PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

11 NOVEMBER 2003

7:00 P.M.

 

  1. CALL MEETING TO ORDER
  2. The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m. by Chairman William G. Syfert.

  3. ROLL CALL
  4. Members Present: Robert Coleman, Steve Galster, Richard Huddleston, David Okum, Tom Vanover

    Robert Sherry and Chairman Syfert

    Others Present: Doyle H. Webster, Mayor

    Beth Styles, Economic Development Director

    Bill McErlane, Building Official

    Don Shvegzda, Asst. City Engineer

    Anne McBride, City Planner

    :

  5. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 14 OCTOBER 2003
  6. Mr. Vanover moved to approve and Mr. Galster seconded the motion. All voted aye, and the minutes were approved with seven affirmative votes.

  7. CORRESPONDENCE

A. Report on Council

Mr. Galster stated that the terms of Planning Commission are up, and if you are an appointment by Council and wish to continue to serve, let me or Tom Vanover know. If you are the Mayorís appointment, you might wish to speak to him.

    1. Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes Ė September 16, 2003
    2. Zoning bulletin Ė October 25, 2003
    3. Zoning Bulletin Ė November 10, 2003
    4. Planning Commissioners Journal Ė Fall, 2003

 

  1. OLD BUSINESS
  2. A. Approval of Placement of Storage Container in Rear of Building at Best Western, 11911 Sheraton Lane

    Bob Kunvarji, owner of the Best Western said I did not know that I had to get a permit for this, so we already purchased it three months ago. I would like to request the board that if I move it 20-30 feet away, could I keep it for another short period, as little as three years. Then I would be in a position to decide where I should have a permanent structure.

    Mr. Syfert asked the purpose for this, and Mr. Kunvarji answered we are trying to save money on the rent of chairs and tables. It would be a storage space.

     

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE TWO

    V STORAGE CONTAINER AT BEST WESTERN, 11911 SHERATON LANE

    Mr. Galster asked if the tables and chairs for the banquet and conference room is what you are storing out there now. Mr. Kunvarji answered that the way the building was designed, there is a space for chairs and tables in the wider hallway. There is no special room. The biggest problem is the chairs. Right now it is empty. Since I received this letter, I havenít done anything with it. We intend to store chairs, and rollaway beds, things we donít need every day. Mr. Galster asked where he stored his rollaway beds now, and Mr. Kunvarji answered that there is limited storage space and there have been several times where we rented them.

    Mr. Okum said I understand that there is room for the chairs in a dedicated area in the big entryway going into the ballroom. Where were the tables stored? Mr. Kunvarji answered that the tables are folded and stored in the service hallway. Mr. Okum wondered if he had been cited by the city for blocking an emergency exit? Mr. Kunvarji answered there is enough room for the emergency exit.

    Mr. Okum wondered if there were any rooms near the banquet facility that typically donít get rented as a room. Mr. Kunvarji answered that there is nothing on the ground floor that we could utilize as a storage space. When I do a major renovation, I might be able to get some space on the second floor. Actually we have too many rooms in terms of supply and demand, so when I go through the major renovation, I will either create a new structure or dedicate the second floor space for storage.

    Mr. Okum asked if the second floor rooms are used, and Mr. Kunvarji answered that they are used in the summertime. Mr. Okum wondered if the chairs couldnít be left in the rooms. Mr. Kunvarji answered temporarily they could, but they are full of basic furniture; they are not storage space. Mr. Okum said there are meeting rooms on the mezzanine as well, and Mr. Kunvarji answered we are using those.

    Mr. Okum wondered if he had bought new chairs, and Mr. Kunvarji answered that he is in the process of buying 500 chairs. We still are renting. I got this letter 2 Ĺ to 3 months ago and decided to stop everything.

    Mr. Huddleston asked how long he had owned the property, and Mr. Kunvarji answered this is my eighth month. Mr. Huddleston asked what the prior owner did with this material. Was it all stored in the hall?| Mr. Kunvarji responded that it was owned by the bank and whenever there was a need, they would rent it. The bank obviously didnít care about cost.

    Mr. Huddleston said I donít know how long the bank operated it, and Mr. Kunvarji stated that it was 3 Ĺ years. Mr. Huddleston said so you donít know the original ownerís intent was as to where these items were to be stored. Mr. Huddleston asked if there had been any problem with exit way provisions in this property. Mr. McErlane responded typically those would be issued by the Fire Department, and I havenít seen anything. The applicant does allude to that in his reasons for requesting this, operating safe exit ways.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE THREE

    V STORAGE CONTAINER AT BEST WESTERN, 11911 SHERATON LANE

    Addressing the applicant, Mr. Huddleston said we certainly want to see you be successful, but I would prefer not to see it with outside storage.

    Mr. Kunvarji said I already have spent some money, and I would like to keep the container until I can go through the major renovation, when I can create some storage space within the building or a new structure.

    Mr. Sherry said you mentioned you are intending on moving the container. Mr. Kunvarji answered yes. I was told that it is too close to the building. This type of temporary structure should be at least 20 feet away from a sprinklered building. Mr. Sherry asked where he would move it to, and Mr. Kunvarji stated on the west side of the dock.

    Mr. McErlane reported that the property is currently zoned PUD, and is a part of the overall Crossings PUD. The preliminary plan was approved in 1978.

    The applicant has already addressed one of the items I had with respect to it being a temporary situation until he can consider building something more permanent to house the storage needs.

    Planning Commission needs to consider what kind of precedence they might set. However, if it is temporary in nature it might not be as much of a precedent.

    The applicant has already indicated that he has looked at an alternative to the location to address building code issues.

    Mr. Okum asked Mr. McErlane if there were any other place that the unit could be moved to. Bringing it out away from the building actually makes it more of an issue for the residents living in the multi family housing units behind there. The location that the applicant has given us puts it into a parking field. The parking was designed to accommodate the facility and was based on our older Zoning Code for the number of parking spaces needed. In addition to that it puts a white box in the middle of a very visible area. Is there another place that the unit could be placed temporarily? Iím not considering three years; I am thinking maybe one year to allow him to get his feet on the ground. If it were to be approved, it should be painted out to a neutral tone so it wouldnít be a white box.

    Mr. McErlane reported that the only other location would be in the area where the loading docks are, which is not too far from where he is proposing. At least it wouldnít be in the parking field.

    Mr. Okum asked if tractor trailers come into the loading dock, and Mr. Kunvarji reported that they do, once or twice a day. He confirmed that the area was designed for two trucks. Mr. Okum asked if it would be possible for this to be put into the sloped pit area away from the building. Mr. Kunvarji responded that he had thought about it but we have a dumpster which is almost against the dock, so there is only space open for loading and unloading.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE FOUR

    V STORAGE CONTAINER AT BEST WESTERN, 11911 SHERATON LANE

    Mr. Okum said I would be willing to grant this for approximately a year, or until you can get your feet on the ground. I would not be in favor of any extended period of time for this, if at all.

