PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
OCTOBER 13, 2009
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: Richard Bauer, Tony Butrum, David Okum, Carolyn Ghantous, Lawrence Hawkins III, Steve Galster, and Tom Vanover

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

III. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 8, 2009

Mr. Dave Okum moved to adopt the September 8, 2009 Planning Commission Meeting Minutes, Mr. Tom Vanover seconded the motion; the Minutes were adopted with a unanimous vote.

IV. REPORT ON COUNCIL

Mr. Steve Galster presented the report on Council summarizing updated information on the H1N1 flu vaccination plan for the City of Springdale.

V. OLD BUSINESS

A. Chairman Butrum: Wireless Communication Tower Conditional Use Permit –
11970 Kenn Road; we will continue the public hearing. If anyone in the audience intends to speak for the communication tower they will need to be sworn in.

(At this time Chairman Butrum did swear in audience members.)

Mr. Nathan Meyer: I am with PBM Wireless out of Brownsburg, Indiana representing American Tower Corporation and Cricket Communications. Everyone has received my updated information; it is a supplement to what you have already received. In the beginning of the packet there is an example of a pole that is a little different than our initial proposal; initially we were proposing a 149’ monopole and what we have decided to do, based on the comments and the discussions here with the Planning Commission is we would build this pole to 110’ where it could accommodate the anchor tenant which is Cricket Communications, as well as
T-Mobile who has shown interest in this tower not only by way of a letter of intent and R-F maps that they have submitted to this Commission. They initially had the lease for this site and didn’t have the funding in that year to build it and since then American Tower has been assigned a lease and Cricket is the tenant now. Keep in mind that T-Mobile would have the first right of refusal for the top-highest spot which would be 110’ and then Cricket would be left with the 100’ spot. We anticipate based on the letter that was presented that T-Mobile would have funding for this in 2010 which is why we think the investment now to build it to 110’ makes sense and also makes it co-locatable which is part of your ordinance. In the future if there are other carriers that do need a site they can be pointed to this site by way of the fact that we would be located there and when they come to investigate the zoning, hopefully this would be approved to extended up to a height not to exceed 130’ and we would ask that those approvals would not have to come back to the Planning Commission and they could be administratively approved if that would be comfortable with this Commission. If anyone would need more height in the future then they would have to reapply.

(At this time Nathan Meyer used a Power Point demonstration to explain new information presented.)

I think everyone has seen the photos that were presented and at the different heights; 110’ in my opinion is hidden to the best of the ability from all the different views and would be unnoticeable because it would blend in with the tree line or be hidden by a tree line most of the time. If it were to ever get as tall as 130’ it would replicate close to the 125’ photo that you have, so you could think of that as looking like the worst case scenario in your mind’s eye. Our logic behind that is to overcome the aesthetic concerns that seem to be expressed, and Cricket is comfortable with that being the lowest height that they can possibly use at the 100’ mark and to set up the table for the immediate co-locator that was foreseeable in the future, which would be
T-Mobile. There was some discussion previously regarding towers and residential areas that pre-existed a new subdivision. (At this time Mr. Meyer displayed Power Point views of demonstrated residences.)
The R-F team has given you a consistent set of maps, parameters and settings were provided with the anticipation that a third party reviewer would be selected to look them over. We believe that Cricket needs the site; we know that they need the site. T-Mobile also needs the site, so there is definite need. We believe the height that is presented will allow Cricket to go at their lowest possible height which is one 100’ which is a 50’ drop. It is like taking the original pole that was presented and taking that right off the top to help with any aesthetic concerns.
Mr. Perry Wimms is here from Nashville Tennessee, he works with Cricket, he is an R-F engineer and he has 23 years in the R-F and microwave industry, he has worked with the defense and aerospace with McDowell Douglas in the past, he has worked on Star Wars project and other high technological projects for the defense of our Country; he has also worked with Hewlett Packard, projects with the Navy. He is an R-F Level 3 Staff Engineer which is the highest non-managing level of engineer that Cricket has in their company; there are only six nationwide. He is here tonight to help answer any questions that you would have about Crickets network or any technical questions. He is accompanied by Nick Churney who is an R-F 1 Engineer who is here to observe. Julio Ruez is also here from Cricket and Tom Breidenstein is our attorney for this particular project.

