BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING
JANUARY 18, 2011
I CALL MEETING TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.
II ROLL CALL
Members Present: Jim Squires, Lawrence Hawkins III, Robert Weidlich,
Robert Emerson, William Reichert, Jane Huber
Members Absent: Chairman Dave Okum
Others Present: Randy Campion, Building Inspection Supervisor
III PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
IV ELECTION OF OFFICERS FOR THE BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: We will take nominations for the Chairman position.
Mrs. Huber: I nominate Mr. Dave Okum as Chairman.
Mr. Squires seconded the motion.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: And nominations for Vice-Chairman.
Mr. Squires: I nominate Mr. Bob Weidlich.
Mr. Emerson seconded the motion.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: And for the Secretary position.
Mr. Squires: I nominate Mrs. Jane Huber.
Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: With no other nominations for these positions; we will take a vote.
(With a unanimous aye vote for each nomination the positions were approved as nominated.)
V MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 21, DECEMBER 2010
Mrs. Huber moved for adoption as written the December 21, 2010 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting minutes, Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion and with five aye votes from the Board of Zoning Appeals Members (one member absent and one member abstaining), the minutes were adopted.
No correspondence presented at this meeting.
VII REPORT ON COUNCIL
Mr. Hawkins gave a summary report of the City Council meeting from December 22nd, a special meeting and the Council meeting from January 5th.
VIII REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION
(No report presented for the January Planning Commission meeting.)
IX CHAIRMANS STATEMENT AND SWEARING IN OF APPLICANTS
X OLD BUSINESS
(No Old Business to present at this meeting.)
XI NEW BUSINESS
A. Vice-Chairman Weidlich: The first item on the agenda for New Business tonight is the owner of 1329 East Kemper Road requests a variance to place a 10 feet high ground sign on their property. Said variance is from Section 153.523(D) Permanent ground signs shall not extend higher than seven feet above the finished grade.
Mr. Paul Broadhead: At 1329 Kemper Road there was 89,000 s.f. of office building that was very dilapidated and non-leasable, basically. Ms. Kerry Coopers company came in and purchased the property and has spent about four million dollars in renovations. We now have a medical arts building that we are bringing in; tenants are going to lease one particular building for medical arts. We have a bus stop out front and that is good. We have 13,000 s.f. of potential lease from a high education facility and then about 40,000 s.f. in the 1329 building for potential tenants. One of the biggest problems is, when coming from the interstate up Kemper Road and with the Chucky Cheese in Sharonville; our first entrance is right there so the line of sight people pass. Where we are requesting our variance is on the next road and our next entrance right by the Tri-State Sleep Disorder, it is a really small sign so it causes a lot of problems. So, like I said we have 89,000 s.f. of potential space now with another 3.5 acres that we purchased that is next to expand to more office park and more of this medical arts facility that we are doing. It is employing a lot of people. We have no room on the sign to give direction of who may be there.
We have photos that we can pass around and we would be happy for you to take a look at them. We are asking you to approve and think about 76 s.f. of sign space from where it is now.
Ms. Kerry Cooper: When we came before you, a representative from Lackner Sign back on April 20th asked for our original sign to be placed; it is a 7 high sign. We spent an incredible amount of money on this sign because it is beautiful. What we realized is that it is still not large enough to be able to have tenant exposure underneath the Kemper Pond and to be able to have exposure that drivers can recognize that it is safe for them to enter from there; we have the easement and what has happened is before we purchased the building there was a #100 building that burned and someone purchased that land and built the strip center for the IHOP, which is finally really getting going and it is really exciting that strip mall is doing well. Between the Sleep Disorder and the IHOP, we only have this little area and the reason it came before you in April was because there wasnt the 25 variance; so you granted us to be able to have a sign there. We are just asking for it to be a little bit higher so that it is not as congested, the information that is on the sign, so that it is easier for people to read as they approach from both directions but mainly from the Springdale direction and to be able to have exposure for anchor tenants.
I have (picture) boards if you would want me to pass them around.
(At this time the photo boards were passed to the Board of Zoning Appeals Members for viewing.)
We have such tiny exposure; we are landlocked on both sides by businesses and by the pond that we have purchased. There is very little exposure. When you look at the size of Tri-State Sleep Disorder, which I am delighted for them that they have a great sign and I am delighted IHOP has a great sign, but we have just a very tiny area for it. So, when people approach they really just dont even see us. It is so important because we are bringing people into here.
Mr. Broadhead: We discussed this with the Mayor and Jeff Tulloch last week and previously about this situation. We have been working with them because of an incentive to be able to bring more people with the five million, ten million plus payroll situation; we are just trying to get the maximum exposure that we can for the whole thing because we would like to expand. We have already put in about 4 million dollars into this property that was really nothing and nobody was there and we would like to keep investing in the City of Springdale.
(At this time Mr. Randy Campion read the Staff comments.)
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: This closes this portion of the hearing; would somebody like to make a motion?
Mr. Reichert: I would like to make a motion to grant a variance to the Kemper Pond Office Park at 1329 East Kemper Road; to grant them the 10 high ground sign as per Section 153.523(D) which limits it to a 7 sign.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: And you are saying the 8 X 10 sign, as requested?
Mr. Reichert: Yes.
Mr. Squires seconded the motion.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: As Mr. Okum commented, do we want to put that it be approved by the City Planner and Staff for the base and the plantings around the base?
