Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

9 December 1997

7:00 p.m.

 

 

  1. CALL MEETING TO ORDER
  2. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman William Syfert.

  3. ROLL CALL
  4. Members Present: Councilman Steve Galster, Richard Huddleston

    David Okum, Robert Seaman, James Young and

    Chairman Syfert.

    Members Absent: Councilman Tom Vanover

    Others Present: Derrick Parham, Asst. City Administrator

    William McErlane, Building Official

    Don Shvegzda, Asst. City Engineer

    Ed Knox, Clerk of Council (arrived at 8:10 p.m.)

    Anne McBride Ė City Planner

    Mr. Syfert stated that Mr. Vancouver had a previous commitment, and will not be able to be present this evening.

  5. ELECTION OF OFFICERS
  6. Chairman Ė Mr. Huddleston nominated William Syfert and Mr. Young

    seconded the nomination. There were no other nominations, and Mr. Syfert

    was elected by acclamation.

    Vice Chairman Ė Mr. Huddleston nominated Mr. Okum and Mr. Young

    seconded the nomination. There were no other nominations, and Mr. Okum

    was elected by acclamation.

    Secretary Ė Mr. Young nominated Mr. Seaman and Mr. Syfert seconded the

    nomination. There were no other nominations, and Mr. Seaman was

    elected by acclamation.

     

  7. MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 11 NOVEMBER 1997
  8. Mr. Galster moved for approval and Mr. Young seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye, and the Minutes were approved with six affirmative votes.

  9. CORRESPONDENCE

Report on Council

Mr. Galster stated that the new Council has been seated and new positions assigned. Mr. Vanover will be joining Planning Commission. The Target project is set for the 17lth of December, and today we received their submittal so we anticipate that they will b heard.

Mr. Okum said I would like to discuss the Zoning Code update, and Mr. Syfert indicated that would be under Discussion.

11/14 Letter to Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission

11/17 Letter to Perry Butcher re Proposed Wal-Mart Garden Center Addition

12/24 Letter to Richard E. Dooley re Fee Appeal

Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes Ė 21 October 1997


 

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

9 December 1997

Page Two

OLD BUSINESS

  1. Approval of Proposed Wal Mart Garden Center Expansion, 600 Kemper Commons Circle (tabled 11 November 1997)
  2. Mr. Syfert said we tabled this and sent the applicant a letter. Mr. McErlane reported we sent the letter indicating that their request had been tabled due to lack of representation at the last meeting, and I heard nothing from them. Mr. Galster moved to drop from the agenda and Mr. Young seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye, and the item was dropped. Mr. McErlane will inform them by letter.

  3. Request to install 7í x 50í Leasing Banner to back of IDI Building at 12075 Northwest Boulevard (tabled 11 November 1997)

Because there was no representation, Mr. Galster moved to drop the matter from the agenda, and Mr. Young seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye, and the matter was dropped. Mr. McErlane will inform them by letter.

NEW BUSINESS

  1. To amend the preliminary plan for the Tri-County Commons PUD to allow the construction of a proposed MARS Music Store at 11805 Commons Drive (adjacent to and west of Dave & Busterís)

Bob Zobel, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of MARS Inc., Ft. Lauderdale said with me is Chris Hendrix, Director of Construction, our attorney David Eyrich and Mike Flannery of Woolpert.

Mr. Zobel continued MARS is a full line music instruments and products retailer. MARS stands for Music and Recording Superstores and tomorrow night in Charlottte NC we will open our 12th store and the ninth store since March of this year. We have stores in Georgia, Florida, Texas and North Carolina. If our site is approved, our store in Springdale will be the 17th or 18th store. The chief executive officer of MARS is Mark Begelman who has an extensive background in retail. He brought with him experienced management people and developed the MARS concept.

Mr. Zobel showed a video, a composite of clips of local television coverage of our grand openings.

Mr. Zobel continued about six weeks ago Chris Hendrix and I met with Bill and Anne and other members of the staff to better understand your concerns, and we tried to address them and are here to answer questions.

Chris Hendrix said the biggest concern is the signage issue, and we wanted to give you a perspective as to why we submitted what we submitted and why it is so important to us. MARS has only been in business for a year and a half, and as a start up retailer, we have found that about 32% of our customers are attracted to our stores by signage. We do a lot of market surveys and strategic planning and we picked your location because of the visibility we have off the interstate to draw the traffic flow. We do not have a huge number of customers that come in day in and day out; most of our customers come in as musicians and will come in and purchase a large amount once.

We have proposed two submittals for you. Option A is an 8 foot MARS letter program to be placed on the building. Option B is a 6 foot proposal. On that site, there is the Dave & Busterís pylon and we are not going to have any space on that pylon. That was designated for Samís Wal-Mart and others behind us. So really the only signage we are asking for is that on our building. It is the most important thing to us to draw customers in without a pylon sign and being off 275 a huge distance. We are concerned about customers being able to find us off Kemper. Dave & Busterís signage is approximately the same as ours but they have a pylon sign and signage on the front facing 275 and also facing the back, Roberds. So, they have it in three different locations, and we are just asking for the one. We are looking forward to having Option A; we submitted it for that reason and it is something we feel very strongly about.

 

 

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

9 December 1997

Page Three

VII A MARS Music Store Ė 11805 Commons Drive Ė continued

Mr. Shvegzda reported the consultant for the applicant did actual traffic counts on the site to determine the total number of vehicles entering and leaving the whole development. Based on those, the weekday p.m. peak hour average was 1400 vehicles. In addition MARS Music Company supplied information regarding traffic that would be generated from the site. We had to rely on this because there is no comparable type store for this in the ITE Trip Generation Manual. There were 50 trips for the peak hour and between the 1400 they counted and the 50 trips that this site would generate, this is an acceptable traffic generator that stays within the total allowable under the PUD

Since Dave & Busterís has opened up there has been concern for the traffic problems that exist at Commons and Kemper Road. This is related to the short left turn on Kemper turning into Commons Drive. As part of the overall concept when Century Blvd. is extended across the SKA property and connected into Commons, the left turn will be eliminated there, and this will alleviate that problem. However, at this time there is no time frame for when Century Boulevard will be extended through and that intersection modified.

Mr. Young said you have listed here that there have been some problems. Do we know exactly what those are; have we had accidents there? Mr. Shvegzda responded to the best of my knowledge it has been the traffic stacking through the next intersection west which is Kemper Commons Circle/Kemper and waiting to turn left. To my knowledge there havenít been any accidents. Mr. Okum said if the left turn lane is closed off at Commons, wouldnít that increase the number of left turns into the first entrance? Mr. Shvegzda responded that is a possibility; I donít remember any complaints in regards to problems with stacking on that left turn.

