BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

20 JULY 1999

7:00 P.M.

 

 

  1. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 6:58 p.m. by Chairman James Squires.

Mr. Squires announced we do not have the full board present, but we do have a quorum, which will allow us to legally conduct business. There are seven members, and four are present. It will take three positive votes to grant a variance. If you wish to have your request heard before the full board, you have the right to withdraw tonight. It is your decision.

II. ROLL CALL

Members Present: Frederick Borden, Councilwoman Kathy McNear, Thomas

Schecker and Mr. Squires.

Members Absent: Barbara Ewing, Councilman Robert Wilson and David Okum

Others Present: Richard Lohbeck, Inspection Supervisor

III. MINUTES OF REEGULAR MEETING OF 15 JUNE 1999

Mrs. McNear moved for adoption and Mr. Schecker seconded the motion. By

voice vote, all present voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted with four

affirmative votes.

IV. CORRESPONDENCE

    1. Zoning Bulletin Ė June 10, 1999
    2. Zoning Bulletin Ė June 25, 1999
    3. Planning Commission Minutes Ė June 8, 1999
    4. BZA List of Members
  1. REPORTS
    1. Report on Council Ė no report
    2. Report on Planning Commission Ė no report
  1. STATEMENT CONCERNING VARIANCES
    1. A variance once granted would 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.
    2. If a variance appeal is denied, the applicant may resubmit the appeal six months after the denial.

    3. Chairmanís Statement

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

  1. OLD BUSINESS - none
  2.  

     

     

    Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

    20 July 1999

    Page Two

  3. NEW BUSINESS
  4. A. Dan DeHamer requests variance for the partial conversion of the garage area at 11978 Navona Court. Said variance is requested from Section 153.025(F) "Each single family dwelling..shall have a one or more car garage..not less than 240 square feet and not more than 600 square feet."

    Mr. DeHamer said I live at 613 Glensprings Drive and the variance on the garage conversion is for a house I own at 11978 Navona Court. I bought that house in February of 1985 and it was already done. I donít know when it was done because the owner was out of state; it had been a rental property. Itís been about 15 years and I am hoping I can be granted a variance for it.

    Mr. Schecker said it appears to be a garage. What is the extent of the conversion? Mr. DeHamer answered it is a little more than one-half of the garage, a play room. Mr. Schecker asked the size of the house, and Mr. DeHamer answered it is about 1250 square feet. Mr. Schecker commented it is a rather small house without that space.

    Mr. Squires wondered if Mr. DeHamer were going o live in the house or rent it. Mr. DeHamer answered I have rented it since 1985. It is for sale and we now have a closing pending on it.

    Mr. Schecker commented parking is one of the big concerns here when you convert a garage. I wonder if two cars could comfortably fit in that driveway. Mr. DeHamer answered it would be close; there is a soffitt where the car could go virtually to the garage door.

    Mr. Borden wondered who lived in the house, and Mr. DeHamer answered it is vacant. I told the tenant January or February that I intended to sell it, and she moved out about a month later. Mr. Borden asked if he intended to convert the garage door to a glass door similar to your neighbor across the street. Mr. DeHamer answered I do not have any plans to do any alterations.

    Mrs. McNear said this request for variance is for the work done 15 or 20 years ago and you are not doing anything or adding anything? Mr. DeHamer confirmed this, adding it was that way all those years ago.

    Mr. Squires commented if you leave the garage door as it is or replace it with one similar to it, it will give the appearance that it is a garage. Do you intend to leave that garage door or at least replace it with something similar? Mr. DeHamer answered I hadnít thought of it; it does have a garage door now and has the look of a full garage. Mr. Squires wondered if the door were insulated so the garage could be used during the cold months? Mr. DeHamer answered I think it is the standard one ply door; I donít think it is insulated. About 10 feet inside there is a wall with a standard 30-inch door.

