Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

18 July 2006

7:00 p.m.


I.                     CALL MEETING TO ORDER


The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman David Okum.


II.                   ROLL CALL          


Members Present:             Marge Pollitt, Bill Reichert, Jim Squires, Bob

Weidlich, Jane Huber and Chairman Okum


Members Absent:              Bob Emerson


Others Present:                  Bill McErlane, Building Official


III.                  PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE




Mrs. Huber reported that on Page 3 in the last paragraph the building is listed as 60’ x 130’ instead of 30’.  Mr. Squires moved to approve and Mrs. Huber seconded the motion.  With that correction, the Minutes were approved with six affirmative votes.


V.                 CORRESPNDENCE


A.          Zoning Bulletin – June 10, 2006

B.          Zoning Bulletin – June 25, 2006

C.          Planning Commission Meeting Minutes – June 13, 2006


VI.               REPORTS


A.          Report on Council – Jim Squires


Mr. Squires said Council approved the rezoning to PUD and preliminary development plan for the proposed Chick Fil A.  They also approved a contract with Kelly Carpenter to reroof the Springdale Fire Department.


B.          Report on Planning Commission – David Okum


Mr. Okum reported that Planning approved the sign proposal for Garden Ridge at 11925 Commons Drive (former Great Indoors), the signage on the building and the sign on Kemper Road.   The I-275 sign was not included.)  Signage for Jared Jewelers was considered.  They had downsized their previous submission and will be placing two lighting sign elements on the points of the gables in the shape of a diamond, which will be illuminated.  The outdoor lighting for Drs. Onady and Miller was considered.  The original approved lights were residential but very expensive and they went to box lighting.  We asked them to consider something more residential and less expensive for the site, and this will be reviewed and approved by staff.    Mr. Okum reported that Planning considered additional outdoor display and asked the store manager to bring in a new landscaping plan so this was tabled to the August meeting. 





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Mr. Reichert said there are pods stacked up in front of Lowe’s.  Mr. Okum reported that the manager indicated that the store needs to be remerchandised and those pods are there for that purpose.






A.          Approval of variance to allow the construction of a 30 x 60’ garage structure at 288 West Kemper Road.  Said variance is requested from Section153.075 (B) “…the garage shall have..a maximum floor area of 700 s.f.” – tabled 6/20/06


Andy Bremanis, owner and Doug Meddings, contractor approached the board.  Mr. Bremanis said you wanted something to be able to visualize the garage better.  The building will be 16 feet high with 12-foot ceilings and a four-foot arch.


Mr. Meddings added it is a pole barn, 18 to 20 gauge metal sides.  It comes as a finished product with a baked finish and metal roof, a clean nice structure.  We will do an apron on the 60’ side facing west, probably all the way across the front and narrow it down to a double driveway.     The entrance to the building will face west.


Mr. Meddings added what you will see from the road is the 30-foot side and it will be plain to match the existing remodeled house.   Mr. Bremanis added it won’t be an eyesore in front of your eyes like the one across the street.


Mr. McErlane reported that the old garage is already demolished, so we are not talking about two garages.  The other thing is that it is intended to be used to store some of the applicant’s business equipment and it would be important to caution the applicant on how home occupancies need to be operated.  The employees are restricted to the residents who live at the property. 


Another concern would be if the equipment is stored at the property  employees could not come to be dispatched from there.  There also is a restriction of 20% of the gross floor area that can be used as home occupation, so storing of the business equipment would be limited to 840 s.f. that could be used.


Mr. Bremanis reported it would be my only garage, and I would also park my personal vehicles in there. 


Mr. Okum said for the record, we have a report dated July 14, 2006 showing an additional two properties with oversized garages and their square footages.  The two memos together show garages from 1,280 s.f. down to 864 s.f, and there are six major garage structures on West Kemper Road.  .









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Mr. Okum aid the applicant has requested a variance for a driveway that is neither the required cement nor asphalt.  How should we handle that?


Mr. McErlane reported there is no reason why you could not consider that tonight.  I also wanted to clarify your statement about the existing oversized garages.  There are other oversized garages that were constructed prior to our Zoning Code being in place.


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


Addressing the applicant, Mr. Okum said we should include your request that the requirement for a cement or asphalt driveway between the existing driveway and your new building  be waived.


