PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
September 13, 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, Tom Vanover, Steve Galster, Marge Boice, and Don Darby
   
Others Present: Don Shvegzda, City Engineer; Jonathan Wocher, representing the City Planner; William McErlane, Building Official

   
III. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETINGS OF JULY 12, 2011
AND AUGUST 9, 2011

Chairman Darby: We will move to the minutes of the last two meetings. I will accept a motion to accept the minutes of the July 12, 2011 meeting.

Mr. Galster moved to accept the minutes of July 12, 2011; Mr. Vanover seconded the motion and with 6 “aye” votes and one abstention from Mr. Okum (absent from the July meeting) the July Planning Commission Minutes were approved.

Chairman Darby: I will accept a motion to approve the meeting minutes of
August 9, 2011.

Mr. Galster moved to accept the minutes of August 9, 2011; Mr. Vanover seconded the motion and, with 5 “aye” votes, Mrs. Boice and Mr. Vanover abstaining (absent from the August meeting) the August Planning Commission Minutes were approved.


IV. CORRESPONDENCE

Chairman Darby: Correspondence was included in your packet; a letter to Council for Major Modification to Tri-County Commons PUD, Outdoor Advertising Device and Ordinance Number 32-2011.


V. OLD BUSINESS

A. Chairman Darby: We will move on to Old Business; Review of Awning on Front Elevation, Play It Again Sports.

Mr. Mike Willis: I am here for the revisit of the awnings on the front of the Play It Again Sports / Party City building; it was determined at the last meeting that we would revisit it after the awning went on the east elevation, north side of the building to see if additional awnings would be required.

Chairman Darby: As the Commission Members will recall at the last meeting, we dealt with this item and on Mr. Galster’s recommendation or motion we moved to allow them to install the one awning because there was some issues as to balance and aesthetics, we asked that after the one awning was attached then Staff would review it and bring the renderings back to the Commission so that we can make a final decision on it.

Mr. McErlane: The issue at hand was a condition of the approval that they would install awnings on both sides unless it was found after the first set of awnings were in place that it didn’t look unbalanced; and it would be brought back to the Planning Commission for review.

Mr. Galster: Having been the one that originally raised the balance issue and phrasing the motion, as it was, having viewed the awning in its completed stage and as it is represented in this picture as well, I don’t have any problem with the balance. I think that it ended up being a fine modification to the building and unless anybody else has any additional comments, I would make a motion to remove the requirement for the additional awning and allow it as it is built now.
(Mrs. Boice seconded the motion and with a unanimous “aye” vote from the Planning Commission members, no additional awnings were required.)


B. Chairman Darby: At this time we are going to continue the Conditional Use Permit request hearing.

Mr. Matt Brennan: We are the Cincinnati Center for Autism, we are a non-profit and we run, among other things, a school. We have a church at 305 Cameron under contract and we would like to move our operations to that church; it requires a Conditional Use Permit to do so. We would like to purchase the church and make improvements to the property and make improvements to the building and occupy that as our new facility. At the last meeting, I think the Commission was generally in favor of our proposal with a couple exceptions. The first exception is the noise and there was some discussion about the location of the playground and I thought that at the time I kind of made our position clear that the playground, as it is designed, needs to stay where it is designed. We were not interested in the property if the playground could not be located there. There was discussion about limiting the number of participants on the playground in an effort to reduce the noise that could impact the surrounding properties. We are kind of hesitant to limit the number of children. I think the number suggested was “sixteen” and one of the surrounding neighbors said that when she has her family over she has more than sixteen people in the pool. We went back to our Board and we have agreed as our Board to limit the number of children on the playground to sixteen at any one time. Again, in an effort to be good neighbors and to move forward with our goal of building a world class facility and having the best-in-class facility for children with autism, we will work with the neighbors and put that restriction on it. The second question came up about buffering and what constitutes a buffer and how we were going to buffer and I made the commitment at the time that we would buffer in accordance with the City of Springdale regulations but more importantly we wanted to meet with the neighbors and talk about what is important to them, as far as the buffering. We have had a couple of informal conversations with some neighbors, some of which don’t care to be buffered but in any event our position is that we will comply with the City of Springdale ordinances that relates to buffering. There are certain segments of the ordinance that spell out exactly what needs to be done in terms of plantings, height of mounds and at this point we are committed to meet that requirement. There was some conversation about some other things, the garbage pick up and we will restrict the garbage pick up so that it is not done at 6:00 a.m. One of the things that we did not do is come back with massive changes to our plan; we wrote a narrative and sent emails to Mr. McErlane about our commitment, but we are a non-profit and until we buy the building I can’t afford to spend another two or three thousand dollars on engineering drawings to draw new lights and redo mounds. Our commitment is very simple, it is whatever the rules are, in order for us to get our permits and in order for us to get our improvements, that is what we intend to do. The plan that you have is our plan; the specifics I think that we can work out with the Building Department and the City Engineer and Mr. McErlane.

