21 MARCH 2000

7:00 P.M.



The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m. by Chairman David Okum.


Members Present: Frederick Borden, Jane Huber, Robert Apke, Robert Weidlich, Councilman James Squires, Councilman Robert Wilson and Chairman Okum.

Others Present: Richard G. Lohbeck, Inspection Supervisor

Doyle H. Webster, Mayor



Mr. Squires moved for approval and Mr. Wilson seconded the motion. By voice vote, all voted aye, and the Minutes were approved with seven affirmative votes.


    1. Zoning Bulletin Index – 1999j
    2. Zoning Bulletin – January 10, 2000
    3. Zoning Bulletin – January 25, 2000
    4. Zoning Bulletin – February 10, 2000
    5. Zoning Bulletin – February 25, 2000
    6. Planning Commission Minutes – January 11, 2000
    7. Planning Commission Minutes – February 8, 2000
    8. 1/25/00 Letter to Michael Murdock, 12172 Greencastle Drive
    9. 1/25/00 Letter to Stanley A. Hoffman, 12033 Marwood Lane


    1. Report on Council Activities – James Squires

Mr. Squires commented we have had at least three council meetings since our January meeting. Ordinance 6 amended the Zoning Code by a vote of 7-0; Ordinance 10 enacted compensation for elected officials – 4-3; When this becomes effective, compensation for all other commissions will be considered. Ordinance 13 amended planning and zoning fees – 7-0. This ordinance deleted the fees for variances for single household residential and all other residential which was originally suggested at $50 was reduced to zero. The second was all other residential and non-residential which was suggested at $200 and was also reduced to zero. Our legal counsel indicated that "fees need to be established relative to the cost of performing the variance hearings and administrating handling and at the same time be fair and equitable to all those who need to avail themselves in this quasi judicial function. If the Council is inclined to reduce single family or multi family to no charge, we will suggest a commercial fee. Something less than the actual cost should be considered. This would give a break to all property owners and give us a better [position to defend if necessary." Mr. Squires added it was the opinion of legal counsel that the way this was originally stated it wasn’t defensible, and it was reduced to zero. Resolution 7 was passed opposing the amendment to the Ohio Constitution regarding collection of the income tax, (the tax to where you live only).




21 MARCH 2000



Mr. Okum commented as a member of this board, it appears to me that most of the cases regarding single family residential issues are things that have already been done in violation to the Zoning Code. They are here for relief after it already has been completed. I’m at a loss that Council didn’t take that into consideration on the burden that this board hears on so many occasions. It seems to be a very repetitious issue. The penalty is a building permit fee. Maybe the fee shouldn’t be the punishment, but there is no resolve to their thinking they can bring it to the Board of Zoning Appeals and they will grant a variance on something already constructed. In the years I have been involved, I can’t recall the number of times the City or this board has had something moved that was put in the wrong place. We have had some tolerance, and I would have hoped Council would have looked at that and seen that it is a redundant issue. Unfortunately it was passed without a fee, and as a result of that being passed, a second fee issue had to be waived to be fair. So, we lost two fees, and obviously there are costs incurred by the variance request. When the fee schedules are reviewed again, I think this is something that needs to be looked at.

Mr. Squires responded both Mr. Wilson and I spoke to that very issue in the much the same words you used. Both Mr. Wilson and I used the example of a resident building a shed not only too close to the property line but more than 120 square feet. I thought this $50 fee was more than reasonable. Legal counsel had trouble with it, and I think we acquiesced to him on that. Mr. Wilson added it clearly was a liability issue. We have to be very cognizant of this; even when you win you lose because you pay attorney fees.

Mayor Webster said you raised some good points, but I think if you view the replay of the council meting, there were a lot of good points made for not charging. You are right. The City bears an expense for somebody to get a variance, but we bear expense in providing public service across the board in every department, so we’re not unique here.

Also, you have people cited that maybe bought a piece of property where two or three owners previously put up a shed or did something contrary to the code and now the inspector happened to see it. If we cite somebody to Mayor’s Court we are going to fine them before we even hear the case. I think that is what we are faced with here; we are going to make those people pay a fee just to have their case heard because they have been cited for something. The costs incurred are the costs of the City doing business and providing services to the residents. We have waived building permit fees for residents to encourage people to do things and we thought this flew in the face of that, was contrary to what the City wants to represent to its citizens.

We talked about giving this board the right to levy a fee but that puts you in a very precarious position. I don’t think any of us favored doing that. It’s a tough enough job.