Mr. Meddings reported it would be ground up concrete packed down like gravel. 


Mr. McErlane reported that it would be a variance to Section 153.502 (E)  “Parking areas and access driveways shall be improved with an asphaltic or concrete surface…”


Mrs. Huber moved to approve the 30’ x 60’ garage and that the driveway surface requirements of Section153.502 (E) should be waived from the end of the existing driveway to the new building.  Mr. Squires seconded the motion.


Mr. Okum asked if the 16-foot roofline conformed to the code and Mr. McErlane reported that the roof can be no higher than 16 feet or the height of the home on the property, whichever would be lesser. 


Mr. Squires said you have an exceedingly large lot, 388 feet back.  It looks like this pole barn will be hidden.  Mr. Bremanis said that it would be, because there are trees in front of it and you wouldn’t be able to see it from Kemper Road.


Mr. Okum said typically pole barns have very little residential character, and this is a residential neighborhood.   Trees could be removed and the unit would be exposed and current or future neighbors would be able to observe it.  Can you assure us that it will have a residential look and will be screened from view with trees and landscaping so that the adjoining property owners could not see it?


Mr. Bremanis said on the left side, there are pine trees all the way down, and on the right side there is brush and a little opening.  Neither of my neighbors have a problem with this.


Mr. Okum commented I can understand your situation, but I am having difficulty going from the largest garage with variances being 1,280 s.f. up to your 1,800 s.f.  That is 50%, a significantly larger garage.



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Mr. Okum added people can remove vegetation and trees at any time.  I would like to see some protection for those property owners, a condition that would prohibit the removal of trees unless they are replanted for screening from adjoining properties.


Mr. Bremanis commented I do not have a problem with putting up trees or bushes or whatever.


Mr. Okum said if I had those assurances, I would be more sensitive to the property and size of the unit.  You are right; the other garage across the street is an albatross for everybody to see.  I compliment you on wanting to move this away from your home and the street.


Mr. Okum asked if the board could put conditions on the variance to protect the property from removal of trees.  Mr. McErlane reported that you could do that in the initial construction phase, but I don’t know how you would control it and there is nothing to  enable us to pass it on to any future owner either.


Mrs. Pollitt said he has no control over the neighbors on either side. There are huge pine trees along the one property line and the pine trees are the neighbor’s.  There is bush at the back and along Jane Huber’s side.  The applicant cannot be responsible for these.  If he would agree to do some landscaping around the proposed building, wouldn’t that meet the obligation you are asking for?


Mr. Okum said I am open to suggestions.  I have not heard one statement that justifies the criteria for a variance.  As Mr. Squires pointed out, he answered no to the question about exceptional circumstances.  He gave evidence of oversized lots and wasted space.  Another valid point was that it will not be seen from Kemper Road., but we have property owners to the right, left and rear of the property.


Mr. Okum added I would encourage the board to put some restrictions on this variance, such as to maintain and provide adequate screening for the adjacent property owners and if he decides to remove the tees, but it is up to this board.


Mrs. Pollitt said I would like to make an amendment to the motion that would indicate that the applicant is willing to add trees or landscaping to break up the space of the building and make it more aesthetically pleasing.


Mr. Okum said I do not think staff could act on that.  They would need something more specific in terms of which trees and how many feet, etc.


Mrs. Pollitt responded I was looking at it from the standpoint of City Council.  There are a lot of vacant homes, and a lot of people who could sell their homes, like Mr. Bremanis.  He did not do that, and his business will not bother the residence.  I would hate to see our residents who want to be here struggle with some of these restrictions.




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Mrs. Huber asked the applicant if he had evergreen trees growing at the back of the building, adding that they are growing so you would not be able to see anything from the street.  Mr. Bremanis added on the line is 20-25 feet of honeysuckle, and in front of that are pear trees.


Mr. Okum said so you will not be able to see it from your home.  Mr. Bremanis answered basically no; maybe a little in the winter.


Mr. Okum said for the record, he has indicated that there are two large trees and two growing that would obstruct the garage from Kemper Road.  What is used to buffer the properties to the right, left and rear?


Mr. McErlane commented if you look at the drawings of the building, it looks like the gable end is at the 60 foot dimension, and I doubt you would build it that way.  I believe these are reversed.  The gable would be on the 30 foot side, and you would see the gable end toward the street.


