14 MARCH 2006
7:00 P.M.


The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Chairman William Syfert.


Members Present:        Tony Butrum, Robert Coleman, Steve Galster,
                Lawrence Hawkins, David Okum, and
                Chairman Syfert

Members Absent:        Tom Vanover (arrived at 7:10 p.m.)

Others Present:        Jeff Tulloch, Economic Development Director
                Bill McErlane, Building Official
                Don Shvegzda, City Engineer
                Anne McBride, City Planner


Mr. Butrum moved for adoption and Mr. Galster seconded the motion. By voice vote all present voted aye, and the Minutes were approved with six affirmative votes.


A. Report on Council

Mr. Galster reported that he was not present at the last Council meeting, but there was not a large agenda.
B. Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes – January 17, 2006
C. Zoning Bulletin – February 10, 2006
D. Zoning Bulletin – February 25, 2006
E. Planning Commissioners Journal – Winter, 2006
F. Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission Memo re Nominations to Commission

Mr. Galster nominated Dave Okum for the new term he is presently serving the balance of an expired term, three months. Mr. Syfert seconded the nomination and all present voted aye.


Mr. Syfert said I need to advise the applicants that there is one commission member missing, so for any final development plan approval it would take five affirmative votes.


A. Approval of Development Plan for New Heritage Hill Elementary School, 11961 Chesterdale Road

Amanda Baker, Architect with Steed Hammond Paul said with me are several of our consulting engineers as well as Fred Pensinger from the school district to answer any questions you might have.

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Ms. Baker added we are here for approval of plans for a new Heritage Hill Elementary School on the site of the existing school. The new facility would be slightly smaller, both in enrollment and in square footage. It will be a two-story facility, a two-story academic wing and one story for the dining, gymnasium etc. I have the full size drawings to review as well as the color pallet.

These are color renderings of two of the major spaces of the building. The top rendering is a drawing of the facility from Chesterdale Road. There are two new entries, the main office entry with signage above it and the secondary entry to serve the students coming off the buses. There is a two-story academic wing and a single story which comes forward, the kindergarten wing, which extends beyond the two-story phase.

The bottom rendering is a view of the building from the north. There is an accent banding between the first and second story classroom windows. The proposed materials include an orangish brick and the tan color would be split face concrete block. The colors are being finalized, but all are very neutral. There is a reddish accent band (split face block) which is a lighter color and the shade depends on the color that is selected.

The roof is primarily sloped and shingled, a dimensional shingle the same type that is on Springdale Elementary School. We are looking at aluminum windows of a lighter ivory color.

Mr. Galster asked the percentage of brick versus split face concrete block on the building and Ms. Baker indicated that she did not know. Mr. Galster asked how high the split face block came up on the Springdale Elementary building. Ms. Baker estimated 32 inches. Mr. Galster commented I have seen a lot of the other elementary schools being built and it seems like this has a whole lot more split face than every other school I have seen. Is that an accurate statement?

Fred Pensinger responded I thought this one was around 50-50. Lincoln Heights was around 50-50. Woodlawn was a total precast building with the look of brick on the whole façade, and Stewart is around 50-50 but it is la single floor building and looks different. They definitely differ.

Mr. Galster commented my concern is from the north elevation. It is a big mass of split face block to the residential side. There is no elevation indent along that face and it looks like a big flat wall to me.

Ms. Baker said we provided a change of material on the end to help with that. There is an offset and slight recess and is one reason why we provided the banding here to articulate and build on that to create a corner. At one time it was to be all brick, and it has been a reflection of the budget and increasing construction costs that we are proposing this.

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Mr. Galster said I would like to see some ideas on how to break up that massive wall. Perhaps if the accent columns could be brick instead of split face it would help.

Mr. Okum commented I have to agree with Mr. Galster in essence but percentage wise I don’t have a major problem. You might change that out to a different dimension, bigger bricks like Springdale Elementary, which is not a true fired brick. Ms. Baker responded what we found is that the four inch tall 16 inch long is not much of a cost savings from brick.

Mr. Okum added that seems to be the view the people looking south would have. How that elevation is treated is a very big concern. Additionally the same perception is from Chesterdale Road and you have treated that with a blend, which breaks that up so you don’t have straight lines. If the columns were treated in a beige masonry and going to the split face block in the field, you might eliminate some of that and still have some definition to the building. I understand that there are some budget constraints, but it’s going to look like a big block building otherwise, even though it is a pre-colored block material.

Mr. Pensinger added that the elevation of the homes to the north is fairly high in comparison. Mr. Vanover added according to PG-1, the base is 598 and on the north side of Marwood it is 608, so you are only talking six feet. Ms. Baker added and the finished floor elevation of the new building is 602. Mr. Okum said so they would be about midway on the windows; they will be looking at a story and one-half.

Mr. Okum commented the other elevations won’t really be observed, and so distant from the other residents that I don’t think it makes a big difference. I certainly would like to see the emphasis put on these two elevations (north and east). I wouldn’t have a problem if you cut back a little on the other two elevations with more of the split face block because there is nobody to observe it and considering the situation, I can be sensitive to that. These elevations are two key elements of the building and I think they need to be treated that way. I don’t think it will make a lot of difference on the west or south elevation whether it is all split face or not. Certainly some dimensions and offsets are necessary for the aesthetic quality, but there is not as much influence on the adjoining properties.

Ms. McBride commented I would take a little bit of an exception with what you said, because the west elevation directly impacts adjacent single family residences as much as the north elevation. Whatever applies to the north elevation has to apply to the west elevation as well.

Mr. Okum asked if she agreed that the courtyard area was not as key an element. Ms. McBride responded I think it is less massive on the west elevation but there are still concerns about building materials. I don’t want people who live on the west side think we are not taking them into account as well.

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Mr. Okum asked about the courtyard; are you concerned about that? Ms. McBride responded I am not as concerned about that.

Ms. McBride asked if there were color drawings of the west elevation and Ms. Baker answered that they did not but we will provide it for you.

Ms. Baker added we have provided the plantings and trees and fence along the property lines to interrupt the view of the building. She showed the location plan and proposed detention adjacent to the creek. We had conversations with Bill McErlane and Pat Madl of CDS and there were several comments that came back to us.

Craig Honkomp of Kleingers Civil Engineers reported that the question staff asked was how we were showing a large disturbed area along this channel and how this throat would allow the water to go back. The primary reason we had to pick this area was because we do not have direct frontage on the creek through here, and we are trying to avoid disturbing as much of this wooded area and leaving it as it is. In our discussions with staff this morning, we were talking about trying to restrict this down to a smaller area. That would be the second option.

The first option that staff has suggested and Mr. Pensinger has agreed to do is to approach the owners of The Willows about obtaining a small easement for here. Staff has identified a couple of large trees that we will try to work between and cut an opening out for the detention out to there. If that works out with the neighboring owner, that would be the first choice. If they are not receptive to the idea, we would go back to trying to work something out up here, keeping it as far away from these culverts as possible.

Mr. Okum asked if the ball field and the grass would be lost so that there would be no open play area. Ms. Baker answered there is actually green space in this area. The gymnasium is in this vicinity and we have a play area here. Mr. Vanover added that area probably would be a better area than moving it closer to Chesterdale.

Mr. Vanover asked Mr. Shvegzda if the Corps of Engineers have had any input on the retention. Three years ago we tried to make a detention area in front and it was extremely difficult.

Mr. Shvegzda reported the issue we had at that point was we were looking at realigning a section of the creek that deals with the quality of the stream issue, so we had problems with the mitigation of that.

What they are doing now is taking a small section which will come off into the detention basin. They are not getting anywhere near the length that would affect the creek so they won’t have that issue.

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Mr. Vanover asked about the construction on the throat. Mr. Honkomp answered it will be a grass swale going down through there. We talked about using native grasses through that low area for better erosion control and to help filter the water for the storm water quality. We don’t see high velocities interchanging between the two. As the creek rises up, it will flow back into there and when the creek drops back down it will flow back out that road, so there shouldn’t be high velocity in the road itself.

Mr. Vanover said that is a pretty good bend and the problem is that you are going to get some velocity and sedimentation buildup there. That is pretty much a dirt bank in there.

Mr. Honkomp responded what you are speaking of is one of the main reasons that staff is looking for us to try to move it down off this bend and down a little further where they don’t actually own the property and try to get the easement so that the water is not coming at a direct angle on the cut side of the creek.

Mr. Vanover asked about the west side. Basically the filter protection is honeysuckle. Are you doing some intensive planting in there? Jennifer Varkan the landscape architect reported that the west and north sides of the property will meet the buffer yard requirements and there is a six-foot high wooden fence with a redwood post top.

Mr. Okum said it looks like a stockade fence to me. The finished side will face the residences so the school side will have the ugly side. Does it replace the chain link fence? Ms. Varkan answered the wood fence will be placed as close as possible to the chain link fence.

Mr. Okum said there should be something set up so Princeton can be responsible for maintenance on the fence and be able to enter the property for maintenance. The logistics need to be worked out, but I am not sure that a six foot fence is necessary on the high north side. That might be a little too high.

