PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
APRIL 13, 2010
I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman Tony Butrum.
II. ROLL CALL
Members Present: Tony Butrum, Richard Bauer, David Okum, Carolyn Ghantous, Don Darby, Steve Galster and Tom Vanover
Others Present: Jonathan Wocher, City Planner; William McErlane,
Building Official; Don Shvegzda, City Engineer; Doyle Webster, Mayor; and
Jeff Tulloch, Economic Development Director
III. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF MARCH 9, 2010
Mr. Galster moved to adopt the March 9, 2010 Planning Commission meeting minutes, Mr. Vanover seconded the motion and the minutes were adopted with six aye votes; (Chairman Butrum abstaining, he was absent at the March 9, 2010 meeting.)
IV. REPORT ON COUNCIL
Mr. Galster gave his report on Council, summarizing the correspondence included in the Planning Commission packets: Ordinance 7-2010 which deals with the electronic signs that was passed by City Council two meetings ago; and on the dais you found a copy of Ordinance 9-2010 which is an extension of the Special Event Banners Ordinance, this was for one year and we have now decided to extend it for another year.
Mr. Dave Okum: The other item is in reference to Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission. We have a lot of folks here in the audience that are business owners in the Tri-County retail district in Springdale. I am currently serving as Chairman of the Regional Planning Commission for Hamilton County. Along with that service, which it is an honor to do, I have had the opportunity to review four phenomenal plans that were submitted to the Regional Planning Commission for recognition for the Frank F. Ferris Award. The Frank F. Ferris Award was started in 1995, I believe, and it was recognition of great planning. Applications were from OKI, Ohio / Kentucky Regional Planning Authority, the other applications were from Greenhills Comprehensive Land Use Plan which is a significant land use project and the other project was the Glenway Avenue revitalization plan. Springdale is being recognized for one of the outstanding plans in this years Frank Ferris Award; there were two, one for small and the other for significant. Springdales was chosen as a significant impact in planning and they will be recognized on Monday at the Regional Planning Conference for Hamilton County Regional Planning Partnership for the Tri-County Retail Revitalization District Plan.
V. OLD BUSINESS
A. Chairman Butrum: Wireless Communication Tower Conditional Use Permit,
11970 Kenn Road.
Mr. Tom Breidenstein: We received comments from your consultant asking for additional information specifically related to the potential for using other structures in the area; that has been a slow process getting all that data together. We are asking for additional time, I believe we are asking to come back in July, 2010.
Chairman Butrum: So you want to specifically move it to July.
Mr. Tom Breidenstein: We were initially asking for an indefinite time, but we appreciate that you have a notice provision, with that in mind we are asking for a reasonable amount of time July.
Chairman Butrum: My personal feeling is that I would be willing to go to July, at that point if you guys arent ready, I do think we probably ought to have you come back and resubmit; I dont think there is any down side to that. May biggest concern is Mr. Hawkins is here who represents that District and I know that there are a number of interested citizens that are asking about it, so I dont want to leave it hanging indefinitely. If we can make it July and if you think that will work then I just dont want to keep pushing it out another three months and another three months. The Public Hearing has never stopped on this.
Mr. Tom Breidenstein: We appreciate that, and we are doing the best we can; a lot of that is out of our control but I will take it back to my clients with the expressed desire that we either move forward or withdraw.
Chairman Butrum: If you withdraw, you can resubmit and come back.
Mr. Steve Galster: Because of the fact that notification went out to these residents, the last time back in October or November, and we continue to hold this Public Hearing open and continue and continue and now we are talking about continuing all the way to June, I am not sure that is serving the community. If in fact we remove it from the agenda and when they are ready we are more than happy to have you resubmit and get the proper notice back out to the residents again. I dont think it is fair to continue to have the residents think that it is on the agenda for the next month, continued, continued and continued and never really know when it is that they would need to show up if in fact they need to object to the application or be in favor of it.
Given the length of time that we have already kept this Public Hearing open, I would recommend that we remove it from the agenda until such time that the applicant is actually ready to make a presentation.
Mr. Tom Breidenstein: We are not asking for indefinite; if we could put it off until July.
Mr. Steve Galster: There will be no notice given to those residents again?
Chairman Butrum: I would like to send notice again; we basically covered the residents within the vicinity of our Code rather than what we were obligated to do.
Mr. Okum: I am concerned about the process to make sure that once they make a resubmission that Staff has enough time to review and comment back and since we have a consultant that we have hired that is going to be involved in the process, determining that date of when that is going to be, is going to be very, very difficult. We need to give the residents adequate time so that they can make plans and be at the meeting.
Mr. McErlane: We have sent out second notices for the January meeting to the residents and we can do that again; we would do it for a new application and we can do it again even if it is continued to the July meeting.
Chairman Butrum: The process has been longer because of the experts on the applicants side and the consultant expert that we brought in. Making sure each has had time to respond to each other has caused delays, as well. The last thing that I want to do is commit to a July meeting and have a similar scenario that we had back in January where a couple days before the meeting Mr. Meyer had said that we are not ready and we did have residents appear here for that meeting; I do not want a repeat of that. If there is a high degree of confidence to provide the Citys consultant time to work through that and to get any additional Staff comments, I think it would be unfair to the residents to have a repeat of that.
Mr. Okum: Mr. Breidenstein, would you be in a position to have all submissions into the City by June 1st? In order for us to get notice and for Staff to review and for our consultant on this, I think it would be appropriate to give them the month of June. If you are asking for a continuance to the July meeting then my feeling would be is that you make a commitment to us on the time that you will have your submission, otherwise my feeling is that it should go to the August meeting.
Mr. Breidenstein: In general I dont have an objection to the concept to agreeing to a certain deadline before that and I hate to put Mr. McErlane on the spot but he is working more closely with your consultant, perhaps the question could be directed to him about how much time he thinks is necessary for that process.
