly large sign, 840 s.f.

    Finally they wanted to introduce a reader board. The main sign would be a sign with a vinyl cover on it and panels. They could go up there three or four times a year and change out the message on a seasonable basis. It would not be a moveable lighted sign. It would be a vinyl product that would be wrapped onto the panels and incorporated into a single sign. That element of the sign would be the biggest part and they want to change it three or four times a year for seasonal promotions.

    They also wanted to talk about the option of some sort of reader board below the main part of the sign. We have expressed our concerns about reader boards, and they have agreed that they want to try to not create a hazard, no flashing lights or anything of that nature. We have put into the language that we are presenting to you a limitation on the minimum period a message can be displayed, and that would be 30 minutes. We feel this provides them with an opportunity to promote the 100+ stores they have in that mall on an individual basis over time, without making it something that would change every 10 seconds.

    We have come to you with this proposal. In fact when it was mentioned that Tri-County Mall was tabled until next meeting, what they would like to do is be tabled until June. We would like to see if Planning Commission would act in favor of this proposed change in the code in order to get it accomplished so we can have it ready for them to come back in June.

    I realize that this is the first cut at this, and there are things that you all might see in this that we didnít, and things that could be added or modified to make it better. But time is of the essence here, and as a result I would like to ask if the Planning Commission would be willing to consider the approval of this language with the major parameters established tonight, like the size and height of the sign and period of time that the message can be on the board and things of that nature. Then if there are technical issues about the type of lighting we want to see on these message boards, we have about three weeks before this would actually go before City Council. Perhaps a committee of Planning Commission would work with us to flesh out some of the more technical details that none of us are prepared to resolve this evening.

    I regret that we are bringing this into you at the last minute, but because of the change in the types of applicants we are getting related to the same type of sign, we felt we needed to create language in our code that would allow us to try to address the need brought to us by Tri-County Mall, and at the same time not create an opening for the CVSís to come in and ask for these message signs.

     

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

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    VII DISCUSSION Ė ELECTRIC SIGN AND ZONING CODE

    Ms. McBride reported that we did research on some similar type centers around the Cincinnati area. The biggest competition for our Tri-County Mall is Cincinnati Mills (former Forest Fair Mall) and they were approved with a variance for their sign which is 70 feet in height and 1,687 s.f. per side. That is the immediate competition for Tri-County Mall.

    The Center of Cincinnati which is on I-71 with a Target and Meijer has 792 s.f. and 79 feet in height. Eastgate Mall was developed many years ago, and they have 400 s.f. and a height of 60 feet. Florence Mall has a sign of 420 s.f. at a height of 80 feet. That was never constructed because they utilized the water tower. Kenwood Towne Centerís sign on I-71 was 210 s.f. and 40 feet in height, but that will come back to Sycamore Township as a part of the redevelopment for that center for a bigger sign in area and in height.

    The Streets of West Chester development sign is 15 feet in height and 80 s.f. but I donít think that is a good comparison with what our mall is facing.

    The only other one I would compare is on I-74 (Meijer and Kohls) and it is 300 s.f. and 50 feet in height.

    What most of these facilities donít experience that Tri-County Mall does is the fact that our mall sets so far below the grade of the interstate. The others have buildings that you can see from the interstate that act as advertisement for the mall.

    Mr. Syfert asked the height of the Lazarus building, and Mr. McErlane responded my guess would be to the roof of Lazarus would be 65-70 feet and there is a cooling tower on top of that.

    Mr. Vanover commented that the 30 minutes for a maximum period could be taken down a little; I could live with five or 10 minutes. In five minutes at 60 miles per hour, you have gone five miles, and nobody drives 60 mph on 275.

    The height will be unprecedented, but this is because of the way that mall sets. The square footage seems in line. Conceptually I donít have a problem with it.

    Mr. Okum said I wonder if we are establishing a precedent that a mall that has 500,000 s.f. would challenge the City and request 425 square feet on a billboard. I asked Ms. McBride about this, and my understanding is that there are other communities and other cities that have specific situations where they can identify a particular type of business. I would be concerned that the 500,000 s.f. mall would say you let this mall have a sign this size.

    Mr. Osborn responded we do that every day when we say you can have a certain number of square footage for a sign based on the size of your building. So we can say to the 500,000 s.f. guy you can have a much bigger signage package than the guy with 10,000 s.f.

