Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes
18 September 2007
7:00 p.m.


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


Members Present:    Bob Weidlich, Bill Reichert, Jim Squires,
            Marge Harlow, Jane Huber, and Chairman Okum

Members Absent:    Bob Emerson

Others Present:    Randy Campion, Inspection Supervisor



Mrs. Huber said I don’t believe Mr. Osborn was present on Page 6.
Mrs. Huber moved to approve the corrected minutes and Mr. Squires seconded the motion. All present voted aye, and the minutes were adopted with six affirmative votes.


A. Zoning Bulletin – August 1, 2007
B. Zoning Bulletin – August 15, 2007


A. Report on Council – Jim Squires – no report
B. Report on Planning – David Okum – no meeting



A. Approval of variance to allow the construction of a deck extending 10 feet into the front yard at 507 Smiley Avenue. Said variance is requested from Section 153.580 (D) “..may project six feet into a required front yard. Tabled 8/21/07

Billy Mason, representing his mother in law and resident of 507 Smiley Avenue stated you said that the deck was extending 10 feet from the house, and that is correct. The right of way was remeasured which indicated that the right of way was 12 feet so many inches from the curb. I am not contesting that.

If my deck was built right now, it would be 35’-5” from the curb. Smiley Avenue is a very long street, but our house is three houses from the corner of Rose Lane. My wife and I went 14 houses up the street, 7 houses on each side of the road, 10 of these had decks, front porches or stoops protruding from the front of their houses. They were 30, 35, 31’4”, 32, 30.6, 29.4, 27 21 31.8 and
37 feet, out of these; 10 houses would be closer than the deck that I would be building.



Mr. Mason said even if the variance is granted tonight, we have lost a couple of months, and I will not build the deck until next spring.

Mr. Campion reported that the hearing regarding the applicant’s request was continued at the August 21, 2007 meeting in order to clarify the location of the public right of way and setbacks to the existing residence and proposed deck.

Measurements were taken on September 10, 2007. The public right of way is located 12.5 feet into the yard from the back side of the street curb. The existing residence is non-confirming with respect to front yard seatback and is 33’-2” from the right of way at its closest point. The east side of the residence where the proposed deck is to be constructed is offset and is 35’-3” from the right of way.

The applicant is proposing to construct a deck which projects 12 feet into the front yard, which will result in a setback of 23’-3” from the right of way line. Section 153.580(D) allows a deck to project up to six feet into a required front yard setback. Because the required front yard setback is 35 feet, the resulting required setback to the deck is 29 feet. Therefore the applicant is looking for 5’-9” of relief from the Board.

Mr. Campion added that digital pictures were taken of the proposed deck.

Mr. Okum said the digital photos provided by the staff help a lot for us to make the decision. Things were not as perfect back 51 years ago when these houses were built. The right of way line is 12’-6” from the curb. If the city were to place sidewalks along the street, typically you would have 3’ of grass then a sidewalk space and then a foot in, your right of way would typically, you would have 3’-4” of sidewalk so you’d be 8’ “so many” inches from the curb. Two doors down the whole front porch would be in the right of way.

Mr. Mason stated, right how the edge of my deck would be 35’5” from curb – the edge of my deck would be 29’ away from the right of way.

Mr. Okum said based on that, I would like to see it at least 30 feet. I think you could pull the deck back another foot, which would put you at approximately 30’.

Mr. Mason said it is exactly 10 feet from the house to there, and the only way I can build it to conform with the sidewalk is for it to be 10 feet from the offset (drew a location from the outer corner next to the sidewalk). Mr. Mason added I have built a lot of things and my measurements are within inch.

Mr. Okum opened the public hearing.



Anna Mason of 507 Smiley Avenue said the reason the deck needs to come to the edge of the sidewalk is because of my mother’s maneuverability problems. She is 88 years old and uses a walker.
That is the reason for wanting it to come to the edge of the sidewalk.

Mr. Okum closed the public hearing.

Mrs. Huber moved to grant the variance from Section 153.580 (D) for the deck to extend 5’-9” into the existing front yard at 503 Smiley Avenue. Mr. Reichert seconded the motion. Mr. Campion asked if he was saying that the deck would be to the edge of the sidewalk. Mr. Mason answered the steps would come right onto the sidewalk. Mr. Campion added it looks like about 18”, and the variance should be for 5’-1”

Mr. Okum said based on the evidence and staff’s evaluation of the property and my personal observation of the existing conditions along Smiley Avenue, this would be fair. The existing sidewalk makes it necessary for the deck to go at least to the walkway. This deck will not be elevated, so it will be low with a low profile.

