11 DECEMBER 2007
7:00 P.M.


The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by David Okum.


Members Present: Steve Galster, Richard Bauer, Tony Butrum, David Okum,
Carolyn Ghantous, Lawrence Hawkins III, and Tom Vanover

Others Present: Mayor Doyle H. Webster, Don Shvegzda, City Engineer, Ann McBride, City Planner and Bill McErlane, Building Official


The first item on the agenda would be the nomination for Chairman of the Planning Commission
Mr. Galster: Thank you, I would like to nominate Tony Butrum for the Chair of the Planning Commission.
Seconded by Tom Vanover.
All Planning Commission Members voted unanimously aye, and Mr. Butrum was accepted as the Chairman of the Planning Commission.

Chairman Butrum: The next position nomination would be the role of Vice Chair.
Mr. Galster: I would like to nominate Mr. Dave Okum.
Seconded by Tom Vanover.
All Planning Commission Members voted unanimously aye, and Mr. Okum was accepted as the Vice Chairman for the Planning Commission.

Chairman Butrum: For the Role of Secretary, I’ll take any motions for that.
Mr. Vanover: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I would proudly nominate our current Secretary
Mr. Hawkins.
Mr. Okum seconded the motion.
All Planning Commission Members voted unanimously aye, and Mr. Hawkins was accepted as the Secretary for the Planning Commission.

Chairman Butrum: We also need to nominate someone for the Liaison for the Board of Zoning Appeals. Mr. Galster nominated Mr. Dave Okum; Mr. Vanover seconded the motion and
Mr. Okum was accepted as the Liaison for the Board of Zoning Appeals by a unanimous aye vote.



Mr. Galster moved to adopt the Minutes from 13 November 2007, Mr. Vanover seconded the motion; all present voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted.


Steve Galster: At the last City Council Meeting not only did we appoint the new members here to Planning Commission but there were Council Members that were appointed to Board of Zoning, the new members on Board of Zoning are Bob Diehl and Randy Danbury. There was also Mayor appointments, as I understand everyone who the Mayor has appointed to Board of Zoning wishes to continue on, so they will continue on in their capacity. Another item was a resolution to honor the Planning Commission past Chair, who was William Syfert; it was a nice resolution. Mr. Syfert has been involved in the City for close to 30 years on Planning Commission. Everybody on Council thanked him for his service and all the efforts he has contributed to the City of Springdale.

a. Zoning Bulletin November 1, 2007
b. Zoning Bulletin November 15, 2007
c. Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting minutes from 16 October 2007

11 DECEMBER 2007



Mr. Chairman: Representative for Staples, please come forward. It has been a while; would you update us on where you are at and then we’ll get comments from staff.
Mr. Perin: My name is Jay Perin and I am representing Perin/Tyler Family Foundation. With me tonight are Pat and Joe Perin and Ken Geis with CUC who would be managing the construction project out there; also, arriving late Dave Henderson from Staples is coming in, his flight was not due in until 6:30p.m. So he should be in shortly. He did register his position by way of email.
I would like to read his statements regarding the proposal we have in place. This is an email to
Pat Perin dated December 6th:

    “Pat and Joe, as you know, I may be a little late for the meeting because I do not land    
    until 6:30p.m. on December 11th; please go ahead and start without me and I will add my
    thoughts when I get there. I am in total agreement with black windows and red/black
    mulleins and I feel they are seriously harming our sales; they give the appearance that
the store is closed. Further, the proposed Springdale plan with the faux window and brick columns does nothing to give Staples the relief we desperately need. This look is more conducive do a CVS drugstore and in general the design is old fashioned and does not convey the progressive image that Staples wishes to portray. The CVS type windows would be in direct conflict, on the inside, with out gondola-type storage. The present height of the storage racks would partially cover the windows giving a shadowy appearance from the exterior and it would inhibit future taller storage racks. Finally, the large extensive decorative pots that are incorporated with an extensive irrigation system would be off center and would conflict with the proposed window and proposed columns. By filling in the existing black windows and the red/black mulleins with cut block to match existing and painted there would be no doubt that our entrance is not on the West Side and also the new large decorative pots and trees and the seasonal flowers would be shown at their full advantage. This clean and simplified design would serve Staples’ interest best and help immediately restore our full sales potential. For the past five and one half years, Staples in the Perin place site have endured the many challenges caused by the ODOT underpass project on State Route 747 and now we respectfully suggest it is time to restore peace and tranquility to this location and let us get on with our business. Thank you, Dave Henderson, Staples Construction Project Coordinator.”

