PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
July 13, 2010
7:00 P.M.



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: Carolyn Ghantous, Richard Bauer, Don Darby, Tom Vanover, Steve Galster, David Okum, Chairman Tony Butrum

Others Present: Anne McBride, City Planner; William McErlane, Building Official; Don Shvegzda, City Engineer; Jeff Tulloch, City Economic Developer


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

Mr. Okum moved to adopt the June 8, 2010 Planning Commission meeting minutes, Mr. Darby seconded the motion and the minutes were adopted with six “aye” votes, (Mr. Vanover arriving after vote was taken).


IV. REPORT ON COUNCIL

Steve Galster gave a summary report on the previous Council meeting.


V. CORRESPONDENCE

No correspondence.


VI. OLD BUSINESS

A. Chairman Butrum: The first item under Old Business is the Wireless Communication Tower – Conditional Use Permit 11970 Kenn Road. Mr. McErlane, I understand that you received an email?

    Mr. McErlane: Three weeks ago I received a verbal withdraw from the applicant and I asked him to follow up with something in writing and I received an email on Friday about 5:10 p.m. requesting to withdraw.

Mr. Galster: So moved.
Mr. Okum seconded and with six “aye” votes from the Planning Commission Members the request to withdraw was accepted (one member not present for vote).


B.    Chairman Butrum: The second item of Old Business, Kerry Ford proposed Quick Lane Exterior renovations at 155 West Kemper Road.

Mr. Don Martin: I am with Wright Contracting. We did revise the layouts and did make the changes to the application and to the drawing that we felt like you were requesting.

(At this time Mr. McErlane read his Staff Comments.)

Mr. Okum: Mr. Chairman, the comments from one of the Commission Members last month regarding the parking area; are those going to be identified by signage to delineate or separate them from any other parking of vehicles? Is there going to be signs on the building and I guess those three cars that are up against the building, is that the parking area that is designated?

Mr. Martin: That is part of it and then there are also some out in the lot. I did ask a representative from Kerry Ford and Ford to be here; if I can’t answer anything specific, they can. But that is the intention of the parking area, shown there.

Mr. Okum: So there will be an overcoat or some type of cosmetic work done there with striping and parking spaces placed there?

Mr. Martin: Yes, they could use colored stripes instead of the standard white or yellow.     

Mr. Jeff Schiller, Ford Representative: Some of our Quick lanes designate their parking areas in different facets. Some of them have a standard square parking sign on pole, others designate the parking spots with painting on the ground, others designate with a different color.

Mr. Okum: This prototype, this building elevation is the standard for what Ford is recommending for their dealerships?

Adam Hendrickson, Kerry Ford Representative: Yes.

Mr. Okum: And that is blue, white and the canopy was added based upon our discussion. I would be concerned about that area because there is not even an arrow in and an arrow out into that driveway; there is nothing that separates that out from going into the service area. I would think that there needs to be between those steel poles separating both areas, at least some type of clean up of that parking area and some striping.

Mr. Martin: I am sure that is something that they would be willing to do.

Mr. Galster: The complete building that is going to be white is going to be all repainted?

Mr. McErlane: That was my interpretation of what is indicated on the drawing.

Mr. Martin: It is indicated on that elevation; and their short-term plan is to go ahead and paint the building but I don’t want to indicate that that is necessarily part of the elevation change.

Mr. Galster: The north elevation; the complete elevation from the body shop bay to the front main showroom, as a minimum will be painted white?

Mr. Martin: Absolutely, yes.

Mr. Okum: Is the white building elevation colors standard for Ford now, or is Ford changing the building elevation?

Mr. Schiller: We have been doing this for over thirteen years and these colors are the standard colors we have been using for the thirteen years.

Mr. Okum: Is that correct that Kerry Ford will designate the parking area and drive-in with line striping?

Mr. Martin: Yes.

Mr. Okum: Mr. Chairman, at this point I would like to make a motion that the exterior elevation changes and parking field changes for Kerry Ford, 155 West Kemper Road be approved with the additional condition that the parking and drive area of the site plan in reference to this service area shall be striped and cleaned up appropriately for parking and traffic and that the north elevation of the building up to the showroom shall be painted in the Ford white along with the accent colors that has been presented on the applicants submission.
Mr. Galster seconded the motion and with six “aye” votes (Mr. Vanover arriving after vote was taken at 7:18 p.m.) the request was approved.


