Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

17 October 2000

7:00 p.m.


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

  4. Members Present: Fred Borden, Robert Apke, Robert Weidlich

    Councilman Robert Wilson, Councilman

    James Squires, Jane Huber and David Okum

    Others Present Dick Lohbeck, Inspection Supervisor

    Anne McBride, City Planner

  6. Mr. Apke moved for adoption and Mr. Squires seconded the motion. By voice vote, all voted aye, and the Minu5tes were adopted with seven affirmative votes.

    1. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes 12 September 2000
    2. Zoning Bulletin – September 10, 2000
    3. Zoning Bulletin – September 25, 2000


    1. Report on Council Activities – Jim Squires

Mr. Squires stated that there was one ordinance before Council, Ordinance 75-2000, which authorized the mayor and clerk to enter into a mutual aid agreement with the Cincinnati Police Department and other law enforcement agencies in Hamilton County. Our Police Department felt the need of this, feeling it would increase their efficiency and it was passed unanimously.

At the last Council meeting, the problem with GEEAA Park was considered. With the change in evaluation of property, their taxes have gone up $90,000 per year. They are in a bind and want to increase revenue and keep the park. They have several options; one is to sell off a portion of the land that would include the ball diamonds on 747 and perhaps half of the picnic area. The membership have voiced concern about that; they want to keep the park as it is and were wondering what the City could do about it or what the Hamilton County Commissioners could do about it. We can’t spend our tax money to pay their taxes, but we are prepared to offer to buy the property from them for $1 and lease it to them for $1 a year. As a municipality, we would not be taxed that $90,000. They would maintain their own identity for the property, save the tax money and perhaps invest in capital improvements. For the property. The City has gone out of its way to do that but it is not being accepted totally by the board in control. So it looks like part of that property might be sold. It is in the City’s best interests, but we made the offer in good faith and even told the GE people to write their own lease.



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Mr. Squires added the property is zoned business, and the golf course itself is zoned residential. The part that is zoned business may be sold; we are still discussing this with these people and are hoping they won’t do that, but it is their property and their decision.

B. Report on Planning Commission – David Okum

Mr. Okum reported that Sofa Express was in for final approval for the third time. They had budget issues, and requested that we approve lesser landscaping, smaller trees, a change in the parking field and building elevation changes primarily on the west and north sides of the building. There was quite a bit of discussion, and the west elevation changes were denied. The north elevation changes were approved, and the parking lot reconfiguration was approved. Landscaping was turned over to our city planner to work with them to bring the landscaping up to the original standards

We also had a concept discussion of the proposed expansion to Dr. Fogel’s office and coin laundry on Springfield Pike. It was a lot more building which would have eliminated a good bit of the parking area and generate pulling backwards out onto Peach Street and to back directly out onto the alleyway, not angularly as it currently is, but straight out. There was not a lot of positive discussion; I think Dr. Fogel understood that it could not move forward in that way.

There was an approval of the replat of Plat 6 of the Northwest Business Center, Pictoria Tower, and a request to rename North Commerce Way to Pictoria Drive. Since they are the only business on it, Planning Commission was instructed by our law director that Planning had the authority to make that decision and Planning approved the replat and renaming of the street. The developer is responsible for all signage changes costs and deed recordings.

The last item was proposed changes to Donato’s 810 Kemper Commons (formerly Boston Market). The mechanical units will be concealed, and there will be a tower entrance on the corner. There will be no parking lot changes, except to improve it and bring it up to date. They will add shrubbery along the one side of the property where the cars pull directly in. That was approved with seven affirmative votes.

Mr. Okum welcomed Anne McBride, of McBride Dale Clarion, our City Planner. She is here to assist us on a zoning variance request that we had. We will incorporate Ms. McBride’s comments into the Minutes for the public record. I don’t see the applicant here, but I would like to go over her comments; perhaps we will handle that under Discussion. There is a lot of good information not only for this applicant or any other applicant. We thank you for coming.








