SPECIAL PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

TUESDAY, APRIL 15, 2003

5:00 P.M.

  1. CALL MEETING TO ORDER
  2. The meeting was called to order at 5:07 p.m. by Chairman William G. Syfert.

  3. ROLL CALL
  4. Members Present: Chairman Syfert, Tom Vanover, Dave Okum,

    Richard Huddleston, Steve Galster, and Bob

    Sherry

    Members Absent: Robert Coleman (arrived at 5:10 p.m.)

    Others Present: Cecil Osborn, City Administrator

    Beth Stiles, Economic Development Director

    Bill McErlane, Building Official

    Don Shvegzda, Asst. City Engineer

    Anne McBride, City Planner

  5. DISCUSSION
    1. Bear Creek Capital’s Request for Reconsideration of Development Plan Approval for Proposed CVS Pharmacy, 11601 Springfield Pike (Access Issues)

Mr. Okum asked if we need a motion to reconsider, and Mr. Galster responded that we should make a motion to modify the PUD approval.

Mr. McErlane said I would suggest that we should know what the applicant is specifically asking or before we make a motion to approve it.

Mr. Osborn said I do apologize for having to encourage this special meeting. When I talked to the applicant the next day and found out what happened, I felt that we as staff had failed to provide appropriate information for you to make a truly valid decision. There was some information lacking in the meeting that is substantive.

Secondly I felt that under the circumstances, we left the applicant sort of hanging out there in the wind to try to defend something that we as staff were responsible for.

The specific issue is the location of this east in only driveway at this location. That came about as the result of pretty extensive review and negotiations between the staff and the applicant over a 30 to 60 day period prior to the presentation last Tuesday night.

As part of that process, we looked at many alternatives for accessing this site. We had asked the applicant to consider moving this driveway closer in to Pear Street so we would have a little proximity to the opposing street. When Don ran the numbers on that, it appeared that it wouldn’t work because it affected the stacking capacity for the southbound and eastbound movement at this intersection.

 

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RECONSIDERATION OF DEVELOPMENT PLAN APPROVAL–CVS PHARMACY

Mr. Osborn added that we then asked the consultant to move the driveway back up here and we feel it is the best location.

However looked at this driveway location and the circulation on the site. Without this right in only, this entrance here would be the only access point off Kemper Road onto the site. Our concern was that when the traffic entering this site from the north gets to the property itself, it either has to face oncoming traffic that is queuing up and going around to the drive through, or it has to circulate all the way around the building to get to the parking field.

So, we looked at the alternatives, and went back and revisited the right turn in and right turn out here. The critical movement that we eliminated was the right turn out. That is the one that would have an impact on traffic. Mr. Shvegzda did not feel that a right turn in would have an impact on the traffic. It was the exiting of the traffic at that location that was critical.

It made sense to reintroduce this. As part of that process, we indicated to the applicant that in exchange for giving them the right turn in back on the site, we wanted them to come over to the Kemper Road access point opposite Van Arsdale. As a means of controlling the ingress/egress of this site, as well as access to Van Arsdale, we have asked them to widen Kemper Road by three or four feet in this area and construct a concrete median barrier in Kemper Road that would create a structure that would not permit left turns in or out.

Based on their commitment to modify their improvements to include this, and given the fact that we had already established that we were concerned about the circulation of this site, and the benign nature of the in only, we felt this was a reasonable resolve of the situation with access.

Regrettably when this topic came up for discussion at the last meeting, we did not respond to some of the comments from Planning Commission to explain what had happened over the last six weeks.

It is my understanding that at the preliminary plan level the negotiations had been that if we give you this, you will eliminate this right turn in and right turn out, which was how it was at that time. That was true, but as we evolved in looking at access issues, we felt this was for the best solution for all parties.

This wasn’t a matter of the developer trying to press an effort to modify the site. In fact it was something we had worked on as a staff with the developer and we thought that we came up with what we felt would be a reasonable means of controlling access to the site.

Mr. Shvegzda said we know that the north access point is critical. Addressing the applicant, he said the southern access drive is important to you specifically because of conflicting traffic, and also because it is the most direct access point to the major parking field.

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RECONSIDERATION OF DEVELOPMENT PLAN APPROVAL–CVS PHARMACY

Mr. Okum asked how many cars could stack in the right hand lane queuing to the red light on southbound Route 4? What is the stacking distance for vehicles? Would that driveway interfere with access or cause a problem for people trying to get into that entrance?

