PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
10 JULY 2007
7:00 P.M.


I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman William G. Syfert.

II. ROLL CALL

Members Present:        Tony Butrum, Bob Diehl, Steve Galster,
David Okum, Lawrence Hawkins III and Chairman Syfert

Members Absent:        Tom Vanover

Others Present:        Jeff Tulloch, Economic Development Director
                Bill McErlane, Building Official
                Don Shvegzda, City Engineer
                Anne McBride, City Planner

Mr. Syfert said Mr. Vanover had a work item come up and he may or may not be here this evening. For the applicants’ information, a vote of five is needed for any approval.

III. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 12 JUNE 2007

Mr. Butrum moved to approve and Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present except Mr. Galster who abstained, voted aye and the minutes were approved with five affirmative votes.

IV. CORRESPONDENCE

A. Report on Council

Mr. Galster said Council is considering changing the code that would address the maximum occupancy of a residential building. The existing code bases it on bedroom size and we are looking at two things. One would be the bedroom square footage and the other would be the overall square footage of the home and limiting the number of adults based on the smaller of those two numbers. There is also some consideration of a license to be a landlord so the city has the ability to go in and inspect and get the measurements.
B. Zoning Bulletin – June 1, 2007
C. Zoning Bulletin – June 15, 2007
D. Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes – 5/15/07
E. Memorandum – Legal Opinion re Standards for Variances

V. OLD BUSINESS

VI. NEW BUSINESS

A. Approval of Final Development Plan, The Offices at Glenview, 250 West Sharon Road

Bobbie Reese Stringfellow of Canfield Properties introduced Rob Canfield, Dr. Michael Todd and Ashley Todd and Lee Ward of McGill Smith Punshon and Julie Durbin President of Durbin Landscaping.
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VI A THE OFFICES AT GLENVIEW, 250 WEST SHARON ROAD

Ms. Stringfellow continued since Planning and Council approved our preliminary development plan, we have made some revisions. When we deleted the Springfield Pike parcels that we previously had under contract, the building had to be repositioned a little closer to Sharon Road and to our western property line.

We have had meetings with Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority about tying into their storm sewer system for our runoff. We are making good progress with them and we think we will be able to accomplish a drainage easement with them.

Ashley and Michael Todd have made great efforts in marketing the development to medical users and other professionals. We have some people interested and we hope to get this project out of the ground soon.

Lee Ward said I will try to summarize the essence of our position on this plan. First of all we are very pleased with the work on the engineering aspects with CDS. Almost all of the issues can be complied with. There are some technical issues we will have to file with the final construction plans, but we are very close to satisfying and agreeing with every aspect of their comments.

The adjacent property that had access on the original plan toward Route 4 was eliminated, and we were not able to work with the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority to coordinate a full access point with them, and it wasn’t feasible to acquire that property. There had been a retaining wall on that site that would allow us to have the proposed 18,000 square foot office building rather close to that pinch point.

Because we cannot build that retaining wall, the building had to be moved southwesterly, a little closer to Sharon and the west property line. Because of that, the setbacks are 10 feet on the side yard and 76 feet on the front yard. We hope you will accept that change, and we will comply with as many other options as we can.

On the development plan we have submitted a written agreement illustrating that a coordinated access easement would be provided to the west property line if that property is ever developed in the future. This is an unusual building because it has rear entry clients and it is very important for us to have two points of access, one for safety and because of the need to get to the back of the building, the west curb cut is important. Also, we did not design it to have it dead end in the rear parking lot. The reality is we couldn’t get that access coordinated to Route 4.

So it is a preferable issue to have two points of access for this type of office. Comparing it to other office buildings, none of the other office buildings that we have seen in this area have a rear entry relationship. Also we had to move the building to the center of the lot because of the sanitary sewer location. We had to stay three feet off the easement for the sanitary sewer. So we would prefer to have access, but that is not the reality.


