BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

18 MARCH 1997

7:00 P.M.

 

I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m. by Chairman William Mitchell.

II. ROLL CALL

Members Present: Councilwoman Kathy McNear, James Squires,

Councilwoman Marge Boice, David Okum, Barbara

Ewing, William Mitchell and Thomas Schecker

Others Present: Building Official Bill McErlane

III. MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 18 FEBRUARY 1997

Mr. Squires moved for adoption and Mrs. Boice seconded the motion. By

voice vote, all present voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted unanimously.

IV. CORRESPONDENCE

A. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes - 11 February 1997

V. REPORTS

A. Report on Council Activities - Marge Boice

Mrs. Boice reported that Council has a public hearing on Dave & Busterís. It is a new concept of entertainment that is coming into the city to be located near Roberds. It is a combination of fun and games and restaurant.

B. Report on Planning Commission - David Okum

Mr. Okum stated under Old Business Douglas & Arlene Eades requested preliminary plan approval for Charing Cross Phase 1 Revised. Mr. Eades was not at the meeting and his request was tabled indefinitely.

Mr. Okum reported that under New Business was Judith Muehlenhard of Pine Garden Landominium requesting approval of screened in patios and decks for the development on Princewood Court and permission to place For Sale signs on Springfield Pike and Lawnview Avenue on the weekends only. Regarding the porch enclosures, they were not approved on their plans originally. This was a request of some of the people buying the landominiums. She indicated several of them already had contracted with them to build these. Planning Commission did not approve her request and tabled it until some problems regarding site issues are straightened out. The item regarding the For Sale signs are not for Planning Commission to consider. Those are public right of way issues and are in violation to our Zoning Code and ordinances.

Mr. Okum continued there was a discussion of a proposed Holiday Inn Express at 12037 Sheraton Lane, the old Pizza Hut property. He wished to build a three story 60 unit motel on that site. It was pointed out that the density was way intense for the site and Planning recommended that he reconsider what he is proposing and consider a lower profile. The buildings on each side are single story. There were a number of things that needed to be addressed, and at the applicantís request that was tabled to April 15.

 

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

18 March 1997

Page Two

 

VI. STATEMENT CONCERNING VARIANCES

A. A variance once granted will be referred back to the Board of Zoning Appeals if after the expiration of six months no construction is done in accordance with the terms and conditions of the variance.

If a variance appeal is denied, the applicant may resubmit the appeal six months after the denial.

VII. OLD BUSINESS

A. A. G. Hauck Co. requests variance to allow 112 parking spaces for The Fitness Store at 11336 Princeton Pike (117 spaces are required). Said variance is requested from Section 153.091(A)(3) "..shall have at least 74 spaces plus six spaces per 1,000 square feet of floor area over 10,000 square feet."

No one was present representing the applicant. Mrs. Boice moved to drop from the agenda and Mr. Squires seconded the motion. By voice vote all voted aye and the matter was dropped from the agenda.

VIII. NEW BUSINESS

Mr. Mitchell announced that for Item C, Jericha Lang has asked to be dropped from the agenda. They are going to remove the workshop and convert it back to a two-car garage.

A. Recker & Boerger, 169 Northland Blvd. requests variance to allow window signage. Said variance is requested from Section 153.092(E)(9) "Window Signs shall be regarded as permanent signs..." and Section 153.092(D)(1)(b) "Maximum gross area of signs..."

Tom Williams. General Manager of Recker & Boerger stated signage is very important to my business. These are the corner windows and are blank right now. There are five panes in the middle on which I have signage. Right now I have the two middle ones blank with a financing message on one pane and a seasonal pane on the other two panes. I am willing to conform to the 25% signage if I am allowed to change the seasonal theme four times a year.

Mr. McErlane reported the section of the code that talks about painted window signs says that they have to be considered permanent window signs. It doesnít mean that you canít obtain a permit for it as a permanent window sign, but each time you change it you have to acquire another permit. That means you canít exceed the maximum square footage permitted for the property which includes all your other signs. For your property, the permitted maximum is 214 square feet. Right now your lighted box signs that you have are 70 square feet, and you have a strip at the bottom of the window which is about 47 square feet and there is a 3í x 6í Recker & Boerger sign over the east door or 18 square feet so aside from the seasonal signage you have, right now you have 135 square feet. The seasonal signage you have up right now is approximately 152 square feet which puts you at a total of 287 square feet so you are about 73 square feet over what you are allowed. Mr. McErlane showed a slide adding that it was taken on the 18th of February and I know two of the panels in the middle have been cleaned off. At the present time with those two cleaned you are at 287 square feet. Previously you were at 395 square feet.

 

 

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

18 March 1997

Page Three

VIII A RECKER & BOERGER 169 NORTHLAND BLVD. WINDOW SIGNAGE

Mr. Mitchell asked his request. Mr. Williams responded I am willing to conform. I would like to change the signs four times a year and I would be willing to go with the two end signs and leave the three middle ones blank.

Mr. McErlane stated he can change the signs four times a year, but to conform he would have to come down to 214 square feet total, and each pane is about 40 square feet. The signs on each pane are 6í x 7í or 42 square feet per pane.

