14 NOVEMBER 2006
7:00 P.M.


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


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

Members Absent:        Tom Vanover

Others Present:        Doyle H. Webster, Mayor
                Jeff Tulloch, Economic Development Director
                William K. McErlane, Building Official
                Don Shvegzda, City Engineer
                Jonathan Wocher, Planner


Mr. Galster moved to approve and Mr. Butrum seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted with six affirmative votes.


A. Report on Council

Mr. Galster reported that the public hearing on the transitional overlay district at West Sharon and Route 4 will be tomorrow evening.
B. Zoning Bulletin – October 10, 2006
C. Zoning Bulletin – October 25, 2006
D. Special Issue – Zoning Bulletin – Telecommunications
E. Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes – September 19, 2006
F. Planning Commissioners Journal – Fall, 2006



A. Approval of Tree Removal and Landscape Plan – Jake Sweeney Dodge, 1280 East Kemper Road

Larry Schneider, of Sweeney Chevrolet said there are seven trees, and we would like to take all of them down. The problem is that we would have over 60 inches of trees removed and have to replace 60 inches and there is not enough land there. We would like to remove C D E F and G (42 inches) and replace with trees on the east west and some in the front. We were leery about putting them in the islands suggested because those islands are fairly small.

When you build up dirt in a concrete area, if each tree is above grade it tends to freeze. Putting trees there brings birds, and birds poop on the cars and mess up the paint. Over the years we have had to repaint a lot of cars, so we would like to leave the trees out of the parking areas along the side.

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Mr. Schneider added we do not know where we can put these trees because we have such a small area in which to do it. They are pretty ugly in the winter without leaves, and it looks that way six months of the year.

We came up with a plan and there were comments so that we had to change various things. I do not know where we should go from here. We are trying to display the cars out front, and we would not like them to be hidden by trees. I am hoping we can work together to come up with a plan.

Mr. McErlane reported that they are requesting that they be allowed to remove five trees to improve visibility to their building and signs, and replant with smaller trees. The Tree Preservation Ordinance allows removal of trees in non development activity only for valid reasons, and visibility is not a valid reason. This applicant is before you to appeal this section about valid reasons since this body can give relief.

They are removing 45 caliper inches of trees and planting 46.5 caliper inches. Due to the previous owner’s actions on the trees, they have not grown in their natural state. I have pictures from 2002 when the previous owner butchered them, so there is an argument from that standpoint.

Jonathan Wocher reported that crabapple trees require a different spacing so additional trees would be needed to meet the requirements. We would suggest clustering instead of a linear approach.

Ash trees proposed for the west side are not permitted in new landscapes because of the Emerald Ash Borer, so all proposed ash trees need to be replaced with another species.

Mr. Syfert asked the applicant if he had considered clustering of trees. Mr. Schneider answered I think the west side would be possible, but not in the front.

Mr. Okum asked the size of the proposed crabapple trees and Mr. Schneider answered 1 inches. Mr. Okum commented that is undersized. The trees need to be something that would grow higher with broader limb space on the west side. If the limbs of the trees begin at five or six feet, you could still see the cars. I would
I think our planner has suggested clustering but across the front high limbed trees would be appropriate. I would be willing to lower the number of trees across the front if you would plant larger trees.

Mr. Okum wondered if the applicant could contribute to the tree program so that trees could be planted in the right of way area. Mr. McErlane reported that hey could, but one of the things we should determine is future plans for Kemper Road, if there are addtional improvments there that would eat up the right of way.

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Mr. Butrum asked if Ms. McBride had any idea as to where the clustering might occur. Mr. Wocher answered that she did not, that the main concern is trying to reduce trees, and the proposed trees require more caliper inches of replacement. It looks like they could be clustered toward the corner of the property. There are probably three trees, so if we could find space for them, we would be in favor of that or to substitute a different tree that would not require as many caliper inches of replacement.

Mr. Butrum asked the distance down from the sidewalk to the trees that are there now and Mr. Schneider answered that it would be a drop of eight to 10 feet. Mr. Butrum asked him if he was open to clustering the trees in the corners. Mr. Schneider answered yes, our main concern is visibility. We are trying to make this property profitable. It has not been profitable for a number of years, and we need a break.