Mr. Jay Perin continued: To give you a better picture of the detail of the construction project as proposed, I would like to introduce Ken Geis.

Ken Geis: Good Evening. Congratulations on the new positions; that is always an exciting time and it is nice to hear that you were nominated and you accepted those positions. I have a history in government, my name is Ken Geis and I am with CUC and so I have an appreciation for you coming out tonight specifically for this purpose as your only order of business.
On behalf of the Perins, in talking about this project, the first thing that I think is important is the impact this has had on the retail operation there. Mr. Henderson is here and he can speak specifically to that, but as it relates to the existing site there has been negative to the store because of the existing fašade on there. When the store was originally constructed the fašade really was probably dated and it was typical of that time element, but over the course of years it really has become a worn look. What the Perins are trying to do with the modification as suggested by them is to update that store providing a more inviting appearance particularly a street-side appearance for that. They would request that you consider a split-face block exterior to that to match the existing site and really not an EFIS to that. We think that would provide a more appealing exterior curb recognition to that. We want to use the existing planters to provide some vertical impact and to break up the long walls. Ms. McBride indicated in her report, there is a need to provide an appealing storefront entrance; with the planters we think we could provide for that as well as providing a uniform look to the existing structure.
On the level of construction, we believe that there would be fairly seamless operation; the store would be able to continue operation in its current fashion while we were under construction with this project. We respectfully request that you consider this favorably.

11 DECEMBER 2007


Chairman Butrum: We have some staff comments, from some time ago. Bill would you like to lead off?

Mr. McErlane: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Our comments are based on documents submitted on June 27th and also documents submitted on September 24th; basically the June 27th document is the drawing and then the letter that was submitted on September 24th that offered, if necessary, the use of split-face block instead of the EIFS face on it. The Planning Commission originally approved the fašade change and the parking lot changes on October 12, 2004 for the building when the building entrance was reoriented. The fašade changes consisted of the new entry on the North side of the building, replacing the doors on the West side of the building with glazing and a dark film on the glass. The drawing that you have before you that is dated June 27th reflects the plan that was originally reviewed by the Planning Commission on October 2004 showing an EFIS infill for the glazing. At that meeting, the Planning Commission and the City Planner raised some concerns about the stark nature of the blank fašade and introduced some new materials that are not on the building today, the EIFS and suggested maybe some faux windows or something to break up the fašade. The Staples representative at that time suggested just tinting the existing windows and came back in the following month with a plan that represented that. The plan that was submitted on June 27th of this year also had a sign that has “Office Superstore” which is not on the building today; unless the applicant is actually asking for that, we would suggest that you do not approve that at this point and time; we have not done an evaluation of the allowable square footage of signage relative to that.
The applicant appeared before the Planning Commission on July 10th of this year with the June 27th request. At that meeting the applicant did offer the split-face masonry. Planning Commission discussed several alternatives to break up the expanse of the wall and the applicant asked Planning Commission to table the application to work with staff on an alternative. The applicant did not meet with staff during the interim.
There is a reference to a proposal put forth by the Planning Commission that the applicant has with his letter. In reality that was a suggestion that I emailed to the applicant back on September 24th; it was infilling up to a certain height with masonry and then putting faux windows at the upper portion, which I think they referred to that as the CVS look.

Chairman Butrum: Thank you Bill.

Ms. McBride: Thank you. I do not have much to add to Mr. McErlane’s comments other than I would just remind the Commission that it was Staples that asked us to approve moving the door and then to approve tinting the windows, which we have done. Staff is just concerned about understanding that is not by Staples desire. Their front door is not on that elevation any longer but it is still a front elevation as far as the City is concerned from 747. We continue to express the same types of concerns and thought that the alternative that was put forth by Mr. McErlane was a pretty good one, because it took the block up and hopefully would reduce the concern from Staples, “are they open or are they closed?”, but still present us with a street appearance on 747 which is their front fašade. Those are the only other comments that I have other that what is contained in my report.