Mr. Okum: I think it depends on what responses come back from your analyst.
Mr. McErlane: We have been asking for the normal submittal date, which is a month prior to the meeting, when they have passed that date on previous months and we thought they were coming in, then we were suggesting that if they get them in at the end of the month they would not get any kind of a response back, other than what was submitted to the Planning Commission. If it meant that additional information was required then we would be in the same position that we currently are. Our suggestion is that they submit it one month prior like we would do for any application that comes before Planning Commission.
Mr. Darby: Based on what the applicant just stated, I have what I need to support July. The critical issue here is that the City is able to notify the residents in a timely manner; the notification is critical.
Mr. Okum: Based upon the applicants request, I am going to move to bring it to the floor that we continue the hearing in process to the July meeting, provided all conditions set forth by Staff are met according to normal operations.
Mr. Vanover seconded the motion.
Mr. Bauer polled the Planning Commission members and with six aye votes and one no vote the request to continue the Wireless Communication Tower Conditional Use Permit, 11970 Kenn Road, to the July meeting was approved.
B. Chairman Butrum: The second item under Old Business, Monument Sign & Building Signs at Pictoria Towers, 225 Pictoria Drive.
Rusty Myers: I am with Cincinnati Capital Properties representing the owner of Pictoria Towers, tonight.
About three months ago we submitted our initial request for both monument signage and building signage on Pictoria Towers, prospectively for First Financial Bank. We are back, now that we have worked with First Financial Bank, to see what their signage requirement is. Three months ago we had two different alternatives; one was for five signs on the building and three monument panels or four signs on the building and four monument panels. We have worked out all of our signage now where we will be looking at four panels on the monument and four signs on the building. Tim Hoskins is here from Triangle Signs who has been working with First Financial Bank on the design of their sign for the building; I think it is a little different than when we initially submitted our request, we came in with a request of 200 s.f. for their sign; as First Financial has gone through the design they have looked at the size of what they are trying to accomplish and it does exceed that to 250 s.f. per sign; in large part because of readability of the sign from the ground.
Mr. Tim Hoskins: I am with Triangle Sign Company, Hamilton Ohio. I am the sign contractor for First Financial Bank. My company was asked to design signage for the Pictoria Tower location. We request that you allow us to remove the two existing signs; the Northrup Gunman and the other one is Beckfield College sign and then install three sets of illuminated letters 250 s.f. each on the east, south and west elevations of the building. The signs are over the 200 s.f. allowed by your previous decision on December 22, 2009 and the letters will project above the parapet wall; not approved by your current Zoning Code. We feel like the request is justified given the configuration of the First Financial Bank logo (demonstrated in drawings submitted).
The letters are different sizes which creates a problem given the way we have to calculate the square footage in the City. The City requires us to calculate the area of the sign by the smallest rectangle. If I dont go above the parapet the letters are too small to read. With the height of the eight story building, we need some good size letters up on that building and the speed of the traffic on I-275, the viewing distance, we feel that the larger signs would be best. The sign will be 159 shorter than the existing Northrup Grunman sign that it is replacing. To stay below the parapet I would have to reduce the sign from 250 s.f. down to 98 s.f.; the size of the F would be 37.8 high in First and the smaller First Financial Bank sign letters would only be 20 high; the lower case would be 13 high; so we request that you allow us to peak over that parapet and get some letters up there that we feel that would be legible from all elevations. Also, on the eastern elevation, above the parapet there is a façade covering the mechanicals so I dont think the public would notice on that elevation that the letters are above the parapet.
Mr. Galster: Isnt that true on all three sides that there is an elevation that continues above to cover the mechanicals on all three sides.
Mr. Tim Hoskins: Yes.
Mr. Galster: As far as Staff comments; everything else you are in agreement with?
Mr. Tim Hoskins: Yes.
Mr. McErlane: I wanted to clarify, I think there are two sign companies involved, the monument sign and the comment relative to the monument sign is probably something Mr. Myers needs to address and not necessarily this particular representative; you had asked about the Staff comments and some of them deal with the monument sign, as well.
Mr. Bauer: Is there a reason why the larger sign cant be shifted and installed differently on that parapet to allow the F not to be over the parapet?
Mr. Tim Hoskins: I looked at that; to take and drop the larger sign F below the parapet would require us to go below that horizontal reveal on the building; it would put us at a lower elevation than the existing Prexus sign.
Mr. McErlane: The Prexus is probably 4 above the parapet. They had lined up the top of the letters with - if you looked at the cross-section there is a shaded frame that runs over the top of the pre-cast parapet - they lined their letters up with the top of the frame instead of with the top of the parapet so it is about 4 higher than the parapet.
(At this time Mr. McErlane and Mr. Wocher read their Staff comments.)
Mr. Wocher: In summary we have four comments: 1) The Planning Commission to decide that the combination of approved Options A and/or Options B is acceptable to have an increase in sign area. 2) That the building signage not extend above the building parapet. 3) A revised plan be submitted for the building elevation showing the Prexus sign to remain with the proposed First Financial sign, so that is part of the application. 4) The ground sign be a minimum of 10 from the right or way.
Mr. Okum: One of the things that I noticed on the drawing that they submitted, it appears that the other Pictoria pole sign has a different reference to the expressway.
Mr. Wocher: I would agree with your assessment that it appears the free standing sign for Pictoria Island is more than 10, I dont know what that dimension is but in comparing the illustration provided by the sign company it does appear that the existing sign is more than the 10, so it would be in a different location in reference to the existing fence line.
Mr. McErlane: In reference to Mr. Okums question, there are some topography issues there with regard to where the proposed sign would go. The grade slopes up from the right of way to basically a plateau and then slopes back down into the detention basin on the north side of where the sign is to be located and then there is a walking path that has been integrated into the development; so there is a limited ridge where they can locate that sign on based on the topography.
