PLAINFIELD BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
October 17, 2011
Mr. Monnett: I will now call to order the Plainfield Board of Zoning Appeals meeting for October 17, 2011.
ROLL CALL/DETERMINATION OF QUORUM
Mr. Monnett: I will now ask our Board Secretary to have a roll call for determination of a quorum.
Mr. Carlucci: Ms. Duffer- here
Mr. Cavanaugh- here
Mr. Gibbs- here
Mr. Monnett- here
Four members present, none absent, we have a quorum for the purpose of conducting business.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mr. Monnett: Would you please rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Monnett: Now I will ask our board members for any changes or approval of our minutes of our meeting from September 19, 2011.
Mr. Gibbs: I move that we accept the minutes as written.
Ms. Duffer: Second.
Mr. Monnett: We have a motion and a second, all in favor say aye, opposed, motion carried.
OATH OF TESTIMONY
Mr. Monnett: I will now ask our Town Attorney to please administer the oath of testimony tonight.
Mr. Daniel conducted the oath of testimony.
Mr. Monnett reviewed the guidelines governing the conduct of Public Hearings.
PETITIONS FOR PUBLIC HEARING
Mr. Monnett: Tonight BZA-11-011, Mr. James.
Mr. James: Good evening, first petition tonight is a variance request to expand the outdoor storage in the I-2 district from Schuetz Container Packaging at 2375 Reeves Road. The ordinance allows outdoor storage to be 10% of the gross floor area of the closed structures in the I-2 district. Schuetz shares this building which is 360,000 square feet with Firestone, and Firestone has no outdoor storage and Schuetz has maxed out all the outdoor storage that is allowed. Ten percent would be 36,000 square feet, the site surrounding zoning is I-2 except the last remaining single family home which is to the east, which is not Plainfield but it is in Hendricks County. The property to the west and south are undeveloped and there are existing proposed outdoor storages in the power line easement which allows it, but no structures. Then the variances were granted to allow a truck court to encroach to the front setback, and then to allow two silos for this site. Here is the site, Schuetz is on this side, Firestone is on this side, this is Becton-Dickinson across Reeves Road, and here is the existing outdoor storage which is about 36,000 square feet. It is proposed to put the expanded outdoor storage right in here, this is the site, as you can see it is surrounded by I-2 zoning and this is the single family home, which is still in Hendricks County. The ordinance allows an eight foot tall fence with a level 3 landscaping when you have outdoor storage for a screen. The total outdoor storage would be increased to 17.7% of the gross floor area, the outdoor storage expansion would match the existing outdoor storage with a black coated chain link fence and the level 3 landscaping with evergreens and then the outdoor storage can't be seen from Reeves Road. Here is the existing outdoor storage, here is the power line that runs over the top of it, all of this is in the power line easement and then the expanded outdoor storage would be right in here. This is the level 3 perimeter landscaping that is the existing landscaping, you see it is at least 6' evergreens, so this would be the proposed site for the expanded outdoor storage and you can see that it is tucked back here behind the building and I don't think you can see it from Reeves Road, you might be able to see the existing outdoor storage from just this location right in here, but you can't further to the west on Reeves Road. Then the plant manager Charlie Clute is here and I'm sure he would be glad to answer any questions you might have.
Mr. Clute: I am here to answer any questions.
Mr. Carlucci: Could you give your name and address and sign your name on the sheet.
Mr. Clute: Charles Clute, my address is 1089 Lakewood N. Drive, in Brownsburg, 46112.
Mr. Cavanaugh: Mr. Clute, I have a couple of questions, for one I am frankly just curious as to what is driving the need for the additional outside storage if you are not increasing your interior space.
Mr. Clute: We attempted to negotiate with Firestone to get more space inside and we are not able too, they are full, so they don't want to give up any space, and so we are sort of stuck in that area, we have a lot of info structure inside for equipment, machines for light manufacturing, assembling large industrial containers and we want to put in a wash out line and a grid welding machine is currently our grids come from New Jersey to Plainfield and we have grown so quickly that the original plan is sort of out the window and now we would like to bring the grid grinder in and save all of that freight from New Jersey, we'd send tubes out rather than full complete grids, the grid welders is about 5 employees, so we need room somewhere so we are going to move articles that are currently stored inside and store them outside, it would be basically the same thing as what is stored out there now.
