PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
November 8, 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 and Chairman Don Darby

Members Absent: Steve Galster and Marge Boice
   
Others Present: Don Shvegzda, City Engineer; Anne McBride, City Planner; William McErlane, Building Official; Jeff Tulloch, Economic Development Director

Chairman Darby: I need to inform all applicants that a positive vote of five is necessary for passing of any submission.
   

III. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF OCTOBER 11, 2011

(Mr. Okum moved to accept the minutes of the October 11, 2011 Planning Commission Meeting; Mr. Vanover seconded the motion and with 5 “aye” votes from the Planning Commission Members present, the minutes were accepted.)


IV. REPORT ON COUNCIL

Mr. Vanover: There is no report on Council tonight.


V. CORRESPONDENCE

Chairman Darby: There is no correspondence received by the Chairman.


VI. OLD BUSINESS

A. Chairman Darby: The first item to be presented under Old Business is a request for variance to The Tree Preservation Ordinance at the Cassinelli Square Property,
333 East Kemper Road.

Mr. Dave Seibel: I am the property manager with Kimco Reality Corporation. The
property is the Cassinelli Square Shopping Center, specifically the area in front of what is now the Rockler Store, previously the Party City Store. The request for variance is based upon the situation of there being four trees located along the road that basically blocked the vision into the store area and also blocked the vision to the access to and from, on the east side of the site.

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

Mr. McErlane: The replacement trees for the four trees that have been removed, have yet to be planted. There is the issue with the $4,400; and then our recommendation is that there be some planted along Kemper Road. Obviously the visibility is going to become an issue if they are planted directly in front of the old Party City store. There is a lot of frontage that they could be planted in, that is our recommendation.

Mr. Okum: Ms. McBride, we have done planting plans to help businesses with the location of trees; I have never seen a situation where we have said, no trees in front of businesses. Certainly there should be some type of plantings in front of that business across Kemper that can accomplish some of the void. What would our landscape architect that we have used, recommend on this type of situation?

Ms. McBride: When we have worked with other retailers and other business owners, particularly along Kemper, some of the things that we have done is look at different species of trees in terms of the density of their limbs and their leaves and so forth. We have also looked at grouping those trees so that there are wide gaps in the planting areas so that there is good visibility to the stores and their signs. We have been able to work with other businesses to satisfactorily give them good visibility from the roadway, as well as still meeting the tree requirements by grouping them by the plant materials and so forth.

Mr. Dave Seibel: There are two existing trees in front of the building.

Mr. Okum: Are those ornamental?

Mr. Dave Seibel: Those are large crabapple trees; they are very large.

Mr. Okum: Is that correct, Mr. McErlane?

Mr. McErlane: Yes; they are at each corner of the building, up by the building.

Mr. Dave Seibel: The tree trunk is probably 6” to 8”; the spread is probably 20’ for each one.

Mr. Okum: How much length of frontage is at this particular site at 333 East Kemper Road?

Mr. Dave Seibel: 90 feet.

Mr. Okum: We have no City street trees in that area?

Mr. McErlane: No.

Mr. Okum: Because of the way the building sits, would it be better for some of the request of the applicant to place some trees along the public right of way area; that would be similar to what we have down further.

Ms. McBride: That is a possibility. What I would suggest is that if the Commission is looking for coming up with some alternatives you might want to make any approval contingent on us meeting with the applicant and working up a suitable plan in terms of what type, and where, and that type of thing as opposed to trying to do it here this evening.

Mr. Dave Seibel: Yes, I would be agreeable to that.

Mr. Okum: The $4,400 is the only item that the applicant is asking relief for; provided he does the planting, is that correct?

Mr. McErlane: Yes.

Chairman Darby: You didn’t address that in your presentation.

Mr. Dave Seibel: There was a question whether or not the trees were actually in the right of way. The inspector that caught us removing the trees indicated that you can’t cut those trees because they are in the City right of way; but they were not.
They are not on a Planned Unit Development. The landscape plan of record shows no trees in front of the building. I gave the order to remove the trees.