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VI A THE OFFICES AT GLENVIEW, 250 WEST SHARON ROAD

Mr. Ward said the preliminary plan was submitted indicating a different net square footage. That is because we thought we had to have stairwells and hallways to provide the access between the two floors. The final design has eliminated that, and the total square footage is 17,250. So the requirement is 91 parking spaces, and we have 96 and would like to maintain that number. We will comply with all the lighting requirements.

We are taking out 30 existing trees and preserving 10 trees and planting 62 new trees. Frankly it is unacceptable for us to provide an additional 161.5 caliper inches of new trees. It is not feasible or practical on that site, and this is the best we can achieve on that site. If you look at the dentist’s office on West Kemper Road, there is substantially less landscaping than what we are proposing.

Mr. McErlane states that we need to be in compliance with the MSD requirements, and we can do that. Because of the sanitary sewer line that is the best location we can achieve with the setbacks in the side yard and the front yard.

The last comment asked the retaining wall material quality and color, and we are recommending the Canyon. It is a modular stone system that would be constructed as retaining walls along the west property line and in the north detention facility. (Ms. Stringfellow gave the chairman the information). That color is intended to match the stone and natural colors of the brick and stone on the building.

Mr. McErlane states that we need 161.5 additional caliper inches of new trees, and we just can’t. That is unacceptable for our site plan and we can’t achieve that. The building has to be visible from West Sharon Road. There is a nine-foot change in grade from the road to the building elevation.

Ms. McBride comments on the curb cut and the fact that we have a dead end parking lot in the rear. That wasn’t by design; that is reality and we can’t design it any other way in the rear of the building, and we do need two points of access on the front. The curb cuts in those locations have good sight distance and we would provide the grade to the satisfaction of the engineers and with the development to the west, we would provide coordinated access. The comment that this is what we had designed for the rear of the building is not correct; it is what we had to do. We would rather have had circulation and we need to have circulation in the front for safety reasons so it is really important to us to have two curb cuts.

We hope you will find the 79 foot front yard setback acceptable. We understood that the west property was rezoned for transitional development and we understood that the 10 foot side yard setback would be acceptable and we ask that you approve this.

We would like to have as many parking spaces as possible because some of the tenants would be medical.




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VI A THE OFFICES AT GLENVIEW, 250 WEST SHARON ROAD

Mr. Ward added we agree that the waste enclosure should be moved to the west to give that a little more space and we also would install wood front door steel reinforced with color material in the wood that would match the plank proposed on the exterior of the building.

On the mechanical equipment, I think there is a little misunderstanding that on the northwest corner, there is a lower retaining wall area where the mechanical equipment will be located. So the Spring Grove arbor vitae will provide very sufficient screening from both the northwest and northeast corners of the rear of the building. There are no violet boxwoods screening the mechanical equipment.

We agree that the enclosure of the northern detention basin should not be complete, and we will be able to grade that out naturally so that the capacity of the detention pond will not be reduced. We also will change that from a gravel surface to grass and still maintain the security fence four foot high with four inch separation of spindles. The detail of that will be provided in the final construction plans.

We feel that the three parking spaces on the east side of the front parking space are very important. They would be employee parking only and the separation between West Sharon Road and those parking stalls is very sufficient and will not create a conflict since they will be used by employees.

On the landscaping we would agree to change from the Autumn Purple Ash to the Zelkova tree. We would propose to change the washed gravel at the north end of the parking lot to include dirt and mulch to sustain the planting along the retaining wall.

It is a template wide buffering area and the trees are packed in there and the grass won’t grow well because of the tree coverage and the buildings on either side. We would find it more appropriate to add a shade tolerant ground cover along with the mulch. Because the site will be irrigated, all of those facilities will be well maintained and can survive.

We agree to add perennial flowers around the ground sign. The locust is a hardy tree. It would be pruned as part of the construction activity and should survive because we are irrigating the site.