Mr. Okum continued you have indicated this is within the total allowable peak hour trips. When do we hit saturation point, the maximum allowable? Mr. Shvegzda reported the number was previously set through the different modifications of the PUD and they were based on trip generation numbers from the ITE Manual. The consultant went out and saw what traffic is occurring there and this will be an ongoing process for each new development coming in. It is still well under what would be allowed, about 2500 vehicles. Mr. Okum wondered when the counts were taken. Mr. Shvegzda answered they were taken October 16 through October 23rd, 24 hours a day.

Ms. McBride said the applicant is proposing to make the sidewalk in front of the store wider and would shift two of the existing landscaped islands to the north, losing eight parking spaces. They are proposing to relocate them to the northwestern edge of the parking field; that is fine but we did not get any details of what the new landscaped islands will contain.

We did not have a location or any details provided for the waste receptacle area and we want to make sure it is in conformance with the requirements of our Code and that lit is accessible to the truck that will be servicing that facility.

The sidewalk in front of the main access point will be bumped out approximately 10 feet, and the striping plan needs to be revised to reflect that change and make it clear that when you are driving in front of the store that there is a change; we would suggest doing something to differentiate that area, maybe do bollard type light fixtures.

We had asked for a parking summary; one was not provided with the initial submittal that would provide for the parking required for Dave & Busterís and MARS Music versus what is out there today. I am not suggesting they need any more parking than the field that is existing but I want a running total as to where we are with that. The applicant faxed to our office today a combined parking requirement by time and day for the two users, but this doesnít relate to what we require in our Code so I would like to see what we require in our Code for Dave & Busterís and MARS versus what is actually out there today.

 

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

9 December 1997

Page Four

VII A MARS Music Store Ė 11805 Commons Drive Ė continued

Ms. McBride added they did not submit a lighting plan; they are using what is already out there. There was no landscaping plan submitted, and we do need to know what will be in those two islands that are being shifted to the north. As part of the Dave & Busterís approval we required landscaping to be installed along the front of the building, and that includes the porton of the building in front of MARS; that was never done. That needs to be done before this development is allowed to proceed.

In terms of signage, they propose two different options. Option A had over 1,000 square feet of signage , the largest of which would be an 835 square foot sign on the parapet of the front elevation. Option B was 687 square feet in total signage, the largest of which would be 490 square feet on the parapet. The signage permitted is 257 Ĺ square feet. They are proposing to extend the height of the existing building 8 x 18 feet making it a total of 40 feet in height from the top of the parapet to the ground. The existing building now is 22 feet in height.

To give you some comparisons, we approved 790 square feet for Dave & Busterís, 324 of that is the big round D & B in front of the building. Even going with Option B, that would be another 170 square feet into the circle on the front of that building. This staff member feels that is too large and we would like to see that reduced more in scale with the size of the building. (The Dave & Busterís building is also a larger building.)

In terms of the ground mounted signage, I was confused because although both options contained ground mounted signage, the language in the letter submitted by the applicantís attorney states that no other signage was required other than what they were proposing on the building. I think they are proposing a ground mounted sign in one of the landscaped islands, and I donít see the point of that. It will not be visible from 275 nor will it serve any directional purpose in terms of the parking field, so I would recommend against any ground mounted signage.

The building is white with red and purple accent colors. If the Commission chooses to approve the request, we would ask you require that a parking summary table be provided, that the locations and details for the waste receptacle be provided, that lane striping and pavement markings for the sidewalk extension be provided, that details for the two landscaped islands to be relocated be provided, that the landscaping be installed in front of the MARS building and the balance of that building as was required as part of the Dave & Busterís approval, that a reduced signage package be considered for the front elevation of the building and no free standing signage or ground signage be permitted as part of this development. I also would ask that the Commission consider if MARS would not be using the old HVAC equipment on top of the roof, that be removed as part of this development.

Mr. McErlane reported Ms. McBride has commented on a number of the issues in my report. The amount of hard surface being added to the site is about 6300 square feet and Mr. Shvegzda has indicated that there is excess in the detention basin to cover that small amount of hard surface. The landscaping plan was not submitted; as a minimum there would be landscaping relocated to the new landscaped islands as well as some landscaping around the front entrance.

Iím not sure if the additional parking spaces on the west end of the site actually will cause some relocation of landscaping or not.

As far as the signs go, I have glued together some building elevations of Dave & Busterís and MARS to give you some idea of the scope relative to Dave & Busterís. Mr. Hendrix brought up color photos of this, adding we wanted to show exactly how the signage would look on the building compared to Dave & Busterís under Options A and B.

 

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

9 December 1997

Page Five

VII A MARS Music Store Ė 11805 Commons Drive Ė continued

Mr. McErlane stated one of my recommendations is if Planning decides to approve B, if you look at Option A, this portion of the curve trim on Option A is fairly close to this piece of trim here and I would recommend that the total height be reduced down to match the same line, which would bring the height down from 40í to 36í. Answering Mr. Okumís question, Mr. McErlane stated that MARS has 38,000 square feet, and Dave & Busterís has 66,000 square feet.

Mr. Hendrix added in reference to the landscaping, we wanted to be able to move the island back to have a safe environment. We definitely will change some of the pavements so the pedestrians will be able to access the space readily.

Mr. McErlane reported because this is a PUD and change in use, it typically is referred to Council for a public hearing for modification of preliminary plan. There also is a need for a covenant change. As the original covenants read, the existing candy plant building was to be used as warehouse light industrial, and we modified it twice, once for Roberds and once for Dave & Busterís, specifically for the particular use so in the future if there were a change in use it would be tied down to a low traffic generator. From what Mr. Shvegzda was saying, this type of use is also a low traffic generator, so we would want to tie this down specifically like we did in those other two instances.

Mr. Young asked what they recommended the signage to be. Ms. McBride answered I would not want to see anything that would exceed Dave & Busterís signage. My biggest concern is the circle sign; I would not want to see their circle sign go above Dave & Busterís circle sign; Dave & Busterís has 324 square feet, and I would suggest that if you are going to do something like that, the stage sound etc. be reduced so it is in proportion to whatever that circle ends up being.

Mr. Okum commented it tends to give a different perspective to this development when you add those sound stage recording across the front. Dave & Busterís and Roberds have marquee signs. Roberds is 330,000 square feet and Dave & Busterís is 66,00 square feet and this applicant is wanting to put in 38,000 square feet and is asking for substantially more signage than either of the two. It seems like we are getting signed to death on the first part of this project. I understand that the visibility is important to your business, but I donít know anybody who hasnít been able to see Dave & Busterís sign from the interstate. I have a problem with your individual words; you are advertising on the front of the building. There is TV, newspapers radio and everybody will know that MARS is a place for instruments, sound stage and recording. I hate to say it looks like a Steinbergís store, but it does.

Mr. Okum continued I agree with Ms. McBride on the landscaping issue. I donít think Dave & Busterís completed landscaping as originally submitted to us in many ways, maintenance upkeep and the amount of green they were supposed to maintain. We have mud hills out there; they didnít do a very good planting job and Iím quite disappointed in that aspect. We have a season coming up and they could do something about it but I am not pleased with the landscaping compared with the quality of Roberds landscaping.