    Mr. Kunvarji said if the building official could come over and show me where we should put it, I can do that.

    Mr. Okum said if it was on the outside edge of the sloped area, it would be more than the distance necessary. The other problem you would have is what comes first, the dumpster or the storage unit, in what order.

    Mr. Kunvarji commented that should not be a problem, as long as there is enough opening for the truck to back up and they could still use the dock and dumpster.

    Mr. Okum commented that the problem would be maneuverability. For someone to come in and pick up that dumpster with the container there would be difficult. I donít see how it could work. If the trailer were closer to the building, your employees would have to walk out to carry the trash to the dumpster.

    Mr. Kunvarji added on the number of parking spaces, we hardly ever use up all the parking spaces. Mr. Okum responded I understand, but we have residents who live right behind that building and their view out their back window is the back end of your building. Mr. Kunvarji responded that is why I tried to hide the trailer the way it is now.

    Mr. Galster asked the size of the trailer. Mr. Kunvarji answered it is 45 feet long and 9-10 feet tall, and it is a container that I bought. Mr. Galster wondered if he was opposed to painting it, and Mr. Kunvarji answered no; I can paint it brown.

    Mr. Galster commented I donít think it will fit in the dock area with the dumpster there; you canít service both items.

    Addressing Mr. McErlane, Mr. Huddleston said if he were to leave it in the immediate proximity of the building and he ran a small dry pipe system out there, would that meet the code obligation? Mr. McErlane indicated that would satisfy it.

    It looks like there is about 90 feet from the end of the building to the dock itself, and Iím not sure what kind of maneuverability a dumpster vehicle needs. If it were located toward the end of the building, there may be enough room to still maneuver a dumpster truck in and pick up the dumpster. It would leave them 45 to 50 feet to get in. That is an alternative.

    Addressing the applicant, Mr. Huddleston said if you could possibly sprinkler that with a dry pipe system, the cost should be fairly minor and it might be something that could work, but you need to keep it in the immediate proximity of the building or semi-hidden by the building.

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE FIVE

    V STORAGE CONTAINER AT BEST WESTERN, 11911 SHERATON LANE

    Mr. Okum said where it is now is the best place for a temporary stopgap until the applicant can do something internally to accommodate this need. If he could paint out the existing unit, we could possibly give him a year to get things together. I would be more comfortable with it pointing out that way towards the residences than width wise across the back of the building.

    Since this is a PUD issue, this is something that I observed on your property. When that PUD was approved, the light standards that were on the property were not what is there now. People have commented to me about the floodlights that are used to light your parking lot. There is glare out on the roadway. I understand that for safety issues, the parking lot needs to be lit for persons. Mr. Kunvarji said right now I donít think there is enough light. I realize that one good part of that building is the fact that we get a lot of light from the I-275 ramp. Mr. Okum said it is just that your lights in the parking lot are annoying, and that is not what was approved when the PUD was approved. I want to bring it up here for discussion. If they were not so annoying to people coming off the ramp and driving up Route 4, it wouldnít be so bad, but there is a glare coming off those lights by the direction they are facing, and they are not shielded or down lit.

    Mr. Kunvarji said when I go back Iíll take a good look at it. Mr. Okum commented it is important for people to see in a parking field but on the other hand, if your property is allowed to have that type of lighting, the next applicant can say Best Western has it, why canít I? That is my point.

    Mr. Galster said based on the view that we are seeing right now, there is no access to the trailer from the 45 foot side that is facing the parking lot, is that correct? Mr. Kunvarji answered no, the only door is the back door and there is another door on the other side, which is actually a loading dock.

    Mr. Galster asked if he would be opposed to putting up a privacy fence any distance from that trailer, along the one side so we wouldnít be looking at a box. The problem I am having is that we donít allow outside storage anywhere in the city. It is a PUD, and we are trying to work around it and understand your situation. Mr. Kunvarji said I have no problem; I can do that.

    Mr. Sherry said I was at the site around 6 a.m., and that area is extremely dark. I felt real uncomfortable back there. It didnít seem very safe, and I would like to see a condition imposed that it be lit back there. There are fixtures back there, but they are not on. Then maybe a fence could be put across over to the building, because that is a concealed area back there.

    Mr. Vanover said in deference to Mr. Galsterís comments, putting an eight foot privacy fence there is like trying to put 10 pounds of sugar in a five pound bag. Itís not going to work, and I would rather see evergreens planted back there, and give it a vertical break, but I hate to see us get into vertical breaks on temporary storage buildings, and my definition of temporary is not three years.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE SIX

    V STORAGE CONTAINER AT BEST WESTERN, 11911 SHERATON LANE

    Mr. Okum said I agree with Mr. Sherry 100% when it comes to safety, and I concur with your observations for that rear area. On the other hand, I do not want to see a situation where light packs are put on the building that ultimately affects the neighbors. I think the applicant needs to remedy the glare issues with the existing lights, and in the back area, it should be adequately lit for safety. There are lights that are down lit that are shielded to prevent glare from the side lens. We are giving some latitude to allow a time frame for this trailer, but you would need to be cooperative and work with the city and get this light issue resolved in the parking field.

    Lighting is important, especially for a hotel, but what is there is an albatross and a stopgap that was not properly laid out or designed. That configuration does not conform to the lighting that was originally submitted to the site. In my opinion, those issues need to be resolved in concurrence with the storage container. I would much rather see the efforts be put on the life safety issues with lighting, get the trailer painted out and give the applicant a year for the trailer and have him bring the other parts of the site in conformance with what was intended for this PUD.

    Mr. Okum moved to allow a conditional placement of the storage trailer to meet the Building Code standards where it is now located. It shall be painted out to blend with the rest of the building, and shall be there for one year from this date. The applicant shall also bring the lighting on the site in conformance with the Zoning Code to deal with glare. He also shall add lighting as necessary in the rear to protect life and safety in the area of the storage trailer, and must conform to our lighting standards. Mr. Vanover seconded the motion.

    Addressing Mr. Okum, Mr. Galster asked if he was talking about every light in the parking field, and Mr. Okum answered if he can shield the existing lights and make them non glare, that would eliminate the problem. Mr. Galster wondered if there were one or two poles that are the problem, and Mr. Okum answered that the ones that are closer to the building are facing toward the road and the ones on the corner by Sheraton Lane are facing south on Route 4. There are no lights that donít, but the ones closest to Sheraton Lane are the worst. Mr. Galster commented so it is basically every pole in the field. Mr. Okum answered I think he could shield them and change their angle to down lit.

