BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTE

18 AUGUST 1998

7:00 P.M.

 

 

  1. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

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

II. ROLL CALL

Members Present: Councilman Robert Wilson, Thomas Schecker, Dave

Whitaker, Councilwoman Kathy McNear and Acting

Chairman David Okum.

Members Absent: Chairman Jim Squires and Secretary Barbara Ewing

(arrived at 7:05 p.m.)

Others Present: Richard Lohbeck, Inspection Supervisor

III. MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 21 JULY 1998

Mrs. McNear moved for adoption and Mr. Schecker seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present except Mr. Wilson and Mrs. Ewing who abstained voted aye and the Minutes were adopted with four affirmative votes.

IV. CORRESPONDENCE

    1. Zoning Bulletin Ė July 25, 1998
    2. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes Ė July 14, 1998

 

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

Mr. Okum stated that the applicant here this evening had a presentation at the Planning Commission meeting last week which was the only item on the agenda. The submission before us this evening is for a variance due to location of a ground sign and the height of both ground signs. The applicant had presented to Planning Commission a ground sign at the west entrance off Northland Blvd. And a pole sign to be relocated from the center of the development to the east side near Hardees entrance. After discussion with the applicant, Planning tabled it, and the applicant resubmitted and is here for the variances.

VI STATEMENTS CONCERNING VARIANCES

A. A variance once granted will be refereed 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 appeal six months after the denial.

B. Chairmanís 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 this 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.

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

18 August 1998

Page Two

VII OLD BUSINESS Ė NONE

 

VIII NEW BUSINESS

    1. Variances requested for setback for 1 ground sign 8í high and l0í from the right of way (Kemper Road) and 1 ground sign 8 feet high (Northland Boulevard) at Kemper Square, 107-139 West Kemper Road. Said variances are requested from Section 153.092(D)(5) "..shall be not less than 10 feet from a street right of way line..The height of a ground sign shall not exceed 7 feet."

Gene Bare of United Signs said we were at Planning last week and after a lengthy discussion, I requested tabling the request to confer with the owner of the property. Planning indicated that a ground sign was preferred over a pole sign. In talking with Mr. McErlane we were able to get this request in requesting a variance to see if we could adjust the setback requirements. We were concerned about the sight visibility of the parking lot blocking a ground sign at the Kemper Road entrance. Also, the height variance is requested because of the berm, especially on the Kemper Road area. We are asking for an additional 12 inches. I do have photographs of the site for your review. Members reviewed the photographs.

As was discussed last week, the maturity of the trees that have not died have made the existing pole sign non visible and non legible. By going to the ground signs at the entrances, they will better identify how to get in and out of the center. We anticipate utility problems at the Kemper Road entrance, so we need flexibility in where to locate the sign. The slight berm situation coming from west to east on Kemper Road is tricky. On the Northland Boulevard entrance, you have the street dropping down slightly and after I relooked at it, I would like if possible to maintain that eight foot height to get a better line of sight from up Northland to react in time to turn into the center.

Mrs. McNear asked if the sign were past the driveway as you come down Northland Boulevard, and Mr. Bare indicated that it was, so if you pull back out, the sign will not visually block the traffic coming in this direction. Some of this has been relandscaped, and we will be doing further landscaping once we know the exact position of the sign..

Mr. Okum asked to see sample of the sign color. Mr. Bare showed the shade of red planned for the signs. Mr. Okum wondered how they would maintain that color. Most reds bleed from the UV light. Mr. Bare answered these are catalyzed acrylic polyurethane finishes on the metal surfaces. It is basically the same paint they use on the roof of Space Mountain at Disney World. They are hard durable finishes that have a 10-20year minimum expectancy. Beyond that, the faces themselves will be plastic. The majority of plastic sign faces start out as clear and are painted on the inside. Usually the plastic material itself adds UV stability, but that also is built into the paint finishes. The bottom panel and the sides of the top part will be a fabricated aluminum with a catalyzed acrylic polyurethane finish. Mr. Okum said you have indicated that you will present a landscaping plan for around the base. Mr. Bare stated there will be landscaping done around the bases of the signs. It is hard to determine what will happen with the one on Kemper until we see the exact placement because we know there are underground utilities that we have to clear. It may not be right at right of way; it might be set back a couple of feet, depending on the utilities.