Mr. Tom Breidenstein: I am serving as the attorney for American Tower. As I mentioned in the last meeting, not only am I an attorney but I am also a Certified Planner and that is really what I am going to focus my presentation here today, more from a Planning standpoint as opposed to a legal standpoint. More to the fact, I was asked to address the general criteria that applied to Conditional Uses, all Conditional Uses in your City under Section 153.708 of the Zoning ordinance; a lot of them are very broad and very general. I know that Mr. Meyer addressed those in his initial application, but there was some thought last month that there might be some additional discussion around those particular items. I would like to make a very brief presentation without graphics; just pure discussion and then open up for discussion beyond that: I know that you are all familiar with all of those criteria so I am not going to try to read each of those but I do want to go over them point by point where they are appropriate. The first standard that you all should take into consideration when you are reviewing any Conditional Use is whether the use will discourage development or impair the value of adjacent properties. To my mind it is very similar to the third criteria or standard that says that the proposed use must not produce a negative impact on abutting or surrounding properties. What you have seen tonight in the slide presentation and on your printed page drives home the fact that towers in general do not serve as a hindrance to development of residential properties. I don’t know if any of you drove up to the Fairfield site to the tower off of Mack Road but there is a beautiful subdivision going on totally surrounding the tower itself and just north of it there is a beautiful golf course community just north of that; property values there I would submit are $250,000 plus, on those homes. The second criteria or second standard is whether or not the proposed use creates volumes of traffic that would be hazardous to the adjoining properties or the area. I am not sure that the testimony was in the record, but I would like to ask Julio and Mr. Wimms if they agree with me that these are very low generating types of uses; one to two vehicles for maintenance purposes per month are expected, is that true Mr. Wimms?