    Mr. Coleman commented I am a little concerned with the way that the motion was stated. I certainly am in favor of safety and would be an advocate for lighting. However, I am concerned that the motion ties the owner to a lighting dilemma as opposed to a motion addressing the storage container and making sure that is within the guidelines. I am not in favor of the wording of the motion. I donít necessarily agree that the owner should be tied into the lighting dilemma at this point of time given the duration of time that he has owned the building and knowing that these situations existed prior to his ownership. It would seem to me that those things would have been addressed prior to his ownership or at the time that those conditions existed.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE SEVEN

    V STORAGE CONTAINER AT BEST WESTERN, 11911 SHERATON LANE

    Mr. Syfert responded he bought that situation when he acquired the property, and if it is an issue, which it appears to be, now is the time to correct it. I sympathize with what you are saying though; we are mixing apples and oranges, but it is a PUD and we can mix anything we want to in a PUD.

    Mr. Okum said I hate to bring it into that form, but there is no other platform for it to occur. I have sympathy for the applicant in that he bought it with that problem. Had this trailer not come up, there probably would not have been another application to modify the PUD. In essence, we are modifying the final plan for this Planned Unit Development with a conditional use. This is really the only avenue for this to be addressed.

    This puts us in an unusual and difficult position. We have another PUD on the agenda this evening. That applicant could come to us and say that we are approving spotlights on the Best Western facility. Why canít I use those on my facility? There are a lot of similarities between the two, but there is no reason why this applicant should be allowed to be in contradiction to the Zoning Code, especially since those lights that are there were never approved, and we are telling the other applicant to live by those standards. That is the reason l brought it up.

    Mr. Vanover said I agree with what Mr. Coleman is saying. Somewhere along the line those lights got changed, and we probably should have nailed it then.

    Addressing the applicant, Mr. Huddleston said you have to recognize that whatever we attempt to do to accommodate you here, still has to meet Mr. McErlaneís Building Code requirements, and that may or may not work in that position.

    All voted aye except Mr. Coleman, and the approval was granted with six affirmative and one negative votes.

    B. Approval of Loading Dock and Exterior Alteration for Ashley Furniture, 11755 Commons Drive (part of former Roberds Grande)

    Larry Bergman of The Bergman Group stated we manage and lease the Beltway Center in Springdale. We have continued to work diligently to bring quality tenants to our property. Morris Furniture out of Dayton Ohio has acquired an Ashley Home Furnishings franchise and wishes to locate on our property.

    Larry Claybon is with me, who is the president of Morris Furniture. His contractor David Muha is here and the architect Larry DeMaca and Steve Adler who handles our management are also here.

    They have worked diligently with your staff, listened to their concerns and hopefully we have addressed them. Timing is of essence for Larry Claybon and his company. We want to work together to get this accomplished tonight, and I think you will find that what they present will meet the needs of everyone.

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE EIGHT

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Larry Claybon President of Morris Furniture Company said this will be our first store and showroom in the Cincinnati market. Our company is 56 years old and this year we will employ close to 300 people in the Dayton area.

    We plan to equal the amount of business that we do in the Dayton market by starting at the site in Springdale. This concept has already been proven in our Dayton region. We have one Ashley Furniture Home Store and are in the process of opening the second one in December. This showroom will open as early next year as we can make it happen.

    Ashley Furniture is the fourth largest furniture manufacturing in the United States. They also are the number one growing home furnishings chain in the country.

    We plan for the Springdale operation to be the corporate and central location that would house the first showroom and store in part of the Roberds Grande building, and it also would service and administer to any other sites within the Cincinnati market. So this location would include training for all sales associates, customer call center, office, accounting, a small amount of warehousing and our pickup center.

    We anticipate upon opening the store we would employ 40 to 50 people and the sales would be in the $20-25 million range. With the large number of residents in the area and the easy access, we think it will be a home run and will increase our presence and employment in that location.

    Steve Adler said I wanted to address the issues, which are the dock openings, the parking and the visual screening of the HVAC units (passed out hand outs). The docks were used by Globe Furniture (now Court Furniture), and we had to find a way that was amenable to all parties to get the docks and drive in doors on the east side of the building to accommodate what is needed.

    Ashley needs two dock doors and at least one drive in door. In addition we also need a compactor and a dumpster area.

    The plan that was submitted originally showed adding a new curb cut on Commons Drive to allow trailers only to pull in the complex, pull up and then back into the two docks. They would be able to leave coming out the same way and making a right turn only. This alternative came up after we tried many others We thought this was the best, having a Do Not Enter on the outside signage and Not an Exit on the inside coming out.

    Staff asked us to look at other alternatives which are #1, to try to reuse the Globe Furniture entrance, go all the way to the north and back into the doors. Our concern is that this turn into the Globe parking lot is very tough for a truck to make. We have several concerns. One, you have trucks stopping all of a sudden. Second, you have trucks pulling in where employees or customers are trying to pull out, and third, you have employees and customers in the same parking lot as the tractor trailers.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE NINE

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Mr. Adler added so our concern is for safety as well as maneuverability. We feel that not having a curb cut is much more dangerous than having a curb cut and allowing the trucks to pull in, back in the docks and leave the same way. We are asking you to consider that and discuss it with us tonight.

    Mr. Sherry said your maneuverability problem is because of the configuration of the existing conditions. Mr. Adler added that we also have a PIV valve here for the Fire Department. It would be pretty complicated to move all that. We have a lot of issues here with coming and going and a mixture of employees and tractor trailers and local delivery trucks and customer pickups. You would have people coming out of Globe Furniture, and all of a sudden a truck comes in. Iím not sure that is the best way to do it.

    Mr. Okum said we had a previous plan for another furniture facility on this site that was going to utilize the rear corner access point with a new dock system built in the back. Why was that abandoned?

    Mr. Adler answered said the space would wrap around Globe Furniture and wind up over here in this corner. They were going to use this area behind Globe Furniture to add additional docks. It was a funny looking L.

    Mr. Bergman added that the other furniture people were planning to put their warehousing operations to service all of Cincinnati, where Larryís operation is really very limited warehousing. It is mostly showroom

    If youíll notice on the plans, we have given up a considerable amount of the retail frontage. It was a decision of the ownership that at a certain point, there is only so much retail that this site can accommodate because of the concerns with traffic. With a lot of selling on my part, they were willing to give up a considerable amount of frontage to Ashley.

    Mr. Okum said part of my question is you are taking the icon off the building and allowing a small corner tenant to take that main entry. I had a problem with Globe Furniture or originally Roberds docks being up in that corner. That would be something that could be seen from Commons Drive, but there was landscaping and mounding on that corner where it came around that would obscure some of the view of those trucks.

    We are being asked to approve basically truck docks on frontage of the building which is Commons Drive, and I am not overly comfortable with that.

