PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
August 10, 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, Steve Galster, David Okum, Chairman Tony Butrum

Member Absent: Tom Vanover

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


III. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF JULY 13, 2010

Mr. Galster moved to adopt the July 13, 2010 Planning Commission meeting minutes, Mr. Darby seconded the motion and the minutes were adopted with five “aye” votes, (one Member absent and Mrs. Ghantous arriving after vote was taken).


IV. REPORT ON COUNCIL

Mr. Galster: Ordinance No. 23-2010 should be included in everybody’s packets and that was passed at the last Council meeting with the clean-up items on the Zoning Code.


V. OLD BUSINESS

A. Chairman Butrum: Under Old Business we had an item that we had continued, the Hoxworth Blood Center’s request for box-type signage at 11812 Springfield Pike.
I see that we did receive an email from the sign company asking to withdraw the application; I will entertain a motion for that.

Mr. Darby: Move to withdraw.
Mr. Okum seconded the motion and with 5 “aye” votes (one Member arriving after the vote was taken) the request to withdraw was approved.

   

VI. NEW BUSINESS

A. Chairman Butrum: The first item of New Business; T. J. Maxx proposed signs at
    493 East Kemper Road.

Mr. Jim Gray: We are asking for a variance for the T. J. Maxx that is located on Kemper Road. The ordinance says that you allow 150 s.f. per sign and it looks like the way it was figured that it exceeds that on the front elevation, the side elevation seems to be o.k. because they are at 127 s.f.; the front is 161.42 s.f. and we are looking for a variance for the front elevation sign. How do you figure square feet, do you do it box-wise?

Chairman Butrum: It is box-wise based on the smallest bounding box that encases all the letters.

Mr. Jim Gray: The reason they are seeking this size is so that people can see it from the road elevation as they are going by.
(At this time Mr. McErlane read his Staff Comments.)

Mr. McErlane: The total square footage that is being requested is 600.4 s.f., with the largest sign being 287.2 s.f. and we should clarify, based on the dimension that were given for the sign, we calculate it to be 287.2 s.f., but if you look at their drawing they have it calculated at 337.45 s.f. and I am not sure where that number comes from.

Mr. Gray: I don’t think you have the correct drawings because we have a letter from the Building Department that shows we are requesting 474 s.f. The total square feet on the front sign, when you box it, is only 161.42 s.f.; so something is incorrect with that.

Mr. McErlane: You have the initial letter that you received when we rejected your permit application, I believe, and at that time you had signs that were smaller than what you are proposing today and what you proposed in the last two submittals. Those were based on a landlord letter that said that they didn’t want the sign letter’s total height to be more than 6’. The signs that have been submitted for Planning Commission are 7’-10”.

Mr. Gray: For the front elevation?

Mr. McErlane: For the front elevation; correct. Then I received a letter from the landlord changing those dimensions and approving the 7’-10” dimensions.

Mr. Gray: I have 5’-10 ” for that sign, for total overall height on my drawing.

Mr. McErlane: That is the drawing that was submitted for permit back in June or the first part of July. On July 20th we received plans that indicated a 7’-10” dimension and then on the 26th we received another set of plans that show 7’-10” dimension.

Mr. Gray: That is incorrect; I don’t know why you do not have these drawings.
This is out of a company in Pennsylvania that I am doing this for and this is the correct drawing which corresponds to the second letter that we got back from the Building Department.

Mr. McErlane: This actually is the first of three comments that we sent to the sign company; the ones that you are referring to.

Mr. Gray: But, this is what we want.

Chairman Butrum: So, I am assuming that we don’t have drawings?

Mr. Gray: I have drawings here if you need those for this evening.

(At this time Mr. Gray provided Planning Commission with the drawing he referred to.)

Mr. McErlane: The clarification is that it is only the 6’ high letters or the 5’-10 ” high letters?

Mr. Gray: That is what I was given to represent and that is what I thought you had.