Ms. Baker reported that the inclusion of the fence is per the city’s buffer yard regulations. Mr. Okum responded we are actually placing this pretty much on the property line, so it is not in the middle to be used as a buffer yard, it is a fence. I think we need to look more carefully at how we deal with those residents and what they are really looking at out their back window.

Mr. Vanover said you are continuing the fence up to the northeast section, and most of those homes set well up. I wouldn’t have any qualms with sacrificing the fence in that section. There are three homes in that northeast quadrant, and they set high.

Mr. Okum suggested holding off on making the final decision for the fence and still moving forward with the project. There are residents to be contacted and it’s not a key part of the project. Would that be a problem? I would like that north and west buffer yard issue to be addressed separately.

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Ms. Baker responded I don’t think that would impact us schedule wise. Ms. Varkan added we could pull the fence off the property line a few feet and pull these trees up. Mr. Okum said we could consider this at a separate meeting, and let you move forward with the project. It can be a blend of the landscaping and fence integrated.

Keith Isner of Dynamix Engineering presented the site lighting plan. He reported we have 15 foot poles along the perimeter lighting the driveway and in the parking area we went with 24 foot poles like Springdale Elementary.

Ms. McBride reported we had a little concern on Lots 340 and 341. On initial staff comments, we thought they had quite a bit of light spillage into their rear yards. Some of this depends on what we end up doing with fencing and landscaping. They have lowered those levels by moving the poles in. On the initial submittal, we didn’t have the 20-foot setback from the north property line, and they pushed the parking lot and light fixtures 20 feet from the property line.

They do technically comply with the requirements of our code, but the fact that those homes set up somewhat higher than the school, I wouldn’t want to look out my window and see those fixtures.

Mr. Isner reported I have revised drawings that I will leave with you that show the changes. Ms. McBride asked if there were shields on all the lights, and Mr. Isner responded that they did, as well as flat lenses.

Mr. Okum commented flat lens addresses one issue. Down shields on the north fixtures and staff needs to see that. Mr. Vanover added it might be a little more effective if along the north side you could angle the head to project it more towards the parking lot rather than the level head. Mr. Isner responded with all the levels we have shown the reality will be less because we do not have the fences or plantings along the property line.

Mr. Okum commented if you bring that lens up on an angle, it will project the light more towards the parking field and it becomes a glare issue on Chesterdale Road, because you are looking at the lens rather than the flat box. Whatever works to make it less offensive to the residents; I would like to see it as close to a 0 fall on the residents as possible. Those are their back yards and their homes

Mr. Isner reported we have reduced the spillage to less than ½ of what it was before. I have revised drawings here. Mr. Okum said staff has not had time to review them so we will address pole lighting to be downlit and non glare type of flat lenses to be approved by staff. Then we could add wording for extra shields on the north elevation to protect the residents. Mr. Coleman wondered if that lighting would be sufficient in terms of safety for the school. Mr. Isner responded we have a minimum ½ foot candle at all drive areas and sidewalk areas, and all parking areas will be a minimum of 1 foot.
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Mr. Vanover wondered if the lights were on timers, and Mr. Isner indicated that they were, and individually controlled.

Ms. Baker said there were additional comments from Anne on the plantings shown as bid alternates.

Ms. McBride added if we are not going to do a fence, that landscape plan will change significantly and rather than spend the applicant’s and commission’s time this evening, I would suggest you table the landscape plan until a decision is made on the fence.

Ms. Baker said one of the comments concerned increasing the brick, and my question would be if we can find split face concrete block with the same coloring and would blend well with the brick, would that be acceptable?

Mr. Butrum said that would be fine for me. The main thing I’d like to see is it broken up. To me it was less about the material and more about the lack of variation. If that can be accommodated, I would be happy to see that. Mr. Okum commented I think the crown face split block increases your costs significantly compared to the split face.

Ms. Baker said what we are not seeing is shadow lines from that slight offset which will help. Increasing the band to the corner would help break it down into two separate. Mr. Okum asked if glass block on the wall would help, and Ms. Baker answered price wise I don’t know what it would do, but structurally I wonder about this.

Mr. Okum said I don’t think this board is saying it has to be a glazed masonry element, but that finish can be brought about a lot of different ways than 20 years ago. How you treat that elevation will take some work, but I don’t think we want to see a masonry block wall, split face or not.

Unfortunately because of the way the school has to be placed because of the site and because of the creek, you don’t have a lot of choice. We’ll just have to work on that elevation and make it softer. For purposes of the motion, the wording should be “brick appearance” would be sufficient and on the north elevation with less split face block.

Mr. Galster said it’s not just the north elevation; the front elevation needs to break up those two peaks. If you’re going to have it on the north elevation in that corner which is the far right corner of the front elevation, you might as well continue that around. All I am saying is where we are looking to have this brick feel to break up the elevation, if you wrap it around the columns on one side then you should wrap it around both buildings and bring it all the way around. If we are going to change that corner, the middle columns and the other corner, we need to carry that around the whole building. It is just a color change and not a real cost issue.

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Ms. Baker said it sounds like if we could make the whole building this color, it would be better. Mr. Okum said no, I think the blending of colors is important to the building. Mr. Galster said on the Chesterdale face, I am a little concerned about the two peaks without any additional color there. It’ll get lost in that big wall. I look at the accent pieces on the Springdale Elementary School and they get lost in there and it will look like a pretty bare wall. So I would like to see some of that different color, even if it is split face, carried around to break up all those stark elevations.

Addressing Mr. Galster, Mr. Okum asked if he were saying to carry the red accent into the outside corners. Mr. Galster responded I would like to see it where that six-inch indent is, the glass block, as well. I have no problem with the cream/tan color being used. I just think there is way too much of it without it being broken up.

Mr. Okum commented they could ultimately do that by the outside corners carrying the red accent. Mr. Galster responded I would also like to see it in the middle of the north elevation as well and not just on the corners. On the front elevation, you would continue it on the corners and whatever else they need to do to make it balance out.

Mr. Okum said I don’t want to have an all block building. Mr. Galster responded I don’t either; the rest of the brick stays the way it is. There is no need to change where the existing brick is shown on any of the elevations we see here tonight. I don’t know what the west and south elevations are, it’s hard to read but it seems to be mostly split face block in those elevations, and these are the only two elevations that have the brick. So, I would like to see the brick stay and add the brick color to the CMU elevations.

Ms. Baker commented it sounds like we need to go back and come up with a scenario to address your concerns and come back with all four faces so you can see them all.

Mr. McErlane reported that the property is zoned Public Facilities – Low Density (PF-L) and the applicant is proposing to build a new school building elevating it above the 100-year FIRM flood level and constructing a 63,242 s.f. building.

The building complies with all setback requirements, the density requirements. The building height is 43’-3” at its highest point, which is less than the 50’ maximum. Parking requirements are met.

After our first set of comments, the applicant revised the number of trees they are removing form the site, so they actually are removing fewer trees. They are removing 20 trees instead of 23 and the total replacement requirement is 117 ½ inches instead of 144 ½. They are proposing to plant 144 ½, so they meet that requirement and also meet the requirement of planting the 3-inch and 3 ½ inch caliper trees to meet code.

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Mr. McErlane added they also show an alternate on the plan. which would plant an additional 31 ½ inches of trees if they decide to go with those additional plans.

Ms. McBride said right now the two dumpster location is proposed to be in the southwest portion of the development area of the property. The enclosure itself complies with the requirements of our Zoning Code. However, we had asked the applicant to provide us with the hours of service which they indicated would be a rollover of the existing hours of service for that location.

The residents adjacent to this site on the west have no activity between their property lines and the building. We recognize that now they will have traffic since the delivery docks and the dumpster enclosures are on that side of the building. We think some of the hours of servicing probably are not appropriate, particularly the recycling at 4:15 a.m. on Tuesday and some of the waste removals at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday.

I would ask the commission to consider placing some restrictions on the hours of servicing both the dumpsters and hours of deliveries for that service dock.

We will be talking about the landscaping plan in more detail at a later meeting, but they did submit a plan that had a base bid and an alternative bid. Staff would strongly suggest that the alternative bid be supplemented to the base bid, because it would make a much nicer site and campus. I understand that cost is an issue for this applicant, but it does make a significant difference on this site.

They are proposing an approximately 39 s.f. sign on the front elevation of the building that says Heritage Hill Elementary which is in compliance with the code. However, they didn’t provide us with any documentation as to whether or not that sign would be internally or externally illuminated.

Ms. Baker reported I don’t believe the sign is illuminated at this point, but we have not had that conversation.

Mr. Okum suggested making the deliveries limited and approved by staff.

Mr. Vanover asked Mr. Pensinger if the lunches would be fixed in the main facility and then delivered. Mr. Pensinger confirmed this, indicating that bread and milk deliveries were included.

Ms. McBride asked the school hours and Mr. Pensinger answered it can vary from year to year but in the 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. range.

Mr. Okum asked Mr. Pensinger if churches would utilize the building on Sundays. Mr. Pensinger answered that is hard to say. When the Vineyard was up the street it was used for a lot of things. It varies from year to year. It is a public building and whoever wants to rent it can.

