PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
August 9, 2011
7:00 P.M.

I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman Don Darby.


II. ROLL CALL

Members Present: Carolyn Ghantous, David Okum, Richard Bauer, Steve Galster, Don Darby
   
Members Absent: Tom Vanover, Marge Boice

Others Present: Don Shvegzda, City Engineer; Jonathan Wocher, representing the City Planner; William McErlane, Building Official; Mayor Doyle Webster; and Jeff Tulloch, Economic Development Director

Chairman Darby: As noted, there are only five Members present this evening, I want to inform applicants that it is a requirement to have five positive votes for any motion to be approved.
   

III. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF JULY 12, 2011

Chairman Darby: We will move to the minutes of the last meeting.

Mr. Galster: Mr. Chairman, I move to table; we won’t have enough votes because we have those here tonight that were not at the last meeting.

Chairman Darby: So, moved and approved.


IV. REPORT ON COUNCIL

Mr. Galster: No report on Council, Mr. Chairman.


V. CORRESPONDENCE

Chairman Darby: You did receive one item of correspondence concerning the recently passed Ordinance.


VI. OLD BUSINESS

Chairman Darby: There is no Old Business to present at this meeting.

   
VII. NEW BUSINESS

A. Chairman Darby: Conditional Use Permit Request for the Cincinnati Autism Center at 305 Cameron Road.
I need to inform those in attendance that because of this proceeding, since this is a public hearing anyone wishing to speak in regard to the Conditional Use Permit Application before the Commission must be sworn in.

(At this time the Chairman did swear in all individuals who indicated they were planning on speaking.)

Mr. Matt Brennan: I am the founder of the Cincinnati Center for Autism. When 9/11 happened it holds a lot of meaning for this Country. I think each of us know where we were on September 11th. For me it holds a little deeper meaning; I was in a room at Children’s Hospital about 8:30 a.m. getting the diagnosis that my son had autism, and I can remember coming out of that room and everyone at the hospital was huddled around a TV. It didn’t register to me for about four or five days that we had been attacked and the World Trade Center had fallen with a massive loss of life. What did register for me was that I had a significantly handicap son that is afflicted with a disease which they have no cure for and they don’t know what causes it. I embarked on this path for lack of a choice to try to help my son and I ran into stumbling block after stumbling block and everything I read said early intervention but every place I turned there were waiting lists and I was watching my son just slip. I kind of don’t take “no” for an answer and I am a business man. I own an excavating company and I have been labeled a few things, one of which is “hard-headed”. My wife and I did some research, and I figured we could do this, we could do our own home program and help fix my son and do this ADA program. We put an ad in the paper and hired a bunch of therapists and we went to town because we couldn’t wait and I didn’t want to wait. We saw a remarkable improvement in my son in the first nine months that we had this program together. I felt like if we could do this at our home for our son then we could do this for other people; so, in October of 2003 my wife and I founded the Cincinnati Center for Autism. I wanted to make sure from the start that people knew my intentions and it was never to make money; my intentions were to be a “not for profit”. My intentions were to help people and to do for other people what I had done for my son. The center was born and we had meager start, just a couple gals and half dozen families; we moved up to Fairfield to some office buildings that I own and that is how we started the Center. Autism is the fastest growing neurological disorder in the world, one of every 110 children born today will be born with autism and one out of 70 boys born today will be born with autism and there is no cure and there is no rhyme or reason but we know that it is on the rise and we as a generation and as a community need to understand it and be prepared to treat this and take care of these kids. The Center started meager and we didn’t make any money; at the end of the year I would write a check. We couldn’t get IRS certification because I was the only donor and you can’t have your own non-profit. For the first few years we were hanging out in limbo and I just wrote a check to cover the cost; we would raise some money here and there and we gave away every penny we raised to families because it cost about $25,000 a year to treat a child and not much of that is covered by insurance; maybe $3,500 is covered by most insurance companies. We are doing good things and people heard about us and we started growing. We went from 1,000 s.f. to 2,000 s.f. and now we are in 4,000 s.f. and we went from treating 4 kids to 100 kids a year; just a therapy based school and summer camp. We did the first summer camp ever for kids in this region that was a real summer camp, canoeing and fishing, zip-lining and playing in the mud and playing in the creeks because kids with autism don’t get that chance. We have done some good things and it is something to be really proud of. From our humble beginnings of, I don’t know what our first year revenue was, if it was $50,000 I would be very surprised but today it is close to one million dollars; we have 12 full time employees. There are six people in Southwest Ohio with BCBA certification and three of them work at the Center; we have high-quality staff producing a high-quality product and we are helping kids; we finally got our certification about three years ago and we are a non-profit. We usually do one or two fund raisers a year but whatever we raise, which is typically $50,000 to $75,000 a year we raise in fund-raising and we give that away to families that apply for it and if they have a financial need we write them a check and have them come to the Center. We provide a variety of services, we advocate at schools for kids; we represent the families and work with the school districts to provide the necessary mandated services, by law. We provide social skills and work with kids ages 2 and 3 up to age 16 or 17. The goal is to help children but it is also a place of comfort for families because you just don’t know where to go; getting a haircut for a child with autism is tough, getting their teeth cleaned, getting the basic services are tough. My son has to go to Children’s Hospital and be put to sleep to have his teeth cleaned; for six months he complained that things hurt with headache and fever and we took him to doctors and emergency rooms and they couldn’t figure it out and finally one morning he woke up and side of his face was swollen and he had an infected tooth and couldn’t tell us because he is non verbal. What is easy for you and me is not easy for these kids. We want to also be an information source to the parents; they can come to us and say “what do I do for this” and “where can I go for these things.” We treat a little over 100 children a year in various programs, so it could be tutoring or social skills or we currently have 12 children in our school, it could be advocacy or ABA – one on one, speech therapy and occupational therapy all done by licensed professionals.
The reason we are looking at 305 Cameron; the first thing that I saw when I saw 305 Cameron I saw a calm and inviting place, I saw a campus-like setting. My goal is to provide a campus where we can treat the whole child or I can have doctors come in and I can have people to cut hair come in and we can treat the whole child in one place. When I saw 305 Cameron I saw a very peaceful, park-like, ideal setting. The second reason we like Cameron is because it will allow us to expand. We are in 4,000 s.f. and Cameron is 10,000 s.f., so we are able to do some things in that building that I can’t do right now and that is to expand and have more room for the kids. We are in 4,000 s.f. but almost 1,000 s.f. is warehouse and supplies and bathrooms and break areas; this would allow us to expand and would allow us to do what we do in a larger setting. I like the close proximity to our customer base, I didn’t want to move to Milford because I live in Loveland, the families we treat are over here and that is not fair to families many of which are struggling anyway. It is a mile and a half from our current facility right up on Route 4. Our current facility is in Stockton Station Office Park which is at Seward and Route 4 and anybody who wants to come and see what we do and meet the therapist, please come and see us. We had somebody stop by today and I got an email and it doesn’t get any better than that. I would like the ability to expand; I don’t need 10,000 s.f. today but I would like to use all 10,000 s.f. At any one time we might have 15 to 20 children, but I would like to help more kids. We can do a variety of things at this property that we can’t do at other properties. Right now, we are in an office park; so we would be able to take the kids on a walk which they need when they need to be comforted and a lot of them need to decompress when they get worked up and can’t communicate, the plan we show has a little hiking path so when a child gets agitated and can’t tell you what is wrong with them we can take them outside and take them on a loop walk around the track and get them to calm down; that motion is very calming for them.
We can also get them outdoors so that they don’t disturb other kids. Lastly, it is not lost on me that this building is a church and I think that is a good sign. We intend to work with the Church as they seek a new space. I own land and I could build a building, but this facility does some things for us. On our building I think our target improvements are $100,000 and obviously we are going to paint it and carpet it and do some things inside and try to improve it. The parking lot is in disrepair and we don’t need that big of a parking lot so we would like to remove some of the parking lot and put in some green space with our play area and walking trail. I have been in construction and I have done zoning and I understand that anytime you ask for something when you are changing zoning there are people who have some concerns and we share those concerns; one of the concerns that has been brought to my attention is the playground and the understanding that I have is that perhaps at some point and time there was a playground in another area that caused some concern, we understand those concerns and we will do the best we can to mitigate those concerns. We are showing some beauty mounds and we can work on height on the beauty mounds to help screen it. We are showing a minor amount of landscaping and we are glad to add some pine trees to help screen it, but one of the things about children with autism is that seventy percent of them don’t speak, my son doesn’t talk and that is a tough thing. I would like to stand here and tell you that the noise will be minimal with a group of kids with autism but I can’t promise that. I am hoping that they scream every once in a while cause that would mean a lot to me to see the kids scream but not too loud to bother people but I think it would be a good thing to hear my son scream.