Mr. Perry Wimms: Unless we have a nasty storm which is somewhat common, you may have a cell tech show up more frequently than once or twice a month, but those are rare occasions; normally to clean the bay station and the surrounding area.
Mr. Tom Breidenstein: And that particular standard has been set by this application. The fourth standard, the proposed use will be objectionable by reason of noise, smoke, dust, odors, fumes or vibrations or glare. The common experience by everybody in here in this room shows that none of those are a concern for this type of a use. The fifth one is whether the proposed use is compatible with surrounding uses and zones, or is capable of being made compatible; you have all seen the photographs of the other sites throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Fairfield and you have seen in our particular site the fact that we are putting it into a mature wooded area that will hide the very base of this tower, as far as compatibility in general I can only think of one place that a cell tower would be compatible and that is with your other cell towers. We don’t have that here, by virtue of the development pattern of the City but I think that you have to concede that the “City mothers and fathers” who drafted the zoning code felt that a cell tower can be compatible in this zoning district. I submit that the location of this property in proximity to the interstate and the tall towers that are located along that strip help to make this tower compatible in that general area. The next criteria or standard for Conditional Uses is whether the use is detrimental to the health, safety and welfare. I submit to you the testimony has been that the health and safety of the community is actually enhanced by this tower and other towers in the community for the E-911 capabilities that will be enhanced in this part of the community. More people in this area will have reliable phone coverage and therefore E-911 is enhanced. To make sure that you are aware that the Federal Tele-Communications Acts prevents you from considering any health effects of the radiation, you know the radio frequencies that come from these that really hasn’t been a part of the discussion but I want to make sure that you will understand that should not be part of your discussions and your deliberations. The next criteria or standard is whether the structure or the use conforms with the purpose, intent and objectives of the Zoning Code. The cellular communication system provisions of your Code set forth in very clear verbiage what the intent is, it identifies that cellular coverage is quasi-public in nature; essentially it is a Utility but it is owned by private companies. There is a realization embedded within the intent of your Zoning Code that there is a need to accommodate cellular telecommunication towers while also regulating their location and their number. The “fathers and mothers” of the City in drafting the Code saw fit to make this particular Zoning district the PFL and appropriate space for this kind of a use. Also embedded in there is the intent to minimize any adverse visual effects of the towers with proper design and screening. We have done that in two ways, first is putting it within the mature tree stand; you will not see the bottom 60’ of this tower, also American Tower as well as Cricket is willing to lower the height significantly, I think it is about 28% decrease in the height; we have satisfied that intent, as well. Also embedded with the intent of that particular part of the Zoning Ordinance is the goal to avoid potential damage to adjoining or adjacent properties from tower failure; if you do the math you will know that if this tower falls to its full height it is not going to hit anything, there are no houses, the church is well out of reach; it might knock down a tree or two but there is a safety factor that is built into the location that has been chosen. I think you also got a letter from an engineer from the company that builds the tower that essentially says the fall zone is not the full height of the tower, I believe it is half the height of the tower if it were to fail it would fall essentially in and on itself and not prove to be a danger to anything nearby. The final intent of that portion of the zoning ordinance is to encourage joint use of any new towers to reduce the number of such structures needed in the future; and of course the record is full of references to our commitment to provide opportunities for up to four co-location providers there. There is also some general purpose and intents of the Zoning Code itself, most of those are wrapped around the health, safety and welfare of the community, I think the health, safety and welfare is satisfied by our construction of this tower in this site in the manner that we have chosen. There is one particular provision there that stresses protecting the character and the value of residential institutional business, public and other uses. Again, as we have shown in these photographs the character of this area, the existing and future character of this area will not be affected by the construction of this tower. Other general criteria don’t really pertain to this use: prevent overcrowding of land; prevent excess concentration of population; regulate traffic control measures. It asks that you insure the economical extension of public utilities in the area and again this is recognition that this is a quasi-public utility, serves that purpose and serves not just the people who own cell phones but it serves everybody in the area. The last standard talks about its relationship to the adopted master plan, the comprehensive plan and I will refer you to page 16 which states the community goals and strategies in particular I will read number 5 under public services and facilities: “the goal there is to coordinate with utility and infrastructure service providers, i.e. Cincinnati Water Works, Cinergy, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District”; and I submit outside the quote that again we fall within that broad category of public utilities to insure that Springdale customers receive the highest quality of service and that improvements/upgrades to such facilities and services are provided to meet customer’s needs, so again it can’t be stressed enough that we are providing the services that are requested in your own comprehensive plan for this part of Springdale. That concludes my brief overview of the standards for Conditional Uses.

(At this time Mr. McErlane read his Staff comments.)

Mr. McErlane: In regards to a third party reviewer, I was able to find a third party reviewer operating out of New York and North Carolina and they contract with local consultants to do local review.
The applicant has asked for an approval I believe of the entire 130’ and the four antennas at this point, at this particular meeting. Typically we require a Conditional Use Permit for new towers and then co-locations are still handled by Planning Commission as an Administrative review by the Planning Commission similar to a Development Plan approval. It would be my recommendation particularly since
T-Mobile sounds like it is an eminent user of this antenna that Planning Commission, if they chose to approve this application would approve up to 110’ for two antenna rays and then require whoever the applicant is in the future to come in for that Administrative Review for the other two antennas or each antenna as they are ready to do those. It exceeds a little bit of what is in the code; what the code says is if you co-locate on an existing tower or if you are adding 15’ to a tower or a structure then you fit into that Administrative Review. In this case they will be adding 20’ to that tower and I think it is reasonable to say that we will allow you 20’ but you still have to come in for that Administrative Review by the Planning Commission. If Planning Commission sees fit to approve, that would be my recommendation.

(The City Engineer was not present at this meeting; at this time Mr. McErlane read
Mr. Shvegzda’s comments and Ms. McBride read her Staff comments.)

Chairman Butrum: I would like to open the Public Hearing, if you intend to speak on this issue, please step to the podium and state your name and address and present your comments.