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Mr. Shvegzda reported on the pedestrian access to the site, stating that there is a six-foot wide sidewalk to the south side of the driveway which will have an integral curb, so it will be raised above the pavement surface. As part of an alternate bid, there is also a sidewalk with steps that will run further to the south on the site and angle more towards the south and the sidewalk further up the hill on Chesterdale.

The new school proposed elevation will be about three feet above the low point on Chesterdale and two feet above the 100-year flood elevation.

One concern is where the entrance into the detention basin is located now. We have a situation that because of the inside part of the bend, as you approach the culvert it deposits a lot of sand in the one barrel of the culvert. With widening out this section of the stream, we were afraid that would further slow the water down and we would have even more of that buildup there. Also, on that outside bank there currently is a concrete bag type wall. It protects the bank as it exists now and we were concerned about that.

We asked the applicant to provide some storm water quality measures. Most of the catch basins are located in grassy strips so the water is filtering out as it travels across the grass. That is a positive, and they have indicated that they want to plant native grasses in some segments of the detention basin.

A flood plain study has been provided and is acceptable. There may be some site modification depending on where the entrance to the detention basin enters into the channel, but what they have provided is acceptable. It shows that although they are raising the site to accommodate the building being higher, they are if anything slightly lowering the flood elevation through there.

Mr. Okum asked if the applicant was required to maintain the retention accumulation area of water that is being constructed. There is going to be backwater so there will be rubbish, debris, logs limbs etc. Is it their responsibility to maintain that and keep it clean?

Mr. Shvegzda responded it is on their property and as a regular detention basin would have to be maintained by the property owner, this also would have to be maintained by the applicant.

Mr. Okum continued so if limbs and tree branches are accumulating there, does the Code indicate that they must clean it out? Mr. Shvegzda answered the bottom line is that anything that impedes its functioning is one issue. Some other issues might be more of a safety type.

Mr. Okum commented and it won’t be a fenced in area. Ms. Baker reported we currently do have a vinyl chain link fence (showed it on the drawing) to separate the play area.

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Mr. Vanover said on the floor of the detention that will be grass, will you have a concrete basin in there directing out? Mr. Honkomp responded it is grass sloped bottom with a 1 ½ to 2% slope, so the water should drain out, and there is no concrete paved gutter.

Mr. Coleman said the last sentence in your report says “pending resolution of the location of the detention basin connection to the stream. Revised flood study will need to be submitted.” Does that mean that this discussion may be moot, depending on where the detention basin is located? I am concerned about whose property it will be on.

Mr. Shvegzda reported a resolution to exactly where that connection is going to be made has to be determined, and the rest of it is dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s with the study. It shouldn’t change it at all. Mr. Syfert said so there is no question in your mind that this will work, right? Mr. Shvegzda answered for the intent that it is proposed, yes.

Mr. Okum moved to approve this plan as presented, including G000 through ESD4 as submitted. This should include staff, city engineer and city planner’s recommendations. This also should include:

1. Pole lighting is to be down lit, non glare and flat lenses set within the case with extra shields on the north elevation lights to protect the residences.
2. Landscaping conditions shall include staff’s comments and final review along with buffer yard review by this board.
3. Buffer yard conditions, north and west buffer yard and fencing to be submitted for approval at a later time by this board.
4. Color pallet as submitted shall include a red brick appearance effect on all the elevations, less split face block with brick to stay and adding brick color to all the CMU fields. This also shall be approved at the final review by this board.
5. The hours of service for deliveries to this site shall be limited and shall be approved by staff on final submission.
6. Alternate landscape bid shall be inclusive in this site approval.

Mr. Pensinger commented I think there are parts of that alternate bid that we would be willing to include as the base bid, but we still would like to have some alternate in that. I think there may be a happy medium in there somewhere. Mr. Okum commented we still will do the landscaping at the final approval anyway.

Mr. Butrum seconded the motion.

Ms. Baker asked if the bid alternate for landscaping is not required in full, but it will be further discussed and reviewed by Anne. Does it need to come before this body? Mr. Syfert said yes, the final landscaping will come back through here.

All voted aye, and the approval was granted with seven affirmative votes.
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B. Approval of a PUD Amendment for a proposed Garden Ridge Store, 11925 Commons Drive (Former Great Indoors)

Elliott Flaum representing Garden Ridge said we want approval for interior alterations only. We will come back with exterior recommendations at a later date.

Mr. McErlane reported that the property is zoned PUD and was a part of the original Tri-County Commons PUD. The applicant is requesting a reuse of the Great Indoors space, which is approximately 123,000 s.f.

We did receive a faxed copy of the owner’s affidavit and an application, but haven’t received the original. We received a partial floor plan of the store. The primary thing that is missing is the warehouse space that is currently there and the mezzanine area.

There are existing covenants that specifically state uses for the former Great Indoors space by floor area. The purpose behind the covenants for that building being so specific was to limit the impact of traffic on the property and the surrounding street systems.

We have received proposed amendments to the covenants. They are somewhat different from the Great Indoors, and probably need to be refined a little bit, assuming that the traffic numbers work out to allay any concerns that the city engineer might have. They need to be refined from the standpoint of combining some of this. It actually gives square footage in terms of walls and fixturing, and I think that is tying it down too tightly, especially if things should change in the interior of the store. Some of the things need to be combined, and we need to refine a little better what the areas of the floor are used for in general terms. The main purpose of doing this is to refine it from the standpoint of how it generates traffic numbers, and whether or not it is an acceptable traffic generation, based on our concerns for that property.

Mr. Shvegzda said the PUD for this site has a specific peak hour weekday and weekend peak traffic number. That relates to the roadway improvements that were constructed as part of this project.

Ideally we would request an actual traffic count from a similar proposed site so we can see how these numbers compare with what the traffic generation numbers were for the Great Indoors.

If you take it solely based on a particular use you would assume for this proposed site from the ITE Trip Generation Manual. The Great Indoors had 605 peak hour traffic generation. Potentially this site with this particular use could have 932.

Yearly traffic counts have been done for this area, and they are way under what the allowable peak hours would be, but you have to remember there is a considerable amount of empty retail space there.

We know that there is room available, but we need to have numbers to compare to see how much of the available this is using up.
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Mr. Shvegzda added our recommendation would be that we have some actually traffic counts from a similar site. The applicant has submitted transactions per year, which is hard to translate into a peak hour scenario.

Ms. McBride reported there were three comments that pertain specifically to the use. The first one has to do with traffic and parking. We have required every other user in that center to build on a table that has been a standard of that development, and that is required parking versus proposed existing parking.

We need to have the applicant do that, in terms of what the parking is required for what is basically now a retail store versus what parking is out there. It is really to protect the owner of the center in the end so they don’t come up with 50,000 s.f. that we say sorry you have it built but you can’t park it so you can’t use it.

The second item has to do with landscaping. A lot of the landscaping is missing or dead and some in disrepair. We have asked the applicant for a landscape plan that will address how that will be cleaned up.

The final item has to do with whether or not they will have any outdoor display and storage. The other Garden Ridge stores when they were in Eastgate and Florence had extensive outdoor display and storage, including some wrought iron fenced in areas as well as tinky torches. We didn’t get any response on that; and I am assuming that we wouldn’t be permitting that at this location, but we need to make that clear to the applicant.

Mr. Syfert asked the applicant if he had some other stores that he could get this information. Mr. Flaum answered we don’t have any existing traffic count information from existing stores; we just submitted the transactions per hour. We may be able to detail it out to find a peak hour of business across the board, but we do not have any traffic studies into our existing locations.

Mr. Syfert said that is pretty key to this issue. Mr. Flaum responded we will see what we can do about getting that information.

Mr. Shvegzda reported what we received was transactions per year. Mr. Okum said if they gave you transactions per hour, isn’t that something you could use? Mr. Shvegzda responded nothing beats a traffic count.

Ms. McBride commented all they would have to do is get a traffic engineer to put some hoses down and do a 24-hour count, maybe a weekday and maybe a Saturday. I would think that Garden Ridge would be interested in that information as well. I think it is also important, if this is new to them, that they pick a location where they pretty much stand alone. Otherwise, you will be picking up the cars from whoever else is in that center with you.

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Mr. Okum said there was a question regarding an outdoor display. Mr. Flaum answered the only outdoor display we would have would be a couple of times of year for tent sales and sidewalk sales. Those permitted times would be the only times we would be outside of that building. We do operate buildings throughout the country where we do not store materials outdoors. Mr. Okum asked him to submit pictures of those buildings and Mr. Flaum indicated that he would.

Larry Bergman of The Bergman Group said when you come up with traffic counts, are you also discounting the effects of what is happening in Springdale? Customers are now going up to Union Centre and out to Forest Park and we are losing sales in this area. Our community is unfortunately not the retail Mecca that it was and we need tenants here. We have a lot of empty spaces in that center. I sure don’t want to affect our ability to fill up the balance of the center. I’m sure the Tri-County Mall sales is dropping each year. What is happening in our area concerns me. I want to make sure that when we are looking at it, we are taking into consideration the reduction in traffic and what is happening in Tri-County each year.