Mr. Okum: If that other development were to be developed, my understanding is the requirement is the existing pole sign that is on the site would accommodate the signage for that, and that also accommodates the signage for the Bahama Breeze property as well.
Mr. McErlane: Correct.
Mr. Okum: If we were to ask them to move it back a little bit farther, it still would not be in alignment unless it went right in the middle of the walking path.
Mr. Wocher: If they go back further than the 10 the path appears to need to be relocated and then there is the challenge whether there is enough flat land with the detention basin in that location.
Mr. Okum: I believe the hope was when we first worked through this with Pictoria that the walkway would coordinate and connect all of the developments including easterly as well as westerly; I would like to see it at least the 10.
Mr. Myers: The constraints that we have there and they have been addressed is the topography and the current path that you see in the aerial runs right on top of that ridge and then it goes back down into the detention basin on the north side. The only area we had to work with to locate the sign is where it is; we will have to relocate that little tail of walkway, it will be moved a little bit to the north.
Mr. Okum: Are all the panels going to be blank?
Mr. Myers: Beckfield and Northrup are coming off of the building and going on the pylon; First Financial would likely have a panel.
Mr. Okum: In the interim, leasing opportunities?
Mr. Myers: That probably will go there but we have limited space available, so we may leave it blank.
Mr. Galster: I am o.k. with the four panels on the monument sign and I am o.k. with the number of signs on the building. I am a little concerned about the fourth sign being blank.
Ms. Sally Land: I am with United Maier Signs. The blank is covered with aluminum and when a tenant moves in the blank aluminum panel comes back to the shop, so until a tenant moves in it is blank with no illumination coming through.
Mr. Galster: When a tenant leaves, will you be putting a blank panel back in?
Ms. Land: I assume so; we paint it the matching trim colors and it kind of looks more like an architectural feature.
Mr. Darby: Could someone from perhaps Staff talk about our requirement prohibiting signage from protruding above the parapet?
Mr. McErlane: Many years ago when we put that in our Zoning Code prior to the 24 years that I started here, the concern was having roof mounted signs and that was the way they regulated them, they couldnt project above an eave, cornice or a parapet.
Mr. Darby: Which this sign does not do?
Mr. McErlane: It is not a roof mounted sign.
Chairman Butrum: So you are saying that in keeping First Financial where you currently have it proposed, with the F above the parapet, it is sharing the same baseline as the Prexus sign?
Mr. Tim Hoskins: Yes, sir. It would be on the same horizontal plane as the Prexus sign.
Chairman Butrum: So the bottom of the letters would rest where the bottom of the Prexus letters rest, because I think that is what is important. In one rare instance, Mr. Galster and I actually encouraged Macys to build a bigger sign. I just want to assure that we have some balance vertically, so that the Prexus sign versus the First Financial sign is not looking lopsided. I think there has to be some visual alignment; it can be top, middle or bottom.
Mr. McErlane: I have the drawings for Prexus Health and it shows the bottom of the sign to be about 44 below the top of the parapet and if you look at the drawings for the First Financial sign and take into consideration a little bit of the projection, they show a 47 dimension which goes to the top of the projection of the smaller letters of the First Financial sign; it looks like it should be pretty close.
Mr. Galster: I think that given the size of the building and the size of the signs, as long as there is an attempt to get that balance. I think that it is a major improvement to only have two names on this building, as opposed to four. Do we need to have a final drawing that shows the details of those two signs submitted so we have it for the record?
Chairman Butrum: Mr. Galster, you said that either the baseline or the tops are within four inches of each other; and if Staff verified that with final drawings, would you be fine with that?
Mr. Galster: Im fine with that.
Mr. Okum: I think First needs to be where it is at to catch the top edge of the parapet; I think that more important is that the top edge should be no higher than the Prexus sign, excluding the F. The off-lighting of that was significant and that off-lighting goes into the neighborhood; it is amazing how much of that falls across the expressway into the residential neighborhood. The application shows two options on what those letters are going to be. I would like to make sure that it is all lit, or not lit.
Mr. Tim Hoskins: The Bank has not decided; we actually plan on putting a letter up there to let them look at. The daytime value of the sign is black and blue. Typically on most of their installations that I have done for them, the black is a black-light vinyl so at night there are perforated holes in the vinyl and it shows white; and the blue would show blue. Since it is eight stories high and it is a distance from the expressway, I was going to give them the option of blue perforated vinyl, so it would be black/blue by day and white/white at night.
Mr. Okum: So it is the volume of light that is in the cabinet; and based upon that, being smaller, I think we have addressed it.
Mr. Wocher: We want all of the First Financial signs to be at the same elevation, right?
Chairman Butrum: Yes.
Mr. Okum: I would like to make a motion that we approve the Pictoria sign package modifications as presented to include Staff or City Planners recommendations and considerations with the additional items that the monument pole sign shall have routed panels that will be replaced with solid matching panels that will be blank, should they not be tenant occupied or represented. All signs with the exclusion of the F in First shall be aligned with the top, middle or baseline of the Prexus sign.
Mr. Vanover seconded the motion.
Mr. Bauer polled the Planning Commission Members and with a unanimous aye vote the request for a monument sign and building signs at Pictoria Towers, 225 Pictoria Drive was granted with conditions.
(At this time, the Planning Commission took a five minute break before continuing with Item C; the Planning Commission reconvened at 8:13 p.m.)
C. Chairman Butrum: The final item of Old Business is Major Modification to a Preliminary PUD Plan, Princeton Plaza Shopping Center redevelopment at
11711 Princeton Pike.
Mr. Galster: Mr. Vanover, myself and Staff did have a meeting on March 19th, 2010 with the applicant to go over a couple of ideas. We went over the plan submitted last time and what we thought it would take to move that forward. We went over another plan that was a scaled down version of that and what we thought it would take to move forward with that. All of those conversations were good. The submittal that they have here tonight is different than what we discussed at any of those meetings; so this will be like a new submittal.
