10 AUGUST 1999

7:00 P.M.



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


Members Present: Donald Darby, Councilman Steve Galster, Richard Huddleston, David Okum, Councilman Tom Vanover, Dave Whitaker and Chairman Syfert.

Others Present: Mayor Doyle Webster

Asst. City Administrator Derrick Parham

Building Official William McErlane

Asst. City Engineer Don Shvegzda

City Planner Anne McBride


Mr. Vanover moved for adoption and Mr. Galster seconded the motion. By

voice vote, all voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted with seven affirmative



    1. 8/2 Letter from Bill McErlane to Eric Novicki
    2. Report on Council Ė no report
    3. Zoning Bulletin Ė July 25, 1999
    4. Planning Commission Member Listing
    1. Sports Therapy, 11729 Springfield Pike requests approval to house a student on the second floor of the building (tabled 7/13/99)

Mr. Novicki stated We have had a student there, not realizing that We couldnít do that, and We are here asking for approval. The business there is secretarial. There is a monitored 24-hour fire alarm, and We added a one-hour burn staircase to the second floor. Right now it is safer than it was when you let families live there. There is not 24-hour cooking going on; there is not a daily type of activity that would present a fire hazard to the building itself.

We have students who come in from different colleges around the country and do four to five week internships. Rather than have them try to find housing and pay for it, it is a way for them to save some money and still do their internship. We got a letter from Mr. McErlane concerning fire safety. Really I donít know what that room would need to have done. If we get approval to do it, we will explore that.

Ms. McBride reported the two big concerns was when the office use was originally approved for that building, it was for that use only and that excluded any type of residential uses. Secondly, the question is whether or not there is sufficient parking to meet the residential and office demand per our zoning code. We havenít seen any numbers or square footages so we would need documentation.

Mr. Novicki answered as far as adding automobiles, the student is usually there after the people who work there leave, so there would be only one car there. It shouldnít affect the parking.


10 AUGUST 1999



Mr. Galster said the problem I have is going back to the residential use with offices. If you try to have an office in your home, you are limited to only the people who live there. I understand this being a transitional district, but once you get residents back into the mix, I think it needs to more comply with what every other resident in the city needs to comply with.

Mr. Darby said you refer to the student; is it one at a time? Mr. Novicki answered it is one at a time, a person who is still in college and has to do an internship. Mr. Darby wondered if the internship were at that location. Mr. Novicki indicated that it wasnít and Mr. Darby wondered why it would be convenient for them to be housed at that location. Mr. Novicki answered only because they would not have to pay for outside housing. It is free to the student.

Mr. Darby wondered if he received remuneration for the student living there, and Mr. Novicki answered that he did not. We donít pay them and they donít pay us. They do their internship at our therapy clinics. It might help with the recruiting, but basically it is a mentoring program. Mr. Galster asked if he hired any of the students and Mr. Novicki answered that they have.

Mr. Okum said with the number of rental units in the area, if you are concerned about providing a facility for them to be housed, why not do a corporate apartment for these students? Mr. Novicki answered it is not like it is something that goes on 12 months a year. There might be a student here for six weeks and not an other one for three more months.

Mr. Huddleston wondered what functions were performed in the building, and Mr. Novicki answered it is mainly secretary and clerical. Mr. Huddleston asked how many weeks or months this has been used for housing, and Mr. Novicki answered maybe 20 weeks total.

Mr. Huddleston commented as a member of the board I would have a little bit of a problem making this back into a partial residence and putting the city into the position of monitoring mixed use like this. I would think you would be better off trying to negotiate some kind of residence rate.

Mr. Darby said having heard you talk about paid housing at the University of Cincinnati, please help me understand why you would expect this commission to deviate from the norm and allow for housing in this particular area?

Mr. Novicki answered only because when we are looking at this as a business, realistically we saw a building with rooms used as bedrooms prior to the rezoning. We see a use that is atypical of business with people coming in and out of the building. We didnít see a great departure by asking for that. If We donít get it, Weíll tell the students they have to find other housing or take fewer students from out of state if that is not possible. At this point We saw it as a possibility, and that is why we requested it.

Addressing Mr. McErlane, Mr. Syfert asked what the real problem was. Mr. McErlane answered from a zoning standpoint the R-1-B-T zoning that was put in place in 1994, specifically spelled out that it would only be an office use. Transition zoning will allow just about any use so it is a conside4ation of Planning Commission as to whether or not they felt is an appropriate use of the building and review any impact it might have on adjacent properties or parking.


10 AUGUST 1999



Mr. Syfert asked if there were building code issues involved, and Mr. McErlane answered there are separation requirements for residential against office uses.