Mr. Reichert: Yes, we would like to add; approval by the City Planner with the ground foliage or greenery.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Mr. Reichert made the motion and Mr. Squires seconded it. Does anyone have questions for the applicant?
Mr. Reichert: As you are going westbound on Kemper you cannot make a turn into your facility?
Mr. Broadhead: No, you can make a turn but the issue is the line of sight and knowing where the entrance is; you pass it because you cant see it. If you are coming up the hill you have Chucky Cheese in Sharonville and you never see our first temporary sign that we are going to have to come back to speak with you later about, then by the time you get to the second one it is so small and the other signs are bleeding it out and you really miss it. A lot of people have to go up to Dicks Sporting and turn around and come back down the hill and then turn in to our spot.
Mr. Reichert: As I drove by today, coming out on to Kemper Road your driveways go the same way; is this an exit and an entrance?
Mr. Broadhead: That is correct, but there is another entrance further down by Chucky Cheese.
Mr. Reichert: Is there a sign there?
Mr. Broadhead: It is a temporary that we are going to come back to speak to you about.
Mr. Reichert: If you come westbound, you cannot cross and come in that entrance you have to come down at Chesterdale?
Ms. Cooper: Yes, sir. And you can turn in at Chesterdale Road but because of the businesses, there is no exposure that we actually own; that is on frontage.
Mr. Reichert: My other comment is with the Building Department; the type of sign you have there it is very difficult to read anyway; I think some professional advice on how to make it better, size and color.
Mr. Broadhead: We understand and we are working on that.
We have a quarter mile walking trail with fountains. Because of the medical facilities that are coming in, the Psychiatrist love it because it is serene and they can take their patients out to walk around the pond and look at the deer and feed the fish.
Mr. Emerson: Is the new sign going to look just like the existing sign?
Ms. Cooper: Yes, pretty much.
Mr. Broadhead: The logo is, but it is not going to look like that number painted on the front like it was; like the picture shows.
Ms. Cooper: But it is basically the same sign coming from that direction, it is just larger and higher up so there is not so much congestion. We had just got started and wasnt sure what we were going to do. The panel is lit from behind and will say Kemper Pond and have the street addresses which were never on the street to begin with; they had building numbers #100, #200, #300 which made it difficult for your Fire Department. Now I am using actual street addresses that are on each building so those will be there, but underneath on the back lit portion there will be tenant names so that you are able to see them when coming up on them.
Mr. Emerson: Something that I noticed about the IHOP and the Sleep Disorder, the advantage they have over you is that their sign is sitting on a more elevated piece of property, where yours is down.
Mr. Broadhead: We would be happy to come back and get another variance for another larger sign. We need all the exposure we can get and we are talking
89,000 s.f., just to start right now, of space which is a lot of employees and a lot of money and marketing to re-brand this property. We also partnered up with Marriott and that is another thing that is going to be announced and real big.
Ms. Cooper: Larry Bergman has been wonderful in working with us and Jeff Tulloch and the Mayor and we have really appreciated the support that we have got; and the guidance. When you are not from a community and you come in, you try to get to know the community and what the people are like so that you can be a part of it and know what the needs are. I cant thank you enough for the kindness and mentoring that we have been given.
Mr. Broadhead: Everybody has been great.
Mr. Hawkins: The primary concern that you have is the westbound traffic on
Ms. Cooper: When you say westbound, westbound is going from Chucky Cheese at the light coming from Sharonville?
Mr. Hawkins: From Sharonville in to Springdale.
Ms. Cooper: That is another issue.
Mr. Broadhead: First we have the problem when you pass because of the height of the Chucky Cheese, you pass by the first entrance and then you are up on the office part; so then you have to go up and turn around and it is a safety issue. If we redid the entrance and put a light, that would be the only other way to solve it without having some kind of structure there to let people know we are there. There are two issues; one of which we are addressing here tonight.
Mr. Hawkins: For this sign placement, is it about the westbound traffic or is it about the eastbound traffic, just trying to make sure they can see both?
Mr. Broadhead: Both.
Mr. Hawkins: I appreciate your need to be seen and known and the more business you can get for the City is great for everybody. That sign location regarding westbound traffic of Kemper Road is not going to have a big impact and you dont have an entrance there. Even if you did look over there and see it, odds are you are going to go past that first entrance where you can go in there anyway. To see that going westbound and being able to do anything about that beforehand, that is not likely to have a big impact. If the concern is about the eastbound traffic and just being more noticeable I guess I can understand that to some degree but I dont see any benefit for granting the variance in terms of getting anything out of the westbound traffic; being seen any more.
Ms. Cooper: Unless you all can come up with something for it; we have not been able to.
Mr. Broadhead: No, it is eastbound when you are coming down the hill, it gets lost. The Sleep Disorder only have so many people there and you have their sign who is three times our size and they are only employing twenty people and we have hundreds back there. When you are coming down the hill, right there, we are lost coming down the hill eastbound.
Ms. Cooper: The way I understand it when I purchased the property is that the eastbound entrance is our main entrance and the exit is the westbound. At least for the people that are in the park and that is the way my directional signs are within the office park, is that you enter from the east direction and you exit from the west. Sharonville actually goes right down the middle of that easement that we have to deal with. Chucky Cheese and the Sharonville sign are on the right side and IHOP is on the left and I feel bad for the people in the strip mall where the IHOP is because you are not even able to get to their property unless you turn in our park because you are seeing it all of the sudden; otherwise you have to go down and turn around and come back to Chesterdale for an entrance for them. They sort of deal with the same thing that we do, only our entrance winds up being the east entrance.
