20 OCTOBER 1998

7:00 P.M.





The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m. by Chairman Jim Squires.


Members Present: Councilwoman Kathy McNear, Dave Whitaker,

Jim Squires, Barbara Ewing, Thomas Schecker

and Councilman Robert Wilson

Members Absent: David Okum (arrived at 7:05 p.m.)

Others Present: Bill McErlane, Building Official




Mr. Wilson moved for adoption and Ms. McNear seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted with six affirmative votes.


    1. Zoning Bulletin Ė September 25, 1998
    2. Zoning Bulletin Ė October 10, 1998
    3. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes Ė September 8, 1998
    4. 10/2/998 Letter from Northside Bank withdrawing request for variance
    1. Report on Council Activities Ė Kathy McNear
    2. No Report

    3. Report on Planning Commission Ė David Okum

No Report


    1. A variance once granted will 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..

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.

Mr. Okum arrived at 7:04 p.m.



20 OCTOBER 1998


    1. Clifford Garstka, Sr. 11835 Mangrove Lane requests variance to allow the placement of a satellite dish on his garage roof. Said variance is requested from Section 153.053(B)(1) "It shall not be roof mounted on..any accessory building." (tabled 9/15/98)

Rita Garstka said the nature of the variance is a satellite dish on the roof of the garage, which is lower than the actual house, and I have a letter from the landlord which you needed last time.

Mr. Squires read the letter:

"To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is to inform you that Clifford and Rita Garstka Sr. who reside at 11835 Mangrove Lane, Cincinnati Ohio 45246 have my permission to purchase and install a satellite service of their choosing. The Garstkas are renting with the option to buy the above mentioned property, and have indicated that they wish to exercise this option. The upkeep and maintenance of t his property is solely the Garstkas' responsibility.

James Cimprich, Owner"

Mr. Squires said the problem last time was that we didnít have the ownerís permission, and now we do. Mr. Okum said I was not present last time, and I would like to hear the presentation.

Mrs. Garstka said we had installed a satellite dish on the roof of our garage, unaware that there was a need for a permit. It was not placed on the ground in the back because of the many trees that interfere with the reception. When we approached our neighbors to inform them of the hearing last month, none of them wee aware that we had it, including the neighbor directly across from us who is the only one that is in the sight line of the dish.

Mr. Okum commented my concern is sight line. I have a dish at my home that is concealed. Is there a reason that it had to be at the ridge of the roof and not lower? Mr. Garstka responded I donít know; I would think they would have some sense about that; I donít know if that would interfere with the reception or not. Mr. Okum said they can affix them almost anywhere, and sometimes you donít get optimum reception, but most of the time you get pretty darn good reception, even with some blockage.

Mrs. McNear said as I said at the last meeting, my first concern is that people can see it, and the second issue is precedence, allowing a satellite dish on the roof.

Mr. McErlane said I believe Mr. Lohbeck indicated to the board last month that there was an exemption for satellite antennae, but only for commercial districts. There is an exemption for satellite antennae that are a meter or less in residential districts as well. We have asked Mrs. Garstkaís contractor to send us a drawing showing the actual dimensions four times and so far all we have gotten is what we think is a photograph which comes across the fax very poorly and some hand penciled in dimensions. If we find it is a meter or less in its largest dimension, it is an exempted satellite antenna, but we do need documentation from the manufacturer showing the dimensions.

Mrs. McNear said given that information, perhaps we should table this one more month. This may be an issue we wonít need to address.



20 OCTOBER 1998



Mr. Squires asked Mrs. Garstka if she were in agreement that this be tabled, and Ms. Garstka responded I am surprised that we had not been contacted in advance to tell us that our carrier had not been cooperative so we could have done that for you, but I have no problem with tabling. I just feel bad that w may or may not be in compliance; as my husband said last month, if we knew the rules, we would have done it the right way the first time.

Mr. McErlane said I would suggest that with pressure from both us and you we can get the correct information. Once we get the information, we would contact you that you would not need the variance. Mr. Squires added we want to work with you.

