PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
13 NOVEMBER 2007
7:00 P.M.

I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

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

II. ROLL CALL

Members Present: Chairman William Syfert, Steve Galster, Bob Diehl, Tony Butrum, David Okum, Lawrence Hawkins III, and Tom Vanover


Others Present: Mayor Doyle H. Webster, Don Shvegzda, City Engineer and
Jonathon Wocher

In honor or Veteran’s Day 2007 and “9-11”, Chairman William G. Syfert had all stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Chairman Syfert introduced and welcomed Tamara Kunkel as the new Secretary to the Building Department; she has been on staff since the first of September.
Chairman Syfert added, before we go any further, I’d like to congratulate Steve Galster and Bob Diehl on your successful running of Councilmen. I know both of you are not going to be here next month, unless Tom is not here, so I don’t know what’s going to happen, but anyway congratulations to you.

III. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 14 AUGUST 2007

Mr. Butrum moved to adopt the Minutes from 14 August 2007, and Mr. Vanover seconded the motion; all present voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted with seven affirmative votes.

IV. CORRESPONDENCE

A. Zoning Bulletin – September 15, 2007
B. Zoning Bulletin – October 1, 2007
C. Zoning Bulletin – October 15, 2007
D. Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes – August 14, 2007

V. OLD BUSINESS

EIFS FOR THE WEST ELEVATION OF STAPLES STOREFRONT

A. Chairman Syfert stated we have the approval of the EIFS for the West Elevation of the storefront of Staples, 12050 Princeton Pike. I don’t believe we have a representative. Tamara reported that Mr. Perin, representing Staples, requested to table until December.

A motion was made by Mr. Vanover to table the discussion on Staples’ EIFS until the following month; Mr. Butrum seconded the motion. The motion was approved by all members present.

VI. NEW BUSINESS

WALL SIGN FOR LAPTOPWORLD – 11711 PRINCETON PIKE, PRINCETON PLAZA

A. Chairman Syfert noted, under new business to approve the wall sign for Laptop World at 11711 Princeton Pike, Princeton Plaza; to allow it to be less than 3 feet from a party wall line if it is not possible to cut the sign.

Bill Mattan stepped forward to represent Laptop World. I am Bill Mattan and I own Laptop World at 11711 Princeton Pike. Currently we are at Suite 441 and we're moving just about five stores down. We've been there for four years; we were originally down the street on Kemper Road. Since there is some renovation at the Plaza, some of the businesses are moving. Mr. Gilhart asked us if we would move to another location and we were happy to oblige. We are moving to a spot that has about the same retail space but less back space in the back area, and because of that the front of the store is not as wide as our current store. We are a small business and we have spent a lot of money on the Laptop World sign and it's a big part of our advertising for people to find us, and the sign is a little bit too wide to fit at the new spot. The way that the layout is at the store we are moving into, there is no neighbor to our right, there is like an entryway a pass through. What we were hoping was some sort of concession to allow us to have the new sign extend over above that walkway, so that it's not going to impede someone else's sign or be too close to another sign, but I understand the way the rules go its still



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WALL SIGN FOR LAPTOPWORLD – 11711 PRINCETON PIKE, PRINCETON PLAZA

not within the Zoning Code.

Mr. Chairman asked, is it your intention Sir, to just move the sign that you have now. Mr. Mattan answered, that is what I would like to do.

Mr. Galster added, I personally don't have a problem with the relocation of the sign. I understand that it is going to overhang a little on the walkway that goes into the back parking lot. In Mr. McErlane's report, and I understand that he is not here tonight, do we know the allowed square footage? I know that the sign is not to go beyond the tenant space, but do we know the square footage that would be allowed with his space?
Jonathon Wocher responded, yes the proposed space, I believe, would be 28' wide and then using the calculation of the Zoning Code you would multiply 28' by 1.5 and then add 40 to that, so I believe the new location would be allowed to have 82 square feet. And my calculations indicate that the existing sign, the sign that they want to move is approximately 95 square feet.