Mr. Galster commented right now you have the building signage and one pole sign. Mr. Schneider responded those signs will go down. Mr. Galster added I am not opposed to a monument sign on the site and leaving the trees. Mr. Schneider reported there is a Dodge sign that comes down; the sign there will be smaller.

Mr. Galster said I don’t see the need for taking out five trees. Mr. Schneider answered the problem with leaving those in is trying to get a cluster of other trees in that corner. Aesthetically it would not look good. Mr. Galster commented a mature tree looks much better. Mr. Schneider answered we can plant mature trees and cluster them.

Mr. Syfert commented based on some of the comments, I think that maybe we are not going to get anywhere. Anne indicated she would work with the applicant to get a solution, and I think that is where we should go with this. They could work together. Mr. Schneider answered that would be fine with us. The time to plant trees is winter or early spring.

Mr. Wocher said to clarify, you would like for us to work with the applicant on a planting plan along the Kemper Road frontage to maintain the tree preservation requirements.

Mr. Butrum said I am not a big fan of the trees out there. You need a comprehensive landscape plan to make this look better. I suggest we table this until next month, and I would so move. Mr. Okum seconded the motion.

Mr. McErlane said we are talking about the applicant and the city planner and landscape architect creating a plan and the applicant bringing back to Planning. Mr. Okum added if there is a landscape architect involved, I think the applicant should bear the cost.

On the motion to table, by voice vote all present voted aye, and this was tabled to December 12, 2006.

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B. Minor Revision to Approved Development Plan – Tri-County Mall, 11700 Princeton Pike

Bob Rich reported that earlier our PUD was approved, and since then the owner has awarded the contract, but there have been delays. We are approximately 20% over the estimated construction costs, and we had to make some value engineering to cut costs.

The owner has not spent any less than he intended; in fact, he as spent more. It is that the construction costs are considerably more.

We simplified the design. We did not touch the landscaping or signage. We removed the large light box that was expensive. We also eliminated the color concrete on the entranceways and walkway ($400,000), but there are still paved areas.

On the pattern concrete, it is not stamped, and the pattern remains. It is just that we have removed the color. The cost saved was tremendous, $400,000.

Mr. Okum said as an architect, do you feel the geometric pattern is more important to the design element than the color? Mr. Rich answered I am not a proponent of texturing concrete because it is difficult to walk on. We wanted the color concrete because it would have been unique, but eliminating the color would give us the most economic relief. For me, the color concrete was a no brainer for the amount that could have been saved.

Mr. Okum wondered if they still had the same geometric pattern, and Mr. Rich answered it radiated from the entry, and now it radiates as far as the curb.

Mr. Butrum commented I think that will look nice in the front with the glass, but I am disappointed about the extensions into the parking lot. How much would that contribute to the savings? Could we get the extensions without the color? Mr. Rich answered no. That is a big part of the savings. It is a tough balance, but I feel we have made it where it is most effective.

Mr. Galster said when the two restaurants were approved for outside entrances, part of the reason for the color was the safety factor for the pedestrians walking from the parking lot. I have a concern about them and the four lanes of traffic.

Mr. Shvegzda reported that signage and proper lighting are most significant, and there are other methods of delineating specific sidewalk. Mr. Rich added we would create a standard method of delineating crosswalks. Mr. Okum suggested red asphalt in the walkway and Mr. Rich answered I think white stripes would be better than red asphalt.

Mr. Shvegzda wondered if the concern was for durability and visibility since there is an alternate that is thermo plastic and reflective in inclement weather. Mr. Okum commented I would be receptive to that.

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Mr. Hawkins said I appreciate the cost savings, and I will miss the light box and color concrete, but if you had not proposed it, I would not have thought of it. I do think the white would be typical of a mall. Since there will not be light boxes, what will the illumination look like inside there? Mr. Rich answered it will be a well-lit room.

Mr. Coleman said I wonder about adding a geometric design to the crosswalk and if it would enhance the area. Maybe we could do a more creative color or colors.

Mayor Webster commented I spent many hours in front of the Forest Park Kroger’s collecting for the Lion’s Club, and people do not use the hash marks.