The slope and the retaining wall on the west property line is of sufficient height that it will block the lights of cars parking along that line and we should not have to add shrubs in that area. Shrubs on the Sharon Road side will block the lights and we agree with that but not on the west property line.

We changed the grade so someone could walk in and maintain that north detention facility and it will not change the capacity of the storm water detention.


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VI A THE OFFICES AT GLENVIEW, 250 WEST SHARON ROAD

Mr. Ward added our horticulturist will explain that the survival rate of a smaller six-foot evergreen is greater than a 10-foot evergreen so we are still asking to be approved for six-foot evergreens.

The condition in 5 E concerning the size of the plantings we find unacceptable. The change in elevation is nine feet from West Sharon Road to the building. The separation between the parking lot and the grade down to Sharon Road would not allow for an earthen mound. We are screening the lights with the shrubs at an interval of almost two-foot separation, so they are not parallel. They are offset to provide even greater screening.

We think the building needs visibility for all reasons and the landscaping plan that she has proposed should be accepted. The statement that shrubs should b planted 3 feet on center along parking areas are planted two-foot on center and offset so they provide even better screening on West Sharon Road.

The real issue is that the Canfields have worked very hard to unify an aesthetic plan. They are not a national business development interest and these issues of compliance will push them beyond the threshold of capability if there isn’t some ability to reduce the planting scheme. That is the main issue, that they cannot justify that much planting at this site.

On the engineering comments, the retaining walls are less than four feet high and typically they do not require geotechnical analysis. If there is some problem, we would work with CDS to verify that but they should be substantially satisfactory to the city.

The surface runoff is less than the current flow and our storm water detention will not add any new volume to the design that Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority has implemented. We are not addling any problem to their system; in fact, we are reducing that flow.

We do recognize that CDS has requested that the sizing be increased so that the storm water on the northeast corner of the parking lot would not jump that curb and go into the street. We would size that storm water pipe to be sufficient to carry the water to the detention, and we will be able to comply with that.

I think this is a very appropriate solution that we have proposed. I hope you will find it acceptable.

Julie Durbin said my original thought was how we could get 300 caliper inches of trees back there, since this site is only a little over an acre and we don’t have that much green space to deal with. Most of the beds, especially on the west side, are 10 feet wide. Your requirement is for 3 ½ caliper inch trees and I wonder what would give those tree roots longevity in such a small area.

I told the developers that if we put that many trees in, you would not be ale to see this building. Also how would the trees survive over 10 or 15 years when you have this overcrowding?

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VI A THE OFFICES AT GLENVIEW, 250 WEST SHARON ROAD

Ms. Durbin added I would think that from the City standpoint, it wouldn’t matter what the building will look like, it is what this landscaping will look like in three five or 10 years. This group does a well-maintained landscape. They know that is curb appeal, the most important thing. So then we had to come in and reduce the size of the tree and the number of trees. The biggest part of it is the cost of it, and it is just not economical to put in the amount of landscaping required. The other problem is space, because we have such short greenbelt areas. We can put ground cover in, but if we did the shrubbery, and pushed more and more plantings in there, there will be overcrowding and things will end up dying. That is why we came back with the revised plan. Yes we are short 162 inches, but there has been some compromise between what is required and what can be done, what is feasible and what will live. But, the biggest part of that is they have picked up an expense with putting the irrigation system in.

Go down to the Springdale Town Center and the new landscaping went in and it is awful. It is the biggest eyesore you have on Route 4. I know with these people this property will be well maintained. They are spending that extra money to put that irrigation in to make sure that the plantings will last. It will beautify the corner.

Dr. Michael Todd said it has been a challenge to get these people to come to Springdale. There is a lot of excitement generated from the development and two points come up. Are you going to have access on West Sharon Road and Springfield Pike, and the other was visibility. I want my practice to thrive right around the corner, and I want this practice to thrive and prosper and bring more economic growth to Springdale.