Mr. John Gilhart: I am John Gilhart and I am here on behalf of Princeton Plaza Shopping Center and in the audience here tonight we have owners of the Shopping Center; we have Richard, Charles, myself, Robert Gilhart and Lou Santoro, so they are here represented tonight. We also have some of our tenants represented;
T.J. Maxx, Office Depot, Larosas, AAA Travel, Red Squirrel, Princeton Bowl, Skeffingtons, Blue Aguave, First Watch, Sprint and Hancock Fabrics. Also, we have a few of our contractors that have done business throughout the years; Klusty Sign Associates, the Brandt Retail Group, Forest Lytle, First American Leasing, Wendell Associates and Tenant Construction. I thought it would be appropriate to turn it over to my brother Rick Gilhart.
Rick Gilhart: I, along with my brothers, are here tonight presenting this for Princeton Plaza Shopping Center.
I think Tri-County retail is disappearing; Walmart, Borders, Old Navy, Coconuts, Don Pablos, Kelly Temporary Service, Buffalo Wings and Rings, Pier One, Circuit City, CCs, Longhorn and many office building personnel that have left the Tri-County area; other stores will be leaving this year.
We first came to the City to show the possibilities of what our center could be in three years if we could get started with paint and signage, as these would be the immediate needs of our existing long-term tenants. Shortly thereafter we requested approval for signage and paint for our shopping center from the Springdale Planning Commission and at a prior meeting we requested signage for the back of our out-building to fill the request of our tenants in the out-building who have been begging us for months. I have asked the City several questions regarding the Tri-County retail district and, in particular when the City plans on starting Phase I of the revitalization plan. At present time I have not been given a firm start date. With our submittal we are actually jump starting the process with going ahead with our revitalization plans prior to the Citys start in order to get the ball rolling and help out our tenants. We have worked with two architectural firms, GBBN as well as Dynamic Design out of Michigan and South Florida; we have spent $79,000 on conceptual drawings, working plans and consultation fees. We were hoping to have our newly revitalized shopping center dedication this summer for the new Tri-County Town Center and will be dedicated to our deceased parents and sister.
We handed a submittal to Mr. McErlane on April 1st, 2010. We previously submitted an application for substantial change to a PUD along with modifications and responses to Staff comments and questions regarding our application. The changes proposed were formally presented to the Planning Commission meeting of
February 23, 2010 and again on March 9, 2010; the intent to present an overall redevelopment plan and obtain approval for specific items for implementation this year. It is my understanding that the items we are requesting approval for, initial implementation, are now considered a minor change to a PUD. We believe that the proposed changes to the PUD embrace the spirit of the previously submitted Springdale Revitalization Plan. As with the Springdale Revitalization Plan our overall redevelopment plan is quite ambitious and may take several years to fully implement. It is our goal to implement the redevelopment plan over time as quickly as possible; the speed at which we will be able to fully implement our redevelopment plan will depend on several factors. These factors include current maintenance needs to the shopping center, stabilization of the existing tenants, existing tenant-lease extension negotiation, existing tenant requirement restrictions, new tenant-lease negotiations requirement restrictions, bank financing and mutual cooperation with the City of Springdale and the adjacent property owners. At the suggestion of the Planning Commission Members on February 23rd and March 9th, 2010 we agreed to postpone our request for our approval of the items we want to implement in the first year of our redevelopment plan. At the suggestion of the Planning Commission Members, Lou Santoro and I attended a workshop meeting with Council Members Steve Galster and Tom Vanover, along with staff members Bill McErlane and
Anne McBride. As a result of that meeting we have modified our request for specific redevelopment items to include some suggestions for Planning Commission Members and Staff. We understand from that meeting that the Planning Commission Members and Staff are concerned about approving our initial redevelopment items without any guarantee that any additional improvements contained in the redevelopment plan will be implemented in the future. We are unable, due to the factors mentioned above, to guarantee any additional improvements contained in the redevelopment plan will be implemented in the future; we are however committed to making our best good-faith effort. We would ask that the Planning Commission Members be flexible in allowing our redevelopment plan to be implemented over time as we deem appropriate to our business. We are very concerned if we are unable to move forward with these items requested for implementation this year that our shopping center will continue to deteriorate.
The renovation items we have submitted to you: new paint scheme for all of the elevations, including the unpainted brick area on the back of the shopping center, installing a new waste container enclosure along Princeton Pike, we plan on removing 4 ½ parking spaces in the former TCBY, the First Watch / Sprint pole sign needs to replace the existing pole sign; we would replace the existing pylon sign with a new pylon sign to include a two-sided 16mm, LED electronic message board at Princeton and Kemper Road.
If we can get approval tonight our renovation schedule is, May 1st, 2010 we will proceed with the paint scheme for the south and east elevations of the main shopping center building, west elevation at First Watch and north elevation of the former TCBY, new paint scheme for all elevations of the outbuilding; repairs and new paint for the west and north unpainted brick areas of the main building; remove the parking spaces for TCBY. June we will replace the existing First Watch with a First Watch / Sprint sign. The new First Watch sign will be relocated. Replace existing primary sign with a new primary sign 16mm LED. July 1st, 2010 construct a new waste container enclosure at the east elevation of the outbuilding along Princeton Pike.
(Mr. Gilhart and Clark Gilhart demonstrated by Power Point presentation the proposed improvements, paint schemes and signs.)
(At this time Mr. McErlane read his Staff comments)
Mr. Steve Galster: I have a question for the applicant; are you o.k. with the wording, as far as shared access?
