PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

11 AUGUST 1998

7:00 P.M.

 

 

  1. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m. by Chairman William Syfert.

II. ROLL CALL

Members Present: Councilman Steve Galster, Dick Huddleston, James

Young, David Okum and Chairman Syfert

Members Absent: Robert Seaman and Councilman Tom Vanover

Others Present: Derrick Parham, Asst. City Administrator

Bill McErlane, Building Official

Don Shvegzda, Asst. City Engineer

Anne McBride, City Planner

Mr. Syfert stated Mr. Seaman had to go out of town on a business trip, and Mr. Vanover had indicated at the last meeting that he wouldnít be here. For the benefit of the audience, for final approval it takes five affirmative votes, so tonight it will have to be a vote of 5-0.

III. MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 14 JULY 1998

Mr. Okum moved for adoption and Mr. Young seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye and the Minutes were adopted with five affirmative votes.

  1. CORRESPONDENCE
    1. Report on Council

Mr. Galster said to update on the community center expansion, there was a vote to rescind option 3 and go with option 1 which was approved 4 to 2, so that is moving forward. Those requests for qualifications have been responded to; we have four and we are evaluating them right now. Mr. Parham indicated that we had a rating system for each of the items requested and it wasnít close at all Ė we are recommending CDS and are asking for legislation at the next council meeting to authorize us to enter into a contract. Mr. Galster added there is a new survey in the newsletter so anybody interested in this expansion should respond.

Zoning Bulletin Ė July 25, 1998

Planning Commissioners Journal Ė Summer 1998

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes Ė April 21, 1998

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes Ė May 12, 1998

V. OLD BUSINESS Ė none

VI. NEW BUSINESS

    1. Approval of Proposed sign Package, Kemper Square, 107 West Kemper Road

Gene Bare of United Signs said we are proposing to remove the existing sign which is entirely blocked by the mature trees, and put individual identifiers at the two entrances, on Northland Boulevard and East Kemper. I have some photographs here to indicate where we are going. You all have site plans. We are trying to locate into an island because you can see what has happened to the existing sign because it is not an island.

 

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VI A PROPOSED SIGN PACKAGE Ė KEMPER SQUARE

Mr. Bare continued because of the spacing between the entrances, we are trying to understate the Northland Boulevard entrance, and do that as a ground sign, with the East Kemper Road entrance as a pole sign. Basically the pole sign would be the same size as the one there. I think our property line setback on East Kemper is approximately 50 feet and on Northland Boulevard it is more than 50 to 60 feet as code requires.

Mr. Syfert called on staff for comments. Mr. Shvegzda indicated he had no comments. Ms. McBride stated that the property is GB General Business, and they are entitled to one pole sign with a maximum of j50 square feet and maximum height of 30 feet to be located 25 feet from any other business lot line and cannot overhang into the right of way. They also are entitled to a ground mounted sign of 100 s.f. and maximum height of 7 feet which has to set 10 feet from the right of way and 25 feet from any business lot line.

The applicant is proposing a ground mounted sign to be located 10 feet from the right of way, but it is proposed to be located only 13 feet from the adjoining business lot line. The sign contains 50 square feet in area, which is under the 100 square feet permitted. It is proposed at a height of 8 feet and our code permits 7 feet. The sign is to be internally illuminated and constructed of painted aluminum. We did not receive details on how the base area would be treated in terms of landscaping.

They are proposing a pole sign to be located on East Kemper Road west of the eastern access point. That sign would be 50 square feet in area, consistent with our requirements. It is over 25 feet from the adjacent property line, and it does not hang into the right of way. We didnít receive the height of that sign; the maximum allowed is 30 feet. It is also internally illuminated and constructed of painted aluminum, and we did not receive any documentation as to how the base of that sign would be treated either.

If the Planning Commission wishes to approve the request, variances would have to be obtained for both the location and height of the proposed ground mounted sign and we would like to see landscaping details for the base of the pole and ground mounted sign. We need to make sure that the height of the pole sign will not exceed 30 feet.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Syfert wondered if he understood everything she said, and Mr. Bare responded I donít agree with one statement. According to the site plan I submitted, the ground sign is much greater than 25 feet. Ms. McBride said I roughly scaled that off because it was not to scale, and you had a dimension of 10 feet from the right of way, but there is not 25 feet to the property line. Mr. Bare said this indicates the wrong side of the drive; it is to the north side of the drive.

Mr. Syfert continued and you do want the ground sign to be 8 feet high? Mr. Bare answered we can modify the height to meet the 7 foot regulation. Mr. Syfert asked the height of the other sign, and Mr. Bare answered the height is 12 feet above grade which gives you an overall height of 17 feet, which is 12-13 feet below the maximum.