Mr. Squires asked if anyone in the audience wished to speak, and no one did.

Mrs. McNear moved to table and Mr. Wilson seconded the motion. By voice vote, all voted aye and the matter was tabled with seven affirmative votes.

B. Northside Bank requests 48" x 20" double sided ancillary sign to be added to the structure of the existing pole sign at 85 East Kemper Road. Said variance is requested from Section 153.140 "Ancillary signs..shall not exceed 4 square feet in area." (tabled 9/15/98) see correspondence above.

Mr. McErlane reported that the applicant sent a letter saying that they would provide a sign under code regulations and withdrew their request for variance

  2. A. Robert Whitesell, 108 Harter Avenue requests variance to allow a patio enclosure to extend 32í from the rear property line. Said variance is requested from Section 153.024(D)(4)(c) "Rear yards must be at least 40 feet deep."

    Mr. Whitesell said I am requesting a variance to allow a patio enclosure that extends 32 feet from the rear property line.

    Mr. Okum said Iíd like to hear any comments from the neighbors. Mr. Squires asked if anyone present would like to speak, and none did. Mr. Okum asked if he would be heating the unit, and Mr. Whitesell answered no, that it would be a sunroom/patio enclosure only.

    Mr. Squires wondered how far it would be from the rear property line, including the overhang. Mr. Whitesell answered it would be 30 feet, 6 inches.

    Addressing Mr. McErlane, Mrs.McNear asked if the permits had been issued. I see we have had a problem with getting permits applied for and granted. Mr. McErlane responded the roof porch and the deck portion have not been issued. We just received drawings yesterday.

    Mr. Wilson asked if there were any other patio enclosures similar to his in his line of sight on the same block? Mr. Whitesell answered there are some similar; one was installed by Champion, it is not as big but it is the same principle. The rest are more decks or room additions. Mr. Wilson wondered if he were aware of the ordinances? Mr. Whitesell said no I wasnít. Mr. Wilson commented most people donít know this. Is there any way you can shorten this?


    20 OCTOBER 1998



    Mr. Whitesell said I could, but it would take major reconstruction. The shell of it is up and it is waiting for the enclosure.

    Mr. Wilson said so you have extended out from the existing dimensions? So you could go back to the original. Mr. Whitesell responded I would have to take it down and start again. The only thing still there is the concrete slab that the old structure sat on, and I covered it up. I have photos that should explain it. He passed around the photos.

    Mr. Wilson commented he is in non compliance, and if he were to be more flexible in terms of design and construction, perhaps we would be more receptive to working with him as opposed to his saying I canít or wonít change it. That gives us very little choice.

    Mr. Whitesell said I would go with flexibility in design, but as far as shortening it up, I would have to deconstruct the posts. Mr. Wilson suggested moving the posts back some to be in compliance.

    Mr. Squires commented we are talking eight feet, and eight feet is a lot to take off. Mr. Wilson said I am not talking eight feet, I am suggesting maybe four feet. Mr. Whitesell said before I would deconstruct this, I would leave it open and be in compliance that way. Mr. McErlane stated if it is not enclosed, no variance would be required.

    Mr. Okum asked how he intended to finish the interior, and Mr. Whitesell answered probably with drywall, nothing elaborate. It is just an enclosed patio, not a room addition. I didnít want to put a whole lot of money, time or effort into it. Most of it will be 2í x 4í windows

    Mr. Okum said before we consider this any further, how far off is his structure currently from meeting the building code for an enclosure?

    Mr. McErlane reported with the additional information he has given me from a structural standpoint, the enclosure doesnít add that much of a problem.

    Mr. Okum said I wondered if the structure itself were stable enough to incorporate walls, our consideration wouldnít be valid. As I understand it, with some adjustments he would be within building standards to complete the project. Mr. McErlane confirmed this.

    Mr. Okum asked the exterior finish material, and Mr. Whitesell answered vinyl siding. Mr. Okum said so literally we are not considering a screened in porch but a room addition without heat. Mr. Whitesell responded if you tell me it looks like a room addition, Iíll take that as a compliment.