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    Mayor Webster added we do that on curb cuts with so many feet of frontage. The bigger you are, the more you get.

    Mr. Osborn commented anything we do is subject to setting a precedent. Whenever we deviate from the Zoning Code in a PUD, we are opening ourselves to an argument about precedent. I think if we are going to be progressive in trying to sustain development here in Springdale, we have to rely on the integrity of our PUD and our abilities to negotiate. In this case, it is not so much negotiation as a clear indication that if we want to keep the economy vital here in Springdale, we have to help prop up the mall a little bit. If it means looking at options we probably would never have considered, we have to do that as well. If we are going to do it, my thought was that we should do it in a way that is as controlled as possible as opposed to introducing it as just a part of the PUD. In this case we chose a million square feet because we know the mall will approve that. We had another mall that came in and wanted to be in Springdale that was more than one million square feet, so it is possible. I donít think it will happen again, because they are not building malls like that any more. The fact is, we have this mall, we need to protect it, and we need to protect ourselves from a precedent that could be transferable to a CVS. That is why we have increased the criteria for this type of sign.

    Mr. Okum commented I think setting the criteria makes this a unique type situation. Mr. Syfert added what we have done here is said directly adjacent to I-275. Mr. Okum said I would feel more comfortable if we held the sign height to 50 feet above the roadway. If they would bring that sign down to that, I wonder if the sign would need to be that large.

    Mr. Osborn responded it will depend on the topography, but the sign will be on the far side of the 275 overpass over 747. The exit off eastbound 275 is a significant distance further east, so that is probably what they are trying to do, alert people that this is the exit to Tri-county Mall. If they are trying to put a sign up that will identify Tri-County Mall, for people to exit at the right exit, it will have to be pretty big and pretty high so that people further west on the expressway coming eastbound can see it.

    Mr. Okum commented going eastbound on the expressway if it wasnít at 110 feet, I donít think you would see it because of the grade issue. Mr. Osborn commented when you are a mile down the expressway, the critical part would be the mass of the sign and something that identifies this as Tri-County Mall.

    Mr. Okum said I donít like the image of billboards in Springdale, but of the companies that do billboards, Tri-County probably does the classiest of all of them.

    Mr. Osborn said I donít know that this sign would be a replication of the art that they do on those billboards. Another factor is we will see the multi-year reconstruction of I-275 from S.R. 42 to Winton Road or Hamilton Avenue. That is supposed to start in the fall of 2006 and run for a couple of years, and that has the people in the mall very concerned.

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    VII DISCUSSION Ė ELECTRIC SIGN AND ZONING CODE

    Mr. Osborn said there will be heavy congestion and bumper to bumper traffic and short tempers. People will want to avoid the area, and that reemphasizes the fact that they are concerned about their future.

    Mr. Okum asked about the 4,000 nits one nit equals one candela per square meter. Is that similar to what Artemis signs are currently? Mr. Galster reported that the industry standard says 1500 nit is adequate brightness to read a message text outdoors in the daylight. There was a number chosen to put in there and it needs to be defined a little bit more. I have contacted a community which has rewritten a code in the last six months to allow this type thing. We need to control the amount, but it also needs to have a photocell so that at night it reduces the brightness. We also need to state that it needs to be adjustable so that if we find that it is too bright, they can turn it down.

    Mr. Okum said I was concerned when it said adjustable that it could be adjustable up. Mr. Galster responded we will have a top end, and it still needs to be adjustable.

    Mr. Okum asked if this is LED. Mr. Osborn said no these are bulbs, but that is not what they initially told us, which is that they wanted to get approval for the message board, but they were going to hold off on it until newer technology came along. They indicated to us that they didnít want to do individual bulbs, but I understand that the building department uses individual bulbs rather than LED.

    I think we certainly can set standards such as the use of LED rather than the bulbs. Mr. Galster agreed, adding we donít want to have light bulbs up there.

    Mr. Okum said we have to help our businesses and this mall is part of Springdale. Mr. Osborn said we are embracing Tri-County more and more now in terms of a geographic area. We are working with some of our business people, and one of the things we are talking about is that we need to find a brand identity for that district, and we need to set it off with physical improvements that say "Welcome to the Tri-County Shopping District, Springdale Ohio", or something like that, something that will promote the Tri-County shopping district.