Mr. McErlane: With regard to those particular trees, I could not find the documentation; I can only go from memory. There were additional trees that were located out in front of 333 East Kemper; they had been cut down previously and those four trees were replacement trees for the trees that were cut down.

Chairman Darby: Sir, were you aware that we do have a tree ordinance in the City?

Mr. Dave Seibel: I am now.

Chairman Darby: Were you aware before cutting the trees down?

Mr. Dave Seibel: No.

Mr. Okum: How long have you been in charge of the management leasing of that property?

Mr. Dave Seibel: March of 2010. This is a boomerang property; we had it sold and it came back to us. Prior to it being sold I was with Kimco for one month.

Mr. Okum: Basically you wouldn’t know the history like Staff would understand the history regarding this site.

Chairman Darby: I appreciate your situation, having just come into the position and not knowing the history but the tree ordinance has been in effect for some time and it has been the history of this Board to enforce it. If there are no more comments or questions, I think we are ready for a motion.

Mr. Okum: Mr. McErlane or Ms. McBride, eight 3” trees totaling 24 caliper inches in front, in 90’ is a lot of tree; that is what they offered to do. Mr. McErlane, did you say spread out the eight?

Mr. McErlane: It was not my recommendation that all eight of them would have to be on Kemper Road; but right now their plan shows none to be planted along Kemper Road.

Mr. Okum: My feeling is at least 60% of the replacement goes to this site, to this 333 site and in front preferably. I think that is up to Staff to work out the resolve of the other 40%.

Mr. McErlane: There is 628’ of frontage along Kemper Road for the entire Cassinelli site, but right now there are two trees in front of the 333 East Kemper and there is one at the extreme west end of that frontage.

Mr. Okum: So you are saying spread it out?

Mr. McErlane: There is lots of room to plant other trees along that frontage.
Ms. McBride is suggesting that instead of just spacing them, that they are grouped, so that it provides some opening to see signage.

Mr. Okum: I would like to see some of the burden go back to 333 East Kemper. I think I will leave it up to Staff and the landscape architects to come up with a plan.
There is a street tree planting program that we also have and some of that could be accommodated by some of the plantings by the City and the street planting program when they do periodic plantings but we don’t have a lot of money right now. When the City does get enough money to keep the tree planting program going, that would be a good way to do it.

Mr. Bauer: I am a little bit confused on the number of trees that we are talking about; I thought we were talking about four trees.

Mr. McErlane: There were four trees removed totaling 22 caliper inches; the replacement for that would be 8 – 3” caliper trees, twenty four inches.

Mr. Okum: If you want relief on the $4,400 and obviously our value at $200 a caliper inch might be a little bit high; what if the burden was put on you to plant
12 – 3” trees at your value that is reviewed and approved by Staff, instead of a transfer of cash and that way you can use your where withal and finances to get it done and save the money of the value.

Mr. Dave Seibel: That is about $350 a tree. I would be acceptable to that as long as they are not all along Kemper.

Mr. Okum: You have 628’ at Kemper Road

Mr. McErlane: A certain amount of that frontage is pretty narrow in front of the store where the mattress store is and that green area that is outside of the right of way, it is pretty narrow. There is a pretty good chunk of green space between the entry off of Kemper Road and 333 where a grouping of 4 or 5 trees could occur and still provide visibility.

Mr. Okum: The net of the $4,400 in value is 15 trees and I said 12 trees; fifteen equals $4,400.

Chairman Darby: As I recall the intent of the ordinance is to get trees in the ground; if the penalty can be averted I think it would be a good thing.

Mr. Dave Seibel: We do have fifty or so trees in the center all ready.

Mr. Okum: I understand but the center is not in the best condition right now. The trees have been a problem with the Center for a number of years. For history sake it has been an ongoing challenge. My number is somewhere between 12 and 15 and I am open to comments.

Mr. Bauer: I am o.k. with 12.

Ms. McBride: I would say more is better but it is up to the Commission.

Mr. Vanover: I would be o.k. with 13 to 14 trees.