VII. NEW BUSINESS

A. Chairman Butrum: The first item of new business; Pep Boys Auto; Minor Improvements, Exterior Paint and Sign, 11452 Springfield Pike.

Allison Mathern: I am an Architectural Project Manager with Pep Boys Auto. As you know, we are proposing to lease a currently vacant building at 11452 Springfield Pike. It was formerly an automotive station, Ray’s Auto Service and we are proposing to take over the building, reopen it as an automotive service station with some very limited retail in the showroom area. Pep Boys primary business is the retail sale of auto parts and accessories, as well as automotive service. Springdale will be our first service entire only store in the Cincinnati area. The serve center is 4,000 s.f. building with five service bays. It is only going to be light duty repair work, no body work and no major engine repair work. All work is to be done in the bays; no service in the lot. The major issue is that we are proposing to paint the exterior of the building. Understanding that the building is in the Springfield Pike Corridor, we don’t feel the brick is architecturally significant and it is not a particularly attractive building. The paint colors are prototype and have been our prototype since 2003, nationwide. We did remove from the proposal the white color, which is part of our prototype, to make the building two shades of gray to conform to the requirement for earth tone colors and we have the blue stripes, which are less than 10% of the building, as required by code. In addition we are proposing new signage; as well as a landscape bed surrounding, as required by code.

(At this time Mr. McErlane read his Staff Comments.)

Mr. Bauer: Mr. McErlane, can you provide any history as far as the code to why painted brick is not allowed?

Mr. McErlane: The intent is to have natural finishes for brick and stone.

Mr. Galster: I wanted to comment on that question; part of the reason that the Corridor Review District requires at least 75% of the surfaces to be natural brick or stone is because there was an intent to create a more residential feel down Route 4, as opposed to the retail feel that you have on 747. The people that live here have always viewed the Route 4 as their part of downtown as opposed to the retail area. In an effort to try to make sure that the buildings have more of a residential feel or residential nature such as the pitched roofs and shingled roofs as opposed to just a flat roof.

Ms. Mathern: This building is immediately adjacent to a gas station which is painted brick; the rear and south side of the building are currently a light tan painted block and we are proposing to paint both of those facades the light gray that is on the front.

Mr. Galster: And I don’t know if that gas station has been redeveloped since the Corridor Review District was put into place. I am sure it is your desire to be in a prominent building on the Corridor; it is not off the path.

Mr. Okum: The City hired a firm to do a Corridor Review District study. That study took approximately over a year, maybe two years of meetings with residents and meetings with business owners; the result of that was a Corridor Review Plan which labeled four areas; the north area, the downtown area, the mid-area and the south area. Most businesses that have redeveloped have complied with Corridor Review District.
We are talking a minor modification to the exterior of the building; we are not redoing this building. If anything were to be redone to this building it would be to level it or do a whole new façade on the building and I don’t think we are going to see that. I am not totally against Pep Boys coming in and doing paint and getting signs up on the building and operating; I would certainly like to see it more improved, the north side or the garage door side section and obviously the south side which is basically up against the gas station, to carry the flavor. I am happy to see, hopefully, a successful business go in there; eventually I would like to see it change out to something more in tune with the Corridor Review District.

(At this time Ms. McBride read her Staff comments.)

Mr. Darby: I recall the 2 ½ year process which we developed the Corridor study, and in addition to textures I recall there was a very heavy emphasis in terms of the residential piece of how the buildings would match with one another and there was an emphasis on earth tones. I would not like to see a situation where we have a building that is partially spruced up and then it has a really awkward color on one side, so I would like to hear us talk more about how that would play out.

Mr. Galster: In reference to the photo which shows the existing façade elevation, do we know what is under this banding, if it is brick?

Ms. Mathern: I do not.

Mr. Galster: We want to keep it as residential in nature as we can. How critical is painting that brick because the only issue I have is trying to keep the natural stone look on that building, as opposed to painting it?

Ms. Mathern: It is our nationwide prototype to identify our brand which is very important to driving business and getting customer recognition. We feel the gray paint presents a much cleaner appearance.

Mr. Galster: Would you be open to a band around those two elevations; let’s assume there is brick under there; if in fact that gray band was a band around the top of the buildings so we are still able to keep 75% of the brick on those two facades, is that something that you could work with?

