BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

19 DECEMBER 2000

7:00 P.M.

 

 

  1. CALL MEETING TO ORDER
  2.  

    The meeting was called to order at 7:04 p.m. by Chairman David Okum.

  3. ROLL CALL
  4. Members Present: Councilman Robert Wilson, Robert Apke, Robert Weidlich, David Okum, Councilman

    James Squires, Fred Borden and Jane Huber

    Others Present: Richard Lohbeck, Inspection Supervisor

  5. ELECTION OF OFFICERS
  6. Chairman - Mr. Squires nominated David Okum and Mr. Borden seconded the motion. There were no other nominations,

    And Mr. Okum was elected by acclamation.

    Vice Chairman Ė Mr. Wilson nominated Fred Borden and Mr. Apke

    Seconded the nomination. There were no other

    Nominations, and Mr. Borden was elected by

    Acclamation.

    Secretary Ė Mr. .Wilson nominated Jane Huber and Mr. Squires seconded the nomination. There were no other nominations, and Mrs. Huber was elected by acclamation.

  7. MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 21 NOVEMBER 2000
  8. Mr. Borden said under Item 7B on page 15, there was a duplication of what I said. Mrs. Huber moved for adoption and Mr. Apke seconded the motion, and the amended Minutes were approved with seven affirmative votes.

  9. CORRESPONDENCE
    1. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes 14 November 2000
    2. Zoning Bulletin Ė November 10, 2000
    3. Zoning Bulletin Ė November 25, 2000
    4. 11/30/00 Letter to Mrs. Miriam Adkins, 844 Cedarhill Drive from Richard G. Lohbeck re variance request rejection
  1. REPORTS
    1. Report on Council Activities

Mr. Squires reported that Ordinance 85-2000 was passed, which amended the Property Maintenance Code. On eof the items in that ordinance dealt with restrictions on the number of occupants permitted in a dwelling. I have a copy of that ordinance if you wish to look at it. Ordinances 93-2000 authorized CDS Associates to develop the Scenic Route 4 Streetscape design. That would go from Cameron road to Crescentville Road.

 

 

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

19 DECEMBER 2000

PAGE TWO

B. Report on Planning

Mr. Okum stated that we reviewed a modification to compliance with conditional use permit on Creative Kids World at 11285 Springfield Pike. Planning Commission issued a Conditional Use Permit in the office complex, and there have been a number of complaints from the residents. They are very concerned about the amount of noise from the childrenís play area. Additionally it was being operated in some instances on Saturdays and Sundays. After quite a bit of discussion and report from our City Planner, there was an attempted resolution to the problem that there be limited hours on the facility, that the outdoor time be limited, that the monitoring would be done randomly, to make sure that the decibel levels be below 65. The owners of the development are responsible for planting of a number of trees , a shadowbox fence system to break down the sound going to the west. The applicant understands that it is their responsibility to meet minimum HUD standards, which is 65 decibels. They will be involved in the process. The City will offer the plannerís advice and assistance to reach that goal. The Conditional Use Permit was allowed to continue with those limitations.

We also reviewed a final PUD Development Plan for Building D in Cassinelli Square. The old cinema building has been abandoned and the developer had previously submitted to Planning Commission a request to tear it down and build a small retail center. They revamped it some, making the building narrower and deeper in order to get some view in from SR 747. After much discussion, it was resolved that there would be no motion that evening and it was tabled. The applicant will be in at the next meeting after they have addressed several items. Since this was already approved as retail, it would not be an issue for Council to consider under the PUD.

  1. CHAIRMANíS STATEMENT
  2. OLD BUSINESS
    1. Marion K. Allman, Art Institute of Cincinnati, 1171 East Kemper Road requests variances to allow the installation of permanent banners on the front of the building. Said variance is requested from Section 153.523(1) "Pennants, streamers & flags..are prohibited.." (Tabled 11/21/00)

Ms. Allman said I gave each of you a program. On the cover you see our building without the signage and also with the signage. I refer to it as signage rather than banners flags or streamers, because it is part of our image.