Mr. John Gilhart: Let me just read our response to Item #8: The response is the cross-connection with adjacent property owners is not part of this request for minor change to the Princeton Plaza PUD. The owners of Princeton Plaza are interested in pursuing the possibility of a future connector with the adjacent retail property if an agreement can be worked out that would satisfy the adjacent property owners, KFC, Monroe, Princeton Bowl, Princeton Plaza and the City of Springdale. Council Member Steve Galster and Tom Vanover, Staff Member Bill McErlane and
Anne McBride advised Lou Santoro and Rick Gilhart at a workshop meeting held on March 25th that the City of Springdale possessed a sample cross-access agreement and they advised Mr. Santoro and Mr. Gilhart that Staff would forward the sample agreement to applicant for review; applicant will gladly review the sample cross-access easement agreement. Applicant has not received the sample cross-access easement agreement.
Mr. Galster: Mr. McErlane has a copy of it for you and I am just curious what your feelings are about cross-access.
Mr. John Gilhart: Again, my statement stands for itself.
(At this time Mr. John Gilhart read an email he sent to Mr. Jeff Tulloch concerning cross-access.)
If we were to go out and do something prematurely before we get our shopping center in order and get our tenants filled, we are not concerned with the property owners to the west; but to the north.
Mr. Steve Gilhart: Is your desire to not have any cross-access agreement in consideration tonight?
Mr. John Gilhart: That is correct; it is not part of the submittal.
Mr. Lou Santoro: This is the first time we have had a chance to see this and I am not an attorney and it is four or five pages long; have you discussed this with the adjacent property owners at all?
Chairman Butrum: The point is that you are in agreement so that when they at some point, either we reach out to them or they come before us or whatever, we have one half made.
Mr. Lou Santoro: In the workshop one of the concerns was the Northland Extension and the Citys plans for that and how that impacts even the location; it has to be four major parties. If I read this correctly, and I probably need to talk to the other family members but if everybody is signing the same document and agreeing to sit down and discuss it, we have always said we wanted to do that. You just want our agreement?
Chairman Butrum: Yes; because of the odds of getting you all in here at the same time.
Mr. John Gilhart: The City is looking for leverage every time somebody comes in to redevelop the property. I understand that it is a trade-off. We have got this thing down to bare bones; we are asking for a primary sign, one sign for First Watch and paint. We will be back again and again and again, we might be back next month. I will agree to sit down and talk about it. You say, What if we give you all of this signage and you do nothing?; I understand that.
Mr. McErlane: The intent of this document is not to say that you have to agree to this document, this is a draft and an idea; what they are asking you to do is commit to the future accessing easement, to consider that all parties have to be on board, as well. What we are talking about is the agreement of this in concept, not this specific wording because this will have to be run by our Law Director.
Mr. John Gilhart: If it doesnt commit us, I dont have a problem with it.
Mr. McErlane: It is a commitment to provide an access easement when all the rest of the parties are on board with it.
Mr. John Gilhart: We are not going to provide an access agreement if it is not acceptable to us; we are not prepared to do that. Tomorrow, if I get approval, I will pick up the phone and I will call Casto and Schottenstein and we will start the process immediately. (At this time Mr. John Gilhart read an email sent to Schottenstein Property Group concerning the guardrail between the properties.)
We cant get a simple temporary access attempt.
(At this time, by request of Lou Santoro, the Planning Commission took a short break.)
Chairman Butrum: I would like to explain one thing, the reason I had requested such an effort by Staff, we wanted to come up with some kind of language, and even now I am hearing that there is still a desire an ultimate desire to have cross-access. While you are here we would like you to say that you agree to it so, as the parties begin to come together whether the City is reaching out to them or they are coming before us, we can say, Are you in agreement with cross-access?.
Mr. John Gilhart: Who would sign the document; we have just seen that document.
Certainly I would have no problem sitting down and trying to formulate a document. We would like to get on the phone with Casto and work on this.
Chairman Butrum: If we have found that we define the location for the cross-access.
Mr. John Gilhart: We cant begin to do that, there are so many factors.
Mr. Santoro wants to stay focused here and get going on this project.
Mr. Rick Gilhart: Why dont we do this, when you create a forum, why dont we sit down in an office here and talk about that; bring us all together? It has to work for everybody.
Mr. John Gilhart: Dont jam this down our throat.
Chairman Butrum: I would feel like we were jamming it down your throats if you hadnt said you wanted to do this three times in the past.
Mr. John Gilhart: Lets talk about the Revitalization Plan, when is that going to be implemented; when is it going to finish? The problem is that you are asking us to tell you the same thing.
Chairman Butrum: What I suggested in the first meeting was a phased approach and I understand the economic environment that we are in and that you cant spend all the money at once. What I suggested is that we define the three phases or however many there are and define occupancy levels for when each would be completed.
Mr. John Gilhart: I dont even know how to begin that. The tenants are sitting here in the audience and they are thinking this is all well and good and the City is trying to do the cross-access easements; but they are sitting here dying and the shopping center is half empty and they are getting no help.
Chairman Butrum: What I suggested several meetings ago is lets get going on it. I cant define your priorities, I cant micromanage it.
Mr. John Gilhart: That is what we have done.
Chairman Butrum: Just to address again why we are here today is define the phases and lets define the occupancy rates for when they can take place.
Mr. John Gilhart: I dont believe it is necessary; I believe it will take care of itself because when we go to ask for something else, we will have either the money to do it and / or the potential tenant to do it.
Chairman Butrum: Are you saying that if you got to 85% occupancy, would you still push back on some of those spaces; or 90%?
Mr. John Gilhart: No because we would have the money to do that.
Chairman Butrum: Right, so why wouldnt we define that?
Mr. John Gilhart: I dont know how to tie that.
Chairman Butrum: It seems straight forward to me. I understand you have priority one on the table today. I think when you first came in you presented a great over-all plan and we understood there needed to be some changes; you came and that was exciting.
Mr. John Gilhart: We did that for you.