Mr. McErlane added when you start putting different uses together, you have to put in fire separation to protect one use from the other. That is one issue that would need to be addressed. There were some considerations for exiting from the second floor at the time it was converted into an office, and those may accommodate the residential use.

Addressing the applicant, he asked if the resident would have only access to the second floor or to the first floor as well. Mr. Novicki answered they would have access to the kitchen on the second floor to keep food there and cook.

Mr. Syfert commented I have a little trouble with this. At first I thought it was an employee that was living there and as such I felt that provided all the building code issues could be worked out I might be leaning in favor of it. I see no reason for us to bend from what we have tried to maintain throughout all my tenure on the Planning Commission, not to mix the two uses, so I will not be in favor of it.

Mr. Galster asked if we have an issue concerning the trees. Mr. McErlane answered at this point there is an order to replace trees by the end of September. Mr. Novicki answered we had talked to Debbie from the Building Department several times, and she stated that we could cut down the trees. We called her back again and said we donít think that is correct and she said yes it is, you can cut down those trees. They are not the buffer; you can take down those trees. So we did not take down the trees without trying to get the correct answer.

We have no problem putting other trees up. however, we would like to put up trees other than pine. Those trees were pretty well diseased. They had a lot of spider mites and we would like to put up some Bradford or aristocrat pears further back on the property to provide more of a buffer than the other trees provided. We talked to an arborist, and their suggestion was that they be put in later in the fall. Because of the dry weather and the heat, they felt that the stress would keep whatever trees we put in from taking very well. He suggested mid-October when the weather was down.

Mr. Galster asked if the issue was resolved. Do we know what they are replanting and caliper inches? Mr. McErlane responded Iím not sure which Debbie they may have talked to, but there is no Debbie in the Building Department. They may have talked with Debbie from Public Works, because Public Works because Public Works issues permits to remove trees in the public right of way. If that were in the case, since they are not in the public right of way, she might have said there were no permits necessary. In addition to that, the Covenants specifically addresses the buffer, so it is not just a question of the Tree Preservation Ordinance, it is an issue of the Covenants.

Mr. Novicki said but again these trees werenít buffers. They were in the middle of the property. We donít have a problem with replacing the trees. It is more the type of trees. Mr. Galster asked him if he would have a problem coming up with a landscape plan and working it through Ms. McBride? Mr. Novicki answered that would be fine.



10 AUGUST 1999



Mr. Huddleston commented to me we are granting an all or nothing situation. You either will have the ability to have a permanent room and board resident there or you are not. To that extent I really do have a problem with creating an apartment or rental unit there. I understand that the students donít have a lot of money to spend, but on the other hand it is part of their program to do that.

Is there a code problem with the separation of occupancies? Mr. McErlane answered I believe that we have an adequate exit from the second floor directly outside. I donít believe there is any fire rated separation from that floor level and the first floor and that would be required.

Mr. Huddleston said I have a problem granting the full time use, and I think if you want to apply for the full time use, you have to address those code issues and come back and make a proper application to do so. That would be my position.

Mr. Novicki asked if the City of Springdale had any dual use properties, like New York City or Downtown Cincinnati where there is a business on the bottom floor and housing above that? Mr. McErlane answered I believe there are one or two that are grandfathered that have been in existence since prior to the present zoning code.

Mr. Syfert commented I believe the tree issue is separate from this application. Mr. Novicki asked if he should get with Ms. McBride or Mr. McErlane with that drawing? Mr. McErlane answered if Planning wants to consider a deviation from the requirements of the Tree Preservation Ordinance, it needs to be addressed by this board because they are the appeal body for that. Mr. Galster commented we do not have a plan to know what he is proposing and the need for a deviation.

Mr. Syfert said it is not an issue we should consider at this time. Mr. McErlane added unless you want to recommend that he come back with a landscape plan for approval next month. If you want to consider it as a request tonight and table it until he can come in next month with a landscaping plan.

Mr. Darby said I move that the request to have a student housed on the second floor be denied. Mr. Okum seconded the motion. On the motion to deny, voting aye were Mr. Darby, Mr. Galster, Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Okum, Mr. Vanover, Mr. Whitaker and Mr. Syfert. Request was denied with seven votes.

Mr. Syfert said the next issue involves the trees. It is Mr. McErlaneís recommendation that we table it and let him come in with the proposed landscaping plan. Mr. Galster moved and Mr. Okum seconded the motion. On the motion to table, voting aye were Mr. Darby, Mr. Galster, Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Okum, Mr. Vanover, Mr. Whitaker and Mr. Syfert. Matter was tabled to September 14th.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. McErlane said when you get a plan together, We need to have it in by the end of the month so We can distribute it to the members.