What is occurring along Route 4 (Springdale Town Center) is a great thing for my practice and Springdale and Mapleknoll. There will be a retirement community of 1500 people in Evendale and Glendale and this would be perfect for my practice and perfect for Mapleknoll and for the City of Springdale. I am anxious for this project to move forward and I hope you will approve this.

Mr. Galster said Dr. Todd is my personal physician. I don’t believe it is a problem, but if anyone believes that it is, I will not participate in this. No one had a problem

Mr. McErlane reported that on October 10, 2006 Planning reviewed the project, and at that time it included the commercial property on Route 4. Prior to Council review, the applicant withdrew the GB portion of that site, so you are only considering the office portion.

The building has stayed the same. The front yard setback has changed and the west side yard setback is reduced and the east side yard setback has increased, the side yard setback to parking is 10 feet on the west side and previously was 20 feet which is required. The applicant pointed out that their property has been rezoned and tagged with the transitional overlay zone.



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VI A THE OFFICES AT GLENVIEW, 250 WEST SHARON ROAD

Mr. McErlane added that Planning recommended that Council approve that but the property will still b used as a residence until a plan comes in and is approved by Planning and Council to make the use something other than residential. So as far as staff is concerned, it needs to be protected as a residence until it changes.

The applicant stated that the reason that so many caliper inches of trees are being removed is because 10 of those trees are over 24 inches and some of those are as big as 40 inches in diameter. A total of 310 of t hose inches are over 24 caliper inches. This causes an additional burden on replanting and would require 155 caliper inches to be planted at 3 ½ inch caliper instead of the typical two inch required by code. The applicant is planning to plant 3 3 ½ caliper inch trees, so they are short 144 ½ caliper inches of trees that would need to be at 3 ½ inches. In total they are short 161 ½ caliper inches. They could improve that a little bit by changing their evergreen trees to 10 foot in height and they also could increase the caliper inch of some of the other deciduous trees to 3 ½ inch caliper.

We have received restricted covenants and gave them preliminary comments from staff and the law director, and they have modified those covenants to reflect those changes.

Mr. Galster said based on what they are taking down the replacement number is 311 inches of which 155 need to be replaced? Mr. McErlane responded 311 inches are required and they are proposing to plant 149.5 inches. It does not include the six to seven foot evergreens, which would add another 24 caliper inches.

Ms. McBride stated there was a lot of discussion about the two access points at the October 2006 Planning meeting. Staff is concerned because this property is in our corridor review district
and there are a lot of requirements and goals in that district to try to eliminate or reduce the number of curb cuts the properties have.

This property only has 275 feet of frontage, and they are asking for two points of access, which we have denied people who have much more extensive frontages than 275 feet.

Also, I don’t know that the volume of traffic coming out of an 18,000 s.f. office building warrants two points of access. If they could bring us a traffic study and CDS could look at that we could consider it.

On the dead end parking, the applicant indicated that wasn’t a desirable situation. That is the situation they have in the rear of the building, and countless developments in Springdale and all across the Cincinnati area have that situation. It is not the best, but it is what exists. So, two points of access are a big concern.

They are reducing the setback on West Sharon Road from the 100 feet required, to 85 feet previously approved and now are asking for 79 feet. Given the constraints they have, with the sewer easement, the commission should take that into consideration.

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VI A THE OFFICES AT GLENVIEW, 250 WEST SHARON ROAD

Ms. McBride added there is a 20-foot requirement on the west property line and the house to the west is a residential use. It is the city’s responsibility to protect that and treat that as a residential use when you are putting an office in next door.

I am not necessarily opposed to reducing that to 10 feet in width, but we need to make sure we provide an adequate buffer in that area to screen it from the headlights in the parking lot.

They have now increased their net square footage, and that makes them have 88 parking spaces required and they have 96 so there is some room to reduce parking spaces.