Mr. Okum moved to approve the specific changes as presented and identified in the staff reports. This should include all staff, city engineer and city planner’s recommendations. Also approved are the specific changes as presented by the applicant allowing him to eliminate the color in the concrete. The crosswalks shall be as resented or shall have a design that meets staff approval and shall be maintained in a safe condition. Mr. Butrum seconded the motion. All present voted aye, and the revisions were approved with six affirmative votes.

Planning Commission recessed at 8:40 p.m. and reconvened at 8:50 p.m.

C.    Approval of Wal-Mart Supercenter Expansion – 600 Kemper Commons Drive

David Oakes reported we are proposing an expansion to the Wal-Mart. There is an allowance on the east side of the building for a 40,000 s.f. expansion (between the store and David’s Bridal). In addition to that, we have had to push the building out in the front and we have had to add a dock appendage in the rear. In the back, we have had property line constraints to the north, so were not able to expand to the rear.

Mr. Oakes added we have revised the parking from 60 degree angled to 90 degree right angled to provide as much parking as possible. In the parking field, we have added landscaping in some islands and perimeter landscaping.

The other issue is that the main entrance is off the loop road. We have had to make adjustments in the loop road for a larger parking field, and I would like to discuss this a little further.

Mr. McErlane reported they are proposing to expand the existing store (125,469 s.f.) by 63,396 s.f., and they will reconfigure the property lines on the three parcels to accommodate this expansion. The applicant is not indicating a loss of any of the existing trees, so we do not have an evaluation of replacement requirements. However, most of the existing trees are indicated as 4 inches, but most are larger than this, and that may have to be re evaluated.

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Mr. McErlane added that the planting plan shows additional trees being planted, so the replacement probably is already there.

Mr. Wocher reported that the proposed modification is consistent with the intent of the Springdale Comprehensive Plan.

Staff needs more information on the existing and proposed impervious surface area ratios (20% of the gross acreage is required). Also we need to know what portion of the 188,865 store is the garden center.

Two parking spaces on the south end of the sixth parking aisle and several others back out into the access drive intersections. Our concern is the safety of the spaces and we feel they should be removed and increase the area of the adjacent landscape island.

There should be no storage trailers, containers or other similar items located on the site. A pallet and bale storage area is proposed adjacent to Kemper Commons Circle. This area should be relocated to a portion of the site not visible from a public right of way.

The pedestrian walkway in front of the store is at the same grade as the parking/access drive aisle. Staff’s concern is cars encroaching in this space, and at a meeting the applicant indicated they would add bollards and planted pots to better define the space, and details should be submitted.

All HVAC equipment must be screened from view of a public right of way by the parapet walls.

Rather than painted split face CMU, integral color split face CMU should be used on the exterior walls visible from a public right of way.

Additional raised landscaped beds need to be added to either side of the Garden Center entrance, under the “Optical and Pharmacy” signs and the area under the “Deli” sign.

An accurate plan showing existing plant material should be submitted and existing tree locations, accurate species and plant material sizes. Islands at the end of parking spines shall be curbed and landscaped.

Shrubs need to be planted 3’ on center along parking areas abutting Kemper Commons Circle. Proposed evergreen trees shall be installed at a minimum of 10’ in height.

No lighting information was submitted with this plan and staff believes that matching the height and color of the existing fixtures/poles on the balance of the center is acceptable but new fixtures need to have flat lens.

More information on the proposed signage is needed before Planning Commission can approve any modification to the amount of sign area.

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Mr. Oakes said I received copies of the staff reports, and I am okay with 99% of the comments and am ready to implement the issues. Traffic was a concern of the city engineer, the entrance drive being off the main loop road. The present configuration of the existing street is a straight shot. We have put a canoe on the end of that to expand the parking field. Mr. Shvegzda had a sketch which I copied, an ess curve and we are willing to do that.

He also indicated the north/south drive that separates the parking field needs to have a raised island. I am having difficulty accommodating that. The old plan had a canoe-shaped island all the way up, but I would like to keep the configuration we have in that area.

The other concern was along the west side. There is the loop road and Don indicated that there are parking stalls that back out into the circulation drive that should be eliminated. We would lose a lot of parking spaces and since it is just the interior circulation for the Wal-Mart Store, I do not believe it is a safety concern, and I would like to have relief from that recommendation. All of the other traffic comments will be implemented.