    Mr. Squires wondered if this has been inspected by the Building Department to make sure it is up to code? Mr. DeHamer answered no, there was no reason to. The only reason this came up was there was a for sale sign in the yard and the inspectors walked around and happened to look in the window and saw it.

    Mr. Squires asked Mr. Lohbeck if this would have to be inspected before it is sold. Mr. Lohbeck commented we could issue a permit for the garage conversion and then have it inspected. Mr. Squires asked the applicant if he would be willing to apply for the permit and have it inspected. Mr. DeHamer answered that he would.

     

    Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

    20 July 1999

    Page Three

    VIII A DAN DEHAMER Ė GARAGE CONVERSION - !1978 NAVONA COURT

    Mrs. McNear moved to grant the variance as requested with the applicantís consent to apply for a permit. Mr. Schecker seconded the motion.

    Mr. Squires asked if anyone present wished to speak. No one came forward.

    Voting aye were Mrs. McNear, Mr. Schecker, Mr. Borden and Chairman Squires. Variance was granted with four affirmative votes.

    B. Darin Fowler, 548 Cloverdale Avenue requests variance to allow 24í of fencing on a corner lot. Said variance is requested from Section 153.038 "..are permitted in side yards if they are set back from the side street line not less than the required setback of the adjacent main building of the butt lot."

    Mr. Fowler said the fence connects to the side of the house and goes out facing Cloverdale. I am within regulations there, but the 24 feet once I make the corner is not. We put that fence up to go because there are existing bushes that go the rest of the way. We wanted to close that in because we have a five-year-old and a two-year-old and that blocks in our yard so they canít get out into the street. It is already up; I wasnít aware that I needed the variance for that side until Ron Smith came by. It is a 42-inch high picket fence. Mr. Squires said there is nothing beyond that; the children are not fenced in. Mr. Fowler answered no they are not. We have a back porch and when they are in the back yard, we can see them. They are never outside without us, but if they make it around the corner, the fence keeps them in where we canít see them. Also, it matches the rest of the fences that faces Cloverdale; it finishes the lawn and makes the house look nicer and hopefully raises the value of my property.

    Mr. Schecker said I would ask Mr. Lohbeck Ė in order to conform this would have to be how much further in towards the house? Mr. Lohbeck answered seven feet. Mr. Schecker added if you were to bring it in another seven feet, you would not be in line with those bushes and would look a little weird.

    Mr. Borden asked when he installed the fence, and Mr. Fowler answered it was a gradual progression as I had time in the evenings. The side was completed last summer; the front was completed three years ago.

    Mr. Schecker said seeing the fence the way it is and lining up with those bushes and the tree, I personally think it looks very nice and I can see the functionality that you are trying for. I am inclined to agree with your designer, and I move to grant the variance. Mr. Borden seconded the motion.

    Mr. Squires asked if anyone present wished to speak, and no one came forward.

    Voting aye were Mr. Schecker, Mr. Borden, Mrs. McNear and Mr. Squires. Variance was granted with four affirmative votes.

    C. Oil Express, 165 West Kemper Road requests variance to allow a sign on landscaping. Said variance is requested from Section 153.092(E)(5 & (D)(1)(b).

    There was no representation, and Mrs. McNear moved to drop from the agenda and Mr. Borden seconded the motion. All present voted aye and the matter was dropped.

    Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

    20 July 1999

    Page Four

    D. Bert Huffer, 808 Yorkhaven Road requests variance to allow him to park his boat next to his existing driveway. Said variance is requested from Section 153.044(C)(2) "..not closer than 5 feet to the nearest lot line, or any right-of-way line & Section 153.044(C)(2)(b) "..it must be placed on an improved surfaceÖ"

    Mr. Huffer said I am requesting a variance to allow me to park my boat alongside the driveway instead of being in the driveway as it currently is. The pictures I included in the package are the pictures I took last year to give you an idea of what it would look like setting back in that corner. I also have a letter from all the surrounding neighbors supporting my request.

