Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

12 January 1999

7:00 p.m.



The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman William G. Syfert.


Members Present: Councilman Steve Galster, Richard Huddleston, David Okum, Robert Seaman, Councilman Thomas Vanover James Young, and Chairman Syfert.

Others Present: Doyle Webster, Mayor (arrived at 8:05 p.m.)

Cecil W. Osborn, City Administrator

Derrick Parham, Asst. City Administrator

Bill McErlane, Building Official

Don Shvegzda, Asst. City Engineer

Lisa Rames, Wood & Lamping

Anne McBride, City Planner


Mr. Galster moved for adoption and Mr. Huddleston seconded the motion. By voice vote all except Mr. Young who abstained, voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted with six affirmative votes.


    1. Report on Council – none
    2. Zoning Bulletin – December 10, 1998
    3. Zoning Bulletin – December 24, 1998
    4. Zoning Bulletin Index – January – December 1998
    5. Zoning Bulletin – January 10, 1999
    6. Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes – November 17, 1998

Mr. Galster commented in the December bulletin there was an article on special permit denial that didn’t specify reasons. We had that conversation at one of our zoning forums and the question was when we make a motion that looks like it will be denied, the motion should be for denial and state the reasons why. We talked about doing it in that forum, probably two years ago, and we continue making motions in a favorable light. This write-up tells us not to do that; if we have bad feelings about a project, we should make a motion to deny and state the reasons why. I think we should try and implement that.

    1. Final Plan Approval – Golf Galaxy – 11825 Commons Drive

Lani Wess of Woolpert stated Michael Niesley of KKE Architects is here as well as Peter Harding of Golf Galaxy.

We are presenting what was approved last month with a few changes, based on the staff comments. This would consist of 21,828 square feet adjacent to MARS Music, and their frontage is 94’-10".

Concerning the covenants, we have revised the wording to indicate specifically golf clothing and break out the non displaynon-display storage area. On parking a comment was made to tally the required parking for each development. Ninety-eight spaces were required for Golf Galaxy, 171 for Mars music and Dave & Buster’s is another issue. I don’t think there was any set requirement on the number of spaces. Seven hundred spaces waswere indicated by Dave & Buster’s to be their peak required parking space usage, and that was after 10 p.m.

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V A Final Plan Approval – Golf Galaxy – 11825 Commons Drive

Ms. Wess continued to analyze whether parking was adequate for Golf Galaxy, we looked at customers and peak times, and we showed that Golf Galaxy has low impact on parking required. There isare a total of 773 spaces for Dave & Buster’s, Golf Galaxy and MARS Music. The highest peak we have calculated for all three uses would be from 8 to 9 on a Friday night, which would require 568 spaces. That leaves 205 unused spaces so we feel parking is adequate.

We are requesting 246 square feet for the building sign; 182 square feet is permitted. We are proposing only one sign and would like to have it proportional to the building, but also have good visibility on I-275.

There are four trees that are being relocated at the front of the entryway, two will be moved out beyond the awnings, the third one will be across from the island, and the fourth will be in the bigger island to the west, and we clarified that on the drawing.

Michael Niesley of KKE Architects said your comments included concerns about the neon lighting that we sprang on you at the last meeting, and the bare concrete block wall in the back of the building and the specifics for the back lighted awnings in the front.

We added details to show the shielded neon lighting at the parapets to highlight the entry element roofing. It is shielded; there is a bare neon bulb with a dropped angle in front that matches up with the trim color, so it shines light down but not directly into people’s eyes. We have painted the rear wall to match the color of the façade and we have added lighting for the awnings with the stipulation that the awning be no more than 30% of the luminance of the Golf Galaxy sign itself.

Ms. McBride reported we have asked for a running tally of parking required versus what is provided. The applicant represented that by our code they are required to have 98 spaces and MARS Music 171 spaces, it was actually the Planning Commission that determined that Dave & Buster’s needed 764 parking spaces. They provided us with trip generation data, and it was determined between Dave & Buster’s and this commission that 764 was the minimum needed. That gives us a total of 1,033 parking spaces required, and there are 773 out there

I am not suggesting that they need to add that deficient parking at this time, it is important that the commission keep this table in a running form so that when the next applicant comes in, we may very well need to require additional parking.

They have shown the relocated trees on either side of the doorway and in the parking field and we received correct sign information that indicates the sign is to be 246 square feet; they are entitled to 182.5 square feet. The Commission discussed that at the last meeting relative to other users in that center.

Mr. McErlane said rather than further discuss the parking, the only other issue I have is the proposed height of the building which is 36’-5". This compares with Dave & Buster’s at 60 feet and MARS Music at 36 feet. Also I would point out that the storefront sign is 246 square feet, and the allowable is 182.5 square feet.

Mr. Galster said a little variance on the height is fine; I am a little concerned about going up for the amount of square footage above MARS. The sign looks a little bit large numberwise, but I have no problem with the appearance.


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V A Final Plan Approval – Golf Galaxy – 11825 Commons Drive

Mr. Okum said I notice you have an access door in the rear of the building. Have you facilitated roadway to that area, and are you going to have parking in the rear? Mr. Niesley said no parking, just added pavement necessary to access the trash area and deliveries. The employee parking will be at the outskirts of the parking area.

Mr. Okum said I notice that you have included shielded neon lighting on the rear of the canopy. Mr. Niesley answered it is not on the rear; you are seeing the return of the neon lighting as it steps back along this area. Mr. Okum said I want to make sure that it is not on the rear; and Mr. Niesley repeated that it is not. Mr. Okum added I really don’t have any problem with the development as presented; I think the outside has been done in good taste. You are aware that in the covenants it calls for all lit or not lit in all your lighting on the exterior, and we would expect you to adhere to that. It appears that most of the developments have kept their lighting up.

Mr. Vanover moved to grant the final plan approval with the specifications on the neon lighting and the parking tally as stated, and Mr. Okum seconded the motion.

Addressing Ms. McBride, Mr. Okum said for clarification, were you recommending that we modify the parking numbers? Ms. McBride responded I think the commission needs to state that the existing 773 parking spaces are sufficient for the current uses, Dave & Buster’s, MARS Music and the proposed Golf Galaxy. The 1,033 is what is required; they don’t have that, and I am not suggesting they put those extra spaces. I think the commission needs to say is that as Dave & Buster’s, MARS Music and Golf Galaxy exists today, because at some point of time one might expand, the 773 parking spaces are adequate.

Mr. Vanover amended the motion to include the statement that the 773 parking spots that exist today for Dave & Buster’s, MARS Music and Golf Galaxy are sufficient and Mr. Okum seconded the amended motion.

Voting aye were Mr. Vanover, Mr. Okum, Mr. Young, Mr. Seaman, Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Galster and Mr. Syfert. Final approval was granted with seven affirmative votes.


  1. Revision of Preliminary Plan for Northwest Business Center

(Pictoria Island)

Steven Kelley of Woolpert introduced Bill Woodward and Dave Tipton of Tipton Interests.

Mr. Kelley stated the proposal is for a revised Pictoria Island preliminary development plan. This site consists of two parcels; one is 23 acres bounded by North Commerce Way, I-275 and Avon. That was approved in 1995 as the Pictoria Island development. We also have included 15 acres on the west side of Northwest Boulevard and that development is part of the original Northwest Business Center PUD.

As we started this development, both Bill and Dave had an interest in the Pictoria Island development. There was the 15 acres of the IDI tract that stood out there as a light flex type office use. The remainder of that development showed four office warehouse type uses and it seemed to be important for this development to include in it an overall development plan and to include this 15 acres in how we are projecting to develop this site.

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Mr. Kelley added the original Pictoria Island was a retail development consisting of eight retail buildings. It had a retention pond and has not gone anywhere, which brings us to our proposal.

We like the Pictoria Island name, so we have kept it for this project. The restaurant area comprises 11 acres of the total, with the balance being an office, which puts it at approximately 26 acres in office. We are showing 225 cars parking in front of Restaurant #1, 270 cars for Restaurant #2, 175 cars for Restaurant #3 and 168 cars for Restaurant #4. We intend to meet the code of Springdale; it is our feeling that we actually will exceed it.

We see the two offices on I-275 as corporate type uses taking advantage of the frontage on I-275, with deck parking garages which will be tied together with the development. The three office buildings on the 15 acres would be more of a suburban type office with surface parking.

Access will be off State Route 4. We would have the one way coming in off North Commerce Drive, and also access off Crescentville Road. We want to use those roadways for gaining access to the property. Some of the traffic numbers generated by the city show that those roadways are adequate for this development. We will be putting infrastructure into the project by extending North Commerce Way in the form of a cul de sac, and another cul de sac opposite Northwest Boulevard. That is to bring people into the office area. At the end of those cul de sacs are some type of fancy treatment, brick pavers and those type architectural elements at the turn around. We would prefer to landscape an island in the center of them, and also treat them with landscaping or something ornamental to give an area of focus. We do have staff comments concerning a city standard being created on how it should be designed. We are trying to get a soft feel for those turnarounds. We think they are important to the project and cam be used as a focal point.

We are trying to achieve is a sidewalk system that would allow users for each of the office buildings to traverse the property, end up at the restaurants and return. The offices will be playing off the restaurants, and are a real important part of the development. We feel the internal circulation of walkways could possibly supplement the sidewalks that would be required on North Commerce Way. One of the comments was to include some type sidewalk system to get from the restaurants to Showcase Cinema; we like that comment, and are willing to integrate that into our plan.