Mr. Hawkins: The photographs provided with Staffs attachment show eastbound Kemper Road traffic and show the sign there, the sign is easily noticeable. In terms of the copy and being able to pull stuff off of the sign, that is an issue but I dont know how much of it is the size of sign versus the makeup of the sign; in terms of if a variance is actually needed versus a different makeup on the sign.
Mr. Broadhead: If you come from the west side and you miss the turn, there is no signage when you are coming through from the west side; the one we have just disappears, so you pass it and keep going. Right now we have no line of sight at all coming from Sharonville up the hill.
Mr. Hawkins: I can appreciate that as a problem, I just dont know that making the sign taller is going to cure that because you have a whole bunch of things going on; you have a couple lanes of traffic, going just past the light and so the driver is focused to look across to see; that is a problem in and of itself.
Mr. Broadhead: Dont forget that you have the bus stop there, too and that confuses people if the bus is there. The thing is there are people that employ much less people than what we have got coming there, that have much bigger signs that are next to us. Our whole thing is that we are trying to make it user friendly to get people in there and that also drives the tenants. People come in and say We couldnt even find this place. We think the sign is going to make a tremendous difference, we are hearing it from comments from tenants. Those are people that are driving tax dollars and income to you and to us. We are responding to what we are having to deal with to make this place successful.
Ms. Cooper: The other thing is that design wise, Ad-Ex is doing our signs and Lackner Sign Company and they originally were trying to brand and have Kemper Pond Office Park be something that was recognizable; so that what is recognizable on the sign right now is a giant phone number for leasing and the logo so that it becomes that imprint when people see it. Now that we are filling our spaces up and have tenants that need exposure, the idea is if we go up it is in peoples line of sight. So, if we go up then the logo for Kemper Pond shrinks and the address numbers show up more and the tenant listings show up more. So that you can at least see them and if you go to the light and turn around you are better off, it is safer to go up and turn around anyway. For east exposure and so that you can see it coming from the west if it is up higher the logo is smaller and the numbers are larger and the tenant names are larger; it at least gives that much more exposure than what we have now or have any opportunity to have. Any design issues that you would have I would love to hear.
Mr. Hawkins: That is not for me to do. The only thing I would say in closing before I turn it back to the Chairman is that the westbound traffic rationality is not compelling to me because I dont think it is going to make a difference based on that circumstance. As I am looking at one of the cut-out boards that you have provided, the sign from the one vantage point on this one is already cutting into the Tri-State Sleep Disorder; if it was a couple feet taller it would probably block it completely from this vantage point and obviously as you go by that vantage point is going to change but that is part of the reason the City has the sign ordinance that it has, to try to protect against those things.
Ms. Cooper: Dr. Sharpe has no problem with it, he was a tenant of ours and he leased space with us up until the first of the year and then he had to downsize and he is now not a tenant. I could get a letter from him if that would help.
Mr. Emerson: Are there any future plans of maybe redoing your intersection there at what you are calling your main entrance, not Chesterdale?
Mr. Broadhead: We would love to.
Mr. Emerson: Because there is a turn lane that goes into Burger King and also the car dealership on the other side and if someone does pass up Chesterdale and they see the sign they would have the option to hit a turn lane and go left in there which they dont have right now.
Mr. Broadhead: We will be back with you with changes. We would love to present that to your Planning Commission to make some changes on that side.
Mr. Emerson: I think that if the intersection was your plan now, the sign might come up a little better.
Ms. Cooper: A lot of the problem is that none of that frontage land is ours. We have to interact with Chucky Cheese corporate, which is huge and with the strip mall where IHOP is and we have started dialogue with them.
Mr. Emerson: No, I am talking about the other entrance that you can only access when you are traveling east on Kemper.
Ms. Cooper: Right.
Mr. Emerson: So that is owned by the same property as IHOP?
Ms. Cooper: Yes.
Mr. Emerson: So that would make it easier to access them also.
Ms. Cooper: I think so, too.
Mr. Emerson: You only have an easement through there; you do not own that property?
Ms. Cooper: No, it was sold and we have part of the parking lot and we have part of that exit, is my understanding. When that #100 building was sold, that burned as the initial part of the property, and it was sold to the strip mall people, that whole portion is theirs. Our only property that is frontage is on this eastbound exposure and that is why we need the most exposure that we can get now there, and then we can visit the other.
Mr. Reichert: Going westbound, if I am driving from underneath the expressway, when I get to the Burger King on my right, is there a temporary sign at the Chesterdale left turn lane?
Mr. Broadhead: It is a temporary that nobody sees because Chucky Cheese sits so high; the whole row you cant see so it is a temporary that we have had since I have been here and what we want to do it try to figure out a way to get some kind of exposure there.
Mr. Reichert: It is not on the Chucky Cheese side, it is on the other side?
Mr. Broadhead: Yes, sir; on the lower side by IHOP. We were going to go before Sharonville because I knew the Chucky Cheese people and talk to them to get an easement to put a sign there which would solve a lot of these problems but they are not being real easy to deal with. We are trying to do the best we can with what we have got presently.
Mr. Reichert: The Building Department said that if the sign was 7 tall that there would not have to be a variance. Have you considered that?