Mr. Zobel continued I appreciate your concerns, but one of the things we are constantly facing when we say we are in the music business, the immediate assumption is that we are selling prerecorded music and perhaps some stereo equipment. Those four parts of our sign are very descriptive of what you will find in our world and they are as important to us from a logo standpoint as the red planet and the word MARS itself. In response to your comments regarding Dave & Busterís, I appreciate your comments about the size of the circle, but it is the only sign we have. If I had a sign that I could put on the pylon next to 275, I would be a lot more comfortable with a smaller sign on the side of my building. The back of the building is blocked from Kemper Road and the sign on the front of our building is the only sign. It is extraordinarily important to us to have the size we requested because of the large number of customers we get from drive by.

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

9 December 1997

Page Six

VII A MARS Music Store Ė 11805 Commons Drive Ė continued

Mr. Huddleston commented on the composition of the sign, I see internally lit box signs and internally lit letters and one of my impressions, especially of the large façade MARS sign is it in fact looks like a billboard and has no mass other than the vertical sign face.

Mr. Hendrix responded I brought pictures of existing type signage. In most of our locations we have put on some type of pylon sign, typically 45 feet in the air for identification purposes. We are not able to do any type of pylon sign; all the space on that pylon is not available to us.

This is a more descriptive look of what the MARS sign itself is built out of and sizes. It is dimensional so it is channel letters. The MARS letters stick out approximately 12 inches, and there is a neon light above the planet to give a glow. The planet itself is not lit.

Mr. Hendrix continued over 50% of that signage is not even lit. The cabinet boxes are in proportion to the sign, so based on the size of the MARS letters if you have eight foot letters on the MARS sign, the instrument recording package will be four feet so it is appropriate size. Each cabinet has depth to it, approximately 12 inches and is lit with white neon.

Mr. Okum asked why the purple light bar going across the bottom of the front elevation is so much wider than the one on Roberds and Dave & Busterís Mr. Hendrix answered that is a painted stripe; both the red and purple are painted. Mr. Okum wondered why cabinets instead of individual lit letters and Mr. Hendrix answered cost. We are not opposed to doing that differently if that is a recommendation of Planning.

Mr. Hendrix said the bottom of the planet is a large portion, and when you figure square footage of signage you put a rectangle around the entire sign. In every other city we went to, since it is a small portion that was not factored in for approval. There are 70 square feet that are not even used.

Mr. Okum said you indicated that the planet MARS is illuminated by backlighting off the back of the sign so it is visible in the evening. Mr. Hendrix responded the planet is not visible You can see this little channel device above the planet, a strip of neon that will give a glow to the planet. You can see a haze so it looks like there is something there. Mr. Huddleston wondered if it were a white neon on white background. Mr. Hendrix responded it is white neon on colored graphic background.

Mr. Hendrix added Option B based on square footage calculations is very similar to Dave & Busterís. The size of Dave & Busterís circle is 18 feet and ours is 15 feet. Mr. McErlane stated it is showing a 9 foot radius. Mr. Hendrix said measurement b is 15í11". Mr. Okum said it is larger based on how we measure; that bottom would equal the extra three feet.

Mr. Okum commented with so many items still outstanding, are you asking for a recommendation to Council this evening? Mr. Zobel answered we believe the issues other than the signage issue are easily remedied and can be handled with an interim submission, we are asking for this. Mr. Okum wondered if they were prepared to redraft the covenants. Mr. Eyrich stated we could do that; we have worked together on that before. Larry Bergman is also here from SKA.

Mr. Bergman said about two weeks ago I had a call from Dave & Busterís concerned bout the landscaping. Also they received a notice from the city that they had not fulfilled all the needs of landscaping and grassed areas that were not finished. Mr. McErlane added we were referring to the trees that were supposed to be planted along the front of the building. Mr. Bergman said we followed up on it, and Ground Masters said they would be out there this week. They recognize the importance of getting it done. Mr. McErlane added Tom Bopp one of the owners has contacted me twice about trees. The grass was hydro seeded in August and we didnít have any rain. Unfortunately it also doesnít stop erosion so we were trying to get mulch placed on it to stop the erosion until the seed could take root. Mr. Bergman responded I know they are working on it.

 

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

9 December 1997

Page Seven

VII A MARS Music Store Ė 11805 Commons Drive Ė continued

Mr. Seaman asked if the commission has addressed the thickness of the parapet that the MARS logo is on? What it is attached to looks rather flimsy, billboardish.

Mr. Hendrix answered that is a legitimate concern. Basically what we are trying to do is get the signage raised up and you have Code requirements so it will not be a billboard like effect. We have done that before. We do have structural drawings to show how that will be built out. The parapet will be 18 feet up from the building. We will make metal type fastening to the roof of approximately 18 inches, so the sign would not come down.

Mr. Seaman commented I was not concerned about the structural integrity as much as the appearance of it. From a side angle it looks like itís on a piece of cardboard. Mr. McErlane said I know you have some side walls that come back as well to give it some depth, but I believe his concern was to give it some kind of architectural depth, instead of a thin wall.

Mr. Hendrix responded we are open to whatever type of suggestion you would have; itís not a problem at all.

Mr. McErlane said obviously from the front it will look like it has some depth, and maybe from the side to a certain degree. It is really from that area where you might see a little of the back of it that it will look a little flimsier than it does from the front. It will look like it is built like a billboard from that direction. I donít know how visible that will be that far down the building. Unfortunately the graphics on your photograph donít represent it very well. It looks like a billboard on those. Mr. Seaman suggested from the first step where it first cuts in there might be some type of backwards downslope towards the rear of the building, it might add quite a bit.

Mr. Hendrix reported we are taking everything off the roof, so there will be no old HVAC equipment left there. The roof will be redone, and all the units we use are 3 to 10 ton units which will not be visible.

Mr. Huddleston said I would like to speak favorably towards this kind of utilization of the site. I think it is creative on the part of Mr. Bergman and his client; it is a low intensity kind of use that would complement this location. So, I am favorably inclined towards this but I have questions in terms of future movement on this. Is there some sort of certification of those traffic counts; are those yours or some traffic engineerís where do those come from? Mr. Flannery answered the counts were conducted by Woolpert during a one week period in October. Mr. Hendrix added I brought some representation showing every transaction on a daily and hourly basis and took the average of that to come up with the store counts. This is legitimate information from all of our stores that I can show accurate documentation. This really shows financial aspects of our store, and with competition we didnít want to submit it, but you are welcome to view any of this information. So these are cash register sales recorded within a time frame at a store, not a traffic count as such. Mr. Hendrix added we used that as a means of spreading the count based on our average daily traffic count. Mr. Huddleston commented I have no problem with the traffic counts indicated; I donít think Mr. Shvegzda has. I guess I am asking for some reasonable assurance that those are accurate relative to traffic counts. I think the assumptions are good as long as they are valid. Mr. Zobel said the daily counts are accurate; the spread is subject perhaps to a little bit of vagaries in a particular day.