We have a PUD plan and have put together some comments relative to the existing covenants; do we meet code or put our parking requirements as they are on the existing final PUD plan? In essence we want to meet code; we want to meet a 5 per 1,000 square foot requirement for parking. We recognize that for each one of these office buildings we will have a core area which is the lobby, the elevators, the mechanical and hallways. We have found an 80% common area is inside each of these buildings. For the 15 acres, we have more parking than the 80% ratio for the parking garages. We might treat those differently, but we would like to recognize that there are common areas, lobbies, mechanicals in the office and take a net square footage for each of these office buildings, and use the 5 per thousand against that. With that calculation, we have 34 extra spaces for the 15 acre15-acre and exceed that calculation for the parking garages. We put landscaped areas at the end of every parking aisle; there still probably will be additional greenery and landscaped areas put in to break up some of the longer runs of parking, so we are going to include more landscaped islands due to staff comments. We really think we meet the code and can achieve the parking requirements for the City of Springdale.

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Mr. Kelley added we will exceed 20% open space, which is the PUD requirement. Right now with the green space around the buildings, in the parking islands and around the perimeter of the site and proposed retention ponds, our calculation is 36%, and we think we can maintain that.

We have shown preliminary lot lines, breaking up the offices for the 15 acres linear to the street. What is important to us on the lot lines and also in a comment from staff, is to have the associated parking with each lot and with each building. We will be incorporating that along with any type of dedication plan for the roadway extensions we have for the two cultwo-cul de sacs.

We are showing a restaurant and site identification sign in this location, and an office identification sign here. The restaurant signage is where we think will have the most visibility for the project. That would be a site identification, having something say Pictoria Island, and individually have four restaurant users underneath that. That is shown on our plan as a 65 foot65-foot tall 400 square foot pylon sign. The comparisons we have made to some of the hotels and motels across the street, from what we have seen on Showcase and some of the input from restaurant users, they are pushing us to gravitate towards an 800 square foot sign. If you take a restaurant that is 150-200 square foot for signage, and put four of them in there along with a site identification, we really feel 400 square feet won’t do that job. Showcase Cinema appears to be bigger than that, and the one thing we don’t want to do is put an identification sign out there and have Showcase Cinema behind it, and all you see is Showcase Cinemas. We don’t want to overburden the site with signage but we do want to have something that will blend in with the other signs in the area, and maybe we can discuss that this evening.

The office sign is a monument sign. Those corporate users will want to have identification on the building, so we think that will be the more important focus. We are looking for a monument type interstate sign, something more attractive than anything else, but that displays the park. I would want Planning to recognize that as the project develops, there probably will be a need to have a corporate logo on each building.

Currently there are three detention basins on the site, and we are including them on the project since we want to have an attractive water feature. We can turn the dry basins into wet basins and still have them attractive and meet the city requirements. Each of the restaurants will have a balcony area with water very close. We want to add fountains coming out of the water, with a real nice atmosphere.

This is a conceptual landscape plan, and there will be more landscaping included in our final design. The count right now is 415 caliper inches. It is important to us to have uniform landscaping in several areas. Along the boulevards and roadways, we want a strong street planting. We have three office buildings on the 15 acres; they might be three different users, but throughout the project we want to have a common type of landscaping.

We have some masses on our building that need to be buffered. Around the perimeter of the site adjacent to Avon we have kept a 100 foot landscaped area. The existing trees need to remain, and where there aren’t trees, they will need to be supplemented with plantings. The base of the signs will be landscaped. We will do whatever we can around the ponds to beautify them and still try to get a view from the restaurants and offices and maybe even from I-275. Staff outlined in four points what we need to condition this site with. We are in full agreement that the landscaping needs to be number one on this project.

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Mr. Kelley added the site is currently burdened by 1,135 caliper inches of tree replacement. There are existing trees that wail need to be replaced with the code as a two to one ratio.

Even with everything I have just said about landscaping being number one, with the current burden and replacement, we don’t know if we’ll meet the code. We might want to have some relief on the current burden of 1,000 caliper inches on the site. We think we can do a quality landscape plan and project without bringing that burden into our existing PUD.

There were comments regarding a lot of curb cuts on this cul de sac. We are in agreement that we could better service the service areas of these restaurants by bringing in a drive away from the cul de sac with more greenery to buffer the service court.

There was another comment relative to shifting this drive down 90 feet to allow a left turn into the project. We are in agreement with that; the only thing we would like to investigate with Don is if we can shift the location of the left turn further down. We like how this right in works for this restaurant. It is a pretty strong entrance, and we would like to keep it that way, but we also recognize that there might be a sight distance issue of why that is set where it is now. If that is the case, we will work with it.

Bill Woodward of Tipton Interests said there are three of us who have invested and become the development partner with Steve King, David Tipton, founder of Tipton Interests and Rusty Meyers. We have developed about $400 million in projects in this area, including Eastgate Square, Centennial Plaza, Turfway Business Park and Kenwood Galeria. We believe we have bought quality in construction and design and management.

Pictoria Island is proposed to be a major office complex of 720,000 square feet, which would be the fifth largest in Cincinnati. The restaurants are important to it because office users need services nearby, so high quality restaurants are important. We are talking to several users who are not in the market now, but they are extremely good users, and we would be very proud to have them in our park and in your city.

We do want to plan a hotel for the future. It wouldn’t happen right away, but on our plan we show dotted in a future hotel location in front of the restaurants. We think that is important, because the office users need services, and having a hotel nearby would be a strong feature, and that that is something we would like to include in our long range plan for the project.

We will enforce quality throughout the project through the original design. The fountains, pedestrian walkways though the project will be uniform and we will have strict standards so each occupant of a lot will have to abide by these standards. They govern things like landscaping signage and parking lot lights. We also will have an architectural review committee.

Mr. Shvegzda stated this development will maintain the detention volumes and release rates approved under the original Northwest Business Center PUD. The one change is that they plan a water feature in each of the detention basins.

On the site layout, the two streets will be extended and terminated in cul de sacs. Our concern is to make sure that the cul de sacs include a center landscaped area. I didn’t realize that the intention was to have a cobblestone type effect and we’ll have to look at that. That is a concern in terms of the city maintaining that over a long period of time.

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Mr. Shvegzda stated regarding the landscaped area, I have to look at the geometrics to allow the public works service vehicles to be able to traverse around the cul de sac. We have worked with Vineyard Church to come up with a standard. There are some things on that layout that didn’t work out right and we are trying to come up with the next generation design for that type of cul de sac arrangement.

We require a license agreement between the developer and the city in order to assure the maintenance of the landscaping.

There are concerns with the number of driveways coming into the cul de sac, particularly the west cul de sac where we have about 170 feet of curb cut that in some areas almost looks continuous. As mentioned, the developer will work with us on that.

With the west driveway to North Commerce Way, the original intent was a two way section of road that terminated so that people could use the parking area as a turn around area and come back out. We would recommend that the same feature be maintained. If we do move that driveway further to the west, there might be a sight distance problem. I will have to take a look at that.

As per the original PUD, sidewalks were to be constructed within the public right of way and those were to be constructed as each of the areas of development took place. That is something the developer is looking to vary from.

Concerning traffic, we split the overall development up into two phases. One would be through 2005, everything with the exception of the two offices buildings and the hotel. The full buildout would be through 2010.

At Route 4 and Crescentville in 2005 without the proposed development and no improvements to the intersection, you would have a Level of Service F for that intersection. With the development and the improvements we are anticipating (an additional lane northbound and southbound north of the intersection) the Level of Service would still be F.

We looked at it for the 2010 full buildout. Not only did we assume those improvements to take place, but also a triple left turn lane from westbound Crescentville to southbound Route 4, and it still came out to Level of Service F.

We looked at the Crescentville Showcase drive as is for 2005 and the full buildout. We need to construct a left turn lane for the full buildout in order to maintain Level of Service C, and the Northwest /Crescentville intersection functioned at a Level of Service C for 2005 and also for the full development with no improvements.

Mr. Galster commented so they are already bad and they aren’t going to get any better no matter what the improvements. Mr. Shvegzda responded and that was the same conclusion at the previous modification for Pictoria Island itself, that regardless of what took place at the development, it would be Level of Service F at the intersection.

Mr. Kelley stated we were informed of this yesterday and have talked about it. The reaction we have is what does that mean to this development, and how does it affect it in terms of people ingressing and egressing into the project - can it still be successful?




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Mr. Kelley added we have discussed that corporate type office people in a project seem to work within the traffic out on the roadways, possibly by flex time in order to avoid a sudden surge at the am and pm peak. We are hopeful with the people we have in the development, and recognizing that there might be some bottlenecks leaving in the pm, some type of flex time will ease the traffic as they come out. We want this to be a successful project. The left turn onto Crescentville for Showcase would bring that back up to a Level C. We didn’t know if that was a comment relative to us or a Showcase issue. We do recognize that as the project builds out, some improvements will be needed on the roadway system.

Mr. Osborn said in any project we look to what impact it will have on the overall infrastructure. Obviously we don’t expect that project to solve all our problems, only address the demand they are putting on the system. If we believe the additional traffic we see generated off this site requires additional turning capacity at intersections, we probably will try to roll that into the improvements we identify as part of this project.