    Addressing Mr. McErlane, Mr. Okum asked if there were other additions that were constructed in the neighborhood that project beyond the property setback requirements? Mr. McErlane answered I know this board has granted variances for additions and enclosures on other properties in the neighborhood, but I couldnít tell you that they were closely adjacent to this property without looking through the files.

    Mr. Okum commented I can be sensitive to the problem with a shallow depth lot like most of these are. To try to meet the 40 foot setback required is pretty monumental. Are we within the density requirement? Mr. McErlane repsonded this is less than the 35% land coverage.

    Mr. Squires said with this addition, I am assuming you are planning on staying there for a while? Mr. Whitesell answered yes, I just refinanced the house.



    20 OCTOBER 1998



    Mr. Squires added the reason I asked this is if you would decide to sell the property and an ambitious person bought it and decided to enclose it for a living space, then we would have problems.

    Mr. Schecker moved to grant the variance and Mr. Wilson seconded the motion.

    Voting aye were Mr. Schecker, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Okum, Mr. Whitaker, Mrs.McNear and Mrs. Ewing. Variance was granted with seven affirmative votes.

    B. Coomers Craft Mall, 455 East Kemper Road requests variance to allow placement of craft items on sidewalk. Said variance is requested from Section 153.160(C)(4)(b) "..sidewalk sales..shall in no event exceed 2 such sales during any calendar year..a 1 month period between the end of one sale and the beginning of the next."

    Margi Borgman Eastern Regional Manager for Coomers Craft Mall said we are in the Springdale Plaza. We are a different kind of retail establishment. We lease space to crafters and sell their crafts for them. It is our job to keep sales up, and one of the things we do is put a few of our crafts out every day. Also, we have two rocking chairs out there so the men rock while their wives shop. Also we have a sandwich sign that says open and welcome and these are handcrafted items made in America. This is pretty much what we have always done since 1994. We were very surprised to find out that this was against the law, and we are asking to be able to continue to do this.

    Mr. Squires said you donít have a lot of sidewalk. We also have other businesses there and I am visualizing sidewalk sales from all these people at once, and it bothers me a little bit. In your professional opinion, does your type business require a walk-by drive-by advertising scheme? Ms. Borgman responded absolutely, because this isnít a grocery store where you go buy bread every day. We have to encourage people to come in and shop with us. A lot of our customers are walk ins who have lived in the area all their lives and donít even know we are there; and we advertise a lot. So, we depend on it.

    Mr. Squires said the reason I ask is if I were going shopping for a craft item, that is where I would go. I donít think I would need a sidewalk sale to get me in there.

    Ms. Borgman responded you donít know much about crafts then. You can buy crafts at Biggs at Meijers, at every place you walk into. W are competing with crafts made in China. Making crafts in the crafterís kitchen in America is becoming a dying art, and weíre trying to save that.

    Mr. Squires so you are asking us to approve your outside display of goods every day if necessary. Ms. Borgman answered yes, that is what we have been doing for the last four years.

    Mrs. McNear said I have been in your store many times. The problem I have is we live in a retail intensive environment. If we allow you to do this, and everyone else who wants to do it, we will look like we have a garage sale on every corner every day. I will be voting no because I think if we grant this every store in the city will want to do the same thing.

    Mr. Wilson said what it boils down to is advertisement. I have a problem with items on the sidewalk. Obviously you can only use that in the best weather. Ms. Borgman responded they are out there every day of the year.


    20 OCTOBER 1998



    Mr. Wilson said if we allow this, we open the door for every retail establishment to have a sidewalk sale, and we look like one big garage sale. The ordinances are there to maintain a certain décor consistent in all retail. I cannot support this, and I would encourage you to think of other avenues to attract your customers. There is a certain clientele that will come into your shop that might not shop anywhere else.