Mr. Huddleston said first the applicant has a business and an image that they are interested in carrying forward in this market. I have a bit of a problem relative to the architectural treatments of the other two establishments located in this complex. The entire face of this being white is very stark relative to the other soft and earth tone colors we have dealt with there. That is exclusive of any signage considerations. I am not sure how they could successfully integrate the stark white with the signage, but in this case I think it will be very stark and obtrusive to the other facilities already there. Regardless of the area of signage, I would like to see much more architectural mass to the raised element as in Dave & Busterís. Rhodes has built these with some architectural mass to them and that would complement whatever square footage of signage is ultimately permitted.

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

9 December 1997

Page Eight

VII A MARS Music Store Ė 11805 Commons Drive Ė continued

Mr. Huddleston continued I would like to see more softness to the design, accommodating your image certainly but some change to the entire face of that which to my mind has a billboard appearance. That to me is what I am looking for as much as square footage.

Mr. Hendrix responded we are not opposed to that all. We have done more earthtones and that is not a problem. We would prefer the lighter colors to get the contrast but an earthtone color would be acceptable to us. We just converted a Rhodes Furniture in Charlotte so we are familiar with that type of structure. If that is something that is recommended to have signage approved, that is not a problem.

Mr. Galster commented I agree with Mr. Huddleston; I see more tenants coming into the building, and we went from earthtone to a little yellow now white and who knows what would come next. In that long of a building, I understand we need to break it up but it was my understand we would break that up more with architectural features rather than changing color, so I would like to see something more along those lines. I think it is a good use; like the idea. I think the signs are way out in terms of square footage. I would have a problem doing our typical leave the signage until later and give you the wrong impression as to how much signage we will allow. We need to be addressing that up front.

Mr. Hendrix responded we would agree with that also. Mr. Galster continued if we are going to talk round numbers, I would say 400 to 500 square feet on the building maximum. I think the 18 feet on the circle is way too large. Even though this is not backlit, itís lit by the neon and will jump out at you.

Mr. Zobel said the planet is there because both the planet and the logo are trademarked and if it wasnít there we couldnít protect our trademark so it has to be there. On square footage of signage, we agree with you; that is why we addressed the signage issue up front, and why we are prepared to talk about it. We knew it would be a significant issue and I appreciate your candor. We do not wish to go forward if we are not going to have what we consider to be acceptable signage. We cannot leave 32% of our business on the table. We are going to build a 38,000 square foot store; we are going to put $1 Ĺ million of improvements in there and $2 Ĺ million of inventory. I appreciate what you are saying, but understand that we are going to make a significant investment and if we have to leave 1/3 of the business on the table, it becomes an uneconomic transaction for us. Frankly, I welcome your approach; I think that is the best thing for us. Option B is what we consider to be visible from 275, and that would be what we would consider to be the minimum.

Mr. Galster wondered how critical it is to have these four separate words on the face of that building? Mr. Hendrix answered we have to have them. Mr. Galster said so we have to look at all the sign surfaces; there is no question about removing these words. The total proposed in Option B is 687 square feet, of which 490 s.f. is in the circle.

Mr. Hendrix said the way we have rectangle off and lowered the bottom portion, how much of that portion is included? Mr. Galster responded we took Dave & Busterís circle as a square, so you are not being treated any differently. We canít say letís forget the bottom of the circle, or calculate our signage differently. Mr. Hendrix responded the only reason I brought it up is because one third of the square footage of the signage is lost by doing that squaring off. If you take the 697 and take away the 70, that would bring us real close to Option B.

Mr. Galster continued we have 687 square feet in Option B. In Dave & Busterís we have 324 on their front elevation and a pole sign and sign on the back. Mr. Galster said I would be comfortable with allowing you a sign on the back if you thought it could be seen. Mr. Hendrix wondered if he would allow the square footage on the back to be used on the front, and Mr. Galster answered no. I am trying to figure out how to get from 687 square feet to something a little more reasonable, and Iím not sure exactly what that is.

 

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

9 December 1997

Page Nine

VII A MARS Music Store Ė 11805 Commons Drive Ė continued

Mr. Hendrix said Option B is the minimum we need to be able to work with to make the site work for us. We can do some things with cutting the bottom sign off, but thatís what we consider our minimum criteria, and we hope we can find some way to work through that. Mr. Galster responded with all due respect, I donít believe I would be able to vote for that amount of square footage on that size building. Iím trying to find the number so this board would feel comfortable passing it along to Council.

Ms. McBride said the applicant provided us with these sheets this evening, and you have three different alternatives. You have MS6, (Option B) MS5 and MS4. If you went with MS5 calculated as we do, you would be pretty close to what we approved for Dave & Busterís. Mr. Hendrix responded the concern we have is with the distance we are off 275, with five foot letters it is not visible from the interstate. That is why Option B with six foot letters is the minimum.

Mr. Galster said so Option 5 is 698 on the round part and 137 on the four separate. Ms. McBride responded the 298 is not how we would measure it; they have 421 where we are saying it is 490; 298 translates to 325 or 330, plus 137. Mr. Galster added so we are talking 462 square feet; that is a more realistic number.

Mr. Young said you are talking about signage that will attract people to the building. The access is good because it is Tri-County. While signage is a big issue to you, it is because you donít live in this area. Quite honestly, this is the Retail Mecca, the place to be. What will help your business will be the grand opening because the market will come to it and they wonít need a sign to get back to you; theyíll know how to. You are in a situation where you can be next to the first superstore that Roberds opened in the United States, and Dave & Busterís, which only locates in a regional area for a regional draw. So your building will be next to two of the biggest draws in the Tri-County area. You build it and theyíll come.

Mr. Zobel said I agree with you; this is a great area. We are opening 12 to 14 stores a year, and there are probably 55 to 60 markets for us to go into. We think this is one area we want to be in. We spend close to 5% of sales on advertising to drive the business to our stores, but we also know that almost one-third of our business comes from the people who go by the store, see the sign and recognize it. That is a very important segment of our business. You are right; we are next to Dave & Busterís in Dallas, so we know about it, and we know about the Roberds Store. But the fact of the matter is that it is a third of our business, and that is a pretty important segment. It is very scary to go into a new market, however good it might be, and put out the kind of dollars our stores demand with signage that is not going to have the draw that we think we need.

I understand your position and I appreciate it; Iím very sympathetic to the concerns you have expressed and I hope you are sympathetic to ours. We have a huge investment we make in each of our stores and the dollar volume of business that we need to drive in through the advertising signage and everything else that we do, is important. We canít leave that big of a portion unattended to. Our stores are not just for musicians; they are for everybody. We have learning centers, we do a lot of educating and we are looking to bring semi-retired and retired musicians back into the play force. If we were just targeting professional and semi-professional musicians, we would have a much smaller store and would be going after about 40% of the marketplace that we target.