Mr. Okum commented there are other businesses not in the main thoroughfare that manage without window signs. I would have a hard time extended more than what you are allowed. I think it should be fair to everyone, and that the signage permitted for your site is quite adequate. If you would utilize the 214 square feet, you could take the extra money on window signs and put it in media advertisement.

Mr. Williams said if I take the two signs on the side of the building down, Sale and Recker & Boerger, how would that figure? Mr. McErlane reported if you take those two down, you would have 70 square feet to work with. Right now you are using 6í x 7í signs on each of those panes. You might have to scrunch it down to 5í x 7í to meet the allowable square footage.

Mr. Squires asked if the square footage included the neon sign that says open. Mr. McErlane reported we have been exempting open signs of not more than four and one-half square feet from the signage because it isnít really advertising.

Mr. Mitchell asked the applicant if he were about to withdraw his request and stay within the permitted signage, and Mr. Wiliams confirmed this.

B. Golden Tanning Systems, 338 Northland Blvd. requests variance to allow window signage. Said variance is requested from Section 153.092(D)(1)(b) Maximum gross area of signs..."

Barry D. Mullins, owner said we have been there 13 years and I have owned the business close to four years. The sign is the company logo and is painted on the front room wall. If I have to remove that company logo, I have to paint that front wall. My point is that I donít have anything on the windows; there are three small windows and the door. This time of year, we get 350 customers a day and we have a lot of comment that they canít find us with the standard signs. In our plaza we are not allowed to advertise on the front street sign. The only thing the tenants have is the sign above the actual business. If I would have to remove that I would have to paint the wall and incur the cost of taking the front panes out, painting the wall and putting the panes back in.

Mr. Squires asked if he finds it necessary to have that sign there as well as the sign above the door. Mr. Mullins answered that he did, adding that his business is extremely seasonal. Three and one-half months of the year we do 80% of the business. Every year we deal with new customers who have never been there before, and without that sign there, I know without a doubt that I would lose one-third of my business. All the signs in the center are tied together, and half the signs donít come on so after 5 or 6 p.m. I have nothing.

 

 

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

18 March 1997

Page Four

VIII B GOLDEN TANNING SYSTEMS 338 NORTHLAND BLVD. WINDOW SIGNS

Mr. Squires asked if he got a lot of walk in business? Mr. Mullins answered this time of year we do from 320 to 390 people a day; we are open 12 hours a day and of that number probably 60 are walk ins. We also have a lot of repeat clientele; 80% of my customers come back. Year round we have about 85 people per day.

Mr. Squires said you say it is on a wall; what is the space between the window panes and the wall? Mr. Mullins stated three quarters of an inch. Mr. Mitchell asked the wall construction. Mr. Mullins answered I believe it is fiberwood; it might even be dry wall. Mr. Squires said so the wall hides your customers for privacy. If you had to take the logo down and painted the wall, you wouldnít leave it a blank wall would you? Mr. Mullins responded I donít know what else I could do with it. We run eight to 12 sales a year and from the size I could have there is nothing I could do that could be seen from Northland Boulevard.

Mr. Schecker asked the issue. Mr. McErlane responded the allowable square footage for the store is 72 square feet. There is a wall sign on the front of the building at 42 square feet and the sign in the window is about 76 square feet so we are looking at 118 square feet total.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Schecker said you mentioned that your overhead sign is not lit. Mr. Mullins responded to the best of my knowledge all the signs on the left hand side of that strip center are set up on a system and they donít work. This is something I have been battling for a couple of years. Mr. Schecker commented that is a landlord problem, but it seems like it would be a very effective sign to have lit at night. The window sign itself is doing nothing for you in that sense. Mr. Mullins responded I beg to differ with you. Out of all the stores I own, I work that store Monday through Friday, and there is not a day that goes by that I donít have a new customer who is driving down Northland Boulevard looking for the store who sees the Golden Tanning on the window and stops. Mr. Schecker commented it would seem to me that the one on top is much more prominent than the one in the window. Mr. Mullins answered not when you are sitting in your car.

Mr. Okum asked if the applicant is in conformance with the width and height of the box sign he has above the store? Mr. McErlane answered that he was, and Mr. Okum wondered if the box sign could be larger. Mr. McErlane reported that typically the limiting factor is that you have to be three feet from your lease lines. Mr. Okum asked the width of the store frontage and Mr. Mullins answered it is right at 33 feet. Mr. Okum commented so you could have a 27 foot sign across the front of your business. What is the size of the current box? Mr. McErlane answered itís 42 square feet, 14 feet wide. Mr. Okum said so that is 3í x 14í and he could go up to a 27 foot sign across the front of his business and be conforming. Mr. Mullins then I would have the cost of the new sign about $3,500 and the cost of having to remove the logo there which is about $400. If I have to do it I will, but then you still will see gray wall through the window. My understanding of enforcing the sign law is to clean up the neighborhood. Mr. Okum commented there are businesses that paint out their windows. Mr. Mullins said if I did that as small as that store is I donít know how you could see it.