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

B. Approval of variance to allow a sign to be placed not within the required setback at 11503 Springfield Pike (American Mortgage Service Co.). Said variance is requested from Section 153.531(D) (5) “..shall be not less than…ten feet from a street right of way line..” Tabled 8/21/07

Ed Wolterman, owner of 11503 Springfield Pike said there is very little space between the building and the street. He passed out copies of the sign to the members.

I understand from the letter I got that my sign is about 18 inches higher than the requirement. The reason is to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

Mr. Campion reported that the applicant is requesting to erect a
6’-9” x 9’-7” ground sign at a distance of two feet from the Springfield Pike right of way line. Section 153.531(D) (5) requires that the sign be set back 10 feet from the right of way. The existing building is set back approximately 15’ from the Springfield Pike right of way line. It is impractical to try to relocate the sign 10’ from the right of way. To do so would impact the parking lot.

Although not specifically noted by the applicant, the proposed sign requires an additional variance from 153.531 (C) (5) which limits the height of ground signs to 7 foot maximum. The applicant is showing a sign 8’-6” high. The applicant has not provided justification for this aspect of the request.



Section 153.432 (D) (2) requires that the ground signage support be brick or stone. A brick or stone base will be required.

Mr. Wolterman said we can make it brick or stone.

Mr. Okum added because it is in the Corridor Review District, that would be required anyway, along with plantings around the sign.
Mr. Okum said staff has indicated that the setback would be difficult for you to accomplish. Why do you need the height?

Mr. Wolterman responded aesthetically it looks a lot better to have the curve on the sign at the top rather than a boxy sign like CVS or Walgreens.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Okum said you understand what you presented is very nice, but if you decided to build a square box instead of rounded, it would be 8’-6”.

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

Mr. Weidlich moved to grant the variance for 1503 Springfield Pike for a setback for a ground sign 2’-1” from Springfield Pike right of way from 153.53 (D) (5) plus 8’6” high sign 153.531 (C) (5) limits right of way to 71” in height. Mr. Squires seconded the motion.

Mr. Squires commented that it would be impractical to relocate the sign the required 10 feet.

Mr. Weidlich asked what the two lines of four inch copy would be. Mr. Wolterman answered general announcements of goods and products. Mr. Weidlich continued if you reduce that, it could pull the sign down.

Mr. Wolterman commented originally we wanted an electronic sign. This is a $12,000 sign and I want to make maximum use of it.

Mr. Squires asked if the sign fit the requirements of the Corridor Review District and Mr. Okum responded he will create a monument effect. Mr. Okum asked if there is a limit to square footage of sign space and Mr. Campion answered I don’t know if it is the same 50 s.f. Mr. Wolterman commented I understand when the sign company called they were told 100 s.f. Mr. Okum stated he believed it is 50 s.f. on each side; and added it would have to be pulled from the code.

Mr. Okum said I do not know of many 7 foot high signs in the Corridor District. Mr. Wolterman has a big investment on Springfield Pike, but it is across the street from the retail center.

Mr. Wolterman commented the sign is quite a bit smaller than the retail sign across the street. I have no place to put a sign on the building, and across the street they have signs on the building.

Mr. Campion said the signage formula is based on the square footage of the building, and apparently this meets that formula.



Mr. Okum stated that there is not a motion to approve the square footage of the sign. If this application is approved, we are approving a height issue and set back issue only. If there are other issues we need to address them.

Mr. Wolterman stated that one hundred percent of the building is owned by him.

Mr. Okum said I agree that the sign is much more attractive than a square box. I would like to see the sign come down some and get closer to seven foot. We should grant the setback because it is necessary, but there needs to be a little give-and-take on this as well. Is there any way you can bring that sign down?

Mr. Wolterman responded if I have to, I have to, but it is negligible as you drive by and there is nowhere to put a sign on the building. I have been in Springdale for seven years, and I cannot imagine that anybody would recognize the difference as they drive by.

Mrs. Huber asked if the brick base is counted in the height and Mr. Okum answered yes, it is part of the total height.