Mr. Seaman commented in relation to Dave & Busterís, the façade is a lot smaller; it is not quite as noticeable as Dave & Busterís. I love the use; where else will we find something of this quality that will generate as little traffic as this? I donít think your Option B is out of line, but I would like to see the letters individual; I think that is a more quality presentation than the box. I donít believe you would have to come off your Option B much to please me because from I-275 itís a great distance and if youíre driving by at 65 m.p.h., itíll be by in a flash, especially without the pole signage that Dave & Busterís has.

 

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9 December 1997

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VII A MARS Music Store Ė 11805 Commons Drive Ė continued

Mr. Huddleston added I am not quite as much into the square footage aspects as I am about the somewhat garish aspects of some of the presentation. I would be more concerned with it being a quality presentation and couple that with some agreement on the square footage. Mr. Okum has penciled out something he showed to Bill who indicated that the City doesnít measure signs that way. I think just because we donít doesnít mean we canít as long as we are within our legal right to do that. What we proposed was making three rectangles, an adequate way to address that kind of signage. I donít know how that works out in square footage, but it might be a more equitable case coupled with the use of box letters on the other complementary signage as Mr. Seaman indicated. I am as interested in the quality of the presentation as the square footage.

Mr. Okum said we are at 490 square feet and they are 421 square feet; if you did it this way it would come out somewhere in between. The building is getting no architectural treatment at all except a billboard that can be adjusted, and they said they are willing to do something similar to Rhodes. The other developments on that site have cornices and other items on their façade. What we have here is a Steinbergs approach to the face of the building. Roberds and Dave & Busterís are class acts, and whether it is white or beige, it is still the same face with four doors going in it and signs and a box on top. You use color striping for architectural feature; I would think of large trees along the frontage, something in the nature of cornices or brackets that would tie this front end together. This development has moved away from the box appearance, but by doing this to your front, I can see the next space down as another box and so forth. This is a good use for the property and I donít have any problem with that or with the traffic counts but I have a problem with what we are trying to do to that center. Stripes are not architectural features

Mr. Hendrix responded if you are recommending channel letters, fine. On the architectural features of the building, you can see on the space plan of the drawings on the outside of the sidewalk there are 4 posts and a canopy that extends from the building so customers can walk out under the canopy. That façade is built out 9 feet, so we agree.

Mr. Okum said this is a PUD, and I Iike to have all our ducks in order. Our drawings do not depict that façade out 9 feet. You are asking us to make a motion when we donít know what it will look like or how it will set on that site and refer it to Council with a positive vote. Do you want us to do that? Mr. Hendrix said we wanted to take the first preliminary step with minimal cost to understand the boardís feelings. In fact we are already through the major part of working drawings with canopies and with that information. It is something easily submitted; it is just when the submittal date was required, that work wasnít started.

Mr. Okum said if I were to vote now, I would vote no, and I donít think that is fair to you; this might be an ideal project for this community. I think you want to work with the City to bring that forward, and I donít like to make a recommendation to Council without those ducks in order. I would encourage you to request that we hold this off for a vote until the next meeting when you can get more information in to us. That is your decision.

Mr. Flannery commented this is a preliminary approval; many of the items we are discussing the applicant is agreeable to, and Planning will see this package again as part of the final approval. It seems to me some of these issues are final design issues. Mr. Young responded that is the indication we got earlier in this meeting. Mr. Zobel said I was asking Planning to vote and move it on to Council for a public hearing at their next meeting. We did not expect to get final approval this evening; we expected there would be some issues that would be raised that would require some additional submission.

Mr. McErlane added to clarify, because this is a PUD this is just a preliminary plan that is referred to Council. They have submitted elevation drawings that do show the canopy. When they superimposed the image on the photographs they did so as a flat image.

 

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9 December 1997

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VII A MARS Music Store Ė 11805 Commons Drive Ė continued

Mr. Eyrich said there were detailed conditions you placed upon Dave & Busterís which you can do tonight, and those conditions would have to be met by Council meeting and before final development plan approval. Mr. Okum commented you are correct, because signage was one of those conditions.

Mr. Galster said in the past to pass a preliminary plan along to Council, we have accepted it with exceptions on signage. With this amount of signage and the architecturalness of the building, the colors, etc., I am not comfortable making those exceptions. If we are going to make such a motion for preliminary approval, I cannot vote for that. That is the difference. To me there are enough major issues that I would not be comfortable making those conditions to my approval.

Mr. Eyrich responded I think we are willing to clarify those issues and move to the next step with detailed conditions. There is enough agreement among my clients with what has been said in general.

Mr. Syfert commented I have not heard any major disagreements other than the amount of signage, and that is diverse. On Plan B on the building, some donít think there is a whole lot of problem with a little more dimension to the façade. There was the comment that block letters could be used in lieu of these. I believe we covered the earthtone colors; that is not a major problem. I donít believe the canopy, the trees and the treatment in the front were problems. What is reasonable? I believe that is the only major issue.

Mr. Zobel responded we believe Option B is reasonable because while it is an extensive amount of signage, it is the only signage we will have. I keep coming back to the one-third of our business that drives by and comes into our store. We are willing to incur the cost of the block letters; that increases the cost of the sign by one-third, but we are willing to do that for the larger sign, because it is that important. We are willing to do the other things that have been proposed; the color changes and building back façade. It is capable of withstanding the hurricane restrictions in Houston but if you would like to have it architecturally sloped back, we are willing to do that as well. The big issue and the issue that is absolutely critical to us is the signage, and we hope you would believe that the fact that we are being as reasonable as possible in terms of accepting the other conditions proposed here, that we are equally reasonable in our request for Option B.

Mr. Eyrich added to clarify, they have withdrawn the monument sign from the sign package. They will not ask for any free standing sign.

Larry Bergman of SKA said I would like to take credit for bringing MARS to Springdale Kemper but I did not, they found us. It is very difficult to find users that meet the traffic requirements to make this project work and I am getting down to the end of people to contact. I would like for them to leave here with the feeling that something can be worked out. I would not like to have to put a bunch of warehousers in there with 45 foot trailers and their signage plastered all over these trailers, think about the amount of signage with trailers; we canít stop it. We are trying to add value. We have had a number of calls for warehousing on the site, and have not tied up that space so we could get users such as MARS. If we can work something out it would be great, but I am concerned if we canít get their signage they are not going to be there. The lease is not complete, and I think they would walk; that is only my own perspective.

Mr. Okum said we have all seven of Anneís recommendations, covenants that have to be addressed, typical items in the additional covenants regarding landscape maintenance, lights all on or all off, individual lit letters, the parapet above that holds the MARS to be similar to what is on Rhodes building, the building elevations to be architecturally similar to the other parts of the development, the same or similar color as the rest of the development, and signage to be Option B at maximum with no ground sign.

 

 

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9 December 1997

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VII A MARS Music Store Ė 11805 Commons Drive Ė continued

Mr. Okum added that the parapet could be brought down to 36 feet and still get the same amount of signage.

Mr. Hendrix commented the option of the exterior of the building was designed for Option A signage, so we would make the stipulation that there would probably be a redesign for Option B signage. We would like to keep it as tall as possible but would take the recommendation.

