19 MARCH 2002

7:00 P.M.

  2. The meeting was called to order at 7:04 p.m. by Chairman David Okum.

  4. Members Present: Robert Apke, Fred Borden, Councilwoman Marjorie Pollitt, Councilman James Squires,

    Robert Weidlich, Jane Huber and Chairman


    Others Present: Richard G. Lohbeck, Inspection Supervisor

  7. Mr. Apke pointed out typos and the corrected Minutes were adopted with seven affirmative votes.

    1. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes 12 February 2002
    2. Zoning Bulletin Ė February 10, 2002
    3. Zoning Bulletin Ė February 25, 2002
    4. 3/12/02 Letter from Dave Okum to Lykins Oil re BZA decision on canopy fascia change to EXXON Station, 11444 Springfield Pike

Mr. Borden asked if the letter was for clarification, and Mr. Okum answered that it was to inform them of the decision. It was an appeal of the Planning Commission denial, and we had to give them formal notice.

    1. Report on Council Activities Ė no report
    2. Report on Planning Commission Ė David Okum

We looked at a building elevation change to Globe Furniture at 11745 Commons Drive, the space between the Roberds canopy and the eastern corner of the property. Globe Furniture is a wholly owned company; there is a showroom in Cincinnati and a warehouse downtown that they want to relocate into this space.

The request was for a final approval, and after some discussion, it was moved to preliminary review, getting our input. They will come back to the next meeting with the final elevation drawings and modifications.

We had another dedication plat, the right of way at the southeast corner of West Kemper and Springfield Pike, a cleanup issue.









19 MARCH 2002



Mr. Okum said that under discussion, we looked at the requirement only allowing two animals in a single-family residence. The City Planner researched other communities and did a comparison. They are working out the details, but the plannerís recommendation is to allow three pets in a single-family residence. Anything four or more would be a kennel. Some communities have no restrictions and others are more restrictive. Springdale is one of the most restrictive of all the communities surveyed.

Mrs. Huber asked if this was brought in by a citizen, and Mr. Okum answered that it was referred to the City by a citizen, and I donít know if she wants to increase the number allowed. Mrs. Webb stated that she is, and the reason why she is not coming before the BZA is because she wants to change the rule. That is why it is going through the Planning Commission.

Mrs. Pollitt reported that she came to Council because she has a young dog and an old dog. The old dog has a terminal illness and she wants to get another dog while the old dog is still living. My only concern is the number of animal bites that come before the Board of Health; we see quite a few of those. Springdale is not as high as many of the communities, and maybe that is because we have stricter leash laws and the two animals per households. The county recently distributed that information, and Springdale was at the low end of the spectrum.

Mr. Okum said there was discussion of insurance companies that have prohibition on certain types of animals and have no coverage. In the meeting, I wondered if it were the Cityís position to make sure that all the animals in a home are insurable risks. That would be almost to an extreme point, but the insurance companies have taken strong stands on the types of dogs that you can have.

Mr. Squires said that the administration feels we should keep it at two animals. Any calls made to residents with more than two are because of complaints. We donít approve of more than two, but we keep two as a basis, and if there is a consistent complaint from neighbors about a resident having more than two animals and making noise and health care, we will respond to that. We can enforce that with two, but it is usually answered on a complaint basis.

Mrs. Pollitt added that our police department does an excellent job of documenting bites and dangerous animals. Two bites and they have to be either removed from the city or they take them to court for better control of the animal. We really donít have that big of a problem here, and I donít think if you change it to three animals it would make that much of a difference.

Mr. Okum said one of the things I mentioned at Planning was whether the dog was kept in or out of the home. That makes a big difference on how that affects the neighbors. If you have two or three dogs out in a caged area, that will be a lot more negative to the community environment, than two or three dogs inside your home.


19 MARCH 2002



Mr. Okum reported that the planner is still assembling the information and it will be brought back to Planning Commission at the next meeting and then forwarded on to Council. There are issues in terms of clarifying domestic versus wild animals.

Mr. Squires said regarding the letter to Lykins Oil Company, it says "the board also imposed additional conditions, which are an eight inch red canopy over the doorway, non-glare lighting and that the entire building be painted gray."