This is Karen Condon who is the ownerís representative, so if you have any questions regarding the property itself, Karen will be able to address them.

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

18 August 1998

Page Three

VIII. GROUND SIGNS FOR KEMPER SQUARE 107-139 WEST KEMPER ROAD

Ms. McNear wondered if there were any restrictions as to colors on Kemper Road, adding that personally she felt the color was hideous.

Mr. Okum commented the color is dramatically different from what is currently on the existing sign.

Mr. Wilson wondered if there were a reason they selected red, and Mr. Bare said if you look at a lot of the retail in the community, you will see that red is a predominant color for most retail establishments. There is a reason for that. The colors of this existing sign, if you can see it, blend into the surrounding area which means zero identification. We want to make people aware that the property is there.

Mr. Wilson commented there doesnít appear to be a predominance of red with the signs on your buildings. The Beauty College and Sign A Rama and Jersey Mikeís have red on the bottom ; Value City across the street has very little red, and these establishments seem to be doing quite well. I donít remember a lot of red on Tri-County signs either.

Mr. Bare responded you canít compare this property with most of those properties. There is a lot more visibility on the properties you have mentioned. They do not have the number of Bradford pears between the street and the strip center.

Mr. Wilson said your signs if located where you are requesting them are not going to be near any trees so why would you need a bright red if the trees arenít going to be blocking it? I am trying to understand your rationale.

Mr. Bare said the Kemper Road sign still would be visually blocked by the trees. In addition, the board has to be blind to color. It is not part of the request and it isnít part of your regulation.

Mr. Wilson responded we do have a Corridor Study, where we like to have earthtones and quieter colors. If youíll note most of these new signs in the new establishments are not bright red. There is some conformity that we are looking for. We are not saying that you canít have a red sign, but we are trying to have some conformity with signage. At this point to grant this in terms of the colors, we would be setting an example in that there are no other signs that are bright red like that up and down Kemper Road. Plus you are asking us for two different variances, sign height and setback, and you also have stated that because of the underground utilities, you are not sure where the sign will be; it might be to the left or right, which would be more in violation. So you are asking for a lot, and what I am asking you is if red is the color you must have, or is there some leeway there. We want to work with you, but weíre not going to open the door and give you everything you want.

Karen Condon, 8040 Hosbrook said I am vice president of property management for this property. Originally when Gene Bare brought in the red color, we liked it because we thought we would be doing that pylon sign and it would help with the trees. We thought about the entrance sign, because people coming down Northland Boulevard miss that turn. We thought the red color would grab your attention. If the red is that offensive to you, I would change the color. We have spent about $40,000 in the last couple of months adding irrigation so that the grass and shrubs are prettier. We have added flowers and all new landscaping and we are redoing the parking lot. We are trying to dress up the area. It is a retail center but not just a retail center.

 

 

 

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

18 August 1998

Page Four

VIII. GROUND SIGNS FOR KEMPER SQUARE 107-139 WEST KEMPER ROAD

Mr. Wilson commented I think having a tastefully done sign in front of the trees would identify that entrance for you and would be acceptable.

Ms. Condon wondered if there is a color the board would prefer, and Mr. Okum responded that is difficult for this board to do. I donít think it is the color in particular that offends, but when you mass colors into a large area as the design has done, although the Code reads massive square foot, that is an interpretation for the building official to make. He took the perimeter of Kemper Square. But, when you mass colors on a sign all in one color, my interpretation would be to include that whole area in my deliberations, because it is a massing of a monochromatic color on a field. Your offer to change colors is certainly a worthy one.

He also has indicated that you would be landscaping around the signs, and typically we would refer that landscaping review to our planning services. Ms. Condon said our landscaper is Ground Masters on Fields Ertel Road in Sharonville.

Mrs. McNear said I appreciate that you will consider another color for the sign. Because you do not advertise any of the facilities in your complex, I wondered why you wanted two signs just to state the name of the complex. Ms. Condon answered we manage 3.8 million square feet of office/retail space, we refer to it as Kemper Square. Mrs. McNear commented it is a difficult spot, because as you come around the corner, it also dips down and it is difficult to see the entrance. Mr. Bare added that was the reason for the request for the additional height. The other thing is a lot of the smaller tenants may use "at Kemper Square" in any advertising they do.