Ms. Mathern: We typically need to have a lighter color behind the lettering to make that stand out enough. We have had places that we have tried to do that and the lettering did not stand out enough on the face of brick or stone.

Mr. Bauer: There is a store in West Chester that I passed recently and I believe it is red brick; was that store finished before your standard time frame?

Mr. Joe Diamond: Most of the stores in this area were built back in the mid 1990’s. The new corporate colors started in 2003 and they started a re-branding program; some of the buildings weren’t painted because of Municipal restrictions.

Mr. Okum: Are you going to be changing out the A/C units on the building?

Mr. Joe Diamond: We haven’t had our inspection yet. The only time that we would change that is if it is the landlord’s responsibility because they have to deliver us functioning HVAC equipment.

Mr. Okum: If it were replaced, I think it would be appropriate that it be screened with some type of architectural element, even if it is painted out that would be better than green sitting on that roof.
I also have a question for Staff; there are three light packs on the buildings and they are not down-lit and they are used for lighting that parking field outside the garage doors, would the current standards apply to that?

Ms. McBride: The applicant isn’t proposing, I don’t believe, any modifications to that lighting. If they replace them they would have to bring them into compliance with the current code requirements.

Mr. Okum: It makes it difficult because the situation is that Ms. McBride brought up precedence, and precedence is important on the Corridor. On the other hand this is never going to have residential flavor to this building and that makes it even tougher. I think it is unfair for us to impose on one business owner who is directly across the street, the standards of the Corridor Review District and then we don’t impose those same standards here and based upon that I would not be supporting the repainting of the building.

Mr. Darby: I agree, I think precedence is very important. I think what we are looking at here, in my view, aesthetically the proposed gives a much better look that what it does now.

Mrs. Ghantous: It just seems to me that this is a totally different world than five years ago. We have an opportunity for a new business to come into town and improve the looks of the building at the same time would a positive thing. I understand what you are saying about the precedence and of course that is important. I think that this would do a lot to improve the appearance of that area there.

Chairman Butrum: I agree with Mrs. Ghantous that the times are different, in the sense that it is a different economic climate. To me that does not make me want to do anything that is poor planning. With that said, I agree with Mr. Darby that this is an improvement, independent of the economic times; I am worried not about the precedence because I think you make a very good case. At the moment, unless I hear an argument the other way, I will vote in favor of this fully understanding that we have denied similar types of things.

Mr. Okum: Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a motion to approve the aforementioned project Pep Boys Auto Center at 11452 Springfield Pike to include Staff / City Planners recommendations.
Mr. Darby seconded the motion. The Planning Commission Members were polled and with four “no” votes and three “aye” votes the request was denied.

Ms. Mathern: Do we have to go back through the whole process if we want to amend the façade?

Chairman Butrum: Yes, and you could work with Staff. I think you did get a lot of comments and why the “no” votes were “no”.

Ms. Mathern: We obviously knew this was a possibility and we had discussed painting only this portion of the building (referring to drawings), is that something we can work out or can we do that now?

Mr. Okum: I think it is moving in the right direction to what the code calls for, but I think that Staff needs time to review that and we would have to make a motion on the floor if we were going to consider it this evening; I don’t think there is a submission process because it is just the building elevation.

Mr. McErlane: I don’t think that Staff would be at a disadvantage as long as we are clearly sure what is being proposed. As long as the Planning Commission and Staff understand what is being proposed.

Chairman Butrum: I am actually o.k. with it.

Mr. Galster: Mr. Chairman, I make a motion that we reconsider the denial of the application from Pep Boys Auto for minor improvements and exterior paint and signs at 11452 Springfield Pike.
Mr. Okum seconded the motion.

Chairman Butrum: One question I would have, do we know where this would lead us in terms of percentages?

Mr. Galster: This is pretty much what I was trying to get at, as an option, in trying to retain as much of the brick as we could. What I need to know is the approximate dimension of this blue band, which I think helps tie the two elevations together but yet still, tries to retain the natural brick look.

Ms. Mathern: It is typically an eight inch stripe.

Mr. Galster: So, does this change my outlook; absolutely.

Mr. McErlane: The intent on the north side is to paint the coping that is currently along that roofline blue?