Mr. Okum: I would like to make a motion that based upon the request for a variance to the tree preservation ordinance for Cassinelli Square at 333 East Kemper Road, to give relief to the applicant in regards to the $4,400 penalty requirement in lieu of the applicant agreeing to replace 13 trees on the Kemper Road area of the property. The applicant will work with Staff in regards to the placement of those trees.
(Mr. Vanover seconded the motion and with five affirmative votes from the Planning Commission Members present the request for variance was approved.)


B. Chairman Darby: The next item on the agenda is Minor Improvements Requiring Planning Commission Approval for Cincy Mattress at 11750 Commons Drive.
We are all in receipt of a note from the applicant requesting that we table this motion until the December Planning Commission Meeting.

Mr. Okum: I move to table.
(Mr. Vanover seconded the motion to table the item and with five affirmative votes from the Planning Commission Members present, the request to table was accepted.)

   
VII. NEW BUSINESS

A. Chairman Darby: We will move to the first item of New Business; Minor Revision to PUD Plan for Signage and Exterior Elevation Modifications for Hobby Lobby at 11711 Princeton Pike.

Mr. John Gilhart: I am here tonight with Clark Gilhart, Rick Gilhart and
Lou Santoro; on behalf of Hobby Lobby, with ABC Sign Company, is Teri Cantor.
We are here tonight for two items; we have a request for approval of the Hobby Lobby exterior signs and the Hobby Lobby exterior renovations.
(At this time Mr. Clark Gilhart and Mr. John Gilhart used a slide projector presentation to demonstrate pictures of previous and proposed location and signage for the future Hobby Lobby store.)

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

Mr. McErlane: The two elevation renderings are slightly different in shade, one looks a little more red and the other looks a little more orange; is it intended that it will match the colors that are adjacent to it at the Woodcraft Store? We typically ask for color samples.

Mr. John Gilhart: It is the colors that are existing out there; “autumnal” and “earthen jug”, which is a deeper orange. The columns are two colors, the fronts are “autumnal” and the sides are “earthen jug”.

Mr. McErlane: We provided comments to Hobby Lobby at the end of May about the location of the loading dock and the proposed compactor location.

Mr. John Gilhart: That plan was submitted back in May and we actually completed a lease agreement three or four weeks ago. They were a little premature in getting that in. Hobby Lobby will have to deal directly with the Building Department to satisfy their codes, as far as the construction. What we are looking for tonight is the sign package and the front elevation.

Mr. McErlane: There were landscape islands that were paved over a few months ago in front of the buildings as part of the landscape plan that this Board approved back in November of last year but none of the new landscaping beds have been established or planted at this point.

Mr. John Gilhart: The landscape islands were scheduled to start in the Spring of this year and as we were in negotiations with Hobby Lobby we were wanting to do that in combination with that. We took out the old islands and cleaned it up; we shifted the lane and outlined where the planters are going to be so that we would have everything ready to go. The reason we didn’t do it is because Hobby Lobby would be 214 lineal feet of that and we were concerned where the entrances would be. It made sense to us to table it until we had a lease agreement and knew the direction that we were going. The money is there and we are ready to go. They will be put in prior to the opening of Hobby Lobby.

(Ms. McBride read her comments.)

Ms. McBride: Mr. Vanover, you need to make the determination since we are down to one Member of Council, that in fact this is a minor departure and Staff does believe that, but you need to confirm that.

Mr. Vanover: I believe this is a minor departure.

Ms. McBride: Relative to the Hobby Lobby signage, I would strongly urge that any motion that the Commission make specifically exclude those two proposed pylon signs because we are not looking at those tonight.

(Mr. Shvegzda read his Staff comments.)

Mr. Shvegzda: Did I hear the applicant say that because of those issues on the loading dock and trash compactor that this will be excluded from this particular meeting?

Mr. John Gilhart: Yes; that is excluded. It will have to be worked out with the Building Department. I would like to make one comment; once we work out the trash compactor and get it all screened back there it eliminates every single dumpster that was back there. The trash compactor will be screened according to the Code.

Mr. McErlane: Even though the Planning Commission does not have a total picture of what that loading dock is going to look like, it is not a major structure. I think most of the issues are engineering issues, screening issues and those types of things. If Planning Commission felt that they could approve it, subject to Staff’s review of it and approval that might be acceptable.