    1. White Castle requests approval of proposed parking lot at corner of West Kemper Road and Springfield Pike (former Precision Tune)

      10 AUGUST 1999



      Mr. McErlane said a representative called this afternoon and after seeing staff comments felt it appropriate to meet with staff and address the issues. They requested that this be tabled.

      Mr. Galster said is it my understanding that the neon accent lighting on their building was never approved by Planning? Mr. McErlane answered that it was not shown on their plan that came into Planning Commission. Mr. Galster wondered what the remedy to that would be and Mr. McErlane answered it depends on whether or not you interpret it the way Ms. McBride does, from the standpoint of it being building lighting. I donít think we considered it that way when it went up.

      Ms. McBride added I think at the very least it needs consideration review and action by the Commission. It is an item that I feel is pretty specifically identified in our Corridor Review District. Mr. Galster asked if she felt it should be discussed with them when they come back in and meet with staff prior to the next meeting so it can be specifically addressed? Ms. McBride answered since they are showing improvements on that property, my interpretation would be yes, but I would defer to Mr. McErlaneís opinion on that. Mr. McErlane added it certainly could be addressed.

      Mr. Huddleston said with or without that consideration, if they choose not to address that, is there an enforcement consideration? Mr. McErlane responded it would involve an order to remove the neon and the opportunity to appeal at the Board of Zoning Appeals.

      By voice vote, all members voted to table, and the matter was tabled to September 14th.

    3. Gold Star Chili & Rick Shteiwi request approval of exterior neon on new Gold Star Chili Restaurant, 1551 Springfield Pike

Mr. Shteiwi said last time I understand that the neon was taken off the plan. We are going for a little different look and a custom design for the building exterior. We have a special frame design that goes around the building like the Arhaus Furniture. Doing that, I felt that n eon would really accent the building, because it is the only accent lighting for the outside that we have. I felt strongly enough to come back to the board to see what you feel about it.

Mr. Syfert said isnít there any other lighting on the building? Mr. McErlane stated the canopies are downlit.

Mr. Galster asked if the Gold Star logo shown on the drawing part of a canopy or an actual sign? Mr. Shteiwi answered it is a sign. Mr. Galster continued then it will be lit as well. Mr. Shteiwi confirmed this. Mr. Galster said I believe the awnings are lit at 30% of the approved signage lighting.

Mr. Galster commented as you can tell in the previous discussion on White Castle, the neon lighting in the Route 4 Corridor District is not an approved use of that type of lighting. I personally think that last month we came up with a building that was very attractive and that the City will be very pleased to have Gold Star take over that building. However, I donít believe that the neon will attract any more business. I donít see the need for it to change the recommendations of the Route 4 Corridor Study. As a matter of fact, I would make effort to remove the one that was put in without our approval. Thatís my position on neon lighting, especially within the Route 4 Corridor.


10 AUGUST 1999



Ms. McBride reported said my report consists of a lot of quotes out of the Subarea C of the Corridor Review District, because I think it is important that the Commission look at that language and it will be up to you tonight to interpret how that language should be implemented. Within Subarea C it talks about how the building color shall be generally earthtones and the use of bright high chroma shades as dominant building colors shall be prohibited. That says as dominant colors, but if we are going to earthtones, earthtones and neons donít always come together, at least in planning jargon.

We do allow for minor accenting of the structure and the question becomes what is minor. We have the cream building, we have the dark green, we now have the red, some yellow Ė how many colors will we be introducing here?

It goes on to talk about one coordinated color scheme shall be utilized for all structures and that additional colors may be used to accent or otherwise provide interest or achieve a more compatible scale for the individual structure. I think the applicant and the Commission worked very hard at the last meeting to achieve that.

It goes on to say that special ornamental lighting within Subarea C may be requested and utilized upon the review and approval of this Planning Commission. Again, it comes back to the Commission tonight as to whether or not neon lighting is something you want to encourage within the whole corridor review district.

It says no color lights shall be used at any time to light the exterior of the building. There is language here to guide the commission but clearly it is your decision tonight as to whether you want to do that. If you do wish to approve the neon tonight for Gold Star, I would anticipate you would probably see more of that on either existing buildings in the corridor or on new or redeveloped parcels in the corridor.

Mr. Huddleston said my feeling is what we are trying to achieve in Subarea C would be defeated by this, and I would not be in favor of granting this. I also would question what has already transpired on the White Castle situation. I personally where it is appropriate and permitted like the neon ornamentation on buildings, but I think in this area it is very inappropriate for what we are trying to achieve there.