(At this time Mr. McErlane, Jonathan Wocher, and Don Shvegzda gave their Staff comments.)

Mr. Bauer: Do we know how long that church has been at that property?

(No definite time was known or indicated.)
Mr. Bauer: In that amount of time was it zoned the same zoning?

Mr. McErlane: It was zoned Residential and we have changed the designation since then; it may have had the same classification under the old Zoning Code but it has always been Residential and churches are a permitted use under Residential District.

Mr. Okum: Did the church ever have a school function that anyone can recall?

Mr. Robert W. Percival, Sr.: It had a daycare that is about the extent of it.

Mr. Okum: My comments in regard to the buffer yard; the property that is most familiar with some of our Commission Members and Staff and the Administration is the daycare facility on Route 4 that is sort of diagonal to your facility, there was sound level test run on that site about ten years ago when it became a daycare center and there was a requirement placed on the applicant for mounding and fences and evergreens and constructive barriers that would cut down on the sound of the children playing. There are residents here that obviously live in that area that had some exposure to that and I do know, as a result of that, I don’t believe that we ever had reconsideration or a complaint in regards to the noise levels coming off of that site.

Mr. McErlane: I think the daycare closed shortly after that consideration was made by the Planning Commission for that Conditional Use. Some of it was put into effect but I don’t think that we saw the total impact of it because the daycare closed shortly after that.

Mr. Okum: And to the applicant, Staff has reported that the three foot high mounding and the three foot high shrubs is not adequate enough to create a buffer separation between the residential property that is adjoining to your property.

Mr. Brennan: How high do you want us to make them?

Mr. Okum: I don’t think it is how high but how well it works. In the aspect of noise from children playing that is a common thing and it is to be expected. I am glad to see the sea of asphalt go away but on the other hand it does put the activity area closer to single-family residences and that is a concern.

Mr. Brennan: I was asking how high would you want the mounds, I will work with a reasonable level and I said in my original presentation that we are more than willing to add some pine trees to the top to add some screening but I will say children with autism they are totally different than other children. There will be noises coming from the playground, what those noises are going to be it is really hard to describe. We don’t send a massive amount of kids out to the playground, what we typically do is send them out in waves because most kids with autism are runners and what that means is that you have to be very secure with them, they will go out the door and run down the road and most of them have no fear. My son would walk right out in front of a car. Our Center is secure, we have a code key and you have to put a pass up to the door to get in and out. There will be one-on-one or one-on-two with a therapist and so we minimize the number the children on the playground, specifically for the ability if there is an issue. In this case we are fencing it and respectfully, we are more than happy to work with the residents and the Commission. I don’t know the proper height of a mound; I worked at Towne Properties for years and their mounds were huge, I think three feet is way too low and I think they need to be sculpted to look good and fit in with the general surroundings. We are happy to work with that, but what that height is I can’t commit to a height.

Chairman Darby: To help us better understand this, in your submission you mentioned that you serve approximately one hundred students and earlier in your presentation you said the school was going to have up to twenty five?

Mr. Brennan: We treat one hundred children a year; in some form or another. There is never a time when one hundred people are there.

Chairman Darby: In breaking that down, you say twenty-five or fewer students?

Mr. Brennan: Yes.

Chairman Darby: During the playtime, approximately how many kids at any one time would be on the playground area?

Mr. Brennan: Right now we have twelve students and that is broken down to eight in the morning and four in the afternoon. They take shifts to go to the playground so in the morning there will be four children and they are there for twenty minutes and then twenty minutes later there are four more children that come out and then in the afternoon four children come out and at three or four o’clock we get another group of kids.

Chairman Darby: In terms of your dream of serving more students, what would those numbers look like?

Mr. Brennan: How do you cap a dream? I would like one hundred kids there and I don’t want to lie to the residents I would like to treat as many kids that will come.

Chairman Darby: Which equates to how many kids on the playground area at any given time?

Mr. Brennan: I am a dad; I am not a therapist so I don’t work everyday at the Center. It is tough for me to walk in there, I will be honest, so I will let the people who know what they are doing do what they do. I will say that the playground is a very controlled environment because of the ability of a child to get hurt and the ability of a child to run, so we control that at all times and we control it by the number of kids and the supervision. The playground has to be sized to handle a certain number of children but I cannot imagine more than 15 to 20 children out there. It is a management issue and it is a life-safety issue so even if we had one hundred kids we still wouldn’t put twenty kids on the playground. We don’t have twenty therapists.

