JANUARY 19, 2010
7:00 P.M.


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


Members Present: Jim Squires, Jane Huber, Dave Okum, William Reichert,
Robert Emerson, Lawrence Hawkins III, and Robert Weidlich

Others Present: Randy Campion, Building Inspection Supervisor



Mrs. Huber moved for acceptance the December 15, 2009 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting minutes, Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion and with a unanimous “aye” vote, the minutes were adopted.



Mr. Hawkins gave a report of the January 6, 2010 City Council Meeting summarizing five ordinances that were discussed and passed dealing with economic matters; one involving an engineering services review for the Riparian Corridor Review and also dealing with Merchant Street repairs; three resolutions, one authorizing the investments of municipal funds, another requesting advanced payment from Hamilton County Auditor and the last involved appointing Roy Mitchell to the Tax Review Board. For Old Business, Council discussed Cincinnati Bell Technology and the Tree House Kids store in the Comp USA Building; the ribbon cutting was Friday.


    Chairman Okum gave a summary report on the previous Planning Commission meeting from December 2009 concerning the continuance of the cellular tower request for Cricket Communication / American Tower at 11970 Kenn Road;
    Mr. Hawkins added a request to reissue Public Notice within 750’ of
    11970 Kenn Road address concerning this item, which was discussed at the December Planning Commission Meeting. Another item on the agenda was for IHOP and the retail center at the corner of Chesterdale & Kemper concerning a tree replacement variance request from the Tree Preservation Ordinance; the representative for the owner did agree to replant 51” of trees on the site, 100% of what they removed and no penalty was added for cutting them down. The other item for New Business was for Growth Spurts Day Care / Learning Center for a Conditional Use Permit; a day care facility that will run until midnight; they were approved. The last item was for the Digital Sign Legislation and Planning Commission; Planning Commission did make a recommendation to City Council to allow digital signs to be permitted in the City of Springdale. This is for parcels with 500 foot of frontage and 40,000 s.f.



There were no items of old business to be presented at this meeting.


A. Chairman Okum: The owner of 912 Ledro Street requests a variance to allow the elimination of a garage. Said variance is from Section 153.105(B) “A single two-car garage and related parking area is required…”

Mr. Ernest W. Black: This house I bought in 1988 was like it is now. The garage was converted to a bedroom; I don’t know if there is no record of it here so I guess I am going through this to get it squared away. It has an egress door and a door going into the dining room, so it has an exit. I have pictures of the outside of the garage.

Chairman Okum: For the record Mr. Black has presented to the Board of Zoning Appeals pictures showing the front of the house and garage door; a photo of the rear of the house with the egress door that he indicated and a close up of the same.

(At this time, Mr. Campion read the Staff report.)

(Chairman Okum opened the floor to the audience; no one came forward and this portion of the hearing was closed.)

Mr. Weidlich: I would like to make a motion to grant the request for 912 Ledro Street for the garage to remain partially converted to living space; the back 19’-1” to remain living space and the front portion of 8’-6” to remain storage for the residence. The garage door must remain a functioning door.
Mr. Emerson seconded the motion.

Chairman Okum: Is this property rental?

Mr. Black: Yes.

Chairman Okum: By looking at this home it is very hard to tell that there is not a functioning garage; I compliment you on this.
Is this space heated?

Mr. Black: Yes. It has a gas heater in there, and that was there also.

Mr. Hawkins: The wall that is between the overhead garage door and the rest of the room; is that drywall up there?

Mr. Black: Yes.

Chairman Okum: Do you have a storage shed on the property?

Mr. Black: Yes; a 9’ X 12’.
Chairman Okum: Seeing there is no further discussion, Mrs. Huber would you poll the Board?

(Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with 6 “aye” votes and 1 “no” vote the request for the variance was approved.)

Chairman Okum: The request for a variance is granted. You are restricted for that storage shed to remain and that overhead door to remain functional.

B. Chairman Okum: The owner of 11801 Chesterdale Road requests a variance to allow a 14’ X 21’ wall sign. Said variance is from Section 153.532(A)(3)(a) “…the maximum area of any permanent identification sign shall not exceed 125 s.f. on the lot occupied by the building to which the sign is accessory…”.