Ms. Cooper: Yes, and 12 is not enough; it doesnt raise it up high enough.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Mr. Campion, do you know what size the Sleep Disorder Sign is?
Mr. Campion: I do not. I also do not know if there is an existing variance or anything on that sign.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: I am in a dilemma with this as well because of our Code and I was leaning to the Staff comments about raising your sign about a foot and taking a foot out of the base portion of it where you would get the square footage allowed by the City; is that any consideration to go a foot each direction so it would be 7 high and go down a foot?
Mr. Broadhead: The problem is with the line of sight, when you are coming down the hill we need that height, it needs to be up off the ground a little bit more.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: What I see here is the other signs around the name of the business are dominate on the sign; where on your signage it really isnt. When you tell people to look for Kemper Pond when they come to your establishment it is kind of hidden on your signage. In this photograph and the photos that you have provided your name doesnt pop out at you like the other signs around you.
Mr. Broadhead: Because of the phone number?
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: It is small and it is a very busy sign, besides.
Ms. Cooper: It is. That is why it needs to be larger.
Mr. Broadhead: That is why we are asking for a variance. We are trying to brand the property into a much different property than what is around here. This has been a market that has been declining tremendously in office space and what we are trying to do is offer something and have something there that fits in a niche, brings in a higher tax base of people of quality tenants; it is just a marketing situation that we have. The bigger the sign, the more that we can get our brand at the same time the tenants sign is on there.
Ms. Cooper: We just found out about this hearing yesterday. Did Lackner sign not provide you with photos of the new sign?
Mr. Campion: Is this what you are talking about?
Ms. Cooper: O.K.; It may be a design issue more than anything else that we need to revisit with Ad-Ex. It is nice having your comments on it, so that we do see it better.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: When I came past it yesterday afternoon, it was fairly busy on traffic and your sign was difficult to see, even though I knew it was there, it just doesnt pop out at you like the Sleep Disorder Sign or IHOP or the other ones right around you there.
Ms. Cooper: That is all they have to say, Tri-State Sleep Disorder or IHOP which is only four letters; do you know what I mean. So, I have more to convey and to try to do it in a tasteful way that not only adds exposure for Kemper Pond Office Park and the street addresses, but also the tenants and it is hard to do that in a small 6 high sign.
Mr. Squires: You mentioned this, so I will expand upon it, in theory if you went to 7 in height and you expanded the width of your sign and therefore made it more rectangular than it is, has that design been even considered?
Mr. Broadhead: That is basically the branding part but you still need the information for each suite; each tenant that is in the Park. We have one in our conference room that we tried that design, width-wise, but it still needed the height and that was another expense.
Mr. Squires: This proposed sign that you have is the optimum in design, as you are telling us?
Mr. Broadhead: Yes, sir.
Mr. Squires: Because really, the way it is right now, you are definitely dwarfed there?
Mr. Broadhead: Yes, sir.
Mr. Squires: Even eastbound?
Mr. Broadhead: Yes.
Ms. Cooper: It has been a challenging creative situation.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: I think we all appreciate you bringing business to Springdale and helping to create a better looking Business Park back there. Going east on Kemper, your sign right now is very visible coming out there as you are coming around the bend and that is where my dilemma is. It is visible but the text is hidden on the signage; that is my opinion.
Mr. Broadhead: Branding is like McDonalds and you see the golden arches; when people see advertising it is not just written out black-and-white Kemper Pond but it is the design and that is what branding is. That is where the design is right now.
Ms. Cooper: Have you shown that to Mr. Tulloch?
Mr. Broadhead: Yes.
Mr. Reichert: You said, As we get more clients we are going to have those logos or office names on there and ours will become smaller. What is your purpose, to advertise the Kemper Pond Office Park or to advertise the people in it?
Mr. Broadhead: You advertise Kemper Pond Office Park because they know that is the address and once the people get in there we have directional signs. On the big sign there will be a directional-like to administrative office or postal on the big sign.
Mr. Reichert: Is the sign more to advertise the building or the people in the building?
To me, if I am driving down the street, I am not so much looking for Kemper Pond as I am looking for Eye Care or whatever business I am looking for that particular day.
Mr. Broadhead: Once you come into the Park there are directionals.
Mr. Reichert: Logos are fine for letterhead, but I dont know if a logo needs to be the big thing on the sign.
Ms. Cooper: And it has been part of the process to just try and get people to recognize that it has a look and a feeling and an aerial on the right, so people know that we are here and we are leasing to start out. I think that was it, creatively in the process in how it started.
Mr. Broadhead: Remember this place was run down with raccoons in it and everything else and so we have had to let people know that we are open for business and it is an office park back here, it has not been demolished. That has been the main thing because we dont have that many tenants; now we are getting a lot more that we are speaking to and a lot of opportunity from the hospitals and everybody else. Right now we are still trying to say, We are back here, please come look.
Ms. Cooper: We have anchor tenants that may have more and more employees or more and more people that are coming specifically for them; that would shrink and the tenants names would be on the bottom. But as it is right now, we are advertising the office park and leasing and the possibilities.
Mr. Broadhead: Now we are ready to have a ribbon cutting and an open house that you will all be invited to. It is just about getting people to know that we are there. Because all of the brokers I talked to when I first hit the ground five months ago said Man we wouldnt even bring our worst client in there to take a look at it.