    Ms. Borgman responded I can understand where you are coming from, but I also know we are in one of the ugliest strip malls in Springdale, and our leasing agent will do nothing for us. She is absolutely horrible, and we are fighting for business. If we donít get it, our lease is up in January and we might have to move out of Springdale. I donít want to do that, and that is why I am here fighting for this.

    Mr. Wilson responded you might want to consider a more attractive area. You still will have a problem of sidewalk sales anywhere in Springdale. We donít like to lose businesses, but we do have ordinances that we have to adhere to.

    Mr. Okum commented this is difficult, because I can understand your point and be sensitive to it. On the other hand, we have a high density of retail in our community and what is good for you has to be good for everybody. The difficulty is if we do set this precedent, even if done tastefully and on a limited basis, it still allows other developments to do the same thing. We want to be fair, but we donít want to have sidewalk sales in the community every day of the year. So on that basis, I will be voting against this.

    Ms. Borgman commented one of the stores in the strip has continued to have things out every day for the last three months. Who is policing this? Drug Emporium has stuff out every day; Michaelís has taken their stuff in and complied; who decides who gets to do this and who doesnít? Mr. McErlane stated we will have somebody there tomorrow.

    Ms. Borgman asked why did it take four years for us to come to your attention? We have been there since April of 1994. Mr. McErlane responded I donít have an explanation for it. I know at the time we approached Michaelís in June, we also approached Toys R Us and Borders and Shoe Carnival and several others.

    From the audience, Rodney Lyme representing Michaelís said Toys R Us also has things drug out every morning. Ms. Borgman added and Wal-Mart has their materials out there.

    Mr. McErlane said Toys R Us were issued a seasonal sales permit for items that are not suited for indoor sales. They have one for their swing sets. Home Quarters was issued one for their plant materials that are not suitable for indoor sales. You were denied one because you had artificial plants and decorative items that donít fit within seasonal sales. If Wal-Mart is taking their plant material outside, we will be back on them again. We have had them pull those in several times.

    Mr. Wilson said we are not saying you have to keep those in all the time. You can have them out for two weeks, wait a month, and do that four times a year. Ms. Borgman asked if it could be just weekends. Mr. Wilson said itís always been 14 days with a month between.

    Mrs. McNear said do we have a means to levy fines for these businesses who take things off the sidewalk and then bring them back out? We are going to make her comply with this rule, and I donít think Wal-Mart should get by with it. I think every time we fine them, it should be more than the time before.


    20 OCTOBER 1998



    Mr. McErlane said I believe Michaelís had been cited to court because we had denied a seasonal ales permit and issued a sidewalk sale permit for a 14 day period and the goods either werenít pulled back in or put back out. The fine is up to the courts. Mr. Lyme from Michaelís indicated that the fine was $100.

    Mr. Schecker asked if anyone in the audience would like to speak about this. No one did.

    Addressing the applicant, Mr. Wilson asked if she would be interested in sidewalk sales. Ms. Borgman answered we have two sidewalk

    Mrs. McNear moved to grant the variance and Mr. Schecker seconded the motion. Voting no were Mrs. McNear, Mr. Schecker, Mr. Whitaker, Mrs. Ewing, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Okum and Mr. Squires. Variance was denied with seven negative votes.

    C .Michaelís Arts & Crafts, 425 East Kemper Road requests variance to allow outside display of goods. Said variance is requested from Section 153.160(C)(4)(b) "...sidewalk sales..shall in no event exceed 2 such sales during any calendar year..a 1 month period between the end of one sale and the beginning of the next."

    Rodney Lyme, Store Director said listening to Coomers and some of the

    things that were said, I have a different reason for wanting the sidewalk to

    be opened up to us. Michaelís has 483 stores across the United

    States, and we have advertising that is done throughout the whole

    business. We have what we call a great buy program where we buy

    and sell at bottom line on 33 items. We use those items to drive our sales

    to what we call add on sales and get people into the business to buy

    other supplies. We use eight wire grid bins that are 4 x 4 tables. The

    sidewalks are about 20 to 25 feet long, so we are talking about taking up

    16 feet of that, but there is still a nice walkway and an awning if it rains. It isnít something that is weathered or looks bad. I took the store three months ago, and it was an eyesore. The previous manager ran a very poor business; he did nothing to generate a nice atmosphere for Springdale or Michaelís. I will not do that. One of the things we put out on our great buy program are wreaths; 99.9% of the crafters that come through Michaelís are involved with wreaths. They are an all season item, so it isnít something we should be dragging in and out.