If you turn two pages, you will see how we used our image in our old building. Ms. Allman read from the Zoning Code sections concerning signage. She added that banners are free flowing. The Art Institute of Cincinnati signage does not follow that definition. They are stable and attached to the building at both ends with no movement. They are an enhancement to the building and symbolize the type of business we perform. They take up no more room than if we had the name across the front.

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

19 DECEMBER 2000

PAGE THREE

VIII A ART INSTITUTE OF CINCINNATI 1171 EAST KEMPER RD. BANNERS

Ms. Allman added they are part of AICís image, no different from the awnings at Frischís, TGI Fridays Wendyís and numerous other businesses in the Springdale community that display awnings in connection with an overall image.

I have drawn how they are attached to the building; they do not move and are very stable. It was designed and manufactured for outdoor use at a cost of $1,500. The signage is part of AICís corporate image. It testifies that AIC is a design college and a member of the International Council of Design Schools. AIC is the only school chosen in Ohio for this membership, and it is very prestigious.

Setting a standard of quality and enhancing the building, the signage gives incoming students, potential students and other visitors an indication of the quality of work produced, and sets the stage for what to expect once they enter our foyer.

They are firm, stable, stationary and affixed to the building. After studying regulations set forth by Springdale, we feel that the word signage best describes our proposal, since we do not fit the description of banners flags streamers or pennants.

Although the material used in the signage is flexible, they are attached on both ends and are affixed to the building which stands 100+ feet from the road. No movement or distraction is involved while in place.

Making comparisons, it was observed that placing the signage on the Kemper Road building does not take any more space than signage shown on pages 4 5 and 6 in the Springdale community.

I did some research, and 87% of what we learn is through visuals; we are a visual company. The other 13% are through hearing, touch and smell. That is why graphics place such a large part in communicating the services that we offer.

The following pages demonstrate a sampling of the ways companies communicate their image in the Springdale area. You will notice the amount of space delegated to signage in relationship to the size of the actual buildings, and the media used. I used Steak n Shake, Frischís, Wendyís, the shopping center off 747, Naked Furniture, which has a two-story gazebo in front of it, Amoco Gas Station, Tri-County Shopping Mall, and Longhorn Steak House.

On the next two pages you will see Steak n Shake, and although these are all awnings, they are according to their corporate image. Wendyís has a curved red awning; it is flexible and moveable and stationery. Frischís has green and white narrow stripes on their awnings.

Mr. Okum opened the public hearing. No one approached the board, and he closed the public hearing.

 

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

19 DECEMBER 2000

PAGE FOUR

VIII A ART INSTITUTE OF CINCINNATI 1171 EAST KEMPER RD. BANNERS

Mr. Okum asked the amount of sign permitted in this zoning (Office Building Ė OB). Mr. Apke responded that it is the frontage of the building x 1.2 + 30 feet. Mr. Okum asked Ms. Allman how many square feet are along Kemper Road and she said the square footage is 12,500, and it is a very long building.

Mr. Squires said at our last meeting, I asked the applicant to table this until I could find out about Delhiís flags. Since that time, they have sent letters to Tri-County Mall, The Colony, Longhorn Steakhouse, BHE Environmental Inc., Sears Auto Center, State Farm Insurance, Delhi, Best Western, Grange, General Electric and Kinko. All of these people have been told that they can apply for a variance as you are doing.

Ms. Allman added those are all free flowing and moving; ours show no movement; they are completely different. That is why I called them signage. Mr. Squires asked if they were made of cloth to flow in the wind. Ms. Allman answered they are made of heavy vinyl, and they donít move. They are very firm. I can see where this ordinance came from; with used car lots, I can see where you wouldnít want a lot of pennants and streamers. As things change and technology gets better, I think some allowances need to be made, because there are many attractive things that can be done to make it a softer and more environmental community. With all the neon signs that we have, it is nice to see something a little softer.

Mr. Squires commented I am willing to consider these as signage if we can do that.

Mr. Apke said if we pursue the idea that this is indeed signage, what are the sizes of the signs? Ms. Allman answered they are 24" x 36". Mr. Apke asked the size of the sign by the road, and Ms. Allman said it is 4í x 6í. Mr. Apke commented I am coming up with about 60 square feet, and assuming that the building is 100 feet long, which is probably conservative, they would be allowed 150 feet of signage. This doesnít even come close to that.