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

Mr. Brennan: On Item 6, on page 2, the suggested condition; we are o.k. with everything but item “C”, so it would be “A”, “B”, and “D”. We have talked about the buffering and we are pleased that you would consider other forms of buffering outside of the two that you mentioned. We are more than happy, and as far as we are concerned the location of the buffering we want to meet with the neighbors and talk to the neighbors about what they would like to see and strategically place the buffering and work with them.

Chairman Darby: In Staff meeting I heard your desire to meet with the neighbors, and I think that is good to get community involvement but let’s not forget the final agreement has to be worked out between you as the applicant and Staff. We can’t put our citizens in a position where they are going to be final stamping something which doesn’t meet the criteria that is established by the City. It is going to be a cooperative but I wanted to make clear that Staff will be heavily involved in that process.

Mr. Brennan: When I say meet with the neighbors, the overlay of all of that is compliance. I own an excavating company and I have all the dirt you want and so if I make this mound 7’ here and we shape it and move it; that is what I am talking about, the overlay to all of this is compliance but if I can put three trees here and two over here just to coordinate the screening and all the while complying then that is what I am talking about. No sense in me building mounds and then they meet but a month down the road I have got a problem; we want to address it up front.
Relative to the comments by Anne McBride; certainly we would screen the dumpster, that is part of the Code and that has to be done. We have talked about the buffer and that is not a problem. Proposed lighting, we honestly don’t have any idea what that site looks like at night; I have never been there at night. Clearly we want to comply with the Code and make it safe for everybody, whatever that involves. If that involves adding lights then we don’t have a problem with that.
Relative to the City Engineer’s comments, I own an excavating and paving company so I think it is safe to say that the parking lot is coming out and a new one is going in. As far as drainage, I think that is our one shot to take that flat area up near the building and do an inverted crown and run a catch basin there and relocate that and direct the water to that. The property slopes from the south to the north and we have a sidewalk that doesn’t have any kind of exposure, it is almost at-grade; we are probably going to do an curb or sidewalk, raise that and invert the crown, put a catch basin in and pick it up there and run it back through the ditch. We are eliminating more than 20% of the surface, so I don’t think detention is going to be required. Certainly that will be part of an engineered drawing and that would be something that Kliengers will do and work with you on it. Whatever the compliance that needs to be done, will be done.

Chairman Darby: At this time we would solicit communication from the public.
(At this time individuals in the audience who indicated they would be speaking were sworn in by the Vice-Chairman.)

Mr. Dean Ulrich: I wanted to stand in support of the Cincinnati Center for Autism; my son Justin, who just recently turned five, attends there. He is just like many other five year old children, he is a very energetic little boy; he loves to go outside and play. He is a really smart kid, he is really good at math and spelling but what he needs help with is his speech and that is where the Cincinnati Center for Autism comes into play with Justin. When he first started going to the center, he could say simple words like “mom” and “dad”; and now after working with the specialist he can come home and say full sentences to us like “I want computer” or “I want TV.” and that may not sound like a lot to the people here but for us that is tremendous progress for our son and it gives us a lot of encouragement to think that maybe someday he’ll get to normal levels with speech. We strongly support Matt and his staff and we have seen first hand the level of dedication that he and his team provide to our son and we strongly encourage and support the move into the new center and so that he and other children like him can receive the high level of services provided by the CCA.