Mr. Galster: I don’t have an objection to the use, as far as the building goes. The questions are going to come up in reference to the play area because of the surrounding residential homes. It seems that you will have a pretty good ratio of adult to children supervision. When you were talking about runners; if I open the door and I have to cross your parking lot to get to the playfield, is it possible to take that play area and put it on the other side of the building where you might be able to come through a door that has controlled access so that there is no possibility to run through a parking lot; and I believe that would allow that noise to get on the other side of the building which is going to be a huge buffer? And keep your walking track on the green space for that quiet time when it is more one-on-one. You shouldn’t be held to what happened at the other daycare but what the Commission did was to put conditions on the noise levels. We monitored the noise levels and found they did exceed the agreed upon noise levels and we had them come back in or they would lose their Conditional Use Permit and they didn’t come back in and they subsequently closed. I am not sure how many children were out at one time at that facility, but eight with four adults doesn’t seem like much to me but I do think it would be potentially better to go on the other side to create more of a block and a more controlled environment.

Mr. Brennan: We work with land planners and special needs designers; we are not interested in putting that playground in front of the building. Aesthetically it doesn’t work for us and there has been some long term suggestions about what to do with the front in terms of other potential developments; which may or may not happen. We don’t have traffic, parents come and drop their children off and they leave or stay for a session for an hour therapy session. The school traffic doesn’t generate any traffic, the parents come in and drop the child off and leave. Some of our therapists are out doing work out in the community. We may have twelve cars right now maximum. The other issue with the playground in the front is a higher exposure to traffic. Cameron is not a high traffic area but Cameron Road does have cars on it.

Mr. Galster: I can understand the reluctance and if that is the case we will just have to deal with that as we need to. I assume if your numbers went up and you went above those twenty five students in a day, instead of adding to the eight you would create a third shift of playground activity?

Mr. Brennan: Yes, it is all about a velocity thing on the playground, if the playground was 200’ X 200’ you could still only have so many children on there.

Mr. Galster: Do you know what you would max out at; can you tell us that we would never see more than “X” number of kids at any given time, on the playground at any one time?

Mr. Brennan: I hate to tell you something and it may be right or wrong. You are asking me a question that I can’t give an honest answer to. Could it be twenty, I hope it is twenty. Could it be ten, yes it could be ten.

Mr. Galster: I understand your desire to grow and that is part of the reason that this number is important to me, because I think that there is a big difference between eight children with four adults on a playground as opposed to twenty five or thirty children on a playground at any one given time. That number is important to how that play area is being used and the impact it would have on the surrounding residential area.

Mr. Brennan: I don’t want to put a square peg in a round hole. I don’t want to tell the Commission and the residents something that is not true; I can’t tell you how many kids will be on the playground. I think it would be pushing it with fifteen kids at any one given.

Mr. Galster: If part of the condition for the Conditional Use Permit is that we limit the number of kids on the play area, let’s say ten children, if you need to because of increasing revenue increase that number you would need to come back before this Board to increase that above ten and any time in the playground number and we would have the ability to revisit with residents with the information.

Mr. Brennan: I would be willing to do that, only to extent that there is a complaint. If I put twenty kids on that playground and not a neighbor complains about noise why should I come back and ask for a variance?

Mr. Galster: I understand.

Mr. Brennan: We are making an assumption that this playground is going to create noise and we are making an assumption that this playground is going to create noise that the residents are not going to like.

Mr. Galster: But, I don’t have another autism center that I can go next to and take eight kids out there and see what that noise level is.

Mr. Brennan: I understand you are trying to protect the residents and I want to protect the residents, we’re neighbors but we don’t have a problem yet.

Mr. Galster: I understand, but I would rather not have the problem at eight. I would rather keep the noise level down to where it doesn’t create a complaint at all.
If there is no complaint at eight and we give you permission to go up to sixteen and now all of a sudden we have a complaint, would you be willing to back it back to eight?

Mr. Brennan: Do you have complaints for children playing in the adjacent parks?

Mr. Galster: No, but we do have complaints from residential areas, like we said the daycare center that abuts to a residential area where the volume of the children and the amount of traffic in the play area was way above what any resident anticipated it to be. I am trying to come up with something that works for you that gives us the ability to have some control and to monitor.

Mr. Brennan: I understand; but I think if I am going to invest a half million dollars or more I want to be able to have some flexibility. I think it is unfair to assume, right out of the gate, that we are going to have a noise problem with kids who are non-verbal.

Mr. Galster: I didn’t make an assumption that we are going to have a noise problem right off of the bat. Based on what you are telling me we are going to have eight kids out there at a time. I don’t think that is going to be much of a noise problem. If all of a sudden you tell me we are going to have sixteen kids out there at the same time, my view of what is a noise problem might change.

Mr. Brennan: Today we have eight kids, but the purpose of buying this building is to grow. No two children with autism are alike. What I have today in terms of a mix of students and children is a completely wide spectrum. I have children that beat their heads against the wall and we have children that talk. One of the things about children with autism is they don’t like touch; my son will come and give you kisses and hugs until you tell him to stop; with all due respect and I do respect what you are doing and I want to be really honest, it would be my goal to grow the center. You are absolutely right trying to figure out the numbers on this playground and I am trying to do my best to be honest with you, I could not imagine more than twenty kids on that playground at a time. I can’t imagine twenty staff members. Right now we are four, four, four and three; that is where I am today but I don’t want to be there forever because I want to grow and help kids. If I have ten, ten, ten and five; then that is where I want to be. If that doesn’t work on this site, then I am o.k. with that and I will go somewhere else. It is o.k. It is not a bad thing. We like the building and the site but we want to be good neighbors and respectful and if it doesn’t work here, it is o.k.

Mr. Galster: Based on the size of your enclosed recreational area, do you know based on the State of Ohio standards how many children you can have in that recreational area now?

Mr. Brennan: Absolutely not. What we intended to do with the contract with
Pete Delois is to have Pete come out and consult with us on all the right apparatus. It is not your standard playground; you won’t see a lot of big huge swings, you are going to see lower stuff, more motion devices and that is all to help their vestibular and help treat the child with autism. You will see some slides, they like that. We would be happy to come back.

Chairman Darby: At this time, I would like to move on to the open public hearing and if there are additional questions from Commission Members, we can go back to that.

Mr. Larry Jenkins: My wife and I live at 362 Naylor Court and I have several questions. I want to thank Matthew for his presentation and his comments relative to his son and the comments that were also made by the Commission. Are the days of operation Monday through Friday?

Chairman Darby: It is Monday through Friday.

Mr. Jenkins: The walking area for the children, is that in the playground area?
(At this time Mr. Brennan pointed out on a diagram to Mr. Jenkins where the playground and the walking area would be.)