Ms. Ashley Fisher: I am not the owner, I am a representative with Sign Vision; we are contracted to do the sign for Kroger. The company’s address is 987 Claycraft Road, Columbus OH 43230.
With the restriction being only 125 s.f., this particular sign does go over that. We just did a sign in Columbus off of I-670 and this particular sign sits a little bit further. It doesn’t have as far of a setback. (At this time Ms. Fisher gave to the Board of Zoning Appeals a picture of the Columbus Kroger sign.)
Kroger’s response for the sign on the Springdale building, is that Kroger has been a part of the community for 40 plus years; the plant is owned and operated by the Kroger Company and they would like to communicate that to the general public, as well. They want to show to the community what products that they produce in Springdale. At this time the plant has no outdoor advertising that relates to the plant and to the Kroger Company; therefore a variance is requested to allow the plant to advertise their products to the general public. As far as visibility, due to the building setback for I-275, smaller than 14’ X 21’ which is the exact same measurement of the sign shown in the picture at the Columbus plant, it would not be visible to motorist and therefore would not be very good advertising.

Chairman Okum: Is this internally illuminated?

Ms. Fisher: Yes, by fluorescent lamps.

(At this time, Mr. Campion read the Staff report.)

(Chairman Okum 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 for a variance to allow the construction of a 14’ X 21’, 294 s.f. sign to be erected on the north elevation of 11801 Chesterdale Road, the existing Kroger processing facility.
Mr. Reichert seconded the motion.

Chairman Okum: For purposes of bringing this to the floor should we handle the 153.532 separately?

Mr. Campion: We could; when you get to the end you would have to deal with that.

Chairman Okum: If we go to Ashley Furniture’s wall sign and Dave and Buster’s wall sign, they are nearly 500 feet back; your sign is 139 feet and I certainly think we could read this sign if it was 125 s.f., I haven’t heard any reason why I couldn’t.

Ms. Fisher: The reason we are focusing on was the setback; Ashley’s and Dave and Buster’s signs are just wall signs saying the name of the building.

Chairman Okum: Unless you give me evidence why, because this is 1/3 the distance away from the expressway as the wall sign on Dave & Buster’s, you are at 139’ and I think it would proportionally work.

Ms. Fisher: With the other signs they have just the business name on it and they are pretty recognizable to the average consumer driving by; if it was just a Kroger sign saying “Kroger Company”, you would recognize it without even having a distance issue, but because this one has graphics on it and as far as consistency all the other Kroger facilities are trying to be consistent across the board with all of their stores.

Mr. Emerson: All of the signs that are listed here on the paperwork, those are all businesses that try to get customers to come in. Does Kroger have a warehouse wholesale outlet store where they are trying to get customers in, or is this basically a sign that could be on a billboard alongside the Interstate?

Ms. Fisher: I think they wanted Springdale to recognize that Kroger is in their community.

Mr. Hawkins: I am torn, because I think that the sign benefits the City from the standpoint that we get to say that Kroger business is here; but I think that the evidence to grant the variance isn’t real strong. I would love it to be there because I think it helps out with the City.
Did you make up a replica of what the sign would look like at 125 s.f.?

Ms. Fisher: I did not.
If we can’t do the 200 plus square feet, what would be acceptable? If it is going to get denied, is there a way that we can get this tabled so we can work together to figure out something?

Mr. Reichert: This one that you submitted today from the Columbus area, is that the same size as this proposal?

Ms. Fisher: It is the exact same size and the only difference with that location is it sits 25’ off of the freeway; very close.

Mr. Okum: Is this in the City jurisdiction of Columbus?

Ms. Fisher: I am not sure.

Mr. Okum: Are billboards permitted in this area?

Ms. Fisher: On I-670 going towards Columbus from the eastside and you are coming around the 315 exit; it is right there by the I-71 exit.

Mr. Okum: So this is in the industrial area there?

Ms. Fisher: Yes.

Mr. Weidlich: You say that this is banner material that is stretched?

Ms. Fisher: It is called flex-face.

Mr. Weidlich: What is the life of that material if it is just stretched material?

Ms. Fisher: It is the same as any other sign and they will come out and do any other kind of service call that they would do with any other sign.

Mr. Okum: It is a translucent vinyl?

Ms. Fisher: Right. They are really durable.
Kroger is our best customer, so we really try to go to bat for them and do whatever they want to get done. We do not waste time, if there is any issue with a sign they want us out there the same day.

Mr. Emerson: Is the sign going to be real bright at night?

Ms. Fisher: It is internally illuminated and it would be an average light sign. It would be the same as a Dave & Buster sign or Ashley Furniture; it wouldn’t affect anybody that lives right in that area.