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  2. A variance once granted would be referred back to the Board of Zoning Appeals if after the expiration of six months, no construction or action is done in accordance with the terms and conditions of the variance.

    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 on the clipboard in the rear of the room. When your variance request is announced, you should take your places at the podium, state your name and address, and state the facts as they are pertinent to the subject before this board.

    As this is a public hearing, being sworn in prior to giving testimony is required by law.

    Therefore, anyone interested or who may be interested in testifying on any matter on the agenda this evening needs to be sworn in

    At this time, please stand up. Raise your right hand and repeat after me.

    I (state your name)

    Do solemnly swear

    To tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

    So help me God.

    Please be seated.

    Be advised that anyone who was not standing and sworn in cannot testify unless you request the chair to be sworn in when you come to the podium.

    Additionally, all testimony and discussion relative to said variance is recorded. It is from this recording that our Minutes are taken.


    1. S & J Properties, 492 West Sharon Road requests variance to allow them to subdivide existing property at 411 Grandin Avenue to create a single-family lot. Variances are required from Section 153.144 A Single household dwellings..shall have a minimum lot area of 9,000 s.f. and a lot width of 75 feet; Section 153.144 C Multi-household dwellings shall have a maximum density of ten (10) units per acre and a lot width of not less than 200 feet; Section 153.147 A Single household dwellings..shall have a minimum rear yard setback of 40 feet; and Section 153.504 Single household,…two (parking) spaces for each unit with two or more bedrooms Tabled 9/19/00 (referred to City Planner)

Mr. Squires suggested we move this down on the agenda, prior to Discussion. Board members agreed.


17 OCTOBER 2000


    1. Marion K. Allman, Art Institute of Cincinnati, 1171 East Kemper Road requests variance to allow the installation of permanent banners on the front of the building. Said variance is requested from Section 1l53.523(I) "Pennants, streamers & flags..are prohibited."
    2. Ms. Allman was not present, and Mr. Squires moved to table the matter to November and Mr. Borden seconded the motion. J By voice vote, all voted aye, and the matter was tabled to November 21, 2000.

    3. David L. Jones, 795 Tivoli Lane requests variance to allow him to renew Variances T-7-1996 which allows him to park his camping trailer on a concrete pad adjacent to his driveway for three months each year, from May 1st to September 30th". Said variance is requested from Section 480(D)(1) "..may be stored..not closer than 5 feet to the nearest lot line or any right of way line.
    4. Mr. Jones said the item says three months, but it should be five months. That was the variance I had. I also would like to ask that it be extended from September 30th to mid-October.

      Mr. Jones added that this has worked out very well over the last three years, and I would like to extend it. It keeps me from having to bring that trailer down every so many days or weeks. This year, out of the five months, we were gone in that trailer for two months. I store the trailer inside in the winter, and it is expensive. I would hate to bring the trailer up there every so many days and have to pay for a month, since they won’t break a month into weeks or days; you have to pay for the month. Our property is so small that you can’t get the trailer to the side yard or back yard.

      Mr. Squires asked if he used the trailer after September 30th. Mr. Jones answered that he didn’t; it may spill over into one or two weeks of October, but normally it will be in storage until May 1st. Mr. Squires said so you are asking for a variance from May 1st to October 15th. There are no statements from any adjoining residences about this, but for the record, I asked you if 785 Tivoli had any objection to this, and you indicated they did not.

      Mr. Wilson asked how long he planned to keep the trailer at the residence, wondering if it would be until he retired and moved. Mr. Jones answered I am retired and I am planing to stay here. Mr. Wilson asked if he planned to get a different trailer at some point? Mr. Jones answered I probably would replace it in ten years; it is three years old. Mr. Wilson wondered if 10 years from now that it would be the same size or bigger. Mr. Jones answered it would be the same type but no bigger; it could be smaller, but in 10 years I might be done with camping. Mr. Wilson said you mentioned that this year you were gone two months; do you anticipate being gone more or less time? Mr. Jones answered two months is probably normal; it could increase. Mr. Wilson asked how far away is the winter storage area and would there be a discount for year round storage. Mr. Jones answered there would be no discount; it is on a monthly basis and it is located in Port Union.