Chairman Butrum: O.K.
I will open the floor for questions from the Commission.

Mr. Galster: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Question for the applicant, the existing site shows a red band around the top of the building; is that to remain?

Mr. Geis: That would stay.

Mr. Galster: You want to take out the windows and you want to fill that with a split-face block and paint it the same color as the rest of the side of the building.

Mr. Geis: That is correct. What we would do is remove the mulleins which is the metal that goes around the glass and infill that all in with brick. I respect your concerns; a few years ago when we asked for this and we came back that we need to infill this with the tint; I think it was a spur of the moment reaction. It is not working for us, it has impacted our business by ten percent and it continues to impact it. We are looking for some sort of a resolution whatever we can do to make it work.

11 DECEMBER 2007


Mr. Galster: As far as Mr. McErlane suggestion that the brick wall go three fourths of the way up the existing tinted windows, that certainly wouldn’t give an impression that there is an entry there, that you are closed, is that correct? Or would it?

Mr. Geis: It would.

Mr. Galster: You thank that people driving by would look at the concrete block and think that you were open, looking at that block?

Mr. Geis: Yes. You’re going to look, driving whatever way you are going on 747, and if there is block you are not going to see anything. The glass with the tint looks as if the lights are out and nobody is in there.
Steve, your daughter works for Staples, is that correct?

Mr. Galster: Yes.

Mr. Geis: I don’t know if she has said anything about that, but we get customers all the time saying that “it looks like you are closed”.

Mr. Galster: I get people all the time saying, “I’m surprised that that’s not their entryway”, because to most people that is considered the front of the building. My concern still remains how to break up that massive wall as it is the 747 frontage. I think that Mr. McErlane’s suggestion to brick up the lower portion and to have something to add to that fašade, I thought it was good. I didn’t see that it required that they would be blacked-out windows to where it looked like there were no lights on; they could be clear windows or whatever without having the appearance of no light coming from inside.

Mr. Geis: I don’t know the dimension on the windows, we have our gondola racking that basically goes to the top of the windows on the inside, you would have to remove the canopy and mess with all that and the overhead, etc. which we do not want to do. If you have the windows out there you are going to see the backside of the gondola’s if you do not tint the windows.

Mr. Galster: Since the last time that you came before us, was that July?

Mr. Geis: I believe so.

Mr. Galster: I think the concern has always been the same in that we have offered the City staff to help you come up with ideas on how to take away the stark nature of that building. Now it is six months later and we really don’t have anything different than what you were originally proposing. My concern still stands; we have tried to offer suggestions, I believe this Board has, the City Planner and the City Building Official on how to help come up with some ideas that would allow you to meet your objective and still not have a blank looking wall on what we consider the building frontage. But, I do not see any movement in anyway toward that or any effort in trying to come up with a solution, other than say we just want to block it up.

Mr. Geis: Can I ask you what your concerns are with blocking it up?

Mr. Galster: Yes, they are the same as back in July and the same as they were back in 2004, and that is to most people that is considered the front elevation of that building as it faces 747. The concern is the stark nature of that front elevation. If you look at a lot of buildings in the City of Springdale on their front elevations, even if they have an entryway, when the building starts to become too large there are efforts made to take away the mass of that structure by adding architectural elements, paint elements, whatever in order to take that mass down or least the appearance of that mass. What I haven’t seen is any effort to try to address that concern other than say that you want to block it up. I don’t want to design your building for you, all I can say is this, to me, is unacceptable because I see too much mass wall. That is the same comment that has been made at every meeting that I can remember in reference to this fašade.

Mr. Geis: Not that I want to talk about other properties or the buildings, but there is a building right behind up which was formerly the Rhodes building that sits the same way that has a wall.

Mr. Galster: Quite a bit different distance away from the roadway. When I drive by that I don’t have the same feeling as to what is the front elevation of that building.

11 DECEMBER 2007


Mr. Geis: True, I respect that.