We need to have a detail of the fence to go around the detention basin. We also asked for a detail on the retaining wall and we received that this evening.

The three spaces on the eastern portion of the front parking lot back out into that second access point. If that access point is to remain, and I am not in favor of it, those parking spaces have to go. You can’t have those people backing out and people pulling in. That is not a safe situation.

We can work out the issue on the illumination of the signage. They did revise their fixture. On the plan you approved last October, they had 19 14-foot fixtures, Victorian in nature. These are a little more of a coach style fixture mounted on 15-foot poles and there are 16 of them. I want to make sure that we are a t 0.5 foot candles on that west property line.

There are a lot of comments on the landscape plan. A lot of things they have agreed to, and a lot we will have to try to discuss with them, if Planning is agreeable to that.

They have a 24 inch locust on the west property line and we want to save that one. There is some very sizeable plant material on that site that will not be able to be saved, and if they are lost, they will have to be replaced in kind.

On the west buffer yard, they said they didn’t need the shrubs because they have the retaining wall. That only goes about half way down the property line. The rest has headlights going into these people’s back yard. That needs to be addressed.

The evergreens need to be 10 feet if they are to be counted in the tree replacement. The plantings on West Sharon Road don’t meet our requirements for the corridor review district. The people talked about the eight-foot grade difference, but the building sets up higher eight feet. I don’t know that is a good justification for not dong the required landscaping.

If they are not able to make the tree replacement caliper per inch. They can certainly make the contribution that every other developer kin the City of Springdale has been asked to make to our Tree Replacement Fund.

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VI A THE OFFICES AT GLENVIEW, 250 WEST SHARON ROAD

Mr. Shvegzda said concerning the lateral reinforcement on the modular retaining walls, generally three or four feet in height is probably the limit as to when that is required. We need the geotechnical report and information to verify that due to potential unusual ground conditions that may exist on the site.

Concerning the access drive issue, the Thoroughfare Plan states that there should be one access point per parcel unless the frontage exceeds 500 feet.

For the question of parking spaces, if that access drive would remain in place, those are critical issues because they would have to pull so far back out, considering that there is no turn around t in that location.

Mr. Shvegzda asked the applicant if the regrading for the north detention, meant that essentially that wall is eliminated? Mr. Ward reported the wall would be eliminated on the west end but we would have a bench around the remainder of the wall area. Mr. Shvegzda reported we need a few additional calculation details but the methodology is acceptable.

CMHA conceptually has agreed to the connection into their site, but they want their engineer to look at the final calculations to tie into their system. They need to know what is being discharged onto their site now versus what is shown on the plans. It is about the same; it is just about how it is getting to their system. Right now the CMHA storm sewer system is designed for 10 year and everything else goes overland and eventually finds its way to the detention basin. CMHA and their engineers will have to review and accept the method that the amount in excess of the 10 year storm gets into their system at whatever point it has capacity to do that or via the overland route. They will have to sign off on that.

The southern detention basin on the east side of the building we need to know its outlets since there is no existing storm sewer in that vicinity or swale or stream that is utilizing a level spreader. That is what is being used at the rear of the CVS development, and we have had problems with that.

We had earlier discussions with the applicant regarding providing a system where the conduit comes in below grade and fills up into the trench that is filled with rocks and spills out. This is what is being proposed for now, kind of like rock channel protection at the end of the culvert where the conduit comes in on top of the rock and is supposed to spill down in fill up and spill out. We don’t think that will work, at least not on a long term basis but there is no analysis or calculations to really show what the flow will be. We will need additional information to make sure this works, knowing that we have had problems with it in the past.

The diameters of the sizes of the storm sewer are shown at 8 inches to 12 inches minimum. The major storm routing is in the vicinity of the eastern entrance. The storm sewers will have to be upsized and inlet capacity checked to make sure that goes into the detention basin rather than out onto Sharon Road.
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VI A THE OFFICES AT GLENVIEW, 250 WEST SHARON ROAD

Mr. Shvegzda added on the MSD easement, we need to get information on that to see if there are any further restrictions concerning setbacks from the structure.