    I have contacted Michaelís and told them that I am not allowed to have a sidewalk; do I have to pay for this through my business, and the answer is yes. So I am paying out $20,000 to $30,000 a year on advertisement that I cannot use, so it not only hurts me in driving my sales it hurts me in trying to create a profit through that store..

    Springdale is the number two (out of 17) store in the district. We have a great following and l think we have done ourselves proud. We are in a good location, and I am very proud to be part of that and Michaelís is proud to be a part of Springdale. I do not want to see a sidewalk outside, an eyesore, and I can promise you that it will not happen at Michaelís. It is a program set up in wire bins; it is tasteful and good looking, and it does affect my sales.

    Mr. Squires said you are asking for a sidewalk sale with no restrictions?

    Mr. Lyme said yes, because Michaelís does progressive markdowns, 25%, 50%,70% and then 90%. If we do a two week sidewalk sale, I get through 25% of the markdown, and 99.9% of our customers know they can wait two more weeks and get it at 90% off.


    20 OCTOBER 1998



    Mr. Lyme continued this year when I put in for the display, I never took it outside, because I chose not to drag the tables in and out to make the eyesore.

    Mrs. McNear said I appreciate your comments, and I appreciate that you are keeping the store up. However, when we grant a variance, it goes with the property so it doesnít matter who is there, it is there for life. I canít see how we could turn it down for Coomers and allow you to do it. I also have to mention that I took some exception to the things you wrote in your letter. I guess I donít react well to threats, and thatís the way I felt when I read your letter. You were telling us that you give us the variance or we will move out. Your store does very well in Springdale; we do have a lot of retail in Springdale and we are very proud of how well they do here. You have to go by the local ordinances. I will still be voting no on this because it would be a garage sale look, and we donít need that. I appreciate the fact that you have to pay for advertising; you have quite a bit of signage, some on the side which received a variance for, signage on the front and I believe youíve a pole sign. You probably have the best location on the entire strip, closest to Kemper Road. We would like to see you stay, but if you decide you have to go, you have to make the decision that is best for your business.

    Mr. Wilson said I have a concern about your loss of sales because I was in retail. Maybe what you need to do is look at other ways to attract customers besides the sidewalk or outside sales. I took issue to the fact that your letter says that if we continue with our guidelines, you are going to leave when the lease is over. You may not have meant that as a threat, but not knowing you personally, the first reaction I had is this is another retail store saying give me what I want or I am leaving. What I would like to think you are saying is I have no choice but to leave because of the sales I will lose. My response would be I would find another avenue to pick up those lost sales. I will not support this because we would be opening Pandoraís box.

    Mr. Okum said I also read your letter but I take it with a grain of salt. I would never allow a letter with that type tone to affect my decision. I have to base my decision on precedence in the community, the amount of retail and the success of it in the community. I am very sorry and I hope your business continues to do well, but I canít support the request

    Mr. Squires asked if anyone in the audience wished to comment on this, and no one did.

    Mr. Okum moved to grant the variance and Mr. Whitaker seconded the motion. No one voted aye, and Mr. Okum, Mr. Whitaker, Mrs. McNear, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Schecker, Mrs.Ewing and Mr.Squires voted no. Variance was denied with seven negative votes.

    Addressing the audience, Mr. Squires said we hope we have been fair and impartial in our judgment. You do have avenues of appeal if you desire to use those.

    Mrs. Garstka said with the hire of the new employee to help crack down, isnít it possible to put some kind of notice out? I felt that we could obey the rule if we knew what it was, and if people knew where to find it, other than coming here.