Mr. Shvegzda responded I think we have reflected that; we have recognized that there is less peak hour traffic for this development. We just need the numbers to reflect what is really going to be occurring. I don’t think we are saying that this isn’t going to work.

Mr. Bergman said what I am really asking is for the future of the center, and the balance of the space I have to lease there, are you also taking into consideration a reduction of traffic within Springdale? In other words, are the figures you are using from last year or even more current? How often do you do the traffic study?

Mr. Shvegzda answered the traffic counts that we took, which are almost half of what is permitted, are done yearly. We need information on the new developments to figure in.

Mr. Galster said when this PUD was originally approved and we arrived at those numbers for traffic, at that time it did not take into account the Kemper Road expansion, Phase III that will come up to the main entrance for this development.

Mr. Shvegzda reported it took into account all the internal roads and the intersections with Kemper Road at that time. Mr. Galster continued when you talk about a decrease in traffic, if there was a large decrease in traffic on Kemper Road, I would assume we wouldn’t be doing Phase III and expanding Kemper Road to handle the smaller amount of traffic that we have. So I think that the traffic is out there, and I think we are expanding the roadway in order to handle the traffic better. When we expand the roadway to handle the traffic better, should some other development come forward, hopefully by that time Kemper Road Phase III will be done and maybe the numbers can be revised for what is allowed for the total PUD based on what Kemper Road can handle at the time.

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Mr. Galster added the bottom line is that we still need to know the numbers this project will develop. I don’t think it is a problem right now, but when he comes forward with the next project, we need to have your numbers in line so we can make a better evaluation for the future uses.

Mr. McErlane said to explain why there is such a tight control over uses relative to the traffic numbers on this particular property, when Duke proposed the development, the original plan showed this building to be a warehouse. At some point of time, the applicant came before Planning, recognizing that it probably would not stay as a warehouse, and wanted to consider retail uses in the building.

Because the traffic study and numbers showed that this was a lot less traffic generator, the city engineer was concerned that we control traffic to a degree that it doesn’t become a problem. At that time we allowed the building to become something other than warehouse, to become retail. As new users came in, they were scrutinized from the standpoint of their traffic generation, and that is why it is so tightly defined in the covenants.

Mr. Syfert commented it would appear to me that we are looking at tabling this until next month until we get some information, is that correct?

Mr. Okum said I think the applicant needs some feeling from this board that they can move forward with their redevelopment of the site. If the numbers work out and there is justification, I could feel fairly comfortable with this type of change. If the numbers can’t work out, I wouldn’t be supporting it. I would hate to do an internal approval of a development without knowing what you want to do to the outside. On the other hand it is a risk on your part that we would approve the interior and ultimately not approve what you want to do to the outside. So if you are asking this board for a feeling of confidence that if the numbers, trip counts and parking area, work out within the parameters that we approved some time ago, personally I would be supporting the project.

Mr. Flaum commented my concern would be that delaying this 30 days would compromise our going into that location. Is this something that would have to be brought back before this board 30 days from now?

Mr. Okum commented there seems to be a lot of things that need to be resolved before you could get that approval, signage, external, landscaping, parking. Mr. Flaum responded the internal is what would set us back 30 days. It seems like the only question or risk is the traffic and parking combined. If I came back in a week with numbers that Mr. Shvegzda deemed fitting, that would not delay that process by 30 days.

Mr. Okum said you are still going to present signage and any exterior changes to the building at that time anyway, and these are key elements of your development.

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Mr. Flaum said this would allow us to begin internal modifications to the building. We are willing to take that risk with the outside which we can do later on. The bigger part of the project is the internal modifications. We can work with a 30 or 60-day delay on signage; that is not the biggest issue. It is the interior modifications and construction inside that we would like to move forward with if the numbers are approved.

Mr. Okum responded if the numbers work out and conditional upon us reviewing the exterior and the signage and the landscaping, I don’t see any problem with your moving forward, and if someone would make a motion to that effect, I would consider voting in approval.

Mr. Galster said basically what we are saying is that the numbers need to work out for traffic and for parking. We’re going to modify the covenants. Could we add a statement to the covenants to say that if they are short on this particular project, it needs to be subtracted from the present empty spot, so that we can get the numbers to catch up. If the numbers indicate that you are for example 5% over, the owner of the property who is here tonight could say that the number would come from a space that is not being used right now and get it back in the future. He asked Mr. Bergman if he was okay with that.

Mr. Bergman said no. I would have to go to the principals to discuss it. I think what you are asking for is a condition that meets the traffic flows, and we can work it out.

Mr. Galster added the covenant change you are asking for only applies to the Great Indoors building. What happens if suddenly you are 20% over what the numbers need to be for the traffic on that site?

Mr. Bergman responded he would have to call us to tell us that. Mr. Galster said then you would have to come up with a change for somewhere else? Mr. Bergman then we would have to figure it out. Mr. Galster commented so you are okay with him coming back with numbers that should be able to meet and or negotiating or reevaluating those numbers.

Mr. Bergman said as long as those numbers meet the requirements of the Great Indoors space, we are fine.

Ms. McBride said when we looked at parking calculations and requirements for the Great Indoors, we did that as a durable goods store, which was furniture, appliances, carpeting, large scale items. The code requirements are 1 per 400 square feet. This will be looked at as a retail store, which is 1 per 200 square feet. So depending on what areas are able to be backed out, the parking in all likelihood will be doubled what the Great Indoors was.

Mr. Galster commented the Great Indoors parking field was not 50% used. Like in a lot of situations, I think we overpark the thing. It seems like there is an awful lot of parking in front of that location.

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Addressing Ms. McBride, Mr. Galster said are you telling me that at 1 per 200 square feet we are short on what is readily accessible to his spot?

Ms. McBride responded not likely in front of that store, no. But if you leased the entire center, you could end up being short. This is a PUD, and you have the ability to waive or vary those parking requirements. While we are comparing everything, I wanted to make sure that everybody is aware that the way the code reads, those parking requirements would literally be double.

Addressing Ms. McBride, Mr. Galster asked if he were okay with having some statement in our motion indicating that if in fact this creates a shortfall in parking and/or traffic from what the Great Indoors had or that the facility presently has, that they be subtracted from some other development.

Ms. McBride responded yes, from the balance of the center and when and if the balance of the center comes in we will have seen the Garden Ridge up and running for a year and we could say they are only using 25% of their parking field, and the proposed user is a 1 per 400 square feet. We can’t see what may or may jot go into the balance of the center.

Mr. Galster said I am also assuming that the rest of the covenants for all the other parcels in the center are written as strictly as these are, so that any substantive change in use would need to come back before us.

Ms. McBride said yes, unless it is a like user. If Golf Galaxy went out and Golf World went in, that wouldn’t be an issue.

Mr. Galster said because of the fact that I anticipate there will be some other use changes on this PUD, I am okay with the numbers potentially being a little bit off and making them up on a different parcel if need be. This does not relieve you of the obligation to submit the information but to allow you to feel comfortable with moving forward.

Mr. Bergman said the landlord has a lease for Sears. Sears is our tenant, and they continue to pay rent. Garden Ridge has come to Sears so it is a negotiation with Sears to operate in that space. We also are trying to market another vacant space within that facility. I don’t think it is in the best interests of the center or the city to have a vacant store there. I also don’t want to see the landlord affected by penalizing ourselves when we are not getting additional rent, when we are losing square footage because they are leaning toward more traffic which does impact the balance of the center. It’s a situation that I don’t know how to right, but if you were to make a motion that if their traffic counts are such that meet the requirements of the Great Indoors space, I think that is what they are looking for, as long as they submit information that makes it acceptable to the city.

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Mr. Galster moved to approve the request for the modification to the covenants to allow for the Garden Ridge project. That motion shall exclude all the items that were not submitted that are contained in Ms. McBride’s report.

1) No exterior changes to the building elevations are approved.
2) No building signage is approved.
3) No free-standing signage is approved.
4) The landscape plan needs to be addressed, and missing and dead and unhealthy plant material will need to be approved by staff and a planting timetable provided.
5) The traffic and parking counts for peak hours weekday and weekend shall be submitted by the applicant, so that they do not have a greater impact on the site than the Great Indoors.

Ms. McBride asked if he wanted to add some language about the parking. One of two things has to happen. Either the Planning Commission has to say that they recognize that this user is a higher required parking provider and waive or modify that requirement. (We as staff do not have the authority to modify that). Or, Planning will assign those required parking spaces to the balance of that center.

Mr. Okum added I think what she is saying is it is a PUD amendment no matter what, and it is one entire PUD, so the changes you make affect all of the PUD, not just that one parcel. Mr. Galster commented so that the parking counts and the traffic counts do not throw off the complete PUD.

Ms. McBride said that is fine. Then I am going to draw down on the 1 per 200 s.f. on the balance of the parking on the center. I wanted to make sure that was the direction that we were being given, and that Mr. Bergman is comfortable with that.

