PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

12 OCTOBER 2004

7:00 P.M.

 

I.                     CALL MEETING TO ORDER

 

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman William Syfert.

 

II.                   ROLL CALL

 

Members Present:             Tony Butrum, Robert Coleman, Steve Galster,

Lawrence Hawkins, David Okum, Tom Vanover and Chairman Syfert

 

Others Present:                  Doyle Webster, Mayor

Jeff Tulloch, Economic Development Director

                                             Bill McErlane, Building Official

                                             Don Shvegzda, Asst. City Engineer

                                             Anne McBride, City Planner

 

III.                  MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 14 SEPTEMBER 2004

 

Mr. Galster moved to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded the motion.  All voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted unanimously.

 

IV.               CORRESPONDENCE

 

Mr. Syfert said I would like to call on Mayor Webster.

 

Mayor Webster said I would like to make a couple of introductions.  First, I want you to meet Tony Butrum, your new Planning Commission member.  He has been a life long resident of the city and we appreciate his service to the city.

 

I also want to introduce our new economic development director, Jeff Tulloch.  He built most of the office complex on Merchant Street a number of years ago, managed them, sold them and came back again.  We are very pleased to have him on our staff and expect great things.  I’m sure he will be a plus and contribute to this board.

 

A.          Report on Council – no report

B.          Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes – August 17, 2004

C.          Planning Partnership Update – September 2004

D.          Zoning Bulletin – September 10, 2004

E.          Zoning Bulletin – September 25, 2004

F.           Planning Commission Members List

 

V.                 OLD BUSINESS

 

A.          Approval of Proposed Exterior Changes, Staples, 12050 Princeton Pike – tabled 9/14/04

 

Bob Lambert of Staples and Dave Goodermont of Elder Jones Construction approached the board.  Mr. Lambert said we had the architect redo the exterior elevations, which reflect our discussion and comments and verbal approval.   I thought it was a pretty good representation of what we agreed to at the last meeting.  We are trying to get the traffic to come in and turn and stay along the west boundary of the property line.  Your plan showed the traffic dumped down here, which would be an awkward spot, the Rhodes portion.          

 

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Mr. Lambert said we went out there today to look at it and felt that once they were coming down the west property line, we should keep them there as they go into the Rhodes portion of the parking lot and the drive would come into the front of Rhodes.  I have marked my copy as to how we could rework the parking and curbing to get them to come on in. 

 

Everything else as is shown on the west and north sides of our property would stay pretty much the way it is. The only exception would be we have some parking stalls that were on the northwest side of the main drive which would need to back in and out, and we think they need to be eliminated.  We don’t need traffic backing in and out of the main drive.  We want to work with the engineer and make this radius work to get everybody along the west property line and keep them there and rework and restripe it to make a better flow.

 

We will put a new trash dumpster enclosure on the south of our property according to city specifications.    Right now we have a trash dumpster which sets along the east side of our building in the drive.

 

Mr. McErlane reported that the property is zoned General Business and the applicant is proposing to relocate the store entrance to the north side of the building and install a canopy over the new entrance to change the fascia on the top of the north and west elevations and the parking layout is being changed to accommodate the new storefront relocation.

 

The following changes in the plan reviewed at the September meeting include a red stripe material to be added to the north elevation fascia.  Last month the red material was taking up the majority of the north elevation, and now it is centered over the door and there is a red horizontal stripe metal material being applied to both the north and west elevations.

 

Last month’s plans included an EIFS material infill where the existing storefront glazing is on the west side of the building.  These plans indicate that the storefront doors that are currently on the west side of the building are being removed and glazing would be put in place of those doors.

 

Parking spaces on the west parking field have been relocated to the west side of the building and the drive aisle shifted to the west part of the lot.   We did not receive a landscaping plan with this submittal.  With the proposed plan, there are existing trees that would be removed.  There are three directly against the building on the north side, a 15 inch crabapple, a 15 inch Bradford pear and a six inch crabapple.  Their plan probably could be modified to save one or maybe two of these.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that they be saved.  They are planted in a three-foot wide planting bed which means they basically only have growth on one side of the tree because they are up against the building. 