    Mr. Bergman responded that we will not get Ashley if we do not give them the frontage that they want. It is important to us as a landlord to get them as a tenant and we felt it is important to you as the city to want them, and there was no other alternative but to do it this way. The only solution was to put the dock there.

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE TEN

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Mr. Bergman added that in terms of visibility, there is no residential housing along there. You are looking at Sofa Express. Mr. Okum commented it is what everybody sees coming down the road. When Sofa Express came in, we put a lot of emphasis on how they approached Commons Drive and how it affected your property. We are doing completely the opposite with your development in order to accommodate Ashley on this entrance.

    Sofa Express has two frontages, and part of that frontage is Commons Drive. You have two frontages and Commons Drive is part of it. I think there are more creative ways to get their trucks off that configuration problem that could eliminate some parking issues and some potential problems that I would see across the front of that site.

    If you were to tell me that six months from now you would have another tenant that wanted to put a retail space in the spot between Ashley Furniture and Dave and Busterís. I would have a problem with that. I am over there frequently and I know how that parking configuration works. There would be no place for those people to park period. I think this would be a good site for Ashley Furniture and I am comfortable with the product quality, but I would much rather see those docks away from the Commons Drive area and get them off the back end where you originally put them.

    Mr. Bergman said I donít disagree with you, but under the circumstances as much as Ashley wants to be here and the landlord wants them here, we hope that the city will want them there. I donít think that we can do anything else other than try to work with what we have here. It is a real dilemma for us.

    Mr. Okum asked what they would do with the rest of the box. Mr. Bergman responded that is an issue; we do not know. We donít have people pounding down our doors. Hopefully we will have someone interested in taking the back part and be able to put a dock in the back area.

    Mr. McErlane reported that the property is zoned Planned Unit Development and is a part of the Tri-County Commons PUD. The proposed space will occupy 71, 291 square feet of the former Roberds Grande space. As you may recall, the existing covenants are specific as to what the uses could be in that space, and showrooms for furniture and associated accessories fit within those square footage limitations.

    The applicant proposes to construct two loading dock doors and a drive in roll up door on the east side near the north corner of the building, and proposes to remove the parapet light band and paint the fascia beige. The face of the building below the fascia is proposed to be painted mocha brown. The balance of the vacant space to the west that would not be occupied by Ashley Furniture would be painted the same beige as the fascia board.

    The exiting Globe Store requires 102 parking spaces, and the proposed Ashley Store requires 159.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE ELEVEN

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Mr. McErlane added that the parking summary indicates a loss of 52 spaces. However in looking at the two plans, there was an architectís plan that didnít show a new entry drive coming off Commons Drive. That plan showed a loss of 33 spaces and the engineerís plan showed a loss of 42.

    Based on the number that is indicated on the parking summary of 52 spaces, it leaves 521 spaces for the remaining only space of almost 199,000 s.f.

    As future leases come up, Planning Commission would have to review whether or not there is adequate parking for that remaining 199,000 square feet.

    The landscape plan shows only existing landscaping. On the engineerís plan for the new drive, there are some additional evergreens shown along the compactor on the south side. However, there is no indication of relandscaping out at Commons Drive. On the landscape plan that the architect submitted, there are plants that are indicated as dead and the plan doesnít indicate whether or not those will be replaced. However, we did receive something a few days later that indicated that they would replace any of the dead plant material.

    The permitted sign area is 755 square feet, and the applicant is proposing a sign on the north wall of 16í x 24í or 384 s.f. That is the existing box on the building. There is a proposed east wall sign of 8í x 25í for 200 s.f. and the sign package indicated the existing pylon sign face of 7í x 15í or 105 s.f. for a total of 689 s.f.

    The only other comment we have about signs is that there is a customer pickup sign on the east wall and there is a discrepancy between what is shown on the architectís plan and what is shown in the sign package. Staff feels that the size of the one shown in the sign package is probably more realistic at 24 s.f. as opposed to what is shown on the architectís plan, 69 s.f. The purpose of the sign is directional in nature and doesnít need to be an advertising type sign.

    There also is a little discrepancy between the locations of the sign on the architectís drawing versus what is shown on the sign companyís drawing. The architectís drawing shows a sign box on the east side of the building that is closer than the required three feet from the end of the building, and that needs to be clarified.

    Ms. McBride reported that we initially asked the applicant to give us a breakdown on how that 71,291 s.f. would be utilized so we could do a parking requirement analysis for them, and we came up with a total parking requirement of 159 spaces. That was based on 13,000 s.f. of warehouse, 4,846 s.f. of office entry space and the balance of 53,445 s.f. that was going to be used as retail showroom.

     

     

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE TWELVE

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Ms. McBride added that we have asked the applicant for a site plan that shows the existing parking spaces proposed, as well as those that will be removed, and a summary table that indicates overall development wise. This is a PUD, and what we have done in previous uses is ask for that total parking for the PUD. The submittals were due on October 31st and we did not receive that information. We got some supplementary information on November 5th and we received additional parking information last Friday at the end of the day. These counts still donít match the site plan or the material handed out tonight.

    Whatever configuration this ends up being, the applicant needs to provide us with a site plan that indicates what the commission approves and a parking tally for that, existing spaces as well as required spaces for this use and all the other uses within that PUD. That is exactly what we have asked for from all the other users.

    The other condition that the commission needs to consider and the applicant needs to understand is that all of the parking for this development needs to meet the requirements of our Zoning Code. What I donít want to have happen is they end up with 200,000 square feet of empty space and only 50 parking spaces and all of a sudden they are before us saying we have the space and not the parking. We canít be put in that position, and that is why I continue to harp on this issue.

    There is a compactor that was originally proposed for the east elevation. It is not indicated on the site plans. I donít know if it is indoors, outdoors, I donít know how it is screened, and we need additional information on that.

    There was landscape plan which accurately documents all of the existing plant material, including what is dead and what is missing. It does not document what landscaping will be lost as a result of the shifting of parking areas, or if there is an additional access point, nor does it address how the missing, dead or to be removed plant material will be replaced or compensated. Once a final site plan is decided by the commission and worked out by the applicant, we need to have a landscaping plan that indicates existing and proposed plant material.

    They are entitled to 755 s.f. of sign area and they are proposing 713 s.f. For my calculations, I counted that customer pickup entrance sign because I think 24 s.f almost. becomes beyond the scope of directional signage.

    Included in that is a 105 s.f. free standing sign. We received a picture indicating that they would be reusing the existing Roberds free-standing sign, but that is not indicated on any site plan. So we need to have confirmation that is in fact what they are doing and that we are not approving an additional free-standing sign for that site. We do not know the height of that sign or if any of these signs are going to be internally illuminated. The building elevations do not match the information sent in by the sign company.

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE THIRTEEN

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Ms. McBride added we did not receive any information on how the access doors and the dock doors will be treated. We need to know what color they will be.