    On the sketch I show the layout of the driveway and the distances from the driveway to the property line and where the boat would be setting alongside the driveway. As you can see, in order to met the code as written and park it in the side yard, I would have to tear the garage down and build it in the back yard. Part of that is because our garage is set back 18 feet in front of the house. Where I am requesting to park the boat would extend three to four feet in front of both my house and the house next door as well as three to four feet from the property line and five feet is required.

    I am requesting a limited variance to park the boat from April 1st through November 1st each season. In the wintertime I will store it offsite at a remote location.

    Mr. Squires commented I looked at your property, and that is a rather large boat, and I could not figure out how you would get that boat into that space where the trees and hedges are. Have you done it? Mr. Huffer answered yes, in fact I can show you the photograph; it is an 18-foot boat. I store the boat in the Batavia area and we usually boat in Brookville Indiana. Mr. Squires wondered if he had investigated any storage facilities in Brookville, and Mr. Huffer answered part of the time we go to Brookville and part of the time we go to Caesarís Creek, opposite directions. It can be stored in the driveway, but to me that is more objectionable and my neighbors felt that parking alongside the driveway is a lot better from an aesthetic standpoint. Mr. Squires commented it is also stored in the front yard even if it is in the side. Mr. Huffer answered and that is part of the problem. I canít get it into the side yard without tearing the garage down and rebuilding it; that is why I am requesting the variance.

    Mr. Borden said I see you are asking for a limited variance from April 1st to November 1st. Is your boating season that long? Mr. Huffer said it is approximately that.

    Mr. Squires said you have two vehicles on that property. Mr. Huffer responded part of the code says you can park it in the driveway if you have space for two vehicles in the driveway in addition to your boat. We have a very long driveway; you actually can get three cars from our driveway to the sidewalk. I have a van and a pickup truck and keep both of them in the garage all the time. Mr. Squires said so if both of your vehicles can be in the garage, the boat can go in the driveway. Mr. Huffer responded it makes it very hard to back around it and leaving it on the driveway is a lot further out in the front yard. For overall appearance, the neighbors agreed that they would rather see the boat where I propose it rather than on the driveway where it blocks the view in the neighborhood, but it meets the code.

    Mrs. McNear stated I voted against this last year and I will vote against it again because it is in the side yard, it is very close to your neighbor and although that neighbor agrees that it is not a problem, if that person moves out someone else moves in and it could become a problem.

    Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

    20 July 1999

    Page Five

    VIII D BERT HUFFER 808 YORKHAVEN PARK BOAT NEXT TO DRIVEWAY

    Mrs. McNear added we also have the issue of setting a precedent. I understand what you are saying about having your boat parked in the driveway being closer to the street and I feel for you. I have three drivers soon to be four and it is a hassle backing out around another vehicle, but I will be voting against this for those reasons.

    Mr. Huffer said because of the layout of the property, I can get three feet from the property line, but I can Ďt get the five feet. If I put the boat at the edge of the driveway, I have just about five feet from the boat to the property line. Where I propose it I have just about five feet. It is 13 feet across there and the boat is eight feet and I park it right at the edge of the driveway, so I am very close to that five feet on that side.

    Mr. Huffer said I am asking for a limited variance only for the time that I own the property. Last year I asked for an unlimited variance, but now I am only asking for a limited one. Mr. Squires commented that brings up a legal point; Iím not so sure we can do that. Limited variances are a little tricky, and variances do go with the property. It is my understanding that this variance also will go with your property, even if it is just for those months.

    Mrs. McNear reported that at one time we did do limited variances on a routine basis. However, we were told by the legal department that they wouldnít stand up in court and we were advised against issuing any of

    those. If you would like us to double-check on that, we could contact the legal department for the next meeting. Mr. Squires added at the seminar we went to, we were informed that there was no such thing as a limited variance. Mrs. McNear added our legal department also advised against it.