Mr. Okum: I guess I am thinking the same way as Mr. Galster; if that is the side of your building you really shouldn’t have signage on the side of your building. Certainly that would be a much greater impact to you than anything. Usually the sign is over the entry, it’s where you go into the business. I want to see this Staples succeed; I have purchased equipment and supplies from that Staples. We have asked that you try to break up that massive element; if you want to have it look like a front and have signage like a front elevation then my opinion is you have to do something other than block it in with concrete block. I think what Mr. McErlane has suggested, if you were to take and do a lighting element behind the gondola racking, I think you would get the effect you were after. I think Mr. Galster’s comment in regards to; “if it was block how would people know you’re open anyway?” Right now it looks black; it’s a terrible faux glass in my opinion. But, that was your choice, not this Planning Commission’s choice what faux glass you choice.

Mr. Geis: It wasn’t my choice.

Mr. Okum: I understand Staples or the contractor, whatever. I want to be fair and say you probably weren’t there when the decision was made. I sort of thought a corner entrance or something to keep it still looking like part of the front entrance of the building. The contractor said “no, there are supports that hold the building together.” I don’t understand that totally because I am in the construction business and pretty much anything you want to do with steel you can do.
The only people that know you are open are people coming Southbound on 747. And frankly you don’t have enough glass on that elevation to know you are open because it is so narrow and it is such a small opening. It really doesn’t do you justice there as a front elevation. We are looking at a white box with black glass and not a lot of openness that people typically see. Ethan Allen just opened up their store and I had an opportunity to drive past it. That is a welcoming open-door look that really makes you want to go into that business. It’s not a block wall; it’s not a stark element that is facing the roadway.
What we have asked you to do, back when this was originally approved, is to give it a look of an entrance to allow light in. I understand your internal layout affects that and I understand that. At this point you haven’t given me any reason why, except you have given me questions why you would need signage on that elevation if that is the side of your building. We have restrictions on the amount of signage on buildings, if that is going to be the front elevation then what is the other side?

Mr. Vanover: My feelings are exactly the same. A couple of the points mentioned the pots and landscaping, the vision that is there right now is woefully inadequate. I think the pots actually accentuate the starkness of that fašade. They have not broken up the vertical element.
Mr. Okum makes a good and solid point; we have signage on a side view. I have continued to be disappointed with this presentation. It was Staples decision to relocate the front door and we were not overly excited about it, but we allowed you to make a business decision; this is visually what we are left to look at. It is not appealing; it is not inviting.

Mr. Hawkins: I want to start off by saying that I want to see Staples succeed, as well. I think everybody wants to see Staples be successful. I do have to concur with Mr. Galster,
Mr. Okum and Mr. Vanover with regard to coming through and bricking up or filling up those faux windows with concrete. The question I have for you specifically, through the course of exploring ideas and options in facing the situation, what else did you look at for landscaping? Has there been any discussion about trying to add some more landscaping along that wall?

Mr. Geis: Let me tell you this; when I got involved one hundred percent about a year and a half ago that is when I saw the plans from Delhi that was approved by you guys and that is what we are dealing with. We have thrown a couple hundred thousand dollars on landscaping – those pots that no one likes now, which we wouldn’t have if someone hadn’t approved those. As far as throwing any more landscaping out there, we’re done. I don’t think we need to put any more money into that.

Mr. Hawkins: I can appreciate that, but it would make a difference in breaking up that wall if there were trees there or some type of vertical presence. I am not saying that you have to do that I am just asking if there was any additional exploration into that recently.

Mr. Geis: From what I understand, the pots were the cure-all. They would break the wall up, there are tall trees in them and there are flowers we are going to put in them in the summertime; that was supposed to resolve this and it just keeps going. I’m looking to stop the bleeding; when can we stop this? I know you are tired of dealing with this. So am I. So are they. We are just looking for an easy resolution whether it is the windows or if we tint it white whatever we can do to resolve this as soon as possible.

11 DECEMBER 2007


We have been talking about this with Mr. McErlane since 2004. We are almost to 2008 and
I think we need to resolve this. Anything you can do to help us that is what we are looking for. Obviously, we need your authorization to do it.