Mr. Jenkins: I heard Matthew say that he is going to invest a half million dollars in this project; my wife and I have invested over $100,000 in the remodeling of our house since we have been there. My big concern is the noise level and someone said that there weren’t any complaints about the daycare center that was there; yes there were. I called Mayor Webster on a Sunday afternoon and had him come down to my house and had him stand on my deck and listen to the daycare center which was twice as far from our house as this proposed center is. We talk about a buffer area and how high it should be, if you would come and stand on my deck and look at the other old daycare center which started out with around ten or fifteen children, there are over fifty huge trees that are thirty to forty feet tall that buffer the back of our property from that daycare center and the noise was so loud we couldn’t use our deck and it wasn’t just on the weekend it was during the week when the kids were outside. I am concerned about the traffic problem. I think that you said there were fifty nine in and out during the day; right now a lot of people use Cameron Road as a cut off between Sharon Road and Route 4, in the morning and the afternoon. If you would come on my street on Naylor Court in the morning and drive up the street and turn right and try to get to Route 4, you may wait at that stop sign for ten minutes because of the traffic on Route 4 and because of the backup on Cameron. My question would be are we going to think about putting a traffic light in at the corner or Route 4 and Cameron. I think you would be surprised at the traffic that travels on Cameron Road, even busses that come to pick up handicap people that live in the area come down Cameron Road and use Naylor Road as a turn around every day, two or three times a day. My other concern would be the increase in the number of children that would potentially be there and I guess I need clarification of what exactly is a Conditional Use Permit; is it conditional because it is an educational facility, is that what makes it conditional? What rights do the residents have here if this is agreed to and for some reason it doesn’t work out and the residents come back and complain?

Mr. Wocher: A Conditional Use is a use that is specifically identified within a Zoning District that is permitted after a public hearing and a determination by the Planning Commission and that gives the Planning Commission an opportunity to put conditions on that use. Educational Institutions are specified as a Conditional Use as long as that use, if approved, complies with that condition it would be able to continue and if it violates the conditions then the City would take appropriate action.

Mr. Jenkins: I know it wasn’t easy to get the other daycare center out and they fought the problem for quite a long time and the major problem was the traffic wasn’t on Cameron or Naylor, it was on Route 4 because that is where the daycare center was. The noise was the big problem and when you have invested the kind of money that we have in our house and many of our neighbors have in their houses and to not be able to use your backyard or your deck is a real problem. I know several of the neighbor’s property that abuts that property have swimming pools and because the playground area is fenced in, I am assuming that is not going to be a problem.

Mr. Robert W. Percival Sr.: My address is 388 Naylor Court and I am also the Recording Secretary and the Secretary of Atonement Lutheran Church. The daycare center that was over on Route 4 was the problem. When we had our daycare center it was a smaller, younger children and it was inside the building only. That was probably fifteen years or more ago. The Atonement Lutheran Church is used daily; we have over-eaters, AA meets in the church four nights a week bringing in multiple cars. Tuesday night was the biggest night; we probably had fifty, sixty cars in the parking lot. Monday night for the overeaters are there and maybe ten people. Wednesday, we had both worship services and a group for AA meeting and there were twenty five to thirty cars, so the traffic volume is constant. Larry is right that Cameron is used for a cut through for many of the residents of Forest Park and it gets very frustrating trying to get out to go to work at 6:00 a.m. or 7:00 a.m. in the morning and then if you go out at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon you may sit there for ten minutes. It is a problem and has been for years. I don’t think that this center is going to add more traffic to that area than what we already have on that corner because most of the traffic that comes into the church for the meetings in the evening are coming off of Route 4 and turning into the church parking lot, very few go down Cameron Road to get to Sharon. It is a problem with the cut through.
Ms. Sequoia Powers: I live at 380 Naylor Court which is right behind the church and I have lived there for eleven years and I have to say the church has been a good neighbor and I will miss the church. If the Center for Autism takes over the building, will we still be able to vote there? When I heard that the Center for Autism of Cincinnati would likely be buying the church property, I have to say I was pleased and I am delighted that we have a center for autism in Cincinnati. I did visit today and I liked what I saw and like the feel of the place. I think these are children who very, very much need this kind of service and I take my hat off to Matt for everything he has done and his staff. I have very personal reasons for feeling this way, I am a seventy one year old woman, which means I was born in 1940 and I had a sister who was born in 1941 and she was different. We didn’t understand why she was different or how she was different but we knew she was different. By the time she was three years old she wasn’t talking yet; that raised a red flag for my parents and they sought professional help and they did go to a doctor and my sister went weekly and received shots and she had pills to take but there was no improvement. The reason there was no improvement was because she was born in 1941, she was receiving this treatment in 1944, 1945, 1946 and autism wasn’t even named until 1949. There was nothing back then. Fast forward sixty years, about ten years ago I heard of a condition called Asperger’s Syndrome which is on the autism spectrum. My sister is a classic Asperger’s Syndrome person. She could have so profited from early intervention and I have always felt pretty heartbroken that she couldn’t get the help she needed because she wasn’t able to go forward with the kind of productive life I have been able to go forward with because I have many skills that she didn’t have. She is a recluse today, she is a hoarder, she perseverates which means she repeats herself over and over again. She has many rage issues. I think a lot of this could have been alleviated, so I throw myself wholeheartedly behind this kind of effort and this kind of school. I think it would be a feather in the cap of Springdale to embrace this center. I think it would show us as a forward thinking, caring community. I am across the street from Shirley and Larry; I didn’t hear the noise from the other school. I heard about it because a police officer came around and asked me if I heard it, but I didn’t. It didn’t occur to me to worry about noise from the autism center, that is the farthest thing from my mind. I have ten grandkids, eight of them are boys and five of them are age five and under, when we have a family dinner it is really, really noisy in my backyard and these are normal kids. They are loud and excited and neither of my next door neighbors, both of which are here, have ever complained about them. I am not saying it wasn’t a problem at the other center but why are we focusing on it. This is so different, I just think that maybe because it was a problem in the past, it is unfair to lay it out as the main concern because I think residents have other concerns, and I don’t think noise was one of them, but they have to speak for themselves.

Mr. Chris Manis: I live at 324 Cameron Road, directly across from the property. I understand what you are trying to do and I appreciate it. My only concerns are with you being re-supplied, are you going to be having tractor trailers coming into that property to re-supply it, because your driveway is across from mine. The problem I was having with the church, at night when the whole flow was coming out, if I wanted to get out of my property I am sitting and waiting the whole time. Would the tractor trailers be able to make that turn, without going through my property? What time is the dumpster going to be picked up; those are some of the concerns I am having. With the kids, like you said they are runners; with my property being across from yours it is a liability on mine as soon as they cross that street and get onto my property, if it is not fenced in. I have two dogs and I let them outside a lot of the time and I don’t want one of the kids to get excited. It would be great if I could bring my dogs over to help out the kids, I would be more than happy to, but I don’t want to have them run over the street to come and play with the dogs. The other thing I would like to ask, with the zoning of the property, could that be used as a commercial property, as well, if he does not purchase it, or is it residential?

Mr. Wocher: It would remain residential.