Mrs. McNear said the landscaping looks very nice. Ms. Condon responded and we are not even done. We told our landscapers that we want to plant perennials so there is always color there. Sometimes if you put flowers around signs, it gets your attention. Ms. McNear commented if the sign were a bright red, it might be more distracting than directional. With a large retail base, we are strict with our signage and we want a color palette we can live with.

Mr. Wilson said we as a board cannot dictate to you the color you should use. As a suggestion, what are your corporate colors? Ms. Condon said Wes Shellís are green and gold, and she showed her business card. The only thing is with the green and gold and the green in the trees, Iím not sure it would get lost. Mr. Okum said you would see those signs in the locations you are placing them. The sign on Northland Boulevard would be before the trees, and the sign on Kemper Road would be before anything.

As a board member, you could easily take this whole palette and consider it signage, and I do have a little concern about each part being two colors, because one is metal and one is plastic. What I think I am hearing from the board is you are cooperative regarding the color and the board wants to work with you too to try to help your site be successful in the community. We have to deal with the variances, one height and one setback. I would like to hear comments from the board regarding the two variance issues.

Mr. Schecker said so the Kemper Road site is the only one that needs the setback variance. You are asking for 0í setback, but youíre not sure. Mr. Bare answered we donít know because of the utilities; we need a little flexibility. If we can set it back a few feet, weíre going to do it. The shifting left or right wonít happen.

 

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

18 August 1998

Page Five

VIII. GROUND SIGNS FOR KEMPER SQUARE 107-139 WEST KEMPER ROAD

Mr. Schecker commented with the simple message Kemper Square, I have a hard time seeing why you need the 8 foot height. Ms. Condon replied we can cut it down. My problem is to make sure that the landscaper does not put anything in font of it to block it, but weíre not opposed to lowering it. Mr. Schecker said my preference would be that we donít needlessly grant variations when in your case I donít see a need for it. Mr. Bare added I do think there is a little more need on the Northland Boulevard area. Mrs. McNear said I think it is the reverse of that, because as you are coming down Kemper, it is a much busier street and there are only two lanes that can see that. In theory, I donít have a problem putting a sign there, but I donít think we need one of that magnitude. When you come around that corner it will hit you square in the face.

Mr. Okum said I concur with Mrs. McNear. I can identify with the need for a business to use Kemper Square as their identifying feature in their advertising. The Northland entrance is a secondary entrance because it is only accessible by one direction. We would encourage you to save your money and not pay needless dollars for a megasign that will not increase your business. I find the entrance by Hardees the primary entrance.

You have agreed to change the sign heights to 7 feet. You also have indicated that you will handle landscaping around the base of the units so the variance request would be for 0í setback.

Mr. Schecker moved to grant a variance to allow 0 foot setback for the ground sign at Kemper Road. Mr. Wilson seconded the motion.

Mr. Wilson said on the colors, we want them to fit your needs with a color that is kind of quiet. Mr. Okum said are you saying non monochromatic, monochromatic being bright red or fluorescent. Ms. Condon said I am not opposed to making the colors subdued. Mr. Okum continued you also indicated that massing of landscaping around the base of the signs would be included. Ms. Condon said Ground Masters will submit that. Mr. Okum said you canít put the color into the motion. You can make an amendment to the motion based upon the agreement by the applicant for a massing of landscaping around the base of the signs as well as a color change to a color is non monochromatic.

On the amendment to the motion, voting aye were Mr. Schecker, Mrs. Ewing, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Whitaker, Mrs. McNear and Mr. Okum.

On the amended motion, voting aye were Mr. Schecker, Mr. Wilson, Mrs. McNear, Mr. Whitaker, Mrs. Ewing and Mr. Okum. Variance was granted with six affirmative votes.

  1. DISCUSSION
  2. ADJOURNMENT

Mrs. McNear moved to adjourn and Mr. Whitaker seconded the motion. Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

___________________,1998 ____________________________

David Okum, Acting Chairman

___________________,1998_______________________________

Barbara Ewing, Secretary