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      Mr. Wilson said while it is on your site, do you use it as temporary living spaces? Mr. Jones answered I maintain it, but that would be the extent of it. Mr. Wilson said so the trailer parked there is a convenience rather than a need; you wouldn’t be storing things in there; it would be an economic advantage.

      Mr. Okum said three years ago we had some discussion about some plantings alongside your trailer. It was a part of the Minutes, but it was not part of the variance. Mr. Jones said I have to ask my neighbor to allow me to do that. Mr. Okum responded I can’t see a reason why your neighbor wouldn’t allow that. Your trailer sticks way out. Unless there is some cooperation, some agreement between you and the neighbor to put some shrubbery along that side, I cannot support the extension of the variance. I would recommend that we either table this evening so you can get some type of an agreement with the neighbor that you can provide to this board as evidence that this will be accomplished, or we can vote on it tonight..

      Mr. Jones asked if he were suggesting trees or shrubs. Mr. Okum said I am talking about the type of shrub that grows and flowers, forsythia. Maybe four or fives along the length of the trailer. Three years ago we had some discussion and you agreed to it, but it wasn’t part of the variance and it wasn’t accomplished. Mr. Jones responded the original owner of that property has died.

      Mr. Borden asked if he were suggesting that the plantings go to the sidewalk and Mr. Okum answered no that would be a safety obstruction. Because there is a tongue on the trailer, you could start aback five or six feet from the edge of the sidewalk and work to the back. It needs something to break it. Mr. Borden commented so the plantings would be on the neighbor’s property.

      Mr. Wilson commented maybe you and the neighbor could go together on the shrubbery. I would feel a lot more comfortable if there was some kind of breakup, because as you turn onto Tivoli from Crescentville, that is the first thing you see. With a lot of our residents having trailers and motor homes, we would be setting a precedent by allowing you to have your trailer parked there for that period of time without some kind of cosmetic change or break up. I suggest tabling this until next month to allow you time to talk to your neighbor and see if you can come up with something.

      Addressing the applicant, Mr. Squires said at best, we can only offer you a temporary variance. You do want to extend the time frame to the middle of October, and it has been proposed that you contact the owner at 785 Tivoli with the idea of planting shrubbery along there, but it would be on the neighbor’s property. I think we can work this out. Do you have any objections to talking to your neighbor? Mr. Jones said no, not at all.

      Mr. Squires moved to table this to November 21st and Mr. Wilson seconded the motion. All voted aye, and the item was tabled.



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      PAGE SIX

    5. Walgreen Company, 385 Northland Boulevard requests variance

to allow the placement of a temporary trailer for the Christmas season. Said variance is requested from Section1l53.491(C) "Storage or any other use in a trailer..shall not be permitted."

Mr. Victor Leopold said our Christmas selling season is upon us and we do 1-½ times more business during November and December than we do the rest of the year. To do that much business, we have to have that much more inventory. As small as our storage area is, it cannot accommodate the amount and size of merchandise that we get in for that time of year. I am asking to have a 40-foot trailer parked in the back parking lot behind the building for temporary storage for about 60 days.

Mr. Squires said you indicate storage for the Christmas season. What are the specific dates? Mr. Leopold said we would like to begin tomorrow and continue until December 18th, give or take 10 days. Mr. Squires wondered if he would be asking for this every year, and Mr. Leopold indicated that he would, adding that it has been asked for in the past, except for last year. Our deliveries change from year to year; the big shipment arrives some time in October; this year it is a week from now.

Mr. Wilson commented I drove by this afternoon and noticed that if

you are going to be parking next to the dumpster, you will lose all those parking spaces. IL assume that is not a concern? Mr. Leopold answered there are three parking spaces there, and there may be one person who works at the dry cleaners who parks there.