Mr. Bergman said I am not comfortable with it. I am saying that we are getting rent from Sears, and we are comfortable as long as it does not impact our ability to lease the balance of the space. We want Garden Ridge, and we want them in there. We want it to work for the calculations.

Ms. McBride said I want to make sure that Mr. Bergman understands where the city is caught in that. Our code requires literally twice the parking, or this commission has to modify that. We as staff can’t do that, so one of those two things has to happen. Either that parking has to be provided within the PUD, which would affect how you can use the balance of the vacant square footage, or this commission has to modify that number. I don’t think they can do that tonight, because they don’t know what the number is, and the applicant hasn’t provided us with that information.

Mr. Okum said this matter has to be resolved between the development owner, the City of Springdale and the applicant. Those issues have to be resolved outside of this commission. Hopefully they will get it resolved, but they can’t sign off on it and you can’t apply it Ms. McBride.

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Ms. McBride responded for example if the Great Indoors needed 200 parking spaces and Garden Ridge would require 400 parking spaces, unless Mr. Bergman was willing to say they can have 200 on the balance of the center which impacts the leasing on the rest of the center, that’s the only way that Garden Ridge could move forward in the next 30 days.

Mr. Okum said my feeling is they should resolve the issue. It is not our problem to resolve. We want to help Garden Ridge be successful. It is to Mr. Bergman’s advantage if Garden Ridge comes into his development, because that brings more people and business there and he may lease out other space. I think we put the burden on the development owner, staff representing the City of Springdale, and Garden Ridge to resolve the issue of parking and traffic. Hopefully they get it resolved and are in at the next meeting and he can move forward on his internal renovations and we get exterior landscaping and a final report on the resolution.

Addressing Mr. Galster, Mr. Okum said on your motion I would amend it to say that traffic parking needs to be resolved between the development owner, staff representing the City of Springdale and the applicant.

Ms. McBride commented that is fine, but again I want to make sure. By some rough calculations, there is a difference of 246 parking spaces from the Great Indoors to Garden Ridge. Those 246 spaces will have to come out of the balance of the center, or Garden Ridge will be back before this commission next month to get a modification on that parking. Staff cannot give them that; only the commission can.

Mr. Okum said the representative of the developer here tonight is a party to that set of covenants and he has to agree to it anyway.

Ms. McBride responded the 246 parking spaces are physically there; that is not an issue. But they are also allocated to square footage that the owner has and ultimately would love to lease. Again, I want to make sure that everybody is clear on what we can do in that 30-day period. Either Mr. Bergman and his group agrees to the 246 spaces (in theory) coming out of the balance of the center, or Garden Ridge has to come back to you next month.

Mr. Okum commented even if they came back to us next month and the numbers are still 246 spaces short, what you are saying is that we would have to modify it. Mr. Bergman is still a signer on that set of documents, and that group would have to agree to it anyway.

Ms. McBride responded right, but in the interim Garden Ridge has gone in and started demolition and renovation on that space. I guess they would be doing that at their own risk.

Mr. Okum commented right now if they want a resolution to it from this commission, we need to put it back in their hands and say you want it, you resolve it.

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Mr. Okum said if they work it out with the developer for a reduction in parking spaces to be allocated towards their development, that’s fine. Mr. Galster said and if they don’t Bergman doesn’t sign it and they don’t have the covenants approved. Ms. McBride commented but then they can’t proceed with the interior improvements. Those improvements have to be tied to the fact that there are parking spaces available, either Mr. Bergman’s spaces or the number of spaces has been modified by this commission.

Mr. Galster modified his motion to include that the approval be conditional upon the developer the city and the applicant being able to come up with a resolution as to the allocation of parking and traffic for the complete PUD.

Mr. Okum seconded the amendment.

On the amendment, by voice vote all voted aye.

On the amended motion, all voted aye and the approval was granted with conditions.

Planning Commission recessed at 9:05 p.m.

Planning Commission reconvened at 9:14 p.m.

C.    Concept Discussion of Proposed Housing for Independent Adults and One Office Building

Mr. Syfert asked Ms. McBride to make a statement to the commission.

Ms. McBride said I wanted to let the commission know that I think there were a number of comments; I alone had eight pages, of comments on this project.

The project itself will be a mixed-use project. There are a number of different parcels owned by a number of different property owners all of which are zoned single family now, that the applicant is considering processing a Zone Map Amendment to our PUD District. It is also in our Subarea B of our Corridor District.

It is a mixed use, elderly residential with a small medical office component on it. My point is that this evening staff is not going to be going through all of our comments because these comments are intended to be a guide to the applicant for future submittals. At this point of time, they are not required to do things like landscaping and lighting and building elevations.

What I think is appropriate for the commission this evening is to provide this applicant with guidance. First, do we feel this is an appropriate use of the land? How do you feel about the proposed density? Are there certain design elements that you would like to see incorporated or not incorporated in future submittals?

If you have questions about our comments, we would be happy to answer them, but we won’t be going through them tonight.
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Lee Ward with McGill Smith Punshon said we have revised our plan a little bit based on staff’s comments. We do want to meet with the residents near this project to hear their concerns as well. We expect to have an informal neighborhood meeting before we submit a preliminary development plan.

This is housing for the active independent adults. About 8,000 people a day retire in the United States and that is expected to increase by 37% in the next three years for another 15 to 20 years, so the rate of retirement is drastically increasing. This facility could serve two to 8% of the demand for the area from Sharonville to Greenhills. The real emphasis is to try to find housing for retired people who want to live in the community, and not move to Florida or Tennessee.

Golden Leaf has been formed by Wade Dent and John Neyer and they are coordinating the project with Life Sphere (Mapleknoll) to develop this site for some of their interim development. Most of their facilities are very dependent or moving into assisted living facilities. There is a real demand for people over the age of 55 to live independently and actively, and these are the type of units we are proposing for this site.

They are all condominiums. One type is a townhouse, a two-story with the option of a one-story flat. All of them have the character of a walkable community with balconies, porches and verandas.

The second type is a flat, a little smaller unit with an elevator that would have 10 units per building.

The third type is a very complex building with nine choices of housing condominiums so people will have a lot of variety and selection.

We are trying to give choices for active independent adults that will move them over to Mapleknoll when they are in need of more dependent housing. This is a nice interim solution.

He showed the unit style that would be on the western portion of the site. The condominiums are two-story and on the end there is the option of a flat that would be one story with a veranda around the edge. The building is about 30 feet high.

He showed the 10-unit building which is 35 feet high. There would be individual doors for the two units in the front and balconies on the other four units per floor on the upper floors. There would be 10 underground parking spaces in the back of the building. These two units would have individual entry here and here, and the parking in the back would be only for the residents who live in those units.

The last building has 33 units with nine unit choices. The building is 40 feet high and there are 26 parking spaces underground. There is additional canopied parking in front of the building and there is additional parking throughout the site.

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Mr. Ward added generally it is more than two parking spaces per residence. We are trying to create a feeling of security. Maple Knoll felt that they had to fence the entire site for security reasons. We were only going to have one entrance on Kemper Road but because of fire and emergency access considerations, we are showing a breakaway gate at this location with brass pavers that would define the landscaping and the entrance, but would not be continually used as a point of access. The same thing occurs at this location to separate the entrance for the office complex and the development here.

We know that the old bar (Bing’s) was torn down in this area and is controlled by the City and there are two points of access with curb cuts. We thought it might be desirable on the part of the city to have another point of access out to Route 4, but we don’t know how that would be finally resolved. If that access is developed, we are showing three signs, one on Route 4, one for the medical building and one for the independent development.

We have looked at the utilities. Water is available and storm water would be solved by underground storage. The sanitary sewer is partially available. The Metropolitan Sewer District indicated that we should be able to get a first phase approval for the 46 units, but that we would have to use remediation improvements for the remainder of credits for the sanitary sewer We are out of the flood plain, but there is a sanitary sewer line that goes north and south parallel to that stream and MSD indicated that we would get extra credits for remediation of the riparian sewer systems along that stream. We understand that we can make the modifications as the project proceeds.

We did a tree survey and we were able to save 37 existing trees. We are saving as many trees as we can along the stream here. Surprisingly it is a very open field; there aren’t many trees throughout the site. We will be adding 68 shade trees, 87 evergreens and 89 ornamental trees for a total of 244 trees. This does not include the small shrubs that we show throughout the development and other significant landscaping.

The impervious surface ratio is low. The open space has been preserved more than most other facilities of this type. On the north and west edge of the site, we want to screen the residential property on those sides with a decorative fence. We haven’t designed it yet, but it would be an intermittent fence behind the existing buildings and where there are gaps, fill those in with evergreens to create a strong screening along Smiley. There is a single family house that cannot be included in this development, and we would screen that with a fence as well.

We originally did work to try to coordinate the development with the property to the north along Route 4. We understand that the City would like to see that redeveloped. The property owners would like to see that redeveloped and I did concept plans for that, but they could not be drawn into this concept with Lifesphere. At this point it is excluded from our submission. I think in the future it probably will be changing.
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He introduced Wade Dent and John Neyer.