Ms. Mathern: Yes.

Mr. McErlane: So that really doesn’t change the amount of brick finish, at all?

Chairman Butrum: Right.

Mr. Okum: For clarification, the south elevation and the east elevation, will they be painted out white?

Ms. Mathern: No, they will be painted the same gray that is on the top half of the sign.

Mr. McErlane: I would think, instead of having a break in the color of the coping at the southwest corner of the building, it would make sense to make that coping blue all the way around.

Ms. Mathern: We would be fine with that.

Mr. Okum: Mr. Chairman, I would like to move to approve Pep Boys Auto Center at 11452 Springfield Pike to include the City Planner’s recommendations with the exception of the “building shall not be painted gray” and to accept the applicant’s Exhibit #1 which reflects a color palette for the upper façade and eight inch blue painted coping around all four elevations along with the gray to be painted on the south and east elevation.
Mr. Vanover seconded the motion and with a unanimous “aye” vote from the Planning Commission Members the request for minor improvements, exterior paint and sign at 11452 Springfield Pike was approved.


B. Chairman Butrum: Moving on to item “B”, Tri-County Towne Center Revision to PUD pole sign modification at 11711 Princeton Pike.

Mr. John Gilhart: Clark Gilhart is here and is going to do the presentation. We do have representatives in the audience, the Gilhart family and Lou Santoro representing Tri-County Towne Center.
Basically what we are talking about is two existing message display signs, the one on Kemper Road and we proposed the location of the message display sign to remain the same and we want to lower the height by 3’ add square painted aluminum pole covers to the existing sign poles and add stone work to the base of each pole sign. The only thing different on Princeton Pike is the same things that we want to do to the Kemper Road sign with the exception of moving it; we want to relocate the message display sign that is 154’ to the north of the existing location, we want to lower this particular message display sign by 12” and add the square painted pole covers to the existing sign poles and stone work on the sign pole. The distance from the road setback would be increased from the current 2’8” to 7’ and there is an existing ATT directional sign that would be removed.

(At this time Mr. Clark Gilhart and Mr. John Gilhart presented a Power Point presentation depicting the proposed changes to pole signs.)

(Mr. McErlane presented his Staff comments.)

Ms. McBride: I would like to add to that because it is a PUD, the two members of Council that are on Planning Commission would need to make the determination that it is a minor departure from the approved plan. Staff believes that it is a minor departure but you will need to make that action.

(Mr. Shvegzda read his Staff comments at this time.)

Mr. Bauer: One plan did show that the signs were to be taken out; what is your overall plan now for signage for the facility?

Mr. John Gilhart: The initial plan was to remove the one display sign and have one large primary sign, replace the message display with another primary by Kemper Road, but for whatever reason that was rejected, so we went ahead and came back and put the one here at the corner; that is my recollection. Our plans for the future, we are not quite sure, but that LED message board is able to be taken off. If there was a point that we would take that sign and move it down or put another one there and put the message center on and replace the one on Kemper Road; that is a possibility.

Mr. Bauer: My reason for asking that question is back when the original proposal for all the signage was before us, my concern was that there was too much signage. I still have that concern even though I don’t have an issue with what you are proposing there, I don’t know what your overall plans are and I have a problem with voting on a piece of it.

Mr. John Gilhart: We don’t have any plans to increase the amount of signage; I would say that is a fair statement.

Mr. Lou Santoro: The original plan was to have three pylons; one at Kemper Road and one across from Tri-County and that is when the two message signs come down.
If we are successful in proceeding again, that is not to say that we wouldn’t be back asking for two other signs and the LED could be moved and placed at the main entrance across from Tri-County and the new LED would be requested at Kemper Road; that is for another day and another year.

Mr. Galster: I don’t have any problems with what you are doing at the Kemper Road, as far as lowering that sign and dressing that up and giving it new fresh look, and I don’t have a problem with what you are doing with this sign. The closer we can get to the 10’ right of way set back, the better off we are. And just for future reference, if in fact we are looking at a main entrance sign at the Tri-County Mall cross-access; I still would anticipate that this message would come down as we talked about. My personal opinion is that I don’t have any problem with the modifications that you are doing to both of these signs and I like the upgrade and I like the bases. My only concern is that the view down the isle way, once you get your eyes off the sign, is still dumpsters and once you spread that out and you enclose those dumpsters, so that eyesore is gone, I think that is important. And you will work out with the Engineer the curbing to go around it to make sure everything is safe, as close to the 10’ as we can get, but I understand that we may not be able to get there because that access road will have to shrink too much or water mains or whatever is in the way; but I like what you have presented and I am in favor of it as presented.