    Mr. Huffer added the reason I put that in there was because this was done in the past quite often.

    Mr. Squires said we will have to consider this as a variance without the time limitation; weíll have to disregard that April to November time frame. That variance will definitely go with your property; when you sell it, it will be there for the next owner.

    Mr. Huffer continued I know one of the standards for requesting a variance is creating a hardship, and for me to put it in the back yard, I will have to tear my whole garage down. I donít know how much more of a hardship that could be.

    Mr. Schecker said unfortunately you live in houses and property lines that are not very wide, and when you have a recreational vehicle or a boat, you just canít accommodate them on the property so you have to store elsewhere. Frequently many of us face that situation.

    Mr. Huffer commented I see a lot of them parked on the side yard allover the neighborhood. Mr. Schecker responded they are presented to us on an individual basis and we try to be very fair and determine what we judge to be acceptable from the community standard standpoint.

    Mrs. McNear said I think dropping the limited portion of it would be that it goes with just Mr. Hufferís ownership, not necessarily the duration. We could pass a variance saying that he can park it on his property from that time to this time but it doesnít go just with him; it goes with the property.

     

     

     

    Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

    20 July 1999

    Page Six

    VIII D BERT HUFFER 808 YORKHAVEN PARK BOAT NEXT TO DRIVEWAY

    Mr. Squires asked if he had exhausted all his possibilities on storing the boat elsewhere. Mr. Huffer said we boat at various places, so if I store it in one area I have to backtrack. Having it at the house makes it convenient so I can have the flexibility to go to different areas.

    Mr. Borden commented so this is not really a hardship for you; it is for convenience, right? Mr. Huffer responded it would be a hardship for me to meet the code and park it in the side yard. Mr. Borden answered but you are within code right now by parking it in the driveway. Mr. Huffer answered that he was within code on the driveway but we are trying to uphold the standards in the neighborhood and to me if it is parked on the side as I am proposing it would help maintain the appearance and value of the property much better than parking the boat out at the street. I am proud of my property and I want to make it look good. The boat where it is detracts from the neighborhood, but it fits the code

    If I draw a straight line between the neighborís front and ours, all but about three feet of the boat is behind the house. It is almost a side yard, but because of the layout it doesnít meet the description.

    Mr. Squires asked if it would be an improved surface, and Mr. Huffer answered I propose concrete paving blocks with tracks to be able to move the boat back on those tracks. As I show in the plan, there is a large oak tree there and if I had to concrete all of that in, I would tear up the root system of that oak tree and it would die. That is one of the better trees on our lot.

    Mr. Squires said if the boat is stored where you have indicated on your drawing, it is still in the front yard isnít it? Mr. Huffer answered by definition given because it is in front of the garage and they consider the front of the garage part of your front yard, even though it is set back 18 feet from the front of the house.

    Addressing the applicant, Mr. Squires asked if he would be more comfortable stating your case before the full board. Mr. Huffer answered I was here last year and I ended up with the same thing. There is no guarantee that next month you will have the full board so it just delays it that much more. In another two months, most of the season will be over. Once I go through this, if I donít get it this time I have to wait another six months and it would be next year.

    Mr. Borden wondered if anything had changed from his application last year, and Mr. Huffer answered last year I requested a full variance for the whole year, and I now have requested a limited variance for April to November. Also this year I took around a letter to all the neighbors asking them to sign the letter in support of the variance.

    Mr. Huffer said I will take your recommendation and wait until next month to go before the whole board. Mr. Squires said we will table that until the next meeting and I will check with the legal department about this limited variance question.

    E. Springdale Chamber of Commerce requests the placement of an 18" x 24" sign for their Job Fair at Maple Knoll Outreach Center, 11199 Springfield Pike. Said variance is requested from Section 153.160(C)(3d) "..shall, in no event exceed two consecutive weeksÖ"

    Robert Raneer of 706 Maple View Place in Maple Knoll Village, and I also am the executive director for the Springdale Chamber of Commerce. We are having a Job Fair at the Maple Knoll Senior Center on September 18th. We expect 60 businesses to participate, and we would like to put the sign up longer than the 14 days allowed to publicize this.