Mr. Okum added, thank you Mr. Chairman. I think the issue is how it impacts the adjacent tenants and the item three under Mr. McErlane's report is the most significant, it is the three foot requirement that it holds in on each side. The right side is not such a big deal, because there is no tenant there. The left side if you observe the photo that was provided with the overlay of the sign even based upon that layout the sign is over the top of its adjoining property/resident. Is there anyway, Mr. Mattan, that you could - I know Laptopworld.com is a marketing method for your company, but I understand by looking at your application and your company name is actually Laptopworld - is there any way that the ".com" could be dropped off the channel as the case be, because then you would be dropping 5'6"? I think you would still be wider than the three foot, but you certainly wouldn't be based upon my calculations, if you drop the ".com" off, you'd be reducing the sign down by 5 or 6 feet in length.
Mr. Mattan responded, we had actually considered that option. The problem is that the logistics of the way the channel is built, there are certain electrical codes to be followed and without actually taking the sign apart, I don't know that we have the answer to that, whether that can be done.
Mr. Okum asked, you haven't talked to the sign company at this point?
Mr. Mattan answered, right.
Mr. Okum continued I see a deadline for your move, as well; you are on a timeline that is tight. It is a heck of a time to be moving, with the Holiday Season. Is there any way we can get that questioned answered? I really have a problem with it pushing against the neighbor. Did your sign company provide the photo?
Mr. Mattan responded, I did that. We would set the sign up to stay within the boundary of 3 feet on the left; regardless of how the picture shows. And I can have the sign company do a better job and provide the right picture for you if that is necessary.
Mr. Okum: In my opinion, I think that is necessary. I prefer that the sign be reduced down to the width. I understand the dynamics of cost of signage and so forth, but you are going to have to pay a sign company to redo it either way. You’re going to have to power it and they are going to have to work on the circuitry and make sure you have the right power circuits to it and so forth. I think we need to be sensitive to other development in the center and allowing that 3 foot exposure on that connecting unit. If it does happen to push to the right; if you move it over it will be 5 or 6 feet over that area. I would prefer that you look into shortening it.
Mr. Mattan answered, O.K.
Mr. Okum continued, I took the liberty to look at the Secretary of State's page. I wanted to make sure that Laptopworld.com is your legal name, or is it Laptopworld?
Mr. Mattan responded, actually that's an old Corporation. Our legal name is Laptopworld Outlet.
Mr. Okum repeated, Outlet? That makes it even more complicated.
Mr. Mattan answered, Laptopworld Outlet Incorporated.

Steve Galster responded, Mr. Okum, are you opposed to allowing him to move it 3' off the tenant space to the left; allow it to overhang? Then when the sign company takes it down, to look at the modifications at that time. And then if it can be done, chop ".com" off at that time?
Mr. Okum answered, yes. I think the simplest way, is that the sign company







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WALL SIGN FOR LAPTOPWORLD – 11711 PRINCETON PIKE, PRINCETON PLAZA

present some type of written document to the City stating and/or to the owner
that that is not possible. That it would be a practical impossibility to do that; without major modification to the sign case. Obviously, there's aluminum and channel support, but if the main components of the sign, the power supply happen to be over on the .com area, there is major undertaking there. If there is transformers involved and separation of power involved, that might be a little more simple, and I think that would be fair.

Mr. Galster continued, if those items are not in that area, then it's just a matter of shortening some wires and capping them and putting a new piece of aluminum on. It's not a big job to shorten that if in fact those items are not located in that area. There would be some expense involved, but I don't know how much expense would be involved considering the fact that they are taking the sign down and putting it back up, anyway.
Mr. Mattan stated we are o.k. with taking the ".com" off; I actually came up with the idea when we were talking with Bob. Mr. McErlane had mentioned, and I'm not sure how the laws go, but he mentioned something about the electrical code might be the problem - not with whether it would be possible to modify the sign, but whether it would fit in some sort of code.
Mr. Okum added, that would fall under practical impossibility; and as long as documents could be submitted to the City.

Mr. Galster concluded, so if we make a motion that every effort would be made to drop the ".com", with a letter from the sign company that would be o.k., if the motion contained language similar to that?
Mr. Mattan responded, that would be awesome.
Mr. Galster said, thank you.

Mr. Gilhart stated, just so you know, we don't allow signs to go within three feet of the common wall.
Mr. Okum responded it would have been three feet either way, so you would have shifted it over the driveway opening no matter what. Thank you Mr. Gilhart, I appreciate that.

Mr. Butrum continued, thank you, Mr. Chairman, Just a clarification, so it would come back to the City, is what you are saying, Mr. Okum, and a determination made by Mr. McErlane?
Mr. Okum answered yes, they would submit it. Mr. McErlane could review because obviously he has to review the sign permit anyway and the application.
Mr. Butrum added, so it is no different than when we say "based on staff approval"?
Mr. Okum answered, yes.
Mr. Butrum responded, o.k., I just want to clarify that.
Mr. Okum stated, it sounds like the applicant is more than happy to work with that.

Mr. Gilhart asked, what’s the time frame for Bill coming back?
Mr. Chairman responded, Monday.

Mr. Butrum stated, basically you'll have an approval to relocate that sign and as is, if in fact the sign company says that it is impractical to shorten the ".com".

Mr. Chairman continued, do you want to put that into motion?
Mr. Galster responded, so moved.
Mr. Okum seconded the motion.
Mr. Chairman stated, o.k., anyone else have any discussion? Does everyone understand what is being said?

On the motion, all present voted aye and the motion was approved with seven affirmative votes.

Mr. Chairman added, o.k., Good luck.
Mr. Mattan stated, thank you, very much.