Most of that has been done; there is a red canopy over the doorway. My question concerns the yellow that is still there from the previous Shell owner. Will that be allowed o stay there? Mr. Okum responded that it will have to be painted gray.


  3. OLD BUSINESS Ė none
    1. Dan Comer requests variance to allow the pole sign 63 s.f. in area at Northtown Plaza, 328 Northland Boulevard. Said variance is requested from Section 153.531(D)(2) of the Springdale Zoning Code that requires the total sign area to be 50 s.f.

Mike Randall of Tri-State Signs said we have a letter authorizing me to represent Mr. Comer. He stated that 50 s.f. is the maximum allowed for that property. The total area of the existing sign is 56 s.f. It is not counted because it is not a part of the advertisement part of the sign. The sign that we want to put up would be to accommodate 14 different business in that shopping center totals 63 s.f. The bottom loops are non-load bearing and have no wind effect on the sign whatsoever. The pole and footer will accept that sign, and no actual windload will increase because of the sign.

Mr. Comer is trying to upgrade the sign that is 33 years old He wants it to look nice for the community and his business. He has done a lot of work with the parking lot and pavement. We tried to make it smaller so we wouldnít need the variance, but with 14 different businesses on one sign, right now we have four-inch letters for each tenant. With four-inch letters, the visibility is about 100 feet. Any smaller letters would not help the tenants whatsoever.

Mr. Okum opened the public hearing. No one came forward, and he closed the public hearing.

Mr. Lohbeck reported that the applicant is requesting to replace a sign cabinet on the existing pole. The proposed sign cabinet is 84" wide by 108" high, or 63 s.f., which exceeds the maximum 50 s.f. permitted by 153.531(D)(2). Our records show the existing sign cabinet to be 84" x 84" or 49 s.f.



19 MARCH 2002



Mr. Squires asked if there been any consideration for a monument sign? Mr. Randall answered it has not been discussed, and from where it is setting, I donít know if a monument sign would be good in terms of getting in and out of the center. If we brought it down, we might have to move it in a little.

Mr. Squires said you are a professional sign maker. Can you visualize a monument sign being of any use to Mr. Comer there? Mr. Randall responded I donít know the height of a monument sign, but it could be an option. Mr. Squires commented that Springdale would like to get away from pole signs if possible.

Mr. Weidlich asked what provisions are in place when one business moves out before a new tenant would come in. What would they do with the sign. Mr. Randall answered that the individual panels are removable. Mr. Weidlich asked if bare light bulbs would be showing during the transition period, and Mr. Randall indicated that there would not be. There is a sign that says Now Leasing, and he has blank panels that he could put in there. I personally think that this sign would make a nice addition to the property.

Mr. Okum asked what would happen if Mr. Comer decided to break this up into two more spots. Mr. Randall answered that he would have to go to smaller signage within that and smaller letters, and it wouldnít be beneficial to him because of the visibility.

Mr. Okum said I canít read that much graphics from 100 feet. .I have some real concerns because that mall has been cut up and there have been a number of different businesses in it, subdivided and split. If we are adjusting a sign size to accommodate 14 businesses, what happens when the 15th business comes in? Will one of these businesses have to give up their sign space or tag another sign onto the side of it. Mr. Randall said we could round that so it would not be seen by both sides.

Mrs. Pollitt asked the applicant to explain the difference between your 56 s. f. that you say the existing sign is, and the staff report that says it is 49 s.f. Mr. Randall answered that the 49 s.f. is the actual signage, the advertisement. There is pole skirting coming down both sides. That will be taken away and the pole will be wrapped with white aluminum, which takes away some of the wind load. Some municipalities count that as part of the signage.

Mrs. Pollitt said you mentioned that the owner has repaved the parking lot. Has he done any other remodeling work over there? Mr. Randall answered I donít know. I know that he has changed some signs on the building. Mr. Okum added I see an improvement on the signs, but I donít see an improvement on the development. The signs have been changed, but the buildings are the same. Why should we increase the signage? There is no hardship for those businesses currently, because they havenít been identified on the sign for all those years. There is not a necessity for those businesses to be individually noticed on that. Having not seen any improvements or changes to the development over the years except new tenants, I couldnít be supporting the sign increase. There is definitely no justification for it.