 

 

 

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Mr. McErlane reported that there are some additional trees out in the parking field on the west side of the building that also would be removed  based on the new layout so our recommendation is that they replace the same number of caliper inches that they remove on the site, as we normally would require for a redevelopment plan.

 

This plan also indicates a new multi-tenant pylon sign to be submitted by the landlord, and we would recommend that this be reviewed by Planning at a later date.

 

Mr. Lambert said we wanted to get the site plan approved and then meet with the landscape person and come up with a landscape plan that reworks the landscaping to meet your criteria.  Looking at the landscaping today, most of those trees along the north end probably should come out.  We fully intend to do a landscape plan and replace what is there along the north and west side in whatever planter areas we get approved.

 

Ms. McBride said I would add that on the west building elevation and the comments last month by the commission about the inclusion of the EIFS, the applicant is including the glass, but we would like to have details on what type of glass that will be.  If they are going to be stocking materials against that on the other side, we don’t want to be looking at the back side of shelves or merchandise.

 

The signage remains unchanged.  There was a dumpster setting out on the east side of the building, and they are proposing to relocate the dumpster on the south side of the building and put it in an enclosure.  We did not get details of the enclosure nor does it show up on the building elevation for the south side.  The trash enclosure has to meet the requirements of our Section 153.489 and that includes the solid wood gates that are to remain closed except when servicing.

 

We did not receive information on the landscaping, and the applicant has just addressed that.

 

One of the detail sheets included 103 s.f. Staples sign that was not utilized on the building.  I think that was an oversight to include that.

 

There are four proposed parking spaces on the west side of the front building elevation, and they do not have a clear pedestrian connection into the store.  They would have to walk through a landscape bed, so staff would like to see some correction of that.

 

We need additional information as to whether or not the existing light poles are going to be altered, relocated or modified in any way. 

 

Mr. Lambert said that the four stalls you are talking about are ones that I would recommend should come out because they would be pulling in and backing out into the main traffic flow. 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Lambert said there is an existing pole that would be right in the main drive and that pole will be relocated somewhere within the area on the north end.  We probably will be able to keep the pole to the west of the building where it is.   Ms. McBride said if you are planning to relocate those, the staff would need to see where they would be relocated to and what the light levels would be.

 

Mr. Shvegzda reported that the majority of the work at the north part of the building is tied into the 747 grade separation project, and that work will not be finished until 2006, probably including the parking lot work.   So, there needs to be an interim parking lot layout plan that would take place until the final work is completed.

 

On the internal driveway as the applicant also indicated, we had a concern about how the relocated driveway terminated into the Rhodes parking lot.  

 

We mentioned the one parking field that is parked right off the main driveway near the intersection with 747.  We recommended that be removed, and the applicant has indicated that he agrees with that.

 

We will have the new drive and landscape islands and they should be delineated with a concrete curb so they are protected. 

 

Mr. Vanover said if we are taking out seven parking spots, couldn’t we rework that radius coming in and open it up.  It looks kind of narrow.  Mr. Shvegzda responded it certainly would be possible.  Mr. Lambert said I kind of showed that on my copy; I believe you can open it so you don’t have a bottleneck there because we would pick up plenty of room by eliminating those spots

 

Mr. Goodermont said the representative of ODOT indicated to me that ODOT would do everything north of the 10 foot sidewalk and it probably would be a good time to take care of that radius and do that reconfiguration of the pole and get all that pinned down.  I would like to sit down with the ODOT representative and pin down what ODOT’s responsibility really is at the north end of the parking lot. 

 

Mr. Lambert said our understanding is that ODOT is doing the majority of the work to the north of our building, so we really need to have a meeting with them to work out the details.  We would want to get all that done from the northwest corner of our building and all the way down the west side at the conclusion of our remodel, and leave the north end with some sort of temporary plan that would function for our customers to get in and out safely.  So it wouldn’t come together officially or finally until ODOT was done and their temporary road was relocated.  We need to work the details out with them.

 

Mr. Galster said to recap, we have lost the seven spaces our front and the four in that island so we’ve lost a total of 11 spaces.  With the reconfiguration of the main access aisle, I assume that the ones that we are going to lose will be made up when it is redrawn on the other side.  I will assume that awe have lost 11 and have a total of 242 spaces. What are the requirements for this building? 