VII. DISCUSSION

VETERAN’S MEMORIAL

A. Mr. Chairman inquired, Mr. Galster, do you have something else.





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VETERAN’S MEMORIAL

Mr. Galster answered yes, Mr. Chairman, only because under correspondence we didn't have a report on Council because it is usually there. I just wanted to update the Board that City Council at its last meeting did approve ordinances for the construction of the Springdale Veteran's Memorial site; the general contract, as well as the electrical contract with the understanding that the Veteran's Memorial would be completed by Veteran's Day of next year.
Mr. Chairman stated, good, very good, when are you going to start selling bricks?
Mr. Galster stated, next news letter that goes out in December will have information on the bricks themselves. If you want to buy a brick, just have your name on it and if you're not a Veteran, that's one category. If you want to buy a brick for a Veteran, family member or yourself that is another category. The bricks are going to be $15.00 a piece. Right now, we do have a meeting tomorrow on that just to finalize; but what we are doing, we are passing along the actual cost of engraving, because we don't want to exclude people from participating in the Veteran's Memorial. Some time ago we had looked at it as a fundraising kind of a thing, but basically we decided it would be a lot nicer to have four thousand people participating at $15.00 a brick than a couple hundred at $50.00 a brick. So we decided that we are going to pass along the engraving cost so that as many Springdale residents that want to be involved in that Memorial will be given that opportunity. And I thought that was pretty exciting. It has been a long time coming so we are looking forward to it.

Mr. Okum asked, could we have multiple placements, like if we have multiple people, could we put them together?
Mr. Galster responded, there was discussion about that as well. Right now, we are just going to say that they are going to be randomly placed. Because I think you can get four lines of text on there right now. And I have five kids, I can't get them all on one brick, so if I'm buying multiple bricks, it's very possible that they would be separated. We will make every effort in those type situations. But by the time we get them engraved, get them stacked and loaded on a pallet, get out to the job site, then the contractor is going to put them in, we don't know that that will happen. So, I guess the statement that we are going to make is that they will be placed randomly - just to cover ourselves.

Mr. Chairman continued, did Council do anything else, Steve?
Mr. Galster stated, we reappointed the Magistrate, the Prosecutor and the Public Defender and I think that was pretty much it.

Mr. Okum asked, did they ever act on the Board of Zoning Appeals rules?
Mr. Galster answered; I don't know that The Board of Zoning Appeals Rules were submitted to Council to act upon.
Mr. Okum concluded, I will check on that with Bill when he gets back on Monday.
Because it was referred to this Commission, we adopted it but I don’t know – maybe it went to the Law Director’s office.
Mr. Galster continued, maybe it went to the Law Director’s office, but I don’t know that the City Council needs to approve.
Mr. Okum stated, no, this was the change to all 11, 14 conditions that have to be applied to Zoning Variance.
Mr. Galster stated, that was discussed but I don’t know that it was ever voted upon.
Mr. Okum said that we will follow up.
Mr. Chairman added, 13 points.
Mr. Okum agreed, I think there are 13 conditions that need to be evaluated or considered to deliberate, but they all have to be considered.
Mr. Galster responded, yes.
Mr. Chairman continued, o.k., thanks Steve.


ZONING CODE REVISIONS FOR GARAGE AND ACCESSORY BUILDINGS

B. Mr. Chairman: We have the discussion of the Zoning Code revisions for garage and accessory building sizes.
Mr. Okum said, thank you. Board of Zoning Appeals met months ago and by the ability to locate similar zoning in other communities that saw a diversity in land, size of lots, size of homes, etc… The Board agreed that size of lot, size of home should affect the size that would be allowed for an outside garage, a detached garage or an accessory structure such as a storage shed. By doing that there was some draft legislation that I was able to get for the Board and we hashed over percentages. And I passed out, everybody has a copy of the recommended



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variance standard that would be a recommendation back to this Commission that would then recommend it to Council with wording to tie it all together. That would change our zoning code to 120 square foot shed, across the board for all properties, no matter if you have a half acre, an acre or a three-quarter acre or whatever, to a variable based upon the lot size and the dwelling size on the lot. So it seems very fair. Garages, likewise, we said a minimum of 400 square feet for a detached garage, but we currently do not give flexibility for a person that has an oversized lot, again for the garage. What Bill and I did was we put together a sheet showing how this would have affected variances that had been granted in the City of Springdale over a period of time since 2000, and although it looked like we were going to have a list 20 miles long, it didn’t turn out to be that large. But it did turn out that, as you can see, there are still “reds”, there are still variances that were granted that would not have fallen into this new guideline, but there would be availability for someone who has a larger lot or a larger home to accommodate a larger shed or garage. Which I feel personally is fair. So the “greens” represent what you would expect, which would be allowed; “reds” were approved, but would not have been allowed under this new standard.
That’s all I have.