Mr. Manis: One of my big concerns is if he wasn’t to move in there, if somebody would want to build an apartment complex because that is a big lot.

Mr. Wocher: This would be a specific approval if that happens for an autism center. Any other use that would be permitted would have to go through a hearing and commercial uses are not permitted.

Mr. Jenkins: Does the center operate all year round?

Mr. Brennan: Yes.

Mr. Jenkins: So, it is not in conjunction with the school year?

Mr. Brennan: We provide summer services through the schools called ESY as well as our summer camp.

Mr. Jenkins: Are there any operations that are ever on the weekends?

Mr. Brennan: Very rarely. There are occasions when we might have a meeting; we never work on Sundays. There are occasions where we might do something small on a Saturday.

Mr. Jenkins: There was an article in the paper about a new high school being built in Sharonville for autistic children; do you have any affiliation with that organization?

Mr. Brennan: No.

Mr. Manis: Hours of operation, when is the latest time someone would be using that property?

Mr. Brennan: Typically 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; the center for the most part ends services at 3:30 p.m., then we have some tutoring and there is a gal that does music therapy, she stays late. When I came to this meeting tonight she was there with a child. In answer to the other three questions: We are a little non-profit; we have a little old lady that works at P&G who brings us paper towels about once a month in the back of her car. I respect the tractor trailer question but it is not realistic for what we do. If we were to purchase the property and we are going to have equipment in there to the extent that we will tear the parking lot area out and redo that; to make it look good. We would be moving our current supplies from Fairfield right up the street and you are welcome to come up and see that. We are also very heavy in volunteers so I would say probably Two Men and A Truck would come in and move us down here. Sometimes when we buy office supplies a truck, like a Staples truck, will come in. The second issue was about runners; the only thing that I can tell you is I haven’t lost one in eight years. The parking lot is shot and we are basically taking most of the parking lot out because we don’t need it. We are going to put a little walking trail around it and in the center we are going to put a playground; we are going to fence that playground and on the peripheral we are going to have mounds.

Mr. Manis: On the property near Cameron, are you making any adjustments there?

Mr. Brennan: We are doing nothing on that part of the property. The dumpster question; we have once a week pick-up because we just don’t have that much, could they come twice a week; yes.

Mr. Manis: It they are dumping it at 6:00 a.m. or 7:00 a.m., I don’t want to hear the thing dumping.

Mr. Brennan: If they did that, we could call and say that you can’t come at
7:00 a.m.

Mr. Laurence Bergman: I am not a resident but I am aware of Matt; our firm works with Matt and he doesn’t mix words, he does what he says he is going to do and he also listens to what people are saying. Being in the excavation business you have to listen really well, people are sensitive. I don’t think he would move forward if he thought there would be a problem with the residents. There is too much invested in this. The residents are going to get a lot of value out of the work he is going to do around the site.

Ms. Dianne Caylor: I am the listing agent for the Atonement Lutheran Church and I represent the Church in marketing the property. We were very thrilled to get this offer a very short time after listing the property; we were marketing it at fair market value and we have had a number of church congregations that didn’t move quite as fast. If we did not sell it to the school, what you would probably get would be a congregation of one to three hundred people with multiple services on Sunday, Sunday night and two or three nights during the week, probably have a pre-school on site with thirty to fifty children at a time and you would have a lot of activities and picnics on the grounds; this is probably going to be your quietest neighbor coming in of the possibilities of who else would be interested in this property; due to the zoning, another church or a school are about the only uses that we could sell the building to.

(At this time the Chairman recognized no further audience members wished to speak and the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.)

Mr. Galster: You wouldn’t have any problem stipulating on the dumpster hours; not to be before 8:00 a.m. in the morning?

Mr. Brennan: No.

Mr. Galster: Are you sure there is not a number that you could come up with that you would not exceed a certain number of children at any given time; I hear that some don’t have an issue with that and I hear that some do have an issue with it. I wouldn’t be comfortable with fifty kids out there at one time; I am not sure what that number is but I guess I am looking for something that is going to tell me that we are going to make an effort to control the number of children that we would have out there at any given time. The only way to control that is with a number; we have had experience with decibel levels and those are awfully tough to do. My comfort level would be that we were going to limit it to “X” number and if you need to spread it out, add more shifts; and any request to go over that number would need to be reconsidered. If there haven’t been any problems then I don’t see that there would be an issue. If they have problems with the volume then I think it would be an issue.

Mr. Okum: I think the lady from the realty company did state pretty accurately the functions that could potentially go into the church. As far as daycare, I am not sure how that falls into a church. At this point, we do know that a congregation could go in there with three hundred members and fill that parking lot on Sundays and increase traffic. I hear the applicant suggest mounding; I usually phrase the motion as: rolling landscape mounds constructed three to six feet in height with evergreens and typically we have that type of plan reviewed by our City Staff and they work with the applicant. This is to be used for sound attenuation from adjacent residential uses. Basically it ties it to the residential side of the property and not the commercial side of the property and I think that is important.
What are the hours of operation? And are the children called students of the facility?

Mr. Brennan: Technically, they are students and they would be there from
8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Our staff gets there about 7:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. and that is when they start coming. We do a staggered start because you don’t want all the kids at once, they start arriving at 8:30 a.m. and by 9:00 a.m. our students are there. Our morning session ends at 11:30 a.m. and we start letting some of the early kids out at 11:30 a.m. and by 12:00 p.m. they are out. We have a half hour break when our staff eats lunch and then we go into our afternoon session at 12:30 p.m. and again we do a staggered start; by 1:00 p.m. our afternoon session is in and then that session lets out at 3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. At 3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. our after-school kids come in and these are kids that are coming in from a typical classroom in a school, their parents are bringing them in and they are coming for some specialized
service, tutoring, speech, occupational therapy and music therapy. We do a social skills program to teach kids with Asperger’s, we have a big Asperger’s program that teaches kids how to go out into the community and order a hamburger, we take them bowling and all that. That lets out about 5:00 p.m., but there is an occasion, like tonight, where we are doing one on one music therapy; two people are there in 4,000 s.f., right now; they were still there when I was on my way here and I don’t know what time that session ends but pretty much at 5:00 p.m. we are done, but there are times when we will have a small one on one thing past 5:00 p.m.

Mr. Okum: I think the residents don’t want it to be a 24/7 with activity and play areas; but if you grow, there may be a need for an evening opportunity and at this point this Conditional Use hearing is based upon this amount of information we have and I think Mr. Galster mentioned that this isn’t etched in stone; these types of things could evolve, and hopefully to the positive. This is new territory and you are more familiar with this than most of us are. When we put conditions on the Conditional Use Variance, those conditions are to protect the integrity of the neighborhood, because this is a church in a residential neighborhood it becomes more significant than a church that is in a commercial neighborhood; your function right now is in a commercial neighborhood.