Mr. Cavanaugh: I presume that access to the new storage area would be similar to the existing outside storage and if you are not going to relocate the trailer parking area in any way?
Mr. Clute: No, it will be, we will connect the two and reorganize the existing storage area and use the same entrance I think, and we might put an entrance on the other end as well. I would like to also add that we are in the process of trying to get a wash out line installed in the plant and that would be 5 employees per shift and there are 4 shifts, so potentially 22-25 jobs will be created by the ability to store more outside and put the equipment inside.
Mr. Carlucci: I've been back on that property many times over the years and I've never seen paper or trash around. They have someone were they had their silo painted on, graffiti on that and they took care of that pretty quickly, and you really cannot see that from the road, that is just my two cents.
Mr. Clute: I agree with that assessment, it is very difficult to see because the ground goes up on Reeves Road and you can just barely see the edge of the existing storage area.
Mr. Cavanaugh: I don't have any further questions.
Mr. Monnett: I will close it to the public to the public and open it up to discussion or approval.
Ms. Duffer: I think Mr. Gibbs said something.
Mr. Monnett: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you.
Mr. Gibbs: Are you ready for a motion?
Mr. Monnett: Yes.
Mr. Gibbs: I move that the Board of Zoning Appeals approve BZA-11-011 as filed by Schuetz Container Systems, requesting a variance to increase the outdoor storage area to 17.7% of the GFA for Schuetz Container Systems at 2375 Reeves Road, suite 100 subject to the following conditions:
1. Substantial compliance with site plan submitted file date October 7, 2011 and landscaping plan submitted plan submitted file dated September 16, 2011.
2. All dead or missing landscaping shall be replaced.
Ms. Duffer: I will second.
Mr. Monnett: I have a motion and a second, Mr. Carlucci would you please poll the board.
Mr. Carlucci: Ms. Duffer- yes
Mr. Cavanaugh- yes
Mr. Gibbs- yes
Mr. Monnett- yes
Four ayes, none opposed, the motion is approved.
Mr. Monnett: Our next petition is BZA-11-012, Ms. Sprague.
Ms. Sprague: This is for the roof sign on the real estate building at 2430 East Main Street. It is primarily surrounded by general commercial, although there is the Maple Grove subdivision behind, however the sign that we are talking about faces US 40, so the residential really isn't affected. The petitioner recently installed a roof sign, which is not prohibited by our ordinance, the identification signs are allowed to be wall signs or free standing signs and so that is why we are here with it being a roof sign. The petition also looks like they are requesting to add the phone number to what now just says “Real Estate”; I will show you a picture in just a minute. The existing portion of the sign is 12.06% of the area of the roof. Normally for wall signs we allow 10% of the façade so it does exceed what the ordinance allows for wall signs, and then if they were to add the phone number that would bring it to almost 20% of the roof area. They do also have a pole sign available out front, which at least in my opinion is more visible than the roof sign is and I will show you a photo as well. It is the real estate sign on the building, I took that photo from the National City just southwest, so across US 40 and a little bit west from there, so I think the primary view of the roof sign itself is from the south as opposed from the road, and then obviously you can see the free standing sign there, then from the east, you can't see the building, but you can see the free standing sign. That is pretty much the petition; I know the petitioner is here if you have any questions.
Mr. Gibbs: Jill, can I ask just a real quick question. That sign that we see right there, is that non-conforming?
Ms. Sprague: No, actually it is conforming, I don't have the sizes of it, but it is a for tenant lot, so it would be allowed as an integrated center sign.
Mr. Monnett: The petitioner is here, please.