Mr. Galster: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. A question, I guess, and no disrespect to the Board of Zoning Appeals and the good work that they do for the City – my question is, if in fact these new percentages are adopted, do you see that they would be more adhered to and therefore variances that would be outside those percentages would have a less likelihood of being passed or would they all be passed anyways and really not have any affect?
Mr. Okum answered, well the storage sheds almost about 40 percent of the sheds would have been approved either way. The other ones are fairly close; you’re talking 140 square feet where they were only allowed 123. So they’re fairly close, that would make it a little bit easier to deal with. I am sure there are other situations – can I tell you that any Board Member on the Board of Zoning Appeals would apply a more critical eye to a requested variance. In my opinion if you give flexibility to a resident based upon size of their lot, they can’t hold that against the City or the Board that they didn’t have a fair opportunity; that their lot is overly large and so I think you would see a more critical eye because you’re not saying hard-fast, you’ve got 120 square feet, that’s all you are allowed to have on your property; period.
Mr. Galster: I guess my question is, I will look at the garages to start with, we are looking at these numbers that are 720, 1100, we’re approving 1800; I mean if we are going to approve them anyway, what is the point in changing the code? If we are going to enforce the code, understanding that it’s now been modified to be flexible and to take away one of the perceived hardships based on lot size, then I think that that’s a different story. But if we are still looking at approving 1200 and 1800 square foot garages what difference does it make?
Mr. Okum responded, well, I understand Mr. Galster, and I agree with you, I can’t say that I would have supported all of those, but I would have supported if the person that was approved an 1800 square foot garage, one of the two I would have for sure approved. If you went to the average, and it’s up to this Board to hash this out, you’ve gotten Board of Zoning Appeals approach but if you were to go to the average between the two, that person would have been allowed a 935 square foot garage. And maybe that’s the number that is more usable because based upon the sample legislation that we found, you had new code not to exceed, and you couldn’t be higher than the other according to the rules, so if you were to take the average of the two then you would have had a 952, 1000, 783 square foot garage. Well, our code allows for 700, so, and then you go 393 that would be a fairly small garage; our code requires a minimum of 400 square feet. In that particular feature probably the aggregate or the average of the two would probably be a better number to refer and to be bounced. I think there is a big difference between the use of a garage and the use of a storage utility building. I think garages are for vehicles, primarily; I mean we have homes in Springdale that we require two-car garages on our homes. Thirty percent of our housing has a single car garage, but our code, the way it is written requires a two car garage. We certainly were not adaptive when we wrote the code, we were restrictive in the code, but we wanted to make sure that anyone that would build would build a home with an adequate size garage of 400 square feet. Jonathon, you serve on a different capacity in a number of different areas, but I think you have seen fixed numbers and I am sure you have seen variable numbers in different communities.
Jonathon answered, well, I guess I am wondering why you would say, “whichever is lesser” it seems like…
Mr. Okum added, that was the draft legislation that we took it from.





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Mr. Jonathon Wocher: Because for example the 1200, the second garage example, they are being penalized for a smaller house on a large lot. It seems like if either of those standards are appropriate, allow either/or to apply. I see the logic that you are going through. I guess the other question, Steve was asking how many variances were denied? Were there other variances, I mean these are only the variances that were approved, were there other cases that were brought to the Board that were not approved?
Mr. Okum: Some got approved.
Mr. Galster: When you look at the small second garage, that dwelling size is only 818 and the average is more than the house, and I think that it is odd to have a garage bigger than your house.
Mr. Okum responded, proportionally that’s one of the reasons that you didn’t take a higher number on a lot so that the mass of the garage wouldn’t out mass the mass of the house so significantly. Maybe that’s why this other community chose that same rule of thumb, that the element, because really when you are talking physical element, you’re talking physical structure is how it looks. I have seen garages that dwarf the house. I mean we have got some and that’s sort of crazy and that’s not really what you want to see. You want to see homes and you want to give people space.
Mr. Galster: Understanding the new code and the new percentages, are you proposing that we say whichever is lower or the average, or a combination of both?
Mr. Okum responded, Board of Zoning Appeals’ recommendation to this Commission was the two new codes not to exceed; the lesser of the two. That does not necessarily mean that’s our recommendation to Council. We are the catalyst that moves it to Council. Typically Board of Zoning Appeals Members do not draft legislation. They make recommendations sometimes, they are an appeals Board. Their job is basically a court situation, a quasi-court, but they’re a court situation. They hear the case and they are supposed to deliberate on it and make a decision, render a decision. But, to get the ball moving it really needed to come from them to this Commission with a recommendation. We need to take this and say whether we want, as the Planning Commission to the City, to make a recommendation to Council. Now it can come from a Council directive too, Steve. Council could appoint a Committee to look at any portion of the Zoning Code and the Committee could make a recommendation and that would come to the Planning Commission, according to our Charter. Planning Commission would then act on it and then refer it back to Council for action. It can be generated from us, I believe, is that right Jonathon, I think I am correct; it can be generated from us. It is typically not generated from Board of Zoning Appeals, so where we go with it from here, the Board of Zoning Appeals is going to act on our actions of what we recommend to Council. Personally I think on storage sheds, I like the lesser, and on garages I like the average, I’m sort of drawn between the two. We’ve got seven members here and I’m pretty much putting it in your hands so that we can move this forward. We have a new Council, one new Council Member going on and we should move this thing forward. It has been sitting long enough. If we want to carry it to next month, that’s good and that’s fine with me too.
Mr. Galster: I like the idea, especially on the garages of using the average, myself, and I’ll explain a couple things there; I actually like the idea of having this even though there is subjectivity, as you say, I think it firms things up a bit. I think this would clearly have been created for this purpose and I think it gives people who are wanting to make proper rational moves, some teeth – something to back it up. We did this for this reason, there ought to be a good reason to grant a variance now. I think it raises the bar and I think that’s a good thing. The one thing, and you guys started to touch on it, it still would bug me a bit that in some cases you couldn’t – and there are some examples here – that you could have a garage larger than the dwelling, and so, at the risk of complicating it a little bit, but I don’t think much, I feel like there’s got to be some balance there and perhaps, I guess what I would wonder is, would it make sense to use this average, but it couldn’t exceed 75 percent of the dwelling size or whatever is appropriate? I mean something that just keeps it from this big monolithic garage and this tiny dwelling, that is there as well.
Mr. Chairman: Well, would you be comfortable with what they say not to exceed 50 percent on the garages?
Mr. Galster answered, Well they have got the 55 percent, right and then…
Mr. Okum: Yes, 55 percent is the new code that sets you at the 814 on the first one.
Mr. Galster responded, and maybe that is the right number, I just wonder if it’s the average, but then it can’t exceed that? For some reason you have a massive lot but a small dwelling, you can’t put a massive garage on there because the average is made up for by the size of your lot. You know, I think that’s the thing that could get out of balance here is huge lot – small dwelling still allows you to have a massive garage, and I think that’s got to be the bucket that still needs to be caught.