Mr. McErlane: So what is being proposed tonight is a 5’-10 ” high sign that includes the overall height of the sign by 27’-6”; for a total of 161.42s.f. on the front and then the side and rear signs are the same as what was submitted to Planning Commission at 127.92 s.f., the total height of 5’-2 ” X 24’-5 ”. The other signs that are on the side are actually panel changes in the existing pylon and ground sign. The totals, I will have to dig out from my first letter.

Mr. Gray: I had conversation with them today, knowing that I was going to represent them at this meeting and I confirmed that these are the correct drawings and they said emphatically that they were. I asked them to give me the dimensions without the box and they said these are the correct drawings and this is what we are going for, this is the sign package that we want to install.

Mr. Okum: For clarity, what is the revision date on your drawings at the bottom?

Mr. Gray: These are dated 5/12/10.

Ms. McBride: The drawings that the applicant just gave us are dated 6/10/10 which is more recent than the 6/8/10 that we were working with previously.

Mr. Gray: The revision on there for 6/8/10 was when I asked them to give me the unboxed.

Mr. McErlane: The letter that I sent initially on 7/6/10 was 474.7 s.f.; so we have rounded it; so, 48.3 s.f. over what the allowable is. Circuit City was at 440.9 s.f. and their north-wall sign was 196 s.f.

Chairman Butrum: Correct me if I am wrong, Circuit City was quite a bit higher because of the orientation-aspect ratio of their sign.

Mr. McErlane: The initial submittal we received from the applicant showed some photos of the rest of the center’s signs and it included, although it was wrapped with a Halloween Store sign, it did include the old Circuit City sign.

Chairman Butrum: And that was valuable, as I recall, because when we looked at it in Staff it also showed the scale of those neighboring stores.

Mr. McErlane: And I can distribute those because when the applicant resubmitted they excluded those photos so we didn’t distribute those to Planning Commission.

Chairman Butrum: I think that would help the applicant if we looked at those, as well.

Mr. McErlane: The former Circuit City sign was basically a 14’ diameter circle.

Chairman Butrum: So, quite a bit higher.
Mr. Gray, you do not know why they reduced the request?

Mr. Gray: I can’t give you an honest answer.

Chairman Butrum: Mr. McErlane, do you have anything you wanted to add; or
Ms. McBride or Mr. Shvegzda?

(Mr. McErlane, Ms. McBride and Mr. Shvegzda indicated that they had no further comments.)

Mr. Galster: I was originally asking Mr. McErlane if he knew what size DSW and Bed Bath and Beyond were, keeping in mind that they only have those single signs out there. I am not sure that we know exactly what those sizes are but when I look at this new drawing and I assume that this drawing is to scale?

Mr. Gray: Yes, sir.

Mr. Galster: When I look at this drawing, and this is only the third time I have ever said this in 17 years, is that the “T. J. Maxx” on the front looks too small and it doesn’t fit the building. The owner of the building is saying not to be taller than 6’.

Mr. McErlane: He submitted a subsequent letter where he approved the 7’-10”.

Mr. Galster: So, I think the first one was too big and I think that this one is too small. I also think that the side and the rear are a little bit overdone. Total square footage, I am o.k. with reducing the side and rear and adding a little more to the front. I think that this will get lost in that building based on the depth of the building, how far it is from the right of way. In reality Kemper Road is the right of way that the shoppers are going to see the sign by. I think the front sign needs to grow a little bit, but I think the side and rear can come down a little bit.
What company are you with, Mr. Gray?

Mr. Gray: I am with Sign Vision out of Columbus; we would be the installer.

Mr. Galster: Service Select would be the manufacturer?

Mr. Gray: Yes, sir. That is correct.

Mr. Galster: That is my dilemma. I don’t know if you have the ability to make modifications for the applicant, have they given you leeway to modify as needed?

Mr. Gray: I think what I would try to get tonight is, if you could give me a size that you would like to see on the front in square footage. Let’s try to work with that and then we can go back and submit for permits with those correct sizes, instead of coming back for another review meeting.

Mr. Galster: When is the scheduled target opening date for T. J. Maxx?

Mr. Gray: I don’t know that.