    No changes are proposed for the site or building lighting. The applicant had previously indicated to us that they would be installing new mechanical equipment on the roof and we have asked how they would be screened. Since that has not been addressed, I assume that they will not install new mechanical units on the roof.

    Mr. Shvegzda reported that the applicant is showing a new directional trucks only access point to Commons Drive about 120 feet from either of the current access points on Commons Drive. The width scales approximately 30 feet and it is shown to have two 36" x 36" Do Not Enter signs facing out toward Commons Drive.

    We met with the applicant on the site, and requested the analysis to see how viable utilizing the existing access point to the south would be. We have now seen that it does work as presented today.

    There are no grading modifications to the area other than the ramps up to the customer pickup area. There is existing detention on site and there is nothing affected in that regard.

    On the access point, it would be our recommendation that the existing access point be utilized as opposed to a separate new access point for just the truck access. I know there was a concern for the utilization of the trucks through there with the customer parking. It could be prohibited or arranged that the trucks access the site during the least active times for the customers to be at the site. .

    Addressing Mr. Shvegzda, Mr. Okum said the applicant has indicated that there is a turning radius problem for the trucks to utilize the Globe access. Your recommendation is to use that access, and I donít understand why the applicant says it canít be used. Do you see those problems?

    Mr. Shvegzda responded based on the drawing that we have seen here this evening, the truck can access that area through the existing driveway. . If the issue of the conflicting usages through the parking lot area is a concern, there can be a regulation of when the trucks can access that loading dock.

    Mr. Okum asked the applicant if the trucks are Ashley Furniture trucks or common carriers. Mr. Claybon responded that it is a combination. Mr. Galster asked arrival times, and Mr. Claybon answered that the Ashley trucks come between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m, but could be as late as 2 p.m. There are one or two trucks a day.

    Mr. Adler added that on the parking issue, Woolpert submitted the previous talllys, and always kept Roberds separate. Their numbers tallied with the numbers I submitted on the 3rd.

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE FOURTEEN

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Mr. Adler said when Roberds Grande was there, there were 834 spaces and an average of 2.6 parking spaces per thousand square feet. I took out 50 parking spaces for the Ashley dock, which is more than staff recommended, 170 for Ashley and 100 for Globe so I came up with 512 spaces remaining, which gives us an average of 2.62 spaces per thousand square feet.

    When I take staffís recommendation of 38 deletions for the Ashley dock and 159 spaces for the Ashley space, I come up with 2.69 spaces per thousand. So, as crazy as it seems, we end up with .09 parking spaces more than we started with.

    The existing landscaping we gave them a letter that all dead plants will be redone. There are five trees in the proposed dock area, and we will put five new evergreens in. We did the same thing on the Globe space to shelter their dock area. We did not address any landscaping in this area here (parking). Staff and the commission want evergreens in there and we are more than happy to do that.

    We need five rooftop units to adequately heat and cool this space (excluding the warehouse area). He passed out information, and added that our contractor did a lot of site study. With 181 feet, assuming a person is five feet tall, you cannot see the units. We came out to the middle of Commons Drive and did the same thing in the parking lot. The dotted line shows what the line of sight is, so if you are on Commons Drive you will not see the units on the roof. They set back 105 feet from the Commons Drive side of the building. We did the same thing in the front, and you canít see them there either. Mr. Syfert said but I would see them from the expressway, right? Mr. Adler answered yes.

    Mr. Adler said there is only one unit that might be an issue as you come down Commons Drive, and if it is, of course we would come back and screen this issue.

    Ms. McBride said we have the parking information in pieces. We met with this applicant the beginning of October and explained to them that parking tabulations would be an issue as were truck access and aesthetics, etc. We have asked for the same information over and over again.

    Addressing the applicant, Ms. McBride said on comparing Roberds numbers, Roberds is gone, and that user doesnít count any more. The space goes back into the pool and you have to pull it back out just as we did for Globe, The Great Indoors, Dave and Busterís, etc. In the interest of trying to move things along for this applicant, whatever this commission approves we need to see the numbers and hopefully that will allow you to do what you need to do.

    On the landscaping, I received a letter at 4:45 p.m. on Friday. It would not have been possible for me to address that in my staff report, because they were sent to the City at noon on Friday. That letter stated that they were going to replace the dead plant material, remove and replacement of tree for tree plus additional plantings as proposed. I donít have any idea of size or where they would be.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE FIFTEEN

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Ms. McBride added that on the rooftop units, we have asked for that information and we are seeing that for the first time this evening.

    Addressing Ms. McBride, Mr. Okum said the architects have used a mocha color and they terminate that color on the front of the building at an odd location. It is a much darker color and there is no transition point. We worked very closely with Globe on a transition point, and now we have a dark brown line and a light line. It is pretty obvious in the drawing.

    Ms. McBride commented we did work with Globe on a transition, and I think what the applicant is trying to do is use their trim color as a base color and create some kind of continuity between the two users. As I understand it that paint line is basically the area that Ashley is taking, versus the vacant space to remain. They understand that it is a vacant space, and the next tenant may want to come sin and paint it bright yellow, but they are trying to create some continuity without knowing what that would be.

    Addressing the applicant, Mr. Okum said because we do not know where those parking allocations are, I donít know where your commitment of parking spaces are to this business. Mr. Adler said the east side of the boulevard is for Ashley Furniture, and the west side is for the next tenant.

    Mr. Okum said when we discussed he Dave & Busterís project, that space next to the building in front of the bay space was committed to Dave & Busterís. I have some trouble with that, because those spaces are truly utilized by Dave & Busterís customers. Maybe time wise Ashley Furniture closes at 6 and Dave & Busterís gets busy at six; I donít know how that will work out.

    I see that mocha is their accent color, but we are changing their entire building façade here except for the rail around the top. What is the beige part; is it painted? Mr. Muha answered that is the existing band; we are taking the white out of it like Globe did. It is metal, identical to what Globe did, except different colors. It eliminates the lights that seem to be a problem, and that will continue on down to Dave & Busterís.

    Mr. Okum commented said this is very tasteful; it is a nice entry feature into the Ashley business. Their mocha color is restricted to a center point of the building, and not the whole building, and that is a massive amount of brown. You are turning that building into a brown box.

    Addressing the applicant, Mr. Syfert asked if he had considered reversing colors and using the mocha as your accent. Mr. Muha answered I donít think that would be a problem; we could do that.

    Mr. Okum wondered how the dumpster would be enclosed. Mr. Adler responded that it will be wrapped with a cedar fence and cedar gates in front. Mr. Okum said I think a masonry structure with a steel frame gate in front might be acceptable, but I donít think a cedar fence would be acceptable.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE SIXTEEN

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Mr. Muha suggested pine trees, and Mr. Okum responded that he didnít think that they would get pine trees on the truck side. Our zoning code calls for a dumpster enclosure with gates on it.