     

    Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

    20 July 1999

    Page Seven

    VIII E CHAMBER OF COMMERCE JOB FAIR SIGN

    Mr. Squires asked how many days he was asking for, and Mr. Raneer responded 60. Mr. Squires said would this begin July 25th? Mr. Raneer answered yes.

    Mrs. McNear wondered if it would be possible for them to use the new sign across the street? Mr. Raneer answered quite possibly; I serve on the Board of Trustees for S.O.S.S.I. and Maple Knoll is part of our responsibility. Possibly we could use that, but it is difficult to see that sign, and the separate sign would identify the area in which we are holding the Job Fair. Mrs. McNear said it is such a nice sign and so large I thought it might catch more eyes than a smaller sign would. Mr. Raneer added also you have the traffic coming in and out to the Senior Center, especially on Thursdays with the Bingo. Some people donít go south on Route 4.

    Mr. Borden asked if it were a lighted sign. Mr. Raneer answered no, actually it is about the size of a real estate sign placed in the ground. Mr. Borden asked the sign materials and Mr. Raneer answered it is a weatherproof material that professional sign person is constructing.

    Mr. Schecker asked where exactly it would be placed. The Building Department recommends that it be at least 20 feet from Springfield Pike. Mr. Raneer answered it would be the area of the first turnoff into the parking lot which would satisfy the 20 feet.

    Mrs. McNear asked if this were multi-purpose advertising to get candidates to come in as well as have businesses participate? Mr. Raneer answered yes, hopefully being on the bus line and advertising. It seems like a long time advertising; if someone is looking for a job they want it now, they donítí want to wait 60 days. But if you are trying to attract companies that will participate, it makes a little more sense. Mr. Raneer answered we definitely are trying to attract more people. We do have good support from the Springdale businesses; we have 257 businesses in Tri-County Mall.

    Mr. Schecker said given the fact that you have employers lined up I too question the length of time and the effectiveness of the sign. How did you get the businesses to participate? Mr. Raneer answered we have 132 members of the Chamber of Commerce and we hold bi-monthly meetings so we have access to these people. The problem is just about every hamburger place has Now Hiring signs out continuously. We thought we would be on equal plane with them if we could have the sign up for 60 days.

    Mr. Schecker asked any other means they are using to attract potential employees to the fair. Mr. Raneer answered I am working with the Hispanic community who are desperately looking for jobs other than the low minimum wage jobs. We are also working with other communities in regards to getting potential employees. Mr. Squires said you wonít have any need for the sign after September 18th, so the sign could go from July 25th to September 18th as stated, which isnít quite 60 days.

    Mr. Borden moved to grant the variance to place the sign from July 25th to September 18th, with the recommendation that the sign be placed 20 feet from the pavement of Springfield Pike. Mrs. McNear seconded the motion. Mr. Squires asked if anyone present wished to speak; no one came forward.

    Voting aye were Mr. Borden, Mrs. McNear, Mr. Schecker and Mr. Squires. Variance was granted with four affirmative votes.

     

    Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

    20 July 1999

    Page Eight

  5. NEW BUSINESS Ė continued
    1. Vineyard Community Church, 11340 Century Circle requests the

placement of a sign at East Kemper Road and Century Circle. Said variance is requested from Section 153.133(A) "..on the premises on which the sign is locatedÖ"

Jim Cochran, Executive Pastor said with us tonight is John Dursing of Quality Signs who can answer any questions about the sign itself. To give you the background, we are expecting somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 new visitors per year attempting to find our facility for weekend services and community service aspects such as high school graduations and community theater performances.