    Mrs. McNear responded we do have a newsletter that goes out quarterly Our council meetings are televised on cable, and we have special mailings from time to time. We have asked members of the local press to put articles in the local newspaper. We have discussed how to better inform people; if you have any suggestions, please let us know.


    20 OCTOBER 1998


    Mr. Squires commented in all fairness to you, a professional contractor is supposed to know that, but ultimately it is your responsibility as the home owner, so it is important that you check. Mrs. McNear said almost all the permits are free. Mr. McErlane added any residential permits, with the exception of room additions and new houses are free. Mrs. McNear added it is really for your protection and benefit to make sure your contractor performs the work up to code and standards.


Report on Planning Commission

Mr. Okum said one item was the approval of a garage on the rear of Enterprise Rent a Car. That has been on the agenda twice, and we tabled it again at the request of the applicant. They want to put a vinyl sided garage on the back of their building which would not be in conformance with anything. There is a big area currently belong used for outdoor changeover of air conditioners and refrigerators. They will be coming back to the next meeting for the final submission.

We also had Wendyís in for the second time with a tree replacement plan for Northland Boulevard and Route 4. As you know they took down 16 trees, not knowing about our ordinance. They came back with a tree planting scheme and a row hedge along the Route 4Corridor area, and we approved it.

We had a request for the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commissionís operating expenses, $250, and we again denied it. We also got a bill for last year, which we had denied.

There was an overview and update on the community center renovation and expansion. It was not for a vote but for information.

Mrs. McNear said tomorrow night I will bring up the sidewalk sales topic. Quite frankly for $100 fine, I still would put out my stuff every weekend. I think we should increase the fine amounts.

Mr. Squires said I visited the site and if we have sidewalk sales every day for these two, it will be sidewalk sales for every one of the tenants, and that concerned me.

Mrs. McNear said weíve brought them in here and told them no, and we need to enforce it throughout. $100 does not mean much to the larger retailer; I think we need to have a building inspectors working on the weekend, because that is when we see the most cases. It is not fair to the other businesses who are trying to live by the rules we set, and I take offense to that.

Mr. McErlane said the $100 fine is the maximum under minor misdemeanor, but it can be levied daily.

Mr. Wilson said maybe we need to send a letter to every retail establishment giving them the guidelines and stating that you will be fined for noncompliance.

Mrs. Ewing asked Mr. Whitesell if he had known anything about having to come to the city to get permission. I would like to know how long you have lived in the city. Mr. Whitesell answered four years. Mrs. Ewing said I asked at the last meeting how we could get this information out to our residents. Mr. Whitesell added where I came from (Western Pennsylvania) if you were doing the work on your own house, you did not need a permit. A friend of mine put the roof on for me, I went to get the permit and thatís when everything came out.


20 OCTOBER 1998


DISCUSSION - continued

Mr. McErlane said I explained to Mr. Whitesell that this is probably the most misconceived thing about building permits. A lot of people think it is to collect fees from the contractor. In essence the intent is to make sure it is constructed properly so it doesnít fall on your head or you donít get sick from it. You canít make a comparison between doing the work yourself being better than the contractor doing it from the standpoint of safety. You canít claim that you know more than the contractor who does it daily.

About three newsletters ago, we specifically spelled out what permits are required. The unfortunate thing is a lot of newsletters donít get read.

Mr. Okum said Hunterís Glen was in almost a year ago with a presentation for sign placement. To date, the trees are not planted and landscaping is still not done. Mr. McErlane reported they have planted everything. The trees are far enough away so they do not block the sign, and the shrubs are there. Mr. Okum continued the trees are not in the formation we discussed. Mr. McErlane said unfortunately the discussion said obviously not to hamper the visibility of your sign. Mr. Okum responded so in the future we should be more specific in our description of where the trees should be placed. Out on the interstate they did nothing. Mr. McErlane responded and ODOT probably did not allow them to do this.


Mrs. McNear moved to adjourn and Mr. Okum seconded the motion. Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,



______________________,1998 _________________________

James Squires, Chairman



_______________________,1998 ___________________________

Barbara Ewing, Secretary