Mr. Brennan: I don’t want to come back here every six months. One of the things the church currently holds is AA meetings; and I don’t mind if the AA has a meeting there, we want to help them; so am I not allowed to let them use my facility after 5:00 p.m.?

Mr. Okum: No, you can have the polls there, as far as I am concerned. I don’t know how the polls feel about that, but that would be great.

Mr. Brennan: What I don’t want to do is get all these conditions and then if we want to hold a meeting some night, such as a parent meeting at 6:00 p.m., do I need to come back here and ask if I can have a meeting?

Mr. Okum: No, sir.

Mr. Brennan: It is floating for me too, as much as the Commission is charting new waters, it is charting new waters for me because I can do whatever I want; if I want to have a 7:00 p.m. meeting I don’t have to go get a permit. I just want to make sure that whatever conditions or limitations you put on me, that I can live with them because I don’t want to come back here every six months. I want to grow and provide services and I want to be a community member.

Mr. Okum: I think everybody in the community understands what you are doing.

Mr. Brennan: I have to answer to our Board, too. If I go back to our Board and ask the Board President how many children; and if I tell him twenty, then he would ask why I didn’t ask for fifty children.

Mr. Okum: We need to have some framework. Just so that you understand, the motion phrase says: outdoor recreational area and playground area shall be limited to “blank” participants at any one time. There is no number in there.

Mr. Brennan: Let’s put fifty.

Mr. Okum: I am not going to say fifty.

Chairman Darby: You don’t want fifty.

Mr. Brennan: Let’s put one hundred. You don’t move into a place and run over everybody, that is not what we are; we are a non-profit. It is all women in this place. They are all soul-full good people in this place. Please remember, I own a house, too. I have a deck and I want to sit on my deck, too. It is o.k. and I understand and I fully respect that. But, we are trying to not have a bunch on things that limit what we want to do.

Mr. Okum: We want you to be successful there. The other item that Staff has requested is the lighting, they are going to need something from you on the lighting. We typically require cut-off lights without the globes below, typical to what you have seen in any commercial developments. I usually add verbiage in the motion when there is residential use, to say that there should be no glare and that there should be “0” fall at the property line. It keeps your lights internal to your site so that the neighbors aren’t getting the light.
Right now, my motion is phrased; you do understand, sir, that it does require five votes and we have five people here. This may mean carrying this forward if we don’t have a lot of positive vibrations coming from this Commission.

Mrs. Ghantous: The questions about the hours of operation; those are not noise questions, right? As far as the AA meeting or family meetings on the weekends, that is very different than talking about at what times of the day the kids are going to be on the playground; right?

Chairman Darby: Yes.

Mrs. Ghantous: So, to me there is outside noise and there are the concerns about the playground noise and then the hours of operation are kind of different, whether it is family meetings or AA meetings or musical tutoring, those things are going to be indoors and to me those are two separate issues.

Mr. Okum: That is a very good point.

Chairman Darby: I want to thank everyone for coming out and expressing your opinions; Mr. Brennan, having worked with this population of kids for many years, I applaud what you are doing and although it seems like we were pretty rough, we are really just trying to do our job and make sure that we dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s”. I was here some years ago when folks stood at that very podium and addressed the issue of noise that was presented by the daycare center that was here. You are an administrator and I was an administrator and we get in trouble when we try to answer questions that our specialists can answer. Your specialist wouldn’t let you request fifty kids out there; I can tell you that now. I can’t speak for the other Members of the Commission but I am favorable toward this, but I want to insure that we have the safeguards in place to protect the integrity of the community and help you to be successful.

Mr. Bauer: Do you have any projections, as far as growth, based on five years, ten years; any kind of a long term plan for that growth?

Mr. Brennan: I am an entrepreneur, so for me I want to get big. I am not going to sit here and lie and tell people that we just want to be where we are. We wouldn’t buy this building; I would just stay where we are. I grew fast in my business and that hurt. In the industry of working with children, helping with children, the worst thing you can do is grow really fast because you have to have the delivery of services and delivering a quality product. If you grow fast you cannot provide the infrastructure and education to get your therapists to deliver the proper services. The other issue is that there is such a broad spectrum of kids that you have to be really careful of your mix. We don’t put five year olds with twelve or thirteen year olds. Yes, we intend to grow and if I saw a 3% to 7% growth rate I would say that is typically normal in our industry; and that is what I project.

Mr. Bauer: I ask that question in regard to Mr. Galster’s question when he was trying to establish the number of kids on the playground; not to limit you but to give flexibility. I do like your suggestion that if we get a complaint we can put that as a condition?

Mr. Brennan: Does it have to be one complaint? Can they just come over and tell me that they heard us? We bought this property because there are 3 ½ acres; I would like to expand. I would like to add onto this building; we want to grow with the measured control environment. I am happy to work with the residents on the noise.

Mr. Wocher: Mr. Chairman, I was just going to clarify for Mr. Okum that you might want to reference in your motion the standards for Conditional Use, that they were considered. And if you are inclined; the term normal operating hours might be appropriate and that would include some extra activity after normal operating hours.

Mr. Okum: I have no number for the children on the playground; so we will deliberate amongst us, prior to the motion being forwarded.

Chairman Darby: With my knowledge of the type of programs that you provide, the current enrollment and even your anticipated growth enrollment and knowing the restraints that your specialists will enforce the center to adhere to, I would say that if we put a number of sixteen children on the playground at any given time, that would be more than sufficient. Not all of the autistic children are non-verbal but the amount of required supervision that is a part of their play activities is tremendous; those are not just school mandated but state mandated. Just based on my experience, I feel very comfortable that it is going to be manageable.

Mr. Okum: The applicant has asked for up to fifty, and if he gets one complaint from a resident that this Conditional Use shall be reconsidered. That means that it does get reconsidered; that would mean a public hearing and notice given and all of the things that are tied to that. If we bring it down to a set number of sixteen participants, the catalysts that would get that into motion would be complaints from residents over undo noise or observations that there is a lot more activity on the playground other than sixteen participants and caregivers, so either way it is a “by complaint” activated scenario.

Mayor Webster: I would like to suggest that the Commission would consider putting some restriction on the weekend usage of the play area. The documentation that I saw said they would use the play area from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and I am assuming that is Monday through Friday.

Mr. Okum: My motion says Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Mayor Webster: I would like to see it secured, padlocked for the weekends; what is to keep neighborhood kids from coming in there. I can attest to what Mr. Jenkins said, when he holds his phone outside his patio door and I can hear the noise. I don’t want these folks to have to put up with that again on the weekends or evenings or whatever.

Mr. Okum: I believe Mr. Brennan’s insurance would be concerned about other people coming onto their property.

Mayor Webster: I would like to see it as part of the conditions.