About 2/3 of these visitors come from outside the area, and wouldnít necessarily be familiar with where the church is. It is not located on a common street. There is no drive by visibility to reference this location. We feel the church provides a significant level of community service. We have had a great relationship with the City, and certainly see that level of community service expanding in the future.

We were able to secure a permanent easement on that corner for the signage as a part of the contract with the land. Four years ago we came before Planning Commission at that time to talk about the concept and received favorable comments at that time. They were not able to make a formal recommendation since we had not closed on the land, but we received favorable comments. In part based on that, we went forward with the project and secured the land and are in the process of a total of $13,000,000 dollar investment at that location.

In January of 1998 we came before this board to examine the possibilities of getting this variance and withdrew after a discussion where we got some good recommendations from the board. We have made a number of changes to reflect those recommendations, particularly in downsizing the sign and making it fit in with the existing building on the hill more appropriately.

Finally is the issue of precedence, which I know is appropriately a very important one. I would ask you to consider a couple of issues. One is that there really is a very strong community service aspect to what we do and secondly, the sheer volume of visitors. Before I spoke about 5,000 to 10,000 new visitors a year; at the current rate of attendance, we have about 250,000 people attending in the course of la year, and we could easily see that becoming one-half million in a few years. So, we feel it is a major investment on our behalf and a major investment in the community. Part of our whole package concept was to have a high quality sign out there on that corner to make it easier for people to find us.

Mr. Squires asked if the reason for the sign was because most visitors wonít know where Century Boulevard is and canít find it? Mr. Cochran answered yes, particularly visitors from outside the Tri-County area. It is not a very well known street address.

.

Mr. Schecker said I appreciate your presence in our community. Vineyard has shown a lot of strong community spirit. On the other hand, Century Circle will be quite a prominent road very shortly with the opening of that intersection as it goes further north. Also, there are landmarks that you could reference very easily how to get to you. I for one am very reluctant to grant an offsite sign like that. It seems to me that each business no matter where they are located has to do what is done to get people to their locations. There has to be ways to do that without a sign offsite. Personally I am not sympathetic to this proposal.

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

20 July 1999

Page Nine

VIII F VINEYARD COMMUNITY CHURCH Ė SIGN @ E. KEMPER & CENTURY CIR.

Addressing Mr. Lohbeck, Mrs. McNear asked if there were a limit to how many signs can be on the property? There already is a monument sign for the offices building. Can they have a sign on a secondary property? Mr. Lohbeck reported that it was, as long as they get permission, which they have, from the owner of the property.

Mrs. McNear said I was on that board four years ago, and I donít recall any favorable comments other than the church is very nice and we like having you in the community. Going on memory, I donít recall too many people being in favor of having an offsite sign. I was one not in favor and I still am not in favor of it. It does cause a precedence problem, as far as I know we donít have any in the City and I definitely would not want to start that now with all the businesses that we have. Also, as Mr. Schecker said, it will be a very prominent street very shortly. With Target going in there, people can see that from the expressway. So, I will be voting no this evening as well.

Mr. Squires asked if the sign would be placed below the monument sign that is already there? Mr. Cochran said yes. Mr. Squires continued so the landscape has been redesigned there so it can go below that. I would like to ask your designer some questions. Is this sign to be lit?

John Dursing answered it is internally illuminated with fluorescent. I brought a photograph of their existing signs. Mrs. McNear added there is a picture in the packet showing the placement of the sign below the sign currently on the property.

Mr. Squires commented there are other businesses on Century Boulevard that donít have signs arenít there?

Mr. Cochran said in reference to the Planning Commission four years ago, as we finished up the discussion, Mr. Syfert the chair stated, "Unless Iím wrong, the preponderance of the comments are favorable." He goes on to say "I think this Planning Commission has spoken favorably on it. Mr. Tiffany stated, "I agree with the chair. I did not hear any negative comments on it tonight. If it were me, I would take it and run. Unless someone wants to stand up in opposition to it, I think you donít have any opposition to it as it stands." That is at the end of the discussion concerning the sign. I realize at that point it was not appropriate for them to make a formal recommendation, but it was a factor in us choosing to locate in Springdale as opposed to going to Union Township and look at some other options.