Mr. Norman Pasley: I am the Pastor of the Calvary Church at 11970 Kenn Road. I want to offer some assurances to this review and its process; it was never our intent to be less than transparent in our disclosures or presentation, any confusion as to maps or detail was purely oversight and we would never try to compromise in terms of integrity. We will continue to meet any protocol of calibration replacement in terms of trees as we did ten years ago when we developed the campus initially. I do believe that our location offers the best opportunity to accommodate a tower on this stretch of I-275. I believe that in the dual context of aesthetics and environmentally for it to be nestled in this 10 acres of undeveloped very mature green line; it would certainly hide or reduce profoundly any visibility of this tower. It is not what I would want ideally for our campus. Our Board of Directors tried the best of our ability to find due diligence in our discussion as to the safety of our campus and the safety of our members, children and young people with our activities outside, and put forth several copious commitments that this company has met to our full satisfaction because our vested interest is primarily for the safety of those that are on site. We feel like they have presented to us a plan with minimal impact to our campus and for safe operation on a daily basis. We have been a part of Springdale for 36 years and our commitment remains to that and I do believe that this tower will serve our community.

(At this time, no additional individuals came forward from the public to speak and this portion of the Public Hearing was closed.)

Mr. Hawkins: For the applicant, I just want to confirm the 110’ would be the minimum that you would need in order for this tower to be effective?

Mr. Meyer: That is correct. Due to the provision that T-Mobile would have the right to first refusal; Cricket would therefore be at the 100’ level which is similar to the
99’ level that we have been discussing; it puts them at the lowest available height, anything below that really causes a lot of challenges because of the terrain and because of the clutter. (Mr. Meyer demonstrated the interpretation of clutter with a Power Point map.)

Mr. Perry Wimms: Terrain is our worst enemy in terms of R-F signal propagation, getting the signal from the tower to where it needs to go to the homes; that is our biggest enemy. Our second biggest enemy is foliage, in fact between summer and winter you might be able to keep a cell phone call up in the wintertime in places where you can’t in the summer, a very quick explanation for that is foliage.

Mr. Hawkins: How many feet above the tree canopy does the tower need to be?

Mr. Wimms: Assuming flat terrain, generally the minimum would be about 40’. It is also a function of the type of trees that you have, the hardwoods actually sometimes cause bigger problems than the softwood trees.

Mr. Hawkins: How far above the canopy is this tower?

Mr. Perry Wimms: I would be speculating but that is probably about 60’ above. There are some very old trees in some of those neighborhoods.

Mr. Hawkins: And that tower is sitting in a valley. Despite all that, the tower would need to be that height with that much space above the tree canopy in order for it to be effective?

Mr. Perry Wimms: That is correct, for the intended coverage area. What you are looking at is a microcosm of the bigger picture, if you will look at the actual footprint what this site is intended to cover some of those areas do have some older growth of trees than what you see here.

Mr. Hawkins: With regard to the map of the current coverage that you submitted for this month in comparison to last month, I noticed there is a lot more white space in the map for this month than last month; what do you attribute that to?

Mr. Perry Wimms: To the lower tower height overall.

Mr. Hawkins: The current coverage for this month is showing considerably more white space than the current coverage map that was submitted last month.

Mr. Perry Wimms: We made twelve antenna adjustments on some of the surrounding sites that could have adjusted that footprint mildly. The idea was to enhance and improve the surrounding area.

Mr. Hawkins: Was the other current map that we got from last week completely off; it is noticeable how much white space is on there this month versus last month.

Mr. Julio Ruez: The previous map was presented last month, we did a lot of changes in the network because to have the drop call below 0.8 percent; so at that time we were at about .8 percent so there was a lot of pressure for high management that we have to put them there. The map from last month and the map now will show the coverage from the changes; this month shows the coverage that we have with the changes, this month shows the coverage we have after we change the antennas around.

Mr. Hawkins: If the maps are accurate the changes that you made should have improved the situation for your customers. In looking at the current coverage map from last month versus this month there is nothing that is better in this month from whatever you guys have done to change the antennas, it is only worse. Whatever you have done, I suggest you undo; it is not helpful to the situation.

Mr. Julio Ruez: Basically the changes were done to improve dropped calls.