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And even if it is the same size of the house, I don’t have any problem.
Mr. Okum: Look at the second one, 818 o.k. the average would be 952 but you couldn’t be larger than the house.
Mr. Galster: Exactly, and that’s a perfect example. And if it is 100 percent, I don’t know what that right number is – 55, is it 100, I threw out 70 – if feels like there is a number that we could all probably look at and say that seems reasonable, it doesn’t seem reasonable to get larger than that given the size of the dwelling, so I think that’s the only piece that doesn’t seem to be kind of captured in this, is relating that.
Mr. Chairman: Thank you. Jonathon, did you want to add something, before I go to Mr. Vanover.
Jonathon Wocher responded, I was just going to say that I would think that by these standards are more refined to each specific lot. I would think that the Board would find them to be less arbitrary. Putting a standard of 400 square feet to 700 square feet seems to leave the door open for someone to say, “that’s just an arbitrary number, that doesn’t apply to my lot”. Whereas, if it is based on the size of your dwelling, the size of your lot, either standard it seems to be more related to a specific situation and not just some number, so I would…I don’t know that that would prevent the Board from granting variances, but you would think that that would at least relate more specifically to someone’s property. That was the only point that I was going to make.
Mr. Butram: I think it wouldn’t case 3 X variations. We’ve got some examples of 3
and 5 X.
Mr. Chairman: Good point, Tony. O.K., Mr. Vanover.
Mr. Vanover: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think with this range, or these proportions that you may, because before the shed was 120 and the garage was 200, well somebody’s looking to build a garage 400 square feet, really isn’t anything. So, their thinking bigger and that is maybe with this range or choices that we can, their initial, if had that been in place, their presentation may not have been as big as it ended up being. One hundred and twenty square feet on a barn, a 10 X 12 barn, I could probably fill that up out of the back of my truck, so I think we are looking at this post-judgment and with the 20/20 hindsight, if this had been in place – we can’t judge – but that may have reduced some of these numbers. Small house and a big garage and especially, you can go down Kemper and we’ve got a couple of examples that I could throw a golf ball to right now, and the reality is if somebody is going to build a garage and they have a small house and if they are not going to tear the house down and start over, then the garage is becoming an extension of the house and they’re going to make space in that garage that they don’t have in the house; it is going to become an attic, or its going to become a basement. And that’s where that ends up, and I agree that you don’t want a 10 X 12 house and a
30 X 70 garage, but I can understand how and those are the houses that are most likely to get skewed into that imbalance. Is it right? Is it wrong? That we will have to determine, but I think Tony is right and that’s the bucket or the adjustment that we need to work in this. The other stuff kind of balances out, but I do think had this been in place some of these end numbers might have been different and might not have been skewed the direction they are. I think it is a good workable start and it’s a basis we kind of work off of. I think the defensibility and arbitrary 120 square feet on a shed in my lot might fit, and in my next door neighbor I could put a baseball field in it. Proportionally, it doesn’t make sense. The numbers are the same, but the proportion doesn’t make sense. I am impressed and excited to see this. I think it is definitely headed in the right direction. I think it can be fine tuned, but my hats off to BZA for putting the time and the effort in getting this started.
Mr. Chairman: Thanks, Tom. I think basically the garage section of this; we’re talking nothing but Kemper Road. I think you are right, Tom, at least they had some ammunition maybe, but like the 1800 square foot one, that’s a business. And we’re going to have more businesses up and down there. Maybe now is the time to give them some ammunition.
O.K., Steve.
Mr. Galster: O.K., just another couple concerns that I would have, if in fact this is changed. And that would be, one that there would be a “not to exceed dwelling size” or some percentage, or whatever. But, another thing if we’re going to allow these bigger garages, are there other variances that they are asking for at the same time? Are there set-back issues? Are they getting too close to property lines? If we are to allow these bigger structures then I think it’s got to be pretty clean as far the rest of the set-back issues and height issues and things like that. Because, all of a sudden you take that garage on Kemper Road that you could park a Metro bus in and you move it back or you move it next to someone’s property line or you have another variance; then that becomes even a bigger issue. That would be awfully tough to put that into the code to where all