Mr. Shvegzda said the question is would the stacking on Route 4 interfere with people trying to access that drive? Mr. Okum said how many cars could stack from the stop bar back to that access point?

Mr. Shvegzda responded that it is four vehicles before you get into the blocking of the actual entrance to the driveway.

Mr. Osborn commented I don’t see that as critical, because this queuing up will not be successful until the light changes and as people move up, can make that right turn in only.

Let me point out that this right turn in only is in front of the intersection. It doesn’t impede traffic in the intersection. On the other side of the street for UDF we have a right in only immediately after you pass through the intersection. That to me is far more critical in terms of impact on the main line, particularly the intersection. If a queuing would develop on the UDF site, it could block one of our through lanes and tie up the intersection. In this case, the right turn in occurs before the intersection.

Mr. Okum wondered if the lane is maintained as a right in only lane now, or will that be a right in straight. Mr. Osborn answered that it is straight and right turn.

Mr. Galster said if that access isn’t there and people miss it, they will continue to stack up in that lane anyway. They will stack up in that lane to turn right to get to the next entrance to access the site. So, the right turn in if anything will actually alleviate the stacking up in that far right lane on southbound Route 4.

Mr. Coleman asked how it impacts the traffic that is turning in where Smyth automotive is? Mr. Osborn answered that I don’t think it would have any greater impact than what Steve just mentioned. This is the right turn and through lane, and without this driveway, that will put more people through the intersection. I think there would be less impact on this location with this right turn in only. The circumstances probably would be a little more severe if there wasn’t this relief to siphon off some of the traffic

Mr. Coleman said as the cars would turn in to go into Smyth and they have already braked, that in itself would cause traffic behind them to start braking.

Mr. Vanover said on the drawing, the northern radius projects back into a hard curb, and wouldn’t we be impeding the flow onto the neighboring property?

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RECONSIDERATION OF DEVELOPMENT PLAN APPROVAL–CVS PHARMACY

Mr. Osborn answered that the Smyth site has a curb cut here in the middle and then at the far-left (northern) corner so it won’t conflict with the existing curb cuts.

Mr. Galster wondered if Mr. Vanover was concerned that the actual radius of the curve and the entrance actually enters the property line of the other property. Mr. Vanover indicated that he was, adding that he wondered if that would impede the movement out.

Mr. Osborn responded that it is not on the other party’s property. It is in the right of way in front of the other party’s property. There is space between that point and the center entrance to Smyth.

Mr. Okum said Council approved this on October 2, 2002, and according to the PUD, that driveway was to be eliminated. I understand your position, Mr. Osborn.

If the decision this evening is to reinstate the right in only, would we send it on to Council for their final approval? Mr. Osborn answered that the decision is made by the two members of Council who are on the Planning Commission, whether or not it is a substantial deviation.

Mr. Osborn added that the reason why we requested this meeting tonight is I had first suggested to the applicant that we should take this issue back to Planning at your May meeting. He advised me that he has a threshold date that would prohibit him prolonging this decision making process on the part of CVS. As a result, we are having this special meeting, and there is time sensitivity here and we are getting down to the wire.

If you look at the overall site, think about where we started and the complexity of the site. It has been a very difficult site and a great deal of compromise has been shown by both the City and the developer to try to get where we are.

My role here tonight is just to try to explain to you what we had done, and hopefully encourage you to appreciate why we feel that the right in only is necessary and although deviates from the preliminary plan, we are a lot further into the site review and details of engineering than we were then.

Mr. McErlane said to clarify on that particular condition, it was not a specific condition of Planning Commission. Where it occurred was in the city engineer’s comments on covenant recommendations, and his staff comments were made a condition of the approval.

 

 

 

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RECONSIDERATION OF DEVELOPMENT PLAN APPROVAL–CVS PHARMACY

Mr. Galster said when the applicant brought this before Council, the presentation was not to consider the north drive, because that wasn’t part of what was being considered at the time. So, what Council looked at was a right in and a right out when they approved this plan. I don’t consider this a major change, but what City Council looked at had nothing to do with the north access drive. It had a right in and a right out south of the Smyth property. That was all. There was no consideration whatsoever for the access drive.