Mr. Campion reported that pole signs cannot exceed 100 s.f. counting 50 s.f. on both sides.

Mr. Wolterman reported this sign is no bigger than the sign I took down, which was shabby. I am making a substantial investment in Springdale, and the identification sign is important. I do not understand the need for that to be less than 50 s.f. on each side.
I know there are larger than 100 s.f. signs on Springfield Pike.

Mr. Okum said if you eliminated the two lines of copy, you would be well within the seven feet. Mr. Wolterman responded I would prefer not to do that. I have a business to run.

Mr. Okum said if we granted this, people would want to have the biggest signs they can.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Okum said if you reduced the two lines of copy, you would be reducing the height, and we could grant the variance for the setback. I will support the 2’-6” setback, but I am not going to support over 50 s.f. in area and 8’-6” in height.

Mrs. Harlow said we do value your business, and we want to work with you. We know you cannot meet the setback requirements, but I do not think we can go above the seven foot height or 50 s.f. because it would snowball. We are putting a lot of money into the Springdale Business District and we will make that a key entry into the City. I cannot support the height or the oversized sign, but I can support the setback variance.

Mr. Wolterman said if I changed it to one line, would that be acceptable? Mr. Okum answered I do not know if that would make the 50 s.f. If you took out one line, it would be 8 foot total height.



You could narrow down your bands a little bit. I have not heard any comments from the Board on supporting the variance at this time if you want to call the question. The setback and height were the motion. If you want to come back next month, you could reapply. That would be up to you. If you want us to, we could redo the motion and not include the height variance.

Mr. Wolterman questioned if I bring the sign down to seven feet in height, what would the square footage of the sign be? Mr. Okum responded it depends on how you do this. I think you can get a
50’ s.f. sign in there. It also would require the masonry or stone base.

Mr. Wolterman commented Mr. McErlane did not think there would be a problem here, and that is why I am a little disappointed.

Mr. Campion asked if this was a two sided sign and Mr. Wolterman responded, yes. Reading from the Zoning Code, Mr. Campion said “the total area of any ground sign shall not exceed 100 s.f. total sign face area. The height of the sign shall not exceed seven feet.”

Mr. Wolterman asked if he could put one sign on either end of the lot. Mr. Okum responded I do not think we should be interpreting the code at this point. I am sure if you call tomorrow morning,
Mr. McErlane and Mr. Campion will go through the code and give you an exact square footage.

Mr. Wolterman responded I own one building on three lots, and there is 12,000-plus square feet in the building. My understanding was that you could put two signs on your lot. My neighbor has two signs on his lot. Mr. Wolterman added, why don’t you give me my variance on the setback and I will take the remainder of the issues with Mr. McErlane.

Mr. Squires moved to remove the height issue from the variance and to vote only on the set back requirement for one sign on the lot. and Mr. Reichert seconded the motion. On the motion to amend, all present voted aye.

On the amended motion to grant the variance on the setback issue for the property all present voted aye, and the variance for the sign placement was granted with six affirmative votes.

Mr. Wolterman added as a board you should be business friendly, and this is not. I have 40-50 employees, and this is a big disappointment.


A. Approval of variance to allow the construction of a 10’ x 16’ shed at 613 Glensprings Drive. Said variance is requested from Section 153.492(B) “..shall not exceed 120 s.f. in area.”



Don Stowell, 613 Glensprings Drive said we have been doing additions to the house, and we would like to have a shed in the back yard. There is a basketball court with a cement slab, and that is where the shed will go. Mr. Stowell added, I will put the lawn mower and garden tools and most of it will be used for a woodworking shop.

Mr. Campion reported that the applicant is requesting a variance to erect a 10’ x 16’ (160 s.f.) utility building on his property. Section 153.492 limits the size of accessory buildings to 120 s.f. maximum area. The location of the utility building proposed by the applicant complies with setback requirements.

The applicant has not indicated any exceptional circumstances about his property that makes a variance for a larger utility building necessary.

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

Mr. Squires moved to grant the variance, commenting that based on the size of the lot, I have no problem with the variance.
Mrs. Huber seconded the motion.

Mr. Squires commented that the size of the property is large.
Mrs. Harlow asked about the percentage of the shed to the lot size and Mr. Reichert reported that it is under 1% of the lot size. Mrs. Harlow asked about looking at the size of the dwelling, and
Mr. Stowell said it is a two story home. Mr. Okum said it would be over 2,000 s.f.