Chairman Butrum: We are not trying to tie you to a time frame, we understand that does not make sense given the economic times; so lets tie to events well defined events. You tell us if it is three phases or whatever; what are those three phases and what is the tenancy of occupancy rates that we need.
Mr. John Gilhart: If we get halfway in this project and the whole economy collapses, nothing happens.
Mr. Rick Gilhart: I brought tenants, Old Navy, Borders to the Revitalization meeting and they are not here today; why, it didnt happen. Phase I didnt happen, Phase II didnt happen, Phase III didnt happen. (At this time Mr. Rick Gilhart read from the Springdale Revitalization Plan the description of project plans.) You have not lived up to your words. We have agreed to sit down and talk with Schottenstein and Casto Group, we know those folks; we want to have cross-openings.
Chairman Butrum: The Citys schedule was not a time-based schedule it was an event-based schedule. I cant speak for the City and I am not in a position to do that; when revenues are down there are some things that you cant do that you really want to do and my hunch is, and I am not in a position to make any financial obligations on behalf of the City, that the City will step up when events occur and when their revenue starts increasing. I was trying to say, lets define what it would take, not a date-schedule.
Mr. John Gilhart: We can give you an event schedule but it will be just like your Revitalization Plan. We can make it an event-based schedule. You are asking us to do something you cant do.
Mr. Rick Gilhart: How can we plan a cross-easement over to the Casto property when there is so much language in there about the Northland Connector coming through? What is says in here is the public role should occur before the private role kicks in. We have been around for sixty years and I dont know of another individual in Tri-County that has been around that long; we are not going anywhere, we are going to do things that are in the best interest of Tri-County, like my parents did.
Mr. Vanover: The Kemper Road improvements have been made and that is an ongoing thing; Kemper Road is a completely different animal than what it was five or ten years ago.
Mr. Rick Gilhart: If we do some of the things that you see in the concept plan, are you willing to put your money behind it? Because the banks wont let us borrow that much money to do that kind of stuff.
Mr. Vanover: I cant spend public money on private enterprise. I dont think there is a Council Member that is not committed to the Revitalization Plan, and we would not have spent the money to do it without the commitment. We said in the meetings that this was not going to be a walk out and flip the switch thing; we know the reality out there. We are every bit as committed to that as when we started the process.
Mr. John Gilhart: We are trying to get started on our plan.
Mr. Vanover: That is what we are asking, the staging and phasing.
Mr. Steve Galster: Everybody that is a business owner in this community has seen the transformation of this happen, if you look at Route 4 the revitalization of the
Route 4 Corridor that goes through the heart of this town you can see the changes that the City is trying to make. That plan started probably sixteen years ago.
The Tri-County Redevelopment Plan will take us twenty-three years to make that happen. The Southeast corner, there is a redevelopment that is happening and there is a streetscape that is beginning to be planned, there is an intersection that has been added between Tri-County Mall and Cassinelli Mall to improve access to both sites. There was a plan for revitalization for Tri-County Mall, unfortunately they didnt go as far as we had hoped that they would; in fact they did make some improvements to that center. All this stuff takes a lot of time to plan out; we cant just build a road, Northland Boulevard connector without having some cooperation with the property owners. We have a goal and we want to make sure we are moving toward that goal to the best of our ability. I have two issues; if in fact we are going to revitalize this Tri-County shopping area we need to start looking at facilitating the Northland Connector and we need to look at cross-access easement as a way to make that future development happen fifteen, twenty, thirty years from now. We need to have a commitment that you understand our vision. The other issue is the parking spots that back up into the main entryway. If it was up to me I would say eliminate all nine of those parking spots and if you cant get rid of all of them you can go parallel so that you alleviate my concern; Im going to look out for the safety of the motoring public in this community. I want a feel good, warm and fuzzy agreement to work on this cross-access agreement. I would approve it tonight, but I have those concerns. Does anybody else on this Board have any additional concerns, other than the cross-access agreement and the parking?
Mr. Okum: I have one concern in regards to the height of the new sign.
Mr. Darby: My immediate concern is that we get back to the agenda and deal with what is submitted.
Mayor Webster: I agree with 99.9% of what Mr. Galster said; what I do take exception with is the inference that the City hasnt followed through with the plans the fact is we havent. The fact is that we have a 20% to 25% run off on the Citys revenues. We are trying to provide Fire Protection, Police and not lay off City employees and do everything we can to keep the quality of life and the quality of service where it is. We do not have the money to go out and do some of the elaborate things that study called for. As Mr. Vanover said, we are just as firmly committed to doing it today as we were when that study was published. The error we made was probably not tying the improvements to our revenue levels. What I would like to do is suggest that we take the cross-easement issue off the table this evening and get back to just the plan and let the City, along with some representatives from Planning Commission, Mr. Tulloch and our City Administration, get the parties together and try to hammer out this cross-easement thing. I will be the first one to be standing here if we dont get the cooperation from these guys that we need to get this thing rolling and that is not to say that we are going to blame everything on them, but if they refuse to come to the table in a good frame of mind and agreeable to some considerations to make this thing happen. I will be the first one up here asking you to deny any approval of Phase II, anything beyond this; give them Phase I and we try to get the people together, as they have suggested that they would be willing to do and we will give a progress report when they come in here for Phase II.
Mr. Rick Gilhart: It was my intention to not slam the Revitalization Plan, but to rather show you folks our conceptual plan. Our problem is very similar to the Citys, we have the same exact problem.