Mr. Borden asked for clarification; I heard awnings mentioned. Mr. Okum answered awnings are used to apply signing to in many instances. The material of those awnings is similar to the material she is describing. Mr. Borden wondered if this could be considered awnings. Mr. Okum answered since there is information on it, lit would have to be considered as signage.

Mrs. Huber said I have nothing in opposition to what she is asking. In that area, anything of brightness would be a real plus for the city. I am amazed at the looks of some of those places, and because it is an educational facility and they pertain to what they do, I see no reason to say no.

Mr. Okum said if we were to deny the request for pennants, that would not prohibit her from applying for a sign permit under our code, and the Building Official would have to determine if it were truly signage.

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

19 DECEMBER 2000

PAGE FIVE

VIII A ART INSTITUTE OF CINCINNATI 1171 EAST KEMPER RD. BANNERS

Mr. Okum said in my opinion, these are not pennants; I consider these signage. Weíll have to talk with the law director and city planner to make a determination, when it is fastened at both points, it is no different than an awning with signage on it. Mr. Lohbeck commented that if you look at the definition of signs, "A sign is any accessory display, figure, drawing painting, placard, poster or other device placed or designed to be visible from a public right-of-way or adjoining property which is designed, intended or used to convey a message, advertise, inform, or direct attention to a person, institution, organization, activity, place, object or product."

Mr. Okum said in essence at this public hearing, we are considering a request for pennants being hung on your building. If we would approve this, we would be establishing a precedent. I would think it would be prudent for this board to deny the request to hang pennants and for you to apply for the signage.

Mr. Borden said I tend to agree that the request is for pennants and it does appear to be signage, and I will move to deny the request for pennants. Mr. Wilson seconded the motion.

Voting aye were Mr. Borden, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Apke, Mr. Weidlich, Mr. Squires, Mr. Okum and Mrs. Huber. Request was denied with seven affirmative votes.

B. Ampac Plastics, Inc. 12025 Tricon Road requests approval of a wall sign in addition to their existing ground sign. Said variance is requested from Section 153.532(A)(3)(a) "one permanent identification sign is permitted for each general industrial unit."

Ken Turner of Ampac Plastics said at last monthís meeting, at the advisement of some of the members I had requested that we table this until we could get some further information requested. One of the items that had been asked for was the number of foot-candles of the sign, and to the best we can determine, it would be 59.7-foot candles. It is a minimal amount of illumination.

We have an artistís rendition (passed it around the board). The illuminated portion has a simulated night view, a neon light that backlights the Lexan letters.

Another question was if there were any other locations in that same area that had multiple signs on their building. I did find one, General Advertising Products at the corner of Northwest and Crescentville. They have three signs, and I have a Polaroid.

I also was to ask the company president if it would be sufficient to light that yard sign. He still would prefer to have the wall sign, so I am still asking for that variance.

Mr. Okum opened the public hearing asking any one present to speak. No one came forward and he closed the public hearing.

Mr. Wilson said I donít see the need for two signs, especially when you have one of this quality, and high enough to see it probably from the other end of the street.

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

19 DECEMBER 2000

PAGE SIX

VIII B AMPAC PLASTICS 12025 TRICON ROAD Ė WALL SIGN

Mr. Wilson continued from a dollars and cents standpoint, if I was the owner Iíd put my dollars in the maximum signage on the existing sign instead of two signs. I donít feel comfortable with two signs, especially this close together.

Mr. Turner responded we agree with you to some extent, other than the fact that the yard sign is already existing and they put some money into it and really do not want to take it out. In retrospect, we might have been better off to have gone with the wall sign.

Mr. Squires said didnít we come up with the fact that this is a little less than123 s.f. total signage and well within the limits of what you are allowed? Mr. Lohbeck answered he is only allowed to have one sign. The square footage is within the limitations.

Mr. Borden asked about the raised lettering on the pole sign, and the depth of it. Mr. Turner answered that it was five inch. Mr. Borden commented I was wondering if I could see that from an angle across the street. Mr. Turner responded that it wasnít likely.