Mr. Okum: Can we go back to the windows for just a second? The intent, I believe, of this Commission in 2004 by giving relief to Staples to allow that change to rotate was to accomplish that, was to incorporate a faux window into that design. When I think of a faux window I think of real glass and a normal look. What is there now does not look normal. There are other faux windows that are used – the Walgreens in Norwood. You would swear there is a second story on that building but there is not. The windows make it look like there is a second story. That is an elevation that has nothing but fake windows, but it looks like real windows. The CVS in downtown Montgomery has a faux window pattern that looks like real windows.
I think everyone has lost track of the relief. The relief was that the elevation didn’t get stark, didn’t become a white box along 747 and that by giving that, they would be able to put a faux window treatment that would make it look like real windows. I don’t want this to go further, where the applicant just says “we’ll make it white”. That sort of concerns me because that is not what I envision as a faux window and I hope that the applicant understands that it needs to look like a real window from the street. If you just paint it white, you might as well do it in block and that is not what I voted on back in 2004. I think that Mr. McErlane is giving you an opportunity to bring that up and I think that is a good idea, I think that is reasonable.

Mr. Galster: This drawing here, is that the drawing that you modified, Mr. McErlane?

Mr. McErlane: Yes.

Mr. Galster: This is the staff’s response in coming up with something that allowed you to do what you wanted to do but still had some break up of that mass of wall. There needs to be something to take away from the mass of the wall that is the main elevation as far as the general motoring public and the residents see. Instead of having two windows, maybe just one; we are willing to work with you to come up with something other than just concreting it all in. If you come up with ideas that take away the mass, that is fine. That is what we are looking for when we see the packet with Staples on the agenda. We want to see something other than just the flat wall.

Pat Perin: I took the liberty to take the picture and enlarge it. This is Staples as you see it today. In thinking about this project I went back and really took to heart what Mr. Okum stated, that we needed something vertically and not horizontally. That was the origination of the pots; if you give the pots a chance with the foliage and the tall pyramidal which is a clean simplified inoffensive look. I look at the back of Princeton Plaza and I see the large expanse of white and I see nothing but pipes and air conditioners and utilities and how this can be offensive when other things are allowed in the City, I don’t understand. There must be a better idea than the windows, I have studied architecture and I have done interiors, trust me.

Mr. Vanover: These concerns are not new, I’m looking at the Planning Commission meeting minutes from 14 September 2004, at that point and time Mr. Lambert who was with Staples was lamenting the fact that part of the problem was that this was an existing building and it wasn’t their typical prototype. I will quote the meeting minutes from 14 September 2004, “Mr. Lambert said we were willing to dress it up a bit with landscaping or planters across there. Mr. Okum said if you take out your entryway you will need to do something vertical to break up that elevation. Beside the big signboard, in your case you will have two frontages that way it will turn out; unfortunately the only purpose of the west side will be for signage.”
This was three years ago - three plus years ago and we are in the same spot now. No disrespect, Ms. Perin, but that wall is about 12 foot of split-face block on that side and 8 or 10 feet of fašade along the top, a six foot tree is not going to do anything. My personal idea is that the sidewalk would disappear and we get a real landscape bed. That is my feelings.

Mr. Perin: Usually we stop and shop the Kenwood Staples store and on three different occasions I have talked with the people there, one of them was the ex-manager of the Springdale store, they get questions from people asking what happened to the Springdale store because they believe it is closed. We have a real problem. In a year and a half Staples has to decide if they are going to stay or not. This used to be the leading store in Cincinnati. If Staples does not renew we will take and remove the front back to the west side, but in the meantime we are artists, we’re in the furnishing business, display and art has been our life. This was recognized as the number one design store in the country. We know what we are doing. We know that this white wall with the tree pyramidals do break it up and look a lot better than what Bill has proposed.

Mr. Galster: I am looking at this picture and I understand the money that was spent on the trees and the pots, but the pots just blend back into the wall. Maybe if the pots were a different color it
11 DECEMBER 2007


would allow it to break up this same surface.

Chairman Butrum: It seems there are still some concerns here; we would certainly entertain a motion if someone is so inclined. It does not look promising based on the comments so far.

Mr. Geis: So the windows with the brick, is that the only solution you guys would entertain?

Chairman Butrum: I’m not sure we are offering solutions as much as giving ideas. As Mr. Galster said, we are not trying to design it for you as much as we are saying the stark wall is problematic and I think Mr. McErlane was trying to come up with something to break that up, which was even the original intent. I actually remember the 2004 meeting because it was my first meeting, and I have a fairly vivid memory of that discussion.