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set-back and height restrictions need to be met, but that is my concern. If we are going to allow these bigger structures then we sure need to do something, I think, and I don’t know to what extent we can do it other than rely on the Members to try to be sensitive to those issues, but the other set-backs and the heights are to me more critical now once we go to these bigger structures.
Mr. Chairman: Just one clarification, Dave, have you had set-back issues also with these garages?
Mr. Okum: No.
Mr. Chairman: They’ve met the code, haven’t they?
Mr. Okum: Yes. I don’t recall every one. I guess I’ve been BZA a long time.
Mr. Galster: If we allow the Metro bus height on Kemper Road…
Mr. Okum: I think that falls within our existing accessory building height limitation. There is a height limitation under our Code, that it can’t be higher than the house.
Mr. Galster: It sure looks higher.
Mr. Okum: Well, it is a Cape Cod in front, so it has got high peaks. There is other things to be discussed here, we want to get a piece of this pie adjusted. I’ve got some concerns over steel pole barns being considered a garage, versus a structural building in our neighborhoods. And I think building materials and that type of things need to be addressed in our Zoning Code that we currently do not address. But at this point, in my opinion, we need to deal with the size issue. Take this a bite at a time. Take care of the size issue, refine that get it working and we’ve got some other things that need to be done on our Zoning Code; one I just brought up, I think Steve’s comment regarding height set-back requirements.
Some communities allow a lot closer set-back. I think that a 5 foot set-back for an element for 1800 square foot. if you allowed a 5 foot side yard set-back on that, I might have a problem with that. In that particular case, I don’t think it should exceed any further into the side yard than the presence of the existing house, so that it falls behind the presence of the existing house instead, but those are things we still need to work through; set-backs are very good points, Steve, that’s not something that you should ignore, but at this point I think that we should get this part of the pie adjusted. I think Tony’s idea, and your idea too, of saying, “not to exceed the size of the dwelling”; whatever that number is whether it is 75 percent of the dwelling size or 90 percent of the dwelling size, by golly I agree with all of you that it shouldn’t exceed the dwelling size. I don’t care what excuse there is for that, it just doesn’t make good logical sense. I think, Tom, what you are getting to is a basis of fairness. Jonathon mentioned it as well, regarding the percentage of the property, the size of the lot, the size of the dwelling element on the lot, those are factors that you can realistically, physically put a presence and a number to that people can absorb and see and understand. Just arbitrarily all houses in this Zoning district, or in all of Springdale, a 120 foot shed is a little ridiculous, in my opinion, and not fair to the people who have the larger lots and entitled to it. I think we can get there, whatever that number is; never to exceed whatever percentage it is.
Jonathon Wocher: If you look at the definition of accessory building it states in there subordinate structure. I think you can restrict that now, whether your code says that. So is someone brings you a garage that is bigger than their house; it is probably easier for everyone to understand that if you put a maximum in it is probably easier to interpret. You don’t need a planner to sit over here to say, “well, if you look at definitions, it says subordinate, and so on and so on”. My point is accessory means subordinate and incidental to and at that point you cross that line and it becomes the primary structure and it becomes bigger than the dwelling.
Mr. Chairman: Tony.
Mr. Butrum: I think its all part of that teeth notion. I think it clearly shows that it has been accounted for, it’s been considered and I think the more clear we are with this the more firm it becomes. And the less likelihood we have of certainly crazy variances, let alone even getting too far outside the lines. This multifold over what would be reasonable, I think would be very easy to argue that when something is well outside those boundaries that it makes no sense. Even if we made it 100 percent or 99 percent for that sort of subordinate thing, I think it just gives extra teeth regardless. I personally, 75, 80 percentage sounds right to me; I think even if it is equal size that’s starting to feel good. That is my opinion.
Mr. Chairman: Thanks. Bob.
Mr. Diehl: I think maybe we are to go down and see what kind of number we can agree upon.
Mr. Chairman: O.K. Steve.
Mr. Galster: I’m still thinking. Is anyone not comfortable with 80 percent?
Mr. Chairman: I’m comfortable with 75, I can go 80 percent.
Jonathon: As long as the Board doesn’t let that be used against you. So if I’m an applicant I’m going to say, “I’m exceeding this number for the dwelling size and I’m exceeding that number for the lot. But you allow me to up to 80 percent –