Mr. Wilson said you have to understand that by allowing two signs, even within the allotted square footage, we would be setting a precedent that would allow every business in Springdale to have at least two signs or more as long as it is within the allowed square footage. Someone with 100 square foot of signage could have five 20 foot signs scattered throughout their property, each illuminated. That is one of the things that we are trying to avoid, multiple signs.

Mr. Borden asked how much it would cost to remove the ground sign, and Mr. Turner did not know, but he didnít think it would be prohibitive to remove it. The main thing would be the cost of putting it in place. It is a fairly expensive sign.

Mr. Weidlich said I agree with Mr. Wilson. I like the looks of your wall sign; it makes a great addition to the building. Two signs 60 feet apart for the same business seems as bit excessive. Last month I thought youíd come in with only the wall sign. Mr. Turner commented I personally prefer the wall sign to the yard sign.

Mr. Okum said the applicant has indicated that the president of the company wants to continue to have the ground sign and add a building sign. Addressing Mr. Lohbeck, Mr. Okum asked if this variance was denied and the applicant removed the ground sign, he could put the wall sign up and be within code.

Mr. Wilson moved to deny the request for two signs on the one property and Mr. Squires seconded the motion.

Voting aye ware Mr. Wilson, Mr. Squires, Mr. Borden, Mr. Apke, Mr. Weidlich, Mr. Okum and Mrs. Huber. Variance request was denied with seven affirmative votes.

 

 

 

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

19 DECEMBER 2000

PAGE SEVEN

  1. NEW BUSINESS
    1. Curt Joachimi, 511 West Kemper Roads requests approval of a variance to allow the display of a sign advertising Radio Station 93.3 WAKW in his front yard. Said variance is requested from Section 153.529.

Mr. Joachimi said I think Iím wasting your time, because I think this is a misunderstanding with Ron Smith in your Building Department. I have brought my sign with me and I have done a little bit of research. I run five miles around the neighborhood every other day, and IL notice quite a number of signs around in different yards and a number which have the Ten Commandments also. They are still being displayed and the homeowners that have them havenít received any notification. I think maybe he was riding down Kemper Road and saw mine and sent me a letter. He sent me a second letter about this meeting, and that the pe9ple within 200 feet of me would be informed of it. I went to the trouble of walking the 200 feet to all five of my neighbors and here is a statement signed and dated from them. It says they have no problem with the sign being displayed and it is not causing them any duress.

Mr. Okum said let the record show that the applicant has submitted five documents that were written out that say:

"To Whom It May Concern:

I do not find the WAKW sign in Curt Joachimiís yard offensive, and have no problem with the sign being displayed.

Thanks."

These were signed by the owners at 500, 514, 506, 519 and 509 West Kemper Road.

Mr. Joachimi showed his sign; it slides over a wire and sets in the yard. Somebody said you felt that I was advertising for WAKW. I donít think anywhere on the sign advertises for WAKW. In fact it only says 93.3 and unless you know what 93.3 is, you wonít know what it is. I donít feel like I am advertising.

If you have a problem with it being too close to the roadway or too close to the house, I can adjust that. It is not a permanent sign; it is not lighted. It just sets there.

I donít really understand why they cited me in the first place unless it offended him personally. I donít think it violates any of your criteria. He didnít have anything circled on the letter he sent me for violations.

Mr. Okum opened the public hearing. No one approached the board, and he closed the public hearing.

Mr. Borden asked if this would fall in the category of flags attached to the house, like university flags or something of that nature? Mr. Lohbeck responded we treat those as signs, and the rest of them are being handled.

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

19 DECEMBER 2000

PAGE EIGHT

IX A CURT JOACHIMI, 511 WEST KEMPER ROAD Ė DISPLAY OF SIGN

Mr. Borden commented the sign was removed by the time I got to the site; where was it placed? Mr. Joachimi answered as soon as you walked out the front door, it was placed in the ground. I have 30 feet before the road, maybe about halfway out.