Mr. Okum: Based upon what you have given us, Mr. Gilhart, you still have a 24’ drive isle, right?

Mr. John Gilhart: This edge, the right edge of that cone shows 24’ wide.

Mr. Okum: That is the outside of that sign box; that is not the pole?

Mr. John Gilhart: Yes. That is just to show you where the 24’ minimum would be.

Mr. Okum: We do have room for curb and landscaping there; there is still a lot of grass. I think that yellow concrete would have to come out and you would need to extend the existing curb into that landscape area and clean that up. You don’t have a problem with the landscaping that Staff is recommending, grass in that area?

Mr. John Gilhart: I was thinking about removing that because it would be foolish to add to that. The only thing I would have to do because we have to access this by lift, we don’t use ladders or sticks, we would need to be able to have 3’ to 4’ open to drive a lift in.

Mr. Okum: You are only 8’ off the ground. I would hate to forgo landscaping for the fact that it is convenient to have a power lift. I think that is something to work out with Staff, as far as the landscaping and curbing.

Ms. McBride: If my Staff comments do not include a recommendation in regards to landscaping, if that is the Commission’s desire, you are going to have to add that. Maybe you could work it in a way that, as Mr. Okum just indicated, that Staff could work with the applicant to come up with some decorative gravel or rock base that would be right underneath the sign that they could drive the lift on.

Mr. Okum: The other item we have, I think the top of the sign on Kemper Road needs some sort of an accent or finial to tie with the elevated sign because that is going to be a permanent sign, permanent location for that sign. You might change the board element, but I think you need to tie your sign elements together.

Mr. John Gilhart: And that is the catch 22, because they both might be permanent or they both may be temporary.

Mr. Okum: Well make it so that they can come out of the posts and be shifted to wherever you are going to put them.

Mr. John Gilhart: I have thought about that, where there is some type of branding accent element.

Mr. Okum: My understanding was that if the main entrance by Frisch’s became a major pole element sign, that this sign would go away.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to move that Tri-County Towne Center’s plan for modifications to the two signs be approved based upon the exhibits submitted and review by Staff; that this motion also includes conditions that the sign on 747, the area surrounding around the bottom of the new sign be curbed and landscaped in a Staff approved landscaping / curbing method.
Mr. Galster seconded the motion and with a unanimous “aye” vote the Planning Commission approved the request with conditions.


C. Ashley / Morris Furniture, Minor Revision to an approved PUD Development Plan, Interior Expansion, Exterior Façade Improvements at 11755 Commons Drive.

Larry Bergman: I am with NEI Bergman; we have been involved with the Beltway Center and we represent Springdale / Kemper Associates, the ownership of the property. I am here with Larry Klaben and we have been very fortunate to have Larry interested in expanding his concepts within our center; it is going to be a tremendous benefit to the City of Springdale.

Larry Klaben: I am President and CEO of Morris Furniture Company out of Dayton, Ohio. Originally I came before this Planning Commission six years ago when we brought the Ashley Furniture Home Store concept to Springdale. We are pleased to come before you again as we expand into a new furniture concept in your community. When we started with the original Ashley Furniture Home Store at the far east side of this building we did minor renovations to the building and kept the original dome; now with the expansion of Morris Home Furnishings, all the space from Dave and Busters to the far end of the building will be renovated to produce this whole new façade. This will greatly enhance the whole view and look of the center from I-275. This is a unique concept and there are very few concepts like what we are doing here, anywhere in the country. In that 720’ it actually has five different entrances; there will be the Ashley Furniture Home Store entrance, the Morris Home Furnishing Store, and entrance to the Better Sleep Shop and an entrance to the Home Theater Store which will have a full-blown electronics department that sells anything from small flat-panel televisions to $250,000 completely installed home theater rooms. There will also be an entrance at the far end for the Mid-West Clearance Outlet. This is about a $2,000,000 renovation for the exterior and interior and there is also 72,000 s.f. of showroom space that will be renovated.