Mr. Okum said I agree with Mr. Huddleston 100%. In the Corridor Review District it states that that no colored lights are to be used at any time to light the exterior of a building. That is pretty straight forwar5d.

Mr. Galster said given your particular location, I know there are not a whole lot of residents right next to your building. If you look at the corridor in general and go to the other side of the street, you have residents directly behind t hose buildings. While neon lighting may not be an eyesore to the residents in your particular location now, if it were used in other parts of the corridor that directly abut the residential areas, it would be. If we permit one, weíre permitting another, etc.

I think if you look at the neon lighting used at Dave & Busterís, Tom Vanover can tell you that as he is coming down the street two miles away on the other side of the interstate, it is blinding and glaring. I would hate to see the use of that type of lighting system as close to the residents as the corridor is. If I lived in Baldwin Subdivision which is directly behind your existing location, I wouldnít want to see the neon bands around all the buildings directly in front of me.


10 AUGUST 1999



Mr. Shteiwi responded there is a building with n eon right next door, so whatís the difference? Mr. Galster said if you mean White Castle, that was not approved by this board and if itís up to me I donít think you will see it there for much longer.

Mr. Okum said I tend to agree with Mr. Galster. The neon light doesnít generate light solely on your property. It emits that aura of color out into the residential neighborhood as well. Your business is right next to a residential neighborhood. It certainly is a contradiction to the Corridor Review District and in addition to that, it would affect adversely on the residential neighborhood adjoining the property.

Mr. Shteiwi responded if you would eliminate neon from that district, I would not have a problem. But I would have a problem if the next door business has it and I canít.

Mr. Syfert said you have to understand that the board changes and maybe the previous board wasnít as hard on neon as we have been. We know for a fact that the neon that is there is not there with our approval. We also know that we are going to make every effort to get it off there, so we are not picking on you.

Mr. Shteiwi said donít misunderstand me. I know the board changes and people come and go, but we have been in the city for 30 years and the city has gone forward all that time.

Mr. Darby said I could appreciate Mr. Shteiwiís rationale when I read his letter requesting this. It is in black and white, and as a member of t his board I cannot see how anyone could get around where it says no. However, I drive to White Castle because I know where the hamburgers are, and I would anticipate that the staff will take whatever action is necessary to see to it that this panel will be able to address the issue of the banned lights that are in existence there. Fair is fair, but I cannot support the request tonight.

Mr. Galster moved to deny the exterior neon lighting based on the fact that it does not comply with the Route 4 Corridor District and surrounding residential areas. Mr. Huddleston seconded the motion.

On the motion to deny, voting aye were Mr. Galster, Mr. Huddleston, Mr. Darby, Mr. Okum, Mr. Vanover, Mr. Whitaker and Mr. Syfert. The request was denied with seven votes.

Mr. Okum said on Page 94 of the Corridor Reviews District under lighting it says, "building illumination shall be permitted provided such light source is from a concealed source. No colored lights shall be used at any time to light the exterior of the building." It doesnít say the word neon.

Ms. McBride added we could revise that to include neon if the Commission wishes. It may be good to include some language about "No neon lighting shall be visible from the corridor".

  2. Mr. Syfert asked Ms. McBride about the Zoning Code tonight. Ms. McBride reported that the Zoning Code can be taken on tonight by the Commission if they choose. There are still a few housekeeping type grammatical things that are being done.


    10 AUGUST 1999


  4. Ms. McBride added unfortunately the employee from PKG who was working on that ran into some personal problems with a baby on the way and could not get that work done in time for you to look at them tonight. So it is up to the Commission as to whether or not you want to do it. Itís a good night in terms of it being a light night but I can understand why you might want to see it before voting on it.

    Mr. Galster wondered if there were any changes since the last time the committee looked at it. Ms. McBride reported that there are minor changes, like family foster homes but nothing substantive, what I would consider more tweaking of language on recommendations by Wood and Lamping or grammatical type changes. Mr. Galster continued in the past we have given a synopsis of the changes to City Council to give them the highlights of the major items that changed in the Zoning Code. I donít know that this board has seen that, even though we have had discussions on this and I thought that it was pretty much decided that as opposed to going through the new Zoning Code, we would vote on it based on the representation we had from this board on that review committee.

    Mr. McErlane said Ms. McBride was saying that there was an executive summary included with the original. Mr. Galster said so if everybody has had an opportunity to review that and if there are specific questions, I think we can discuss that as a complete board. I just hate to have us go back through it and start from ground zero all over again.