    These are concepts, and we are talking about making other physical improvements, like the box beam guard rail or the wrought iron fencing that we started using over there, things of that nature to give it some sort of streetscape feature that pulls it all together and makes it look unique. We have a much bigger game plan to try long term to promote that district. It is under attack, and we need to help. As these property owners have harder times leasing, we will keep going down. With all the dollar stores in our community, we are going the wrong direction, and we have to turn it around.

    Mr. Okum said it would be nice to have Springdale tied into this market. Tri-County is a big part of it, but I donít want to see it overlit and some of the negatives of those types of signs.

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    VII DISCUSSION Ė ELECTRIC SIGN AND ZONING CODE

    Mr. Osborn said that is why I suggested that we try to work out the big parameter issues tonight, and have a committee of people work on this between now and the council meeting to fill in some of these technical details.

    Mr. Okum said we have to make sure that the lights projecting on the sign are not glaring to the motoring public. Mr. Osborn said theyíll say to make sure that doesnít happen we will make it higher.

    Mayor Webster said you have to realize that not only are they competing with that competition, and the I-275 project that is coming, but immediately they have the 747 grade separation, where they have already started working, and that wonít be finished until they tear up I-275. There is no end in sight in terms of the traffic flow in and around that center. I think it is terribly important that we understand that we are not just helping 120 merchants but that whole area. That is the epicenter of the whole Springdale retail shopping district. I think we need to bend over backwards. I know the sign is huge, but so is the mall.

    Mr. Vanover asked if ODOT had any regulations for signs on the interstate, and Mr. Osborn answered they do, but there are exceptions for certain categories of signs. If this is considered an on-site identification sign, it is not subject to the same regulations as a billboard or an off premise sign. Mr. Vanover wondered if there could be an identification sign for Springdale on the interstate. Mr. Osborn responded we could talk to them about some sort of identification on the sign.

    Mr. Galster said I think it is important that we have as many limiting things into this as we can. In addition to being one million square feet and located on the interstate, having blank tenants with blank square footage each. We donít want to see it used against us at some point down the road.

    I disagree with every 10 minutes; I think we need to stretch that out as far as we can. I think the Tri-County Mall type advertisements are going to be more geared to getting a key message across, and they probably wonít change it more than three or four times a day. So I think we are better off stretching the time out to an hour so it doesnít seem like a changeable copy.

    It used to be that a lot of people knew where Tri-county Mall was, but now there are a lot of malls, and many people donít know where Tri-County Mall is, and I donít think there is anything wrong with getting a sign up there.

    As far as the size goes, Howard Johnson and Perkins sign is as tall and as big as this would be (837 s.f. and 110 feet high) so Iím not concerned about that. Mr. Okum said that is on a hill, so it is higher than 110 feet.

     

     

     

     

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    VII DISCUSSION Ė ELECTRIC SIGN AND ZONING CODE

    Mr. Galster said I think there is some fine tuning that needs to be done, but I think it can get done in the next few weeks so we can get something before Council. So is Planning comfortable with having a couple of people evaluate the details but based on the information we have seen tonight, recommend this to Council.

    Mr. McErlane said we probably should limit where the sign can be located on the site that it needs to be within 50 to100 feet of the interstate, so we donít have it setting on the corner of Kemper Road and S.R. 747. It is intended to be freeway oriented, and that is where it should be.

    Mr. Sherry said I am more in favor of the 10 minute than the 30 minute. Mr. Galster said the industry standard for the video display boards is to change them between ten and 20 times a day. Weíre going to allow them to change it jj50 times a day at 30 minutes. If we get down to ten minutes, we become a flashing sign.

    Mr. Vanover said but this is different from special events. You have a mall with a host of tenants with certain hours. At six times an hour as you drive by there, you probably clear it in about four minutes, so you might see one change in that period. Mr. Galster said at 65 miles per hour a 24 inch letter can be seen for 1200 feet, a quarter of a mile. So that sign would be in your sight for 13 seconds. The reason for extending it out is if somebody challenges this. Mr. Vanover commented we have other criteria that have to be met. Mr. Galster said I could argue that there is no other place with one million square feet; so how objective is that?