Having said that, I think there are probably even more remote improvements that we will want to look at. We agree that the intersection Level of Service F is something that is going to find its own solution in terms of redistribution of traffic. Once you reach gridlock, people tend to find other ways to travel. Internally we are still looking at what else we can do to move traffic though that intersection. The engineer’s office suggested the possibility of an additional southbound lane on Route 4 that would merge. There is the lane that currently is dedicated to access the expressway, and we would consider adding another lane down to the point where that becomes exclusive to allow a greater volume to turn through the intersection. We could let that merge occur after you are through the intersection instead of the point where you are coming through it. There are things like that we can try to identify.

The reason I want to lay that out right now is because we are looking at some major improvements on site that probably would only occur if they are part of a TIF. The parking garages associated with the two major office buildings are being considered for inclusion in a TIF. The roadway improvements internal to the site are included in a TIF. My thought is if in staff we come up with some other fixits like the turn lane at Showcase, we might consider rolling those in under the TIF to the degree that is feasible.

I don’t know the cost or benefit, but I don’t think we should assume that this Level of Service F means that this project is not viable, or that we shouldn’t give it independent consideration divorced from the capacity of that intersection.

I don’t think it is fair to penalize the last user in because of all the volume we have regionally. The project has to stand on its own, and if we feel that it is the type of project we want in the community, the type of uses we feel will benefit the residents and the business community, we’ll find a way to make the traffic work. It is more a matter of focusing on do we want this development and what can we do to solve the problems related to that. I wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the level of classification that the intersection is receiving right now. If we do nothing and only make the short termshort-term improvements we discussed in Council recently, we are still looking at Level of Service F. We know that other things will happen. There will be new highway systems created north of us in Butler County, hopefully giving better east-west capacity which may direct traffic off Route 4. We just don’t know yet.




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Mr. Okum wondered if the engineers had looked at linking North Commerce Way into Progress Place. Mr. Shvegzda answered we didn’t; that was discussed before the analysis took place. At this point, there were too many unknowns as far as committing to that to do all the analysis for it. Mr. Okum continued I have my copy of the Thoroughfare Plan, and an old elevation shot of the site, and it looks like we could bleed off some of that traffic and send it over to S.R. 747. Mr. Shvegzda responded the problem there is we would get into the problem of the intersection of Progress Place and S.R. 747.

Mr. Osborn added there also is the problem of the Avon site. I have discussed this with managers over the years. We have looked at this possible connector for some time. What looks to be a fairly open stretch on an aerial view, if you look at the property at the back side of the Avon site, that is where all their offloading occurs for their railroad siding and truck docks. It is a very active area and has many utilities in it that support their site. They were not very open to the idea of us trying to displace all that and put a roadway through there. If the uses at Avon should happen to change as we have been seeing, it is still a possibility in the future, but as of two years ago, they felt it would have a dramatic negative impact on their operation.

Addressing Mr. Shvegzda, Mr. Okum asked if he saw any way possible, even with the improvements you are making, that Crescentville and Route 4 will get above Service Level F? Mr. Shvegzda responded when we looked at the three lanes we had to really heavily load one of the lanes, because the far right would be the lane everybody would use to get onto 275. That would be one of the benefits of an additional southbound lane on Route 4 so there would be two lanes to funnel to the interstate. Mr. Okum said the two access lanes are not part of your analysis, so you are still at one lane. Even if you had two left turn lanes off Crescentville onto Route 4 south and that expressway access being changed to two lanes, would that help? Mr. Shvegzda responded probably, but I don’t think it would raise the level of service.

Mr. McErlane reported the original PUD plan for the Northwest Business Center was approved in September of 1994 and further modified under the Pictoria Island development plan in November of 1995, so the basic PUD plan is still the Northwest Business Center. The overall PUD plan includes the IDI Warehouse Building that is shown on this plan as well as the property to the north which is the General Advertising Products building. The code requires that all buildings within 200 feet be shown on the plan and with the addition of the General Advertising Products building, the only one not shown is the Avon building to the east. There is a little bit of the GE Aircraft facility shown on the plan to the east of the three office buildings.

There needs to be a summary of land use indicating acreage and building area. The building areas are shown on this plan, and I realize it is a flexible plan in terms of how it actually will lay out in the final stages. The PUD regulations indicate that you need to indicate the amount of acreage assigned to different types of uses within the development.

Only part of the existing trees are shown. There are some additional trees in the area of the one parking garage that are not shown on the plan as existing.

The majority of my comments pertain to the proposed covenant changes. In a lot of the suggested changes, there is a statement that says "or as approved under the PUD plan". I don’t think we would have much of a concern about that if we were talking about final PUD plan, but at this stage of the game too much is not tied down.

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Mr. McErlane continued there probably are items that the developer wants to get tied down tonight, and one of them would be height and area of signs. From what I heard earlier relative to parking, it sounds like they will meet code requirements. There may be some other items to tie down to be sure that as they move forward, they can develop it the way they propose.

The first item in the covenants is a change to a statement that talks about compatibility of buildings. Their only suggested change is because they are working with restaurant prototypes, you will not see the kind of compatibility you would if it were an office development with similar building materials, a theme that carries through. Their statement is that within the underlying General Business Districts, they would like flexibility with restaurant prototypes.

On item number 2, the current language states that the signs will comply with code and their suggestion is to add "or as approved on the PUD plan". I don’t think Planning can make a total decision on the signs without seeing them, but there may be some agreement that can be made concerning sign area and height.

The third item pertains to a statement made in the covenants relative to a project sign or development sign for Northwest Business Center that was proposed initially in 1994. It was a free standingfreestanding sign that identified it as Northwest Business Center. The suggestion is to delete the wording for it, but I don’t know that it is necessary, because I don’t know that anyone is going to construct those signs. At this point, we approved a sign for Northwest Business Center, but any of the changes you make within the general body of the covenants may require approval of all the parties involved in those covenants, including General Advertising Products and IDI. I’m not sure it is worth the effort to make that change.

Item 4 is a deviation from the parking space requirements which says "or as approved on a PUD plan". At this point, there is too much flexibility in the plan to tie them down to specific parking numbers shown on the plan.

Item 5 is a statement that the developer wants to add that says that certain adjustments can be made and approved by city staff. It is probably more appropriate to say on the final development plan There are some adjustments that are made after the final development plan is made that are minor enough that they are not a Planning issue. The intent of that paragraph in the covenants was to say that this is the preliminary plan and we understand when we come in with the final plan that things will change slightly; the configurations of the restaurant may change, parking may change but the uses will not change. In general the floor areas of the buildings will not increase to any substantial amount. If anything needs to be changed it would say "or as approved on the final development plan".

Exhibit C in the covenants are specific requirements for each individual lot in the Northwest Business Center. The first item they ask to change was a requirement that a ratio of lot width to lot depth. At that time the concern was taking larger lots and splitting them up into real narrow lots and putting restaurants in. I don’t see a problem with deleting that section.

The second item relative to building materials deletes a 20% limitation on EIFS or drivitt materials. Right now the covenants say there is a maximum 20% drivitt for exterior finishes. I’ll leave it up to Planning whether or not they feel that is appropriate to remove that requirement.


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Mr. McErlane continued Item 3 is impervious surface area. We would typically allow the detention basins to be figured into that. You can either add that wording or leave it out; we probably will figure it out the same way.

Item 4 is tree replacement. If the concern is you will not be able to meet the replacement requirements, we can say or as approved on the final plan. At this point, we don’t have enough detail to know how close you are.

Item 5 relative to sidewalks you addressed a little tonight; I would suggest that we use the same language, approved on the final PUD plan.

Numbers 6 and 7 pertain to the uses on Blocks D-1 and D-2. In the original PUD plan, there was concern about the restaurants. There was a single restaurant approved for the overall development plan, and there was a concern that it would continue to go with restaurants all the way down the line.

As it stands in the covenants right now, it limits the entire development to the one restaurant that was approved- and one additional restaurant. The recommendation from the developer is to delete that wording and say "uses as permitted in GB Districts." The only concern I have is that there are a lot of uses in the GB District, and I think we need to further tie it down. Instead of opening it to all GB issues it should define quality restaurants and hotels and motels.

I’ll ask Lisa Rames from Wood & Lamping about the modifications to the overall covenant and what kind of impact that would have relative to obtaining approval from the other property owners in the Northwest Business Center.

Lisa Rames stated there appear to be some changes that would require the agreement of General Advertising Products and IDI. They are parties to the original declaration of covenants and restrictions, and we have to agree and execute the amendment itself for recording purposes. Mr. Kelley said we understand that as well.

Ms. McBride said I would like to disclose to the commission that although I am not currently nor have I recently, I have represented members of the Tipton Group on other zoning matters outside the city.

A lot of the comments pertain to asking for more detail on the final development plan, but I’ll go through them. There is a requirement for a 75’ setback from any peripheral property line outside the PUD. There is only one instance where it is not met, and that is with the five level 1,000 car parking garage in the eastern portion, which is 35’ from the north property line. A variance would be needed for that.

There is a requirement for 20% open space. This site has 7.76 acres of open space; it looks like they are close if not over but we need to see the calculations on the final plan.

