PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
12 DECEMBER 2006
7:00 P.M.


I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

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

II. ROLL CALL

Members Present:        Tony Butrum, Steve Galster, Robert Coleman,
Lawrence Hawkins, David Okum, Tom Vanover and Chairman Syfert.

Others Present:        Jeff Tulloch, Economic Development Director
                Bill McErlane, Building Official
                Don Shvegzda, City Engineer
                Anne McBride, City Planner

III. ELECTION OF OFFICERS

A. Chairman

Mr. Galster nominated Mr. Syfert and Mr. Butrum seconded the nomination. Nominations were closed and Mr. Syfert was elected by acclamation.

B. Vice Chairman

Mr. Galster nominated David Okum and Mr. Butrum seconded the nomination. Nominations were closed and Mr. Okum was elected by acclamation.

C. Secretary

Mr. Vanover nominated Mr. Hawkins and Mr. Galster seconded the nomination. Nominations were closed and Mr. Hawkins was elected by acclamation.

IV. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 14 NOVEMBER 2006

Mr. Galster moved to adopt and Mr. Butrum seconded the motion. By voice vote, all voted aye except Mr. Vanover who abstained.

V. CORRESPONDENCE

A. Report on Council – no report
B. Zoning Bulletin – November 10, 2006
C. Zoning Bulletin – November 25, 2006
D. Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes – October 21, 2006

VI. OLD BUSINESS

A. Approval of Tree Removal and Landscape Plan- Jake Sweeney Dodge, 1280 East Kemper Road – tabled 11/14/06

Mr. McErlane reported that the applicant called and scheduled a meeting with the landscape architect later this week, so he has asked that this be tabled to the January meeting.

PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
12 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE TWO

NEW BUSINESS – CONTINUED

B. Approval of Proposed T-District Zoning – West Sharon Road tabled 11/14/06

Ms. McBride reported that at the October Planning meeting, you heard a zoning map amendment for the property on West Sharon Road. Following that, the commission discussed whether or not we should continue that zoning district west on West Sharon Road to bring it in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan. We suggested that the staff review this and make recommendations which we have in our memo or 11/14/06. We also have a copy of the Comprehensive Plan and information on the four parcels that would be included in that rezoning.   

Mr. Galster commented my initial concern was taking it down too far. I know the Comprehensive Plan shows lining the property up, but I thought we might be talking two properties to square it up.

Ms. McBride said I would suggest that if you do not want to initiate this zone map amendment, that is okay, but I would suggest you not do two of them and leave two behind. There would be no justification for that kind of thing. I do not have a problem if you leave this as it is.

Mr. McErlane said to give you a better feel, if you look at some of the auditor’s maps in here, the fourth property stops just shy of the driveway coming out from the church.

Mr. Syfert commented I don’t see any problem with doing this.

Mr. Okum moved to approve the change in zoning for Parcels 599-0041, 0032, 0033, 0034 and 00137 (260, 270, 276 and West Sharon Road, to RSH-L-T Zoning (Residential Single Household – Low Density/Transitional) All voted aye and the approval was granted unanimously.

VII. NEW BUSINESS

A. Approval of Kemper Square Landscape Plan

Mark Rippe said this is a revision to the original landscape plan we submitted almost a year ago. We have now about completed the new front on the building and we are here for the landscape approval.

We have met with staff and have walked the site. We have comments back and there are minor things that need to be addressed on the drawings, and we have a drawing to be presented tonight. There are a tremendous number of plantings going in here which will make a much better presentation.

Mr. McErlane reported that Planning approved the redevelopment of the center and façade change on July 12, 2005. We met with the applicant on site and discussed which trees seem reasonable to remove and which should remain. The plan before you reflects what we discussed.

PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
12 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE THREE

APPROVAL OF KEMPER SQUARE LANDSCAPE PLAN - continued

Mr. McErlane added they propose to remove some of the trees to obtain better visibility, but that is not a reason to do this. From looking at some of the trees, we understand that there are visibility issues. They are removing a total of 67 caliper inches of trees. Some of the trees are impacted by power lines, and a number of trees on the north side are in the public right of way. We also talked about limbing up the bottom branches for better visibility.

There are a few crabapple trees to be removed which block visibility. Most of the trees on the west side underneath the power lines and as you move toward the south, the look is bad and damaged so they could be removed as well as the crabapple.