Mr. Hawkins: I am looking at not just the target area but looking around at the surrounding area, I don’t see anything that is better in this months map based on the changes that you made. It is not like this area and the target area got worse and another area got better; the rest of it looks the same but it just looks like the target area is worse.

Mr. Julio Ruez: The parameter of the particular area there was a dropped call that we had that the company was asking to improve the area; that was the main reason we did the changes over there.

Mr. Hawkins: Do you agree with me that there is not a situation in this month’s map where there is another area that you could point to where it has been improved based on what you have done?

Mr. Perry Wimms: Actually yes; if you look very closely at the blue area, that is what we consider to be in-building penetration and there are some very subtle differences in some of these spots where you will see a little bit better coverage for in-building and that is the secret to success for drop-call rate that Julio is talking about. He mentioned doing some antenna adjustments to minimize the overshoot, an overshooting signal winding up in the wrong place is actually not a good thing and becomes interference, by trying to enhance and improve the drop-call rate sometimes you actually wind up removing coverage from other areas. In an effort to address the overshooting issue that is why that white spot is a little bit bigger this month; but some of the blue areas are indeed enhanced.

Mr. Meyer: I may add some changes that were made, the existing coverage map or the current coverage map is the map that was different from the rest of the presentation last month. The coverage shown, there were adjustments made to make the legends and the street labels and those types of things consistent throughout that may have changed from the previous presentation but the coverage shown from last week on the other maps excluding the existing coverage map are the same as the coverage that was shown previously. They have taken the existing coverage that was not optimized to their network to the current settings and they made it consistent with the remainder of the presentation in terms of the coverage, which is what was asked of us; we were asked to use reasonable industry standards and we have disclosed very proprietary information on not just the sites that you can see here but some of the surrounding sites that impact the coverage on this map, we submitted that to Staff so that it can be reviewed. As far as we knew it was going to be reviewed by a third party.

Mr. Galster: Mr. Hawkins, I had some of the same concerns of the growing white area. I find it hard to believe that 20% to 25% of your existing customers in this area have no service; that calls into question some additional map issues that we are dealing with. I just want to clarify that even though you are on the same operating system you need to have a separate array for your frequencies?

Mr. Perry Wimms: That is correct. We own three channels in the Cincinnati area; Sprint can do what they want with their three channels. We pay the FCC to lease that spectrum for a ten year window. Their capacity is completely independent of our capacity.

Mr. Galster: When you are using Sprint’s tower, are you adding your own array and it is totally separate?

Mr. Perry Wimms: It is a totally separate radio bay station; you will see two sets of antennas. There is no direct communication between those two arrays.

Mr. Galster: I guess I have seen a lot of towers that may have 5 arrays on them but my understanding is a lot of those are abandoned and they are not all used?

Mr. Perry Wimms: There would be a handful of those circumstances that perhaps another tower is built a quarter mile away and if it is more favorable to them and their customers to move that cell site, they will take that radio bay station and move it to a new tower.

Mr. Galster: Just a note to Mr. Okum, if there is ever an abandoned tower up that it needs to come down as opposed to building up.

Mr. Perry Wimms: That is going to be the rare exception, plus the entire tower may not be abandoned.

Mr. Galster: In order to get my support, I am going to need to be at the lowest height that works, not giving me everything in the world, but what works for what you are asking.

Mr. Meyer: That is 110’ tower, with the first right of refusal for T-Mobile; with a 10’ separation. There is a 90% to 99% chance that T-Mobile will co-locate on this tower.

Mr. Galster: And because of the fact that our code does encourage cohabitation I would anticipate that having a tower in that concentration of residential area surely would probably invite one additional array sometime. I don’t think that you comply with #5 that is listed in the consideration for the Conditional Use, “Are they compatible with surrounding areas”, I think if you met the setback requirements and there was that much space to residential areas I believe you would be in compliance with the 5th requirement.
Are we positive that these heights are the minimum heights that you need to have to meet your company’s objectives?

Mr. Perry Wimms: There are 239 customers from what we can ascertain and 48 of them are in the white area.

Mr. Julio Ruez: We get customers and they change every month.