There are four restaurants with a total of 50,000 square feet. The current Springdale Zoning Code provides parking requirements based on fixed seating for restaurants plus waiting or assembly area. We didn’t get a seat count for those restaurants. Working it backwards, you could have 2,079 seats based on the 693 parking spaces they are showing for those restaurants. The new code is showing a requirement of 1 space per 100 square feet, which would only require them to have 498 spaces. We feel comfortable that is over what we require but we will need to see those calculations.

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Ms. McBride added we question the location of the parking field to the main access point, but I would bow to their knowledge in the restaurant field.

In terms of the parking for the office uses, they have a total of 720,000 square feet of space. Without taking anything out, we would need 3600 parking spaces. They are showing 3398. In the new code, we would not count anything used for storage or otherwise not occupied. They very likely are in compliance, but we will need to see the numbers broken out in terms of what is common area, mechanical rooms, elevators, etc. on the final plan.

We also will need to see details for the location of the enclosures of the waste receptacles. The applicant talked about the need to provide a pathway system from the four restaurants to Showcase Cinemas. We think that would be good for both users and hopefully get people to park in the cinema lots and walk over to the restaurants.

They are showing a potential future hotel site. No approval would be given for that at this point of time since we have no details.

Our landscape architects like the use of the trees to define the streets and continuation of specific plant materials. We will want to see additional landscape islands, the 67 space stretch won’t work. We also want to see that with a nice mixture of plant material, and the base around the different structures landscaped, particular attention paid to the parking garages. Sometimes landscaping can make or break the attractiveness of those structures. The bases for all the signs need to be landscaped. In the western cul de sac, they are proposing to landscape, and we want to make sure the material still allow adequate sight distance and that there are maintenance requirements provided for that material.

We didn’t get any lighting information but we will want to see fixture details and photometrics as part of the final plan.

The applicant is proposing two signs, one 65 foot high pylon with 400 square feet that would indicate the four restaurant users and a second 400 square foot ground mounted sign for the office development and its tenants. They are not indicating any additional signage, either ground mounted free standing or on building, but I’m willing to bet that more specifics will be coming in on final plans, if nothing more than good directional signage.

The Commission needs to look at the types of signage that are being proposed in terms of type, size and height. We provided you with a picture of a similar type development sign on I-71 north of Fields-Ertel. The sign they have is 65 feet high and contains 688 square feet.

The two things we were concerned with in the covenants were the inclusion of the word final on any reference to PUD plan approval and the provision for allowing any type of GB use in specific parts of the development. We would not want to see that happen since there are a number of types of uses permitted in the GB District that we would not want to see as part of this development.

The applicant provided some schematic building elevations, illustrations of other buildings they have done, and they also provided us with an exterior building materials list. As part of any final submittal we would want to see building elevations, floor plans and building materials and colors.

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Mr. Okum asked the height limit for pylon signs in the new code, and Mr. Galster responded 50 feet within 400 feet of the expressway and 30 feet otherwise. Mr. Okum said and the limitation is 2 ground or 1 pole sign. We are trying to encourage ground signs. Mr. McErlane added the height limitations are the same as in the current code. The maximum square footage for the pole sign and the ground sign is 100 s.f.

Mr. Woodward said we would much rather see a combined sign for all four restaurants rather than four separate signs. We are asking for a variance if need be to give us a 65 foot high sign with 800 s.f. in sign area. The Dave & Buster’s sign includes almost 800 s.f.

Mr. Kelley added Dave & Buster’s is 60 feet tall and 771 square feet for a single user. He added Pictoria Island would be at the top and the four users below it. Mr. Okum said it depends on the height of the land. Mr. Syfert said you mentioned Extended Stay, but they are 25 to 28 feet in the hole to start with. Mr. Okum added I think a 65 foot sign would be overwhelming. I have a problem with signs where you are looking up at. There is enough traffic in that area with people trying to transverse into that exit ramp. I would feel more comfortable with it being lower rather than higher.

Mr. Kelley said we would like to have a sign to identify the site. We don’t want to be smaller than Showcase but identify Pictoria Island with a very beautiful logo. I don’t know if you have the measurements of other signs out there.

Mr. McErlane reported the Showcase sign is 426 square feet, but I don’t know the height. I looked through the variances and couldn’t find the height. The Extended Stay was 65 feet high, but it also is situated 18’ below the interstate. Dave & Buster’s sign is 771 square feet and 60 feet high, 6 feet lower than the interstate. Cross Country Inn sign is 87 feet high and 263 ½ square feet, but it is 22 feet below the interstate. Your proposed sign is about l7 feet higher than the interstate at that location.

Mr. Kelley said if we talk about a restaurant use of 150 s.f., multiply that by four and come up with some type of logo on top, that is how we arrived at the 100 square foot sign. If we are a certain distance above the interstate, we want to be comparable in elevation with the various signs in the area.

Mr. Okum commented we all understand that those businesses are going to have an identity, and they will present their signage package to us for signage on the restaurants. Although we are identifying Pictoria Island, if it were strictly a sign that said Pictoria Island and was 400 s.f., we all would grant it as identity for the development. The restaurants will come in with signage as well on their building and each will have expressway frontage. If we add the pylon sign of 150 square feet, plus say 150 s.f. on each restaurant, we are talking a 300 s.f. signage for one exposure. That is pretty significant. Most important is we need people to be able to get to it. You have indicated that these are restaurants new to the market.

Mr. Kelley responded there will be building signage with any restaurant but to have freeway signage will be important to them, and we want to offer that to them along with the site identity of Pictoria Island on that sign.

Mr. Okum said at this point I would see a height of 43 feet, which brings you to the 50 foot level which is within 400 feet of our expressway. I also understand 100 square foot per business would be reasonable, and signage space for Pictoria Island should be additional to it; I don’t have a problem with that. Any more than that, you’ll have to convince me. He asked Ms. McBride her opinion of the pylon sign.

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Ms. McBride stated I recognize they are national restaurants and will want some exposure because they will want to capture the traffic coming westbound on 275. There also is the option of going with the ODOT restaurant signs. When we look at it in terms of the other signs and where they set in terms of elevation, 65 feet plus the six or seven feet in grade changes is high. In terms of the square footage, we need to provide enough to allow each of the restaurants identification, and to allow identification for the Pictoria Island. I also think a lot of them will be at Route 4 next to Showcase or at Pictoria Island, so they will get other references from existing and future users.

Mr. Okum asked if 400 square feet, 100 square feet per restaurant plus signage space for Pictoria Island would be reasonable planning, keeping it within our 50 foot limit?

Ms. McBride responded I think it is fair to allow 100 s.f. per restaurant in addition to square footage for Pictoria Island.

Mr. Woodward said we have similar goals. We do not want inappropriately high signage; we want something that fits with the development. There is a lot of frontage along 275 that we are developing, and we want to have one pylon sign appropriately sized. We are speculating; we are asking for maximums. We may come back with something smaller; we don’t want it to be so high nobody can see it either.

Mr. Okum said it is important to you to at least have this body give you some direction on signage, because you are going to be marketing. Thee are some issues like directional signage that will need to be addressed as well. They need to be addressed at the Showcase entrance.

Mr. Vanover said I would tend to agree. I understand what you are saying, but I do not think anybody wants a behemoth sign. I would offer cooperation but I would have a problem with the 65 foot height.

Mr. Okum said there is an advantage to bringing the sign down. If we are looking for signage view prior to the Route 4 exit, the decision to turn has to be made long before they see the sign.

Mr. Kelley commented those are good comments, 100 square feet for each restaurant plus site identification. My only concern on the 43 foot height. We will have some logo on the top that might want to go up to have some mass. By the time you get the landscaping and panels and something on top, maybe 50 feet would be better in order to have all we want on that sign.

Mr. Okum wondered how the mechanical units would be handled, and Mr. Woodward answered they are rooftop units with screening provided.

Mr. Okum commented I feel that the separations used in the Showcase Parking was well done and carrying out into your project could help

Vegetation or tall trees should be placed to heavily screen the garages, especially on North Commerce Way. We have suggested that expanding sidewalk to one around the lakes on the expressway side as a walking path for the workers.

Ms. McBride on the sign, considering a maximum of 50 feet in height and flexibility on how big Pictoria Island is, and then look at the design elements when it comes in. Commission members agreed.


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Mr. Okum moved to approve the revised prelimoinar7 plan for Northwest Business Center with the following contingencies:

    1. That the expressway pylon sign be 50 feet in height and 100 s.f. for each restaurant plus the Pictoria Island logo;
    2. That the approval include considerations and recommendations of the city planner, building official and engineer, and also the review by the law director of the revised covenants.

Mr. Huddleston seconded the motion.

Mr. Woodward commented I know there is not enough information on the plan to approve the hotel. Mr. Okum said at this time there is not enough information on the hotel to consider it, so the motion does not include it.

Mr. Osborn said I asked that they show it because during our discussions it is something for the future, and I did not want it to be a surprise to Planning in the future. Mr. Syfert commented the motion did not rule it out.

Mr. Huddleston said I agree with everything; the concern I have is not for the quality or concept but the intensity as it relates to the overall traffic patterns. I would like to see more attention given to the opportunity for other outlets to this, and better long term planning. I agree that the last developer in should not be penalized, but some cooperation will be required between the city and potential developer. Specifically I would like to see attention given to the east side outlet as well as the west area.