Mr. Wilson added I tried to measure off 40 feet, and it is awfully close to the edge or the building, which means that people coming around the corner to use the drive through will have a tight squeeze. That is my concern, especially in inclement weather. With snow or ice, they would plow right into that trailer.

You asked for 60 days plus or minus 10. I worked in retail and I would say that trailer would be there until at least December 24th and then it would be a week or two before it is moved, so we are going into 70+ days. I can understand and appreciate the need, but I have to look at the precedent we are setting. We are looking at 70+ days with a traffic hazard. Then you have employees going out to get the products with people coming around the corner. I am concerned about the length; 40 feet is awfully big and close to the edge of your building. If it was acceptable to the board, I would like to see a considerably smaller trailer; 40 feet is too big.

Mr. Leopold responded with the company that all the Walgreen’s deal with, they offered a 20-foot trailer also, but I didn't think that was close to enough storage space, at least initially. It could be changed from 40 foot to 20 foot within 30 days. I could easily make sure that the trailer would be gone within 60 days because most of our sales will happen well before December 20th.

Mr. Wilson commented if you have been in retail for any period of time, you’ll find that between the 20th and the 24th is the bulk of your sales. Mr. Leopold agreed, adding that most of the merchandise will be out on the sales floor ready for those sales.


17 OCTOBER 2000



Mr. Wilson added I noticed a small storage shed there. What is that being used for? Mr. Leopold answered that stores totes that we get from our warehouse. We receive approximately 300 every week and they tend to get in the way and are a hazard if they set in our stockroom.

Mr. Apke commented I patronize your store quite frequently, and made a trip around the back of the store. There were four or five cars waiting for the drive through. I barely could get by with nothing there. As son as a trailer is there, that entire back area would be clogged. The drive through lane is approximately nine feet wide and there would be no room to squeeze through,. I also am concerned about the safety of the employees having to walk through the drive through lane. I think 40 feet is an excessive length and that it would be dangerous at that placement.

Mr. Okum asked if anyone in the audiences wished to speak on the issue; no one approached and he closed the Public Hearing.

Mr. Borden asked if the trailer was already there. Mr. Leopold answered no, and Mr. Borden said I stopped there right before the meeting, and there is a trailer there now. Mr. Leopold answered it was not supposed to arrive until tomorrow. Those were my explicit directions to them, as long as I got the okay from the board this evening. I told them I had a board meeting this evening to get the okay. I was gone today from 4:15 to 5:00 p.m. for my lunch break. Mr. Borden said it was there at 6:30 p.m. I don’t frequently go back behind the building; I park in the front parking lot between the cleaners and Walgreen’s on the Northland Boulevard side, but I will pay a visit when I get back to the store. I am very sorry that this happened; I will look into that.

Mr. Okum wondered if the trailer was loaded with merchandise already and Mr. Leopold answered no.

Mr. Wilson asked Mr. Borden if he tried to get around the 40-foot trailer. Mr. Borden answered it appeared to be 40 feet and when I went through there were about four cars in the drive through lane and it was very tight. Any more than four would be almost impossible.

Mr. Wilson asked if there were enough room for your SUV to go around the corner, and Mr. Borden responded there barely was. Mr. Wilson said a big car would have a problem, but small cars could make it. Mr. Borden answered as long as you are going slow, no problem with a small car.

Mr. Wilson said so the trailer extended past the back of the building. How close was it to the dumpster. Mr. Borden answered the trailer and the dumpster were butted together, and the doors were on the end.






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Addressing the applicant, Mr. Wilson said if we deny this, you won’t have time to come back with another offer. I would suggest you look at a 20-foot trailer and come back to us with that request. I feel this would be denied for safety concerns for the employees and customers. I feel we would be more resceptive to a 20-foot trailer.

Mr. Leopold responded I would rather table it to next month. Mr. Okum said you understand that you are taking a chance, because some members have not commented at all.

Mr. Leopold answered I have to consider the safety issues myself. I have been here since January, and have been with Walgreen Company for almost 25 years. I didn’t get this far by ignoring issues that didn’t take care of the customers. I know they have had these kind of trailers at this location before; I even heard they have had two. That doesn’t really matter.