Jason Sheets: The rendering (submitted) tells the whole story and we have the drawings if we want to get into any specifics or details. Larry talked about the change to the entrances; between the new pop-ups and town-center type of entrance scenario, the existing brick will be painted, everything else will get new depth and new finishes whether that would be EIFS, stone or brick application. We do have the landscape plans which I think we have readily addressed. We would happy to answer any questions.

(Mr. McErlane and Ms. McBride presented their Staff comments.)

Mr. McErlane: There are some existing trees on the entire site that have been removed principally because they were in bad condition or they had died and they haven’t been replaced. I have met with Steve Adler from Mr. Bergman’s office yesterday and went over those and he is in the process of getting an estimate to replace those trees; there are approximately 20 or 22 trees that have died on the property and it looks like they are addressing those.

Ms. McBride: As with the previous case, the two members of Council will also need to determine since this is a PUD that this is a minor departure, not a major departure; and again Staff would recommend that it is a minor departure given that it was a furniture store, but you will need to make that determination.

Chairman Butrum: On that note, do the Council Members think that this is a minor modification?

Mr. Galster: I think it is a minor modification.

Mr. Vanover: I think it is a minor modification, but while I have the floor I need to disclose the fact that my son works for one of your home theater competitors, so if that would be deemed a conflict I will excuse myself from this issue.
(No person present acknowledged concern of a conflict.)

(At this time, Mr. Shvegzda presented his Staff report.)

Mr. Shvegzda: The rear loading dock area, I think that the plan is noting that is to be relocated further to the west?

David J. Muha: There appears to be a pole that was there a long time ago but is no longer there now; there is no pole that needs to be relocated.

Mr. Shvegzda: So, nothing happens with the lighting back there?

Mr. Muha: Right.

Mr. Galster: Every time I look at the drawings, I am excited. What you are doing here is a major improvement to the center and it is a major addition to the City of Springdale. I am almost as excited as I was when they originally looked at the modification of the building, even more so because I think it actually has a true destination feel now.

Mr. Okum: I am not as excited as Mr. Galster, but I am pretty excited; it is very, very nice. In regard to the Outlet Center, I think it is missing something there; the building elevation on the Outlet Center is very stark compared to what else you have done to the building because that is the main drive isle up out of the center. On the entrances where the glass façade is where you are doing the build–ups, is the glass recessed in so that your weather elements are protected somewhat?

Mr. Sheets: As for the flanks, those are the glass entry at the existing façade; this one, because of the height of the glass and the statement that we want to make, the glass occurs just in front of the existing façade. The new entry is built out beyond it four feet.

Mr. Okum: Is there going to be neon lighting underneath the façade elements along the building?

Mr. Muha: No. And I do want to comment on the Clearance Center, it is intentionally made to be plainer because we don’t want to distract from Ashley / Morris being a more upscale store.

Mr. Okum: I understand. It is just the façade on it, I would like to see landscaping or something because it is very stark.

Mr. Muha: I think the rendering doesn’t represent us too well. The EIFS on that side will be cut up into more sections and we are painting some of the colors that you see on the rest of the center.

Mr. McErlane: In looking through the information that you submitted, we still don’t have the information on the pylon relative to square footages total on your space.

Mr. Monte Williams: I am with Cap Signs in Dayton. The pylon sign is 7’ X 15’ and we don’t plan on any changes to that sign.

Mr. McErlane: So, 105 s.f., which would put them slightly over 30 or 40 s.f.

Chairman Butrum: I am good with that; I think what we approved for Dave and Buster’s helped them.

Mr. McErlane: On site, they have 1152.3 s.f.; that doesn’t include the off-premise sign up at Kemper Road; they are permitted 1120 s.f.

Mr. Okum: Mr. Chairman, I would like to move to approve Morris / Ashley Furniture PUD modifications, as submitted and reviewed by Staff prior to this meeting; it shall include all of Staff, City Engineer and City Planner recommendations. The landscaping shall also include Staff review and final approval. The signage conditions shall include an additional sign area to bring the total square foot of 1153 s.f. on-site signage.
Mr. Vanover seconded the motion and with a unanimous “aye” vote the request was approved.