Mr. Galster: I don’t want to tell you what size sign that should be. I think I need to look at a size that is proportionate and I think it needs to be bigger than what is presented on the drawing that is submitted today, but I think it needs to be smaller than what is showing on the drawings that were in the packet. I think I need to see it proportionate on the building to make that determination, but I also think that the side and rear signs need to come down in size.

Mr. McErlane: I thought I had a square footage for the front sign if it was a 5’ high letter as opposed to the 4 ’; that would be somewhere in the neighborhood of
200 s.f., as opposed to 161 s.f. Then the other alternative would be 5 ’ letter sign.

Chairman Butrum: When you are saying 5 ’ are you talking about the “T” letter?

Mr. McErlane: Yes.

Mr. Gray: I just want to have some kind of a number to go back to my customer and show them what we are talking about.

Mr. Bauer: I agree with Mr. Galster about the size of the sign on the front; it doesn’t look in proportion. We talked about the sign on the side facing Lowe’s being reduced, who does that actually advertise to? I don’t see, other than the people in Lowe’s, I don’t see who would see that sign.

Mr. Gray: If I was a pedestrian, what I would see is the multi-panel sign. Are you advocating removing the side sign totally?

Mr. Bauer: Maybe that would be another option to remove that sign and leave the sign on the back the same size.

Mr. Okum: I tend to agree with what everyone has said and I would just carry it a little further on the sign facing Lowe’s; from the angle that it is at, the only place you can see that is a Lowe’s. You can already see the ground mounted sign and you are already going to see the building sign. If you are coming out of any of the exits out of Lowe’s you are going to see both of those signs. If you are on Tri-County Parkway you have to turn your neck to look up at that sign; you can’t see the sign from Kemper Road or from the food processing plant because it is too far away. On the rear you do see the sign as you come down Tri-County Parkway. I think the side elevation is a wasted sign; there is very little value out of that. On the other hand, increasing the front and the one on the back there is a notice to the consumers coming down Tri-County Parkway.

Mr. Gray: I think the real value for the rear sign is deliveries.

Mr. Okum: Quite frankly, I don’t have a problem with the original submission that we reviewed, the 287 s.f. for that sign if the other signs are reduced; I think it shows balance on the front of the building.

Mr. Galster: Having looked at the photograph that we have that shows the old
Circuit City sign and also shows the Bed Bath and Beyond or DSW sign, and putting that in perspective to the front of this elevation I agree with Mr. Okum. I guess my proposal would be to go back to the original submittal at the 6’ letters, 7’-10” total box, but on the side and rear you have 4’ letters and I think they could go down to
3’ letters with no problem and do plenty of what you are trying to accomplish.

Chairman Butrum: Looking down the Board, is everyone comfortable with what
Mr. Galster said?

Ms. Ghantous: I really think that sign on the side of Lowe’s could go away. Other than that I agree with taking the front back up to the originally proposed size and 3’ on the other.

Mr. Darby: I agree.

Mr. McErlane: Based on relative dimensions from the 3’ letters, I’ve got the side and the rear signs at 71.4 s.f. each, which takes the total to 487.3 s.f.

Chairman Butrum: The front would be what your original calculation was?

Mr. McErlane: Yes.

Mr. Gray: That would be with the 6’ “T”?

Mr. McErlane: Yes.

Mr. Okum: I would like to make a motion to approve the T. J. Maxx development portion of the Springdale Plaza renovation for signage, the motion includes the following: On the front or north elevation, the sign space permitted shall be up to 287.2 s.f. with an average letter size of 6’ in height. The east elevation sign shall be reduced down to a total of not to exceed 72 s.f. with an average letter size of 3’ in height, and the rear elevation or south elevation sign shall also not exceed 72 s.f. with an average letter size of 3’. All other submissions, pages 5 of 8, 6 of 8, 7 of 8, and 8 of 8 are also included in this motion; with a total sign package not to exceed 489 s.f.

Chairman Butrum: The average height, is that what we want to say, because the “J” is taller than that?

Mr. Okum: My motion shall also be changed to allow for the oversized “J”, as presented.
Mr. Galster seconded the motion and with 6 “aye” votes (one Planning Commission Member absent) the request was granted with conditions.