Mr. Joachimi asked about the Ten Commandment signs; are you sending out letters at this time? Mr. Lohbeck said that it was being addressed. Mr. Joachimi responded I believe there is an area of ruling in the Ohio Supreme Court being handled right now for a school in the eastern part of Ohio. I also understand that the Rutledge Institute is taking action in behalf of the Ten Commandment temporary signs. This may be a violation of my amendment rights. I donít understand this; it doesnít seem worth wasting your time or putting it on paper, because it doesnít seem like a big issue. Itís not distasteful to me or anybody else Iíve ever seen. If you stopped every car in Springdale, probably one out of five has a WAKW sticker in their back window. I donít see the big picture here; maybe Iím missing something.

Mr. Okum said I donít think it is selective. Mr. Joachimi answered I realize that but after this is over with, are you going to go through the entire community and eradicate all the signs? I donít understand that.

Mr. Okum responded having been involved in the Zoning Code that we recently adopted, there was input from outside planners and consultants, council members, Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals members and our law directorís review. All this went together to create this Zoning Code. That Zoning Code is enforced and administered by our Building Department. In the Zoning Code there is clear definition to the issues and the notices have to be given out evenly across the board.

Mr. Joachimi asked if there was a clear definition on this type of sign or are they still working on it? Mr. Lohbeck answered it is considered a sign. Mr. Joachimi wondered where in the rules does it say that it is a detrimental sign to Springdale. Mr. Okum answered the Code doesnít read that way. Mr. Joachimi commented it is just a sign period that has to be taken down. Mr. Okum stated that the content of the sign is not the issue; it is the sign itself.

Mr. Joachimi commented I look at it this way. In Monroe where they have the questionable places going in, as these people come through Springdale and see these Ten Commandment signs and WAKW signs, they might think twice before they try to put a Hustler store on the corner, and keep that kind of trash out of Springdale. I think it would be better to give them a positive spin-off on the overall moral view than a negative one. If you listen to secular radio, every other word on 97.3 is four letter, and they are allowed to do it. On WLW everything they talk about is unimaginable; you canít even talk to your children about. IĎd like to give a positive message rather than one with the wrong spin-off to the children and some adults who are having problems too.

 

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

19 DECEMBER 2000

PAGE NINE

IX A CURT JOACHIMI, 511 WEST KEMPER ROAD Ė DISPLAY OF SIGN

Mr. Okum commented that all sign requests are difficult for the board members, and the content of the sign is not the issue for the board. It is the fact that it is a sign.

Mr. Joachimi responded so it is a sign and I canít display it outside. Can I put it inside, hang it in my front window so you can see it through the window? Can I hang it on the flagpole like the UC banners? Give me some ideas, and Iíll cooperate with you. Mr. Lohbeck answered it cannot be out in the yard, and it canít be seen from the right of way. Mr. Joachimi commented so I canít display it anywhere, except behind closed doors.

Mr. Joachimi said how about we put this on the back burner for a while, because Iím going to seek legal counsel over this if you donít mind, and weíll go to step 2. Nothing personal against, you Ė I understand you have your rules and regulations, but I think this is making a mountain of a molehill.

Mr. Wilson said Iím going to read some notes that I have gathered. The applicant is requesting to allow a commercial sign in a residential district. The sign advertises a local radio station, 93.3. Anyone who knows anything about FM radios knows that is the number definition for a radio station. Particular signs are permitted within residential zoning districts. They are as follows: one occupant nameplate, one directional or no trespassing sign, one real estate sign, one project development sign for projects under construction, political campaign signs during that time frame, one garage sale or yard sale sign, no more than five days in a three month period, political (free speech) signs.

Commercial signs advertising a business, which is the radio station, other than home occupations conducted on that property, are not permitted, and that is why you are here.

You mentioned the Ten Commandment sign and some other signs that are in your neighborhood. Could you tell me some of the other signs you saw? Is this the first time you had your sign out, or did you have a beige colored sign at one time?

Mr. Joachimi answered they have different styles. The old church just before Southland puts up a temporary sign every now and then.

Mr. Wilson commented there are some other signs, which are being addressed as well. You mentioned other signs, other than the radio station? Mr. Joachimi answered there was one for a different outreach, but IL didnít get all the details. I notice some of them have been taken down already.