Mr. Okum asked the applicant if he intended to put any windows in and Mr. Bremanis indicated that he did not, unless the board wants them.


Addressing Mrs. Pollitt, Mr. Okum said unless the amendment is specific on the trees, staff would not be able to enforce it .  Would you like to change your motion to amend?


Mrs. Pollitt said I will withdraw my motion because he has indicated that he has a line of trees.


Mr. Okum commented this is difficult, because I understand your situation but I am very sensitive to establishing a significant precedent that would be supporting a change in our Zoning Code.  That is not a part of this board’s power.


There were six variances granted, and some were big mistakes that already could have been considered a precedent.  An 1800 s.f. structure is not something I would be able to support.  I would much rather see the Zoning Code amended than approve variances for 1800 s.f. garages.


Mr. Okum continued I compliment you on making such a major commitment and support of Springdale, but I cannot support this variance.    For roads like Kemper the Zoning Code should be changed.  I have felt for a long time that overall we are restrictive on the size of the garages and sheds, particularly on these types of properties.


On the motion to grant the variance, Mrs. Huber, Mrs. Pollitt and Mr. Reichert voted aye.  Mr. Squires, Mr. Weidlich and Mr.Okum voted no.  The vote was three to three and the  Board of Zoning Appeals requires a majority vote to approve, so at this point the variance has been denied. 




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Addressing the applicant, he added that does not prohibit you from talking to your council representative to initiate a Zoning Code change.


Mr. Bremanis asked if he could come back next month and Mr. Okum said yes, but you would have to resubmit your application.  Mr. Bremanis continued my business is in the city, its name is Springdale Lawn Care.  I will try next month and maybe I will get Mr. Emerson’s vote. 


IX.               NEW BUSINESS


A.          Approval of variance to allow parking of two recreational vehicles on the property at 524 Cloverdale Avenue.  Said variance is requested from Section 153.480(D)(1) “One recreational vehicle, one boat on a trailer or one trailer..may be stored in an unenclosed area of the property…


David Smith, Owner of 524 Cloverdale Avenue said I want to park my motor home and boat behind it in my back yard.   I am not home every day and if we wanted to go out, I would have to bring it there and get it ready when I got home.  On the staff report  it said it was a 30 foot boat but it is a 21-foot pontoon.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


It is hidden from the view of all sides.  I have pictures of the eight to 10 foot high shrubbery and privacy fence.  


I have lived in Springdale all my life, and I have had different recreational vehicles parked at my residence and never had a problem until 1998.   I have always taken care of the rv and we have taken care of the house as well.  We are currently putting $15,000 into the property.  As you can see from the pictures, you cannot see the boat from either side. 


Mr. McErlane reported that the applicant is requesting a variance to park his 34 foot motor home and 21’ pontoon boat in his back yard.   Section 153.480(D) (1) only allows one recreational vehicle, boat, boat on a trailer or trailer to be stored outside of enclosed buildings on a residential property.  The applicant has not given any reasons for his request and there d not appear to be unusual circumstances about the property which would create a practical difficulty for him.  He has obtained two variances previously, in 1996 to allow the driveway to be constructed within 2 feet from the property line for the storage of a boat and in 1998 to allow the construction of a 144 s.f. utility building.


Mr. Okum opened the public hearing.


Dorien May said I have lived in the community for over 30 years, and I haves seen things in Springdale that scare me.  I lived across the street from a slum property until Dave changed his house.  Previously it had five different roofs in different colors and no shrubs or flowers; it was a slum building.  It is meticulously kept now, and when he has his boat parked in the back yard, I can see nothing. 



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I am going to complain about some of the properties on my street and in Springdale.  You are picking on the people who care and take care of their houses.  At 405 Cloverdale (a yellow concrete house) there is a lawnmower on the front porch which has been there for two weeks, and the people living next to that property have moved.  It seems like you are trying to chase Dave away.


You had this man tonight who was trying to build a big garage on Kemper Road when there is plenty of room for it.  I would rather see people like that here in Springdale. 


I have another good friend in Beacon Hills who tried to park his boat on the side of the house where it could not be seen, and he was not allowed to do that.  He moved.