19 MARCH 2002



Mrs. Pollitt said I have to agree; there are more serious issues at this location that need to be addressed prior to the signage.

Mr. Okum added that I can echo Mr. Squiresí comments. Increasing pole signage size is not the direction the City has gone, and a lot of businesses are shifting to ground mounted signs where they get a little more latitude on the design.

Mr. Squires asked Mr. Randall if he would be willing to meet with Mr. Comer and discuss designs for monument signs that we might consider. Mr. Randall indicated that he would. Mr. Squires said the direction that the City wants to go in signage is monument signs.

From some of the comments I am hearing, I think we would like to take a real good look at an alternative to the pole sign, like a nice monument sign that we might even have to give you a variance for because of the right of way. Even at 30-35 m.p.h. on Northland Boulevard, it would be tough to see four-inch letters. I think there would be a compromise we might be able to get if you are willing to work with your client on that and he is willing to also.

Mr. Borden said if the applicant considered a monument sign, would he lose any parking spaces? Mr. Randall answered I think he would lose a parking space, and whether that matters to him or not I donít know, but I will talk to him about this.

Mr. Okum said we could table this; you could withdraw it. I donít hear a lot of favorable comments toward a vote that you would go your way. If you are going to come back with some thing totally different, there is no sense in tabling it. It would be better to withdraw it. Or you could take the vote and still come in with a new sign package next month. Mr. Randall said even if it was a pole sign. Mr. Okum responded if it was a different pole sign, it would have to be considered, but it would have to be different.

Mr. Okum asked him if he wanted the board to vote on it to bring it to a conclusion and Mr. Randall indicated that he did.

Mr. Apke moved to deny the 63 s.f. pole sign at 328 Northland Boulevard. Mrs. Pollitt seconded the motion.

Mr. Okum said based on the information provided, I donít see any reason to change the allowable square footage on this site.

Mr. Borden said so the applicant is clear, if this is denied, you have six months before you can comes back with the same application, but you could comes back next month with a different submittal.

All voted aye, except Mr. Weidlich and Mrs. Huber, and the variance was denied with five affirmative and two negative votes.







19 MARCH 2002


B. Mapleknoll Village 11100 Springfield Pike requests approval of a new 5í x 2í-8" ground sign. Said variance is requested from Section 153.530(A) "one bulletin board, announcement, or identification signÖ"

Kim Henley Project Manager of Viox Services and general contractor the installation of the sign introduced John Prose of


In the past year, Mapleknollís parent company has developed a new corporate identification, LifeSphere. They have installed new graphics on their vans and buses, and they are trying to incorporate that logo into all of the properties that are handled by LifeSphere.

Mapleknoll would like to get this identification as a part of the Mapleknoll campus. In reviewing the signs that are already there, we did a marquee sign a few years ago, and we didnít see a good way to incorporate that new identification into that sign in an attractive manner.

What we are proposing is a small sign with the LifeSphere identification that would be installed about 100 feet north of the existing marquee sign.

Mr. Oklum opened the public hearing.

John Prose Executive Director of Mapleknoll Village said our corporate headquarters are located at this site, so this helps by way of identification.

Mr. Okum closed the public hearing.

Mr. Lohbeck reported that the applicant is requesting a 2í-8" x 5í ground sign 3í-10" high. The proposed sign would be the third ground sign on the property. Section 153.530(A) permits only one identification sign per property. Currently there is a ground sign at the entrance to Manor House at the north end of the property and a Mapleknoll ground sign approximately 98 feet south of this proposed sign.

The proposed sign area is 13.3 s.f. The sign placement plan shows the street right of way to be 30 feet from the centerline of Springfield Pike. An additional five feet of right of way was dedicated recently, making the right of way approximately 35 feet from the centerline. The true property line needs to be established in the field prior to constructing the sign.

Mr. Okum said so this sign would be 35 feet from the centerline. Ms. Henley said I had shown 30 feet based on the last sign we put in there about three years ago. I was not aware that it had been extended back another five feet.