Chairman Darby: We like those.

Mr. Okum: In regards to the individual signs, we had a discussion about individual signs on Woodcraft but this, I think, is a different situation. The fact is that it is a wider space and we are talking multiple store fronts that this is absorbing. If you had individual stores in there you could have more than this in individual signs on those storefronts; square footage, about the same but we are not talking about a whole lot. I think the closure of the windows is going to give that a fairly stark look especially by carrying the parapet all the way across and I personally think that there is a need for landscaping modifications in your island format to bring some higher elements into that, where those windows are being removed. The parapet, I think you have big boxed it pretty hard by what you have done with the look. I like some break in that parapet and I would certainly like to see something to give it some character. The signage will still carry and bring it all together and feed it and the colors are also going to bring it together and feed it into one building element, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the building has to be a box.

Mr. John Gilhart: On the landscaping, there is a break there that was originally planned for that entrance for the old T J Maxx; I imagine that will be continued and there won’t be a break there so that will give us more area for landscaping and we can certainly address and get some vertical stuff in there.

Mr. Okum: A couple things that I would like to see; tie your landscaping element back into the physical drawings that ultimately you want to build so that we can see how that ties together, species, size of trees because we are taking out a lot of storefront there and additionally this is something that you obviously have to get the Commission’s approval on but I think something needs to be done with your building elevation. We need a blend of some of the character that you have there for your Center and tying that in together. Mr. Gilhart, the most important thing is signage?

Mr. John Gilhart: Yes. If we can come out of here with the signage, that is one item done.

Mr. Okum: I am prepared to make a motion for signage. I would like to make a motion for a minor PUD revision regarding 11711 Princeton Pike; a future Hobby Lobby site, to allow for the implementation of a sign package that was presented to us on the front building elevation only, which is item #4 of nine of the submissions with the requested square footages as presented and to allow the square footage requested for the main pylon sign that currently exists on the site for the Hobby Lobby emblem signage.
(Mr. Vanover seconded the motion and with five affirmative votes from the Planning Commission Members present, the exterior sign package request for the future Hobby Lobby store at 11711 Princeton Pike was approved.)


B. Chairman Darby: The final item for New Business is Final PUD Plan for the Outdoor Advertising Device at 11752 Commons Drive.

Mr. Jeff Tulloch: Since the City has been working with Lamar and SKA for about a year and a half, the covenants have been submitted to SKA and Lamar as drafted by the City. There are still modifications to be made to the exhibit but fundamentally everybody is in concurrence on the 1/6th usage of the sign to benefit the City and businesses within the City. We still have, per our Staff meeting, some other issues that we have to address with it. With us tonight is Tom Fahey, Vice President of Lamar Advertising; Mike Shrayer is Real Estate Director for Lamar Advertising and Larry Bergman represents SKA at the Beltway Center.

Mr. Tom Fahey: We are here to try to finalize our project. Lamar and SKA has spent a lot of time getting this project together and we first met with the City probably five and a half years ago and spent a lot of time trying to get this public/private partnership together to try to help promote the retail district in Springdale and in the last year and a half it has gained a lot of momentum. The ordinance has been changed and we have come to a consensus on how this can go forward. We are at the point where we are looking for final approval. I would like to go through and address the comments from the City and the Building Department: Jeff talked about the covenants, Lamar and SKA are in agreement with the changes that will be made and we feel that we will have those worked out. There are still a couple things that need to be agreed upon, but I feel the covenants are in a good position. The consistency or the building materials that are going to be used in trying to make it consistent with the PUD, I have brought a sample of the material (at this time, Mr. Fahey handed the sample material to the Planning Commission to view). We are going to have a very large investment in this sign and we have to have something that we can maintain; it is very important to us to keep this sign in a manner that will enable us to have it represent our company, which we have to have all of our displays in a very professional and good repair manner. We felt like this is a material that we can work with in a very efficient way and be able to maintain that in a manner that will be well kept. The design that we have proposed and I know it is not what the Staff has really recommended; this goes to what might be the difference and what we are proposing and what has been approved as an advertising device – an electronic advertising devise versus a monument sign. We are going to need the ability to access this advertising device frequently and we are going to have to keep it maintained to the best that we possibly can because we can’t afford to have the sign in not good repair and not working properly. We will be there consistently maintaining the sign and upgrading the electronics, upgrading the software, upgrading the hardware and making sure that it is running consistently because we have to have consistency. This is not going to be a device that is sitting there and forgotten. We change filters because the air is constantly flowing through this sign and if the filters aren’t clean and we can’t access them, the sign is damaged. We have to have the ability to get in and crawl all over the inside and the outside of the sign and the design that we have enables us to do that and we have tried to make it where it is consistent with the surroundings, with the materials and with the design but also gives us the flexibility to be able to get in there and do the work that we have to do. If there is a small pixel that is stuck we are going to go out there that day and fix it. There is a lot of maintenance and the reason that Larry wanted to partner with us is because we have the capabilities of making those repairs and being timely in getting that done and it is important for us to be able to do that because we have to provide that value to our advertisers because we can’t have their ad not represented correctly in the manner in which they expect it to be displayed.