Mr. Galster: My bottom-line question is, what is the minimum height?

Mr. Perry Wimms: The 40’, with the 60’ oak trees in the surrounding area; the 100’ antenna height would be about the minimum.

Mr. Galster: And is that your position, as well, Mr. Meyer?

Mr. Meyer: Yes, I agree with that.

Mr. Perry Wimms: T-Mobile has the first right of refusal, so they get the 110’ slot.

Mr. Galster: So we are still going to have the 110’ pole out there in the hopes that it is going to have the second array? I just want to make sure that you are telling me 110’ allowing for the two arrays, with Cricket at 100’, is the lowest possible height that Cricket can live with?

Mr. Meyer: That is correct.

Mr. Okum: I think, Mr. Galster, it would be naive of us to assume 110’. At this point we are talking 110’ tower and they are going to come to us for the extra 30’ or 40’ to get the extra height because they are going to have other carriers who want the pole. The adjacent property to this is a natural forest and they are placing a steel monopole in the middle of a forest; that is not sensitive to the surrounding areas. By convenience it is in the right zoning, Public Facilities allows for Conditional Use Application, allows the use of monopole there. We currently have a cell tower at 747 and I-275. We haven’t had any evidence presented to us that we have had any discussion with the State ODOT regarding the public facility property outside of the Pentecostal Property, it is an enormous vacant space on I-275, it is unoccupied an exit ramp. Number “2” of 153.495 does not justify the location; 153.708 Number “5” and Number “1”, I agree with a hundred percent that it does not meet that, so I will not be supporting this request for those reasons.

Mr. Galster: Mr. Okum, I do agree with you. I think that once you start putting something in the middle of the green trees that it looks out of place. If it could be moved into an area where regular towers or monopoles are up for lights and along the interstate I agree with you that it would blend in.

Mr. Bauer: Did you look and discuss sites with ODOT along I-275?

Mr. Meyer: We have not yet done that because we wanted to come here and allow you to have zoning authority over our option that we chose. Every site that I have worked on there is no zoning authority over towers, how it would look or how tall it would be and those types of things. We wanted to give you the opportunity here in Springdale to give us your thoughts and your opinions and even regulate what this site may look like on this property. You are going to see it from I-275, but from the residential views it is screened better than any tower I have ever worked on and I have worked on a lot. I think if we went to ODOT you would see something less desirable than what you want to see. Is it just the height; what else can I do to this thing to help hide it?

Mr. Galster: I believe what we are asking is if we can get the tower more in line to where it is basically a highway utility pole, less unsightly location.

Mr. Okum: I feel closer to Kenn Road, closer to the corner there; more by the bridge farther south, off of the church property. Communities do develop around towers, obviously Mason developed around the WLW tower, people build homes around water towers. When you put a steel pole in the middle of a forest it is still a steel pole in the middle of a forest and if you are outside of the forest that is what you end up seeing. Some things are not compatible with the environment that they are placed in; this monopole is not compatible with that surrounding area which is a forest of trees eventually a residential area. If the church decides to sell of part of that property to residential someday along with the Missioners, it will be a residential area. If homes develop around it, it would impact those homes.

Mr. Meyer: I have seen appraisals and studies that doesn’t impact property values, it doesn’t affect the market of the neighborhood, so I am uncertain of the impact that you are talking about.

Chairman Butrum: If you ask anybody around the WLW tower if you could take a magic wand and remove it, I think they would say “yes”; I would.
Is it the trees, or is it the location?

Mr. Galster: I don’t want to see those trees come down. What I am looking at is moving it to where it is more in line with the tall structures that are associated with a highway construction.

Mr. Hawkins: Mr. Meyer, I appreciate the work that you put forth but I do think the proximity to this residential area does have a negative impact.

Mr. Vanover: As far as the tower in Fairfield and the development around it, that tower was there before the development started and that development has been ongoing for probably about five years and there are two or three homes there and the bulk of that development is sitting empty. If you look you can find figures to back just about anything. I do not want to see a tower in the middle of the woods; the business end of the tower is going to be up above the canopy.