There is another property at Cloverdale and Rose and every blind in every window is broken.   If somebody owns rental property, they should be forced to take care of it.


You cannot see Dave’s vehicles when they are parked in the back yard.  It is totally private.  I want to keep Dave as a neighbor.  Don’t chase him away.


Mr. Okum said I think it is important that we not write the code and that the Building Department does not enforce anything that has not been written and approved by the officials of the City.


I totally agree with you about people not taking care of their homes, but it is not germaine to us and this board.    


Mr. Smith said the code is enforceable, even though there is no one who complained.  Mr. Okum responded the staff’s charge is to maintain the standards set in the code.   They are not isolating you from anybody else. I have had a letter of request from the City of Springdale regarding an item I was in violation for on my property, and I know a city council person who was given notice on the painting of the valleys on her roof.


Mr. Okum closed the public hearing.


Mr. Squires moved to approve the request and Mr. Reichert seconded the motion.


Mrs. Pollitt said it is legal for him to park on the street, and Mr. Smith responded it is no longer legal to park on the street, and it looks a lot better in the back yard. 


Mr. Squires asked why they need to have this variance.  Mr. Smith answered I need it because I have no place other than the driveway to park it unless I store it.   They are expensive and do not have the electric outlet to plug in  It is usually $1 or $2 a foot per month, so it would cost $20-$30 a month, plus the distance to go to get it.






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Mr. Smith added I am out of town two to three days a week, and if I stored it it would cause a problem when I come home to get it and prepare it and finally take it out.  If this created a problem or was an eyesore or if I didn’t keep my property up, that would be different, but it is where no one can see it.  I do not see the problem. 


Mr. Weidlich asked if both were in the back yard.  Mr. Smith answered I can put both in the back yard, and in the winter I move them there.  In the summertime it is on the driveway, for about three or four months a year.  Last year I took the boat to my son’s during the winter.


Mrs. Pollitt asked how high the boat was.  Mr. Smith answered the cover is on poles and the boat is seven feet tall.   Mrs. Pollitt commented I drove around the property on Dimmick and tried to see it, but I could not.  Mr. Smith showed a picture from his neighbor’s front yard.  It is looking into my back yard from Dimmick, and you cannot see it.


Mr. Smith added the goat is not there during the winter usually.  This boat has not been stored at my property during the winter, but it is possible to park the boat and the rv side by side behind the fence. 


Mr. Okum asked the applicant if the boat and rv could be maintained on his property and kept behind the fence line.  Mr. Smith responded that is a possibility.  I would have to extend the width of the driveway a little bit.


Mr. Okum responded so it would be a hardship for you to be able to put them both behind the fence.  Mr. Smith said yes.  If I was home every night there would be no problem.  I am out of town too much and do not have the time. 


Mr. Okum commented based on the facts and information provided, approving this would basically be rewriting the zoning code.  I could not find in the testimony a reason why the applicant could not meet the code which allows for one rv on the property.    So based on that, I will not be supporting this request.


Mrs. Pollitt commented I really feel bad, because I cannot support it either.  I know you have done a lot of work on your house, and we want to keep you in Springdale. 


Mr. Squires asked the applicant if he had any friend or relative that would take his boat for the season.  Mr. Smith answered my son is in Preble County and during the winter, the boat is there.  So, the boat would be here four to five months. 


On the motion to grant the variance no one voted aye.  Mr. Squires, Mr. Reichert Mrs. Pollitt Mr. Weidlich Mrs. Huber and Mr. Okum voted no, and the motion was denied with six negative votes.






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B.  Approval of variance to allow conversion of a garage into a family room at 671 East Crescentville Road.  Said variance is requested from Section 153.105(B) “A single two-car garage and related parking area is required.”


The owner was not present and Mr. Weidlich moved to table to the August meeting and Mr. Reichert seconded the motion.  By voice vote all present voted aye, and the item was tabled to the August 8th meeting.


C.  Approval of variance to allow the BMW Logo to be less than 3 feet from the end of the building at 105 West Kemper Road.  Said variance is requested from Section 153.523(A) ..shall be set back..a distance of at least 3 feet.