Mr. Wilson continued if you look at it as a commercial signÖMr. Joachimi answered I didnít; to me it said 93.3 and I didnít see where it even said it was a radio station, unless you are familiar with it. I realize the intent is a radio station, but I think it gives people a choice.

 

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

19 DECEMBER 2000

PAGE TEN

IX A CURT JOACHIMI, 511 WEST KEMPER ROAD Ė DISPLAY OF SIGN

Mr. Wilson responded my partner knew that you would be at this meeting. He stated the radio station was making a big issue out of it, so they are aware of it and making an issue of it on your behalf. You are promoting the radio station, and they are taking advantage of the fact that you are here tonight.

Mr. Joachimi commented maybe they are afraid that you will set a precedent of removing all the signs in Springdale and other communities might follow suit. They have quite a number of these signs all over Cincinnati and on the interstate; they are everywhere.

Mr. Wilson commented I donít know; all I know is they are making a big issue of it so obviously it is a big benefit to them. Mr. Joachimi responded they havenít told me about it yet.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Wilson said you are perfectly within your rights to seek legal counsel. None of us up here are discouraging that.

Mr. Squires said Mr. Wilson has adequately covered almost everything I wanted to say. I certainly want to advise the applicant that you should encourage yourself to seek legal counsel. We have had legal counsel before us in the past, and often that helps us. I am going to agree with Mr. Wilson about the commercial activity of that sign. It seems in a private residence, you are displaying a commercial sign advertising a commercial radio station. That is the essence I understand. Whether that defies your free speech under our Constitution or not, I donít know, and I canít comment on it. Right now I see it as a commercial sign.

Mr. Joachimi responded I appreciate your opinion, but who knows the number of vehicles going through Springdale with stickers advertising WAKW.

Mr. Squires asked the message of WAKW, and Mr. Joachimi answered turn it on and listen; youíll like it. Mr. Wilson said it is a religious station. Mr. Joachimi added it is an alternative, to raise your conscious awareness. That is all it ever was to begin with.

Mr. Wilson said we couldnít equate vehicles with stickers and signs on residential lots. Your comments about Springdale projecting an image of a whole community, I would encourage that. I donít want a Hustler magazine or store here, or any more bars than we have. I want to keep this a wholesome community, but within the confines of our ordinances. I would hope that those signs and the Ten Commandment signs would not be the only avenue we could use to discourage businesses such as this. The City is working hard through zoning to keep those kinds of establishments within a certain distance of schools and residential homes. We are addressing that issue through our zoning laws. I appreciate your concern about keeping Springdale a wholesome community.

Mr. Joachimi commented the only reason I would probably go to Step 2 in seeking counsel now is because I talked to Mr. Lohbeck and it seems like he is leaning towards the removal of the Ten Commandment signs.

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

19 DECEMBER 2000

PAGE ELEVEN

IX A CURT JOACHIMI, 511 WEST KEMPER ROAD Ė DISPLAY OF SIGN

Mr. Joachimi I have heard so many good things about how these signs raise the conscious awareness of students in school because they have some criteria to look at rather than packing a revolver in their lunch box. They have an alternative Ė some kind of rules and guidelines, some kind of moral indicator. It may be looking detrimental in an across the board zoning situation, but that is your call, not mine. I appreciate your honesty, and weíll see where the situation leads.

Mr. Okum said I think what Mr. Wilson has indicated is that if the numbers for the station were not on it, and you had not presented evidence to this board by discussion inferencing that it is an alternative station to listen to, it is hard for me now to see that number and not know that it is a commercial station to listen to. The finger up in the air and message is an important message, but by adding the station connection, that makes it commercial.

Mr. Joachimi responded so if I eradicated the 93.3 and left the rest of it on there, I could have it in my yard. I could have scriptural verse in my yard? It wouldnít bother anybody? Mr. Lohbeck answered that it probably would not be a problem. Mr. Joachimi commented that gives me an option.