Mr. Okum said I don’t recall one there. Mr. Leopold said I just found out about having to go through the City of Springdale and appealing to the board about getting the trailer on the proeprty a month ago. That is the reason why it has taken this long to get here. My only other concern is that I have a shipment of 750 boxes arriving at my store on Friday morning, and if they are going to be in my stockroom, there will be nowhere to walk, which is a different safety issue.

Mr. Squires said you have a problem with logistics. Can you have the 40-foot trailer removed and replaced with a 20-foot trailer? lt. is not the intent of this board to put you under undue hardship. I have no problem with a 20-foot trailer; I am concerned that you can get it done. Mr. Leopold assured the board that he could, and Mr. Squires suggested that this be tabled and come back with a request for a 20-foot trailer, which I am sure you would get. I would moves to table to the November meeting.

Mr. Wilson said if you table this, we are talking about November 21st, and Christmas season is gone. May I suggest that we modify this request to allow a 20-foot trailer from 60 days from the date delivered. If it gets delivered the 19th, you would have until December 19th give or take five days.

Mr. Borden said I don’t want to see two trailers there, a 40-foot and a 20-foot at the same time, so we need to give a time frame to move out that 40-foot trailer.

Mr. Okum said that was a tough site to develop, and one of the main concerns was fire safety equipment going around the building. There are only three parking spaces back there for that reason. So with a 20-foot trailer, I would be a lot more in favor of it. We have to realize that this is not the only business in our community that wants trailers. Every year Wal-Mart has placed trailers, had to come in for a variance and been turned down.





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Mr. Wilson commented I don’t have a problem with the 20-foot trailer in the rear for this period of time with the understanding that next year might be a different issue. Mr. Borden added a 20-foot trailer would make the traffic more maneuverable. And if the concern is safety, you wouldn’t get a fire truck through there with a 40-foot trailer.

Mr. Squires moved to grant the variance for a 20-foot trailer to be used from October 18, 2000, not to extend beyond December 30, 2000. The 20-foot trailer is to be placed after the 40-foot trailer that is presently on site is moved.

Mr. Borden seconded the motion.

Voting aye were Mr. Squires, Mr. Borden, Mr. Weidlich, Mr. Wilson, and Mrs. Huber. Mr. Apke and Chairman Okum voted no, and the variance was granted by a vote of 5 to 2.

Mr. Okum said we have the item under Old Business, S & J Properties to bring back on the floor. Seeing the applicant is not here, what is your pleasure? Mr. Borden moved to table this and there was no second.

Mr. Okum opened the public hearing. I had prepared myself so that if we were to get into discussion on Ms. McBride’s review, we could separate the items that were germane to this issue and still have a constructive discussion. Considering it is on the floor and we do have a public hearing in place that is continued from the last meeting, we have to consider it active and move forward. So the public hearing is in session.

Mr. Squires said point of order, it is my understanding that this motion died because of a lack of a second. Does that mean that we are back on discussion on this matter to either table or approve or disapprove? Mr. Okum responded we have the power to carry forward the public hearing. It was advertised and continued at the last meeting. The board has the option to consider the issues and accept testimony from anyone in the audiences. Seeing there is no one in the audiences, there won’t be much testimony. In situations that have occurred before, we have carried the discussion to another meting. I think Mr. Borden’s intent was to table, which would move this issue to the next meeting, but we did not have a second on this. We have two options. We can consider the issue because we have reopened the public hearing or a person on this board moves to table and it is seconded and voted upon. I don’t want to discuss it if it is not going to carry a vote tonight.

Mrs. Huber commented maybe he just wants to drop it. Mr. Okum answered I understand that, but we haven’t heard that from the applicant. Legally we are bound to carry forward or table.





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Mr. Squires said I would like to see this resolved, but it is difficult to do that without the applicant being here. He was notified and he didn’t inform anyone that he didn’t intend to be here. I feel right now that we should move to withdraw.