This is an unusual location for a church in not being on a primary intersection or primary road, and it was a factor in our decision to go forward with the project. We are not just back Century Boulevard; we are back Century Boulevard and up and around Century Circle. It is a great location for the community. Our current location is a residential area, and we have infringed on it with the parking requirements. We felt this was a win-win for the City to be located in an area where the street structure could support it. We have gone way way above and beyond the requirements in terms of parking. We have 1300 spaces on site. We felt we have gone along way and felt that the iniital input from Planning Commission was favorable to this idea.

Mrs. McNear said I apologize. I thought you were talking about this board. I understand your dilemma and I know it is frustrating. However, we have to deal with not only the church property but also every property that we have in Springdale, both the ones here now and the ones that may come into the City. Weíre not trying to be difficult, but if we do this we would have to accommodate everyone else, and it puts us in a precarious position. Itís not that we are ungrateful to have you in the city.

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

20 July 1999

Page Ten

VIII F VINEYARD COMMUNITY CHURCH Ė SIGN @ E. KEMPER & CENTURY CIR.

Mrs. McNear added we think this will be an excellent addition to the City, but since you are upgrading and increasing the size, it will put us in other situations that could be difficult.

Mr. Squires said you alluded to the Planning Commission earlier. Our representative from Planning on this board is not present tonight. Would you feel more comfortable addressing this issue to the full board with his presence? I am asking because there are only four of us, and we have had two people who have already stated that they are not so much in favor of this. Iím trying to be fair to you.

Mr. Cochran answered I appreciate that. Based on the comments, that may well make sense. We are nine to 10 weeks from opening our facility and itís getting down to the wire in terms of having the sign constructed, Mr. Squires continued Mr. Okum is 0ur representative to Planning who might offer insights which some of us donít see, Mr. Wilson and Mrs. Ewing are absent as well, so I would recommend that you request that we table this and come back when we have a full board. Mr. Cochran agreed and the mater was tabled to August 17th.

G. John Morrrell & Co. 801 East Kemper Road requests permission to continue display of their "Now Hiring" banner. Said variance is requested from Section 153.160(2)".banners in no event shall exceed two consecutive weeksÖ"

Lyle Cooke, Human Resource Director of John Morrell Company said John Morrell took over the Kroger plant in 1980 and we are asking for a variance for the Now Hiring banner that we have hanging from our building. We didnít know that we had to seek permission to hang it, and I apologize for that.

We are having a very difficult time hiring and retaining people. We have been here a long time and plan to stay here. We want to hire people. Before we put the banner up in a six-week period we were hiring approximately 120-125 employees. With the last six weeks, we have had very close to 300 people who have come in and filled out our applications. The increase has been 50% or more because of that banner. It really has been a Godsend for us; we have been able to staff our plant and meet our customer orders and keep ourselves going for this year.

This is an unusual year, worst than last year or the year before. It seems like the economy is of such a nature that you canít find good employees who will stay with you. We are competing with everybody else using every means we possibly can. We have recruit for cash if they will stay with us, we advertise in the Cincinnati Enquirer every Sunday; that costs us $325 per Sunday. We advertise in the Employment News Weekly that goes to all the stores, which is $105 per week. We get employee referrals; we are hiring everybody we possibly can.

It is a difficult thing for all HR people to maintain our employment levels and I am asking the board to allow us to keep that sign up during the summer, which is our busy period. Our busy season for hot dogs, sliced luncheon meats and sausages is from April through September, and if we can get through those crunches, we can kind of struggle with the other means. This is a very cost-effective way to recruit people. We are set back away from the street down in kind of a valley and people really donít see the building that much. With that sign, it makes it more visible to people driving by.