D. Chairman Butrum: Front Room Furnishing, Minor Improvement Wall Sign at 11750 Commons Drive.

Mr. Ken Paul: I am one of the presidents and one of the owners of Front Room Furnishings; I am also a managing partner and one of the owners of Fortune 5, who is the owner of the property, so I represent both the owner and the tenant. I am here with my partner Jerry Quinn, who is in a similar position with both companies and with Yvonne Miller who represents Branham Sign. Front Room Furnishings is new to the Cincinnati area; it is a living room and family room furnishing specialists who have been in business in Columbus since 2005. We do have a history with Sofa Express who was the former tenant of that building. In fact when I was here about ten years ago when we bought that Champion Window factory and turned it into a home furnishing store; we were the owners of Sofa Express. The new sign package is about 40% less than what has been approved historically. We have refaced the pylon sign and are trying to get our name on both the north and south side of the building. The importance of signage, we don’t think can be overstated particularly for a new company trying to establish a brand in the marketplace. We do not have signage on Kemper Road directing customers down to it. We are using two-thirds of the space that building has today, sort of flex-space for us; we would hope to find a co-tenant at some point and time, to take the north side of the building and that is why the tenant sign package is in front of you. We do not have a future tenant lined up and it is possible that we could wind up being the future tenant with some other entity ourselves, but we don’t know that today.

(Mr. McErlane and Ms. McBride presented their Staff comments.)

Mr. Paul: I would like to comment on the truck mentioned in Mr. McErlane’s report, we have moved that truck.

Ms. McBride: As with the previous case, the two members of Council will also need to determine since this is a PUD that this is a minor departure, and again Staff believes that it is.

Chairman Butrum: Do the two Council Members agree that this is a minor modification?
(Mr. Galster and Mr. Vanover both signified that they did agree that the request is a minor modification.)

Mr. Shvegzda: I have no comments specifically but in regards to something that I think, at one point in the past there were concerns about the maintenance of some of the detention facilities on this site; my advise is to take a look; there were issues of some sediment and those kind of things and periodically the City does inspections on those.

Mr. Galster: The front elevation sign; I guess you call it “Sign B” on here, does it say “Front Room”?

Mr. Paul: Today it says “Front Room”; it will say “Front Room Furnishings”.

Mr. Galster: In the same space, or will there be an additional box that goes underneath that?

Ms. Yvonne Miller: The temporary permits were for 150 s.f. for “Front Room”. When the new vinyl goes up, it will be 397 s.f. total including the “Furnishings” and the space between the box.

Mr. Paul: The “Front Room” temporary sign that is up there today is exactly the size of the proposed permanent sign, just lacking the “Furnishings” sign.

Mr. Galster: Do you have any issue with the structure that supports the old sign, when the sign comes out to take those raceways down?

Ms. Miller: The structure on the south front will be reused, that is what the new white panel is going to mount to, so you won’t see it.

Mr. Paul: When that building was constructed, that beam is built into the building; so it is not as simple as sawing something off. There is some rebar that is behind that beam that supported the Sofa Express sign that we are perfectly happy to cut off because I believe that is the most unsightly part of it.

Mr. Galster: Some architectural graphic display panels may work for you; they are not counted as signage. If you look at the panels that were put up around Dave & Busters, or even on the Mall, things that are lifestyle driven they are not designed to advertise the business.

Mr. Okum: On Dave & Busters, we did calculate it into the total.

Mr. Paul: We would love to take a shot at that and propose it to the Commission.

Mr. Galster: So, what if we give two months time on the removal of that until you can come back in with something else?

Ms. Miller: Come back with examples of what we would be willing to do.

Mr. Galster: And if they don’t come up with an idea of somehow camouflaging it or hiding it or incorporating it into some kind of lifestyle graphic display panels then it may need to be removed. The rest of the sign package, I don’t have any issue with. Do you have a plan for the landscaping and the removal of all of those trees?

Mr. Paul: We are going to replace them and we are happy to do that. We have sort of been absentee landlords for the last five years. I don’t know when the trees died but that was just brought to our attention and we will replace them.

Mr. Darby: I agree that is a very good plan, as far as the graphics. If that doesn’t pan out do you anticipate how long it will be before you have a tenant?

Mr. Paul: It is hard for me to come up with an answer, not seeing the future. We are marketing the building now, it is listed with a real estate agent but we have been doing that since Sofa Express left us with that vacant building. We know that would be one of the most important questions a tenant would have about that space and that would be the availability of signs; we would like to reserve that.