19 MARCH 2002



Mr. Okum asked if she were planning on putting it closer to the right of way than the existing sign that is there. Ms. Henley answered that she was not, adding that the existing sign was set at 30 feet to the east of the center line of Springfield Pike. When that sign was done, that was the right of way line. Now the right of way line has been moved back another five feet, so I would need to move the sign back another five feet to be within those limits.

Mr. Squires said you said the LifeSphere now owns Mapleknoll. Mr. Prose answered that it is a name change from Southwestern Ohio Senior Services. Mr. Squires said so in your opinion, would the sign 98 feet south of that that says Mapleknoll Village be somewhat redundant. Mr. Prose answered no, because there are two operations happening there. We have the operation of Mapleknoll Village and in addition to that, the corporate headquarters for LifeSphere is housed at that site. We actually have two operations contained in the one building, and it helps with identification.

Mr. Borden said so the issue is that they have an additional sign when the code only permits one, and there is no problem with square footage. Mr. Lohbeck confirmed this. Mr. Borden said and you are not renaming any other signs LifeSphere at the site?

Ms. Henley answered not on that particular site. We have requested a building permit to replace the sign on the opposite side of the street, but that is quite a bit further up. It doesnít say LifeSphere on it; it is a replacement of a sign at the Mapleknoll Senior Center, which would have a logo on it. It doesnít have anything about LifeSphere. Although the Senior Center is directly across the street from the entrance, it isnít really that close in proximity to this particular sign.

Mr. Weidlich asked if the corporate headquarters had just moved to this site and is that the reason you are asking for signage now for this. Mr. Prose answered the main reason is because the size of the organization has grown and we now have corporate officers located here.

Mr. Okum asked the number of square feet of LifeSphere office space. Lena Mares said I presently am Executive Director of The Knolls of Oxford, but because I have a long history with this association, I am helping John out this evening.

There is probably about 500 s.f. of actual office space. However, there are many functions that go on, i.e. business and office and we also have a boardroom which is 600-800 s.f. It is difficult to identify specifically, because some people have responsibilities in more than one area. As John said, because we have continued to expand, we have people from outside of the Springdale community that have been familiar with Mapleknoll, coming more readily to the Springdale campus.





19 MARCH 2002



Mr. Okum said so we are saying that the Mapleknoll sign will stay as we see it. It may change later, but this is strictly a corporate identity for the corporate image that ties all of the properties that are home offices.

Ms. Mares added that the Mapleknoll Senior Center sign will say A LifeSphere Community Program so there will be a tag line on there that will say LifeSphere.

Ms. Pollitt said this would be the third sign on the property. Was there a variance issued for the second sign? Mr. Okum indicated that there was. I think it was at our request, because Mapleknoll was coming to us on a regular basis wanting to have an information sign concerning events. This board felt they needed something more permanent and we recommended that a permanent sign be placed there.

Mr. Squires said I thought that either the second or first sign was strictly for Manor House. Ms. Mares said I believe that our main entry sign says Mapleknoll Village WMKV 89.3 fm and The Manor House. Mr. Squires said there is a separate sign for The Manor House also. Ms. Mares said there is a small sign in front of the guard station that says The Manor House, a directional sign.

Mr. Squires asked if the directional sign counted as the third sign, and Mr. Lohbeck answered that directional signs are not counted. There are two other ones, the one they mentioned and the one down towards the Manor House entrance.

Ms. Mares said there is a sign at the entry, the traffic light which is the main sign that says Mapleknoll Village The Manor House and WMKV. Then there is the marquee sign, the changeable sign, and this will be the third sign. There also is a small sign that directs people to The Manor House.

Mr. Okum asked how much of the road does Mapleknoll front, ľ of a mile? Ms. Mares answered when we did the dedication of the right of way four years ago, it ended up being about a mile, in terms of all the property impacted on both sides. Mr. Okum said I am just saying in front of there it must be at least ľ of a mile, and we are only talking about three small signs.

Mr. Borden said with your expansion, do you see a need for signage in addition to this one? Mr. Prose said no. Our intention is to maintain the name of Mapleknoll Village that is well identified, and the corporate name. We are maxxed on that property and we expect these signs would communicate what we need to have communicated.

