BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING
JULY 20, 2010
7:00 P.M.


I CALL MEETING TO ORDER

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


II ROLL CALL

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

Others Present: Randy Campion, Building Inspection Supervisor

   
III PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE


IV MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 15 JUNE, 2010

Mr. Squires moved for acceptance the June 15, 2010 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting minutes, Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion and with a unanimous “aye” vote the minutes were adopted.


V CORRESPONDENCE

No items of correspondence.

VI REPORT ON COUNCIL

Mr. Hawkins gave a summary report of the July 14, 2010 City Council meeting.


VII REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION

    Chairman Okum gave a summary report of the July 20, 2010 Planning Commission meeting.


VIII CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT AND SWEARING IN OF APPLICANTS


IX OLD BUSINESS

A. Chairman Okum: The first item on the agenda, the owner of 221 Diston Lane requests a variance for an additional accessory structure put into place on the property. Section 153.492(B)(1) “An accessory building or structure…there shall be no more than one detached accessory building, other than a garage, on a lot in a Residential Zoning District.”

Ms. Jane Stewart: I put up a pergola and I did not get a building permit. I asked my contractor if I needed one and he said “no, because it was not attached to the building”. Then, I replaced and old storage building with a new and bigger storage building; so obviously I have two structures and I didn’t realize that was against the Code. I am requesting that I can keep my pergola and my new and improved storage building.

(At this time Mr. Campion read the Staff comments.)

Chairman Okum: For purposes of the record we will open this up to communication from the audience.
(No one came forward and this portion of the hearing was closed.)

Mr. Squires: Has Staff done anything about the language since the last meeting because this was tabled since this lady wasn’t here; it is not an enclosed structure?

Mr. Campion: Staff wouldn’t do anything about the language; it would be the City Planner.

Mr. Okum: There is some cleaning up of the Code that is going on concerning different things.

Mr. Squires: It is on Council’s agenda for tomorrow’s meeting.

Mr. Hawkins: Is there any idea when the Planning Commission might make a recommendation to Council regarding this specific language of a pergola structure?

Chairman Okum: We haven’t seen anything from the Planner and according to this it says that Staff had referred it to The City Planner. It is a language issue and they always have to weigh how that impacts other things; they want to make sure that the language is strong. If we would pass a variance to allow, I think the variance should be specific to this pergola as a second accessory structure on the property so if there is some change in legislation we are not issuing a variance to allow two storage sheds on this site but we are allowing a pergola based upon what has been submitted as an exhibit.

Mr. Hawkins: I agree but my main concern would be if it is not clear that the variance would carry and you could have multiple structures on there. I would almost like to see it tabled for some time to allow us to clear up the legislative language so that there is no issue with regard to a variance being granted. The other problem is that we don’t know exactly when that would be handled.

Chairman Okum: I don’t have a problem either way.

Mr. Squires: Would it be appropriate to bring this up as a motion to allow the pergola to remain?

Chairman Okum: If you are going to make a motion to table it is not debatable. If you were specific in your wording to address specifically the 9’-6” X 16’-6” wood pergola as exhibit A of this document and reference that into the variance, then that is what it is limited to.

Mr. Squires: I would like to make a motion that the Board of Zoning Appeals approve the request for the property owner at 221 Diston Lane to allow the existing 9’-6” X 16’-6” wood pergola to remain on the property as exhibited in the statement for the variance request, in addition to the 8’ X 12’ enclosed storage building.
Seconded by Mr. Reichert.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with a unanimous “aye” vote the request for a variance at 221 Diston Lane was granted.

Chairman Okum: Your variance is granted, you will also need building permits for what you have already constructed.
   


X NEW BUSINESS

A.    Chairman Okum: The next item on the agenda under New Business, the owner of 55 Progress Place requests a variance for installation of a pole sign. Said variance is from Section 153.532(A)(2) Signs in Industrial Districts shall be designed, erected, altered, moved, and maintained, in whole or in part, in the form of one of the following structures (a) Wall signs (b) Ground signs; and Section 153.532(A)(3)(a) One permanent identification sign is permitted for each general industrial unit.