Ms. Cooper: The 1329 building has always been nice, but the other two the steel and concrete were a huge issue and it had to be totally redone. Right now, we are branding just the office park and trying to make it recognizable and the addresses so that anyone that is coming to see a tenant that leases from us sees the addresses and recognizes the office park name and once they get in we have directional signs that we have gotten permits for back prior to last April that advertise them; like monument signs. It is going to be a process.
Mr. Reichert: If I went for a sign and I am looking for Kemper Park Office across the top of whatever it is, in bold letters that would catch my eye. The tree and the apple or the red spot just takes everything away from my eye. If I had that and the tenants underneath it, that is what I would be looking for.
Ms. Cooper: I appreciate that; I am at the mercy of the ad agency and what they tell me they think will attract and I have been in higher education and because my family trust bought a company from Miami University, Degree Audit Reporting Systems, and we needed to move it somewhere. We looked and this seemed to be the best area to move to because of all of the retail and the access from the freeways for the employees to be able to commute so I ended up with 86,000 s.f. and the majority of that had to be totally renovated and I had to go in front of the trust and ask for money to do that. I am in uncharted waters and any information that I can be given as opposed to just depending on what I think and what the creative staff at Ad-Ex agency give me.
Mr. Broadhead: The main thing is we had to let people know that we are still open for business and we are still here.
Mr. Squires: If I am looking for Dr. Kill-em-quick and he is in Kemper Pond, I am looking for Kemper Pond and I will find him when I get there. To me, it would be that location that would be paramount. You will have their names up there but you wont be able to read them until you get close.
Ms. Cooper: We need the street addresses as opposed to building numbers.
Mr. Broadhead: That would help the fire department and the police department to get physical addresses; now the postal worker, police and fire have an exact location to go to.
Mr. Squires: I know it would cost more money, but if you had the 10 in height and you increased the width of your sign; did you consider that?
Mr. Broadhead: Absolutely and that is one of the things that we felt like would be mandated to even tighter stringencies. Our case would be, and what we would really like if we could get this variance done and if we could come back and do another variance. We would actually like to do that on the other Chesterdale Road side because Sharonville with Chucky Cheese, a bigger, taller sign would help us get over that line of sight from the big hill that Chucky Cheese sits on.
Ms. Cooper: Initially I wanted an even bigger landmark sign that had really pretty tall plantings, even a little water feature so that you get a feel for what is back behind there and that it is nice, a pond office park. We purchased the additional three acres just because of that and it gives it a feeling that none of the other office parks around here have. That is what we tried to convey in the logo, the feeling that goes along with it. If we could have the extra height then absolutely I would want the extra width also and could revisit that with the creative people. I would love to have it in that little pork chop section that is in the middle but they told me I was crazy about that.
Mr. Squires: I agree with my colleague down on my left that even if the sign were back westbound is not going to help you that much but eastbound you would get it right now; westbound you are going to pass it and double back.
Mr. Broadhead: Right now you pass it unless you are from here. People from all over the country come and do training at Red Lantern, Degree Audit Reports. We are the training facility and they get lost when we are trying to get them in there.
Mr. Squires: I would like to see a bigger sign.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: You wouldnt even consider going up just a foot and taking a foot out of the base to increase the height of your sign and maybe even making it a little wider, staying at the 7 height, that is not a consideration?
Mr. Broadhead: I am not saying it is not a consideration.
Ms. Cooper: No, we would have to go back to the design people.
Mr. Squires: We might need a variance for the 7 foot.
Mr. Broadhead: How many square feet? If we make it wider will we be asking for a variance for more square feet?
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Fifty square feet is correct, isnt it Mr. Campion?
Mr. Campion: Yes.
Vice Chairman Weidlich: Fifty square feet per side is what the code allows.
Mr. Broadhead: You see Taco Bell and you see all these signs up on podiums; what about doubling the height so that we can put it on a pole and it wont interrupt anyone elses signs down there?
Mr. Campion: If the sign is taller than 7 it needs a variance. There is
50 s.f. per side limitation if it is bigger than 50 s.f. or 100 s.f. total, it needs a variance. Yes, you could have a 14 tall sign but you would need a variance for that.
Ms. Cooper: How do they get variances for that large; is it the size of the business?
Mr. Campion: I dont know how long the other signs have been around; I am assuming that these other two signs are bigger and can you tell me if they are taller than 7?
Ms. Cooper: I dont know the answer to that question. It is just the hillside, I think.
Mr. Broadhead: You have Taco Bell and McDonalds sticking up.
Mr. Campion: You are allowed a pole sign per strip center; we have regulations on that too.
Mr. Broadhead: We have minimum exposure.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: The signs that you are bringing up, the Taco Bell and McDonalds are in Sharonville and I am not sure what their building codes are for signage.
Mr. Broadhead: Well, if you want to go the other way there is Target and plenty of other signage in Springdale.
Mr. Reichert: I am having a very difficult time agreeing with the 10 tall sign. You are talking 8 X 10 is 80 s.f. and as the Building Department said a 6 X 12 is 72 s.f.
I would rather see a 6 X 12 sitting on top of your concrete than an 8 X 10; your 8 is your width and your 10 is your height. I dont know yet if I can support it or not.
Ms. Cooper: You would prefer it to be 7 X 12?
Mr. Reichert: The Staff report said The sign can be increased in height by one additional foot and comply with the zoning code. The face sign could also be lowered a foot without interference from the landscape. This will allow for a 6 high sign face and the results would be 6 X 12 which is 72 s.f. sign face.
Mr. Broadhead: Is that the answer?