Mr. Okum said we can’t withdraw it. We didn’t submit the request for the variance. We did not ask for the variances; the applicant requested it and the applicant should be the one to withdraw. We only have the right to approve deny or table.

Mr. Wilson said I have thought about this and read Ms. McBride’s notes. We can discuss this, but it is awkward to make a decision with the applicant not being here in terms of denying it. You probably are right that the only thing we should do is table it. I feel uncomfortable denying his request without the applicant being here. Perhaps he had some other solution. We talked about other options that he had. We don’t know why he didn’t show; we assume it was because he wanted to drop it but we don’t know that. I didn’t want to table it because initially I felt that if he didn’t show it would indicate a lack of interest and we should remove it from the agenda. Mr. Okum said the applicant has the right to due process in a timely fashion and if we removed it from the agenda, he would not be getting his due process. So we have to act according to the Charter. It says we must act without delays so we not hinder this issue. Mr. Wilson said if he doesn’t show what other option do we have? Mr. Okum responded to table, deny or approve. I can understand you’re feeling and we have the expense of the City Planner. We still can have a germane discussion to the issues in this report without mentioning this issue. We have to be careful so we are not infringing on this person’s rights, but on the other hand, if there are sections of this taken out, there is very good information in here that Ms. McBride has shared with us in writing that can bring about some discussion outside of this public hearing.

Mr. Wilson commented I would feel comfortable with doing that. A lot of work went into putting this report together, and Ill think we owe it to Ms. McBride and ourselves to review this in a broad sense and get a better understanding because this will come up again whether Ms. McBride is here or not. The reason why I would like to table this was because of my lack of knowledge.

Mr. Borden moved to table and Mr. Squires seconded the motion. By voice vote, all voted aye, and the item was tabled to November 21st.

  2. Mr. Okum said looking at Ms. McBride’s report, if you take out the first paragraph completely, go to page two and take out the paragraph right before items 1 2 3 and 4, because it refers specifically to evidence and testimony. The Conclusion should be stricken except for the section where it says "No action should be taken by the Board until they are satisfied that all the required findings of fact pursuant to 153.710…"



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    Mr. Squires said so the last three paragraphs on the last page are okay, and Mr. Okum said no, the one paragraph "No action down to Section 153.574 is the only thing on the last page that would be germane to discussion.

    Ms. McBride said let me express to the board how hard it was for me to sit here all evening and not say anything.

    Ms. McBride said there are other sections of this analysis that we might also want to remove from discussion, but we can have a general discussion of the board by some of the sections or review, and that is specifically the findings of fact. Any time this board hears a request for a variance, whether it is for a temporary storage trailer, for a lot cut up or for a side yard variance, our code is very very very clear that we have a four-prong test, not one, not two, not three but all four of those prongs have to be met by the applicant. The burden of proof is on the applicant because he is the one asking for the variance, the right to vary from what we consider to be the standards of development in our community.

    I’d like to talk to talk about these briefly because I want to make sure the board understands these four tests and that they are applied to every case that comes before this board.

    The first is that of exceptional conditions. Exceptional narrowness, shallowness or unusual shape of the property, unusual topographic conditions or other extraordinary situations or conditions. It is very important when you look at a site, for example the first case the board heard this evening, the case where the side yard was very narrow. That is truly a physical hardship of the property. Given where the lot line is and where the house is, that is a hardship.

    You need to look for one of those five tests under exceptional conditions in every single case you hear.

    The second test is preservation of property rights. If you do not approve that variance, that property owner is denied the right to uses his property as other people use it within that district. For example if other businesses within the GB district were to come before this board and ask for storage trailers, you would be very very hard pressed to not grant those storage trailers, the same district, business and just for the Christmas season.

    The third test is the absence of detriment, that the authorization of the variance would not be a substantial detriment to the adjacent property owners or to the public interest. The board talked a lot about this tonight, particularly as it related to the safety behind the Walgreen’s and the stacking for the drive through.