Mr. Meyer: We have given you a set of maps that is consistent with regards to the parameters that were used to create them, that is what we were asked to do and that is what you have in your packet that was submitted for this meeting. That transmission line shows deficient coverage south of I-275 and it matches all the parameters that were turned into Staff and the City to review; they put that out for the public to come and take a look at.

Mr. Vanover: I was hoping to see if this isn’t the best spot, then what are our other options.

Mr. Meyer: What if the business end of the tower looked different than what it looks now? We can do a pine tree; we can do a pole where the antennas are hugged up against the tower.

Mr. Okum: I appreciate your offer, but without Staff review and without this Commission’s review I think it would be inappropriate for us to do that. Are you requesting that we table this for you to make other submissions to us? I would consider that, but we do have a requirement for action that you would have to request that we extend like we did last time. Otherwise we can bring it on the floor and call it based upon what we have been presented and you still have an opportunity to resubmit; there is no rule or regulation in the City of Springdale that prevents you from resubmitting for another consideration under a Conditional Use Variance. If you do have other suggestions, I do think it would be inappropriate for us to act on that tonight without Staff’s review of or without our time to deliberate. If you are asking that I table with the extension of the requirement for action then I will make that motion; if you are not I will make the motion based upon the information for purposes of bringing it to the floor.

Mr. Meyer: What I am asking here is different than what you are presenting;
Section 153.708 of your code (F) “allow the Planning Commission to impose conditions of the issuance of this request with limitations respect to location”.
We could move it around on the property, and the Commission could approve a different look to the antennas, the maintenance and landscaping if you don’t think the trees are enough, maybe more landscaping. We do have the ability to introduce a new idea here tonight without having to table.

Chairman Butrum: So you are proposing two potential changes, one is the look of the pole. I personally would be leery about doing that but we could poll the Commission and see if they would do that, and another is other location options?

Mr. Meyer: Well there is discussion of other locations, so the Planning Commission has the authority to impose a condition to move my site around on this property.

Chairman Butrum: I can poll the Commission and see if they would be comfortable discussing that and taking a vote for a location change or pole appearance.

Mr. Galster: I think it would be inappropriate to try to review without having proper Engineer Staff. If I understand Mr. Okum’s desire, there is no place along the church’s property that allows that pole to be close enough to the interstate to actually blend into the structures that are associated with the interstate itself. In order to get close enough to the interstate to allow that pole to blend in with the interstate and the structures, it would most likely be on the ODOT property. With moving the tower around I think it would be inappropriate to try to do that tonight, given the unknowns.
I would rather have it under Springdale Zoning control than I would under ODOT.

Mr. Meyer: Then let’s take it one step at a time; I would like to propose the different look first.

Mr. Bauer: The appearance of the pole, I don’t have any misgivings about the appearance so that is not a big obstacle for me.

Mrs. Ghantous: I could vote.

Chairman Butrum: I could vote, as well.

Mr. Okum: I would vote on it, I think it is a disservice to the residents.

Mr. Hawkins: I have some reservations; the bigger issue to me is that it is a 110’ pole.

Mr. Vanover: I could vote on it tonight.

Chairman Butrum: It is up to you if you want to present other aesthetic options; at the same time I am getting the feeling that the location is a problem for a number of people.

(At this time the Planning Commission took a five minute break at Mr. Meyer’s request.)

Chairman Butrum: There were at least five people that said they could vote tonight.

Mr. Meyer: Our desire is to request that there is a continuance to extend the Public Hearing to the next meeting.

Chairman Butrum: And that would require that we extend the period of time.
We have a motion.

(All Planning Commission members voted in favor of a continuance.)

VI. NEW BUSINESS

A. Chairman Butrum: We have Target Store, 900 E. Kemper Road for Revision to POD.

Mr. Greg Monning: I am with Wolpert, representing Target tonight. We want to do an amendment to the declaration of covenants; currently there are 588 parking spaces on site, we want to eliminate 50 spaces farthest from the building and the existing retaining wall. Last year they looked at the option of replacing the wall and looked at their parking count analysis of 86 stores around the country to get a sales volume relationship to the number of parking spaces needed. What they are proposing is to eliminate 50 spaces and go down to 538 spaces, change the existing asphalt to green space.