There are walls in the front of the building now. One is visible from the front of the parking lot and one is not.

Mr. Okum said on the two curb cut issue, based on what has been presented, what would staff recommend that they do? It appears to me that 80% of all the people would use the access point furthest west. So there are only a few parking spaces that would utilize the second driveway. Ninety percent would use the driveway further west, away from the intersection.

Mr. Butrum asked the justification for the eastern access point. I count about 32 spots that are east of the west entrance, three of which are problematic, and about half of which are still closer to the west access point. It seems like we would potentially solve a number of problems if we eliminated that access point.

Mr. Ward said we could put a key or t along the east side of the front parking lot so the people could back out. I would be afraid of them backing out and trying to go back out the same curb cut. The real logic and the long term plan is to have this area coordinated access across from the access to the golf course, which is on the adjacent property. So we expect to eliminate the western curb cut and it will work that they will come in from the golf course and come to the back of the building. Until that happens, we think that the two curb cuts are totally necessary. We have agreed to eliminate that western curb cut when we can coordinate access with the golf course property immediately across the street, which really should happen. The quandary is which comes first. We feel we have to have that western curb cut to establish the tenant knowledge of getting back to the rear of the building and it also provides better access in front, but in the long run it should be eliminated. We believe that when that western curb cut is eliminated, the eastern one will become more strongly used except for those clients that want to go to the back of the building and then they will come in through the curb cut across from the golf course entrance.

Mr. Butrum commented the building is really facing backwards. Mr. Ward said yes, it is unusual that we have a two-sided occupancy, and that is why we need that west curb cut in the initial tenancy, to get them to use that. Mr. Butrum said after it is established and if there is a future curb cut to the west across from the golf course, it would be logical to eliminate that western curb cut on our side.

Dr. Todd said we are marketing to medical practices. On the south side, the upper level, there will be two suites and the lower sides will probably have four to six suites.

Mr. Galster said this dual access is a problem. Mr. Ward said for safety we need two points of access. Mr. Galster responded I am not convinced that two access points are needed for safety. I think that is too much.
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VI A THE OFFICES AT GLENVIEW, 250 WEST SHARON ROAD

Mr. Galster added I do not see myself voting for the two access points. We need to find out where we are. These points are 200 feet apart and would create confusion. If you are demanding two access points because of the volume of traffic, then it does not fit in the transitional overlay being so close to residential. That concerns me. You need to buffer this as much as you can to protect this residence. Maybe we need to look at fencing as well as landscaping to protect that residential property. When I look at the whole thing, I am concerned.

Mr. Okum said I don’t think this is too much for the property, and I am excited about the project, but there are a lot of staff concerns. I have concerns that this buffer yard is a problem. The side yard setbacks and buffer yards are very important. You will have to put a real separation to support that 10 foot side yard setback. We need to know how that residence will see this office use.

Mr. Okum said I do not believe that we can look to the future with a guarantee that whoever buys that residence would agree to that cross access easement. I am glad you made the offer, but it has to be agreed with both parties.

Mr. Okum said I have not heard enough information to make a positive motion. At this point I do not believe I can phrase a motion that would carry the vote, and I could not support the motion. If you work with staff on some of the issues, I believe you can get this resolved

I do not want to deny it but I would like you and your planners to go back and deal with these issues. I do not want to make a motion based on working out so many problems.

Mr. Ward said the Canfields have asked if they can discuss this for a few minutes and come back later in the evening.

The elevation change on the west property line can block the headlights, so we feel that side yard screening is provided.

On the point of access, they would like to talk about what they feel would be marketable with one access, because one month’s delay would be detrimental to leasing.