    Right now we are chopping this building up, and if it is going to look like a truck dock along Commons Drive, it will be a good looking truck dock. Iím not happy with it. You are talking a dumpster enclosure, two truck docks and a drive up dock that has a ramp going up for cars to pull up against the building. This is not going to be your typical good looking side of the building. We have done nothing but create more asphalt.

    The drawing depicts it very clearly. You are going to have a ramp system of concrete or asphalt driving up to the building that currently has landscaping across it. I donít know how you will screen it.

    Mr. Adler said we will add landscaping along here, and Mr. Okum said there would have to be mounding, and it would have to be vegetation and screening. Obviously the only thing that Ashley Furniture wants there is the appearance of that sign that says Customer Pickup Area; they want to have their customers to be able to get their materials, and they want their signage on that side of the building. Obviously because that is the frontage and Commons Drive is very important to them. Otherwise they wouldnít bother to put a sign there. Iím not happy with how itís treated; right now you are looking at a truck dock on Commons Drive with no screening and no dumpster enclosure on this plan.

    Addressing Mr. Okum, Mr. Galster said I would rather not see truck doors there either, but the fact of the matter is that in order to use this space there will have to be doors somewhere. Unless the owner would give a designated common area in that dock area that everybody can shoot off of inside their building I donít think there is any other way of getting around it. I donít think we are going to find very many 250,000 s.f. renters that will take the whole space.

    We already have five dock doors on Globe so itís not like we are blazing a new frontier here. My concern is what are we going to do about the drive? I donít want to see the dock doors there, but I donít see any other way to get around it. It is too big of a space to try to be serviced out of one loading dock. SO Iím okay with the dock doors. I think the dumpster needs to be screened, enclosed and gated to minimize the effect of the look we have on Commons Drive. I also agree with the chairmanís suggestion of flipping the colors around or even having some of the accent stripes through it designating what area is yours. The brown would be a little too much on that massive wall.

    I am encouraged and I hope the applicant is extremely successful. I welcome them and hope that things work out in Springdale, but we have to be flexible with this site. As far as the parking goes, they will only have so much parking left, and I know we need to know what that is.

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE SEVENTEEN

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Mr. Huddleston said I agree with a lot of the concerns expressed here; itís a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that this commission always sees fit to try to maintain the integrity of our zoning and at the same time work with the applicants. Certainly it is cumbersome to do that. We have a 72,000 s.f. tenant that is willing to occupy a building that the fascia is deteriorating badly on, an occupant with what appears to be a good track record in the business. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Galster; we need some flexibility in how we address this. We can sit here and play architect but they have a theme they are trying to carry out. You go to the lifestyle shopping centers today and they have all kinds of colors across the front. I think we have to defer somewhat to their expertise and how they want to brand their product.

    The more significant issues in my mind are how you get the trucks in and out of there safely and functionally and stay out of pedestrian and employee traffic. To that extent I look rather pleasingly on what they have submitted, even to the extent of the access. Under normal conditions I wouldnít favor it, but with the unique condition we have here, I would say we should try to work with them on that basis, with the screening as best we can on that side.

    You have a 72,000 s.f. tenant with a track record here. You have a building that is very unique in its own right. Mr. Bergman has worked with that successfully or otherwise for years and done a great job of trying to maintain that. I think you have a building that could stay dark for a long time if you donít try to work with these kinds of things.

    The applicant is very successful and we should try to work with them and see if we canít get this moving forward this evening.

    Mr. Sherry asked if this handout is an accurate representation of your colors, and Mr. Muha answered that it was. The roof will stay the same, a dark bronze.

    Mr. Syfert said as chairman, I mentioned flip flopping the colors, and I believe that would make the overall building look much better, or find some alternative. I would like to keep it in the lighter color that we have all the rest of the way.

    The other main problem that I have is that I do not particularly favor another curb cut on Commons Drive. We protected your property when we were working with Sofa Express, and I would like to keep that integrity. If the trucks are coming in early, I donít see any problem with them coming in down below there. The employees ought to be in there, and the customers shouldnít be there yet. I am saying that I favor the alternate, #1. I agree with most of the other comments.

    I think this is something we should work with and try to get wrapped up tonight if at all possible. The landscaping can come; if it doesnít the certificate of occupancy doesnít come. The car count can be handled with a certificate of occupancy also. The main issues are the exterior appearance and the access.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE EIGHTEEN

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Addressing Mr. Claybon, Mr. Okum said if there were restrictions that your tractor trailers could not remain on site and that you were only permitted one box truck to remain in that parking field, would that be a problem for you? I see companies utilizing tractor trailers and box trucks for advertising purposes. That is one of the reasons why I have so many concerns about truck docks setting on the side of Commons Drive. I see Ashley Furniture trucks and your box trucks and service vans setting along there which are necessary for your business. That is a big area down there, and if trucks start accumulating I donít know how we can deal with it. . What are your feelings on that?

    Mr. Claybon answered the tractor trailers do come in at a certain time of the morning. They would only be there to deliver the merchandise. There would be no overnight storage on the facility. The merchandise would be unloaded and they would leave the site, so I see no problem with that. With the box trucks, currently we would possibly have one truck there to use for local deliveries. We are making this the corporate facility for the Cincinnati market, and it would be the pick up center for the area.

    There could be additional box trucks in the future, but they would be backing into the loading docks so they are in the loading docks and are not left in the parking lot with the signage on the side. Because those parking docks go up to the building, there would be some landscaping on either side. I think that would address your concern that we are not creating a parking lot or a place for trucks to be spreading advertising along Commons Drive.

    Mr. Okum asked if he were saying no more than two box trucks since you have two docks, shall be permitted to be left on the east side, except up against the docks.. Mr. Claybon answered I think that would be accurate.

    Mr. Okum asked how he would landscape that area and handle that dumpster. Mr. Adler answered that we will build a block brick enclosure for the dumpster and compactor, with evergreens along side to soften that. We might bring those evergreens further out so as you come down the evergreens are blocking and softening. Mr. Okum asked Ms. McBride about that type of screening.

    Ms. McBride reported that once the applicant gets a final site plan, we will be happy to work with them on a landscape plan, and it will be screened adequately. Mr. Okum asked how to handle that in the form of a motion, and Ms. McBride answered a landscape plan that is acceptable to staff. Mr. Syfert added that is why I said that a certificate of occupancy can handle a lot of things.