Mr. Okum asked if he wished the board to table this tonight. Mr. Joachimi answered I would like to comes back next month and discuss it again. If WAKW are intimidated by the fact that they have a million signs out there and they are afraid of losing their visibility, Iíll see what is oh their mind and go from there. That way I can figure out if I want to pursue this thing. I wouldnít want to see the Ten Commandments people get all upset about losing their signs too.

Mr. Okum said as a courtesy to this board, if you are intending to return to the next meeting and plan to bring representation with you, someone from WAKW, make us aware of that. Or, if there is a legal counsel that would be part of that, let us know.

Mr. Joachimi wondered if it would be in his best interests to go through the vote tonight. Mr. Squires responded if you went through the motions and this was denied, you could not do anything for six months. Mr. Joachimi stated in that case letís put it on the back burner for a month.

Mr. Okum stated that the applicant has requested that this be tabled until the January 16th meeting. This will automatically appear on the agenda at 7:00 p.m. here. Mr. Okum said you will be the first item on the agenda.

Mr. Squires said as the chairman indicated, if you intend to have legal counsel, would you at least notify us? Mr. Joachimi answered Iíll give you a heads up; itís no big deal. Like I said I donít even know if Iíll go that far. I might just go ahead and eradicate the 93.3. Mr. Squires responded you should have legal counsel if you feel that strongly about it.

 

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

19 DECEMBER 2000

PAGE TWELVE

IX A CURT JOACHIMI, 511 WEST KEMPER ROAD Ė DISPLAY OF SIGN

Mr. Okum added the only thing that would do is prolong it. If you would come with legal counsel, I assure you that we would table and extend it to the next meeting for us to have legal counsel as well so everybody would have the proper advice.

Mr. Joachimi commented itís already done what it was supposed to do, it got Mr. Wilson to listen to the station.

By voice vote, all voted aye to table this. Item was tabled to January 16th meeting.

  1. DISCUSSION
  2. Addressing Mr. Lohbeck, Mr. Okum said we know that you are the administrative representative, and the Building Department has the policing responsibility. I have to comment, because I am one to call your department every time I see something in violation. I cannot in any way take away from the fact that you are doing your job and your department is doing its job by identifying violations that are part of the code. That is your responsibility, and I want you to understand that although I may question interpretation at times, I appreciate your efforts to make people aware of what the code is. In the situation this evening with one application before us, I think you were being cautious in warning the applicant of the code requirements. In any case, the applicant would have required a sign or banner application to have been brought before this board. So, I want you to know that I appreciate your doing your job. It is not that we were challenging your interpretation. On occasion things will come up and turn around, and this was one that turned around.

    Mr. Wilson said that the applicant put you on the spot and you tried to circumvent it by not making a commitment. We say things, and that guy will take lit as gospel, and I am willing to bet that heíll be back next month with 93.3 off the sign. Because Mr. Lohbeck sort of inferred that maybe it would fly, if we donít support Mr. Lohbeck then how are we going to look? I donít like any of us put on a spot like that.

    Mr. Okum commented I think that brings us back to a point of interpretation. In the Ohio Planners Workshop that we went to last year, in the signage part we were told that we should try to put the content away. Sometimes when content becomes an issue of commercial versus non-commercial, then the content drives your decision making and their enforcement of the code.

    Mr. Squires said I want to reiterate what you said to Mr. Lohbeck and the Building Department. You just have done yeomanís work. I had no idea what I was opening up on that flag situation. I personally believe that 153.523 to me passes the reasonable person standard, and that means that a reasonable person could interpret that code to mean exactly what it says, pennants, flags banners, etc. Now she says they are not pennants but they are signs. I think she has gotten some legal advice, and she has done well.

    BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

    19 DECEMBER 2000

    PAGE THIRTEEN

    DISCUSSION Ė continued

    Mr. Squires said you are to be congratulated for it Ė I have nothing but praise for you. Mr. Lohbeck stated there would be three of them coming in for flag variances. The ones we heard from were Grange Insurance, State Farm and Tri-County Mall. They are emblems on the flagpole underneath the American flag. Mrs. Huber said that gazebo at Naked Furniture was granted a variance when I was in the Building Department. I am wondering if some of these other places have not also been granted variances, like Delhi. Mr. Lohbeck said before we did anything, we checked the file for variances. Mr. Okum said I think we need plannerís consultation and review on this thing. This is the Code and Council adopted it.