Mr. Crager: Good evening, Derek Crager, Crager-Bartels Real Estate 2430 E. Main is my business address, my home address in Plainfield is 1335 South Center Street, I've been a Plainfield resident since 1969. I do have some additional facts I would like to share if I may.
Mr. Bartels: My name is Craig Bartels, Craig Bartels Real Estate; my address is 2430 E. Main Street, here in Plainfield.
Mr. Crager: First off I want to acknowledge the concern about signage in a Town. I understand that signage gets out of control, well then you can have signs everywhere and we can't even see the businesses themselves, it takes away from the positive view that we want to give people when they come to Town, so I do understand that. From a business side of things, I have been a strong component of business in Plainfield for a long time, I've seen businesses come and go over the last 40 some years, we have a lot of mom and pop businesses, all the way up to big businesses that have planted roots in Plainfield and then they disappear for different reasons. From a business standpoint, I am a SCORE business counselor; I am the youngest in Indiana I believe. All that means is that I work with score organization to help counsel businesses on how to conduct business, so just to let you know that I do hold myself to higher standards as others hold myself to higher standards. Now as far as the signage here, what I wanted to do with the handout that you just received is just to show you, actually I just put this together today, it took about 10 minutes of time when about a quarter mile, right around the area of our business at 2430 and just collected some photo documentation that pole signage and building signage already exist on multiple businesses, and in addition to that there is also several businesses that appear to have over the 10% area, I am not exactly sure what dimension is used, and to describe that, but just from the visual point, it appears for several businesses with more than the 10% coverage, so what I am asking to do is 1., I acknowledge Jill's research here that says we are fairly hidden east and west, even though Main Street gets tons of traffic, 50 to 100,000 cars a day is a lot. Even though we have all that traffic, we're blocked, so the only signage we have is the pole signage out here, which is to itself. Right now, it is a half acre, it is set up for 4 businesses, and if you've spent any amount of time in Plainfield, you know that over the years and the decades that we have had mobile businesses at this location come and go. Long before we even obtained possession of this parcel about 10 years ago or so, so our fight is kind of tearful, 1, as a real estate business, we want to get exposure out there and we want to mark our office. The office that you saw from a previous picture of the red building, that was about $20,000.00 worth of remodeling and we did the outside to make our office better looking and that is where main office is. In addition to that the three other business units that are there, we have failed year after year to obtain a good quality, strong, business that is going to stay in Plainfield, and it really comes down to signage. What we would like to do is expand upon our roof signage to basically the name that we have up there and a phone number for easy access to help offset the lack of visibility coming east and west to this location and then that will allow us to use the pole signage for the businesses that we could bring in to the Town, additional businesses which as the previous petitioner described in his business, would add more employees and jobs to the Town, so that is our goal here. The documentation on that we presented here, there is 14 businesses that we counted and it is pretty self explanatory if you had a minute to go through it, I'm just showing examples of pole signs and then building signage, and it over and over just different examples on different businesses all within the same business district. So what I am asking for today is that you will allow the existing signage on the roof that we actually weren't aware when we put them up there that it would come under a variance petition, so that is why we held off before we did any further expansion on that. All that we are asking is that you accept what is there now, and allow us to put a phone number up there as well to the office to get ourselves a better chance in this economy to gain more business, to become more visible and the examples we see in different pictures, is that there are signs that duplicate themselves on the buildings and poles and multiple businesses have phone numbers right on their buildings as well. So we do believe that it is within the standard at least in this business area that is already established and we are trying to make this as easy as possible for you to say yes.
Mr. Carlucci: I was just kind of curious about your experience that you said you have, why you didn't contact the Town about the signage.
Mr. Crager: On the roof?
Mr. Carlucci: Especially on the roof sign.
Mr. Crager: Well the roof sign is all that we have done this year, and the reason we…
Mr. Carlucci: My question is why you didn't ask before you did that.
Mr. Crager: Naivety, I really didn't even think about the roof signage being a sign I guess, I thought it was just application of the building, I was just thinking concrete sign like a pole in the front, so that is why. I had that same conversation with Joe when I dropped off the paperwork; I was just naive that we needed to go through the process.