Mr. Darby: In your initial presentation you indicated that it may be the case that you just take over all of the space; do you anticipate that you would then come before us?

Mr. Paul: That is possible. In Central Ohio we operate a business called “Bedrooms First”. If we get another tenant, that helps to lessen our overhead and expense in the building. If we can’t find that, then we do have our own internal resources to make that happen.

Mr. Okum: The Front Room Furnishing sign on the north side of the building is potentially a temporary sign?

Mr. Paul: Not in our mind. The only way it becomes temporary is if we get another tenant. I am assuming the Commission would ask us to reduce the signage to accommodate. Our original intent is that we were not happy with the sign on the beam because it really doesn’t address west bound traffic on the freeway.

Mr. Okum: It just doesn’t have any depth to it and it does look like a temporary sign on the building.

Mr. Paul: Black on white is part of our corporate identity, if you saw our buildings or go on our website.

Mr. Okum: I don’t have a major problem; I wanted to express my opinion.

Mr. Galster: I am not opposed to the look, it is just a different look. I wanted clarification that if we give you a couple months to come up with a plan on how to utilize that beam, that if in fact we are not able to come up with a plan to utilize that beam, then it would be my intention that beam needs to be removed.

Mr. Jeff Tulloch: I think we should give them four months to give them an opportunity to get a tenant; I think two months is too quick.

Mr. Galster: Can the rebar come down in the meantime?

Ms. Miller: We can take that down when we install the front sign and paint it white; within the next ten days as soon as we get the approval.

Mr. Galster: So thirty days would give you enough time to clean the beam up and a four month time to come up with a solution.

Mr. Bauer: Structurally if has something to do with the building standing up, I don’t want to be telling them that they have to take it down.

Mr. Paul: It is not structurally standing up but it is not just mounted onto the building, it is into the block.
Ms. Miller: You would have to cut it back to the wall and cap it.

Chairman Butrum: If we were to go with the atmospheric graphic panels would we effectively approve more signage or is it only if they put text on it?

Ms. McBride: I think we would have to see what the applicant brings back in the next few months.

Mr. Darby: Shouldn’t the applicant have some guidance as to what kind of design they should have; are we going to allow script?

Mr. Paul: There are two things that come to my mind, which I think would be helpful and I think it would make it appear very nice with the graphic panel display variety that you are describing; one would be lifestyle type of things of people enjoying home furnishings and the second one is that we have a series of icons that define our business that I can send to Staff.

Mr. Galster: We have to be careful that if it becomes too iconic to identify your store then it does become signage.

Mr. Paul: Our strategy will be to submit them to your Staff and get some comments and see which direction feels better.

Chairman Butrum: If there are no further comments, I will entertain a motion.

Mr. Okum: Mr. Chairman, I would like to move for the approval of the sign package and minor modifications to Front Room Furnishings at 11750 Commons Drive with the approval of all Staff’s comments with the exception of Item #3 under considerations of Ms. McBride’s report. Item #3 shall be reworded to state: “The existing sign bar located on the north elevation, submitted to this Commission; the applicant shall submit to this Commission within four months architectural renderings for a feature consideration. A failure to come to a resolution to the issue of the beam shall result in the beam being removed; regardless, a sign mount and rebar mounted to the beam on the north elevation shall be removed within 30 days.”
Mr. Galster seconded the motion.

Mr. Bauer polled the Planning Commission and with a unanimous “aye” vote the request was approved.

       

VIII. DISCUSSION

Mr. Bauer: The façade that is being renovated at the old Circuit City, we haven’t see that come before the Commission, is that an issue?

Chairman Butrum: That is the T.J. Maxx.

Mr. McErlane: I presented it to Mr. Butrum and asked if he felt that it was necessary to bring it to Commission and really only involves the modification directly at the entrance and goes from a pretty plain storefront to one that has cornices that match the rest of the storefront through there.


IX. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Galster moved to adjourn; Mr. Vanover seconded and with a unanimous
“aye” vote from the Planning Commission Members, the meeting
adjourned at 9:47 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________, 2010 ___________________________________
            Chairman Tony Butrum


________________________, 2010 ___________________________________
                Richard Bauer, Secretary