Mr. Okum: I agree with you, Mayor, I think Phase II will certainly address it. These are business operators here that have been listening to this for the past two hours. The Springdale Tri-County Revitalization Plan was adopted just over a year ago and it is a little early for a plan to be implemented. We had a plan from Princeton Plaza that was submitted to us that looked very favorable to redevelopment; that is what you want to see from a developer and they did exactly what you are supposed to do, they just didnt give us a time table for it. Along with that gave them 100% increase in signage, it was significant. At this point I agree with the Mayor, back off the cross-access for tonight, but I want you to understand that when Schottenstein comes back to us or Casto and they want to redevelop we are not going to have the leverage because they are going to say to us that Princeton Plaza put it off the table and you cant get cross-access into our sites either; we wont have any leverage to get them to come to the table for the cross-access. As long as I serve the City I wont back down on cross-access; you understand that I serve on the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission and I represent 37 municipalities and jurisdictions within the Hamilton County area and out of those the townships all make submissions to the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission and out of those about 80% of them insist on cross-access between developments it is a good Planning practice.
(At this time, Mr. Wocher and Mr. Shvegzda read their Staff comments.)
Mr. Bauer: My question is concerning the electronic signs and why you cant meet some of the things we have proposed in our Code? I sat on that Code Committee and if it is not going to work I would like to know what does work.
Mr. John Gilhart: I read the Code and I believe the one that is going to be approved doesnt really address the combination of LED with a primary message board.
Mr. Bauer: I think the original intention was, with the electronic message board we would eliminate a lot of the need for the panel type signs. The 70 s.f. maximum for the electronic sign area, is that something that cant be obtained?
Mr. John Gilhart: Seventy square foot for that kind of development I find inadequate for that length of frontage; I can see it for a smaller development. We tried to put something out there that will be adequate, proportionate and meet the needs of the shopping center rather than being too small.
Mr. McErlane: In correction to my comments, 75 s.f. is the maximum sign.
Mr. Bauer: That apparatus on top of the sign, the I beam, does that add into the square footage of sign?
Mr. McErlane: It is taken from the top of the Town Center part of it.
Mr. John Gilhart: The 354 is to the very top of that. The purpose of the top is to tie into the overall concept plan.
Mr. Okum: I do not have an issue with the 98 s.f. versus the 75 s.f. considering the mass and the amount of property that we are representing with the site. The beam across the top breaks it up; I think that this is an ornament that needs to go on this box. Mr. McErlane has identified the number of signs is still the same, the height 4511 is 35 above roadway or 30 to the sign element. The sign area that is permitted is 360 s.f.; 100 s.f. would not be plausible in this PUD application. As far as the electronic message center 98 s.f. versus 75 s.f. is not a significant increase considering the mass. The percentage in this particular case is less than the percentage of the maximum sign allowed.
My personal feeling is Staff has recommended removal of the parking spaces, I encourage removal since the day we started talking about this project; if you want to go to parallel parking that is fine with me it is either removal or go to parallel.
Chairman Butrum: As far as the dumpster enclosure, are you opposed to using materials that the City approves?
Mr. John Gilhart: We have no problem putting in pretty much anything you want, it is all aluminum now but we want maintenance free and we want it to blend. I would recommend that you build or put in the code that you have front gates where the pins are on the inside and a side access door. It keeps people from coming by and dumping.
Mrs. Ghantous: Would you consider making it a darker color?
Mr. John Gilhart: Sure.
Mr. Dennis Kurloz: I am with Red Squirrel. It is great to have a business in Springdale, we have been here twenty years, we have Red Squirrel and we have Skylines we own property and we lease property and I love the passion here. I especially appreciate what the Gilharts have done for us; these guys are there working and they care about their business and they care about their tenants. It is only a paint job and signage but is anybody else in here wanting to put money into their property? I dont see anybody else. We are surviving because of what these guys have done for us and also what you guys have done for us; we appreciate it.
Mr. Okum: I make a motion that we approve Princeton Plaza redevelopment 2009001-019 Phase I: Item 1, the paint scheme (pages 1-9), Item 3, the waste container enclosure (pages 10-13), Items 4, removal of parking spaces (pages 14-16), First Watch pole sign (pages 17-20) and primary sign (pages 21-25) as submitted by the applicant. This motion includes Staffs recommendations to City Engineer and our City Planner and their considerations with the following exceptions: parking in the front side of Skeffingtons will be modified to parallel parking and or removed. Item 6 shall not be considered at this Phase only and Item 2 of the Engineers recommendations will not be considered at this Phase. Dumpster enclosure shall be reviewed by Staff for approval. Digital signs shall conform to the recently approved sign regulations with the exception of total square foot of 98 s.f. Cross-access, as recommended, will not be considered as part of Phase I.
Mr. John Gilhart: For clarification; are you requiring us to remove the 4 ½ spaces and then the remaining ones put two or three parallel?
Mr. Okum: The recommendation was that all spaces be removed and it was also suggested parallel so that you could accommodate three to four cars.
Mr. Shvegzda: I would like to reflect that same comment that Staff would have to look at it because we dont know how that is going to be reconfigured there.
Mr. John Gilhart: We may have a problem with the lease restriction there, as far as parking.
Mr. Bob Gilhart: It is more dangerous to have those four parallel spaces there; remember the old days when we all had to learn how to back in and pull out of a parking space? We designed the Northwest quadrant, we designed the Northland Boulevard coming through, the City didnt do it, we did it and we submitted to our friend, Cecil Osborn. On the parking spaces, until we do the mutual access between two shopping centers or put the Northland Boulevard through, it is only the first three or four spaces that they are doing as a courtesy to people at the intersection to protect them; the angled parking is safer to back out than parallel parking, so please dont tell them to do something that is worse.
Mr. Steve Galster: It is definitely a safety issue; it is basically a main access point.
Mr. Richard Bauer polled the Planning Commission Members and with a unanimous aye vote the request for Phase I redevelopment for Princeton Plaza,
11711 Princeton Pike, was approved with conditions.
VI. NEW BUSINESS
A. Chairman Tony Butrum: The first item of New Business is Façade paint at the Outback Steak House, 11790 Springfield Pike.
(The applicant and/ or representative for Outback was not present to present the request.)
Mr. Steve Galster made a motion to table the request, Mr. Vanover seconded the motion and with a unanimous vote the request was tabled.