Mr. Apke said because of the fact that they have significant roadway frontage and the proposed sign is only 13.3 s.f., I believe I would be in favor of granting this variance.






19 MARCH 2002



Mr. Apke moved to approve an additional ground sign 2í-8" x 5í, 3í-10" high with a sign area of 13.3 s.f. for Mapleknoll Village, 11100 Springfield Pike Mr. Borden seconded the motion.

Mr. Squires said I would like to amend that slightly to include a sign for LifeSphere to be placed on the Mapleknoll property for the purpose of identifying their corporate headquarters. .

Mr. Borden suggested that the distance from the existing sign be added to the amendment. Mr. Squires agreed, adding that the sign would be 98 feet from the other sign and 35 feet from the centerline.

Mr. Okum said I think it is a good idea to identify the reason as for corporate identity, but I donít think including LifeSphere is appropriate. We shouldnít include the content of the sign within the motion. Mr. Squires said letís change it to corporate identity and 98 feet from the other sign and 35 feet from the centerline.

Mr. Borden seconded the amendment.

On the amendment all voted aye and the amendment passed with seven affirmative votes. On the motion, all voted aye except Mr. Weidlich, and the variance was granted with six affirmative and one negative votes.

  2. Mr. Apke reported that he attended the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission Certified Planning Commissionerís Program. I would like to thank the city administration for allowing me the opportunity to attend. Some of the topics we covered included the following: planning basics, planning process, plan implementation and land use control, meeting management, analytical skills development and the program concluded with a mock planning session.

    Our trainers included Greg Dale, our City Planner Anne McBride, Tim Burke, John Meckstroth, Bob Manley and quite a few others from the University of Cincinnati, Hamilton County and the various communities in the county.

    I also was able to discuss issues with participants from all over the Hamilton County region, which was very valuable.

    The one major learning I took away which I thought would be relevant to those of us on BZA was the fact that we have often heard contradictory advice on whether or not we should visit sites before BZA meetings. I put this question to Tim Burke, and he said that by all means we should visit sites as BZA members. He did caution against any discussions with the property owners, but he strongly recommended visiting the sites.




    19 MARCH 2002


    X DISCUSSION Ė continued

    Mr. Weidlich said since our last meeting when we approved the 1700 s.f. house, I have been looking at the multiple listings for property and looking at some for sale in the Cloverdale/Smiley area.

    Currently there are seven properties under contract, whose lot sizes range from 50 to 55 foot widths. Driving around I counted seven possible properties in one block. I am bringing this up again to ask if something should be addressed to allow houses in that part of Springdale to be smaller than the current code requires. Perhaps we could revert back to the 10% setback and a reduction in the square footage, so we donít get another house like they are building on that 45-foot frontage lot. That is a nasty looking house, and the garage looks inaccessible in the back.

    Mr. Weidlich added that four of these properties under contract are on Forest Avenue that is a paper street, and are selling for $4,000. I assume that people on Dimmick are buying them for back yards. There are two on Smiley and one on Dimmick for $19,900, which are 50 and 52-foot wide lots. We are probably going to see a lot of requests for smaller homes over there.

    Mr. Okum said I did ask Mr. McErlane if we had changed the restrictions for that district when we changed the Zoning Code, and we did not redistrict that. It always has been that district. You get into controversy when you deal with changing zoning on properties, what those zones should be for a use. If the applicant were allowed to build a 1700 s.f. high-pitched roof all brick in that district, he could afford to do that, and by requiring conditions within the variance, the board was able to accomplish that. I said at the meeting that 2,000 s.f. does not dictate a quality home.

    If we would change the zoning for that area to allow for a different character or requirement, we would then have 1500 or 1700 s.f. homes that are basically sided box.

    Mr. Weidlich wondered if a precedent wasnít set when we approved that 1700 s.f. home. Mr. Okum responded we allowed an all brick high pitched roof home on the lot. We lowered the required square footage, but we set conditions that held that property to a higher standard.

    Mr. Squires said Mr. Weidlich is right. If a builder wants to come in on a 55 foot lot and build a 2,000 s.f. box he can do it and there isnít anything we can do about it. That is why this 1700 s.f. home with the conditions was a win-win for everybody.