John Neyer said I have been involved in development and construction in Greater Cincinnati for almost 30 years. Wade and I have entered into a partnership with Golden Leaf and we are excited to be working together on this. We appreciate the staff’s insight and the time they have taken to review this. We feel there is a great need for this here, and we are happy to be part of it.

Wade Dent said I also want to express appreciation for the staff’s assistance. We look forward to working with the residents in the area to understand their needs and make sure that we are sensitive to the change that may come about in this area.

We have tried to provide some visuals for your review to give you a feeling for the look and feel we want to create on the exterior of these structures (passed around pictures). Mr. Neyer added the last picture is the sample of an office building that we would like to model our building after.

Mr. Syfert asked if they had developed something similar to this that we could take a look at.

Mr. Dent answered Mr. Neyer has done many many developments. My experience has been redevelopment in the inner city.

Mr. Syfert commented so you have not done anything quite like this. Mr. Dent answered that is true. Our primary goal is to make sure we take into account all the needs of the city and the residents for the development of the land. We are developing a plan that will take into account a comprehensive plan that already has been developed through your organization, and potentially form a cooperative agreement with a builder who will bring that level of experience to the residential construction section.

Mr. Ward added that is why they are working with Lifesphere to add their experience to the project.

Mr. Galster said my initial feeling when I saw the plans was that it is pretty dense, pretty compacted in there. I am a little concerned about the only access coming off Kemper Road. Initially when we looked at our comprehensive plan, we envisioned this development coming out onto Cloverdale. I certainly don’t like the idea of sending the seniors out onto Route 4 at that CVS exit.

I am concerned about the access not being on Cloverdale, or one of the other side streets for that matter. I am a little concerned about fencing in the whole area and the look it gives to the residents on Smiley and Rose, to look at a fenced block. Also, they are basically looking at the backs of these buildings. Usually when you drive through a residential neighborhood, all the houses seem to face the street, and all these face internal, so I would be extremely concerned about the rear look of these buildings. If there are three or four units in a building, I want to make that look like a regular residence to the people on Smiley.

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Mr. Okum said I appreciate your bringing us photos of some development types that you would envision there. We are on the concept level, but I think that some of those are fairly stark; not residential. They look more like a number of communities that have been built over the last 35 years that have aged some.

I am very concerned about how dense it is. I am excited about new residences coming into Springdale and residents relocating. The density issue may be eliminated by the inclusion of the additional parcels, but I have to agree with Mr. Galster about the walled community. I would have a concern if I was living on Smiley and looking across the street at it. What we have to look at is if it makes good community value and at this point, I am not overly excited about it.

I have another hesitation on multi-level residential housing for 55 and older. I think this needs to go a ways before I would feel comfortable about endorsing it. There are a number of answers to be found. I don’t have a problem with homes that are close together for people who don’t want to have a lot of maintenance. On the other hand, some of these units are fairly small and that is another consideration. I think simple low level housing for 55 and older would be appreciated. These don’t stand out as something other than a middle income residential housing development. Maybe you can show me something different, but I am not seeing that in what you are presenting.

Mr. Hawkins said I am excited about the idea of more development in our city but I do have concerns about how compact or dense some of that is. Maybe if there were fewer units that were bigger and more spread out, it might make it more attractive to the residents who would purchase them.

Also, I have some concerns in terms of the traffic through there and the ingress and egress of the residents. On the entrances from Kemper Road, I’m not sure how they would line up with the parking lot where Thriftway was. Are you looking for a traffic light there to help residents going in and out of the entrances?

Mr. Ward answered we are working on a traffic study to recommend what kinds of traffic improvements we will need to do along Kemper Road and we are trying to align with the exiting curb cuts across the street (old Thriftway and existing church).

Mr. Coleman said I have to say that putting this type of development in the middle of a residential area of that nature doesn’t really give me a good feeling. I have lived in Springdale over 20 years and I am excited about new development coming into our city. I think that is okay from the standpoint that there is a need, but on the other hand, that need has to be pretty well refined from the standpoint of where it fits best. At this point I am not convinced that location is the right location for this type of development. I thought we were going to see some single family housing in that location, and not the mixed use development. At this point, I am somewhat reserved about this because of the location.
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Mr. Syfert commented I like the concept because it fits well within our Comprehensive Plan. I would like to see the Pauzer and Eades properties incorporated into it, and I think it would make a nice clean operation. The only real objection I have is I would like to see the density get down to what the code allows, which is 10 per acre.

I don’t have a great problem with the wall. People here probably would own a home somewhere else and would be gone a lot of the time. I think they would want a certain sense of security. I think there are ways that can be handled. There is refinement needed on it, but I support the concept.

Mr. Galster said on the walled community look, on the Smiley extension, their back yard is still a front yard to the street and according to code, there are no front yard fences. There are issues, and it has to be treated more softly, especially on those sides. Maybe you are breaking it up enough with small sections of fence and trees.

Mr. Ward added the fence is behind the buildings, with evergreens in the gaps, so it is a segmented fence, very definitely not a solid one.

Mr. Galster commented there will be a concern there that it will look like the back of a house on the front of the lot. Even if there is a solid treeline, unless you plant evergreens, there will be some times during the year that you will see the back of those buildings. It just needs to be softened up.

Mr. Coleman said a softer fencing concept would be more appealing, as well as the entrance being more off Smiley than Kemper. So, the residents on Smiley would actually be seeing the front part of the development with the back part of the development facing Kemper. Some type of soft fencing would take away from a negative impact. I’m not sure about the location, but I do think there is some potential there that could influence me.

Mr. Galster said on the property to the north, the Eades property, you originally said you had drawn conceptually using that property. If you had those other parcels, would we be looking at the same density just extending out?

Mr. Ward answered we look at it as a different mix of uses and we would provide access out as indicated. We felt it would be more visible and more oriented toward Route 4 and would have to be a different use. So we did office alternatives and other residential alternatives.

Mr. Galster responded so if those additional properties were acquired, there would be additional uses, not a continuation necessarily of what is in here, so it isn’t going to relieve any of the density.

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Mr. Dent said the density is primarily driven by the economics of the project. Land acquisition costs are high. Past attempts to develop and assemble this land created a perception of tremendous value of the land itself. Therefore the acquisition costs are inflated, and that leads to a higher density requirement simply to do any development that will provide for some sort of use of the land. It is fortunate that all of these parcels have become available at this time, that these have been able to have been assembled.

We are still very hopeful that we will be able to assemble the Biddle and Eades land into this development as well. That will again create a reevaluation of how this whole thing lays out and is assessed. This is the best use that we have been able to determine for this land now that creates both a solution that fits within the comprehensive plan of the city, provides for residential land use which creates a transition from single family to commercial on the corner. Quite frankly, we run a business, and it has to provide for income for us as well.

Mr. Galster said presently you have 57 town homes. Mr. Ward said we have reduced the density as a result of the staff comments. We have 57 town homes, 50 flats and 33 versatile housing units.

Mr. Galster said maybe going to an additional condominium flat would help make it seem not quite so dense and might be an economic solution to consider. It seems like there is an awful lot of building there.

Mr. Butrum said I agree with a lot of the comments and I also am concerned about the density. I am very concerned about how it will look to the people on Smiley, and I want to see a combination of seeing what you are going to do fencing-wise and the tree planting.
I also would like to see what the rear elevations will look like.

It’s not going to be a front yard, so I am not as concerned that it looks that way but I am concerned that it looks okay. I need to see the totality of what those rear elevations are going to be on those buildings, the fencing and the landscaping are all important in determining how that will feel. That will be of interest to me more than anything else. I don’t know that we need to change it so that it is the front yard, just soften it up.

Mr. Hawkins asked the average price of the town homes. Mr. Dent answered we have been targeting an average of $250,000. We haven’t done a complete market sensitivity study, and that will reveal more information for us, help us understand how many people living in this vicinity have the equity in their homes to move into this location. It also will help us understand the amenities they are looking for. We are trying to leverage all the great public space Springdale has created in the community center and with the fields. In this age group, we have found that they want to have a lot of grass; they just don’t want to have to take care of it. One of the great things about this location is the 10-minute walk to activities.

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Mr. Hawkins asked if they had looked at the condos at Olde Gate to compare size and value. Those are pretty decent size condominiums, and I know their prices are nowhere near $250,000

Mr. Dent reported that the current market for new construction is approximately $150 per square foot. We are targeting 1,700 to 2,000 square feet per unit, with a few of the units being smaller. One thing we tried to do with the variety of buildings and the variety of shapes is to create something where everyone can pick their own price range and style. We want to make sure we address the market needs.

Mr. Vanover said this is a new development, but the reality is that this is a redevelopment because it is landlocked by an existing community. This is true in many communities, and that is how I look at it, as a redevelopment. It is the input and effect on the existing. I am sensitive to the back yard/front yard treatment, but probably the biggest thing is the density issues. I know you have profitability margins, and I can understand that, but that can’t be my driving force. Conceptually I find it intriguing, but there definitely are issues that we’ll have to look at.