    Addressing the applicant, Mr. Okum said you have indicated that the tree replacement issue shall be addressed. Mr. Adler confirmed this. Mr. Okum said we are talking a PUD, not just this box. I think I was hearing from Ms. McBride that there are tree issues on the rest of the site. Mr. Adler responded we replaced 18 trees around The Great Indoors last week, and repainted the front of Sam Ash and turned off the old banding around the Roberds Grande.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE NINETEEN

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Ms. McBride added when you do come back in with a revised landscape plan, there is additional landscaping on Commons Drive, should the commission approve the addition of the curb cut. I think it attracts attention to the curb cut and I would rather see the additional landscaping in there with the attempt to block or screen the truck loading docks from Commons as much as possible.

    Mr. Okum asked if staff had a problem with the total square footage for signage. Ms. McBride answered we did not have a problem with the square footage of the sign detail information. The problem was that the sign detail information didnít match the signage portrayed on the building elevation, and we didnít get information on the location or the reuse of the existing Roberds sign for the free-standing sign.

    Mr. Muha reported that the color renderings of the sign are accurate and are what we are proposing today.

    Mr. Okum asked if the customer pick up area sign was a box sign with individual channel letters going over the overhead door. Mr. Muha answered yes.

    Mr. Okum said in my opinion the customer pick up sign is a little large (12í x 2í). Mr. McErlane added for clarification, the sign on the north face of the building is an existing box sign. The Ashley Furniture sign shown on the east side is individual letters.

    Mr. Sherry asked Mr. Okum what he meant by only two box trucks being left on the premises at any one time. I am concerned about that, because if you are busy, you are going to have two three, four or more of them in and out of there all day long, and there would be the potential of having more than two there. I want to make sure that the intent is not to limit them to two only at any given time. Mr. Okum responded I was referring to overnight storage of box trucks.

    Mr. Galster said based on your logo design, is it possible that instead of trying to reuse the face at the front of the building to actually put channel letters back up? There is a lot of blue there that doesnít need to be there if you have channel letters. I wouldnít be opposed to allowing your logo to grow a little bit, if you werenít trying to reuse that box. There is a lot of extra stuff in there that doesnít help.

    Mr. Claybon responded that is the color of Ashley Furniture, the blue, orange and yellow. It is important to them. Mr. Galster said I have no problem with the pole sign look; it is just with the big box that already exists out there.

    Mr. Claybon stated the original plan added signage at the top to simulate a house, and that was changed because no signage was allowed above the roof line. That is why we came back to using the box. Their standard logo is a blue house with a triangular top, and that blue is carried forth on the pylon sign.

     

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE TWENTY

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Mr. Vanover wondered why the label was changed; there is no blue on this one. The discussion concerned the size of the sign on the building, and the renderings donít have any blue on those either. Mr. Claybon responded that their standard logo is a blue house with a triangular top. It was modified and that blue is carried forth on the pylon sign. Mr. Muha added that the sign drawings are not accurate with what is going up.

    Mr. Galster said on the side of the building, you have an 8í x 25í sign with channel letters. On the front of it, it is about the same width, but it ends up being 16 feet tall. My point would be that we have an extra eight feet of blue, and I would be wiling to give you a longer sign and a bigger logo to get rid of all that extra blue that will light up Heritage Hill. Everybody is trying to build it big because the can is there, and I would rather get rid of the can, and build a logo that is more proportionate and can even be bigger than this just to get rid of all that blue color space that isnít needed, and match the signs on the front and side of the building. I have no problem with the blue on the pole.

    Mr. Claybon stated that sign would match the blue on the pole so when the person driving by sees the pylon sign, he will know exactly where the main entrance is. The east side will only be customer service. Mr. Galster said good answer, so Iíll drop it.

    Mr. Okum said I donít have a problem with your box trucks being parked around the back of the building. I want you to understand that the purpose of my questions is directly on the east and north sides of the building where the parking fields are.

    Mr. Claybon responded I understand that and I think it is a very valid point. We want to make that little corner a very attractive corner so anyone driving by on Commons or on the highway would want to come in. Mr. Okum said I guess you have to live with the truck docks if that is the only thing you can do with the building.

    Mr. Bergman said I have a recommendation. We anticipate their success, and if in the evenings when they have more than two box trucks, if necessary and if it is approved by the city, they would be permitted to park the truck in that back area where Wal-Mart is. It is seldom used, and there is considerable parking back there.

    Mr. Okum said there seems to be a discrepancy between staffís comments on screening the mechanical units and the applicantís request, and I want to get it resolved.

    Mr. Adler said the applicantís request is for five roof top units on the roof, hopefully out of the line of sight, as shown in this diagram. If there is an issue with the unit closest to Commons Drive, we will be glad to screen it.

    Mr. Okum said typically we say that they should be an improved screening and enclosure not visible from the adjoining properties or the public right of way. Mr. Adler said naturally from 275 you would see them, but from Commons Drive you would not. I think that staff is saying that they should be screened, screen them now.

     

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE TWENTY-ONE

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Ms. McBride said staff wants to know if they are going to be done and if they are visible, that you would screen them.

    Mr. Okum said you will see them going down the hill. You might as well screen them right now. If you can see them from the public right of way or adjacent properties, they need to be screened.

    Mr. Galster wondered if it would be okay to paint them to match the roof color and blend in. Ms. McBride answered as long as you cannot see them from the immediate area.

    Mr. Galster wondered where we stand on the entrance point. The staff recommendation was not to have the additional curb cut. Is the applicant okay with that?

    Mr. Adler said I do not think that it is a safe idea. Mr. Claybon added that the trucks arrive sometime in the morning, but it is not exact. Generally we would encourage them to be in there between 7 and 10 a.m. Mr. Syfert said I said leave it the way it is.

    Mr. Coleman commented that it is important to allow the applicant every opportunity to be successful, and for this reason I am not opposed to the proposed new access drive.

    Mr. Okum said our engineer does not see the necessity for this, and at this point it would be better not to have a new curb cut there.

    Mr. Claybon reported that there would be one to two Ashley trucks during the day and one to three during the week.

    Mr. Shvegzda commented that it does not sound like a problem based on the numbers and times they would arrive.

    Mr. Okum moved to approve the loading dock and exterior alteration for Ashley Furniture at 11755 Commons Drive as presented in the submissions L1 of 1, A1 of 1 and A2 of 2. This shall include all staff, city engineer and city planner recommendations. All mechanical units shall be enclosed and screened from view of adjoining properties and public right of way. There will be no changes to the lighting fixtures. The landscaping shall be reviewed and approved by staff for adequate screening from Commons Drive Tree replacement conditions shall be included. Dumpster enclosure shall be masonry on three sides with steel framed wood faced gates. No traffic roadway changes to Commons Drive, and no additional curb cuts. Exterior colors shall be switched, mocha 6067 and 6064. Signage conditions shall be as submitted with individually lit channel letters except for 24 x 16 box sign and refaced existing pole sign, and an additional 12í x 2í "Customer Pickup". Tractor trailer trucks making deliveries shall not be left on site. There will be no more than 2 box trucks on the north or east sides of the building, except against the docks, and there will be no overnight storage on site. There will be no change to the upper mansard.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE TWENTY- TWO

    V B ASHLEY FURNITURE HOME STORE Ė 11755 COMMONS DRIVE

    Mr. Vanover seconded the motion. All members voted aye, and the approval was granted with seven affirmative votes.