    We have to be very careful not to eliminate every possible alternative, or we will have people who will appeal and win based on the square footage of the mall. They want to get the message out that day, and I donít think they will need to change the message every ten minutes.

    Mr. Vanover said perhaps we need to take part of this back to the mall and get their input. There are 110 stores there.

    Mr. Osborn said I had that discussion this morning. I started with once every 24 hours, and Mike started at every eight to 10 seconds. We didnít reach a compromise, but the Mayor, Bill and I decided to bring in the 30 minutes since that didnít seem to be an unreasonable frequency of change. Honestly, I donít think they are going to have any problem with 30 minutes.

    Mr. Osborn added we can talk to them again about it. They are very open to discussing this. Another factor is that this is a PUD, and even if the code does say 30 minutes, and Tri-County Mall makes the case that absolutely proves that they need to change it every 10 minutes, we could grant that as a deviation to the PUD.

    Mr. Okum said Mr. Galster indicated that the lights may be bulbs rather than LED. I think in the legislation there should be an all lit Ė no lit policy. Mr. Galster added that only happens with bulbs, so if we eliminate bulbs, we wouldnít have to worry about it. Mr. Okum said I donít care if it is LED or a light bulb. I feel there should be in the legislation all lit or not lit.

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    VII DISCUSSION Ė ELECTRIC SIGN AND ZONING CODE

    Mr. Okum asked if there were any way they could get a box around it to give it more of a sign look rather than a billboard look, so they could have finished edges.

    Mr. Okum said I donít think Tri-County ever used their total square footage permitted on the site. I would like this researched, and if they are under the amount permitted, maybe we could include the wording that "the total sign package, with this type of signage, shall not exceed the allowed signage for the site under our code." That way if we are ever challenged, the message board portion would be included in the maximum signage allowed on the site, excluding the variances.

    Mr. Osborn asked about the balance of the sign, the 850 s.f. Mr. Okum responded it would be part of their total signage package. I donít think they ever used their total allowed signage.

    Mr. McErlane reported I am sure that the mall never met their total allowed, but each of the anchor stores exceeded their allowable.

    Mr. Osborn commented I want to emphasize that I think Tri-County will be flexible in this because they did come to us asking what would be acceptable to the city. I told them to bring this before Planning as a concept discussion. I think they have flexibility, such as the finished edge around the sign. That is something we can talk to them about. We will look at the circumstances of Tri-County Mall and their overall sign package.

    Mr. Osborn added on timing, if Planning would support this request and approve the general language tonight with modifications to be made in more detail prior to the council meeting, we would see this coming in for a first reading before Council on the 21st of April, with the public hearing set for the 19th of May. That would put the Tri-County Mall back before you on the 8th of June. That was the schedule we were looking at as we talked to them.

    Mayor Webster added we could have the first reading at the first meeting in May, the 5th. Mr. Galster said that would give us more time. Mr. Osborn said we can advertise ahead of the first reading

    Mr. Galster moved that Planning Commission forward its positive recommendation to City Council for a zoning code change in reference to the regional shopping center-type identity signage that has been submitted and as may be modified by a small group appointed by the chairman of Planning Commission between now and its official presentation to city Council on May 5th. Mr. Vanover seconded the motion. All present voted aye, and the motion was granted with six affirmative votes.

    Mr. Syfert asked for volunteers to work on this. Mr. Galster and Mr. Syfert volunteered.

    Mr. Galster said Venus Nails has an entry sign that they put out on 747. Mr. McErlane reported it is being replaced with what was there previously; the landlord didnít know it either.

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  4. DISCUSSION Ė continued
  5. Addressing Ms. McBride, Mr. Galster said we had talked about color pallet with earth tones. We have approval from the administration to get that on order from Pantone.

    Mr. Galster reported that there was a site plan review seminar offered by Hamilton County Planning Commission. I wanted to check with Ms. McBride to see if there are possible dates for our own session. Ms. McBride answered that we will e-mail some dates to you and get that going. Mr. Galster said please add Ken Schneider, since he wants to participate in that.

    Mr. McErlane reported I distributed a copy of a letter sent to me from Bob Gilhart of Princeton Plaza (Planning Commission was copied on this). I informed Mr. Gilhart that if it is what he would like to do, to reapply to Planning for relief from that requirement. However, he has not presented the concept to KFC, and what he would like to do is see if Planning Commission feels that it merits coming back in before he contacts KFC.