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There are standards to be used separately, if I’m stating that correctly.
Mr. Galster: If there is a way to word is such a way that gives background information, and I’m not talking about examples, I’m not so much that, but the background information that the attempt is to balance the lot size with the dwelling size; it is that balance that matters. With the cap that is still in place for the dwelling size. If it is crafted right it will be clear, but you don’t want somebody to say, “yeah, I’ve got a small lot, but I see that you have been allowing 75 percent size to garages, so that is what I really want to have regardless of the fact.” I think we can get around it.
I think if you meet qualification “A”, then go to “B”, if you meet “B” then go to “C”, and so on and follow the process and I think it all becomes a mathematical equation and I think that is o.k.
Mr. Okum: Well, then would it be appropriate, obviously the language needs to be written to incorporate into our Zoning Code, can we have our planning staff draft that language and tie it together? That way they can bring it back to us next month for a final approval and recommendation to Council and get it on for the first of the year?
Mr. Galster: I think that makes sense.
Mr. Okum: I think everybody here was shaking their head to 75 percent. So the motion would be to adopt a variance, grant a structure for the City of Springdale based upon the chart provided with an addition the change to that being that garages would fall under the average of lot size and dwelling size and additional wording “ never to exceed 75 percent of the dwelling”.
Mr. Chairman: Correct.
Mr. Okum: That is my motion – Zoning Code revision for garage and accessory building sizes, per chart provided, but not to exceed 75% of house.
Mr. Butrum: Seconded the motion.
On the motion, all present voted aye and the motion was approved with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Chairman: Any further discussion on it.

REDEFINE ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENT TO INCLUDE WROUGHT –IRON FENCE

C. Mr. Chairman: Mr. Galster.
Mr. Galster: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, just another item under discussion and I know that BZA dealt with this issue in reference to a decorative fence. An applicant came up with a two-sided wrought- iron fence, I wanted to say that it is on Demick; and BZA came back with “you can’t put a fence in your front yard”. What the resident proposed was decorative in nature, it was only two sided, it didn’t enclose anything, it’s really no different than people that have like the horse-rail fencing on the corner of their lot; something that is similar to that that would have been in his front yard.
Mr. Okum added, that is also prohibited.
Mr. Galster: I understand. Well, but then at the same time we’ll approve a front-yard fence, so explain that to me.
Mr. Okum agreed, that doesn’t make any sense.
Mr. Galster: I’d look at that definition of fencing, so that we do permit decorative, accent features that are of a material similar to a fence, but doesn’t meet the existing definition because it doesn’t enclose anything. I went by the guy’s house and looked at it, and he showed me what he wanted to do and showed me the fencing and it is very nice what he has done. I think it’s a shame that we don’t permit that, yet we will permit a front yard fence.
Mr. Okum: It is like an architectural feature. It’s not a containment area. Our Code does truly read that as a fence.
Mr. Galster: So, I would make a request that we look at that definition of fence so that we do permit decorative architectural elements that are non-enclosures.
Mr. Chairman: Atmospheric Graphic Panels?
Mr. Okum: Which are in the process.
Mr. Galster: Except for one looks crooked.
Mr. Okum: That’s because the building is on a slope. The elements is plumb and vertical, but the building is on a slope and the roofline runs on a slope because of the grade, and you don’t realize it until you put the square panels on there. They are plumb. I’ve looked at them a dozen times just because I was wondering about the same thing. The fence issue, there is a house down the street from you that has a vinyl something in the front yard that is sort of hideous looking and I’m not quite sure what it is; and I want to consider that an architectural element. I don’t know if it is a railing, either. So, I’m a little confused. From your home,
Mr. Galster: Next door to me, she has a vinyl fence line that runs still in her back yard.
Mr. Okum responded, no I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about at the end of the street; maybe it is the street before you.
Mr. Galster: Oh, you’re talking about a vinyl fence that is used almost like a railing