Mr. Larry Bergman: It is more than just that, it is the credit worthiness of your company being the largest signage company. We feel that Lamar will follow the high standards that the City requires and they are also extremely cooperative and we weren’t able to find another sign company that was willing to do what they are doing.

Mr. Tom Fahey: And we have to, so that we can maintain our relationships with our advertisers and we will keep that sign in excellent repair and constantly monitoring it for whatever issues may come. We have a network operating center in our home office in Baton Rouge that is 24-7; it is a 20’ X 30’ room with fourteen monitors that monitor all the signs around the country. They flip through and you can see each sign as it comes up and they look to see if there is a problem and then they dispatch a service crew to go out and fix that. The material that we distributed today could be in any color but the tan seemed like it was a color that fit into the community. We found that there isn’t an electrical easement; actually the telephone poles that run across that property are not owned by Duke, they are owned by Kroger and there is no easement of record on that property on those electrical lines. We have setback from those electrical lines 20-plus feet; 17’ are required by OSHA so we are staying beyond those requirements and we feel that is adequate for what we are trying to do.

    (At this time Mr. McErlane and Ms. McBride read their comments.)

    Ms. McBride: In looking at some of the Lamar signs around town and the Lamar is illuminated, is that just going to be one big box sign with the Lamar, Springdale and Tri-County as just one panel?

    Mr. Tom Fahey: We can make that whatever you want it to say. We have to have Lamar by State Code on the sign so that you can recognize the owner. Whatever design you want in there, I am open to that. Where that area where “Lamar” is I need to keep that somewhere on the sign so the State can recognize who the owner of it is.

    Mr. Okum: I guess someone didn’t hear what I was trying to say at the last meeting or I didn’t say it clearly. I am sorry for being blunt but I am very disappointed in the design element. (At this time Mr. Okum passed around to the Planning Commission Members photos he had taken of examples of other advertising devices). There are two signs shown, one is for Moraine and the other one is for the City of Dayton and both identify the City element and identify the City; both signs have character and design. They are smaller but they sure get the message across. I have some concerns that we are putting a lot of investment in size of sign being the cost that goes into the size of the billboard and we are not really going into any of the other adjustments that we asked for in the design. The agreement seems to be a fair agreement but on the other hand it is a billboard on a pole and I distinctly recall or I thought I referenced going to some of the other communities and looking at some of the other signs and what we came back with was a billboard on a pole. It doesn’t bring in any of the building elements of the Center and it is still just a billboard on a pole. You mentioned that you need access to maintain your unit and you need consistency of operation; I guess those other signs ignore that because they have design and they have access.

    Mr. Tom Fahey: I can’t speak to the companies that do that. I have been doing this since long before any of these; we were one of the first companies and specifically in Cincinnati who started this in 2003. I can’t speak to their ability to service the sign in the manner that I am used to and I don’t know what that is. These signs are a year old and I don’t know what they are going to look like in five years, I know what mine are going to look like, and what I am trying to bring to the City.

    Mr. Okum: In ten years it will still look like a billboard on a pole; yes sir.