Mr. Galster: I am open to any ideas you have to break up that mass. The problem is, in my opinion, we haven’t seen any other ideas other than bricking it up and letting the pots do the trick.
Whether it is stripes around the building or whatever – I haven’t seen anything other than fill it in with the same stuff. Mr. McErlane’s attempt was to come up with something, a solution that will help you understand a little more what this Commission is looking for but that is not the only solution. We are open to whatever is not a stark wall.

Mr. Okum: For purposes of bringing it to the floor, I’m going to make a motion to approve the applicants request as submitted, but I will state now that I will be voting in opposition to that because it is contradictory to the original approval in 2004.

I move that the submission for the masonry element to replace the glass on the west elevation of Staples storefront to be approved

Mr. Galster: Mr. Chairman, before I submit can we get a document number, a submittal date number just to make sure that we are looking at drawing 1.0 June 27 2007, that is what the motion is for; is that correct Mr. Okum?

Mr. Okum: Yes. That is correct, 1.0. I will amend my motion to incorporate that into the motion.

Mr. Galster: I second the motion.

Mr. McErlane: The only addition that might be made to that is the applicant has offered to use masonry as opposed to the EIFS that is shown on the drawings.

Mr. Okum: I will so amend my motion so that both are in the motion.

Mr. Galster: Second to the amended motion.

Mr. Chairman: Any further discussion?
Mr. Secretary, will you please poll the Commission?

Mr. Hawkins polled the Planning Commission to the result of a unanimous nay vote.
The motion was denied.

Mr. Butrum added: There is opportunity here but the same concerns are being expressed as before.


Mr. Chairman: I have nothing to report. I didn’t approve any signs given that I wasn’t in that role.
So, with that, I’ll accept a motion for adjournment.

Mr. Okum: I have one item for discussion. A couple months ago, the Planning Commission moved the role for Board of Zoning Appeals up to Council; it has already been through the Law Director’s office, has Council acted on that?

Mr. McErlane: I haven’t seen an ordinance drawn up for that.

Mr. Okum: So who would draw up the ordinance?

Mr. McErlane: It would be referred from Council to the Law Director to draw up the ordinance for it.
11 DECEMBER 2007


Mr. Butram: I know the Planning Commission forwarded it to Council.

Mr. Galster: But we can’t find any action beyond that. As of a meeting that we had yesterday, we were going to look and see if we could find a copy of the letter that forwarded the Planning Commission recommendation to Council and get that back in front of them. I don’t think Council has seen that formal letter, I don’t remember getting that in my inbox; I guess the answer is somewhere between Planning’s approval or recommendation to City Council and that distance to the mailbox. We did talk about it yesterday and an effort will be made to get that before City Council so some action can be taken to move that forward.
Mr. Okum: I have one other item for discussion. Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission heard a report from Planning Staff in regards to a text amendment regarding dog kennels. We had a dog kennel situation a while back on Northland Blvd. There is some model legislation that they have drafted involving a zoning regulation on dog kennels and dog daycare which is becoming a very popular thing. I have a copy that I have brought. I would like to move it to have staff take a look at it. It goes into decibel ratings standards for daycare for dogs and so forth and kennels. I would rather have it in our books instead of treating dog kennel issues under conditional use variances and also nuisance and noise ordinances.

Ms. McBride: Also, some other potential text amendments from the November meeting when I was not here. We are working on those. There are some other issues such as “Pods” and so forth that have come through our office and other communities that we are going to be making some suggestions to the City that you might want to consider, in terms of “house keeping”. It’s been a little while since we have done those kinds of things with the code, so we are going to be putting some of those forward to Planning Commission in January or February.

Mr. Galster: And that included the fencing issue?

Ms. McBride: It does.

Mr. Butram: Are there any other items for discussion?
With no further items, we will move to adjourn.


Mr. Galster moved to adjourn and Mr. Vanover seconded the motion. All present voted aye and
Planning Commission adjourned at 8:06 p.m.
                            Respectfully submitted,

        _______________________________, 2008 _______________________________
                                Tony Butrum, Chairman

        _______________________________, 2008     _______________________________
                                Lawrence Hawkins III, Secretary