    Mr. Lohbeck commented there are also flags that people fly at their houses, college, Halloween, etc. Mr. Squires said there is a house at the corner of Lawnview and Ruskin with a WAKW sign in the front yard; it is red letters against a white background. You might want to check that out.

    Mr. Borden said I donít know if we can resolve this now, but what kinds of free speech signs are allowed? Mr. Lohbeck responded my understanding is none, because it is considered a political sign. Mr. Borden wondered if religion were a part of free speech. Mr. Okum responded according to section G, political free speech signs are permitted, unless it has commercial content. Political doesnít necessarily mean politics. Mr. Borden asked if the Ten Commandments sign was free speech. Mr. Okum responded I would think so.

    Mr. Wilson said if it didnít have something that designated a radio or television station, it might be a different issue. All this week, that radio station talked about this meeting tonight, so they got a lot of free press or advertising. They were taking advantage of this situation and Mr. Joachimi, and that makes it commercial. Anyone submitting an application that has something that can relate to a commercial entity we have a challenge with. The Ten Commandments Ė I donít know.

    Mr. Borden said so we are not dealing with the separation of church and state or any issues like that? I am trying to establish what our position is.

    Mr. Okum said my position is if I were to read these conditions, and it says "commercial signs advertising a business" I would have to look for that test Ė does it imply commercial. Then I have to apply the code that way.

    Mr. Wilson commented we didnít ask him if he was being compensated for the placement of that sign in his yard. Did the radio station approach him or did he approach the radio station for permission to put the sign in his yard. Where did he get the sign Ė did the radio station give it to him Ė did they compensate him? Mr. Okum said you are getting into the issues of the public hearing.

     

     

    BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES

    19 DECEMBER 2000

    PAGE FOURTEEN

    Mr. Borden wondered if it would make a difference if you were to take a sign and put it on a flagpole, attached to your house, like the university flags? Mr. Okum answered if there is a sign that has commercial content or reference, I think our Building Department has to enforce it as commercial. Mr. Borden said then the university banners are not considered commercial. Mr. Okum responded I would say that they are. Mr. Borden commented I want to make sure we are consistent when we are enforcing this.

    Mr. Okum asked Mr. Lohbeck if the Building Department would get clarity from the law directorís office concerning the university pennants. Mr. Lohbeck responded that he would check with the Building Official first.

    Mr. Squires asked if Planning Commission writes the ordinances. Mr. Okum responded Council can draft and pass them on their own and Planning Commission can bring it forward to Council. Mr. Squires wondered how this board felt about Section 153.523, the pennant section. I have to give a report to Council tomorrow night about it. The lady changed everything to signage, and I really think it is a pennant or a flag. Mr. Okum commented I have argued the point for years that awnings are an identity piece. Mrs. Huber said even paint color, like Bob Evans

    Mr. Okum said when we were doing the new zoning code, we probably spent most of our time on signs. There was an enormous amount of discussion on awnings and canopies as identity features on buildings that draw your attention. It becomes very difficult. I donít have any problem with that, but I would like to receive comments from Mr. McErlane concerning his interpretation on whether that would be considered a pennant. I guess the things we put up on poles in our city with holiday signs. Mrs. Webb said seasonal signs are permitted under the code. Mr. Okum continued I canít argue the point that her "pennant" was fastened at both points and doesnít move. Mr. Wilson said she had to have legal advice; the average person couldnít have done that. Mr. Okum said I am glad she brought that forward.

    Mr. Okum said I mentioned the Ohio Planning Conference January 26, 2001. It is a paid lunch; let Mrs. Webb know if you are going to attend. Mr. Borden said if you have been to one, is there any point going to another one? Mr. Okum said absolutely; I have been to two and they have been extremely valuable.

  3. ADJOURNMENT

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

Respectfully submitted,

 

____________________,2001 _________________________

David Okum, Chairman

 

_____________________,2001 __________________________

Jane Huber, Secretary