Mr. Carlucci: A lot of signs that you show here are legal non-conforming, they've been there a long time. For example if one of these non-conforming signs would go down, you couldn't rebuild it, you'd have to re-build it to the Town standards, the ordinance. So we have a lot of businesses over there, I've been around long enough to see most of those go in there, but the ordinance has changed and things that were legal they have become non-conforming, they were non-conforming that you cannot change, they are basically frozen in time. We've had examples in the Town of people taking signs down that shouldn't have taken down, and then if there is a non-conforming use they have to start over and be in compliance with the ordinance or you will never get those changes that you talk about that continuity between signs, you will never get to that point. So, I just wanted to make that point because I hear this all the time. You would have saved yourselves a lot of trouble if you would have come here when you decided to do something.
Mr. Crager: I agree, and I apologize for that. Could I address that comment about the signage? I understand what you are saying and typically long term I am thinking long term here, we are as a business, and we see this in newer developments that we are often compared to the north side and how they do things and things like that, but the trend and I am just assuming, I have not investigated, but I am assuming that Plainfield would like to follow the trend that other Towns, not only in Indianapolis, but across the Country have taken and remove all of the pole signage completely and just go to either low signage or just building signage themselves, so in the long term that is really what we are looking at here, because at some point and time, that pole is going to fall down, but from a business prospective and I did mention I counsel multiple businesses on staying in business and business plan and things like that, if we can move and get our signage on the building, then at least our business wouldn't have to rely on the roof signage, so we are trying to adopt to a future plan as soon as possible and to further that, once we get the roof signage, if you would be gracious enough to approve that, hopefully one day the owner will allow us, those trees will come down and allow us for a greater view. We are not asking for that, we wouldn't ask for that, but if that happens that would allow our business to stand out like it should, like these other businesses do.
Mr. Monnett: To the west of your front door, past the window there by the front door, just west of that window how much space is there would you say?
Mr. Crager: Are you talking about just the size of this building.
Mr. Monnett: Just west of the front door, that set of windows back where that tree is with the red line on, is it the same as the east side of the building?
Mr. Crager: It is pretty much yes, the words that are up there now, they are centered left and right, east and west, so the end of the building would be if you could just visualize, I think if you can see that, the four mailboxes, if you take that far left one, and I'm not saying perpendicular to 40 here, but somewhere behind that tree, maybe an inch or two, so this building itself, is not huge. The additional building, there is an additional building that is hidden behind that tree. I hope that answers your question.
Mr. Monnett: Well I was trying to get at that maybe, especially on the east side might be some room to put “Real Estate” and a phone number.
Mr. Crager: On the end of the building?
Mr. Monnett: Yes, facing south even right there, on the vinyl.
Ms. Duffer: On the front of the building.
Mr. Monnett: Underneath.
Mr. Crager: That is actually 50 year steel, you can't tell from the picture.
Mr. Monnett: There is enough…
Mr. James: (Inaudible)
Mr. Monnett: This, I can tell you right now, I don't like that and I wouldn't like the phone number to be put there to be honest with you, I would like a sign there or there. I just think there is enough room for a sign there or the west end or both, because I can't remember what the west end looks like. I don't like the roof sign at all or more being added.
Mr. Crager: Is that what you are asking is how much room there is on the sides?
Mr. Monnett: Yes, I couldn't remember how much space was to the west, if it was the same as the east.
Ms. Duffer: I think, one of the things that we look at here as a group is if there is a hardship, is there a reason that we could see the sign on the roof would need to be there for visibility, and I think it says that is very visible from the south , but it is very much hidden coming east and west, so I can't see, because you have visibility east and west which is the way that the road runes that I can't see that there is a hardship there.