Ms. Andrea Ward: I am with Holthaus Signs, 817 Ridgeway Avenue, 45229. I am representing Group Health to begin identifying the signage needs at the location. They are looking to update their logo to basically state that they are affiliated with Tri-Health. They then decided that they would like to increase the highway exposure along I-275 and felt that their current sign did not capitalize on that exposure. With the current code, if my understanding is correct, they do only permit one sign at the property which is the sign that they have currently and they do not feel that it meets the needs; they do feel it is visible along Princeton but it doesn’t allow anyone to see the sign or see the building as you are exiting or traveling along I-275. We chose the height of the sign based upon a few different things; the tallest tree from what we can calculate is around 60’, placing the sign where we hope to have it placed would be at 69’ to be visible above the trees, yet the sign would be 14’ X 21’ to allow it to be seen at night or during the day. We looked at adding wall signs and the wall sign was not visible and would put them in the same position that they are in now. We also looked at increasing the size of the sign by Princeton.

Chairman Okum: Based upon your testimony that you have given us, exhibit dated 5/28/2010 which is for a 69’ pole sign and a diagram of your parking area; and I see the location is written in at the bottom; we will move to Staff’s report from
Mr. Campion.

(At this time Mr. Campion read the Staff comments.)

Ms. Ward: As I mentioned we explored the option of keeping the sign by Princeton, it still doesn’t maximize what Group Health is trying to gain through the highway visibility. The traffic to the number of travelers that travel through the area came out to be approximately 39,000 a day. They looked at putting signs on the building and they feel that they have been in the building since 1990 and their lease is coming up in the next four years and they wanted to take this time to do what they could to maximize it. They have patrons that are apparently having a difficult time finding it or they are going up to the next exit to turn around and they felt that this would be the best time to look at this request.

(Chairman Okum opened the floor to communications from the public; no one came forward and the meeting continued.)

Mrs. Huber: I move to grant a variance from Section 153.532(A)(2), so as to allow the installation of a pole sign at 55 Progress Place and to allow a ground sign to remain as Section 153.532(A)(3)(a) at this same location; the applicant is Group Health Associates.

Chairman Okum: Do you want to amend your motion to include that the pole sign is requested at 69’.

Mrs. Huber: Yes, to include that the pole sign is to be 69’ and 340 s.f., as requested.
Mr. Emerson seconded the motion.

Chairman Okum: If I had a business on a business corner, I would say that my business is at the corner of Progress Place and Princeton Pike for the directions to help people get to my business. At this point I don’t understand why we need that sign there for direction when there are other methods of getting the information to them. On a marketing perspective, I understand that it is nice to get your name out there where people will see it and know that you are there.

Mrs. Huber: If you are unfamiliar with Springdale, Progress Place would be questioned; people may not be familiar where Progress Place is.

Mr. Hawkins: I know you discussed that there was some exploration of a wall mounted sign on the building; what would that elevation have been?

Ms. Ward: We didn’t feel it was beneficial on Progress Place because you really can’t see it; we looked at adding it to the side of the property on the side of I-275 and we had about a 27’ wall area. You just couldn’t see it, it was blocked by the vegetation and it really didn’t give them what they were looking for.

Mr. Hawkins: So the elevation would be around 27’, do you estimate?

Ms. Ward: Yes, and it made the letters a little too small to be visible from that distance.

Mr. Hawkins: The Planning Commission has been diligent in trying to limit the amount of pole signs that they have through that area and I know there are different issues at different businesses, in terms of visibility.

Mr. Emerson: They don’t have an emergency room or anything there; is that strictly doctor offices?

Ms. Ward: I don’t believe they have emergency service and hopefully I am not speaking out of text for that. They will get someone that may come in with an emergency, not knowing any better and I am sure that they would treat them but I don’t know that they do any emergency services.

Mr. Emerson: I made a comment to a friend about Group Health Associates and he said that he had heard of them but didn’t know where they were at.

Chairman Okum: Have you explored bringing the ground sign closer to Princeton Pike?

Ms. Ward: Yes, they did and basically the highway visibility is what they really wanted to gain. They felt that whatever they did along Princeton was not going to be visible to the travelers along I-275.

Chairman Okum: Let’s go back to what I was asking about the Princeton Pike sign; I would be more prone to understanding the identity factor along a roadway than expressway billboards. How far is that sign currently from the public right of way?