Mr. Galster asked if we are considering it a major change to the original PUD or the Pictoria Island PUD?

Mr. Syfert answered I see it as a change to the Northwest Business Center PUD.

Mr. McErlane reported basically it is the overall PUD plan which you originally approved which we are considering (Northwest Business Center). Pictoria Island was a modification to that, and no improvements were made under Pictoria Island, other than the sign.

Ms. Rames wondered if Pictoria Island was ever terminated and Mr. McErlane responded unfortunately, there was no defined end. It was a comprehensive plan which if it had gone forward would have been developed pretty rapidly. Ms. Rames said then the Pictoria Island modification remains out, and so I would recommend that this be a modification of the modification of Pictoria Island.

Mr. Galster said so if it is a modification to the modification, I think it should be sent back to Council. Mr. McErlane stated it is a modification to both plans.

Mr. Vanover said you are probably right, although there were aspects that were aspects of Pictoria Island and other aspects of Northwest Business Center

Mr. Syfert commented the concept has not changed. Mr. Galster responded the land use has changed, and I feel it should go back to Council.

Mr. McErlane reported that we had Northwest Business Center, and Pictoria Island was a modification of that. What we are doing here is modifying it again. It is still a modification of the Northwest Business Center. It is not the original.

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Mr. Syfert commented we are still calling it Pictoria Island. Mr. McErlane responded that it is the choice of the developer, but the original plan is the Northwest Business Center.

On the motion to grant preliminary plan approval, voting aye were Mr. Okum, Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Galster, Mr. Seaman, Mr. Vanover and Mr. Syfert. Mr. Young voted no, and the approval was granted with six affirmative votes. Mr. Syfert stated this will go to council with an affirmative recommendation.

Planning Commission recessed at 9:30 p.m.

Mayor Webster left the meeting.

Planning Commission reconvened at 9:45 p.m.


    1. Publication Racks

Mr. Osborn said you should have received a copy of the study by PKG dealing with the publication racks you see on the public right of way. We have tried to come up with a way to regulate these that would be consistent with past and recent case law. We want to take this to Council this month to start the dialogue and have a first reading of an ordinance that would adopt the plan that is contained in this report. We will then have a 30 day comment period where we will send copies of this report to known news media that would use this type distribution. There are provisions that relate to planning, but primarily it is an administrative code that will be the responsibility of the administrative staff and organization to enforce. In the back of the book, you will find Exhibit E that identifies 8 locations throughout the city where we would propose creating corrals for these types of publications. They are identified because of accessibility, visibility pedestrian traffic and other issues which we believe can justify limiting the creation of these types of corrals.

My reason for being here is to ask your consideration of this. I am not asking for an approval, but we want you to see it and be aware of it. If you have any comments about the approach we are taking or questions about enforcement or operation, we would be glad to respond to it.

Mr. Syfert commented I didn’t realize there were that many around the city. I believe this is the proper attempt to regulate and control it.

Mr. Galster said I think they are junky and we should consider going a step further. If we put these junky things inside the gates, what have we accomplished other than create a semi screen because you can see through the fence. I wonder if the city shouldn’t supply three similar racks with sliding changing nameplate and they would have to do the nameplate or possibly rent the rack.

Mr. Osborn responded we thought about that, and one thing we need to keep in mind is we are breaking new ground. We can find no one in this part of the state that has taken this approach. We are patterning ourselves after Coal Gables Florida. We feel that by consolidating and controlling them, we will dramatically improve the aesthetics of the streetscape. We do feel creating a wrought iron appearing fence material on a concrete pad would create an enclosed structure that would give some definition and some aesthetic.



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Mr. Osborn added we talked about requiring a consistent color for the boxes. We are going to get resistance from the market already. This level of control we are proposing is pretty severe. I felt that going to the degree of requiring color as another level of control would be generating too much opposition to the overall concept. I’d prefer to get this new approach in place, and try to be reasonable with the news media. I’d like to try to show that we tried to be as flexible as possible by accommodating their machines and putting them in high visibility high traffic areas where they still will get distribution and we still will meet our objective of controlling the aesthetics.

Mr. Galster wondered if they would be tied down, and Mr. Osborn answered yes, the racks are set up against the back of the grates, and the boxes will have a bracket that will fasten them to the grating on the corral.

Mr. Galster wondered if there would be a waste receptacle available as well and Mr. Osborn answered yes, and in most cases they are close to a bus shelter as well.

Mr. Galster commented I think it is a great idea. PKG should be congratulated for a very well put together document. It was very easy to evaluate and I appreciate that.

Mr. Vanover asked if the city couldn’t enforce the property maintenance code if this gets dilapidated. Mr. Osborn answered that is contained in that; they can choose the color, but it has to be well maintained.

Mr. Osborn stated we are saying that you can be in Springdale and these are the eight locations where you can be. We are not trying to displace the Enquirer and Post in our community; we want to have their publications in our community, and this was not intended to try to stifle their distribution of materials. We think we have a highly defensive position.

Ms. McBride added we also have regulations governing that these publication boxes have to have current material. They cannot set vacant or with old publications in them.


Ms. McBride stated we tried to set a time parameter, thinking about 11:00 p.m. and realizing that we are not going to get through the whole document tonight. I want to thank those of you who served on the committee for so many nights. We appreciate your time.

PKG was retained by the City to rework your Zoning Code in conjunction with the committee that was appointed. The committee encompassed members of Planing, Board of Zoning Appeals, City Council and the administrative staff, and from our staff is Paul Coulter. We decided to review this section by section. There are things we are still working on. It is a lengthy document and a significant change in a lot of areas and we wanted feedback.

Mr. Galster commented I think we have an advantage here. Three members of this board were in attendance at pretty much every meeting, and we have read this word for word two complete times. I understand the importance of everyone knowing the new code, but I wonder if we shouldn’t go through the summary.



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Ms. McBride responded we’ll do whatever the commission would like. Members of the administrative staff have some specific red line comments and we can address those outside this body if you wish.

Mr. Galster responded or you could go right to them. I just have a hard time going through this page by page.

Mr. Seaman commented honestly I found one typo. I would agree that having the experience of the people from Planning is an advantage. At this point of time I am not sure how much I want to mess with this back and forth that the group came to. I would feel comfortable going through the summary.

Mr. Young added I agree from the standpoint that we put a lot of time into it. Part of the reason you put people together is because you trust the things they will do with this, plus the fact that we had professonal help, and I would say do the summary.

Mr. Okum commented there were a lot of trying meetings, and having the administration and Paul and Anne involved made it a lot easier. It was very comprehensive, but the changes are not dramatic. I think it is a code people can read and understand and find things. I think everybody put an enormous number of hours into this. The summary truly gives a good overview of the changes.

Paul Coulter led the review of the executive summary. This code didn’t seem like a very user friendly document. Regulations that should have been consolidated into one chapter were in 22 places within the code. I write zoning codes for a living and this is probably one of the most confusing I have seen. The standards were there; it was a matter of putting them together into a more user friendly document. That was our first charge.

We pulled out the term family; there have been recent court cases and decisions that have questioned the way family was defined in the code, so we changed the definition of family to reflect recent legal court issues, and also have changed the names of the residential districts to include the term household, which is more acceptable to the courts than the term family.

We have taken out all the site plan contents and application issues. We have consolidated those into checklists that will be provided to each applicant. Ms. McBride added we are still working with staff to refine those. Mr. Okum added and according to the new code, the checklists are approved by Planning Commission. It is not an administrative decision, but a Planning Commission issue. Mr. McErlane added the one advantage to not having them in the code is that if Planning Commission decides they need another item in those checklists, it doesn’t have to go through the public hearing process. Ms. McBride said the other thing is from the applicant’s standpoint, when they leave here they leave here with a package including the application, meeting dates, submittal dates, fees and what they need to do.

Mr. Coulter stated the way this memorandum is set up is article by article. In definitions, there were several terms not used in the code but were defined, so we pulled them out to prevent any confusion, and we added several terms that needed to be defined. As we went through the code we created some new districts or uses that needed to be defined and we added those. We also rearranged the definition section to make it easier to compare similar terms.


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Mr. Coulter added the trend is to establish more descriptive district designations. Residential single household low density is defined as RSHL instead of R-1-A. In order to make it a more user friendly district, we changed those district designations.

Concerning district boundaries on the zoning map, currently the Board of Zoning Appeals is to make that decision. We raised the issue to the group to allow the Planning Commission to make that determination. That gives one more avenue within the City that if there is an appeal, it can go to the Board of Zoning Appeals rather than to the courts for the final decision.

In the residential districts there are several areas in the code where your setbacks are in text in one form and several pages back are in Matrix form. In some cases we found conflicting numbers in each, so we have established a free standing article for each zoning district in text format.

We are now requiring that all single household dwellings have a two car garage. We have increased the minimum dwelling sizes in each of the residential districts realizing that the market trend in Springdale does not reflect your current minimum dwelling sizes. You are striving for higher quality housing and higher market value, so we bumped up those minimum dwelling sizes in each of the residential districts.