Mr. Cavanaugh: I don't think that the signs particularly visible on the roof unless you are right in front of the building. That is my opinion. I'm going to look at the pole sign, I think frankly you guys have an advantage; this location has an advantage for having a legal non-conforming pole sign there that can be used for your particular service and other services at that location, but then the balance of the zoning ordinance. I'm not in support of the roof sign and I'm not in support of adding too it, so that is just where I am at. I'll make it pretty simple from my perspective. The others that you happen to bring, there is one sign in there that might be counted as a roof sign, all the other examples have both building signs and window signs, that are totally different, and we are talking specifically about a roof sign, not a building sign or a wall mounted sign. You do have an option to be able to install complying wall signs to carry the same message, now I grant you that might not end up being the same size that you have on the roof sign, but there are other options, there are other options available for you. As far as what is on these other buildings, I go along with what Mr. Carlucci said, many of them have been there for a long time and they are probably quite a few of them legal non-conforming and if there tenant would change or if their ownership would change then use of signage fees would change and they would go through a similar process that you are and be asking some similar questions and then the Town has the opportunity to bring that site into compliance and what maintain level of Plainfield for all of the businesses, it is a slow process, but that is how it works.
Mr. Crager: I acknowledge that the process of the times is exceedingly slow.
Mr. Cavanaugh: I don't have anymore questions.
Mr. Monnett: Mr. Gibbs?
Mr. Gibbs: I don't have any questions, I just can't think of any circumstances since I have been serving on the board, allowing a 20% variance and it doesn't need to be stated (inaudible).
Mr. Monnett: Do you have anything to add?
Mr. Crager: Well I do, yes. I told you I was really caught unaware that we had to go through this process. I've never been on this side before. When we got the letter from Jill, that is when we held tight and said what do we got to do? We have the other lettering that we already to go up, but we weren't' going to do that, we weren't just going to throw it up there and say, I'm sorry we came here to apologize, please let me have it. But from a practicality standpoint, the lettering that is up there currently that is actually roofing material that is the self adhesive type and as it was applied, just like any roof, it bonds, the more heat we have and we've had some heat this summer, the last two or three months and it's bonded really well, so I know that if you turn us down from the signage completely I will have find someway to remove that and I am open to suggestions and I am afraid that if we try to peel it off or paint over it, it would make the building look worse than it does now. There again I am not trying to slip in a fast one, otherwise I would have put the whole thing up there, I'm just from a practicality standpoint I'm open to suggestions.
Mr. Cavanaugh: I suggest you, well based on what we do let's see what we do first, and see if we have suggestions.
Mr. Monnett: Is that it?
Mr. Crager: That is all I have.
Mr. Monnett: Thank you, I will close it to the public and open it up to the board for discussion or a possible motion.
Mr. Cavanaugh: I am going to move that the Board of Zoning Appeals deny BZA-11-012, as filed by Derek Crager, requesting a variance to the development standards to allow a roof sign at 2430 E. Main Street.
Mr. Gibbs: Second.
Mr. Monnett: I have a motion and a second, Mr. Carlucci would you please poll the board?
Mr. Carlucci: Ms. Duffer- yes
Mr. Cavanaugh- yes
Mr. Gibbs- yes
Mr. Monnett- yes
Four ayes, none opposed, motion is approved.
Mr. Monnett: My question to Mr. James, we've denied the roof sign, so what is the time frame for that removal?
Mr. James: Well it should occur immediately.
Mr. Monnett: I know, but should we come up with, for our record have a time frame.
Mr. James: Thirty days, you can amend your motion and make that a condition.
Mr. Carlucci: We have already approved it; we can make a new motion.
Mr. Monnett: I say 30 days or less because I do know a little bit about the roofing situation, so I know that that can be removed without too much hazard to the roof, so I say 30 days or less is my opinion.
Mr. Cavanaugh: I'd like to make a motion to pertaining to BZA-11-012 that we allow the petitioner 30 days to remove the existing roof signage.
Mr. Gibbs: I second that.
Mr. Monnett: The motion is second, Mr. Carlucci would you please poll the board.
Mr. Carlucci: Ms. Duffer- yes
Mr. Cavanaugh- yes
Mr. Gibbs- yes
Mr. Monnett- yes
Four ayes, none opposed, motion is approved.