    The fourth test is that it is not of a general nature. You are not going to see every business in the GB District just because it is the Christmas season and people want to store things. It needs to be something specific about that property, that business, that location that holds to that variance.




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    McBride added the burden of proof of those four items is on the applicant, and they need to come to this board and present that information, documents and exhibits and whatever it takes to do that before you can vote in a positive manner to grant a variance.

    Ms. McBride added in reviewing some of the Minutes, sometimes that hasn’t been done.

    Ms. McBride added that there is one typo in the letter. Mr. McErlane and I had a difference of opinion on one item I was going to include in my report. Because I deferred to him, the second sentence in the first full paragraph on page 4 should be stricken, the one that starts "Any approval should be contingent".

    Mr. Okum said so basically it should say the board should take no action until they are satisfied that all the required findings of fact pursuant to Section 153.710(B) have been established. Ms. McBride added and that is correct for any variance request that comes before this board.

    Mr. Okum said I wanted to make sure that we didn’t infringe on the rights of the applicant and page 3 would be definite issues.

    Ms. McBride said I could offer some general conditions that the board might want to consider when they think of variances in the future, again providing that the applicant has met the four prong test and provided you with justification for granting that variance. Some of the types of conditions that the board might want to look at would be for example (1) if someone went to the property and discovered that there was a ton of trash and garbage because there was no dumpster provided, that a dumpster might be included on the property that is properly screened according to our requirements; (2) that any existing parking areas would need to be striped according to our code; (3) that parking would be provided for all units in provisions with our code. Again, these are general guidelines that the board might want to consider if they were going to be approving variances. I would be happy to put together some suggestions if the board would like me to do that in considering a specific case.

    Mr. Okum said in other words, other issues pertaining to the property that would be considered an issue that is not a part of the current discussion but is a part of that property. Ms. McBride responded it is all the subject of a conditional use request or a variance request, depending on what the board is acting on.

    Mr. Okum said so if a dumpster surround was not on the property currently, and our code calls for a dumpster surround, if the applicant is in for a variance for something else to do with the parking field, the board can condition those items into that motion, similar to the way we do trees for screening. Ms. McBride confirmed this, adding that it goes toward protecting adjacent property owners, which is one of the four prongs of the test.



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    Mr. Squires said we are talking about exceptional conditions, a b c and d. Do we need to look for just one or two of those? MS. McBride answered when I say you have to hit the four prong test, I am saying exceptional conditions is number one. The likelihood that you would have topo and a narrow lot and extraordinary conditonal and adjacent property is not very, but it needs to hit one of them. I think the City is very generous in saying other extraordinary situations or conditions. Many communities do not provide that broad an opportunity for an applicant to come before the board, it has to either be topo or lot size, something very specific. The other one that is very generous also is your d, the use of the immediately adjoining subject property. Many communities specifically exclude the use or conditions on adjacent properties. I don’t want the board to think the City is being very difficult in these tests. My experience says we actually are providing a lot of opportunity for applicants to come before us.

    Mr. Squires said item 2, preservation of property rights we interpret as precedent if we grant certain things for one applicant we are allowing others to want the same thing? Ms. McBride confirmed this, adding that without the variances they would not be able to use their property in the same manner as other people within a similar zone. Mr. Squires complimented Ms. McBride on the report.

    Mr. Wilson said last month, I mentioned the Route 4 Corridor Study and the Five Year Plan and the things that we as a City were trying to do for Route 4 starting at I-275 going down to Crescentville Road. For the benefit of those of you on the board who are not familiar with it, I would ask Ms. McBride to expound on what we are trying to do as a City. When I said I couldn’t support the zoning changes for that single-family house and those garages, I mentioned the Route 4 Corridor Study and wondered what the impact this change would have on the study.

    Mr. Okum said the City adopted the Route 4 Corridor Study, but urban planners generated it with input from a survey done throughout the community. There was a lot of interaction with our residents.