Mr. Vanover said I would just add that we made the applicant back up in the Council presentation, because what they originally posted was no what Planning had approved. We made them go back to the plan that Planning had reviewed and approved, and that north entrance was not included. I would concur with Mr. Galster that this is not a significant change to refer back to Council.

Mr. Syfert commented it appears to me that this is kind of a relief valve that would help more than hinder, and I don’t see it as being detrimental at all to the project. I see it as beneficial.

Mr. Coleman asked how the proposed access would impact on the Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Osborn answered I don’t think it would specifically impact on the Comprehensive Plan. It would be more related to our Thoroughfare Plan. Certainly I don’t believe hardly any driveways you would find at intersections on Springfield Pike and Kemper Road would necessarily comply with the Thoroughfare Plan. If we had a clean slate to work from, you would see different access points. We really don’t have that because we can’t penalize this property owner because of the location of adjacent curb cuts and so on. It is very hard to make a site like this conform to a Thoroughfare Plan when retrofitting a project onto an existing location.

Also, the existing location has curb cuts. In this process, we tried to whittle the number of these curb cuts down, and I think this has been accomplished. It is not consistent with the standards of the Thoroughfare Plan, but I think we have made an improvement in terms of controlling access.

Mr. Coleman commented in looking at the Comprehensive Plan and the aesthetics of it all, there has been significant effort put into this.

Mr. Osborn said overall this is a very good improvement on Springfield Pike. It addresses some of our efforts to try to clean up some of the blighted areas. Certainly there is no question that the northwest corner of that intersection is an eyesore and has been. I can tell you without reservation that I get more calls on that property than any other property in the city.

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RECONSIDERATION OF DEVELOPMENT PLAN APPROVAL–CVS PHARMACY

Mr. Osborn added that I think it is also critical because we want to get UDF across the street, and have these two serve as pathfinders for new development that we hope to see happen in this area.

Mr. Huddleston apologized to the staff and the applicant, adding that he had not known that we needed to react to what was an agreement that had been worked out. Having said that, we modified the signage. Was there any agreement between staff and the applicant as to what the proposed signage should be?

Mr. Osborn answered no. I considered the signage package approved by Planning as set. Just prior to the start of the meeting, the applicant did indicate that CVS has a request with the city to modify that sign package. I expressed to them that I felt that they had a sign package in place that we agreed to but if they wanted to make a pitch to you on that, Planning Commission could make a decision this evening. As far as I am concerned, we have the sign package in place.

Steve Kelley of Bear Creek Capital said thank you for attending this meeting. As far as what Cecil has said, it has been a long process working with staff and going back and forth. I apologize to Planning Commission if we were not clear on some of the things that we have been working on for the last couple of months.

We do hope that the right in only with its sweeping motion will make it a little bit easier to maneuver in this intersection at Smyth or this other intersection, and we do think that the distribution of traffic is a good thing.

In terms of Bill’s comment on what we are requesting, I do believe we have our Final PUD approval, and we would respectfully request that this be considered as a minor modification to that approval.

On this sign, this is something that Bill had brought up to us. We had gone through various rounds of signage, trying to have a detail of what our M-50 sign is. The signage approval that we received was that a monument sign would be placed at the full access and it would be of a sign like that at the other entrance. Before we had the CVS sign with a tenant below, we brought it down to seven feet with a brick base. That is what we wish to build.

What we have done in the past, and certainly would be willing to do is develop final plans with staff members and the Planning Commission would be welcomes to take a look at them as they are put together to make sure that they comply with the conditions.

Mr. Galster said my understanding is that this is what has been approved, right? Mr. Kelley confirmed this.

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RECONSIDERATION OF DEVELOPMENT PLAN APPROVAL–CVS PHARMACY

Mr. McErlane said to clarify, I was looking for an exhibit to give to the Board of Zoning Appeals and found that in an older package. I faxed it to Mr. Kelley asking if that was what he wanted to go with for the Board of Zoning Appeals and I never heard back. So, it is in the Board of Zoning Appeals packet, and I assume that is what you want to go with. Mr. Kelley said it is our standard sign with a brick base.

I think there is a question on this sign in terms of the code and what may or may not be permitted by Planning Commission and I would like for Mike Floyd to present it to you and get some feed back from Planning Commission.