B. Chairman Tony Butrum: The next item of New Business is a Wall Sign, Hoxworth Blood Center / University of Cincinnati at 11812 Springfield Pike.
Mr. Jeff Cline: I am the owner of Fast Signs in Central Cincinnati and I am the contractor for Hoxworth Blood Centers; there are eight in the Greater Cincinnati area. Hoxworth has before you a request for a variance for a re-branding effort that they are undertaking at the Tri-County location in addition to one other location because of the requirements by their landlords that they purchase channel letters; channel letters are much more expensive than a cabinet. They are under new guidelines that are dictated by the University of Cincinnati and their affiliation with them and U.C.s branding department has required of them a more prominent visibility in the signage of Hoxworth Blood Centers. In that effort they have changed their whole look and they are focusing more on the neighborhood donor center element of their signage as opposed to the huge Hoxworth Blood Center name. The design that you see before you was the one that was approved and was designed by University of Cincinnati to meet their requirements. Our request for work is to remove the existing signage and replace it with the signage that is before you now.
(At this time Mr. McErlane read his Staff comments.)
Chairman Butrum: Just to clarify; normally I would approve or not approve sign requests, but my concern was the thought when does a logo become a sign? I wanted to at least get comments on the record and get other peoples opinions as opposed to the typical sign request which generally is approved ten minutes after I receive it.
Mr. Galster: If you look at all the other tenants in the development, the box signs are used as secondary to the letter signs, or secondary in the fact that they are a smaller part that contains a graphic or a logo. Everybody has a secondary box sign, or if they have box signs this is secondary in nature and this Hoxworth is a huge box and it is their main sign, the letters become a secondary and it is a reversal of that. When I look at it, it looks out of place. I understand the desire to get the U.C. branding in there and maybe the U.C. can be in a case but still have the Hoxworth as channel letters; I dont think it meets the intent, it is totally different than what we see on the site now and to me it looks out of place.
Mr. Okum: I have to agree. I would like to be accommodating to what Hoxworth wants to do by branding but unfortunately I tend to agree with the Chairman and certainly with Mr. Galster. If you take 45 letters of text, and I am not going to say what that text says, because content is not for us to discuss; it is text, that is a pretty big message that you are fitting in. What is the resolution in the other community, because the other community requires channel?
Mr. Cline: That has been approved. It is laid out a little differently because of the design of the building and you dont have a gable to deal with as the other location.
Mr. Okum: I think that effects us and it does look really out of place, it is lost there. I wouldnt want to encourage it to be bigger. I probably wouldnt have a problem with Blood Center, University of Cincinnati being in a box underneath; Neighborhood Donor Center and Hoxworth being individually, and based on Mr. McErlanes report allowable sign area for the space is 112 s.f., you are requesting 73.3. I would encourage more signage and meet more of the Code. If they want to get their name out there take advantage of the square footage that is allowed.
I will not be supporting it.
Mr. Galster: Even reusing the Hoxworth Blood Center with channel letters now, with the Neighborhood Donor Center as new channel letters and then put a little panel like you have existing, instead of saying Neighborhood Donor Center, say University of Cincinnati or whatever; I am willing to give you more signs three lines of signs but I think that the main body of this sign still needs to stick with the channel letter and then any accessory message I dont have a problem with it being boxed in similar to what other users have done there.
Mr. Cline: It will go back to U.C. for their branding people to take a look at it and come up with they deem to be acceptable for them and then negotiate with Hoxworth as to what is acceptable financially.
Mr. Galster: I really think that it is out of place and doesnt fit the center and I am open to additional signage and utilize that space better, but I still think the box needs to be the secondary and not the main.
Mr. Darby: I really appreciate the work that your client does, but I have to agree with the comments that have preceded me and in terms of what they are trying to do, I think that the Hoxworth Donor Center or the University of Cincinnati as a stand-alone would have more of an impact.
Chairman Butrum: We can certainly put it up for a vote, if you wish, or you can withdraw it?
Mr. Cline: I will go ahead and withdraw it and take my story back.
Mr. Steve Galster: I make a motion to table the request for Hoxworth / University of Cincinnati.
Mr. Darby seconded the motion and with a unanimous aye vote the request was tabled.
A. Chairman Butrum: We will move on to the discussion about the length of time of meetings.
Mr. Steve Galster: I make a motion that we put this off until our next meeting which hopefully allows more time to have discussion about time.
B. Mrs. Ghantous: I have a question: If a business owner has their logo on their vehicle, is that a sign?
Chairman Butrum: Yes.
Mr. Galster: In general we discourage that, but given the tough times out there we have not enforced it as much as we usually do.
Mrs. Ghantous: Wouldnt that be like what we are doing with the banners; shouldnt that fall in that same thought?
Mr. Galster: You are allowed to have graphics on your vehicle, what you are not allowed to do is you are not allowed to put graphics on your vehicle and park it in front of your business and use it as a temporary sign.
Mrs. Ghantous: Like you said, we are in these economic times and we have made these allowances for banners and some different things to increase business; my thought was, what is the difference between that and somebody parking their vehicle?
Mr. Galster: Vehicles that are tastefully done, and I will use Ninas Florist as an example, their delivery vehicle is parked out front and he uses it for the business and it is not offensive.
Mr. McErlane: It is the same thing that we do with any other vehicles that have signs, you cant park them out by the road, they have to be parked in a loading area or in the case that there is no loading area then close to the building.
Mrs. Ghantous: Why would we allow a banner and not allow someone to park their SUV out that has a nice tasteful, professionally done logo.
Mr. McErlane: We can have two banners in a shopping center.
Mr. Galster moved to adjourn; Mr. Vanover seconded and with a unanimous aye vote from the Planning Commission Members present, the meeting adjourned at 11:04 p.m.
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Chairman Tony Butrum
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Richard Bauer, Secretary