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Mr. Galster added I have no problem with the applicant working with Don Shvegzda on how to make the transition during the ODOT construction period.  I also have no problem with the landscape plan being submitted at a later date. 

 

However, I am a little concerned about the landscaping.  Right now there is a three foot area on the north of the building where these trees are coming out.  You are proposing a 10-foot walkway and I would prefer to see that five and five so we can have an area where we can plant trees in front of that building.  The same is true along the west property line. Right now you have the walkway against the building and the landscape islands at the end of the parking rows.  It seems to me we are better off getting the landscaping as close to the building as we can and giving it proper room to mature and grow but with the length and height of that building, it seems like it would be a good idea to get it as close to the building as we can.         

 

I think the elevations are a major improvement; the driveway circulation is a major improvement and I like the way it is shaping up so far.

 

Mr. Okum said I agree with you about the north elevation; you will need an area for replanting, and putting some soil and mulch beds in there with plantings would certainly help. 

 

On the west elevation, they have a 5’ x 38’ planting field for each of those aisle lanes.  I also want to break up that west elevation, and they could still accomplish that.  It might be a burden for them to tear an existing sidewalk out, but as long as they would accommodate the break in the elevation with landscaping and tall elements in those planting beds, they may accomplish that and not have the burden of creating a sidewalk there.  They have 38 caliper inches plus of trees and the larger the trees, it will help that west elevation.  

 

I also believe that Planning Commission should approve the landscape plan and not put the burden on staff.  I do have a concern that there is some time line set upon the project and the applicant.  I think we should set a time period of 30 days or 45 days after ODOT turns the project over to the applicant to complete the landscaping.  The landscaping should be coordinated between Staples, Mr. Perin the owner and ODOT.

 

Mr. Okum said there is a mirror glass on the windows.  It doesn’t depict a window, and it also reflects the cars along 747 and certainly is not what I thought would be obscuring the view of the inside and looking like a window.  Changing that film to something that would give it the look of a regular window would be what the intent was.  Do you see a situation where we can set a time line?

 

Ms. McBride said I would suggest that the landscape plan reflect two phases.  One would be what can be done now as a part of the building renovation, and the second phase would be what is done in conjunction with or after the ODOT work.

 

 

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Mr. Lambert said if we don’t have the landscape plan approved until the next meeting, which would be 30 days, we may be getting into a period when it is not an ideal planting season, so we may have to complete phase 1 next spring, and phase 2 after the ODOT work is done in 2006.  

 

Ms. McBride responded you can plant until the first really good hard frost and I would suggest that rather than set the phasing tonight, let the phasing on the landscaping be done as a part of the landscape approval.  Then they will have their construction schedules and we’ll have a better feel for the weather.

 

Mr. Okum asked the applicant if he had any problem with Mr. Galster’s suggestion that the 10-foot walkway on the north end be split into two five foot walkways.

 

Mr. Lambert answered no, but a 10-foot walkway is our standard in front of the store.  The reason it is, is because when you have 10 feet, you have enough room out there for people to pass one another with shopping carts.  My real recommendation would be to try to get some trees and shrubs out in the landscape areas of the parking lot and then up against the building. That would be my real desire. 

 

We do have one landscape area that will be to the northeast of the building, and we might be able to put something there.  We also have the landscape area to the northwest corner.  I would really rather not have them be along the north elevation of the building and try to squeeze them in there.  Another reason is you can look at the plants that were planted out there.  They are up close to the building and over time they have outgrown the planter size.  I think any time you put plants too close to a building you run the risk that the roots will interfere with the foundation and the plants will outgrow the planter.

 

We would like to keep the existing side walk on the west side, and the new plants five feet away from the building to reuse the sidewalk and keep the tree roots far away from the foundation. 

 

Mr. Okum said in all likelihood you will have some trees there because of that elevation exposure.  Mr. Lambert responded we fully intend to have trees there, and probably will have some fairly sizeable trees along there to break it up, and also to get the number of caliper inches we need.

 

Mr. Okum said the only thing you would be planting on the north side would be short bushes, day lilies and those types of things that would be seasonal.  Your perennials would be short evergreens and plants of that nature.   If I had a cart, I probably wouldn’t walk down the sidewalk with it; I would go down the ramp.  That’s a lot of sidewalk for five parking spaces. 