    Mr. Okum said personally I understand the situation that Mr. Gilhart is in. The obligation of the water retention/detention should be necessary to be accommodated some time in some way. If that is going to keep KFC from redeveloping, defer that requirement (just like we do trees) onto any other future development on the site. That way it stays within the PUD, the requirement still holds and the applicant has the opportunity to defer it to later. That way he doesnít have the initial cost, and KFC isnít burdened with it, but Mr. Gilhart has to know that the accommodation of cubic feet will be held accountable at some place and some time.

    Mr. Syfert said the next guy will say the same thing. Mr. Okum said it falls in the PUD. We have given them relief once; I wouldnít be inclined to give it to them again.

    Mr. Galster said if we get a particular site redeveloped and updated and it is a benefit to the City and to them and they keep a tenant here, and we didnít make the water situation worse, I think that is okay. As a matter of fact this is less of an impact that what presently exists, I think that is okay. This is a decrease in the amount of water runoff in this redevelopment. Mr. Okum said it was decreasing it by 1%. Mr. Galster responded if we get a redevelopment that makes it better, we are better off deferring until some major construction project goes on in that mall. Mr. Okum said the burden should be applied to the PUD (Princeton Plaza) and not to the individual.

    Mr. Syfert commented he is asking for a lot of other things as well. Mr. Galster said that is the kind of a straw that broke the camelís back and if that were reconsidered, they would be willing to do the other items.

    Mr. Syfert asked the commission if they wished for them to come back in. Mr. Galster answered I think it is worth looking at any time we can get a redevelopment.

     

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  6. DISCUSSION Ė continued
  7. Mr. McErlane said to clarify, I had asked Mr. Gilhart if he had any plans in the near future to redevelopment anything and he said no. So even though there is a commitment there, we donít know when it will happen.

    Mr. Vanover asked if we had ever gotten anything on property code enforcement when they redo sewer taps and the dirt is piled up for years.

    Mr. McErlane responded I thought we had taken care of that, but we will take care of it. There is nothing specific in the property maintenance code but we were going to stretch it a bit to try to get things cleaned up. The only thing that the property maintenance code allows us to do is tell them to knock the weeds down when they get over 10 inches. Mr. Vanover said conceivably someone could put a swimming pool in and have a pile of dirt set on their property for years. Mr. McErlane reported that there are some erosion control measures which are hard to attribute to a mound of dirt over a trench line, but I guess you could stretch it.

    Mr. Okum asked Mr. McErlane to look at Pearle Visionís internally illuminated sign. It may conform but it may not. Burger King at Kemper and Chesterdale has just relamped and added massive lights. Their spill on the public right of way and off property is significant. Is there anything we can do about that?

    Mr. McErlane responded it depends on what it consisted of. If it was basically changing out the bulbs and some of the electrical components in the existing fixture, I donít know that we can. If they changed the fixtures out, we probably can. If they changed it from a flat lens to a projecting lens, we probably could. Mr. Okum said I think they have gone to HIDs in spots in addition to their existing lighting. Mr. McErlane commented the tough part will be trying to find out what changed, because our documentation on that site is probably pretty poor when it comes to lighting.

    Mr. Okum said I guess Best Western hasnít done anything yet, and we gave them permission to keep the trailer as long as he submitted a lighting plan and relamped. Mr. Galster said we think he will be back before Planning Commission before too long anyway.

    Mr. Syfert asked if anyone would not be here next month and everyone indicated that they would. Mr. Sherry announced that he would be here next month, but is resigning his seat on May 14th. We are moving to Park City Utah and I will work full time for Phillips Edison, who I have worked for the last five years. We will be doing about $50 million of development every year.

  8. CHAIRMANíS REPORT
    1. Campus Outfitters, 75 Tri-County Parkway Ė Wall Sign

     

     

     

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  9. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Galster moved to adjourn and Mr. Vanover seconded the motion. All present voted aye, and Planning Commission adjourned at 10:34 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

________________________,2004 ________________________

William G. Syfert, Chairman

 

 

________________________,2004 _________________________

Robert Sherry, Secretary