We looked at new uses such as group homes and foster family homes. We still are talking to Wood & Lamping about regarding whether or not the regulations we had established are legal and appropriate for the City of Springdale. As of right now, we are permitting group homes, foster family homes and the community social service facilities into the residential districts. There is some legal background which requires that municipalities provide areas for these types of uses.

Item 6 on Page 3 indicates that residential uses are now permitted to have two accessory uses on the lot. The way we decide to regulate those uses is by size. You are permitted to have any type accessory use in that lot that is identified in the supplemental regulations, but it is based on a total number of square feet.

Side yard setback requirements for single household buildings were modified. We now establish a total minimum side yard width and a minimum side yard width. What that does is allow the developer to vary where the house is located on the lot from side to side, so not every house has an eight foot side yard. We might give them a total of 20 feet in side yards but one could be a minimum of 8 feet.

Non residential districts have free standing articles for each district. We removed the prohibited use list from each of the districts, so the code is structured that if the use is not specifically permitted within that district, it is a prohibited use. The problem I see is you have a list of permitted uses and a list of prohibited uses and what do you do if your use doesn’t fall in either of those lists. That becomes a big problem for the municipality as well as the developer.

The Retail Service District was changed to Support Service District because the retail service district did not permit any retail type uses. We changed that name to be more reflective of what is occurring within that district.

Because of their intensity and general nature, auto repair facilities have been removed from the General Business District and have been incorporated in the Motor Services District.


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We eliminated the Research Production District from the code because it had not been used, and according to city staff, there has not been any interest in that district for several years.

On Page 5, we identified that most of the uses within those specific districts contained what we called a long laundry list of uses that tried to identify every potential use that could occur. The trend is to provide a shorter list of uses by consolidating similar uses into one like category and providing a good definition for that use. It keeps it current a lot longer and permits the building official to add new uses to that specifically identified use as it would come up. An example is barber shop, beauty shops etc. and we recommended that you put that into a single use entitled personal services and provide the definition which would encompass all those types of uses.

On Page 5 we have added regulations that would potentially affect several districts. That keeps you from repetitively establishing the same type of regulation in each district and prevents you from making a change in one district that was intended to be reflected in every district. This way it is in one spot and everything is consistent.

Parking requirements which currently are located in 11 parts of the code were consolidated in one article entitled Off Street Parking and Loading. When you combine the off street loading provisions scattered throughout your code, it came to about 22 different places.

In the Springdale Route 4 Review District the committee established that brick and stone utilized within this district is no longer permitted to be painted or stained. The change was made to provide for brick and stone to be required on three sides of the structure instead of the two.

In the administration enforcement article, there were several subjective standards that the Planning Commission had established. Zoning Codes typically provide qualitative and quantitative standards for objective decisions. We removed those issues from that part of the document.

Your present code lacks guidelines for variances and appeals to the code and we have established that. We have removed several regulations such as applications for signs, driveway permits, satellite dish antenna permits and moved those to the supplemental regulations article. This is to combine like regulations into one area that would affect several districts.

The time specifying submission deadlines for applicants were increased to permit the city more time for project review.

In the supplemental district regulations article, fence requirements were modified to require retaining walls to be constructed of natural stone. Satellite dishes under 18 inches are exempt from the code, but we are mainly focusing on the large satellite dishes that are still out there. We placed a few more regulations on those and made sure that they met the FCC requirements.

Community social service facilities which would include the group homes and foster care homes have been added to your code, and Wood & Lamping is looking at those, so there probably will be some modifications to them. Also within that article is the waste container screening requirements. We modified those to read that each of those containers be constructed with the similar material as the principal building.


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Mr. Coulter stated the off street parking loading article is a new one combining the 22 areas within the codes that contain those regulations. We have added standards which require modifications to parking and loading areas if a building is constructed or enlarged. We have increased setbacks for parking in commercial areas at the request of the committee.

Some significant design standards for off street parking and loading areas have been added. These look at parking space dimensions, access to parking areas, setback requirements, landscape, lighting issues, ingress and egress, stacking spaces for drive through businesses and the parking of commercial vehicles in parking areas beyond certain business hours that could contain advertising signage.

In the residential areas, instead of specifying a minimum driveway width, we established a minimum number of parking spaces required for that use. I believe it was two or 2.5 spaces per dwelling, and as long as you can meet that requirement, the driveway can be as wide or narrow as needed.

In the sign article, we have added the requirement that the property owner must remove their sign once their business is closed after a period of six consecutive months. There was substantial discussion on this issue, and the conclusion was that after six months at least the face of the sign should be modified so it does not advertise the business that is no longer there.

We modified the pole sign requirements to 30 feet in height within 400 feet of the interstate, and 50 feet otherwise. During the first draft of the code we really were pushing ground signs and we thought we would eliminate pole signs. Then discussion came up about the interstate and people needing to advertise their business because of the locations there so we added pole signs but decreased the height to 30 feet.

We have added a section on prohibited signs and signs which do not require permits. There is a section on the sign permit process that one has to go through to apply for specific types of signs. There are regulations in the code now that we are proposing where delivery vehicles and tractor trailers which display business names or advertisement can only be parked in front of a business during business hours. After that they need to be moved to a place where they cannot be seen from the public right of way. The determination was made that this would be additional signage for the business.

Regulations have been added where neon and accent lighting measurement were included as part of the total square footage signage allotment for properties.

We have modified sign square footages to meet the goals of the City. The sign area calculations will now include both sides of the sign, and not just one face.

In the yard modifications article, we discuss and regulate projections into yards, decks patio enclosures and porches. This allows modification from the setback requirements.

One of the major things we have added is landscaping and buffering standards for not only interior parking areas and surrounding parking areas. It also establishes buffer yards which would protect less intensive uses from more intensive uses.



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We also have added regulations on landscaping of services structures (loading docks, propane tanks, dumpsters and utility vaults which extend above the ground).

The last article we will discuss tonight is the violations fees and penalties article. We have consolidated those sections throughout the code into the last article in the code. We have omitted the fees but referenced them. It is easier to modify another ordinance than to go through the text amendment procedure for the zoning code every time a fee change is to be made.

Ms. McBride commented I know there are some additional comments; Bill and Cecil have some, and I would like to make some changes to the parking requirements, so we still have some fine tuning of the document. We would like to hear questions or comments from the Commission.

Mr. Vanover wondered the usable life of this document. Ms. McBride answered probably three years. The next time when something new comes up, it would be a very minor process. A full review probably would not be for eight to 10 years. We have found that sometimes when a new code is adopted, there would be one round of revisions shortly thereafter.

Mr. Osborn said I have a number of items that I will discuss separately with them. Most of them deal with definitions.

Three or four elements I want to ask about, because they are substantive, more a question of policy.

One deals with the elimination of anything other than a natural rock for a retaining wall. I am curious why we have taken that position. We use the manufactured stone walls, the modular walls extensively throughout the city on our projects. From personal experience, I can tell you that a laid up rock wall is a very expensive proposition for anybody. Obviously it looks nicer, but are we saying that we will eliminate these modular walls and require everyone to use a natural rock wall?

Mr. Galster responded I believe that is front yard only.

Mr. Osborn commented even if it is limited to front yards, my point is still the same. When we get into a highway project, if we have to grade back and support a slope, we typically use these modular walls. This would force us to go to a laid up rock wall and obviously it would force any resident to go to a laid up rock wall if they wanted to do grading to protect a tree.

Mr. Syfert commented they would have to go to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Mr. Osborn said I am just asking do we want this in the code.

Mr. Galster responded what we didn’t want to have was something similar to Wes Shell’s wall at Route 4 and Ray Norrish Drive. We didn’t want to end up with an eight foot retaining wall with that type of stone in the front yard because it does affect the other property.

Mr. Osborn responded but an eight foot laid up rock wall would be okay with you sight unseen? Mr. Galster answered more okay than the other type wall. Mr. Osborn said I want to make it clear that I don’t agree with that item. I think there is an unnecessary limitation.

Mr. Okum wondered if he thought those walls were decorative. Mr. Osborn answered I don’t think they are decorative; I think they are functional, and I don’t see anything aesthetically wrong with them.


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12 January 1999

Page Twenty-Three


Mr. Okum commented a lot of the problem was determining how to describe what one person wants to put up as a concrete block retaining wall or a modular masonry wall versus build a concrete block wall and paint it white. That’s what you are trying to keep away from. Or if somebody wants to put a 12 foot12-foot high landscape timber wall in front of their house. On the Kenn Road improvement, all those homes ended up with modular block wall, and it was done very nicely. On the other hand, a concrete block wall can be interpreted the same way.

Mr. Osborn responded if that is the desire, maybe we could refine the language a little more, rather than a blanket prohibition of anything except natural rock. I’m not just thinking from the perspective of the City. From a practical standpoint as a resident, it very severely limits a project.

Mr. Huddleston commented you would be repeating yourself if you said modular decorative, but I’m sure Cecil and the attorneys could come up with something better than that. Mr. Vanover added you mentioned the landscape timber. One house has a landscape timber wall that protrudes into the front yard. In that case, I’m in violation myself because I put in landscaping and used the fitted masonry blocks.

Mr. Galster said what we had before was "retaining and decorative walls located in front yards should be of dry stack stone or stone masonry".

Mr. Osborn suggested getting with the engineer’s office and planner’s office and come up with some industrial terms that might refine it and come back to you with some suggestions.