    Planning Commission recessed at 9:15 p.m. and reconvened at 9:27 p.m.

  3. NEW BUSINESS
            1. Approval of flags on top of sign at Mallard Lakes, 12100 Lake Circle Drive

    Candace Howard, Mallard Lakes Property Manager said earlier this year I came back as property manager and there were American flags on top of the signs and banners 3í x 10í with red and white letters. They had been installed in the fall of 1999 when I was assistant manager. The condition of the flags and banners had deteriorated, and I replaced them, not knowing that there were requirements on this.

    I was notified about that and requested an application so that we could have flags and banners on the signs. We need to draw attention to Mallard Lakes. The sign facing I-275 is our main sign frontage.

    We do not want to use any gaudy colors or anything that would not represent Mallard Lakes as a very nice establishment or embarrass Springdale.

    In some of our other communities we try to have a theme with the flags or banners and they look very attractive. What we would prefer is to have some color flags that will coordinate with the banners and change those out quarterly.

    Mr. McErlane reported that the Zoning Code prohibits flags other than political or corporate in conjunction with the United States or state flags.

    Banners are limited by time, not only to control the amount of sign area but also because banners are not designed to be permanent from a durability standpoint. The applicant talks about keeping them maintained, and that would be one concern.

    The applicant had both banners and flags at one time, but they were removed earlier this year.

    The signs originally were approved by Planning Commission in 1988. The application of the banners to the sign structure violates an agreement between the owner of the property and Springdale City Council, which limits the sign area per faces to 160 s.f. This agreement was reached to settle reciprocal law suits by both parties. The law director indicates that the agreement is an item that applied to that condition in the past, and Planning can consider any application as a new PUD. So it is within Planningís authority to grant this request if they wish to do so. If either of the two council members considers this a major change, it can be forwarded to Council. Neither felt it was a major change.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE TWENTY- THREE

    VI A FLAGS ON TOP OF SIGN Ė MALLARD LAKES Ė 12100 LAKE CIRCLE

    Mr. Galster asked if the original settlement was reached at 160 s.f. per face. Mr. McErlane reported that the existing sign at that time was 320 s.f. per faces, and that agreement cut it down to 160 s.f. The owner of the property had a suit against Planning Commission appealing their decision to deny the sign at that time.

    Mr. Okum asked the number of vacancies presently, and Ms. Howard reported that currently there are 20 vacancies of a total of 198. Generally it would be anywhere between 88 and 91% occupied. We would like to be able to see occupancy levels of 92%.

    Mr. Okum asked what would be more important, banners or flags.

    Ms. Howard answered if we are allowed to have American flags, I

    would say banners. The reason why previously the banner said

    "Now Leasing" was because the fewer the words, the larger the

    letters. I would very much like to have a theme, but if I had to

    choose, it probably would be the banners, because it would look

    more elegant.

    Ms. Howard said instead of the four flags on top of the sign, would

    it be possible to have one large American flag on a flag pole?

    Planning Commission indicated that it would be.

    Mr. Galster commented I do not think the banner material will hold

    up. It will need to be replaced many times. I have no problem with

    the flag, but I am not in favor of the banner material.

    Mr. Coleman wondered if she did customer satisfaction surveys,

    and Ms. Howard indicated that they ask every person who walks in

    the door so we can track the traffic. Our drive by traffic is less than

    50% of our traffic numbers. We supplement with a lot of additional

    apartment guide advertisements and internet sites. We also have

    several surveys on our residential service.

    Mr. Okum said if they were not in a PUD, would they be permitted

    banners. Mr. McErlane said banners are permitted on the

    buildings and would be allowed four times a year for two-week

    periods.

    Mr. Okum said these are on the sign. If we shifted the banners

    from the sign to the building, that would give you eight additional

    weeks. Ms. Howard commented that the banner on the sign would

    be better than banner on the building, but I would be willing to do

    whatever Planning says. Mr. Okum said I would be willing to give

    them banners on the sign rather than the building.

    Mr. Galster said I am opposed to putting banners out on the interstate. Mr. Coleman commented that since only 50% are drive by, I am inclined to agree with the regulations that are in place.

    Mr. Syfert said I think we have the flag issue worked out, and I personally will not support any banners outside the code.

    Mr. Huddleston said for the record, I would not like to support the banners. I think they have adequate signage. Mr. Vanover said I would be able to support anything within the code, but outside it, I do not see the need.

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

    11 NOVEMBER 2003

    PAGE TWENTY- FOUR

    VI A FLAGS ON TOP OF SIGN Ė MALLARD LAKES Ė 12100 LAKE CIRCLE

    Mr. Galster moved to deny the request for banners and for the flags, based on the belief that there is adequate signage there, the problem of maintenance of such banners and site issues. Mr. Huddleston seconded the motion. All voted aye, and the approval was denied with seven votes.

    B. Approval of Proposed Sign Change at Provident Bank, 495 East

    Kemper Road

    Mr. McErlane reported that there was no ownerís affidavit. I talked with the applicant last week, who was hoping to have that tonight, and she has not been able to acquire it yet. She tried to contact the bank today. There was no one there because of Veteranís Day, so she has asked to be tabled to the December meeting.

    Mr. Galster moved to table and Mr. Coleman seconded the motion. All voted aye, and the item was tabled to December 9, 2003.

  4. DISCUSSION
  5. Mr. Okum reported that there have been issues around the Board of Zoning Appeals request for variances of a temporary nature. The law director indicated that it would involve a change to our code to allow a section to be created for conditional uses that would be reviewed by Planning or the Board of Zoning Appeals. I have talked with the administration and council representatives, and we would propose to involve our Building Department, City Planner, administration, council representative, BZA member and alternate and Planning member and alternate on a small committee to look into this and resolve some of these issues.

    Mr. Syfert stated that Mr. Huddleston has submitted his resignation here tonight, and I want to thank him for all his input over the years. He has been a real asset to this commission and will be missed.

  6. CHAIRMANíS REPORT
            1. Pier I Imports Ė 11711 Princeton Pike Ė Wall Signs
            2. Ming Zhou Oriental Imports Ė 247 Northland Blvd. Ė Wall Sign
            3. Pearle Vision Ė 11711 Princeton Pike Ė Wall Signs
  7. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Van over moved to adjourn and Mr. Huddleston seconded the motion. All voted aye, and Planning Commission adjourned at 10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

_________________,2003 _________________________

William G. Syfert Chairman

_________________,2003 __________________________

Robert Sherry, Secretary