We agreed that these are acceptable trees for removal and they propose to plant some lower ornamentals back a little further on the site. The other trees they are planting are in a bed in the open area (on Northland Boulevard and Kemper Road).

There is a shortfall in caliper inches, but there are limited places to be able to plant trees.

I discussed the tree in the public right of way to be removed with public works and they do not care as long as the applicant maintains the area.

Mr. Rippe responded I have a letter from Nisbet stating that we will continue to maintain the area.

Ms. McBride reported that the plantings meet the buffer yard requirements. We would like to see parking blocks added where cars will be heading into the landscape beds.

Mr. Okum said there is a 41 inch shortfall. Is there anyway the applicant can add trees there? Typically we try to go back to the tree fund or get trees on the site. This is a significant shortfall.

Mr. Rippe responded we are trying to improve the site. When you drive on Kemper Road, there is no site that has as much landscaping or is done as well as our property. We have not tried to fit as much as we can in there; it is the situation of making it look right and having a good plan.

Eric Morris of Groundmasters said we want to plant material which can get to its mature height and be healthy. One concern is that most of the signage is on the building façade, and with limbing up the trees, people will be able to see the signs.

Mr. Galster said 41 inches is the shortfall, and that does not count the one tree in the right of way. I would have a problem going below at least ½ of what is required. If enough trees cannot be planted on site, you could contribute to the tree replanting program,





PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
12 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE FOUR

APPROVAL OF KEMPER SQUARE LANDSCAPE PLAN - continued

Mr. McErlane reported if this were a new development, they would have to replant 28 inches, and they are planting 26 inches. One more tree would do it. Mr. Syfert commented I don’t want us to force trees that would not do anything. Mr. Okum added I think the applicant could put one more tree on the site, and I would support 14 ornamental trees.

Mr. Vanover said I want to declare that my son’s best friend’s father runs Groundmasters, and if anybody is uncomfortable with that, I will recuse myself.

Mr. Syfert commented the staff has done a lot of work with the applicant and the landscaping is pretty well where it should be.

Mr. Okum moved to approve the landscape plan submitted with staff comments and recommendations. In addition to that, the replanting shall be increased from 13 to 14 ornamental trees. Mr. Butrum seconded the motion. All voted aye, and approval was granted unanimously.

B. Concept Plan Review of Proposed Lakeview Project, Maple Knoll Village

Jim Formal President of LifeSphere reported that our most recent project was 22 independent living cottages for seniors. In early January we will begin occupancy and we expect to be fully occupied in April.

We are proposing a repositioning, updating and replacing the independent living units that are the older gray cottages bordering Route 4. They were the original cottages built in the 1970’s and they are not marketable. We researched it and the best method was to demolish them and build a new product. With me tonight are Doug Hinger and Jim Obert of Great Traditions.

Mr. Obert reported we met with staff to talk about this project, and the biggest thing is the setback from Springfield Pike. The southern end of the existing project has a 35 foot setback. Since it was constructed, additional rights of way have been granted to the state. Originally the cottages were from 24 to 35 feet from the right of way. Now there is a 100 foot setback requirement from Springfield Pike.

The proposed site plan is 39 feet from the right of way to the porch deck area and 44 feet to the building itself. The southern building is 49 and 53 feet.

Mr. Obert said we hope this board will look at the request, give us direction and recommend this to the Board of Zoning Appeals to act on the variance setback we need.

We are trying to do minimal grading. There is a significant tree row, and our site is four to seven feet below the grade of Springfield Pike. We need to have some discussion from you so we can go to the Board of Zoning Appeals next week.

PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
12 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE FIVE

CONCEPT REVIEW OF LAKEVIEW PROJECT – MAPLE KNOLL VILLAGE

Mr. Hinger said the new style will be all masonry and residential in nature, very upscale. The balconies are cantilevered and the elevations from the street to the first floor are about seven feet lower. We will probably have more screening to make a classic expression.

Mr. Syfert commented it appears to be two stores, but it is really three stories.

Mr. Galster said I like the look of it. I think it will be an improvement and I have no problem with the setback, providing the building does not look like one flat wall. I think it is well screened.

Mr. Syfert asked if they have balconies along Route 4 and Mr. Obert answered that they did and it has the look of an upscale condominium.