He also requested information on how the construction will be phased. The Wal-Mart Store will remain in operation, and we will submit an extensive phasing plan with many phases. Post construction BMP’s must be detailed, including grit separation measures at the catch basins, and we will be glad to do that. A rain garden area to provide water quality benefits in the low area around catch basin 38 was requested, and we will do what we can to do some type of conservation in that area.

Mr. Shvegzda thanked the applicant for the adjustments to the drive area. Consideration for a raised landscaping would be to try to prohibit cut through traffic.

On the parking that backs out in the ring road, our concern was that some traffic would be coming around the bend and cars would be backing out into the bend. Mr. Oakes responded if there are a few spaces around the bend, we could do that on the west side.

Mr. Coleman said people pull into the parking area and canvas the parking islands for the closest space, so I don’t see a problem on the left side because people would not park that far away.

Mr. Oakes commented #9 in the planner’s considerations recommends eliminating a few spaces in this area because of backing out into the traffic. That is critical, and we will take care of it. We have relocated the pallet and bale storage area fronting on the loop road to behind the garden center, and it will have decorative gates, etc.

At the front of the building, we have planters, but in the entrance area, we do not have room for much between the building and the sidewalk. We propose a combination of bollards and planted pots.

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Mr. Oakes commented on the concern about delineating the concrete sidewalk and asphalt drive, we will add the bollards and planted pots to this area to better define the space.

We are not prepared for the signage review, and we will need to bring that back before you later.

Mr. Okum asked the applicant if he had a problem with Ms. McBride’s suggestion on page 3 that they use integral color split face CMU on the exterior walls visible from a public right of way. Mr. Oakes indicated that he did not, adding that the two elevations that they are preparing to do that on are the front elevation and western garden center. We have agreed to do that.

Larry B. Crayhead, Architect reported that a portion of the back of the store is visible, and my client would like to keep colored FMU on the backside of the store. The garden center and the front would be integral color and concrete, and that was discussed with Ms. McBride at the last staff meeting.

Mr. Wocher said to clarify, Ms. McBride wanted to make sure that the impervious surface area and parking area were identified so Planning could make a specific recommendation.

Mr. Wocher commented that it appears that signage will be delayed to another session. Mr. Okum said there was a comment on the pole height of 22 feet and proposed height is 42 feet. Will you alter the poles?

Mr. Oakes answered they will be at 42 feet. The existing light poles in the entire center are at 42 feet. We discussed that at staff meeting. There are no residences immediately adjacent, and we can get a better and more uniform lighting in the parking field with the 42 foot pole.

Mr. Okum said my problem would be glare issues and I have a concern with exceeding the maximum of 15.

Mr. Oakes responded it is not a matter of using a few poles, but it would be for us to put less light out onto the pavement and get better uniformity. The reflection on the asphalt pavement would be much greater if we went to 22 foot poles and double the number of poles would mean significantly more light.

Mr. Okum asked if they would need outside cart storage and Mr. Oakes indicated they would not. Mr. Crayhead added the store is designed for cart storage inside the building. There will be a cart corral for customer returns only.

Mr. Okum said the auto service area is not lit very well now. There should be adequately lit, downlit non-glare wall packs. Mr. Oakes agreed.

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Mr. Okum said I have gone to a lot of different Wal-Mart stores and the drive aisles in the Forest Park center are extremely narrow and cannot be comfortable for the motorist. What is the drive aisle here?

Mr. Oakes answered the Forest Park store is angled parking so it is a one-way and approximately 56’ from center to center, which allows for an 18-20’ drive aisle. Here we will have two-way aisles so we will have 61’ and 18’ of parking on either side and a 25-foot drive aisle.

Mr. Okum said I have the same concerns about backing out into the drive aisle. I have no problem with giving you relief on the west side. The canoe looks nice, but you need to come up with something that separates that and allows it to be a drive for the purpose of the mall. I think you and staff could work this out.

Mr. Oakes responded there would not be any Sam’s parking on the north/south drive as you go away from the ring road. Mr. Okum said nobody parks out there. It is never used, and I would be very uncomfortable with the backing out into the drive aisle and could not support it. I am very pleased with your plan otherwise.

Mr. Oakes said as you go in this area, I do not see this drive any different from any other Wal-Mart parking field. Mr. Okum said if it means taking out the community walkway I say take that out and shift the field over so you can get to that island and be safe. Mr. Butrum agreed on the safety issues, adding I think that drive will be used a lot and there would be a safety problem there.