Mr. Galster said I am looking at the pole sign picture, and I wonder if you would consider making this entrance a ground sign as well? Mr. Bare answered we are concerned because visually it could create a problem with people pulling out onto Kemper Road. Mr. Galster commented you would have to be the second or third car before you would have a sight problem from that ground sign.

 

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VI A PROPOSED SIGN PACKAGE Ė KEMPER SQUARE

Mr. Bare continued the intent was in addition to replace the pole sign that is currently hidden. Also, there are utilities in that island that makes it difficult to put a ground sign in there and maintain that 10 foot setback.

Mr. Galster said the reason I am asking is the new revision to our code pretty much is eliminating pole signs altogether, and I hate to see new ones going up. For example I look at Jake Sweeney and we were able to get rid of two pole signs there. I personally think a ground sign at each entrance would work, and if you are trying to get more of a marquee look, I thought of a stone wall in the curve of Northland Boulevard similar to Wimbledons Plaza. If you would take down one pole sign and requested two ground mounted I personally would not have a problem with that.

Mr. Bare responded because of some of the utilities that are in there, and the 10 foot setback requirement for the ground mounted sign, when you are eastbound on Kemper, a ground mounted sign would be behind a parking space. Between the trees that are in the island and the parking spaces, visually I donít think you are identifying the drive well as you travel eastbound.

Mr. Galster answered if it goes in the same place as you want to put the pole, the pole meets the setback requirement; the only difference is the actual height. Mr. Bare responded exactly, and that makes a major difference. Mr. Galster in terms of setback and utilities, you have to put some type of concrete base down for the pole, so you would be into that same ground that you would for the ground or pole sign. Mr. Bare answered but we have more flexibility to move it as we need to to clear utilities. If we have to shift back a couple of feet we can, where with a ground sign, if we get too close to the curbs, it will start looking like the existing pole cover does on the existing sign, which we are trying to avoid.

Mr. Okum said this development has been a thorn in my side since the buildings were built. Originally there were trees in front of the buildings which were systematically removed by the developer. The developer then came before Planning Commission and replanted the trees with Alberta spruces that then were replaced by concrete, and the trees along the street have been systematically removed. I donít have a problem with some of the things you have done with the landscaping, but I do have a problem with their removing the trees and not replacing them and then putting in concrete. In the spirit of working with the City, I think if you understand that the potential future code will eliminate pole signs, in that cooperative effort I would hope you would feel that way.

I looked at your drawing where you indicated the pole sign, and whether it is on the ground or on a pole doesnít make a lot of difference. In fact if it is on a pole, you have a light pole there that will obstruct it. The back edge of the sign is at the edge of the parking space so the sign would not be blocked by vehicles.

Mr. Bare responded if it is a ground sign, to set 10 feet back from the right of way, it will wind up setting in this area and you would defeat identifying that entrance with a ground sign. Mr. Okum asked Mr. McErlane to verify the right of way line, and Mr. McErlane did so, indicating that the trench drain is the right of way line.

Mr. Okum asked the setback provision allowed the ground sign for BP Pro Care on SR 747. Mr. McErlane responded they were allowed the same kind of setback as the pole sign, 0í. Mr. Okum continued so there have been adjustments to setback requirements to encourage going to ground signs. Mr. McErlane commented that was a PUD.

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VI A PROPOSED SIGN PACKAGE Ė KEMPER SQUARE

Mr. Okum said certainly we donít want to obstruct the view of your sign, but I would certainly support Mr. Galsterís suggestion of a ground sign for that location. That would require going to Board of Zoning Appeals, but I would be an advocate of the decision to change from a pole sign to the ground sign. I am a representative from Planning on that board, and would support it as well. That means I would vote in favor of the variance to allow closer to the setback requirement.

Mr. Bare commented then you are creating more of a traffic problem. That island is elevated from the drive, and if it doesnít need the setback requirement, I think you are creating a safety issue. Further, to compare it to Sweeney, Sweeney doesnít have the vegetation that this property has. You are saying you would want those trees put back in, and you are comparing a parcel that doesnít have any high vegetation and a slight mound. It is not an equal comparison as far as the sites are concerned.

Mr. Okum responded those were the conditions of the development when it was presented to the City. Mr. Bare responded I am not arguing that point, but I am arguing that you are comparing this site to the Sweeney site and they are not equal. Mr. Okum responded I am not sir. I am indicating even BP Pro Care if you want to use that as an example. Mr. Bare commented I am not familiar with that site in terms of vegetation.