 

 

 

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

20 July 1999

Page Eleven

VIII G JOHN MORRELL & CO. 801 E. KEMPER Ė "NOW HIRING" BANNER

Mr. Schecker asked how many people they are trying to recruit. Mr. Cooke answered because of turn over and our growth, we are now at 460 employees versus 390 from last year. We recruit about 25 to 30 people a week, and to do that you need a better applicant flow than that; one to one doesnít work. Where we were getting 22 to 23 per week prior to putting up the banner, we are getting close to 50 per week right now, and more than 50% of those are from that sign.

Mr. Schecker said I am wondering how much time you need for this sign, and Mr. Cooke answered I am looking at the end of September. It is hard to predict; our business is growing and when you have an economy like this, people like to buy hot dogs and sausages. We are growing and some other companies are not and we are picking up their business. The real crunch time is the first week of May to about the end of August.

Mr. Schecker continued if this variance were granted, should we expect to see you back next summer? Mr. Cooke answered and the summer thereafter. I think you would want us here; I think you want us to hire people and use whatever means we can. If we did not do any advertising, if we did not do employee referrals, if we did not do recruit for cash, I would ask you to tell me to take that sign down today. This was kind of a last resort, quite honestly. I understand your concern about putting signs all over the place.

Mr. Schecker said the Kroger sign is still there; what is your intent for a permanent sign for your location with possibly any messages you might wish. Mr. Cooke answered I would love to do that. Right now because there is still a Kroger building behind us and still kind of a Kroger association, they havenít been able to do that yet. I donít know why our corporate people donít do it; Iím not sure if there are legal reasons. I would like to put a nice big sign up saying here we are weíre doing hiring and come on in. It would make my job a lot easier.

Addressing Mr. Lohbeck, Mrs. McNear said there are a lot of companies that use banners, and I think it is eight weeks a year, two weeks at a time. Mr. Lohbeck added with a 30-day period between the hangings. We have made some exceptions; does that also hold true with a manufacturing facility; we have done that with retail. Mr. Lohbeck answered actually it is not permitted in a manufacturing zone. Mrs. McNear commented they are completely surrounded by retail in that area, and given the area awe are talking about, I think we might apply the same rule when it comes to banners. I wouldnít have a problem if we granted the entire banner length in one shot.

Mr. Squires commented it is a small one; I had to look to see it.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Borden asked if he had any data on the number of applicants that came in since the banner went up. Mr. Cooke answered I donít have it with me but I can bring it in. Mr. Borden asked when he first put the banner up, and Mr. Cooke answered I believe it was June 1st.

Mr. Schecker commented as banners go, it is not very obtrusive because it is relatively small proportionate to the size of the building.

Mrs. McNear added perhaps we could take it to September 1st and get you through your heavy hiring period. If that is acceptable to the board, I would like to make a motion to allow the banner to be up until September 1st. Mr. Schecker seconded the motion.

Voting aye were Mrs. McNear, Mr. Schecker, Mr. Borden and Mr. Squires. Variance was granted with four affirmative votes.

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

20 July 1999

Page Twelve

  1. IX. DISCUSSION

Mr. Squires said regarding the two items we tabled this evening, I think it is fair to do that. I had the distinct feeling that they were not going to pass with what they had here. Mrs. McNear added I believe Mr. Okum was on the Planning Commission at the time of the Vineyard request. I recall when this came up before BZA a year ago, they said that Planning had basically approved it. I think it was an off the cuff comment that

things looked well, and they took it as permission and approval. I think it is a real precedent problem.

Mr. Schecker said I think eventually the backside of that property will open up also. Mr. Borden wondered if the sign was already made, and Mrs. McNear answered that they indicated that it hasnít been.

X. ADJOURNMENT

Mrs. McNear moved to adjourn and Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 8:22 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

____________________,1999 _______________________

James Squires, Chairman

 

 

_____________________,1999 _______________________

Kathy McNear, Acting Secretary