I agree with storm water comments, and all those technical issues are close to being satisfied. The west landscaping is not as detrimental and the main issue is the point of access.

Mr. Okum said it is not just the access point. We have a 10-foot side yard setback and we are talking buffer between the residence and the office and you are not addressing that in any way.

I want this to move forward but I cannot vote in favor this evening. We still have the front yard and side yard setbacks and the ingress/egress issue, a total of three issues.

Mr. Ward said do we get any credit for the fact that we are taking down3 old trees and putting in 60 new trees?
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VI A THE OFFICES AT GLENVIEW, 250 WEST SHARON ROAD

Ms. McBride said the city has established buffer yards between residential and commercial properties, and we need to look at this. There are sections where the grade is not enough to block those headlights. There are things that need to be done in that area.

Mr. Syfert said you have had these comments for some time and I think you have ignored them. We have major issues here. If you want to talk about it I will grant you that, but some major things have to be resolved. Otherwise Ii will accept your request to table this until next month.

Mr. Galster commented it is tough to see the landscaping on the west side on this plan. If I could see something more clearly, that would be appreciated. I do not have a problem making that contingent on working it out with staff. I don’t think that is anywhere as important as the access points. That is huge. The other can be worked out.

Mr. Ward said we will review this with additional information next month

Mr. Galster moved to table and Mr. Butrum seconded the motion. All present voted aye and this was tabled to August 14, 2007.

B. Approval of EIFS on West Elevation Storefront, Staples, 12050 Princeton Pike

Mr. Galster said I have a conflict in that my daughter works for Staples. I don’t have a problem being objective, if anyone else has a problem, I will excuse myself. No one had a problem.

Jay Perin said Joe Perin and I are here representing the owners and landlords, Dave Henderson is representing Staples and Mark Schumacher is representing the contractor.

Mr. Schumacher said we submitted the idea of closing up the existing front entrance of Staples. The existing storefront is tinted and the customer complaint is that it looks like it is closed or not in operation.

Mr. Schumacher said colors have been added, and we want to enclose that that and make it match the rest of the building.

One of the staff’s comments was that they did not approve the EIFS system. And we are wiling to put the split-face masonry block in that opening, and it will be painted to match.

Mr. Galster said I think staff’s major concern is that no matter what you cover these windows with, you have a very long uninterrupted expanse of building. When this was originally approved, the idea was to not have the massive concrete facing 747 because that seems like the front of the building.

Mr. Henderson said our business has been extremely impacted with the road construction. The Perins and I have been trying to figure out what to do.
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VI B. EIFS ON WEST ELEVATION STOREFRONT - STAPLES

Mr. Galster responded if you could just break it up with even smaller windows to get rid of the vast concrete.

Mr. Schumacher reported that the masonry would be inset so that the pilasters would still be there. Mr. Galster said you wouldn’t be able to see that from the road. It wouldn’t break that up from the roadway.

Mr. Schumacher responded I understand your point but by blending that in with the storefront, it does have the façade and the sign and the banding. Mr. Henderson said we have put the pots in there to enhance the side.

Mr. Okum asked if they had a chance to look at the comments and Mr. Schumacher answered that they did and will use the masonry split face block to make it match. .

Ms. McBride reported that in September, 2004 we looked at exactly this question when they were moving the front of Staples to the other side of the building. The concern then was we didn’t want this massive look fronting S.R. 747. At that time the Staples representative thought this was a good solution

I would suggest that if it is causing problems in terms of customer confusion, we need to come up with something else that will give us the appearance of a front façade for the building, but still work for Staples. We would be happy to sit down and work with you, but I don’t think just filling it in with masonry block will be appreciably better than filing it in with EIFS.

Mr. Henderson said Bob Lambert was here before representing Staples and his proposal was to tint it and leave it the way it is. I guess I am confused. We were going to do it and unfortunately we have what we have now which is a maintenance nightmare. If it was okay back then and now it isn’t, I am confused.