Mr. Larry Bergman: I respectfully feel that we have a 617,000 foot Center; it is about 2000 feet across. If you look at the proportions of the sign to the Center, if you line it up with that it wouldn’t be proportionate. We are not looking at a pole, everyone is going to be paying attention to the sign that is there. I think what is more important is the LED or the systems that are there; what is the visual impact that is going to have from the highway. We have to be aware of the cost, the landlord is sharing with the City in 1/6th on each side and at a certain point we are not going to be able to get them there because they are spending seven to eight hundred thousand dollars. If we could do something like that we would have addressed it; Jeff Tulloch and I met with Lamar numerous times to review design and they are very much wanting to try to give as much notice to meeting the requirements of matching the Center. I think proportion is equally as important and if we do something different I don’t think we are meeting that.

Mr. Okum: I understand. In this particular case we tend to differ on perspective. In regards to the sale of space there is a commitment to business within Springdale and that doesn’t mean that Lamar is not going to make money on those spaces. Possibly the size element of the sign is driving the cost of the eight hundred thousand dollar figure and Lamar can accomplish as much with maybe a smaller sign. When I received my packet I was surprised and I did show it to my wife and she was surprised. I hate to say at this point I can’t support it but at this point if this is what we have got I probably won’t support it. There are seven members on this Commission and all seven members have different opinions but at this point I can’t. If you want me to make a motion, I will bring it to the floor and make a motion.

Mr. Bauer: I have similar feelings as Mr. Okum. I am not too thrilled about the pole and I would like for you to help me understand the maintenance of that sign, what Staff is proposing and the maintenance and what kind of hardships would that give you to maintain that sign?

Mr. Tom Fahey: I don’t know how they get inside the sign proposed by the Staff; we have to have access from the back and the front. We also power wash the sign three times a year and I am not sure what that would do to that sign, it could cause damage that could cause more maintenance than what we hoped to have. We have to keep the signs clean for visibility and clarity. I feel that there is a lot of material when we are trying to work with cranes and bucket trucks that would get in the way of what we are trying to do at this site. The LED modules are 12 X 12 squares and when something goes wrong with one of those they need to be replaced and the difficulty is getting around the sign.

Mr. Vanover: Because the sign is an arrow shape, essentially you could do something very similar and it wouldn’t have to be full depth running across the top ridge, but you could give it somewhat of a crown; it doesn’t have to be massive because it is more of a visual thing. That would give you a top element, kind of like a Mohawk haircut and you will get that height across the top.

Mr. Larry Bergman: Use the same materials that we discussed earlier and try to get an architectural style that can accommodate Lamar’s ability to service it and add a style very similar to this. Would you all be willing to accept that?

Chairman Darby: Whatever can be done to soften that look would be an improvement. I think we are at a point where we need to make a decision because with only five Members here it does require five affirmative votes; and the discussion certainly indicates that is not going to happen. It is obvious that additional work needs to be done.

Mr. Mike Shrayer: Could we propose to table it?

Chairman Darby: This is a minor point but could the identification indicate “City of Springdale”?

Mr. Mike Shrayer: Yes.

Chairman Darby: A request has been made to table this.

Mr. Okum: I think it would be more appropriate that the “Lamar” medallion be separated from the “City of Springdale” on the sign. In the covenants there was wording in regards to allow for the accommodation for advertising as many City of Springdale businesses as practically possible; I wanted to make sure that those advertisements are blended out through the 24 hour period. I always recalled the television public service announcements came in at 1:00 a.m. Please work through those details.
I will move to table.
(Mr. Vanover seconded the motion to table and with five affirmative votes from the Planning Commission Members present, the request to table the item was accepted.)
   

VIII. DISCUSSION
   
    (No items for discussion were presented at this meeting.)


IX. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

Chairman Darby: There are several signs listed that we approved this past month. Our next meeting is scheduled for December 13, 2011.


   
X. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Vanover moved to adjourn; Mr. Okum seconded and with five affirmative
votes from the Planning Commission Members present, the meeting adjourned at
8:38 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________, 2011 ___________________________________
            Don Darby, Chairman


________________________, 2011 ___________________________________
                Richard Bauer, Secretary