Mr. Okum continued those are the items on the table. My recommendation would be the colors should be similar to Roberds so you would get some parity across the property. Mr. Hendrix commented that is acceptable. Mr. Okum said if that canopy out front would be a lit canopy, I would be adverse to that. Mr. Hendrix responded it would be lit underneath for an entryway for customers. That is the only thing that is designed into it.

Mr. Okum added with all those items being addressed, the applicant has requested we consider this for preliminary approval, and I would so move with the above conditions. Mr. Huddleston seconded the motion.

Voting aye were Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Seaman, Mr. Young and Mr. Syfert. Mr. Okum and Mr. Galster voted no.

Mr. Syfert stated the vote is four to two, which means that Council would need to approve this with five affirmative votes to override Planningís vote. Mr. Huddleston suggested that the applicant might like to come back next month, and try to get more voters so it wouldnít take five votes from Council. Mr. Zobel said we would wish to do that.

Mr. Galster moved to bring the motion back to the floor and Mr. Okum seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye.

Mr. Galster moved to continue the discussion until the January meeting and Mr. Okum seconded the motion. All present voted aye, and the item will be continued on January 13, 1998.

Planning Commission recessed at 9:00 P.M. and reconvened at 9:12 p.m.

B. Appeal of Plan Review and Inspection Fees by Micro 1, 155 Northland Boulevard

Richard E. Dooley, R.E.D. Construction stated in August 1995 we entered into a lump sum firm contract with Micro I to build a 2,000 square foot addition onto their store. At the time, we were told we needed a $500 deposit and we got a letter explaining that. The cost of the project was $84,000, a shell to the store where the owner was going to do the interior finish. I had an engineer design the building for a fee of $2,000, so I didnít see where a building permit for a shell would be out of the ordinary to be $500 to $600 so I plugged it into the lump sum firm price. I started and finished the construction with no knowledge of anything out of the ordinary in terms of the fee until we were paid in full and we were gone and they moved in. At that time we received a notice that the fees were triple the $500, which was a shock.

I recently was made aware that there was a letter on August 21st, which if I had received, I would have addressed right away. I am here tonight appealing the chain of events and how itís happened. I am not arguing that the fee shouldnít have been that much; I just wish things had been handled differently so maybe some of this could have been circumvented and I could have been in a better position. I wanted to come before you and express my concerns and feelings about it. If you could do anything, I would appreciate it.

 

 

 

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9 December 1997

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VII B Appeal of Plan Review Fees Ė Micro 1 Ė 155 Northland Blvd.

Mr. Syfert said so the City is looking for $1,090 over and above the $500 deposit fee.

Mr. Galster asked when he started and finished construction, and Mr. Dooley answered I started construction in September of 1995 and finished in January of 1996.

Mr. Galster wondered when we actually sent them the follow up billings, and Mr. Syfert asked Mr. McErlane to review the entire billing procedure.

Mr. McErlane commented I donít know that I have all the documentation as to when the invoices were sent out; Mr. Knox may have those. He reported the original application to Planning was submitted June 6, 1995, and a $500 deposit towards engineering review fees was paid. Planning Commission reviewed the site plan on June 13, 1995 and again on July 11, 1995 and approved it on that date. The actual site plan was approved on August 3, 1995 by the City Engineer and construction started in September. The first bill for replenishment of funds was sent on August 21 1995. At that time we were requesting an additional $200. On September 20 1995 an additional invoice was sent again asking for the $200.

On February 165, 1996 the City Engineer did a final site inspection for the Certificate of Occupancy in conjunction with the temporary Certificate of Occupancy. A temporary C of O was issued on February 21, 1996. The reason this disagrees with the January date Mr. Dooley indicated was because it was occupied without a Certificate of Occupancy initially. There were three additional site inspections by the City Engineer to review the finishing up of site work that needed to be done, and on several of those occasions there was very little work that had been done to clear up the items that were required to be cleared up.

In terms of invoices, after the September 1995 invoice, there wasnít another one issued until August 26, 1996. At that time, we still hadnít cleared up all the site issues so the job still wasnít finished out until after January of 1997.

Addressing Mr. Dooley, Mr. Galster asked if he had received the August 21st or September 20th letters, and Mr. Dooley answered I did not. I later received a copy of the August 21st letter, but I still donít have the September letter. Mr. Galster wondered if he received the August 26th 1996 letter and Mr. Dooley said no; I have letters of June 19 1997, January 24 1997, and December 4, 1997. Mr. Galster said so he had received the letters from the Building Department, but not those from the Finance Department. He wondered if the owners of Micro I were ever copied on any of these letters.

Judy Moyer owner of Micro I indicated that they did not get copies of these letters. Mr. Galster asked when the owners were first aware of this. Larry Moyer answered January of this year when I received this letter which said "Second Notice", I realized there was a problem.

Mr. Knox stated based on the notation on the letter, we did not send any letter to the owner until January 1997. However we did send letters on August 21, 1995, September 20, 1995, August 26, 1996, September 10 1996, October 14 1996, none of which apparently arrived, which I find rather difficult to comprehend. Mr. Dooley commented I do too.

Mr. Galster asked the applicant if he disputed any of the charges for the services provided by the City in terms of plan review and number of hours? Mr. Dooley responded I have no way to dispute it. Mr. Galster continued so you donít dispute the actual validity of the charges. If we have a punch list and the list doesnít go down and we have to keep making trips out there, the bill keeps running.

Mrs. Moyer added this is all centering around the retention pond that did not meet standards, and we did not have the dry spell.

 

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9 December 1997

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VII B Appeal of Plan Review Fees Ė Micro 1 Ė 155 Northland Blvd.

Mr. Galster said I am looking at letters to the building inspector from the City Engineer on the site inspections, and things had not been completed so he needed to come back. In my opinion we still would have had to have made a second trip when there were items other than the detention basin that needed reinspection. Iím not one that likes to credit our service fees; we do a good job, they are vital and our rates are pretty inexpensive. At the same time, I think we are talking about a disputed amount of only $100 out of a $1,090 balance. I find it hard to believe that all the letters from the Finance Department didnít get to your desk, but all the letters from the Building Department did. They all are addressed properly, and probably someone didnít take the initiative to find out what they needed to do to resolve the problem while you were still on site. I think the City made every attempt to let you know as we were going along that the funds were depleted.

Mr. Dooley responded I can tell you that if I had received a letter like this stating that the City was requesting more money, I would not have ignored it. I would have addressed it immediately. When I did receive it I addressed it immediately. Mr. Galster commented I can understand one or two of the letters, but not five of them not getting there. The funds are due the City, and who needs to pay those and how that needs to be resolved is something we need to figure out.