Mr. Okum said I think this request for a 10’ x 16’ shed is reasonable, and I will be supporting the variance.

All members present voted aye, and the variance was granted with six affirmative votes.

At this time, Mr. Wolterman returned to the chamber, stating that he had measured the three signs of CVS on Springfield Pike, Kemper Road and on their building.

Mr. Okum said you can reapply for a variance; you have a much smaller parcel than CVS. Our responsibility is to hear your case, and there was not enough evidence given for us to justify the sign.

Mr. Wolterman responded I was told all the other signs met the requirements and mine does not, and that is not true. Didn’t Mr. Campion say that the total square footage is 100 s.f.?

Mr. Okum said I don’t recall the CVS signage, but I do know that the Springdale Town Center is a PUD and it went through Planning, not through this board.

Mrs. Harlow added CVS may have come in for a variance two



years ago, but we have to take each case and vote on it separately. We cannot say if CVS had a variance for two signs, etc. Many people have come before us. When the variance is granted, it is for the specific piece of property.

Mr. Wolterman said I was asking for a variance, but I am telling you that you have a corporation down the street that has three oversized signs.

Mrs. Harlow asked how much larger their lot is than his and
Mr. Wolterman answered I don’t know, but I am sure it is not that much more.

Mr. Squires said I would recommend that we continue with the agenda and come back to you later. We have another applicant waiting.

Mr. Wolterman said I will wait. Mr. Okum commented before he waits, we would need a motion to reconsider. This would be inappropriate, because it does not follow Roberts Rules of Order, and there was no person with dissenting vote to make the motion.

Mrs. Harlow said since we do not have the information in terms of other signage along Springfield pike, I do not feel comfortable opening that up for discussion again. We would not be able to give him the answers he is seeking.

Mr. Okum commented I agree. It has been seven years since CVS came through. I do remember there was give and take on that property, but I can’t recall exactly what it was.

Mrs. Harlow added this puts all of the board members at a disadvantage to address the issue and be fair to the applicant.

Mr. Campion said Mr. McErlane did not mention the sign needing a variance for the square footage. You already received a variance for the setback tonight and we could discuss the square footage allowed tomorrow. Mr. Wolterman said Mr. McErlane said it looked okay.

Mr. Okum commented the only issue is the 8’-6” height. You heard myself and Mrs. Harlow speak against it.

Mr. Wolterman commented a big corporation can get anything they want and a small businessman gets thrown out the door.

B. Approval of 7’-6” ground sign at First Baptist Church, 11494 Walnut Street. Said variance is requested from Section 153.530(A) “…not exceeding 7 feet in height.”

Because she is a member of the church, Mrs. Harlow withdrew from the discussion.

Jess Enzor, representing the church, approached the Board.



Mr. Campion reported that the applicant has submitted a request to allow their ground sign to remain at 7’-6’ in height. The sign face is 4’ x 10’ (40 s.f.) and was placed without acquiring a permit. The top of the sign face is 7’ -2 ” above grade and the posts are 7’-0” above grade. Section 153.530 (A) restricts the total height of the sign to 7 feet maximum.

The applicant has not indicated any unusual circumstances about the property that would warrant the additional height. The applicant has indicated that denial of the variance would hinder the promotion of the church. It is not clear how erecting the sign at 7’-0” maximum height as required by code would hinder the promotion of the church.

Mr. Okum opened the public hearing.

Hazel Hendrix of 344 Peach Street said I am a neighbor of the church, (across the street) and I would have no objection to their sign as it is. They have been good neighbors, and it is a large lot.

Mrs. Huber said I assume that the posts are in concrete; how deep are they? Mr. Enzor responded they are three feet deep.

Mr. Weidlich wondered if they were vinyl posts. Mr. Enzor answered they are not vinyl; they are 6” x 6” wood. It is a wooden frame with an aluminum honeycomb structure to the sign itself.

Mr. Okum reported that the sign is already erected. It would have been nicer to have it lower so as not to obstruct that window. How difficult would it be to lower the sign?

Mr. Enzor responded it would take a lot of work. There are
10” x 10” x ” angle irons that support the horizontal members below to the vertical posts. It would have to be dismantled, the attachment holes redrilled and reassembled, there are removable caps that add approximately 2” to the height. Probably there would be 32 bolts/screws to be removed. I built the structure myself and picked the sign up from the company who made it.