Ms. McBride responded I don’t want to speak for the Planning Commission, but it was never okay with this part of the staff, and I don’t believe it was ever okay with the Planning Commission. We have always had the concern of how it would look from S.R. 747.
We wanted it to have a streetscape appearance.

Mr. Henderson suggested that they change the tint. Mr. Butrum said you are planning on painting the masonry block the same color as the EIFS? I think that is part of the problem; it will feel like one big field of drabness. Part of it is the color, but I think you also need a texture break, including color. A solid field of that puttyish color looks like a factory. Mr. Henderson said that is the Staples prototype; we have stores like this throughout the country. We want this done sooner rather than later. We have done all this landscaping and we want closure on this.

From the audience, Joe Perin said you have the large five-foot pots with the green trees there Mr. Henderson added we put those planters in there with the irrigation trench underneath each pot.

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VI B. EIFS ON WEST ELEVATION STOREFRONT - STAPLES

Mr. Perin commented there are 35 trees along the property line that block the view of the building anyway. Mr. Butrum answered you can get a pretty clear view. Mr. Henderson added those trees have only been there for a few weeks.

Mr. Galster commented part of the problem is that you have the façade over the top of the glass, so it makes it seem like an entrance. What if you moved the Staples sign away from the glass so it won’t make it seem like an entrance when it is not. If you want to lighten the windows up so you can see the light inside, that would be fine. I think this looks like an abandoned storefront because the sign is over the top of glass that has no entry and it looks dark. I don’t think making a warehouse-like wall will look good from 747 nor will it serve your purpose.

Mr. Butrum asked if they could change the tint so it is translucent and not transparent and get some sort of backlighting there.

Mr. Henderson responded there are canopy lights in there. Mr. Galster said there is no light going into the window and that is why it looks vacant. Mr. Henderson commented lights won't help during the day. Mr. Okum added if there was concrete block there would be no light coming out and you wouldn’t know if the store was open until you drove around.

The red band at the top of the window isn’t structural, is it? Mr. Joe Perin said that would come out with the five-foot pots and trees. We have created a different look, and the drivitt would look better than all that red.

Mr. Okum commented part of the problem is the orientation of the canopy. The red breaks up the building, but it also gives the idea that it is the entry to the store. Mr. Galster’s suggestion to move the signage to the front corner is very valid. It was not okay for that to be blocked off; when Ms. McBride spoke, there was never an okay for you to block it off. The fact was that this commission did not like the idea of it being blocked off and suggested faux windows instead.

I agree that those plants will help some, but three of them are not doing well and when you replace them if you don’t replace them with units that are mature, it will look pretty strange going across that elevation. I really think you need to rework this and come back with a design plan that works.

Mr. Diehl said I agree with the idea of moving the sign down. From a consumer standpoint, give me back my door. We’ve been going through that door for years. Mr. Henderson said it took a long time for people to get used to it but it works; it is a better environment.

Joe Perin said let’s work with staff and come up with an alternative for next month.

Mr. Butrum moved to table and Mr.Okum seconded the motion. All present voted aye, and the item will be considered at the August meeting.
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VII. DISCUSSION

A. Standard for Variances Referred by Board of Zoning Appeals

Mr. Galster said this is a request that came from BZA with the legal opinion. I don’t think the BZA has seen the legal opinion yet so I think they should see this before we comment on it. I would recommend that this go back to BZA with the legal opinion and if they are okay with it or want to tweak it, send it back to us next month. Mr. Okum agreed with this.

VIII. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

A. Angelic Whispers – 11465 Springfield Pike – Wall Sign

IX. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Butrum moved to adjourn and Mr. Okum seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye, and the Planning Commission adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

                    Respectfully submitted,



____________________,2007    ________________________________
                    William G. Syfert, Chairman



____________________,2007    ________________________________
                    Lawrence Hawkins III, Secretary