Mr. Dan Shroyer: I am a long time Springdale resident; not directly impacted by this issue I am here to speak on behalf of my mother who is directly impacted. She is one of the three properties on Naylor Court and Cameron Road; and there are only three residential properties that directly abut the church’s property. She is probably the most directly behind the playground area in question and probably the most exposed to the noise issue that has been raised. She is absolutely in favor of the project. She has no qualms about it. She would, in fact, prefer that the buffering not occur or that it be somewhat minimal from her back yard. She has probably one of the more open woods-like settings in Springdale. She can watch deer in the field from her back deck and she has no reason for any buffering. I grew up there and I am one of four children, obviously when we came there and that was in 1967, she is probably the longest term resident on Naylor Court, as well. It was a residential subdivision then and it is a residential subdivision now; residential subdivision means kids. There was four of us, there were neighbor kids; games in the street at night. As part of living in the residential subdivision for forty years or more, she enjoys the kids, she enjoys the sound of the kids and she has no concerns or qualms about that and she is certainly not bothered by any noise that would be generated from the church. She is the one that made the statement that she has a backyard in-ground pool. I am one of four and she has a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren on any given weekend in the summertime, and surprisingly we all still live right in this area, we may have more than sixteen people in the back yard and in the swimming pool. There are probably times that we generate more noise than what the school is going to generate. She asked me to speak on her behalf and let you know, as one of the three property owners directly effected she is very much in favor of it and in today’s economy emptied buildings don’t fill back up real fast and she would really much rather see what sounds like a quality project and some improvement made to the property and in exchange for that she gets to hear kids in the playground; she doesn’t have to hear kids. She looks at it as a positive. As the neighborhood has gotten older and most of the residents are older and most of the kids are gone, she misses it and she looks at it as a positive that she will get to hear kids in the neighborhood again.

Chairman Darby: Do we have anyone else in the audience that would like to speak?
(No one came forward.) At this time, we will close the public hearing.

Mrs. Boice: I unfortunately was not at the meeting last month. I have found that when you are here taking part in the meeting the voices can sound one way or another but when you sit down and read the minutes it comes out a little bit different. I was with a thirteen member party of family in a large chalet in Gatlinburg making a lot of noise and I was a little bit perturbed as I read those minutes that all of these concerns and the excessive questions about how many children are we going to have on the play yard and all the concerns about the noise; these are special children and Springdale, I think, has always held a very open arm for special needs children. Some of the comments, I am going to be very honest with you, I have a lovely deck and I also have a very yappy dog in another neighbor’s yard and when I go out there and I want to read my book, sometimes I want to choke that little dog, but that little dog belongs to a little boy that thinks that dog is pretty wonderful; and he doesn’t bark all the time. On the fourth of July I am surrounded by a lot of people that like to play off about a roll of firecrackers at 10:30 p.m. or 11:00 p.m., and you can tell by the color of my hair that I don’t stay up real late, so I am either asleep or I am just beginning to doze off and then the firecrackers; I don’t like that either. And the boom boxes and the high stereos as the cars go by and it rattles the windows and my recycle man comes at 6:30 a.m., throws my container on the driveway and these are things that we live with. This is not a sound-proof world. I could not help thinking of our wonderful students over at St. Rita’s school for the deaf; I bet they would love to hear some of these noises. I understand that we all want our own little private corner but that doesn’t happen. What I found missing and I certainly don’t want to be critical of my Members here because our job is to enforce the City’s rules, laws and the whole bit. We have a whole book full of them, as you well know; we are being overtaken throughout our country with too many rules and laws, as far as I am concerned. What we are missing, to me, in those minutes, where was the compassion for those children? I did not hear one question about the playground equipment. I would have liked to seen a diagram of that. Another thing, how many children are going out the door; I don’t assume that they are going to open the door and all these children are going to go tearing out, they are going to be supervised and God forbid I don’t think they are going to be called back in with a cow-bell or something. I think that sometimes we have to look past what we, as individuals, sometimes you have to give a little and sometimes you have to take a little but in the future discussion on this, I would like to see a little softer tone and not this constant whether it is 15, 16 or 18, or that type of thing. I would like to see a little more compassion.

Chairman Darby: I appreciate your comments, Mrs. Boice. You said, sometimes the words don’t get it all and believe me as a person with a background of working with special kids, some of the questions may have seemed hard but we were of the mind that we wanted to measure twice and cut once.

Mrs. Boice: I understand that.

Mr. Okum: Mr. Brennan, you indicated that you are not going to be changing the lighting on the development at this time?

Mr. Brennan: No, I didn’t. I don’t know yet.

Mr. Okum: We do have set standards for that within Springdale for our Zoning Code. This is a commercial use in a residential district. A couple housekeeping things need to be addressed that need to be part of our consideration. One is, lights being replaced that would affect or negatively affect the neighbors; I don’t think that you would do that intentionally but periodically we see business put light packs on their buildings, not down-lit, no shields and it is a glare and it affects the neighbors. Sometimes business owners will place a high mercury vapor light on the back corner of their lot to light a big area and not realize, and you don’t end up with the exact fall of light only on your property; it falls on your neighbor’s property. My comments to you are, if there was wording in this section that the lighting or re-lamping being installed would not cause a glare that would adversely affect the adjoining property owners; all lighting should have a “0” fall at the property line to the adjoining residences, so that those residences are still protected by our Code in the motion. Do you see any problem with that?