Vice-Chair Weidlich: Is that something that you would want to consider and we could table this?
Ms. Cooper: Do we have to wait thirty more days, or do you convene in between it all?
Vice-Chair Weidlich: The third Tuesday of every month or if you agree to it we could amend the motion if you want to do something different; it is up to you but we have a couple more questions.
Mr. Hawkins: I just want to make sure you understood, in terms of the pole signs we have some pretty rigid ordinances with regard to those, so we dont just pop those up all over. There may be some folks that have been grandfathered in or something but if you are going down that hill on Kemper, Sharonvilles ordinances are going to be different than ours. I agree with what has been said by Mr. Reichert in terms of if you look at what has been presented by Staff as a suggestion, you end up with a sign that is 7 off the ground total; you add that one more foot and you get a little bit more square footage in terms of the face. That can take care of some of that additional exposure you are looking for. The problem I have with the variance and this is only me and I cant speak for the rest of the Board, I dont see a big enough issue in terms of going eastbound on Kemper Road with regard to visibility and I dont think that if you made the sign 11 or 12 tall it is going to make a big difference going westbound on Kemper, just because of where it is. I dont think I would support the variance just because I dont think it is necessary based on those two situations.
Ms. Cooper: Not coming east, that was the issue?
Mr. Hawkins: I think there is sufficient visibility coming eastbound on Kemper Road from where it is. I think some of what you are trying to get to in terms of what you want the person passing by to pull out of that sign may be an issue of the makeup of the sign. I wouldnt design your sign that is up to you and the folks you are working with. In terms of up, granting a variance that is going to run with the land in perpetuity - forever, I want to make sure what you are asking for and the problem that you are asking to be solved is going to be solved by the variance. I personally am not convinced that it would be. I am excited about what you have done and I want you to get exposure and I want you to have 100% occupancy and just boom but I dont think that granting a variance is going to help take care of the issues that you have presented today. I would be more happy if you would look at what Staff has suggested and see what that looks like going back to the marketing folks or whoever is doing the markup and see what that looks like and see if that is something that is helpful.
Mr. Broadhead: You are looking at that sign and you are talking about one foot up and you are widening it; our problem is our line of sight and what if you would grant us permission to move the sign up on the road then we could comply. If we could have it moved up on the road then that would solve a lot of issues and we wouldnt need a variance.
Mr. Campion: They would need a variance to be closer than 10 to the right of way. You are right it is on a curb and that is the issue.
Mr. Emerson: Had you thought about when constructing your sign, maybe raising the elevation of the ground; where the sign is sitting just build up the ground a little bit there and keep the sign the same, you will get your 2 higher. The height of the sign is from the ground up so raise the ground.
Ms. Cooper: That doesnt have anything to do with the 10? It is the physical sign itself? So, we can put it up higher?
Mr. Emerson: The height of the sign is from the ground up; so raise the ground.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Do you think that would get by Planning or the Building Department?
Mr. Emerson: That is on the variance, It has to be approved by Planning.
Ms. Cooper: So, raise the actual ground or actually have it on pilings and then have landscape around it; as long as the physical sign isnt more than 7?
Mr. Emerson: It would have to be approved by Planning but we have had situations before in the past where people have built the property from the ground up. So basically you are not making the sign any bigger but you are just raising the elevation of the sign.
Ms. Cooper: Making our own little ant hill.
Mr. Emerson: Right. My comment about the sign and the design, and I dont know who designs the sign, it is kind of funny that it has been brought up numerous times; I know where Kemper Pond is because I live here but when I saw the sign I thought it was Kemper Leasing, the way the sign is designed. If someone told me that their doctors office was in Kemper Pond, then I am looking for Kemper Pond first and I would think that would be the bold letters. Whether you put Kemper Pond at the top and put the little tree underneath and then put your listing of occupants in there; that is what I would look for versus having a picture of the layout and even the street numbers.
Ms. Cooper: We havent had any names to put there until recently.
Mr. Squires: It seems like you are facing a couple alternatives: one that has been suggested that you might consider is building up the topography and getting the sign higher; secondly moving the sign closer to the road although I dont know if that would be blocking the IHOP sign or not.
Mr. Broadhead: We have an 89,000 s.f. office park back there that has the potential of bringing in lots and lots of dollars and you have your other businesses that you have there. I think it is a decision as a partnership between public and private, that we come to some happy medium, because we could have put this anywhere. We are investing tons of money right here in Springdale and drawing in lots and lots of people and filling up a lot of office space and our plans are to expand another 3 ½ acres. So I guess it gets down to public and privately what is the best for both of us. If you look at Tri-State, they employ about seven people and we have several hundred.
Is your suggestion that you want to table this?
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: We have one more question.
Mr. Campion: I just wanted to make a couple points. The property line where you are showing your existing sign, do you own that property?
Ms. Cooper: Yes, sir we own that property.
Mr. Campion: So as far as the matter of building up the property, usually you are allowed to add to a property and raise the grade but we would have some issues in that you usually have to have a 3-to-1 slope from the end of your property; you would slope from both sides and have a little pyramid there. I would suggest that you meet with Mr. McErlane and see what is possible as far as a retaining wall or what you can do. Our ordinance does say that a sign cant be higher than 7 off the ground; so I guess what we determine the ground is would be the issue. The other point would be that you could have the Board vote on this the way it is presented and it could be approved or disapproved and if it was disapproved you could come back again next month with a new plan; or you could modify your application.