 

Mr. Lambert responded that 10 foot sidewalks across the front of our building is standard. We have found that for traffic flow and our customers it seems to be the right dimension, and that is why we have shown it here.

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Mr. Lambert added that the 10-foot sidewalk doesn’t always end up being 10 feet.  A lot of times the cars will pull up and the front of the car will overhang.  So a lot of times the 10-foot sidewalk ends up being eight feet, and if we take five feet of that and turn it into a planter area, we might only have a three-foot path through there.   That is one thing to take into consideration.

 

Mr. Okum said I can understand that, and I am not hardened on this because I think we can deal with the landscaping and how the building is broken up in other areas.  Certainly this is an opportunity for a much better landscaping plan than we have seen.  Mr. Lambert said I promise it will look way better than it does today.

 

Mr. McErlane reported that the total required spaces is 198.  Furniture stores do not have as high a ratio requirement and if you look at what is being proposed for the drive aisle along the west side as it gets down closer to Rhodes,  they will net out an additional six spaces that aren’t there now.  So it will improve the parking spaces at Rhodes, but it will be losing some spaces for Staples. 

 

Mr. Syfert asked the total count, and Mr. McErlane answered if we lose the 11 that back out onto the drive aisle, that is 242 and if we net back an other six, we are looking at 248.  There may be some additional requirements that the lease agreement requires, but as in terms of the Zoning Code requirements, there is an excess of parking spaces.

 

Mr. Galster suggested that on the north elevation instead of making that five-foot wide the whole length of the building, have a couple of areas where you can plant in front of the building.  As it is right now, the building is extremely stark and bare.  I know the trees there now are only growing on one side, but it still looks better than a concrete wall.  If you make your island on the northeast corner a little more l-shaped and put another one in the middle between that and the door.  That would be enough, and you still would have the maneuverability.   On the window glazing, was it your intention to replace the existing doors with glazing that matched existing, or was it to replace the whole glass system?

 

Mr. Lambert responded we were going to pull out the doors and infill with similar type metal mullions.  We knew we had an issue with the glass that we needed the proper spec on but we were not going to replace the entire storefront system.

 

Mr. Galster asked if there were a glazing on there or is it like a film, and Mr. Okum reported that it is a foil or mirror film.  Mr. Galster commented so it could be pulled off the existing glass and something different that is not so reflective could be added to that.

 

Mr. Vanover said since we have done away with the seven parking spots in that northwest edge, we have room to open up that radius.  There might be space to shift everything north to get planting beds on the front edge between the end of the parking lot and the building.  I don’t want to see us go closer than 10 feet because if you put a tree in there, it will be a lopsided tree.

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Mr. Vanover added what we are seeing out there now doesn’t have this landscape island, that last northern barrier before the road.  When that is in place, you will be looking through that and be able to get some vertical element there, and if done right, I think it can help break up that frontage. 

 

Mr. Galster said we are talking about almost 70 feet away from that building, and granted it will help, but we’ll still be able to see a lot of that concrete wall.  While I do agree that the planting in the island would be nice, I still would like to try to get some space up against that building.

 

Mr. Vanover added when they get the northern end finalized, you might be able to shift the parking further north.  Mr. Lambert added maybe we can make that distance 10 feet and get it at 13 feet so we can have three or four feet dedicated to landscaping on that side.

 

Mr. Goodermont commented that a lot of those temporary islands will have to go anyway, just to satisfy our needs.  I don’t know ODOT’s intention if they have any landscaping plans or not. 

 

Addressing Mr. Vanover, Mr. Okum said I think that is a good suggestion but the problem is that they want to get this parking field in place so that they can get their operation going.  I agree with Mr. Galster; I want to see a couple of vertical elements on that north exposure and a couple of planting areas.  There are trees that do grow within a five-foot space that will grow vertically against the building and give you a nice break on that elevation and still allow your stripe and main entry. 