Mr. Okum wondered if the code calls for landscaping around the sign base and Mr. Campion reported that it did not.

Mrs. Huber moved to grant the variance from Section 153.53 (O) (A) to allow a ground sign to be 7’-6” above grade at
11494 Walnut Street. Mr. Weidlich seconded the motion. Voting aye were Mrs. Huber, Mr. Weidlich, Mr. Reichert and Mr. Squires. Voting no was Mr. Okum, and the variance was granted with four affirmative votes.


A. Mr. Okum stated the first thing I sent you is a list from me, and here is the expanded chart from property sizes for storage, buildings and garages. The cover letter explains this, based upon our decision at the last meeting I changed the percentages to the amounts that were motioned by this Board and I identified in yellow the accessory structures that would be allowed in our code, and that would be the sizes.
The Green are the approved variances for accessory structures that did pass the test – based upon these percentages the Green would have been approved. These would have not even come before the Board for a variance.
The Reds, on the other hand, would not have been approved or they would have required to have a variance and present the case and the evidence as it pertained to their particular parcel.
So Yellow tells you the lesser size – top being garage, bottom being shed. Reds had been approved by this Board, but would not have been approved by this new code.
Green pass the test and they would not have needed to come before this Board.
Mr. Okum asked if everyone feels good with those percentages. He added Red means that this Board would have heard these cases.

Mrs. Harlow questioned, on 1271 E. Crescentville, revised code allowed 149, they built 160? Mr. Okum stated the revised code would have allowed them 149. Mrs. Harlow asked what the next column, for revised code allowed? Mr. Okum answered that it is the lesser. Mrs. Harlow continued 50%, o.k. I’m confused.
Mr. Okum added the new code not to exceed 50% of the dwelling, that’s garage, and 12% for the sheds. It is the lesser of the two;
166 is less than 213, 227 is less than 568, do you see how that works?
Mrs. Harlow answered, yes, they got 160.
Mr. Okum added they would have been allowed, with the variance, 149 s.f., the code currently allows 120 s.f.

Mrs. Harlow asked if it is an issue if a person has an odd shaped piece of property. Mr. Okum answered there is a way of calculating the amount of square footage.
Mrs. Harlow asked that with a pie shaped yard, and to put the shed at the back of that, 5 ft. from the property line, is that ever an issue?
Mr. Okum answered that would be a topography issue that would be considered by this Board for a variance. That would be the test of the 11 or 12 that have been recommended to Council that we would consider as part of our considerations in granting a variance and if Council does approve that, then hopefully we’ll have that list in front of us and those are the test that we should apply to every variance, all of those.

Mrs. Harlow stated, I think this will make it easier for us; a guideline to go by; a lot easier.
Mr. Okum added, I think it’s fair if you told the gentleman on Harter that he could have 160 s.f. shed, instead of asking for 180 s.f. shed.
The responsibility would be for the Building Department to come up with the dwelling size to consider.



Mr. Reichert added, from our notes from the last meeting, the last page it says “Mr. Reichert suggested 55% of the dwelling –
Mr. Okum, it should not be more than 50%, Mrs. Harlow added it should not go over 700 s.f., but I think 66% is too high.
Mr. Reichert suggested 55% of the dwelling size, and Mr. Reichert agreed”. The next sentence said, “the motion was made that this be forwarded to Planning Commission…”

Mr. Okum answered, so I put 50% and not 55%.
Mr. Reichert stated, I thought it was 55%, I circled 55%.
Mr. Okum added that the calculations are on 55%. I typed 50%, I’ll check that and make sure it is right; I’ll make sure the table carries out to reflect that. Mr. Okum thanked Mr. Reichert.

Mrs. Harlow asked, so what you were saying is, if we move this toward Council and they adopt it, then the Building Department can use this as a guideline to issue a permit or would they still need to come to us? Mr. Okum added, if they meet the test, it will prevent a lot of applications for the Board.

Mr. Okum stated, I want everyone on the Board to see this so that if you feel comfortable with the recommendation, it will be on the forward to Planning Commission’s next meeting.


A motion was made to adjourn, and the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 8:47p.m.

                        Respectfully submitted

_______________________, 2007 _____________________
                        David Okum, Chairman

_______________________, 2007 _____________________
                        Jane Huber, Secretary