Mr. Osborn continued the second item deals with the regulation of neon lighting as a part of the sign package. I am curious how we will do that? If we are going to regulate neon lighting or building lighting or highlighting, what is our aim? IS our aim to restrict n eon lighting? What is the purpose?

Mr. Galster responded you look at the Chinese restaurant on Northland Boulevard, and we are trying to keep away from the abuse of neon lighting. Using it as an accent is fine, but how do you regulate it? The only way to do it is assign a foot equals so many square footage of signage, and you were limited to the amount of neon you could use.

Mr. Osborn responded I think there is a legitimate reason to regulate the lighting. I’m concerned about trying to integrate it with signage. Also, if it is a matter of how the neon is iused, if it is used within a perimeter of a window for example, if that is something that is totally unacceptable, we can just say that – you can’t use neon within the perimeter of a window. I think we can look around the community and see places where neon highlighting has actually improved the looks of the facility. We already fight with virtually everybody that comes in here already over signage. Now if we have to say for every three feet of neon lighting we are taking away a foot of your signage, it certainly suppressing the attractiveness of neon lighting as a way of adding character to the facility. If you want to regulate neon, maybe set cesrtain criteria to regulate it.

Mr. Okum wondered what criteria should be used, and Mr. Osborn indicated he did not know. The only thing lthing I’veI've heard from the staff or Planning that we dislike is the Chinese restaurant on Northland Bouleveard.


Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

12 January 1999

Page Twenty-Four


Mr. Okum wondered what the criteria would be. Mr. Osborn responded I don’t know. The only thing I’ve heard from staff and this commission about what we don’t like is the Chinese restaurant on Northland Boulevard. Early on we had the same situation with the shoe repair place. The only objections I have heard so far is the way it has been used in the window as a way to set the window out as a feature. Are there other examples in the city of neon being used in a way we don’t like it?

Mr. Okum responded I think MARS is a good example. I think it is overly lit, compared to the other businesses along there. Mr. Osborn commented I think it is very attractive. Mr. Okum responded but it jumps out at you. Mr. Osborn said that’s what it is supposed to do. Mr. Okum said then wouldn’t you consider that a signage issue? Mr. Osborn said we have uplighting on this building; are we going to count that? It makes the building stand out.

Mr. Galster responded what is a sign ? A sign is something that identifies your business.

Mr. Osborn commented we should either go ahead and prohibit neon lighting, which is in effect what we are doing here, or we should try to regulate it in a more direct manner in an effort to try to prohibit the type of use of neon that we don’t like.

Mr. Galster responded I agree with that. We were having a hard time coming up with the proper way to say it to disallow the uses we don’t like and still allow neon. We threw around numbers.

Mr. Seaman asked why it should be tied to signage, and Mr. Galster answered because in general it is used as an accent or identifying feature.

Mr. Osborn said what about the canopy lighting? Let’s take Chi Chi’s. The uplighting on the building with all the colorful paint is certainly used as a logo.

Mr. Galster said if you look at Sweeney’s Chevrolet and the neon inside their building, we think that is designed to reach out into the public right of way with neon lights and I think it is a sign.

Mr. Osborn said it is an aesthetic. It is a matter of interpretation, but we have to give some latitude to these folks who come up with ways of making their facility attractive. A good example is Sweeney; I don’t think what they have done is garish or over the top. If you choose to interpret it as a sign, that’s your call. I thought it was a tasteful use of the neon. I am raising the point that I think we have not regulated this in the right direction. I don’t know if we can resolve it this evening, but I wanted to raise the point.

Mr. Okum said I agree with you, but there is really no other way. Neon is installed by sign installation companies. Neon is used to internally illuminate signs. Neon is a sign industry product. That’s who generated it and markets it and installs it. If it is not their industry and not them generating it, how can we not put it in our signage regulations? Maybe five feet equals one foot is too restrictive; I don’t know.

Mr. Osborn commented I think it is arbitrary, and we are going to get in trouble over it.

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

12 January 1999

Page Twenty-Five


Mr. Syfert commented in Northern Kentucky there is a beautiful building that at night has no sign on it whatsoever, but it has a neon light clear around it that sets it off. Is that a sign? Mr. Huddleston commented he is saying that it is totally decorative and ornamental; it has nothing to do with signage.

Mr. Galster commented we have no problem with neon lights in general.

Mr. Vanover commented there is the little center where you exit Showcase onto Crescentville Road. They have blue neon all the way around the top of the building; it is not signage at all.

Mr. Okum commented it is accent lighting, but where do you put it? If it is in the signage section, it has to be maintained and kept in operational condition. I guess you could put it under accent lighting. There has to be some way of getting a balance, not the obtrusive impact on the neighborhood that is on Northland Boulevard. That lights up the entire parking lot.

Mr. Galster commented everybody likes the Roberds lighting for example, but imagine if they were to put in 10 bands of yellow instead of two.

Mr. Osborn commented that is also something that you review with these people. Mr. Okum responded but we don’t have a benchmark to be fair with everyone. We don’t have a quantitative way of being fair.

Mr. Osborn said I think the way we have chosen to pursue this is not fair. I think it is arbitrary and doesn’t address what we are really trying to regulate here. We are trying to regulate the application of neon, not necessarily the volume of neon. In some cases it might turn out to be the volume, but we are not trying to work against the volume but against specific application. We think certain situations in the city have been excessive and unnecessary and we ought to be able to write language that would regulate accent lighting that would be specific to those types of problems.

Mr. Galster wondered if we should require to have approval of the application of neon to any building, have it reviewed and be totally arbitrary and up to the vote of seven people. Mr. Osborn answered we do that already. Mr. Galster said what’s wrong with stating it that way? Mr. Osborn responded I don’t have a problem with that. My problem is trying to make this a sign and trying to calculate so many feet of neon for one square foot of signage. I think this is a totally appropriate area to regulate, but we have to keep in mind why we are regulating it and what we are trying to accomplish.

Mr. Vanover said probably the easiest way would be to develop another section to deal with accent lighting. You could pick up your backlit canopies there. I agree with Cecil; it is not fair and we are setting ourselves up for someone to walk away who we really want in the city.

Mr. Syfert asked Mr. Coulter how this has been handled in other codes, and Mr. Coulter responded in every other code I have written, neon lighting has not been an issue.


Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

12 January 1999

Page Twenty-Six


Mr. Coulter continued it is not addressed in the code; there are other ordinances that control the hours of illumination. I have not personally drafted any regulations with respect to neon lighting or accent lighting within the zoning code.

Ms. McBride said one thing we might want to think about is to contact the sign industry themselves. They put together a lot of industry standards. I’m not suggesting that we take their standards, but that would give us a better starting point to look at how places outside Ohio are regulating it, if they indeed are.

Mr. Osborn my other item is the issue of the double sided sign. What we have done is doubled the allowed square footage, so it is a wash. We are saying, we count both sides of the sign now, but we give you twice the square footage. Okay I’m a pretty smart developer. Instead of having my sign at a 90 degree angle to the street, I’ll put it at 45 degrees. Now you still can see the back side of my sign but you’ll be able to see twice as big a sign as you would if you could just see from one direction. Why are we doubling the face but doubling the square footage? You come out the same.

What we normally deal with are pole signs or ground signs. We can do it this way; it doesn’t hurt anything, but it seems to me we are fooling ourselves by giving twice as much square footage and counting both sides of the sign.

Mr. Okum commented it is not to be misleading. This is a more upfront way to say they get both sides of the sign. Mr. Osborn said what if I turn my sign?

Mr. Galster commented I look at Showcase Cinemas sign, and I don’t mind going by a sign that I can only see for an instant. I think it actually helps the visual pollution to have them turned that way. I don’t have a problem with that.

Mr. Okum asked Mr. Coulter if there were other communities that currently use both sides of the sign? Mr. Coulter responded for most of the codes that I have reviewed or drafted, a lot of them are calculated by both areas, but if you are going to have one panel side you still are limited to that one side.

The provision is if you use only one side, you are limited to half the total sign area allowed. Mr. Galster said that’s what we want; that was our intent. Mr. Okum commented I don’t think we were pushing it either way.

Mr. McErlane reported although it sounds like a wash, it doesn’t come out a wash if that is attributed toward your total sign area. You have just lost another 50 square feet from your total sign area by counting both sides. The way the code is right now, you calculate a total amount of sign area you can have for the property based on the width of the building. If we are going to count both sides of a pole sign, you will be dinged for both sides against that total allowable square footage. If you have a double sided sign you have lost that much more of your total allowable signage.







Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

12 January 1999

Page Twenty-Seven


Mr. Galster said so does the summary say we doubled the amount you are allowed? Mr. Coulter answered I don’t think we doubled the amount you are permitted. One hundred square feet carried over from the other code. What you are doing is decreasing the size of the sign.

Mr. McErlane reported that the current code says 50 square feet for a pole sign. Ms. McBride commented we could add verbiage on to that saying with no one side exceeding 50 square feet.

Mr. Galster said what Cecil’s argument was is that if we doubled the way we calculate the pole sign, and doubled the amount of allowable signage, we haven’t done anything. If we haven’t doubled the amount of allowable signage, then we have done something. Mr. McErlane added we have doubled the amount on the individual sign, but not the overall allowable signage. Ms. McBride added if you are allowed 500 square feet on a site, you can now use 100 square feet of it toward a pole sign. Previously only 50 square feet was allowed. Mr. Osborn said so if I wanted to put up a pole sign with one face, I could put up a 100 square foot pole sign. So if I the developer chose to change my pole sign so you can see one side of it, I would get twice as big a pole sign.