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going up a walkway to the front door.
Mr. Okum: That is exactly right. And that is hideous and that’s not an architectural element and it’s not a safety rail. I don’t know quite what it is, because if it is a railing it requires spaces between the pickets every six inches and all of the requirements under a railing, it doesn’t fall under that. I don’t know what it is but it is definitely something that I would not want to see.
Mr. Galster: It is a 4 foot picket fence that walks up the stairs to a guy’s house, on each side; yeah, and it doesn’t make any sense. It’s not a decorative ornate feature, that’s for sure. So, how do we get it into the code to allow – even if we get into materials – and say, wrought-iron type fence is o.k. and PVC or a plastic one isn’t. I don’t know, but we need to figure out a way because when I first saw it on the agenda it sure looked to me like that’s going to look nice so that’s going to get approved. But, then it’s not. I would have anticipated that a variance would have been granted for that based on other variances that get passed and I’m surprised that it didn’t. In order to allow that to happen, now we have to get it into the wording so…
Mr. Okum: We probably should get it into the wording.
Mr. Chairman: Jonathon, what do you think we can do?
Jonathon Wocher answered, well, Mr. Chairman, we have books at our office that have definitions and what we can do is pull out various definitions without going into a lot of work, we’ll pull out dozen fence definitions that we can share with the Commission and see if one moves closer to the direction that you are talking about than another; because each community defines it a little differently. From what I hear you say, you want to allow some architectural type elements without defining those as fences?
Mr. Galster: Correct.
Jonathon Wocher continued, and we will see if we can come up with some language that gives you that.
Mr. Galster added, and allow those in a front yard, but not allowed what is typically bought at Lowes as a fence to be in your front yard running up to your front door. Mr. Okum: Lowes sells these iron architectural things now, not Lowes but Menards sells them. They have rods and they are like a fence. They are about 30” in height; very attractive. You can use those for different functions. I always think of a fence as an enclosure; where you are enclosing an area. But, we really need to get that clarified and, I think Jonathon clearly understands that it’s not a matter of…I gave the Board of Zoning Appeals an example, in the City of Cincinnati I’m doing a project in upper Price Hill and the house next to the home we are doing the work on, the neighbor wanted to put up a fence in his front yard. I guess you are permitted in Cincinnati, so but the height was 5’6”; he put it under 6 feet, so he put a stockade fence around the front of his home. But he did stain it, I’ll give him that benefit of doubt, he did stain it. I guess someone did call the Building Department of Cincinnati and it ended up turning into a very short picket fence; but it was a picket fence around the front of the house. It started of 5’6” high, stockade solid across the front of the house and down the side. Anyway, I certainly don’t want to see that happen.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Vanover.
Mr. Vanover: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think the allowance of architectural elements, but I can remember a few years back that an architectural element was a toilet that was also a flower pot in the front yard; the materials, we have to tread lightly because one man’s garbage is another man’s gold. I can think of three locations, right now, there are sections of old wrought-iron fence that are in flower beds in front yards that by definition that is a fence. And, I’m with Dave, I think a fence is put up for one of two reasons: to keep something in or to keep something out. I have probably seen that hand rail. If it is applicable in a safety situation, I don’t think there is very much we can say; whether we like it or not. I have seen decks that are in dire need of redesign. I think the material item is where we need to get the concepts down.
Mr. Galster continued, if the definition of our code was written in a way that would allow for a wrought iron fence in nature, then the applicant then submitted his fence no taller than 2 feet or something like that; if that applicant would submit his application with that kind of wording, I would think that BZA, based on the intent of the code would probably have issued a variance. As opposed to the gentlemen who came in with the risers that came up the side of the sidewalk that didn’t meet the intent of the code therefore wouldn’t have been granted a variance once that different wording is in the code.

VIII. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

Mr. Chairman: There is nothing to report.
This is my last meeting and my tenure. I have certainly enjoyed working with you. I think the chemistry of the Planning Commission is pretty good right now. Someone is going to

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have to take over this Chair. It has been a pleasure working with the City of Springdale.

Mayor Webster: Thank you very much, Bill. Two things, I would like to commend the Commission for taking up this issue of making some allowances for these huge oversized lots. Thank you for coming up with something to address that.
My primary reason for being here tonight just to pay respect to Bill and the job he has done for the City. I probably am the only person still involved with City government that remembers when Council attempted to appoint Bill Syfert to Planning Commission and the Major vetoed the appointment, if you can imagine. That’s the truth, right Bill.
Mr. Chairman: That’s how it was.
Mayor Webster: So Bill didn’t get appointment really till January until the stalemate could get unraveled by the legal department. It got off to a rocky start but Bill has just done a marvelous job for the City all of these years; I don’t know where we would be without you. I think you run an excellent meeting. In my years as a Mayor I have certainly had some business developers maybe complain about the action that the Commission took, they didn’t always agree with the approval or disapproval of plan, but not one time did they ever say that they were not treated fairly. And I think that speaks volumes; not one time has this Commission’s integrity been called into question, especially Mr. Syfert.
On behalf of all of us, thank you very much. I sure would like to make that appointment again on December 1st; you still have time to change your mind.

Mr. Chairman: Thank you very much for your kindness, Mayor.
Is everyone o.k. for December the 11th?
Well, it has been a pleasure, gentlemen. I have been a part of Springdale for a long time. When I moved to Cincinnati, my boss, at that time said “rent a house and decide where you really want to live”. We rented a house in Springdale. I’ve looked a lot of places, but I’ve never found a place I’d rather live than Springdale. What we have here is very unique and a well kept secret. I am just glad I could participate all these years. Am I going to miss it? sure, but not for long.

So, with that, I’ll accept a motion for adjournment.


IX. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Vanover moved to adjourn and by voice all present voted aye and Planning Commission adjourned at 8:06 p.m.


                        Respectfully submitted,


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                    Chairman




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                    Lawrence Hawkins III Secretary