    Ms. McBride said it was a process and started out as a survey with input from the Springdale residents, not just those on the corridor but the overall community. I was not the planner for the city at the time; an outside consultant prepared the initial Route 4 Corridor Study. They did a very good job in breaking Springfield Pike down into four subdistricts. Subdistrict A is north of I-275. That area was to be geared toward more motorist services, recognizing that you have the ramps and regional type uses there that will not go away. It was geared toward that in terms of things like building materials, lighting and landscaping. That is the most relaxed section of the corridor.







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    Ms. McBride added as you go more into the heart of the corridor, (south) there are three subareas B C and D, that address things like lighting needs to be down directional, earthtones must be used, lighting should not spill over onto adjacent properties, 60% of the building materials have to be stone or brick, you can’t have blank facades, and include details like shutters on buildings. The inclusion of residential roof pitches for the building design. Landscaping is a very big element of the Route 4 Corridor Plan, specifying street trees and incorporation of pedestrian furniture, those types of things where it is appropriate, trying to put parking in the side and rear yards. They really tried to create a feel for the corridor that was both pedestrian and vehicular friendly. I think they saw Springfield Pike as a neighborhood area and tried to make the linkages between pedestrian areas and the corridor itself. The City has been very successful. They have spent a lot of time and a lot of money aquiring some very key pieces of property that they have put into parks and other features and definitely are to be credited for that. I think the corridor is starting to come around. Where the old muffler shop was, White Castle has leased it for a parking area. When they came in for approval, we asked a lot of them, like no pylon signs, landscaping, closing curb cuts, etc. That all goes toward the goals of the Route 4 Corridor.

    About two and one-half years ago, our firm prepared a review of where we were with the Route 4 Corridor Plan and that might be the document that would be most valuable to this board. We looked at the original plan and physically looked at the corridor and reported which goals had been achieved and which had not been achieved, and which goals were no longer applicable. It is not a big document and might be useful to you.

    The one thing that the City really did was adopt the district to enforce the Corridor Study. Without that District, it is a plan that is very nice but cannot be enforced. That allows the Planning Commission, City Council and this board to make decisions in accordance with that. If you think that document would be useful to you, I would be happy to get them to Betty to be distributed next month. Members asked that this be done.

    Ms. McBride added the original study was well done, and as we move forward, we are very excited about starting the Comprehensive Plan. We have our first steering committee meeting next week. The Corridor will be one of our focus areas. We want to look at how we can incorporate the elements that have been done and determine the next step for the Corridor.

    Mr. Borden asked if the Comprehensive Study was something that was final or does it change. Mr. Okum said the Corridor Review District was designed and written to evolve. Ms. McBride added the plan was a formal document adopted by the City. The District was a text amendment that was done to your Zoning Code, and that is fixed. The review of the Corridor Plan was done as a benchmarking project to say here’s where we are.




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    Ms. McBride added that they are all fixed documents but the only one truly fixed in stone is the actual district itself because it is part of your Zoning Code. It doesn’t mean that it cannot be amended, but it has to go all the way through the process.

    Mr. Okum added the concepts and directions and theme were made to evolve and help the corridor grow. Ms. McBride added and that is what we see with the initial corridor plan and the district to implement it and the benchmarking and review to see where we are and now it will be taking the next step as a part of the Comprehensive Planning project.

    Mr. Wilson commented one of the classic examples of the Corridor Study working for us was that Chi Chi’s initially had some bold colors on their façade when they did their renovation. Planning Commission worked with them to make it more palatable with the Route 4 Corridor Study requirement for earhtones. Ms. McBride added that is an excellent example. We looked at one of their stores, tweaked their colors, made them screen their mechanical, and remove their neon. It is not exactly as we would have wanted it if we had started from scratch, but it is a lot better than the original color scheme. Those are all things mandated by your Corridor District and are what is starting to make this as very attractive corridor.


Mr. Squires moved to adjourn and Mr. Wilson seconded the motion. By voice vote all voted aye, and the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,



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David Okum, Chairman



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Jane Huber, Secretary