Mr. Okum commented Mr. Osborn has a valid point and Ms. McBride suggested a way of handling it, in that no one side of a sign shall exceed 50 square feet. We are still counting square footage of sign, but no sign face shall exceed 50 square feet on a pole sign. Ms. McBride added the only thing you have done is eaten into their allowable square footage of total signage, which presumably would carry over to the building by 50 square feet. That’s the only ramification. Mr. Okum wondered if everyone felt this would be equitable and fair. So, it should not exceed 100 square feet, and no one facing shall exceed 50 square feet.

Mr. Osborn said this addresses my point about the sign. I had not considered Anne’s point, that if we took a project today and approved it and came back after we adopt this code and try to adopt the same project, they would be over by 50 square feet in signage. Essentially we are taking 50 feet out of allowable square footage on signage for a site.

Mr. Galster responded this is because what is happening they are coming in at 200% of what they are allowed anyway, and if we can show them that it is at 250% of what they are allowed, maybe we can get a little more give and take. Mr. Osborn commented Planning Commission can choose to do as they wish but it seems to me if we have that dichotomy of words and low end and high end and our solution is to get even lower, we are just widening that gap and creating a bigger schism between the city and the developer.

Mr. Okum said I don’t disagree with that; I think the issue is you want to try to be fair to the developer to allow him to put his signs up, but on the other hand, to mentally always tell ourselves that the other side of the sign doesn’t count in the square footage.

Mr. Osborn said we are lowering the effective square footage that the developer can put on a project by using this calculation.

Ms. McBride said the other thing you could do is in our formula we add on 40 square feet. I don’t know where the 40 square feet came from, but you could say plus 90 square feet or plus 70 square feet.

Mr. Galster commented if we actually had a square footage amount that we were happy with that would be fine, but that’s not the way it happens. With few exceptions, they always come in with double the signage.

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

12 January 1999

Page Twenty-Eight


Mr. Okum said so Mr. Osborn’s point is that we need to not take away from the developer the opportunity to have that extra 50 square feet. We have given it back to them on monument signs. Mr. Galster said what he is saying is that we are making that gap seem that much wider, and therefore we are that much more the bad guys. It is not making for a good relationship when in fact you know they are going to come in with the signage they think they need regardless of what it is we say they need.

Mr. Osborn said I think Planning has done a great job and is to be recognized in trying to regulate pole signs. If you look around, I think you have done a very good job, but I don’t know that we have improved our negotiating position by entrenching ourselves even further back to the starting point. I guess it is a minor thing, but I would hope that we would not reduce the total square footage. Anne’s suggestion to change that additional 40 feet to 90 feet would meet my concern, but I don’t know how that translates out when you start calculating a little area like a building at Princeton Plaza. I think I would like to step back and look at it.

Mr. Coulter added recognize that you have different business districts within the community and you have all your business districts in one category. This is one of the few codes that I have seen that still utilizes a formula for establishing square footage of signs. Most communities will break down your neighborhood business district and total square footage of sign allowed, your general business district, your regional business district. Although there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the intensity of each of those districts, you are still using the same formula to calculate the same size signage for a highway business than you are for a neighborhood retail business.

Mr. Coulter continued maybe you would require a larger sign on the interstate, whereas down at the local convenience store you don’t need 400 square feet of signage. The formula based on lot widths may be easier to use, but then again most communities will break out each business district and apply a certain type of signage for each.

Mr. Okum commented frankly we haven’t been far off. We have been more limiting on the interstate area than in the local smaller districts.

Mr. Galster wondered if what we are doing with signage right now is

working. Are there any signs out there right now that are too big? Mr.

McErlane reported the ones within code. There are an awful lot of them

with variances or went through the PUD process.

Mr. Galster said even those outside the code or approved with PUD,

which are still overdone? Mr. McErlane responded every car dealership

and Value City. Mr. Galster said when we allowed them seven poles on

one lot, I understand that.

Mr. Vanover stated when you go down Ledro, Dave & Busters sign

stares you in the face.

Mr. Syfert said are we saying that we have to look at this a little more? Planning members agreed. Mr. Okum added that is the purpose of this meeting. This is a working living breathing document, and that is why the committee spent months reviewing it.

Mr. Vanover added he made a good point about tying it to the districts, because if somebody really wanted to, the mom and pop in the strip mall could come in and say you allowed this overage at Dave & Buster’s.


Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

12 January 1999

Page Twenty-Nine


Mr. Galster commented that is like trying to compare Golf Galaxy’s sign size with Roberds. They are the same type business in the same type location and if you put the Golf Galaxy sign on the Roberds building it would be lost. I don’t think that is our answer either.

Mr. Galster said other than car dealerships, are there any others that are

oversigned? Mr. McErlane responded Levitz was one, Value City, Tri-

County Mall relative to their size is probably minimal and Roberds is

minimal for the size of their building.

Mr. Osborn commented if we ever have to defend our rejection of an

oversized pole sign, that same developer or owner can walk down the

street and click off five or six neighboring signs that are of equal size.

We have no defense at all. I think that may have been what happened to

Value City. We got into a little bit of a wrestling match with them over the

size of the sign, and they were able to point up and down the

street to other signs that were grossly over the allowable square footage.

Mr. Osborn added there are oversized signs, but the bigger issue is

while we do play a negotiating game here, literally if anybody called our

bluff we would not have much of a defense.

Mr. Young said so you are saying what happened in the past is the

precedent. So we can’t change it.

Mr. Osborn responded the solution that Anne came up with of adding

50 square feet to that formula I would have to step back from, because it

affects wall signs and many other types of signs. I don’t think that would

be a solution.

Mr. Okum said but we doubled the signage on one face and if we had it

worded that no one facing shall exceed 50 square feet, where have we

gone wrong? Mr. Osborn responded we have taken 50 feet out of their

total allowable. Mr. Okum said then on pole signs that are two sided,

the back side of the pole sign shall not be calculated in the total square

footage. Mr. McErlane commented why not leave it as it is; that is the

way we are dong it right now.

Mr. Galster commented that is a good point. Why are we having this

debate over trying to cut 50 square feet out of the total allowable signage

that the developer can have so we can argue with him about it some

more. It doesn’t make sense. Go back to what was working. Let’s not

create a bigger argument than what we have to. I agree with Cecil, and I

have no problem with going back to the way we used to calculate it. It’s

working. I thought Roberds would look bad, but it needs it for that

building size. I thought MARS was going to be too much; I think it looks

fine. I think we have done a pretty good job.

Mr. Okum said the question is if the sign can be seen from more than one

spot, is it a two sided sign or is it one face? That is what started this.

Mr. Osborn commented I don’t see changing all of our sign calculations to

address a real estate sign. The status quo seems to be functioning fairly


Mr. Okum said the real estate companies are the ones that take

advantage of it. Mr. Galster said then put in any sign that is designed

where both sides can be seen from one point of view shall be calculated

as a double.



Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

12 January 1999

Page Thirty


Mr. McErlane said on a free standing sign if you count any face that you

can see from standing in one position. Mr. Coulter added there is a

definition under measurement standards that indicates that if there is a v

sign and you are looking at it head on, that rectangle around that v would

count. Mr. Okum said so if we would add from a single point of view, that

would take care of the v shape signs. It seems reasonable to me.

Mr. Seaman said I have been awfully quiet; this is my first day hot

smoking and it is wearing me out. I am past the point of recognition here,

and I think it would be appropriate to take up this discussion at a later


Mr. McErlane said concerning item 1, it is really not in defense of this

change. It is to point out that there was one comment that automotive

service establishments were no longer a permittable use in GB districts.

This means we will have six non conforming uses. The only zoning

district they will be permitted in is Motor Service, and we have only two

such districts in the city, one at Glensprings and Route 4 and one isolated

parcels on 747 where the Amoco Station is.

Mr. Okum said we’ll do this again; Mr. Syfert said next month.

Mr. Syfert asked if anyone would not be present next month. Everyone

plans to be in attendance.

Addressing Mr. Galster, Mr. Okum asked if he felt that we should poll the

commission as to whether canvas awnings should be regulated as

lighting, or should it go under accessory affect lighting section.

Mr. Galster responded if we could keep the awnings lit at 30% of their

signage like we did at Golf Galaxy, I wouldn’t count them as signage. If

they are lit up like a regular sign, then it is a sign.

Mr. Osborn said that sounds good here, but do we measure that? Ms.

McBride said didn’t we decide that we are going to contact the sign

industry and see if we can get some kind of regulating standards or how

they measure such things? We don’t have to take what they have, but

let’s see where they are. We’ll see what we can find by February.


    1. Huff Realty, 375 Glensprings Drive – Wall Sign
    2. Amigo’s Restaurant, 11711 Princeton Pike - Awning


Mr. Galster moved to adjourn and Mr. Huddleston seconded the motion.

By voice vote, all voted aye and Planning Commission adjourned at

11:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,



_______________________,1999 ____________________________

William G. Syfert, Chairman


_______________________,1999 _____________________________

Robert Seaman, Secretary