Mr. Okum added it puts you in a position of considering a fee to appear before this board as a fee of punishment and it does look that way and could be construed that way. On the other hand, maybe it’s the penalty of the error, and maybe the permit penalty is not adequate. Mr. Webster responded that is a separate issue, and maybe the City should take a look at it, but this is not the right place to do that.

Mr. Okum responded I agree with that, and I understand that this is the

decision of Council and we will live by that decision.



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B. Report on Planning Commission

Mr. Okum stated there were two meetings of Planning since we met last. Both meetings involved White Castle parking area and an expansion to an existing building at 161 Container Place. That project received preliminary approval and when they returned for final approval, it was denied. They had the opportunity to appeal the decision within 30 days, but their time has now expired. Sofa Express failed to appear at both meetings and at the last meeting it was removed from the agenda, so they will have to reapply to appear before Planning.

White Castle made a presentation at an earlier meeting, suggestions were made, they met with staff, and at the last meeting, they came back with a fairly good very complete set of plans which had addressed most of the issues. White Castle is on our agenda this evening to consider variances concerning setback requirements and sign requirements.

We also had replotting of the Pictoria Island site, which went back to the original plot approved some years ago.

We recommended the Route 4 Corridor Review District Map to Council for approval.

We also received a presentation by our City {Planner for a comprehensive land use plan for the City.

  2. 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 appeals ix months after the denial.

    B. Chairman’s Statement

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is a Public Hearing, and all testimony given in cases pending before this board are to be made part of the public record. As such, each citizen testifying before the board is directed to sign in, take his place at the podium, and state his name, address and the nature of the variance. Be advised that all testimony and discussion relative to said variance is recorded. It is from this recording that our minutes are taken.


A. Revocation of Variance 9-1994, to Replace Utility Shed less than 5 Feet from Main Building – Stanley A. Hoffman, 12033 Marwood Lane

Mrs. Webb reported that Mrs. Hoffman phoned the Building Department and stated they did not wish to extend the variance. Mr. Squires moved to revoke the variance and Mr. Borden seconded the motion. Voting aye were Mr. Squires, Mr. Borden, Mrs. Huber, Mr. Apke, Mr. Weidlich, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Okum. Revocation was approved with seven votes.

    1. Revocation of Variance 8-1999 to Construct a 12’ x 16’ Shed in Rear Yard – Michael Murdock – 12172 Greencastle Drive

No one was present. Mrs. Webb reported that Mr. Murdock called the Building Department and had indicated that he wanted to continue the variance and would be here this evening. Mr. Wilson suggested delaying it to the end of the agenda to give him time to arrive. The Board set it aside.


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  2. . A. White Castle Requests Variances for Parking Expansion at 11587

    Springfield Pike. Variances are requested from Section 153.510(B), Section 153,531(D)(7) and Section 153.531(C)(1)(b) for total sign area, ground sign area and the fact that the loading space is visible from the street.

    Jim Mundt, Regional Manager of White Castle approached the Board. Chairman Okum said your allowable sign area is 137.5 square feet, and your existing sign area is 133 square feet. Mr. Mundt stated we are proposing to add a sign at the corner that would be about 29 square feet, a stone monument sign. I have a rendering of what it will look like. It doesn’t have specific dimensions as yet. We refined the design after being with Planning Commission. Mr. Okum said let the record show that the applicant has presented a stone monument sign, which is 5’6" at the highest point. It runs from one foot out, and the highest center portion of the monument will be 13‘ 6" wide. Mr. Mundt added from the left side of the white, to the right side of the castle is 13’6", and it will be mounted on the fieldstone wall. We haven’t determined the overall width of the wall. We want to make it something contoured, curved slightly that will be a landscaped feature. There was considerable concern on the part of Planning that it be something attractive and not look like a sign.

    Mr. Wilson wondered if this proposal was common with most White Castles. Mr. Mundt answered this is something brand new. We have not built this kind of sign before. Mr. Wilson asked if this would be included in other White Castles, as part of your logo, and Mr. Mundt confirmed that it would be. We originally proposed a rectangular sign on the corner, with a metal cabinet built out of split face block and Planning did not like the split face block, and didn’t want blue or white. I suggested fieldstone and we refined it from that rectangle to that gently sloping wall.

    Mr. Wilson said my first concern is if this is going to be a part of your logo and new signage, the whole thing should be considered part of signage. When you look at the total project, aesthetically t his looks a whole lot better than what you proposed initially. I don’t feel uncomfortable about it, but I wanted to make that comment.