Mr. McErlane said to clarify some of the processes involved, when we issue a conditional Certificate of Occupancy, we push to try to get everything cleared up in 30 days. Iím sure that the first reinspection on March 28th was the result of our pushing to get the Certificate of Occupancy cleared up. At that point of time we were told it was complete and we scheduled Mr. Shvegzda to do the inspection, and it wasnít complete. We pushed again in July to get it complete and we were told it was complete; Mr. Shvegzda went out and did an inspection and it wasnít complete. We did the same thing in September. So, Mr. Shvegzda isnít just stopping by and inspecting on his own; he has been told it was complete by either the contractor or the owner. Mr. Huddleston wondered who initiates the contact, and Mr. McErlane reported typically it is by the building inspector either issuing an order or stopping by or mailing a notice telling them it needs to be completed so the Certificate of Occupancy can be finalized.

Mr. Galster commented ultimately we hold the owner of the building responsible; you will need to settle this with the contractor on your own; the City doesnít need to debate this. There really is no disputed on the fact that the time was spent by the City. I donít think we have wasted your money, and I believe it is due the City. This is something you people need to work out. Mr. Dooley responded that can be settled between us. I just canít believe that we are $1,000 over. Mr. Galster commented that is why I asked if you had any dispute on the time spent.

Mr. Okum said you are indicating you have not received correspondence from the City, and you were aware that these charges were going to be charged to you. Mr. Dooley indicated that he was aware that there was a $500 deposit required and that they would take money out of that deposit. According to the Planning Commission letter if there were additional charges, they would ask for the money. On a shell of a building that was 2,000 square feet and cost $80,000, I plugged in some money to cover it and went on with it. I certainly didnít expect to triple the deposit. Mr. Okum said had there not been the need to do all the reinspections, those charges would not have been incurred and you would not have been billed for them. And you were aware that the inspector had to do the reinspections. Mr. Dooley answered I am aware of it now.

Mr. Galster said for clarification and reading from the packet you received, "shall make a deposit with the office of the Clerk/Treasurer in an amount equal to the estimated cost of such services. Deposit shall not exceed $2,000 at any time. When this deposit has been depleted to 33%, another deposit will be requested. For those projects where the cost of plan review and inspection fee is estimated to be less than $500 no deposit will be required." So obviously we didnít think it would be less than $500 or we would not have required a deposit in the first place. So we anticipated it would be more than $500 and we anticipated that it would require some type of final settlement to handle the fees.

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9 December 1997

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VII B Appeal of Plan Review Fees Ė Micro 1 Ė 155 Northland Blvd.

Mr. Dooley responded call it whatever you want; it would be nice to get some general idea as to what the fee will be. When I got this letter, I realized that I had to put in more than $500, but I didnít realize I would have to put in three times $500. Mr. Galster commented it probably would have been twice rather than three times $500 if the inspection had gone properly the first time. Mr. Dooley added even two times seems a little high. I just wish that the City would have come to me and said $1500 and I would have put that in my fee and gotten it from the owner. Mr. Galster said you understand that we cannot know what type of presentation you will make so we can tell you the review fee. The only way to do it is bill you by the hour and let you know as we do it. If we have to do something three times it will cost more than one time. The best thing to do would be to wrap the project up before we call and tell the engineer to come back out; that is what didnít happen.

Mrs. Moyer said you are saying that ultimately Micro I is responsible, and yet all the communication that went to R.E.D. were not copied to us, and we werenít given the opportunity to withhold something based on that. It is only much later that we were informed that money is owed. There seems to be a communication breakdown, if we as the occupants of the building are ultimately responsible for payment.

Larry Moyer, President of Micro I added I felt like we were victims of a process; we didnít become aware that there was a problem until January of this year. We want and need to get this resolved because we are unable to do business the way we would like to. This is a very old obligation. There was a request made in June for a hearing, and we are only getting the chance to talk to you now. I am imploring you to consider the process by which this is being handled because it is not being fair to either the contractor or the business owner affected by this.

Mr. Moyer added about $1,200 was for plan review; it wasnít inspection. I am not in the construction business, but when I first saw the 20 hours consulting with CDS, it was questionable to me and Iím sure it was questionable to Mr. Dooley, which is why I think he had every right to ask why the amount wasnít disclosed to him earlier. I think that is a fair question and I wish that could have been resolved in a more timely manner. I want to make sure that you understand that from a business ownerís standpoint, this hasnít worked in the best way it could either. We have had to try to conduct business here under adverse conditions for some time.

Mr. Syfert responded please understand Mr. Moyer that those adverse conditions were not brought on by this Commission. Mr. Moyer answered I understand that, but I think it is important to consider the process. Your intent is not to have someone stuck in a bad position at the end, but a lot of time passed before we had the chance to express the problem. Mr. Syfert continued when plans come in and are referred by CDS, if they are complete and thorough, he only sees them once on preliminary approval. We looked at your plans at least three times because they were not complete to start with. Whether the fee is exorbitant or not, I am not here to judge. All I know is he was there a lot more than he should have been, and we the City should not have to eat that expense. There were three times that he was called out for final site inspection trying to get this Certificate of Occupancy completed. If he is called out, he bills the City and we bill the applicant.

Mr. Dooley commented I donít recall any particular problems other than a dispute on the calculations for the amount of water retention. The water retention was 400 cubic feet; there was a dispute as to how big that water retention had to be.

Addressing Mr. Moyer, Mr. Young said my question would be why not pay that fee to the City and then come back and discuss any problems you feel you have. Quite honestly $1100 isnít pennies but it isnít a great expense and taking care of this so you can do your business in the manner you want to do it makes sense to me. Itís now 12 months later; this shouldnít have gone past three months. Iím not sure why this happened, but Iím also not sure why we can send the mail to this gentleman four or five times and have it not delivered. If you have a problem, you address it; you donít let it ride.

 

 

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VII B Appeal of Plan Review Fees Ė Micro 1 Ė 155 Northland Blvd.

Mr. Moyer responded I think Mr. McErlane knows that there were conversations and letters exchanged in the February-March time frame of this year. Those were answered and a request was made in June for a hearing. Between June and now we have been waiting to get before the Board to give Mr. Dooley an opportunity to explain his position on the project. It is not that we have been inactive; it has just been a slow grinding wheel to allow Mr. Dooley to make his appeal.

Mrs. Moyer added in January and February of this year we were in the process of splitting two corporations and many issues were before us, and this couldnít have been the priority at the time.

Mr. Shvegzda reported there were other issues concerning the plan review. The initial concern was what the area was that would be defined to derive the amount of detention that would be required. The other issues were more detailed in nature; there were several conversations regarding the actual design of the structure to control that particular outflow.

Mr. Knox reported through the time that the plans are reviewed, the last plan review was on September 30, 1996. Through that time we work with the contractors. Following that time we sent the 5th letter to the contractor on October 15th. We got no response back in a 90 day period so on January 10th we contacted the owner. It is our standard procedure to work with the contractor. Why five letters were not received when they were properly addressed I have absolutely no idea.

Mrs. Moyer said your January letter came to us stamped second request, so this would indicate there was a first request to us prior to January yet you re acknowledging January is the first time you contacted us. Mr. Knox responded it would indicate there was at least one other request that was sent to someone who should have passed it along to you.