Mr. Okum continued regarding trees and maintenance, I canít address that to you; I am addressing the company because you are a representative of that development this evening. By your being here representing that development, I can express that concern about removal of vegetation. That was not part of the conditions of the development or the conditions of the building. Mr. Bare said I think that is a separate issue. Mr. Okum responded I donít disagree but since you have removed the vegetation, I donít see a sight distance issue. I certainly would encourage a ground mounted sign for this site. Personally I donít have a problem with the sign where it is located since you have removed the trees. Mr. Bare commented I think the photographs show that the sign is non functional.

Mr. Young said I concur with both these gentlemen; if there is any way in the world that the pole sign is going to be approved, I donít see it happening with this board. We have tried in the past to eliminate pole signs wherever we can. If you want to go with two ground mounted signs, that is fine with me, but I wonít support a pole sign.

Mr. Huddleston said I would echo the sentiments of the other four members here tonight. Certainly if we can do anything to eliminate the pole sign, I think that is valid. Recognizing that some of the maintenance issues that have taken place there are not in what I would consider good order, I know you are not the perpetrator but since this is the only way we can go on record with the developer, there are some maintenance issues thee. We are willing to work in good faith to resolve your signage concerns, and they need to be willing to work in good faith to resolve our concerns for good maintenance. I think of the curb and gutter sections which are deteriorated or non existent. I know you are here to sell the sign and I respect that, but if we can do anything to eliminate that pole sign, we need to do that.

Mr. McErlane stated I had a question on the pole sign. Unfortunately the members werenít given the engineering data which show a total height of 15 feet. Are you proposing to change that to 17 feet? Mr. Bare responded Iíll have to review it. The notes I have with me indicated that it was 17 feet. Until I get back to the office, I canít verify that part of it.

 

 

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VI A PROPOSED SIGN PACKAGE Ė KEMPER SQUARE

Mr. Syfert said if we were to proceed with the request for a pole sign and a ground sign, it would appear that motion would fail. I think it might be prudent for you to take some of the comments back to the owners of the property and get their best option as to what they might want to do, in other words, table it for this month and come back next month.

Mr. Bare said I get the same reading, but there is one question I have to ask. I donít understand the proceedings that everything submitted as far as site plan and location meets your code and all the printed regulations. I find it difficult to understand how a board can overrule the laws of the community. I need an explanation of how that works.

Mr. Okum responded this board is not denying the right of the sign you already have. The site plan approved by the city, recorded and documented is a location on the site. The landscaping plan submitted to the city is part of the permanent record, so we are not denying that. We are just denying the relocation of a pole sign that is on record as an approved location. I did not deny or say to you sir that you could not have your pole sign where it is located. That was what was submitted to the city as part of the original plot plan. Your request is to relocate it and that is my reason for denial. I have that right as a member of this board.

Mr. Huddleston said I agree with what Mr. Okum said. We understand and recognize that you are the sign entity and not the development entity. What we are saying is that since there is no representative of your owner here, and things are a little different than what were originally approved, the maintenance is not quite what we would expect. We may be willing to be convinced that you should be allowed a revision to that site plan, if we could be convinced that those other things would happen too. There is an approved sign there today, and that is what went with the development plan that does not exist as it was approved originally.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Syfert asked if it were his request to table this to next month, and Mr. Bare indicated it was.

Mr. Okum moved to table and Mr. Galster seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye, and the item was tabled to September 8th.

  1. DISCUSSION

Mr. Galster said the proposed Zoning Code has been in the legal area for I donít know how long now, and I donít know what we need to do to get that moved forward so we donít have situations like this. Everyone knows what the desire of this board is; the problem is we donít have the rules in place to enforce them. I know it has been almost eight months since we have had a meeting, and at our last meeting it was going to the legal department for review. He asked Mr. Parham and Ms. McBride to check into this; if they have issues, letís talk about them.

Ms. McBride responded I would be happy to contact them again. I have left messages that werenít answered. We transmitted it to them section by section as completed, and we transmitted the entire document to them at least six months ago. Mr. Galster asked if we outlined the changes in the document for them, and Ms. McBride answered they got that section by section, and in the final document I said there were a number of areas we had questions about and we would like for them to put together a list of any concerns they might have and meet with the committee to review them. I will call tomorrow and express your concerns. Mr. Parham added we also will check with Ken Schneider, because Ken is the cityís representative and the law director.

PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

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Mr. Syfert asked if there were anyone who would not be here for the September meeting. Everyone plans to be present.

VIII ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Galster moved to adjourn and Mr. Young seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye, and Planning Commission adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

______________________,1998 ___________________________

William G. Syfert, Chairman

 

 

______________________, 1998 ____________________________

David Okum, Acting Secretary