Mr. Syfert asked staff if there were any major things that we have over looked. Mr. McErlane responded Ms. McBride touched on the primary issues at the beginning, things like density. Setbacks also are an issue, but the applicant is proposing to reduce the setbacks from Rose Lane and Smiley from what the code requires and what the single family houses would be required to do if they were building today. The other concern would be the height of the buildings as they relate to those adjacent residential properties.

Ms. McBride added we have had the opportunity to meet with the applicant on one occasion and would be available to do that again if they feel that would be beneficial. We did give them one round of comments and they made some changes to the plan. We have given them a second round of comments. That was largely to serve as a guideline or list of items or issues that they might want to look at addressing should they decide to move forward with the zone map amendment.

Mr. Shvegzda reported that the applicant has indicated that they are looking at the traffic impact study. We have the flood plain in the channel that crosses the property north to south. That has to be dealt with, because that is not a defined flood elevation through there; that has to be established and not encroached upon.

On the concept plans the detention is being provided with an underground system. There is a possibility that there may be a lot of it ,which would be the only issue, and the access points and how they function based on the traffic studies.

Mr. Ward said if in fact these units are rear yard, we would render those rear yard facades also. However we were instructed almost emphatically not to have access onto Smiley, that we should create it as a back yard appearance. By all means we can turn that around if someone prefers that.
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Mr. Ward added secondly, we do plan to have a meeting with the adjacent property owners and have samples of different kinds of intermittent fencing and have the residents give us some detail on what they would like to look at. So we do plan to come up with more detailed solutions on that.

Third, I want to indicate that this building and this building are serviced with elevators and we do have one story options in the complex.

We did some study, and feel that the facilities around this neighborhood are very satisfying and we don’t need to develop a swimming pool or tennis courts or anything like that. We would have a place for exercising and meetings and some office activity would be appropriate in a clubhouse location.

On the other access points, we felt we had to work with the fire department and police department to determine the most suitable solution, so we don’t have a hard line opinion on that. This is our first attempt to find some solution.

On the idea of the walled community, we were trying to not make it a feeling of big walls. It would be very heavily landscaped on the edges to create a feeling of privacy. We do want to work on making it a landscaped appearance, not a walled appearance. We would work on softening the facades and the fencing. We haven’t worked out all the finish designs and we do expect to work on that.

Mr. Dent added we realize that this is a cooperative process. One point of information that is critical for us is what the maximum density is going to be. I don’t expect to have a definitive answer today, but at some point we will have to know what that is so we can run it through our economic models.

Beyond our initial financial evaluations, we know that there are going to be some additional costs for obtaining sewer capacity to be able to develop these units. If we reduce density, we don’t need as much sewer capacity, but we also have less sales revenue to pay for those sewer improvements. There will be a lot of give and take here as this comes together into a final plan and the better information you can give us now on density, the better we will be able to get to the point of having new residents in this city.

Mr. Okum asked if the town homes would have basements, and Mr. Ward answered we know that the two-stories will but we are not sure about the flats, for one thing because of the flood plain. One of the things that our analysis indicates is that they do want smaller units.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Syfert said I think you have enough to go back and rework it. Thank you very much.

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D.    Approval of Additional Signage for Crossings at the Park, (PUD) 12100 Princeton Pike

Jim Wessel, representing Crossings at the Park said I am here to request a larger sign for the development. The regulations call for 50 s.f. as the largest allowed and we are asking for a variance for a 90 s.f. sign.

The major feedback was that the staff could not tell from my drawing where the sign was going, and that the Staples building would block it. The topography of the area and the way the road goes, from 747 and the railroad tracks south, this sign won’t be visible.

The sign will be placed in this area (showed on drawing). Right now there are ball fields where the development will be, and the only way that sign will be visible is for traffic coming down 747. It will be large enough that people will be able to see it up to the point of the crossing. There is a tremendous amount of traffic on that road and the sign we have is very limited. Right now you have to be stopped by a train to be able to read the sign.

The sign will not be elaborate; we just want to advertise what we are all about. We are trying to advertise the development to people outside G.E. Park and the GE community. We are starting to get out in the rest of Cincinnati, but we are trying to concentrate on this area and the area north of here.

Mr. Syfert asked how long they wanted to have this sign, and Mr. Wessel answered it will take a couple of weeks to get the sign, but we were shooting for April 1st, which may be optimistic. The sooner the better and we would like to have it through the end of September.

Mr. Okum commented I have seen the same wording on your banner that is on the entrance sign to GE Park, and I don’t think you are getting a lot of exposure there.

I am not adverse to your putting up a sign, but I was thinking of something in full color showing one of the condominiums. These are very attractive units, but they are just so far off the road you can’t see them to appreciate them.

Mr. Wessel responded I don’t disagree with what you are saying. Our only purpose here is to let people know what they are, and I think that sign will be big enough and bold enough to do it.

Mr. Okum commented if you want to put a 3’ x 30’ banner up, that is fine too. I just think it needs a professional look to sell it.

Mr. Wessel added we just want people to know they are there, because I think they show well coming south on S.R.747. The only other problem we have talked to ODOT about the fence, because it gets in the way unless we would go way up in the air with the sign. ODOT will not let us take the fence down because ODOT would put it right back up.

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Mr. Hawkins commented this will let people know what you are doing, but if you want to market it, a picture would generate some interest.

Mr. Wessel commented I am envisioning a v-shaped sign so it could be read both ways.

Mr. Galster said I do sign work, and “Now Developing Crossings at the Park Senior Living” with a picture of the condominium out as close to the fence as you can make it would be much more of a magnet than the banner would be. I have no problem with making the motion, and I will move to approve the banner as requested by the applicant for the period April 1 though September 30, 2006 on a temporary basis. Mr. Coleman seconded the motion.

All voted aye, and the temporary banner was granted unanimously.

Ms. McBride asked the applicant about the unit prices. Mr. Wessel reported the smallest unit is approximately 1,200 s.f. and the base price is $156,900. In almost all cases they are two bedroom/two bath units. The largest we have is a three bedroom/two bath unit and the base price is $219,900, and the model that is built with extra garage and everything is $257,500. Mr. Okum asked the square footage of the largest unit, and Mr. Wessel answered just under 2,100 s.f. There are no basements, no elevators and everything is one floor.

E. Approval of Development Plan for 9,600 s.f. Building – 84 Lumber, 12139 Princeton Pike

Sean Traddels, Area Manager for Cincinnati-Dayton market. With me is the Springdale store manager Dan Grossman. We want to add a 9,600 s.f. building in front of our existing building on Princeton Pike. It is an expansion addition and I believe we have answered numerous comments and hopefully I can answer anything that still needs to be answered.

Mr. Syfert asked why they needed this building, and Mr. Traddels answered growth. There has been close to $7 million in growth over the last year and one-half at that location, so we are out of space.

Mr. McErlane wondered if this facility would be their only showroom area. Mr. Traddels answered we call this a modified store. What is existing is a large warehouse and we move all of our offices, our showroom and a small storage part out into this new building. This is heated and cooled as a showroom more than anything, so it is a good safe environment for customers to enter, a customer-friendly environment.

Mr. McErlane reported that the property is currently zoned General Industrial and has been zoned GI for many years. In October of 1968 a variance was granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals to allow retail and wholesale sales of lumber and building materials on an industrial zoned property, which typically is not a primary use in that zoning district.

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Mr. McErlane stated that this plan shows a 9,600 s.f. building with 3,000 s.f. of showroom, 2,400 s.f. of office and 4,200 s.f. of storage.

The setbacks shown on the property meet code with the exception of some existing storage sheds on the back of the property. We are not sure when they were built, but they could be legal non-conforming at this point.

The total area of the buildings on the site with the proposed building would be 55,081 s.f.

The only place that we see that they have to take down some existing trees are in the area where the proposed detention is going to occur, which is in the triangular piece just to the back of the Gateway Mortgage facility on the south side of the site. Most of those are small scrub trees and probably are exempt from the Tree Replanting Ordinance. There probably are six or less trees that are probably non-exempt from the requirement. Based on the plantings that they currently have, they probably satisfy the Tree Replanting Ordinance.

Ms. McBride added that they did submit a landscaping plan. The only comments we had were that they needed to add some non-deciduous shrubs around the base of the existing pylon sign which is to remain.

They did submit lighting information and they are indicating that they are going to be using floodlights on the new building. Since that will be a re tail showroom and office, we would like to see that treated as such. They should use flat lens shoebox fixtures mounted at 24 feet which is more consistent with other things on 747 and also the look they are trying to maintain since they are heating and cooling it now.

Mr. Syfert asked the applicant if he had any problem with the lighting she suggested, and Mr. Traddels said no. As a matter of fact we have made those changes and our lighting engineer will contact your office to make sure we are meeting all those requirements.

The shrubbery also has been addressed. I have a copy that shows it around the base of the pylon sign. We can give it to you. Ms. McBride said we will coordinate it.