Mr. McErlane reported that this is zoned PF-M (Public Facilities – Medium Density) and this use is a permitted one. There are five new buildings with 61 units, three stories about 52 feet high. There are 84 parking spaces in the garage and 34 open parking spaces for a total of 118 spaces.

The architect will satisfy the Springdale requirements but there is a front yard setback issue, which is now 39 feet and 44 feet. Springfield Pike falls as it goes further south at the closest point. Across from the southern building they are four feet below the center line of the road.

Mr. Shvegzda reported that the access way dead ends into the site and needs to be reviewed by the Fire Department in terms of access for their equipment.

On detention, we do not have the original calculations so that will have to be reanalyzed to check it out. On the traffic we are recommending a study be done at the intersection of State Route 4 and Silver Maple Way. We also need to check with MSD on the sanitary sewer.

Mr. Okum commented I can understand the need to update. I think we have 244 feet of a three-story elevation along Springfield Pike, versus 145 feet of building elevation mass, which is significant, especially when the property across the street building mass was a concern, and you handled it well.

Going north on Route 4 it will be very stark, and I am not overly excited about putting an apartment building right along Route 4 within the setback boundaries. This is pushing the bubble, and I have not heard anything that will see me on it. The south side of the building will be extremely noticed; these are three-story building elevations. I would like to see the cottage concept you have across the street. This is basically five apartment buildings for maximum occupancy.



PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
12 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE SIX

CONCEPT REVIEW OF LAKEVIEW PROJECT – MAPLE KNOLL VILLAGE

Mr. Hinger said the general approach was to be consistent with those buildings on that side of the street. Mr. Okum commented they are much further back.

Mr. Syfert said at first I had the same opinion as Mr. Okum does, but I was not envisioning all the balconies which give it relief, and I do not have a problem with the concept.

Mr. Galster moved to give concept approval based on the information received tonight and including staff comments and approval by the Board of Zoning Appeals for the setback variance. Mr. Coleman seconded the motion.

All voted aye except Mr. Okum who voted no, and the concept plan was approved 6 to 1 and will be reviewed by the Board of Zoning Appeals next Tuesday night.

C. Plat Approval – Pictoria Plaza Area

Mr. McErlane reported we were presented this plat 1½ weeks ago. It comes from TIF monies where the Port Authority is to take possession of the properties in the PI Subdivision. In the process of looking at funds, it appears that some will b allocated to the construction of the plaza. According to the Port Authority and bond attorney, they need to be on separate parcels. From the understanding I have from the attorneys, the Port Authority is not taking possession of the land, but of the improvements.

They are cutting the plaza out of the two parcels, and the major concern of the city is when they cut the plaza parcel out of Lot 7 (which will be Lot 16) it took the street frontage away. Also when they cut the two parcels right of way, there will not be public right of way for adequate easements available.

Also a concern is when the Port Authority is done after 40 years, what is to preclude them from being sold to somebody and being non-build able lots?

We are working to tie these issues down and we think we are pretty close. They also have established cross access easements between the adjacent properties.

If we get all those things in place, we are okay as long as it does not create a burden for the non-developed eastern lot. As long as it doesn’t turn into a landlocked parcel we are okay.

We are asking Planning to approve this contingent upon all these items. Mr. Shvegzda added as long as we have clarification of the easement issue and four technical items.

Mr. Okum moved to approve the plat contingent on the easement and other items discussed this evening. All voted aye, and approval was granted.

Mr. Syfert asked the current occupancy of Pictoria Towers and Mr. Tulloch reported it at 60-65%.
PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
12 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE SEVEN

VIII. DISCUSSION

A. Electronic Signs

Mr. McErlane reported that we have a meeting set for this Thursday morning at 9 a.m. so next month we will have an update to report. The item will be considered on January 9th.

IX. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

A. Verizon, 134 Merchant Street – Wall Sign
B. This & That, 11470 Springfield Pike – Wall Sign


X. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Vanover moved to adjourn and Mr. Butrum seconded the motion. Planning Commission adjourned at 8:17 p.m.

                        Respectfully submitted,



_______________________,2007    __________________________
                        William Syfert, Chairman



_______________________,2007    __________________________
                        Lawrence Hawkins, Secretary