Mr. Okum: I think you are hearing that everybody appreciates Kroger being a part of the community. This is a unique stretch to industrial signage. The difficulty is the closeness to the expressway and the size. If it were proportional to the other signs that are permitted, that are part of the PUD, then I think that you would probably get a different perspective, but there has been no ratio presented by the sign company or Kroger to support that distance versus legibility. Content is not something that we can really determine, we can’t in anyway infringe on what that sign says unless it becomes an issue of vulgarity or obscenity. If that sign was permitted, no matter what is on that sign, no matter what information is on that sign, it has nothing to do with this Board and its decision making and we cannot impose any limitations or conditions in that way.
I am not seeing a lot of positives. We could vote on it, but I don’t think you are going to get a positive. It doesn’t mean that you can’t reapply. If you want us to vote on it I think that this Board is prepared to do that. If you don’t want us to vote on it and you want to continue it to the next meeting, we will also hear that as well. We have two issues here, one is the second sign that has been identified but that depends on how many square feet of sign you need.

Ms. Fisher: If I came back at the next meeting and had the same exact sign in the Code, as far as what it would look like on the building, would that help?

Mr. Okum: A presentation representing why your request needs to be the size that it is. That would be evidence that needs to be presented to justify why you need to be larger dimensionally than the other properties that are retail establishments further down. My suggestion would be to reduce the size down; I think that there should be some regulation drawn from our new sign Code regarding 0 foot candle fall at the property line so that there would be no imposing light on the expressway. We can draft wording to accomplish that or you can make it as part of your request. This is pretty much a billboard because it is an industrial application and it is not a go-to place like Ashley Furniture, Dave & Busters or Sofa Express.

Mr. Emerson: Ms. Fisher, your sign and your pictures are awesome; going east on
I-275 if you are in the right lane it looks like there is a lot of growth, trees growing along there, so if you made your sign smaller and kept it to the top of the building that actually would do better than dropping your sign down 14’.

Mr. Okum: Do you want to come back or do you want us to vote on this request?

Ms. Fisher: I think I want to come back.

Mr. Okum: Based upon the request of the applicant, can we have a motion to table this to the next meeting?

Mrs. Huber: So moved.
Seconded by Mr. Weidlich and with a unanimous “aye” vote the item was tabled to the February 16, 2009 meeting.

Mr. Okum: Any additional information that you are going to present we would like to have that in the hands of Staff by February 2, 2010 and the meeting will be February 16, 2010.


Mr. Squires: I wanted to bring this up as an addendum to Lawrence’s report; the good news, for those of you that may not know, Pictoria Tower is now fully occupied. The bad news is we have had all sorts of problems with mold with the hotel across the street; the 9th and 10th floors are fairly bad and at a recent inspection of the City we have found out that the water was turned off and all the pipes are frozen, so that eliminates any sprinkling system that may be needed in there. This was discussed with the Board of Health and I brought it up also with Council and several Council Members, including myself are voicing concern about that building and what we can do. Mayor Webster said Cincinnati North is in foreclosure, and the City is putting a task force together and they are trying to get an Administrative Search Order. The Mayor said they will proceed to the State Fire Marshall’s Office and can take the property if it is deemed bad enough. We are moving on it because we are very concerned about break-ins and break-ins where there could be a fire started to keep warm; then the next thing you know we will be putting a lot of our people at risk. It is unfortunate that they have experienced so much in the way of mold damage.

Mr. Okum: They have had mold damage in that building forever. The platform is good, the concrete is good; the skin is bad.

Mr. Campion: I believe the mold problem was eradicated last year.

Mr. Okum: There is more mold. I was there when they had their mold remediation process going on and the manager there was having health issues as a result of it.
One building that is another concern, with an enormous amount of mold growth, is the Grange Building on Sheraton Lane, what used to be the Grange Insurance Building; it is the same material.

Mr. Emerson: So is the City talking about tearing it down?

Mr. Squires: We would like to take control of it so that we can do that if it is necessary.

Mr. Emerson: Have we looked into expense?

Mr. Squires: I’m sure we have, but the concern we have right now is safety. I don’t know of any customer that would buy that.

Mr. Okum: No. It would have to be stripped out before anybody would be interested in buying it because the cost to redo it would exceed the value of the building.

Mr. Reichert: I just have a request; last month I requested terms of all of the members of this Board, if I could get a copy of the appointments and when their appointments are up. If it is not here then at the next meeting if I could get a list of terms.


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

Mr. Squires moved to adjourn; all members of the Board of Zoning Appeals signified by saying “aye” and the meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________,2009 ___________________________________
            Chairman Dave Okum

________________________,2009 ___________________________________
            Secretary Jane Huber