B. Chairman Butrum: The next item is Entenmann’s Bakery Outlet, three logo signs at 11774 Springfield Pike. There are no other applicant’s present in the Council Chambers; did you hear anything Mr. McErlane?

Mr. McErlane: The sign company was emailed our comments, as well as notified the time and the date of the meeting, as well as where they were on the agenda. The applicant is actually the operator of Entenmann’s and he was faxed with the same information and I did not hear comments back from anybody.

Chairman Butrum: So the applicant is not present.

Mr. Galster: I make a motion to table the item for Entenmann’s Bakery Outlet until the September Planning Commission Meeting.
Mr. Okum seconded the motion and with a unanimous “aye” vote the item was tabled.

VII. DISCUSSION

Mr. Okum: Just a question on that property, would it be an issue regarding signs because they do have some lit signs in the windows for individual product lines?

Mr. McErlane: My Staff comments indicated that those were put up without permits and they are included in the square footage.

Mr. Okum: They are calculated in?

Mr. McErlane: The applicant never really gave us any kind of summary, but they were not considered by the applicant initially when they submitted their application; they have shown up since the application was submitted.

Mr. Galster: So, as of right now, those lit box signs are in violation?

Mr. McErlane: If you want to interpret the commitment that was made by the developer when this became a Transition Zoning District that they would be channeled letter signs, I would think that is not a permitted sign. They are considered as part of their signage per the Zoning Code if they are illuminated signs in the window.

Mr. Okum: Is it now a window or a wall, because we have shelving units on the back side.

Mr. McErlane: There is provisions in the Code that say that if it is more than 30” away, but we are not talking illuminated, from the window they are not considered as part of their signage.

Chairman Butrum: I had five sign approvals and I think that is it. Our next meeting will be September 14th.

Mr. Okum: I have something else, did we get an opportunity to do white-balance on the digital sign?

Mr. McErlane: I haven’t seen anything; my guess is that they haven’t done it.

Mr. Okum: Just as an observer, it appears at nighttime the sign is not over lit; at dusk the transition is terribly over lit. There is a difference of light stages and it glares at I-275 at dusk; when nighttime comes the auto dim mechanism appears to catch and it does bring it down because it does not seem to be over lit at nighttime.

Mr. McErlane: The question would be whether or not they put the photocell in it. Initially they kept saying that it is not part of the package but we kept insisting that it is.

Mr. Okum: It appears to dim down, if you look at it at dusk and then you look at it at nighttime there is definitely a difference.

Mr. Galster: But, just so you know the original specification from that sign manufacturer showed no photocell and then it was a software driven adjustment. It seems to be behaving as if they are just using the software adjustment and not a photocell. If that is the case they need to add the photocells so that it continues to ramp accordingly to the ambient light. I haven’t noticed at dusk, but daylight time seems like it is o.k. and evening time seems o.k.

Chairman Butrum: We have it so it can’t exceed so much at so many feet away from the sign; is that correct?

Mr. McErlane: Correct.

Chairman Butrum: The question is whether or not that is being exceeded, independent of what our opinion is. Is the onus on them?

Mr. McErlane: The onus is on them. We actually gave them a form to work from to calculate what that is.

Chairman Butrum: We need to first determine if they are in violation.

Mr. Galster: I think at the same time, what they are doing with that sign is very manila; all they are doing is putting their sign logo on the sign. Once they start utilizing it, I think that will go away once they start utilizing the sign the way it is really intended to be used.

Ms. Ghantous: They had some message up there the other day, what I noticed is that I could not read the whole thing in the time that I had to drive by.

Chairman Butrum: I think they haven’t dialed in to what they aught to be doing or placing on that sign.

Mr. Okum: Is there a time frame that they have to provide that to you?

Mr. McErlane: We are not pushing for that.



VIII. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Galster moved to adjourn; Mr. Darby seconded and with six “aye”
votes from the Planning Commission Members, the meeting adjourned at
7:52 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________, 2010 ___________________________________
            Chairman Tony Butrum


________________________, 2010 ___________________________________
                Richard Bauer, Secretary