Mike Floyd reported that CVS is incorporating new technology with most of their new sites. We do not want to increase the approved square footage, but we would like to take a significant portion of that M-50 and make it a reader board, with CVS Pharmacy across the top and the lower portion an electronic message center. We want to get your feeling on that and see if that is something that you can consider.

Mr. Okum said on the message board, moving signs are not permitted in Springdale, to quickly answer that question.

In regards to the M-50 sign, my comment in Planning Commission was that we don’t approve sign content, as long as it is not lewd or inappropriate. CVS could be smaller or bigger or whatever. You have that amount of space on a monument sign to promote your business. Conceptually we understand that the M-50 monument sign was what you wanted to put there, and that is why I referenced it in the motion. Mr. Syfert said so we are talking about two M-50s.

Ms. McBride reported that I think that the Board of Zoning Appeals needs to look at whether or not that sign is to have additional tenant signage or not, and whether or not that is to count as one of the signs for the Bing’s property. That does need to be discussed by the Board this evening.

Mr. Osborn said I am not sure that we got a clarification on the reader sign. You have said that moving letters are prohibited, and I told them the same thing. They are talking about a sign that would have programmable messages where you could have static message and change it every week or every day or whenever they wanted to change the message.

Ms. McBride commented that most of these signs rotate.

Mr. Floyd responded that we have been told that it is a new corporate push. They want to have this in as many sites as possible, and what we have been told is that on the text side that it is possible that they can program the message integral so it suits the community and gets their message across. That is the information that I have.

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RECONSIDERATION OF DEVELOPMENT PLAN APPROVAL–CVS PHARMACY

Mr. Floyd added we would appreciate it if Planning Commission would give their approval. If not, I understand that this is the last minute and I understand it is not the best approach that we would have wanted, but it is something that was just put on my desk to at least ask you what your feeling was on that.

Mr. Okum said some of us can remember when Tri-County Mall renovated and expanded, and one of the issues is this exact issue, with a changeable sign for identification and ongoing activities at the mall. The fact that the sign was changing information, whether it be one minute apart or 30 seconds apart or an hour apart, it was still a changing message. Once you start, everybody and their brother will want the same thing, and what is the interval that quantifies it as not a changing message or moving sign? I think it was the interpretation that staff gave us long ago, but in my mind, I don’t think it changes. I don’t have a problem with letters placed on your sign, "Pepsi 69 cents" as long as it is within the allowed square footage. Mr. Floyd said so the electronic version of that sign would not be allowed either. Mr. Okum confirmed this. Mr. Floyd said some jurisdictions will limit it to x number of seconds or x number of minutes.

Mr. Galster said for additional information, the city actually looked at a similar type sign over here. It was not a moving sign but every day you could put a different message up there.

Mr. Vanover asked what the Corridor District dictates on this subject. Ms. McBride answered that it does not specifically address that. When the Corridor District was written and even when the Code was recently updated, this wasn’t a thought. However, I don’t think that moving signs go to the intent of the Corridor District. Mr. Syfert agreed.

Mr. Huddleston said I think that the moving sign, especially if it were something with moving letters would go beyond anything that I would want to consider because of the traffic hazard. Because of technology, whether it is primitive and you change a letter manually, I wouldn’t have a problem with changing the letters if it was not done more often than once a day.

It sounds like something that we will have to consider in the future Code updates.

Mr. Galster moved to modify the approved PUD to allow the right turn in only off State Route 4. This change to the PUD will also affect the condition of moving the parking and adding additional greenspace on Kemper Road when that was originally being eliminated

Mr. Okum seconded the motion.

 

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RECONSIDERATION OF DEVELOPMENT PLAN APPROVAL–CVS PHARMACY

Mr. Okum said there has been reference to a directional sign that would be needed for that driveway and I believe that staff’s recommendation was to put a brick base around those directional signs. I think we would want to include that here for that purpose. It was in Ms. McBride’s comments and recommendations, but since it would need to be added back to this entrance, it would need to be there.

Mr. Galster modified his motion to include these comments, and Mr. Okum seconded the motion.

Mr. Sherry wondered if the directional sign would be lit like the others, and Mr. Floyd answered that none of their directional signs are illuminated.

All members voted aye on the amended motion, and the development plan was modified as requested.

  1. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Syfert thanked everyone for being available or this special meeting, and Planning Commission adjourned at 5:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

_________________2003 ______________________

William G. Syfert, Chairman

 

_________________2003 _______________________

Robert Sherry, Secretary