    Mr. Squires commented the standard White Castle building will still be that isn’t it; you aren’t going to change anything there. Mr. Mundt answered it will be the same. Mr. Squires asked if the parking lot would be repaved, and Mr. Mundt answered that it would be , with extensive landscaping. Mr. Squires asked if it were leased or owned, and Mr. Mundt responded that it is to be leased. We lease the parcel where the restaurant is located, and the corner will be leased from the same party for the same period.

    Mr. Okum said the sign request is reduced down to 162.6 square feet, and the allowable sign area is 137.5 s.f. There is also the matter of directional signs exceeding 6 s.f. which are located closer than 5 feet to the public right of way. He asked the applicant to describe where the signs are and their purpose.

    Mr. Mundt reported that the new signs are located adjacent to the north drive. One is Sign R, which is an entrance for southbound traffic. The other sign is Sign S, in the landscaped area which is a Do Not Enter sign for any traffic that might get turned around in the parking lot and try to exit that driveway. The third sign is Sign K that identifies that the drive through traffic has to go to the right. All of those signs are less than 6 s.f. but two of them are within 11 feet of the right of way.





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    Mr. Lohbeck reported that according to their site plan, they could set Sign R back 5 feet from the right of way, so all of them would comply. The 10-foot requirement was based on the old code, and the new code allows 5 feet from the right of way, so they could make that if you want to go with that. Mr. Okum commented it doesn’t sound like we have a lot of objection to where they are requesting. You are saying that Sign R would meet our current code. Mr. Lohbeck confirmed this, adding that then they would not need a variance for that part. Mr. Okum responded since the application was submitted prior to the new code, we will stay with the old code.

    Mr. Okum said there was some discussion by one of the Planning Commission members, and I would be totally wrong if I didn’t bring it up again to see what White Castle’s position was. It doesn’t matter on the vote, but have you considered the question of the neon banding around the building. Mr. Mundt responded we have discussed it, and we would like to retain it if at all possible. Mr. Okum wondered if they would have any problem reversing it so it is blocked so the tubes aren’t visible, and the light is projected on the building and not off the building, in other words to reverse light it instead of frontward lighting it. It still would give the blue effect; it would just lose the tube effect. It is a shield so you don’t see the tube. Mr. Mundt answered that he would be willing to do that.

    Mr. Squires moved to grant the three variances to White Castle, the placement of the loading space (visible from the right of way), directional signs and a total of 162.6 square feet of signage, based on this submission. Mrs. Huber seconded the motion.

    On the motion to approve, Mr. Squires, Mrs. Huber, Mr. Borden, Mr. Okum, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Apke, and Mr. Weidlich voted aye, and approval was granted with seven affirmative votes.

    Mr. Borden asked about the revocation of Variance 8, the 12’ x 16’ shed at 12172 Greencastle Drive, which was moved to the end of the meeting. Mr. Okum said we were trying to give the applicant the opportunity to get here. It is up to the board; should we consider it this evening or give the applicant to next month? Mr. Wilson stated I would like for us to give him a chance to come back next month. Here has to be a reason he is not here. I would rather table it to next month and send him a note indicating that we missed him and if he is not present at the next meeting, we will assume that he doesn’t want the variance to be extended. Then if he doesn’t show up next month, he knows that it will be revoked. Mr. Squires seconded the motion. By voice vote, all voted aye, and Item B was tabled to the April meeting.

  4. Mr. Borden asked if the City was going to consider lighting as signage. Mr. Okum responded the new Code has addressed some lighting issues. There has been a request for a training session for all Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals members. It has been requested to be on a Saturday. Mrs. Huber commented that she couldn’t attend on any Saturday. Mr. Okum responded I don’t know how we are going to handle t his; weekdays are difficult for some other people as well. Would evenings or Saturdays be better? Mr. Borden responded I am open for evenings or weekends. Mr. Okum commented I would like to make it available to as many people as possible. Mr. Borden suggested videotaping it for those who couldn’t make it. If the session would be three to four hours, he suggested it be broken into two sessions.





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    IX DISCUSSION - continued

    Mr. Okum said regarding your question about lighting, we also have referred back to our City Planner to research buffer lighting zones, which was recommended at the workshop we attended. Many years ago Springdale put into effect minimum lighting standards for safety in their parking fields, not even thinking what would happen with overlighting, which we have now. Now the issues are how much fall there is, how much urban contamination from lights, and how much of the sky we are losing as a result of light fields. We asked our City Planner to look at what other communities are doing in this area, and she should have that at the next Planning Commission meeting.


Mr. Squires moved to adjourn and Mrs. Huber seconded the motion. By voice vote, all voted aye, and the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,



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David Okum, Chairman



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Jane Huber, Secretary