Ms. Ward: I do not know the answer to that question. I know from speaking to Bill, that we could move it 5’ closer.

Chairman Okum: I would be more prone to give a set-back variance along Princeton Pike to give the exposure there, than I would be for a pole sign along I-275 for general marketing purposes; that is not your request and at this time I will not be supporting the pole sign.

Mr. Weidlich: I drove around the area back there looking at the sign and the location where you would like to erect this new sign and there is no other business back there that has pole signs that I could find. We would be setting a precedent that we allow 69’, and then maybe the next business wants 75’ so they can be viewed. I agree with the Chairman that there are other methods to direct people to the business. At this point I will not be supporting this either.

Mrs. Huber: I have a suggestion, I don’t like pole signs either but if this existing ground sign were moved closer to 747 and perhaps did a variance to increase the height a bit, would that help?

Ms. Ward: Definitely, yes I think it would.

Mrs. Huber: You are limited to a 7’ height, but if it were perhaps 12’ in height that would give more visibility.

Mr. Squires: In a follow-up to what Mrs. Huber said, the existing ground sign has an area of 46 s.f.?

Ms. Ward: Exactly.

Chairman Okum: What is the permissible sign space for that property?

Mr. Emerson: 125 s.f.; so you do have space.

Ms. Ward: We have 125 s.f. with a 7’ height.

Mr. Squires: You could also come 5’ closer to the public right of way.

Chairman Okum: I don’t see a favorable vote, but I think that we should go ahead and vote and have a motion on the floor so that you can take that back to Group Health Associates and Tri-Health and say that this is based upon the meeting.

Mr. Reichert: I also do not like pole signs. I would encourage the alternative being a larger sign and relocate it and come back; I would very well support the idea of giving you a variance if necessary, but we are not totally anti-sign we just don’t like it that tall.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeal Members and with a unanimous “no” vote the request for a variance at 55 Progress Place was denied.

B. Chairman Okum: The next item on the agenda for New Business, the owner of 85 West Kemper Road requests a variance to erect a tent for 20 days. Said variance is from Section 153.490 (E)(3)(b) Tent sales may be permitted for promotion of special activities in the Office Building, General Business, Motorist Service, and Support Service Districts…The duration of such sales shall be limited in duration, which in no event shall exceed two consecutive weeks.
    The period for the tent is 7/12/2010 through 7/25/2010; so if we continue this it is already over. By getting on the agenda they ended up without a violation.

(No representative for 85 West Kemper was present at this meeting.)

Mr. Hawkins: I understand the frustration with regard to the applicant not being present; the thing that I would have suggested was to table it for the month so that they could get in their last couple of days without us putting a variance on to attach to the property to essentially change the legislation that Planning Commission has worked hard to put together and that Council has approved. The matter of it being tabled, I don’t have a problem with; but that would have been the solution that I would have looked at anyway if they would have been here.

Mr. Campion: If you table this, how long would it be before Staff notifies them that it has been tabled?

Chairman Okum: I don’t know.

Mrs. Huber: I feel badly; the car dealerships have suffered with this economy.

Chairman Okum: I think that we are all sensitive to that. I agree with Mr. Hawkins and should a motion come to the floor to table I would probably support it but remember that if you are going to make a comment, once a motion is on the floor there is no discussion.

Mr. Reichert: I would like to make a motion that we table this until next month.
Mr. Squires seconded the motion and with a unanimous “aye” vote from the Board of Zoning Appeals Members the request for variance at 85 West Kemper was tabled.
   

XI DISCUSSION

Mr. Weidlich: Evidently, there wasn’t any problem with the continuance for the access to the back yard for the trailer with the Law Director?

Mr. Campion: I did not hear any comment from anyone other than Mr. McErlane.

Chairman Okum: It will be interesting to see if there is anything brought forward to change that.
I also want to mention that the satellite tower request through Planning Commission was officially withdrawn.

XII ADJOURNMENT

Chairman Okum: I will accept a motion for adjournment.

Mr. Squires: I move to adjourn.
Seconded by Mr. Reichert.
All members of the Board of Zoning Appeals signified by saying “aye” and the meeting adjourned at 7:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________,2010 ___________________________________
            Chairman Dave Okum



________________________,2010 ___________________________________
            Secretary Jane Huber