    Mr. Huddleston said my position would be that I would defer to the members of Planning Commission who served on that board.

    Ms. McBride added that we have found in doing zoning codes that a few months after this code is adopted we will be coming back with a list of ten or 15 changes to recommend. They would be in the nature of something m issued or changing some wording to make it clearer.

    Mr. Syfert commented the only problem I had was trying to recommend this to Council now since we have not seen the final ourselves. Mr. Galster responded actually we have other than the few minor grammatical changes. The complete zoning code was distributed a month ago.

    Mr. Darby said during the last meeting Mr. Osborn said that he had found numerous things that needed to be corrected. Is anyone here willing to speak for him and say that we are at a point where this can be adopted? Mr. McErlane reported that Mr. Osborn had told him today that he had reviewed all the items that he had concerns about changes to and he did notice a few typos but as far as the items that he had requested changed, they had been changed.

    Mr. Okum said there were two items that Mr. Osborn presented; illuminated awnings was one and the other was neon lighting and the pole sign issue. Mr. Galster said those were items not in the code but items were talking about adding to the code. Mr. Okum responded those were items that were in the draft and I donít know if they have been edited, deleted or modified. I have looked through here, and I have not found the word neon.

    Ms. McBride responded that is correct. There was much discussion with the committee and there has been some discussion with the commission. PKG did a lot of research on how to measure and quantify that whole neon issue, and it just isnít out there.


    10 AUGUST 1999



Mr. Galster added it is a paragraph that did not develop. We talked about how to handle the neon and the lit awnings, and the debate was whether or not we should have that as a separate paragraph. Mr. Okum said it was in there; the pole sign issue was one that Mr. Osborn indicated as being overly restrictive. Basically we were setting a mandate that there be no more pole signs in Springdale, and that was modified. I want to make sure that these issues are clear.

The other was how to effectively regulate neon when you canít quantify it. I believe that right now it is not there except in the Corridor Review District, and I think we probably would need a motion from this board to add the words in the Code on Page 94, no neon lighting for the Corridor Review District.

Mr. Galster suggested that in definitions we consider neon a colored light. Ms. McBride said then we would need to add that as a definition. One way or the other it probably should be made a little bit clearer. The Corridor District is the most appropriate place for us to address this neon issue. It doesnít go with go with earthtone colors and all the steps we have taken to insure that this corridor development and redevelopment goes as we want it to.

Ms. McBride added to answer the question on neon, I think what was decided was that it was taken out. The draft paragraph that we had was removed because we could not come up with an adequate way to measure it.

Mr. Okum said I tend to agree with Ms. McBride that this has to get from Point A to Point B. This is not an overturn of the existing code; a lot of it is clarification in a more orderly fashion and hopefully easier to understand.

We need to get this on the floor and approved. We are talking 90 days before it could become law. In 90 days we will be going through an election that could affect the city, so I would encourage the commission to vote in favor of bringing it forward, because quite frankly it will evolve and we are going to find things that will need fine tuning, but letís get the basis done and let Council do their work and take action. I move that it be forwarded to Council with Planning Commissionís overall approval. Mr. Galster seconded the motion.

Ms. McBride asked if the Commission wanted to provide for the addition of the verbiage to prohibit neon within the Corridor Review District.

Mr. Darby answered I think some statement that will bring clarity to the issue. Ms. McBride continued that needs to be included in the motion. Mr. Okum said I will modify my motion that the ordinance should include a distinct description of color in the Corridor Review District.

Mr. Huddleston said my compliments to those members of the commission who put in all the time to get it here.

Mr. Parham said there are some grammatical corrections that need to be addressed in the document. I talked to Cecil and he said the same thing, but he indicated that there needs to be a review of the document for those types of corrections. My question is are you adopting what is in print? Mr. Okum said it is the spirit of the print.

On the motion to refer to Council, by voice vote all voted aye, and the Zoning Code was referred to Council.


10 AUGUST 1999


    1. 21st Century Printers Ė 328 Northland Blvd. Ė Wall Sign
    2. Mail Boxes Etc. Ė 11711 Princeton Pike Ė Wall Sign

Mr. Syfert asked if anyone would not be present at the next meeting, September 14th. Mr. Syfert indicated that he would not, and Mr. Okum would chair the meeting.

Mr. Vanover moved to adjourn and Mr. Okum seconded the motion. By voice vote, all voted aye, and Planning Commission adjourned at 8:07 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,



___________________________,1999 _______________________

William G. Syfert, Chairman



___________________________,1999 _______________________

David Whitaker, Secretary