    I am afraid that a builder will come in on one of those small lots and build a 2,000 s.f. box house. I know the administration is concerned about it. Mrs. Pollitt and I will be more than happy to address these issues to Council. In essence, Council has heard that those lots on Cloverdale are unique. We hope something can be done about it.



    19 MARCH 2002


    X DISCUSSION Ė continued

    Ms. Pollitt commented I left the last meeting thinking we should get Council to change the zoning in that area. After thinking about it, and hearing your comments tonight, I totally agree that I would rather see someone have to come to the Board of Zoning Appeals and ask for a smaller house but one done with more quality, than a 2,000 s.f. house without a lot of quality. There are so few lots left; is there anything we can do to guarantee a quality construction? Is there anything that could mandate that those come before the BZA?

    Mr. Okum responded you can do it with conditions on zoning with a variance. As far as the City is concerned, you canít spot zone, so you canít take those seven parcels and give them a special designation.

    You could set an overlay district, which is what we did on Springfield Pike where you overlay a concept and set standards in that concept for what happens there. Iím not sure, but an overlay zoning may be an option, but it still goes through the same process. It is putting restrictions on areas that are more restrictive than what is there to allow for a blend. The overlay district has to have certain criteria, but it is worth bringing up to our city planner.

    Mr. Borden said it sounds to me that the only way to get a quality home that is not 2,000 s.f. we would have to grant a variance for each one of those homes.

    Mr. Okum said I canít disagree with you, but on the other hand there is good zoning and there is bad zoning, and sometimes you have to look at what the intent is.

    Mr. Borden said our criteria for granting a variance does not include financial concerns, so we shouldnít consider that. If the applicant says he wants to build a 2,000 s.f. house but canít afford to, we shouldnít consider that.

    Mr. Apke said I think that the special overlay district would be the first thing to consider as a possible remedy. I think it probably should be looked at. Mr. Bordenís comments are well taken. I agree that is a difficult area and it is starting to look like variances are governing the development back there.

    One other thing that they brought up at the regional planning meeting that may influence the development there is a comprehensive plan. A lot of times the comprehensive plan will take precedence overall if it is adopted. I know we are in the draft process, and if the language in the comprehensive plan is made in such a way to address the character of that neighborhood and what we want to see there, it may actually supercede the zoning, or at least provide another argument as to what we would like to see in that district.





    19 MARCH 2002


    X DISCUSSION Ė continued

    Mr. Okum said point well taken. I can go back to Planning Commission with these comments. Planning is involved in both overlay districts and our comprehensive plan and comprehensive land use plan. Mr. Apke commented that a comprehensive plan is higher than a land use plan. Mr. Okum reported that our comprehensive plan is currently in final review and editing and legal review. It has to be brought before planning Commission, but those are both good areas to look at. We have our city planner at the meeting and we can utilize that input.

    The one thing that worked well for the overlay district was we were blending uses. That is what made it legally defensible. We were setting a chain of events that would put light retail into some apartment use into business district and blending. We had those residential homes across the street (Springfield Pike) and we had to make sure that the impact on the east side wouldnít affect the single-family residences on the west side.

    I donít know if the land use plan in a single residential district in itself can be used as a tool.

    Mr. Apke said according to what I learned, the land use plan would not work. It would have to be the actual comprehensive plan. Mr. Okum said the overlay district would not work because of the fact that it is a single use district, not a blend of different types of uses. I think all this needs to go back to Planning Commission. I think the administration and council people are very concerned, and everybody should be.

    Mr. Borden said I wonder if there are enough vacant lots to warrant any further action. If there are only a few, there would be no action to take.

    Mr. Apke responded I drove around the area like Mr. Weidlich did, and there are actually quite a few lots. Maybe the city should do an inventory of what we have, study what is there and what could be developed and what is locked up and who owns it.


Mr. Apke moved to adjourn and Mr. Borden seconded the motion. By voice vote, all voted aye, and the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


____________________,2002 __________________________

David Okum, Chairman


____________________,2002 __________________________

Jane Huber, Secretary