Mr. Brennan: No.

Mr. Okum: Mr. McErlane, because this is a residential zoning district, if the applicant determines or later, persons from this firm determines that some of the trees on this site were not necessary, would this property fall under our tree preservation ordinance?

Mr. McErlane: The tree preservation ordinance refers to residential property; even though this is zoned residential, it is not residential property.

Mr. Okum: So, we don’t need to worry about that precedence; that precedence is not there.
I know you offered sixteen, but you agreed to the three items that I think in
Mr. McErlane’s comments that would address the issue; I think that is self-managed by that issue. If you agree to everything except item “C”, and that means a resolution would be worked at, then I don’t see a reason. We were pushing for a number because there is no other way to frame a way to deal with that. How do you know what 16 does?

Mr. Brennan: That is what we have said all along, but in an effort of working, we are fine and again on Staff’s proposed wording, we are fine with that wording except for item “C”.

Mr. Okum: It satisfies me. For dumpster enclosure, are closed doors part of our Code?

Mr. McErlane: Yes.
Just to simplify things; would it be adequate to say that the lighting would need to comply with the Zoning Code?

Mr. Okum: We don’t have “0” fall at residential properties.

Mr. McErlane: We have half-foot candle.

Mr. Okum: A half-foot candle is still not “0” fall. And that is just because it is a residential property next to what could be considered a commercial use.

Mr. McErlane: It probably won’t be an issue since the lighting that is going to need to be there for the parking lot is such a distance away from the residential properties.

Mr. Brennan: Not a problem.

Mr. Okum: I saw heads shaking, so I guess that is not going to be part of my motion, for the limiting of 16 persons?

Chairman Darby: I think you read well.

Mrs. Boice: I think that should be trial and error.

Mr. Vanover: Because I raised a child that made as much noise as five or six children, at times, I think that can be a fluid thing that gets worked out; you could have 16 quiet kids out there or you can have 16 noisy kids and it can change. I think if we leave it up to Staff and the developer, the applicant that we can get this nailed down.

Mr. Okum: Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a motion to approve the application for the Conditional Use Permit for 305 Cameron Road, Springdale Ohio, The Cincinnati Center for Autism; to include in the motion the exhibit site plan dated 7/28/2011 received by Staff on 9/02/2011, to include in the motion all Staff, City Engineer, City Planner’s recommendations and considerations with the exception of Item “C” of Mr. McErlane’s report of Item “6”. All lighting and re-lamping of existing fixtures are conformed to existing Zoning Code requirements per Section 153.514, in no case shall lighting or re-lamping be installed that would cause a glare that would adversely affect the adjoining property owners. All lighting shall have a “0” fall at the property line to the adjoining residences. Special yard buffer conditions as detailed in Mr. McErlane’s comments of 9/09/2011, Item 5 “A” and “B” the buffer yard area, as required by Code per Section 153.608 or an alternative method of buffering acceptable to the City of Springdale Staff. Dumpster and refuge enclosures shall be per 153.489 of the City’s Zoning Code, the noise in play area on the south side shall apply to Item “6” in Mr. McErlane’s comments of 9/09/2011, Items “A”, “B”, and “D” only.
Mr. Vanover seconded the motion.

(Mr. Bauer polled the Planning Commission Members and with seven “aye” votes the Conditional Use Permit for The Cincinnati Center for Autism was approved with conditions.)

Chairman Darby: I think some of the Commission Members will agree with me that many times we sit here and do work, that although important, it is just work. I want to commend the Staff, the applicant, the Commission Members and the community members because this approval results in us doing work for the human condition. Springdale, we just added another star to our chart as a City.

   
VI. NEW BUSINESS

Chairman Darby: No New Business to present at this meeting.

   
VII. DISCUSSION

    (No items for discussion presented at this meeting.)



VIII. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

Chairman Darby: You can see the Chairman’s Report on the Agenda and our next meeting is scheduled for October 11, 2011.

   
IX. ADJOURNMENT

Mrs. Boice moved to adjourn; Mr. Okum seconded and with seven affirmative
votes from the Planning Commission Members present, the meeting adjourned at
7:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________, 2011 ___________________________________
            Don Darby, Chairman


________________________, 2011 ___________________________________
                Richard Bauer, Secretary