Mr. Broadhead: Either way we have thirty days, so why dont you vote on it and if you shoot us down then we will modify our plan and try to come back with something different. We are only trying to develop this property into the quality that it should be.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: So you are saying that you would like us to vote on the original motion on your application as submitted?
Mr. Broadhead: I guess, what you are talking about is if you deny us then we reapply with an application until you convene in thirty days.
Ms. Cooper: Which is most beneficial; tabling or voting and reapplying?
Vice-Chairman: Tabling, we wont vote on it tonight and it gives you the opportunity to go back and rethink your signage size and design and whatever you want to do and come back next month. You can resubmit an application and come back next month; and if it was tabled we would not vote on it tonight.
Ms. Cooper: Is there a disadvantage or an advantage?
Mr. Broadhead: Personally, after developing all over the world, I would like to know if we are going to be here for a while what kind of support this project is going to be getting; period. And how much more we are going to be investing in this project; I would just as soon go ahead and hear your vote so we know where we stand.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Would you prefer us to vote on it or just table it?
Mr. Broadhead: I would prefer you vote on it.
Mr. Emerson: Between now and then, if you come and talk to the City Planner and you come up with a solution whether it is raising the elevation and keeping the same sign, just raising the elevation and making it easily seen, you wont have to come back so you wont have to wait thirty days if you walk out of here tonight and you come up with a solution between yourselves and the City. The variance is only for the oversized sign.
Ms. Cooper: O.K. And that is either way, whether you vote or not, we can still come back to the City in the in-between time?
Mr. Emerson: Correct.
Mr. Hawkins: The only other thing that I want you to understand with regard to this Boards function, and I hear you talking about what kind of support you are going to get from the City, and partnership; I am sure you know from speaking with
Mr. Tulloch and others that the City wants you to be successful. This Board has to make decisions about variances that go even beyond what happens with this project. I hope you are very, very successful years down the road and you sell the property for twenty times what you bought it for and put in to it, but that variance still runs with the land so every decision that this Board makes is very significant and it is beyond what is going on with this applicant and what you are doing. We have to think about the big picture, even beyond when we are gone.
Ms. Cooper: I would never put an unattractive sign here; I just want you to know that. I understand and I didnt want to be part of a community that wasnt an attractive community. Look at your City building; I fell in love with it the first time I walked in and I think it says a lot about what you do as Council Members or as Committee Members, so I appreciate that and have a great deal of respect for that and I am asking you to have respect for me in that I would never put an unattractive sign in your City. I have talked my family into four and a half million dollars that they have invested so far above the purchase price. Thank you.
Mr. Reichert: I really believe working with the Building Department you can come up with a solution and I dont know how much time you have spent dealing with them prior to coming in and making your application but they want to help you the best you can to stay within the frame. The way it is stated, I cant support a 10 sign at this point. I would much rather see something work together with the Building Department; to come up with either raising the elevation or some other solution.
Mr. Broadhead: It is all relative; we have several hundred people and you have somebody who wants a 10 sign, you have to figure out the relativity of all of this, ours should be a little bit larger because we have a lot more traffic and a lot more people we are bringing in.
Ms. Cooper: And it is just difficult because we have a small frontage portion to put something on. I must also say that we just found out yesterday that the meeting was tonight, and we had pretty much depended on the sign company, they did the application; I signed it and it is notarized and they would present it and we are fine with our sign. We have worked with your Planning Department in getting permits for a lot of things and for what is the best and most attractive ways to do things in the office park and they are very sound and wonderful. We have worked with the Planning people and with Mr. Tulloch and with Mr. Mayor and I just thought that had already been done with the sign people.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Do you still want the Board to vote on this?
Ms. Cooper: Yes.
Mr. Broadhead: Yes.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: O.K. We will close this portion of the meeting and
Mrs. Huber please call the motion.
(Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with a 1-5 vote (Chairman Okum being absent) the request for variance at 1329 East Kemper Road was denied.)
Ms. Cooper: Thank you for your time; it has been a great experience.
B. The owner of 11965 Kenn Road requests a variance to place a solar electric power facility on the property which covers more than 120 square feet of ground area. Said variance is from Section 153.488(H) solar units They shall not cover more than 120 square feet of ground area
Mr. Mike Waters: We partnered up with Temple College and we would like to put an array on the hillside that is 41 X 130; the slope of the array and the land is approximately 12º to 15º and on the motion it said 35º but we were wrong, we want to raise it up 2 in the air and keep the same slope. We will be approximately 20 down from the hillside from the top and there is a wide area where it can go. From the parking lot up the hill is about 13. We are going to keep it more in the middle of the parking lot area on that slope. We will cover the ground with plastic and gravel. It is also a little bit easier to put an array there so they dont have to cut the grass. This slope will probably supply two thirds of the power for the college and the church and we have two other arrays on the church itself and the library that is going to be powering the rest of the church. We do have a building permit for the roof.
(At this time Mr. Campion read the Staff comments.)
(Vice-Chairman Weidlich opened the floor to the audience; no one came forward and this portion of the hearing was closed.)
Mr. Emerson: I would like to make a motion to allow a variance for a 5460 s.f. ground area for installation of a solar unit to be installed at 11965 Kenn Road.
Mr. Squires seconded the motion.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Do the panels have to be at a 30º angle to be effective?
Mr. Waters: These panels are going to be at the same slope, which is going to be 12º to 15º which is going to follow the slope of the ground.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Will these be fenced off in any way?