Mr. McErlane: I thought I heard Mr. Okum mention students and caregivers; I think if you settle on a number it should be students and not caregivers.

Mr. Brennan: Just so I understand this motion; if the noise is violated on the playground, you say that we have to come back for a Conditional Use hearing?

Mr. Okum: Mr. Brennan, there was two ways: You said to allow fifty and if there is a complaint then it becomes another Conditional Use hearing, if there is a noise issue.

Mr. Brennan: If we have a noise complaint relative to the playground, any hearing relative to that noise complaint is about the capacity of the playground and not the Conditional Use of the facility; the playground is one element of the Conditional Use and only one element. So really what we are dealing with is a condition that this Commission has put on us as a result of working with the neighbors, not as a result of our satisfaction of the Conditional Use items. Second, I am not interested in a motion that is “if, come what, may be”, if you are going to put a restriction on it, it is sixteen or whatever the number is that you decide. I would like twenty-five and you want sixteen, but it is students. I also want to be clear that relative to the motion that when we talk about the use and the hours I am fine with the 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and I am also fine to say no use of the playground on the weekends. I want to give you some feedback on what I am fine with because it dictates whether I can purchase the property; it has to be good for me as well as good for the residents.

Mr. Okum: If we lower it down to the sixteen versus your fifty?

Mr. Brennan: I am not interested. You said fifty and one complaint and I have to come back.

Mr. Okum: I don’t see a noise issue on that motion, if it is at sixteen.

Mr. Brennan: I don’t either.

Mr. Okum: But if it is fifty, then it is a complaint.

Mr. Brennan: At sixteen, we are not talking about quantifying the complaints that trigger a meeting.

Mr. Okum: Right, that is what I am trying to get around so that I understand what this Commission wants in the motion. So, does the Commission agree that if it is reduced down to sixteen versus fifty that the noise portion of the motion would not be enforced?

Mr. Galster: I would like to see something that if there is actual complaints at sixteen that there is some effort made by the Staff to mitigate the noise issue. I am not saying that it would automatically revoke the Conditional Use but I think that it says that it shall not exceed sixteen students at any given time; should multiple complaints be made then the applicant shall make an effort to mitigate that by additional plantings or noise reduction elements, relocation of the play area or reducing the number of students permitted, to try to mitigate that before it is an automatic reduction or elimination of a Conditional Use. If you want me to agree to a number of sixteen, I don’t know what volume that means; sixteen kids to me means five of my family. If we are going to put a number at sixteen then we still need to have assurances that if there are multiple complaints received by the City and forwarded to the applicant, that the applicant make some good-faith effort to try to mitigate and alleviate that situation.

Mr. Brennan: You made a statement in that as part of the mitigation; I am not moving the playground, that is not an option for me and if that is something the Commission has then I am not interested. And that is o.k., if that is a requirement but I won’t be the buyer of the property. Another thing that I think is important for clarification it shouldn’t be multiple complaints; it should be multiple complaints from residents, that way one guy or girl can’t call in ten times. We can’t solve everybody’s problems, we will do our best and work with those people who are most effected.

Chairman Darby: We do have a duty and obligation to ensure that this neighborhood is not unduly burdened with noise. We are being very careful in trying to structure this thing properly because you are on the verge of making a significant financial investment here. We are trying to measure twice and cut once.

Mr. Okum: The eight requirements under the Code for a Conditional Use Variance and Mr. Wocher wanted to make sure that I referenced it. Under Item #4: “The location, extent and arrangement and intensity of the proposed use shall be such that its operation will not be objectionable to adjacent and surrounding uses by reason of noise, smoke, dust, odors, fumes, vibrations and glare”. This is in the Code.
Mr. Galster suggested that there be some catalyst, something that puts in motion a methodology to deal with that potential. Hopefully we can surround it with a motion or a condition on the applicant that he has to do something if it is too bad. He says that he is willing to do what is in reason to address that.
Frankly until that is addressed, that one little section, I am probably not going to give a favorable vote on this and I am one of the five votes that is needed, unless you can come up with something that you are comfortable with and this Commission is comfortable with, because that one item is critical to these residents that live surrounding that property. If it takes more time, I would rather take more time than do it wrong.

Ms. Caylor: If this doesn’t go through and we get a church buyer, since it is a church buyer and it is a church use, would they have to go through this whole hearing?

Mr. Wocher: A church or religious institution is a permitted use in the district.

Mr. Galser: If in fact a new church moved in or was interested in buying the property and they wanted to build a playground; is the playground automatically a permitted use or would it be a conditional use permit?

Mr. McErlane: It is an ancillary use of the church, there is no provision for playground to come before this Board as a conditional use permit?

Chairman Darby: Mr. Brennan, you have had an opportunity to kind of sense where the Commission is at this time; is it your preference that we proceed with the motion at this time?

Mr. Brennan: I need to move on the building and the buyer wants to sell. You need to do what you need to do.

Chairman Darby: Realizing that there are only five members present and you have heard some sentiments expressed and it will require five affirmative votes.

Mr. Brennan: It can’t be on next meetings agenda?

Chairman Darby: One of the options is we could continue the hearing until the next meeting.

Mr. Wocher: This is a point of consideration, this is a public hearing, so if you are inclined to continue since we closed the public hearing, do we need to continue that to preserve time?

Mr. Okum: We would consider the entire public hearing in deliberation; the whole hearing in process.

Mr. Brennan: What I would propose is that we table it, however if I am allowed to I would work with Staff on crafting the correct language that we could come back to the Commission next month.

Mr. Okum: I move to open the public hearing back up.
Mr. Galster seconded the motion, and with a unanimous affirmative vote from the Planning Commission Members present the motion was accepted.

Chairman Darby: At this time the Chair will accept a motion to continue the public hearing in process.

Mr. Okum: So moved.
Mr. Galster seconded the motion and with a unanimous affirmative vote from the Planning Commission Members present, the motion was accepted.


B.     Chairman Darby: The next item on the agenda for New Business is Modification Preliminary PUD Plan, Outdoor Advertising Device at the Beltway Center, 11752 Commons Drive.