Trey Cantor, Sign Contractor and Paul Bonner, General Sales Manager approached the board.  Mr. Cantor said the building is comprised of five feet top to bottom and eight feet left to right modular panels.  The sign is 4’ x 4’ and if centered, would not look balanced, which makes it two feet from the front end of the building.  The requirement is three feet, which would put it off center.


Mr. McErlane reported that the applicant is requesting that a vinyl applied wall sign remain on the west side of the building less than three feet from the  end wall, and Section 153.523(A) requires that it be back at least three feet.   The sign was placed on the building without a permit.


Mr. Okum said so there was no permit taken out and the sign went up.  Is the sign a permitted sign?  Mr. McErlane reported they have not exceeded the total square footage allowed. 


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


Mrs. Pollitt moved to grant the variance and Mr. Squires seconded the motion. 


Mrs. Pollitt  said if you moved the BMW down and in one foot would that work?  Mr. Cantor answered no; there would be less visibility.


Mr. Okum, said the applicant should have gotten a permit before the sign went up, but based on the photograph and the fact that to change it would put it off center and look ridiculous, I will be supporting the variance.


On the motion, all present voted aye, and the variance was granted with six affirmative votes.


D.  Approval of variance to allow the installation of a sign at the right of way line at 123 Boggs Lane.  Said variance is requested from Section 153.531(D)(5) “A ground sign shall not be less than..ten feet from the street right of way line…”


Mr. Steve Schuholz approached the board. 





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Mr.  McErlane reported that Section 153.531(D)(5) requires the sign to be a minimum of 10 feet from the right of way.  To do this, the front of the sign would b even with the parking lot.  There are two locations on each end of the front parking field where this could be done, but in either location one side would be obscured by parked cars.    The sign width is 7’-6” so it could be placed 0’-2.5’ from the right of way and still be in front of the parking spaces.


Mr. Schuholz said I was concerned that if the sign was right against the parking lot that their clientele is older and they might be hitting it.    If you set it back one foot, I would have to put in curved blocks for two parking spaces.  I could do that, and I probably would do that anyway.


Mr. McErlane reported there is space available for lease.  Do you expect there might be an expansion to this sign to accommodate additional tenants?


Mr. Schuholz answered what I have been told is they are looking for a financial planner that would co-exist with them for that 2,000 s.f.


Mr. Okum said so the additional leased tenant would not need signage.  Mr. Schuholz answered they have something in the mix right now.


Mr. McErlane commented realistically if you are looking for a landscaped bed, it might be better to center it up in the green space.


Mr. Okum opened the public hearing.  No one was present to speak, and he closed the public hearing.


Mr. Reichert moved to approve the variance and Mr. Weidlich seconded the motion.


Mr. Schuholz asked if they would like the sign centered between the curb and the right of way line, and Mr. McErlane responded yes.


Mr. Okum commented our city planner would ask for landscaping beds.  Mr. McErlane responded the only place she would do that is in the Route 4 Corridor and in a Planning Commission development plan.  That is something the board can take into consideration.


Mr. Schuholz responded I do not have a problem with that, but the land tiers off in the back part and we are trying to bring it up four or five inches.  Mr. Okum commented low bed landscaping is all I am thinking of.   Mr. Schuholz said I have no problem with placing it totally out of the g round.  Can we use brick instead of block?


Mr. Okum said I would not want to see the concrete block exposed. 


Mr. Schuholz added I talked them into taking out 100 parking spots and it will be totally grass and trees.




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Mr. Okum said so you are saying that you are more wiling to teat the exposed area of the sign with the same masonry treatment, and Mr. Schuholz indicated that he was.


Mrs. Pollitt moved to amend the motion to include that all exposed masonry shall be the same as the primary masonry and that the sign shall be centered between the public right of way and the parking lot curb.  Mr. McErlane suggested specifying that the sign be 1’-3” from the right of way line.


On the amendment, all present voted aye and the motion was amended with six affirmative votes.


On the amended motion, all present voted aye, and the variance was granted with six affirmative votes.


X.                 DISCUSSION


XI.               ADJOURNMENT


Mr. Weidlich moved to adjourn and Mr. Reichert seconded the motion.  By voice vote, all present voted aye, and the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 9:10 p.m.


                                                            Respectfully submitted,



___________________,2006       _________________________

                                                            David Okum, Chairman



___________________,2006       __________________________

                                                                                    Jane Huber, Secretary