(Staff comments from Mr. McErlane, Mr. Shvegzda and Ms. McBride were presented at this time.)

Mr. Vanover: Mr. McErlane, are there any issues with drainage?

Mr. McErlane: Probably not, the big consideration with regard to draining modular retaining walls is that you don’t build up hydrostatic pressure behind them and cause them to collapse. In this case they are going to have an embankment behind them so that is not a concern in the future.

Mr. Monning: The existing drainage in the wall will remain.

Mr. Vanover: Do we know what created this failure?

Mr. Monning: Our company did some analysis on that and the speculation was that there was irrigation on the top of the wall and eroded out and allowed it to bow out; it doesn’t look like much of the ground above shifted.

Chairman Butrum: Mr. Galster and Mr. Vanover, do you deem this a major departure from the approved preliminary plan?

Mr. Galster: No, I do not.

Mr. Vanover: Nor do I.

Mr. Galster: I am looking at cost, is there consideration to extending that to eliminating more parking spots to actually increase the amount of green space in the parking field.
Mr. Monning: When you start to get further into the parking lot you get into the islands and the light poles; now it is just an elimination of asphalt.
If you wanted to have a lower parking requirement to 500 parking spaces then maybe Target could come in at some point of what spaces to eliminate; I can’t speak for them right now.

Ms. McBride: If that is the Commission’s pleasure to approve a lower parking ratio than what the applicant is actually requesting, that would require Staff approval so we make sure that the spaces that are going to be eliminated still provide good circulation on site and what is done with that area would be something consistent with what we have worked out with the applicant for these spaces.

Mr. Galster: It is the advantage to the applicant to do it at one time and if we come up with a number subject to Staff review, I am not opposed to the concept here and leaving it in Staff’s hands to eliminate as many parking spots and handle that flow to the best of your ability.

Mr. Vanover: If they feel comfortable and Staff grants its blessing then I don’t have a problem with that.

Mr. Okum: I make a motion that we approve the change to the Target PUD requirement for parking with a reduction to 450 parking spaces and that the retaining wall along Kemper Road shall be supported as presented by the applicant with an expansion of landscaping and grasses to allow the applicant to reduce the parking ratio down to 450 parking spaces; this shall be reviewed by Staff and shall be approved by Staff for the applicant.

Mr. Vanover: I second the motion.

Mr. Hawkins polled the Planning Commission Members and with a unanimous “aye” vote the request was granted.

VII. DISCUSSION

Chairman Butrum: I do like the idea that Bill McErlane had found regarding having a third party expert that represents the interest of the City for cell towers.

Mr. McErlane: I have sent them an email asking them if they could send me their model ordinance and they did say that there are other jurisdictions that are using that model ordinance. It could be as simple as changing our fee structure for Conditional Use Permits to say that they are responsible for paying any third party review costs. As far as the cost to the third party review, I think we have language that says the fees are established by Council and right now it is $200.00 for a Conditional Use Permit. I pulled off the internet that gives you a feel for what they can do and things you can legally look at for cell towers or communication tower sites.

Ms. McBride: One of the things we are looking at doing next year is not a code rewrite but is some housekeeping, some up to date issues for the code to look for ways to incorporate more sustainable features, possible reductions in parking, there is some definition issues.

(At this time Mr. Galster introduced Mr. Jerry Thamann, the City of Springdale’s new Assistant Administrator.)

VIII. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

Chairman Butrum: I did approve several signs: Sears wall sign – 300 East Kemper Road; Balanos Sports wall sign – 284 Northland Boulevard; PNC Bank pole & 4 wall signs – 495 East Kemper Road



   
IX. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Vanover moved to adjourn, Mr. Steve Galster seconded the motion and the
Planning Commission adjourned at 8:47 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________,2009 ___________________________________
            Chairman Tony Butrum


________________________,2009 ___________________________________
            Lawrence Hawkins III, Secretary