Mr. Okum moved to grant the variance and Mrs. McNear seconded the motion. No one voted aye, and Mr. Okum, Mrs. McNear, Mr. Schecker, Mr. Squires, Mrs. Boice, Mrs. Ewing and Mr. Mitchell voted no. Variance request was denied with seven negative votes.

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

18 March 1997

Page Five

VIII. NEW BUSINESS - continued

C. Jericha Lang, 8989 Clearfield Lane requests variance to allow the conversion of one-half of a two-car garage to workshop. Said variance is requested from Section 153.023(F) "Each single family dwelling...shall have 2 or more car garage...not less than 400 s.f. and not more than 600 s.f." As Mr. Mitchell announced at the beginning of the meeting, the applicant withdrew her request.

D. Dan DiMarco, 585 Grandin Avenue requests variance to allow the removal of existing car port, and addition of a garage and room and second story. Said variance is requested from Section 153.155 "Any nonconforming building shall not be enlarged or structurally altered..." Existing side yard setback is 4í.

Mr. DiMarco said my existing car port is two feet away from my property line and that is why I am not in compliance at this time. At this point I would like to stay with a building that is in the same distance which is two feet. The building I would like to construct is 14 feet wide. Once you are in the garage you could not open both car doors with a 12 foot wide width, so the 14 feet is pretty important.

Mr. Mitchell asked if the only issue was the two foot setback. Mr. McErlane responded I know there is a Building Code issue that if a structure is built within three feet of the property line, the exterior wall has to be one hour fire rated construction with no windows on that side. Mr. DiMarco responded that would be fine; I did not plan on windows, but upstairs I did. Mr. Mitchell asked the applicant if he would eliminate that window? Mr. DiMarco answered I would bring it in another foot so it would be 13 feet and I would be three feet in from the property line instead of the current two feet. At 13 feet I could still have windows, right? Mr. McErlane reported it needs to be greater than three feet. If it is three feet one inch, fine.

Mr. Schecker said the other concern would be the elevation of the structure as opposed to the current line of sight structures in that whole neighborhood, how a two story building would impact the neighborhood. Mr. Mitchell stated that issue isnít before us; we are dealing with the setback.

Mrs. Boice asked how close that would put him to his neighbor. Mr. DiMarco answered my car port now is two feet from my neighborís yard. His back patio is two feet away from mine. I have a privacy fence there that I would take down. He has a sliding glass door, and right now all he can see is my privacy fence which at least would be removed and give him at least two more feet.

Mr. McErlane stated with respect to Mr. Scheckerís comment about the height, just because the setback is the variance requested doesnít mean that you canít consider all the issues involved in it. The current required setback is six feet within this district and he is requesting three foot one inch to the face of the wall.

Mr. Okum commented this is tough, because the height is an issue. Right now your neighbor looks out at your fence but if you go two stories and he looks up, he wonít see sky; heíll see a wall. Could you think about shifting it over your house some? I donít have a problem with the one car garage on the first floor, but I have a problem with the very full 17 foot wall there with the roof line. I would like to see it shifted, and it can be done. I know it costs more to do it, but I think you are going to have a neater more contemporary look and you can eliminate that vertical wall that your neighbor would be looking at.

 

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

18 March 1997

Page Six

VIII D DAN DIMARCO 585 GRANDIN AVENUE GARAGE & SECOND STORY

Mr. DiMarco said the original room I had anticipated would have an attic like setting, and the building wouldnít be quite as high. If you look on the fourth page, there are two eight foot walls there. The original building I saw that I adapted from only had a four foot wall and the attic built that way. It would be a smaller type room, maybe 12 foot high rather than 17 foot, and would be placed at the top of the house. It would be the same height or maybe a foot higher than the existing roof. That was my original plan.

Mr. Mitchell wondered if this neighbor had reviewed and okayed the plan, and Mr. DiMarco said yes. My only other question concerns the variance statement. If I did alter this, could I come back here before the six months? Mr. Mitchell answered you could table it until next month. Mr. DiMarco said that would be fine as long as I knew what I had to do. In other words go down to 13 feet or three feet away from the wall and get rid of the height. Mr. Okum asked the minimum ceiling height and Mr. McErlane stated that it is 7í6" for 50% of the room if you are using a cape cod room.

Mr. Schecker commented I didnít mean to shoot you down and say that height is a total problem. Mr. DiMarco said in the whole street I would be the only one with a second story. The only thing I was thinking was that where I started is three feet lower than most of the existing houses, because I am starting lower than the foundation. It is a concern of mine too.

Mr. Mitchell asked the applicant if he wished to table the item and Mr. DiMarco indicated that he did. Mrs. Boice moved to table and Mr. Squires seconded the motion. By voice vote all voted aye, and the item was tabled to April 15th.

IX. DISCUSSION

Mrs. Boice said Mr. Schecker brought up a good point; how nice to have an applicant that is willing to work with us.

X. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Okum moved for adjournment and Mr. Squires seconded the motion. All voted aye, and the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

________________________,1997 _________________________

William Mitchell, Chairman

 

 

________________________,1997 __________________________

Barbara Ewing, Secretary