Mr. Galster asked if they would eliminate 45 spots to put a curb in there, and Mr. Okum said no, I am saying eliminate the pedestrian sidewalk. Mr. Galster asked how wide the walkway is, and Mr. Oakes answered 10 feet. Mr. Galster continued so using that extra 10 feet, we would have a place for those cars to back into plus a canoe and exit somewhere besides the main drive.

Mr. Galster asked how much space would be needed for an entry aisle. Mr. Shvegzda answered the problem with doing that is you still will need the 24 foot drive aisle. That might be able to be reduced with angled parking. Mr. Galster asked if angled parking would be better. Mr. Shvegzda responded it would allow this to be a lesser width.

Mr. Oakes said we could make the first parking aisle angled so you could not access that parking, but if you were parking there could be backing out in the way you would be going. Mr. Galster said so the first row could be angled from the northeast corner down to the southwest corner. Mr. Oakes answered we could do it on both sides. Mr. Galster wondered if that would alleviate the concern.

Mr. Okum responded that would eliminate the issue of somebody backing out all the way into two lanes, but it is still backing out into the main drive aisle.

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Mr. Oakes stated right now you have 62 feet and typically we go with 61 feet. We probably could take one foot out of there. This is the city standard.

Mr. Okum said but we are still backing into the main drive aisle for the purpose of the mall, and we should protect the motorist. I do not care how you do it as long as it is safe. Mr. Oakes responded I would not present this unless I felt it was safe.

Mr. Shvegzda reported that a possible option would be based on 45 degree angled parking. Mr. Oakes said if you would give me and the staff leeway, we probably do need a five-foot island because we will have parking there and there will be bumper overhang. I will work with the engineer to accomplish that if you give me the flexibility. In terms of the parking numbers, we are at a little over four per thousand square feet. I have never seen Wal-Mart approve less than four per thousand so if you would be flexible we would like to keep as much parking in the center as possible.

Mr. Okum said I think it is a plus for the community and moved to approve the submittals presented this evening to include all staff city engineer and city planner recommendations. All lighting shall conform to the existing Zoning Code requirements. The light fixture and pole color shall be black and 42 feet in height. Parking drive and site plan conditions include to protect the eastern most parking aisle from backing into the main access lane. This is to be reviewed and approved by staff. The traffic and street improvements are to include the entry as designed by the City Engineer. The two building elevations exposed to the public right of way shall be integral concrete block. Signage shall b considered at a later time and al mass cart storage will be at the interior of the store. Mr. Galster seconded the motion.

All present voted aye, and the approval was granted with six affirmative votes.

D.    Approval of Proposed T-District Zoning – West Sharon Road

Mr. Galster said we have just received this on Friday, and I would like to have more time to look at this. I would ask that we deal with it at the next meeting. Mr. Butrum seconded the idea. All present voted aye and the item was moved to the December 12 meeting.


Mr. Galster asked Mr. Okum to go to the Board of Zoning Appeals and ask for a subcommittee to evaluate whatever changes need to be made to the Zoning Code to make their job easier, and recommend these changes to Planning Commission. I want to make sure we understand all the Board of Zoning Appeals issues. Mr. Okum commented I would have thought that a joint committee would have been better. Mr. Galster said there are two separate issues, Planning Commission concerns and Board of Zoning Appeal concerns. I would like to do this before we have a joint committee.

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A. Spirit Halloween Store – 50 Kemper Commons – Wall Sign
B. Coexist – 465 East Kemper Road – Wall Sign
C. Sign A Rama – 115 West Kemper Road – Wall Sign
D. LuLu’s – 135 West Kemper Road – Wall Sign
E. Check Into Cash – 137 West Kemper Road – Wall Sign
F. Midwest Eye Center – 119 West Kemper Road – Wall Sign
G. New Orleans to Go – 139 West Kemper Road – Wall Sign


Mr. Okum moved to adjourn and Mr. Galster seconded the motion. By voice vote all present voted aye, and the Planning Commission adjourned at 9:50 p.m.

                    Respectfully submitted,

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                    William G. Syfert, Chairman

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                            Lawrence Hawkins III, Secretary