Mr. Dooley said I never got the letters. The situation will be solved and the bill will be paid, but I think Iíve been wronged and Iím not happy about it. I would have dealt with this if I had received the letters.

Addressing Mr. Knox, Mr. Okum asked when the first notice was sent to the applicant. Mr. Knox responded the August 5th 1995 letter from Mr. Webster which was followed up on September 20th by a letter from Mr. Webster, and we received absolutely no response. Mr. Dooley stated I would like to have copies of those and Mr. Knox indicated he would give them to him this evening.

Mrs. Moyer said if bills are going to be coming back to those individuals, copying the person who is the owner of the building would certainly help in your negotiations for final payoff to your contractors.

Mr. Moyer said when I received this letter on January 10th and brought it to Mr. Dooleyís attention, he did not take it lightly; he said he did not know this and he immediately took action on this. He asked that the fees be reviewed to determine that they were legitimate; this was all done this year. It has taken a long time to get before this board. No one was trying to sweep this under the carpet. I think we took reasonable action when we became aware of this.

Mr. Syfert wondered why if this was brought up in January we are just seeing it now. Mr. McErlane reported the first time Micro I was informed that there was an outstanding balance was January 10, 1997. I had sent a letter outlining what all the fees were for January 24, 1997. The first written request I saw from R.E.D. was May 29th and Iím not sure that was a request other than their saying they strongly objected. The first actual request for appeal was to Mr. Knox on June 24th. The first correspondence of this year, May 29th was in response to a letter I sent to Mr. Moyer denying a permit because he owed outstanding fees, and on November 21st I sent a letter to Mr. Moyer outlining the appeal process.

 

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VII B Appeal of Plan Review Fees Ė Micro 1 Ė 155 Northland Blvd.

Mr. Seaman commented I have to believe that if there were a problem with outgoing mail in the City of Springdale we would be flooded with these types of appeals. While we canít prove that Mr. Dooley never received any of the five letters, I have to believe that at least one of them made its way to his doorstep. I would tend to believe if there was a failure in the mail system, it could have happened to one or two letters, but not to all five. The appellant hasnít disputed the validity of the charges, so, I would be in favor of denying the appeal.

Addressing Mr. And Mrs. Moyer, Mr. Galster stated usually when you add on to any building, the Certificate of Occupancy is necessary to show the job is done and done right. In my business, until I got the C of O, I would hold some type of retention from the contractor. Mr. Moyer said we did, and we have a Certificate of Occupancy that we received in May. Mr. McErlane stated I donít think you have a final C of O. Mr. Moyer added no one ever informed us that this was an issue, ever. Mrs. Moyer added that is a surprise right now. As a resident of the City with my business here, I am wondering who is talking to whom; you certainly arenít talking to me.

To review the procedure, Mr. Huddleston asked if the City issues a final Certificate of Occupancy before final payment is made? Mr. McErlane answered no we do not. Mr. Huddleston continued in terms of how the City has reacted to this, the City could issue a cease and desist order if you are occupying that illegally under a temporary Certificate of Occupancy. That is not to be indifferent to your problem, but I think there has been significant ongoing correspondence here relative to all these matters over a sustained period of time, so I think the City has been very cooperative with you in trying to resolve this.

Mr. Okum asked if the applicant/owner was assessed the 10% over the engineerís fees? Mr. McErlane responded I donít think the Finance Department has been assessing that. Mr. Okum continued the reason I am saying that is that if there were any adjustment to be considered, there has not been any interest incurred or any overhead costs. The correspondence alone exceeds in value the time Mr. McErlane and Mr. Knox has spent in trying to communicate. None of this has been passed along to you, nor has the customary 10% fee that is allowable to be charged. They charged you what we paid the engineer, which is a discounted rate. I donít feel we can make any concession on the Cityís part because we have incurred the costs, and they all appear to be legitimate.

Mr. Huddleston moved to deny the appeal and Mr. Seaman seconded the motion. Voting aye were Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Seaman, Mr. Galster, Mr. Okum, Mr. Young and Mr. Syfert. Appeal was denied with six votes.

VIII. DISCUSSION

Mr. Okum said to report on the Zoning Code revision, we are on Article 52, signs; there was two and one-half hours of healthy discussion. The Committee agreed that neon lighting would be considered signage, and translucent backlit canopies and awnings on a limited basis. Pole signs will no longer be permitted and the planner suggested that the City consider the removal of pole signs over a period of time, and we are waiting for a legal opinion on that before it comes before this board. Ms. McBride said by March the entire Code should be before the Commission. Mr. Galster added pole signs still would be available through variances, but no RVs would be parked in the front of the house. Mr. Okum added part of the problem was the clear sight distance for the car backing out of the driveway, and the committee considered that a safety issue.

Mr. Young said it was brought to our attention that communities would be facing 1,000 foot towers in the future for digital TVs and we should address that in the Code review.

Mr. Young said on this appeal we just heard, if we donít get some kind of response from a letter that the City sends out initially, I donít understand why that second letter isnít a certified mail letter which would cost the City $2.50 and would have cleared this issue up so there would be no question at all.

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9 December 1997

Page Eighteen

DISCUSSION - continued

Mr. Young continued I totally agree with what the lady said; if you are going to send the letter, copy the occupant. For this thing to have gone on from 1995 to almost 1998 to me is unbelievable.

Mr. Knox stated we have quite a few owners who say it is the contractorís business and we shouldnít contact them. Mr. Young responded I donít think that is their option; I think we tell them that it is part of our procedure and it is for your best benefit that we do that. With a certified piece, if they donít open it it will come back to you within three weeks as not being picked up and then legally you have something. I donít understand why that is not procedure.

Mr. McErlane reported you will notice there was almost a yearís lapse in billing the contractor. We have changed the procedure and we are furnished a copy of all of the current projects and their fees. Any one of the ones that go beyond 30 days past due are contacted or stop work orders are put on the jobs. If nothing else, it has changed the dollar amounts because the only thing that could be left at the end would be Donís last inspection fee. Actually stopping work on the site has made a big difference.

Mr. Syfert said I wanted to thank Anne and her committee for putting on a very nice Ohio Planning Conference last Friday. Bob Jim and I attended and Tom Schecker from the Board of Zoning Appeals, and all I heard were good positive comments.

Mr. Syfert asked if anyone would not be here on January 13th. Everyone will be in attendance.

IX. CHAIRMANíS REPORT

    1. GTE Wireless, 111 Tri-County Parkway Ė Ground Sign
    2. Repp Big & Tall, 473 East Kemper Road Ė Wall Sign
    3. ADEX International, 165 West Crescentville Rd. Ė Ground Sign

X. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Seaman moved for adjournment and Mr. Huddleston seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye and Planning Commission adjourned at 10:17 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

____________________,1998 _________________________

William Syfert, Chairman

 

 

____________________,1998 __________________________

Robert Seaman, Secretary