Mr. Waters: Yes, they will be. What we will do is probably put a chain-link fence away from it and then put some wire sticking out so people cant get over the top of it. It will probably only be about 3 tall that you can put some barbed wire sloping away from it so that you cant get in to it.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: That is probably something else you would need to talk to the Building Department on.
Mr. Squires: They will be eye-level with the ground?
Mr. Waters: We are going to go up 11 up the slope and then go across with the array and we are going to follow the slope.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: The Staff mentioned that the 5460 s.f. may not be an accurate amount of square footage for the array?
Mr. Waters: (Referring to a submitted photo) on this photo right here, this array kind of curves so you have 80 down further. We can shift the panels so we have plenty of room for the fence down to the top of the first array.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: So, you are saying the 5460 s.f. is accurate?
Mr. Waters: We will have that much in panels but if we need it a little farther away from the road or the fence, we can push it down.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: No, I was just questioning the square footage.
Mr. Emerson: Is this one huge panel or is this a bunch of small ones put together?
Mr. Waters: The panels are 40 wide and they are 65 long.
Mr. Emerson: So you are talking the width of a basketball court and one and half times the length, just to give an idea of size-wise?
Mr. Waters: About 130, about 280 panels.
Mr. Emerson: I take it they are black panels?
Mr. Waters: It is an aluminum frame and they have black silicon or they have blue. It looks like a skylight.
Mr. Emerson: Can they be broken?
Mr. Waters: You can hit them pretty hard with a baseball bat and they still wont brake.
Mr. Emerson: And this is going to be fenced in?
Mr. Waters: The fence will be down close to the parking lot and the panels will be up at least 12 away from the fence with the wire sticking out away from it so that you cant just climb over it.
Mr. Emerson: The whole thing is going to be fenced in?
Mr. Waters: Yes. And there is also insurance.
Mr. Campion: In your motion could you put not to exceed 5460 s.f.; the configuration sounds like it is going to go narrow to wider when you go up on the slope.
Mr. Waters: The panels are 40 X 65; there are certain amounts of square footage of panels but you will have some space in between for walkway.
Mr. Campion: I guess my question is, did you need a bigger area?
Mr. Waters: You could put the fence 15 away, all the way around it to make sure there is no one close to the panels. If you want to make it larger just as a scope, you could put it 8500 s.f.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Would it be better if we put the fence to be 6 to 8 away, minimum from the array.
Mr. Waters: It needs to be at least 10, because as you go up the shadows go on to the array and you dont want any shadows.
Mr. Campion: I think what he was after, because you are actually asking for a variance and because the ordinance is really written to control residence to avoid massive panels all over their house.
Mr. Waters: We have a slope with the walkway and it is 42 X 130; so that it what it is going to be.
Mr. Campion: So you are saying that you need an additional 12 around that whole area?
Mr. Waters: I would like to have at least that.
Mr. Campion: I think the motion should include that outside area.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Should we just include the fence area; like 62 X 150?
Mr. Waters: I think the back has a fence and also if I move it down a little bit it will be farther away from the back fence and farther away from the parking lot. Could you give us just a blanket 8,000 s.f., including the fence?
Mr. Campion: What you could do is make a motion that allowed for the original square footage of the panels plus a fenced in area that was approximately a certain amount of area.
Mr. Emerson: The wiring going from the panels into the church, are they going to be underground?
Mr. Waters: Yes.
Mr. Emerson: Is there any kind of building associated with this, like a transfer building?
Mr. Waters: Everything is inside and there would be a mechanical room. The solar panels get mounted on tracking systems similar to a drop ceiling, wires get loop to loop to each panel and then there is a conduit that all of the wires will feed in and go into the meter base. Once it is inside they have inverters and what they do is change the electric from D/C power which is solar panels to the A/C that you use in your buildings. There is a disconnect and breakers. We directly wire these inverters into the grid at Duke / Cinergy and there is a meter that makes the credits that goes backwards when the sun hits it. When they use their power they use those credits. These solar panels arent powering a furnace; it is just supplying power to the grid for C.G.E. & Duke in the form of credits. We follow all building and electrical codes for the building permits.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Would someone like to make a motion to amend, to add the 8000 s.f. maximum enclosure?
Mr. Emerson: How much of that solar panel could you put on the roof of the library and the church on the existing building without covering the ground?
Mr. Waters: Probably all of them, and we are.
Mr. Emerson: So you are planning on covering the ground and the whole building?
Mr. Waters: On the two south arrays; yes. They are already on the south side of the sanctuary and on the south of the library. We needed this extra space to have enough power to supply all of their needs.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Would someone like to make a motion for the fenced in area?
Mr. Hawkins: I would like to make a motion to amend the original motion to include a fenced-in area not to exceed 8,000 s.f.; around the solar panels.
Mr. Reichert seconded the motion to amend.
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: Mrs. Huber will you call the Board on the amendment to the motion?
(At this time Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members present and with 6-0 affirmative votes the amendment to the original motion was accepted.
Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members present on the amended motion and with 6-0 affirmative votes the request was approved.)
Vice-Chairman Weidlich: The Building Department would like the survey pages returned to them.
Mrs. Huber moved to adjourn, Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion and with a unanimous aye vote from the six Board of Zoning Appeals Members present, the meeting adjourned at 8:47 p.m.
Chairman Dave Okum
Secretary Jane Huber