    Mr. Tulloch: I am the Development Director. I am here since the City has been actively involved for quite a number of years in trying to facilitate a sign / outdoor advertising device on I-275 for the benefit of the City. With me are Tom Fahey and Mike Schraes from Lemar and Larry Bergman from Beltway. We have been really working for about twelve months to put this formulation together for the outdoor advertising device; prior to that there were economic issues, design issues, land ownership issues, lease issues, state permit issues. We have finally gotten to the point where we are able to come to Planning Commission, the Council having passed the Outdoor Advertising Device Ordinance; we are coming to Planning Commission today to get Planning Commission’s recommendation to proceed to Council, provided that it is determined that it is a major PUD change, we need to go to Council for public hearing. We were trying to do a sign that would be paid for by the City with some income potentially coming from the commercial district and we found that to be essentially impossible, not only from the standpoint of the logistics of putting a sign together but also some of the fiscal constraints that the City was facing post 2007, so we came up with an idea of working with an expert company like Lemar, and we determined Beltway was the best place to put it; the Bergman group and S.K.A. were willing to work together. In addition to being a good economic unit for Lemar it also produces some very significant benefits to the City and businesses within the City in that 1/6th, 15% to 16% of the utilization of this sign, of the usage of the sign will be for the advertising of Springdale businesses for the advertising and promotion of the retail district and for community event identification and promotion. The Council passed the Ordinance allowing for this but I think it is still going through its thirty day period for ratification but we would request that the Planning Commission recommend this to Council so that we can proceed to public hearing and then subsequently come back to the Planning Commission for the formal preliminary approval.

    Mr. Tom Fahey: I am from Lemar Advertising. The project that we have been working on goes back to early 2007 and we developed the backbone for what you have here. We developed the project with Thor Equities who were the owners of the Mall at that time and as we developed through that project we had several meetings and we had several opportunities to explore the best way to have this public partnership work; as it turned out that program fell through because it didn’t have the approval from ODOT, the property that it was on just didn’t conform to the rules that they had so at that time it got tabled until we got Larry Bergman involved. Since doing that we have gotten the approval from ODOT and found an appropriate place for this device and we feel it is a win / win situation.

    (At this time Mr. McErlane and Mr. Wocher read their Staff comments.)

Chairman Darby: Mr. Galster are you in a position to determine if this is a major departure from the approved plan?

Mr. Galster: Yes, I believe it is a major departure from the approved plan.

Chairman Darby: Therefore, any action by this group will be referred to the City Council.

Mr. Okum: Consideration of fall of light on the Willows in Heritage Hill; is there a remedy to deal with that?

Mr. Fahey: In my experience the light from the interstate will be much more of an impact on the neighborhood across the street than what our billboard will be. We have 24 billboards throughout greater Cincinnati and we don’t have any ambient light issues with any of our sign locations.

Mr. Okum: What if you do not receive the Springdale and Civic ads for occupying space on the sign?
Mr. Fahey: We can have default ads that Springdale can always run.

Mr. Okum: In my opinion going westbound to eastbound to say “welcome to Springdale” is a little bit late; you might want to just say “Springdale Ohio”.
The other item I had is obviously architectural design and it becomes an issue of: is a pole and a digital billboard architecturally sensitive to the surroundings? I know there is a cost factor involved. I recall when we had Tri-County Mall in here on the redevelopment plans and they were talking about their signs and we held them to a pretty strong standard of what we expected that potential digital expressway sign to be.
(At this time Mr. Okum presented some printed examples of sign designs.)

Mr. Fahey: We went to experts, Adtec which is a company out of Atlanta who we commissioned to develop the drawing that you have. We gave them the criteria and this is the design that they came back to us with. We have to also have the capacity to be able to work inside the sign and that is part of the reason for the materials that they have used. I would like to work with the City and help develop other criteria. Sometimes the façade of the sign takes away from the actual elements of the sign and that defeats the purpose.

Mr. Okum: When this first came up, I envisioned it by the pond by the west side of the Beltway Center.

Mr. Fahey: ODOT would not permit it there. This is the best use and may be the only spot that ODOT would permit it at.

Mr. Galster: In reference to the architectural feature of the pole, even if it is split face block going up and then a break line every once in awhile; it is only 28’ tall?

Mr. Fahey: Twenty eight foot to the base.

Mr. Galster: But instead of having one solid thing just break it with an accent color every once in awhile to help break it up. The Lemar sign is usually not illuminated?

Mr. Schraes: On their low built signs they are illuminated; this will be illuminated.

Mr. Galster: I know Ms. McBride thinks there needs to be plantings but I don’t know that you are going to see it. I think it fits in well.

Chairman Darby: Have you had any time to give consideration to Staff’s comment about the size of the Springdale sign?

Mr. Fahey: You also have to understand that Springdale is going to be on six of all the advertising spots, so you don’t want to take away from that by making that sign bigger.

Mr. Laurence Bergman: In our meetings with Lemar, our goal tonight was to get the approval for Planning Commission to bring it before Council, however Lemar is understanding that the next step with the Planning Commission is to work with the City to get the necessary architectural with the economic and functional abilities of the sign; and also with our tenants because our tenants have put a lot of money into their spaces and they don’t want everyone focused just on that sign. They were very focused on working with the City to get this approved.

Mr. Okum: Is S.K.A. o.k. with this location?

Mr. Bergman: Yes. Literally with the state of Ohio, within a foot it could have been rejected. That is how sensitive the state is.

Mr. Okum: I just wanted this as part of the record.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a motion to approve to refer the preliminary plan for modification to the Beltway Center; to include in that Staff’s recommendations and considerations and the final review of the covenants and agreements by our Law Director, and I am referring this to Council.
Mr. Galster seconded the motion, and with five affirmative votes, two members being absent, the motion was approved.

   
VIII. DISCUSSION

Mr. McErlane: Mr. Chairman, I received your email relative to Full Throttle Karting, is it your decision that they come back to Planning Commission for the signs.

Chairman Darby: I was a little confused about that one. Let’s talk about it just a moment here; I wasn’t sure if I wanted to just approve that or get your input on it.

Mr. McErlane: Planning Commission approved a sign package that they presented minus the one directional sign that they were going to include. The sign package that was proposed basically had white background with their text on it and they have changed the background to a black background with white text and some red; which is not the main issue. They also had two channel letter signs that were proposed for the building that said “High Performance Racing” and they have chosen to go with a black panel with plastic letters on it, externally illuminated with fluorescent lighting that is what they have presented.
(At this time Mr. McErlane presented an illustration showing the proposed changes.)

Mr. Galster: We have two channel letter signs approved.

Mr. McErlane: The square footage still matches up.

Mr. Galster: The problem with the plastic letters when you pin them up there is that they fall off and break and they are not as easy to repair.

Mr. McErlane: If they do individual letters and they are flush mounted, they are a lot more expensive to do than raceway mounted.

Chairman Darby: What is our pleasure on this?

Mr. Okum: It doesn’t meet the Code.

Mr. McErlane: It differs from what was approved by Planning Commission.

Mr. Okum: Then I would say no. Have them bring it in.

    Chairman Darby: The next meeting is September 13th.


IX. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Okum moved to adjourn; Mr. Galster seconded and with five affirmative
votes from the Planning Commission Members present, the meeting adjourned at
9:49 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________, 2011 ___________________________________
            Don Darby, Chairman


________________________, 2011 ___________________________________
                Richard Bauer, Secretary