 

Mr. Lambert showed his sketch of proposed landscaping.  Those 10 feet may not be 10 feet, and I would be hesitant to take five feet of it for planters because if a car overhangs it would be a problem.  Mr. Okum responded as long as you get a tree in there that would work, I don’t care if it is four feet three inches.  Mr. Lambert added I think you want to leave the 10 foot sidewalk there.  Mr. Syfert added that in that area, you won’t have much criss-crossing because you are only serving a couple of parking spaces.  That might work.

 

Mr. Okum said so it would be an additional five-foot planting area on the north elevation in lieu of the 10-foot walkway for 30 feet.  If we said 30 feet from the east, we would have it tied down. 

 

Mr. Lambert reported for sure we will have to relocate one light, and possibly a second one.  Mr. Okum said staff will work with you on that as long as we identify that we will not be relamping.   You will need a light pack over the doorway for your emergency exit, and that should be shielded because it will affect the motoring public.  Any light packs added to the building should be shielded down.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Lambert said if we could get a time period from ODOT to know that we could still shift everything to the north a couple of feet, that would give us a little more room to work with next to the building.  But if we can’t get a confirmation from ODOT within the time frame, then we will work within the 10 feet and try to accommodate some landscaping and sidewalk in that area.

 

Mr. Okum said I would like to keep that radius as loose as possible.  Keeping it tighter to the north makes that radius a harder turn and I would prefer to keep it as close to the building as we could, rather than moving it further north. 

 

Mr. Okum moved to approve the redevelopment plan to include staff, city engineer and city planner recommendations except that the Planning Commission shall approve the landscaping plan. 

 

1.                  All lighting pole changes and locations shall be reviewed and approved by staff.

2.                  Wall mounted light packs shall be shielded and downlit.

3.                  Lighting fixtures shall be the same; no relamping planned or approved.

4.                  Landscaping conditions include that the ODOT area shall be completed within 30 days of that area being turned over to the owners by ODOT.

5.                  The additional five-foot planting area on the north elevation shall be added in lieu of the total 10-foot walkway approximately 30 feet from the east.

6.                  The landscaping area will be broken down into two phases.  Phase 1 is to be completed as soon as possible upon completion of the project.  Phase 2 shall be completed and submitted with the landscaping plan at a later date.

7.                  Parking changes in lot drive aisles shall be as discussed but shall be approved by our staff prior to completion.

8.                  Glazing on the west wall shall be reviewed and approved by staff, and shall have the appearance of normal windows concealing the interior.

 

Mr. Galster said I thought we were going to leave the landscape timing out until the landscape plan was submitted.  We haven’t approved the landscape plan yet.  Ms. McBride said I thought we were going to approve that as a part of the landscape plan.  Mr. Okum said I’ll remove that portion from my motion, except that it should be submitted with the landscape plan because we are going to be reviewing and approving it anyway. 

 

Mr. Galster said and no pole sign is to be approved either. I know     it is noted in the comments, but it is also shown on the drawings and I want to make sure that is clear.

 

Mr. Okum said I will add to my motion that there shall be no pylon sign approval at this time.

 

Mr. Coleman asked if the motion included information about the trash dumpster enclosure.  Mr. Okum responded that it is in the staff comments.

 

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Mr. Galster added we didn’t tie down the removal of the seven and four parking spots that back into the aisle way.  Mr. Okum said I referenced changes to the site plan and parking shall be as discussed and shall be approved by staff prior to completion. 

 

All voted aye, and approval with conditions was granted with seven affirmative votes.

 

VI.               NEW BUSINESS

 

 

VII.              DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Galster said to update you on the Planning Partnership, the Community Compass has pretty much completed its planning process and they are scheduling November 20th and 21st for a get together to kick off the action.   Mr. Vanover added that on the front page it talks about the Southwestern Ohio First Suburbs Consortium.  That is a group that is of particular interest to us as a suburb.   Actually we were one of the founding fathers on that issue.

 

Mr. Syfert thanked Jeff Tulloch for being here, and welcomed him to the commission.

 

VIII.            CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

 

 

IX.               ADJOURNMENT

 

Mr. Vanover moved to adjourn.  All voted aye, and Planning Commission adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

            _____________________,2004   ________________________________

                                                                        William G. Syfert, Chairman

 

 

 

            _____________________,2004   ________________________________

                                                                        Lawrence Hawkins III, Secretary