Mr. Shvegzda reported that the detention is being provided for the additional impervious area on the site. It is approximately 38,000 cubic feet of volume which is consistent with the amount of area that they are noting as additional impervious area. We do need additional information to delineate where that area is, the out letting structure and the emergency overflow structure. Other than that, it appears to be generally in conformance with the regulations. There is an existing conduit that crosses over the driveway from the building to the north, their detention system. It is a 22” x 13” arch pipe and they are providing a connection with an 18 inch. Those are both equivalent sizes of one another; it is just a matter of how they join up with one another.
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Mr. Shvegzda added we want to make sure that we are not causing a problem with the outlet capacity from the adjoining detention basin. We need additional information on the capacity of that 18 inch that will be tied into the existing system to the north.

The storm sewers are designed for the 10-year storm, so it is a matter of in a major storm how it will get into the detention basin via overland flow. The applicant needs to delineate how that will occur.

Currently there are access points from the driveway that comes off 747. There also is a driveway off Crescentville Road which is gated. The question was if that was to be utilized, because currently there is a lot of lumber stored up against the fence in that vicinity. They replied that it was going to b used for emergency access. If that is the case, we need to have a clear path into the site from that location.

There is grading adjacent to the proposed building on the south side which comes right down to the property line and the building to the south is very close to the property line so we need additional information as to how that is affecting the drainage. It looks like it is pushing that runoff directly against the building, or very close to it, so that has to be further defined as to how that is being handled.

On the truck access to the new facility the applicant has noted that no trucks will enter or exit the west side of the proposed building, so that is not a concern.

Curbing will be provided around a portion of the proposed parking lot, and we commented as to how the handicap access would be provided to the facility. The parking facility is at grade with the entrance at grade, so there are no ramps required.

Addressing Mr. Shvegzda, Mr. Okum said there currently is no detention on the site at all, right? Mr. Shvegzda confirmed this adding that that site drains into the ditch along the railroad track and heads southeast towards S.R. 747.

Mr. Okum asked if the two outlots would be impervious surface, and Mr. Shvegzda answered the majority of it will be. Mr. Okum continued if we were to consider this on its own merit, the impervious surface area is 100% for those two parcels. Mr. Shvegzda responded if we were looking at those two specific lots in its own entity, right.

Mr. Okum asked if this were their prototype building. Mr. Grossman answered that there is one which has been out in the last few years. I brought in the color of the steel and the roof which will match. Mr. Okum responded so it is the blue for the building elevation and your standard steel panel that you use on the rest of your buildings, and the roof will be a gray galvanized. Are you going to use building lighting to light the building, i.e. projection lights onto the building? Mr. Grossman answered that has been addressed in our new plan. Mr. Okum commented staff will need to review that because of glare issues and lighting.

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Ms. McBride commented one of the questions we had raised was whether or not that sign would be illuminated and they are saying it will be externally illuminated. That will be included in their revised photometric plan.

Mr. Okum said so there is no existing prototype for other retail centers that 84 Lumber has done. Most of your business must not be retail. Mr. Grossman responded no, we are 95% builder business so most of it is done through delivery trucks.

For us, this building is almost like a prototype. We do have a few of these smaller sales centers. What this does is give a better retail environment. It will look aesthetically pleasing from the road. We already have replaced most of the steel on the building that is there today and we will replace the rest of it at some point. That will become storage, and most of our buildings have offices and the main showroom all part of the same storage building. This breaks everything apart to create the room that we need. Unfortunately we have nowhere else to go on that site.

Mr. Vanover said I can remember several years back when you had a retail center in the big building. So you are going back into that market? Mr. Grossman reported this is more of a showroom than a retail center. Mr. Traddels added it will have products so the do it yourself homeowner can walk in and purchase something, but the majority of what will be there will be showroom so the customer can come in and choose the door or cabinets, etc. It is not a retail environment; it is more of a showroom environment.

Mr. Galster said the only thing I am having a problem with is the metal clad shell building on 747 with the regular retail mix. Is there any way to make that off Crescentville rather than the 747 area? My concern is the overall appearance of the building. It looks like a shed in the middle of a retail shopping district and a retail establishment. It seems out of place to me.

Mr. Grossman said what you’ll see from 747 won’t look like what is there today. The problem that we have in this market is the pole barn atmosphere setting on 747, and I agree looks extremely out of place. On the drawing, he showed the section which will come out and be painted red and will look a lot better. If you look at that picture, it is exactly how the front of the building will look facing 747.

Mr. Galster commented I understand that is the kind of building you work out of. I can see granting a variance to allow the sale based on the building being back off the main road, but once that comes out to the main road, it seems like it needs to fit the surrounding buildings better. If that were true, I would have no problem with approving it, even if on the back side you went back to a shed pole building. My problem is the presence at 747 and what you see traveling north and south on 747.

Mr. Okum said I have to agree with Mr. Galster, although you can build based on what is required. Where are your mechanical units?

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Mr. Grossman answered our HVAC system is outside next to the building. Mr. Okum commented the one on the south side of the building would need to be screened from the public view.

Mr. Okum added I am very concerned about the lighting on the building. I am not happy with the blue building with the red print, but I’m not quite sure about your signage allowance. We need to make sure that what we tie to signage is truly signage. There is a sign on your existing building. Mr. Grossman reported that will come off the existing building. Mr. Okum commented so you will conform to our signage regulations, and Mr. Grossman indicated that they would.

Mr. Okum said I am very concerned about the lighting, how this building is lit and how it affects the neighboring properties as well as the driving public. I have had a lot of comments from different people about the glare that occurs and I would be concerned about that.

Mr. Okum added I agree with Ms. McBride’s comments that it certainly needs a lot of landscaping improvement on the front side. Isn’t there some parking along the front that faces 747? Shouldn’t that be treated with hedges? Mr. Traddels said I do have a version showing where our hedging goes into now. Any place where you see green we are putting in the landscaping per the comments made. That definitely will spruce up that front area between the parking lot and 747.

Mr. Okum commented so you will maintain whatever accesses there are currently for the adjoining properties. Mr. Traddels confirmed this.

Mr. Galster asked if this was the only way he can do it, and Mr. Traddels answered we can spruce up the front entryway. We have done it in the past with adding more glass to the front. Because of the direction this is facing and the height of it, we probably can’t do that much. It is something we would be willing to do if that is what it took to get this approved. We can add in a full glass entryway that comes out away from the building so it looks like an archway entrance. We have done that on one of my locations in Hillsboro.

Mr. Galster asked if that looked nicer, and Mr. Traddels answered it is still on the front of a pole barn building.

Mr. Okum suggested a three-foot high stone face wall across the front to break that up. Mr. Traddels answered we could do that; we have done that in the past.

Mr. Syfert said so you have no problem with putting a stone wall up. Mr. Traddels answered no. Mr. Okum added do you think you could increase the glass on the front? Mr. Traddels responded we probably could do some type of double entryway with a circle top across the top. With the awning that comes out, I don’t know how far that can go up to be able to do that, and we will want to keep that awning across the front.

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Mr. Galster responded I have no problem with that. What if you had three sets of doors, and the two on the ends were just glass instead of doors?

Mr. Traddels responded the only problem that causes is we will have products on the outside of those walls and that would cut back on space that we really were trying to gain by adding an extra building.

Mr. Galster suggested shading them out. I don’t care if you have stuff up against it; it would have a much more open glass look even though you couldn’t necessarily see through the windows. .

Mr. Traddels commented if we were able to add that stone going across the front, could we get away without having that extra glass? Mr. Galster said how about a double wide entrance instead of three? Mr. Okum commented maybe they could increase their window sizes; are those offices or showrooms? Mr. Traddels answered the majority of those will be offices.

Mr. Okum commented I think the stone veneer will be a lot more of a help. Is three foot high the right height for the stone wall? Ms. McBride said it would be 3’-8”. Mr. Okum said so it should be 3’-8” high and additional glass elements, if possible.

Mr. Okum moved to approve the 9,600 s.f. building for 84 Lumber based upon the plants submitted and those additional submissions they indicated they are providing that were requested by the staff.

1. This shall include all staff’s, city engineer’s and city planner’s recommendations.
2. The mechanical units shall be screened from view of the adjoining properties or the public right of way.
3. All exterior lighting shall be non-glare type and designed not to adversely affect the adjoining property owners or the public right of way.
4. All wall-mounted light packs if used shall be shielded and downlit so as not affect the adjoining property owners or the public right of way.
5. Cross access for adjoining properties are to be maintained as they currently exist.
6. Color pallet shall be as exhibited with the addition of stone veneer across the front elevation, 3’-8” high with additional glass elements if possible.

Mr. Galster seconded the motion.

On the motion to approve, all voted aye, and the approval was granted with seven affirmative votes.



A. LaPlacita – 316 Northland Boulevard – Wall Sign
B. Men’s Wearhouse – 11700 Princeton Pike – Wall Signs
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Mr. Galster moved to adjourn and Mr. Coleman seconded the motion. By voice vote all voted aye, and Planning Commission adjourned at 10:55 p.m.

                        Respectfully submitted,

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                        William G. Syfert, Chairman

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                        Lawrence Hawkins III Secretary